- Birthday, Books, Quotes, Reading, Writing

“I write as if to save somebody’s life. Probably my own. Life is a kind of madness that death makes. Long live the dead because we live in them.”

 

Happy birthday, Clarice Lispector! Here are some quotes from the author.

 

“Everything in the world began with a yes. One molecule said yes to another molecule and life was born. But before prehistory there was the prehistory of prehistory and there was the never and there was the yes. It was ever so. I do not know why, but I do know that the universe never began.”

 

“What am I in this instant? I’m a typewriter making the dry echo in the dark, humid dawn. I haven’t been human for a long time. They wanted me to be an object. I am an object. An object dirty with blood. An object that creates other objects and the machine creates us all. It makes demands. Mechanisms make endless demands on my life. But I don’t totally obey: if I have to be an object, let me be an object that screams. There’s something inside of me that hurts. Oh, how it hurts and how it screams for help. But tears aren’t there in the machine that is me. I’m an object without a destiny. I’m an object in whose hands? such is my human destiny. What saves me is the scream. I protest in the name of what’s inside the object behind the behind of the thought-feeling. I’m an urgent object.”

 

“I read what I’d written and thought once again: from what violent chasms is my most intimate intimacy nourished, why does it deny itself so much and flee to the domain of ideas? I feel within me a subterranean violence, a violence that only comes to the surface during the act of writing.”

 

“The word is my fourth dimension.”

 

“I’m afraid to write. It’s so dangerous. Anyone who’s tried, knows. The danger of stirring up hidden things—and the world is not on the surface, it’s hidden in its roots submerged in the depths of the sea. In order to write I must place myself in the void. In this void is where I exist intuitively. But it’s a terribly dangerous void: it’s where I wring out blood. I’m a writer who fears the snare of words: the words I say hide others—Which? maybe I’ll say them. Writing is a stone cast down a deep well.”

 

“And it’s inside myself that I must create someone who will understand.”

 

“I work only with lost and founds.”

 

“No it is not easy to write. It is as hard as breaking rocks. Sparks and splinters fly like shattered steel.”

 

“You don’t understand music: you hear it. So hear me with your whole body.”

 

“Love is now, is always. All that is missing is the coup-de-grâce, which is called passion.”

 

“I write as if to save somebody’s life. Probably my own. Life is a kind of madness that death makes. Long live the dead because we live in them.”

 

“I have grown weary of literature: silence alone comforts me. If I continue to write, it’s because I have nothing more to accomplish in this world except to wait for death. Searching for the word in darkness. Any little success invades me and puts me in full view of everyone. I long to wallow in the mud. I can scarcely control my need for self-abasement, my craving for licentiousness and debauchery. Sin tempts me, forbidden pleasures lure me. I want to be both pig and hen, then kill them and drink their blood.”

 

“It is because I dove into the abyss that I am beginning to love the abyss I am made of.”

 

“Do not mourn the dead. They know what they are doing.”

 

“Do you ever suddenly find it strange to be yourself?”

 

“I write and that way rid myself of me and then at last I can rest.”

 

“Things were somehow so good that they were in danger of becoming very bad because what is fully mature is very close to rotting.”

 

“[T]he continual breathing of the world is what we hear and call silence.”

 

“I want the following word: splendor, splendor is fruit in all its succulence, fruit without sadness. I want vast distances. My savage intuition of myself.”

 

“Who hasn’t asked oneself, am I a monster or is this what it means to be human?”

 

“My life, the most truthful one, is unrecognizable, extremely interior, and there is no single word that gives it meaning.”

 

“I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort. So long as I have questions to which there are no answers, I shall go on writing.”

 

“Whether she won or lost, she would continue to wrestle with life. It would not be with her own life alone but with all of life. Something had finally been released within her. And there it was, the sea.”

 

“Reality prior to my language exists as an unthinkable thought….life precedes love, bodily matter precedes the body, and one day in its turn language shall have preceded possession of silence.”

 

“I don’t know what to do with the horrifying freedom that can destroy me.”

 

“Perhaps I have not been made for the pure, expansive waters, but for those which are small and readily accessible. And perhaps my craving for another source, which gives me the expression of someone in search of food, perhaps this craving is a whim—and nothing more. Yet surely those rare moments of self-confidence, of blind existence, of happiness as intense and serene as an organ playing—surely those moments prove that I am capable of fulfilling my quest and that this longing which consumes my whole being is not merely some whim? Moreover, that whim is the truth!”

 

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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