Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Consciousness itself was becoming the supreme evil; sleep, the prime good. To lie down . . . that was the object of all desire - if only there were not another morning ahead - if only sleep could last for ever!"
- C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy

"There remained to her, as she had told him, the uplifting memory of his faith in her; but she had not reached the age when a woman can live on her memories. . . . Yes - it was happiness she still wanted, and the glimpse she had caught of it made everything else of no account. One by one she had detached herself from the baser possibilities, and she saw that nothing now remained to her but the emptiness of renunciation.

She knew the strength of the opposing impulses - she could feel the countless hands of habit dragging her back into some fresh compromise with fate. . . . She felt so profoundly tired that she thought she must fall asleep at once; but as soon as she had lain down every nerve started once more into separate wakefulness. It was as though a great blaze of electric light had been turned on in her head, and her poor little anguished self shrank and cowered in it, without knowing where to take refuge.

Perspective had disappeared - the next day pressed close upon her, and on its heels came the days that were to follow - they swarmed about her like a shrieking mob. She must shut them out for a few hours; she must take a brief bath of oblivion. Her mind shrank from the glare of thought as instinctively as eyes contract in a blaze of light - darkness, darkness was what she must have at any cost."

- Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

3 comments:

Marian said...

For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,
From dull privations, and lean emptiness,
He ruined me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death - things which are not.


- from John Donne, "A Nocturne Upon St. Lucy's Day"

I'm not going to post the whole poem because it's pretty substantial, but it's easy to find online on the off chance that you don't have any Donne around. It's very dismal in some ways but I've found it strangely comforting in the bad times - to know that the Nothing inside me can still be made into something good. It feels like a permanent state, but that's its deceptiveness only.

*Hugs* I'm hoping like crazy that you feel better soon. And don't model yourself too much on Lily Bart :). She's a fascinating character but much less well equipped to deal with her world than you are with yours.

Lucian said...

Νὺξ δ'ἔτεκε στυγερόν τε Μοῖραν καὶ Κῆρα μέλαινον
καὶ Θάνατον, τέκε δ'Ὕπνον, ἔτικε δὲ φῦλον Ὀνείρων.

And Night bore hateful Doom and black Fate,
and Death, and she bore Sleep, and she bore the tribe of Dreams.

- Hesiod, Theogony

marianevans said...

Thanks, kindred spirits.
I'm struggling to avoid Lily's fate.

I'll be gone for a week or so, on hiatus from the world.