Perhaps it’s good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he’s happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life? — Aldous Huxley, Antic Hay. (Kessinger Publishing May 2005) Originally published 1923.
How should we like it were stars to burn With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection cannot be, Let the more loving one be me. — W.H. Auden, from “The More Loving One,” Homage to Clio. (Random House 1960)
Each year is like putting a new coat over all the old ones. Sometimes I reach into the pockets of my childhood and pull things out. — Simon Van Booy, from “Little Birds,” The Secret Lives of People in Love (Turtle Point Press, 2007)
That is probably the most painful part: when you are still tormented by the thought that one last effort of will might improve things. — Geoff Dyer, The Colour of Memory (Canongate Books, 2012)
Nevertheless, I can tell you that you will awake someday to find that your life has rushed by at a speed at once impossible and cruel. The most intense moments will seem to have occurred only yesterday and nothing will have erased the pain and pleasure, the impossible intensity of love and its dog-leaping happiness,… Continue reading Meg Rosoff
We touched with a softness that pushed through the skin into memory, like arms plunged into a river — we could feel the weight of each other’s stones. — Simon van Booy, from “Conception,” The Secret Lives of People in Love: Stories. (Turtle Point Press; First Edition edition, May 1, 2007)
My brain’s a film, I’m made of timed exposures, And pounding my ears and eyes with waves of light— These animate flakes, these pictures I call sight. But now you’re out of the picture, no one can keep Coherent sightings of you, except in language. — Anne Stevenson, from “Elegy: In Coherent Light,” Poetry (July/August… Continue reading Anne Stevenson
But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. (Harper Perennial Modern Classics 1998) Originally published 1932.
Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness… Continue reading Aldous Huxley
Or, to believe it’s there within you though the key’s missing makes it enough? — Denise Levertov, from “Kingdoms of Heaven,” Poems, 1960-1967 (New Directions; First Edition edition, May 17, 1983)