I thought desire smaller, neater; I supposed it bound to its own organs as taste is bound to the mouth, vision to the eye. This feeling haunts and inhabits me, like a sickness. It covers me, like skin.
| Sarah Waters, Fingersmith
I’ve discovered over the years that the simplest explanation is almost always the right one; and that hunger of one kind or another—desire, by another name—is the source of almost every sorrow.
| Claire Messud
The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd–The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
∆ Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet (Pantheon, 1991, originally published in 1982)
do not be afraid of structuring things that feel organic in your life. structure does not have to stifle. organization makes for clear motives and less messy feelings.
(where does this fear come from?)
I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of a greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I’m doing.
| Susan Sontag, As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980
I perceive value, I confer value, I create value, I even create — or guarantee — existence. Hence, my compulsion to make “lists.” The things (Beethoven’s music, movies, business firms) won’t exist unless I signify my interest in them by at least noting down their names.
Nothing exists unless I maintain it (by my interest, or my potential interest). This is an ultimate, mostly subliminal anxiety. Hence, I must remain always, both in principle + actively, interested in everything. Taking all of knowledge as my province.
| Susan Sontag, As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
― André Gide
One third, more or less, of all the sorrow that the person I think I am must endure is unavoidable. It is the sorrow inherent in the human condition, the price we must pay for being sentient and self-conscious organisms, aspirants to liberation, but subject to the laws of nature and under orders to keep on marching, through irreversible time, through a world wholly indifferent to our well-being, toward decrepitude and the certainty of death. The remaining two thirds of all sorrow is homemade and, so far as the universe is concerned, unnecessary.
| Aldous Huxley, Island
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
| Kahlil Gibran
Above all, in my anger, I was sad. Isn’t that always the way, that at the heart of the fire is a frozen kernel of sorrow that the fire is trying—valiantly, fruitlessly—to eradicate.
| Claire Messud
Since my earliest childhood a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart. As long as it stays I am ironic — if it is pulled out I shall die.
| Søren Kierkegaard