Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation
|—||Edward St. Aubyn|
"…That was when I learned that words are no good; that words dont ever fit even what they are trying to say at. When he was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it because the ones that had the children didn’t care whether there was a word for it or not. I knew that fear was invented by someone that had never had the fear; pride, who never had the pride…
He had a word, too. Love, he called it. but I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn’t need a word for that anymore than for pride or fear.
And so when Cora Tull would tell me I was not a true mother, I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other, and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words.
My father said that the reason for living is getting ready to stay dead. I knew at last what he meant and that he could not have known what he meant himself, because a man cannot know anything about cleaning up the house afterward. And so I have cleaned my house.
One day I was talking to Cora. She prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.”
—William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (“Addie”)
I am thinking of a friend of mine, how she is not only what she believes she is, she is also what friends believe her to be, and what her family believes her to be, and even what she is in the eyes of chance acquaintances and total strangers. About certain things, her friends have one opinion and she has another. She thinks, for instance that she is overweight and not as well educated as she should be, but her friends know she is perfectly thin and better educated than most of us. About other things she agrees, for instance that she is amusing in company, likes to be on time, likes other people to be on time, and is not orderly in her housekeeping. Perhaps it must be true that the things about which we all agree are part of what she really is, or what she really would be if there were such a thing as what she really is, because when I look for what she really is, I find only contradictions everywhere: even when she and her friends all agree about something, this thing may not seem correct to a chance acquaintance, who may find her sullen in company or her rooms very neat, for instance, and will not be entirely wrong, since there are times she is dull, and times when she keeps a neat house, though they are not the same times, for she will not be neat when she’s feeling dull.
All of this being true of my friend, it occurs to me that I must not know altogether what I am, either, and that others know certain things about me better than I do, though I think I ought to know all there is to know and I proceed as if I do. Even once I see this, however, I have no choice but to to continue to proceed as if I know altogether what I am, though I may also try to guess, from time to time, just what it is that others know that I do not know.
—Lydia Davis, “A Friend of Mine
And whoever believes that the conditions and character of the times are responsible for our maladjustment is either suffering from delusions of grandeur or is simply stupid, and lacks self-knowledge on both accounts.
—Karl Ove Knausgaard, My Struggle, Book Two
Lily Hay Newman, Luigi’s Death Stare Joins the Canon of Classic Memes
What? The world is so fucking weird now.
is that a knife in your pocket or are you just happy to yeah fuck he’s got a knife everyone run