Oh, that’s all right, sir! As for Scott, I can understand. He was the first son of the family, and he was the whole thing. Then I came along, a stranger, and carried off Rosie, and this patent began to pay so well—it’s enough to make any man jealous, and he a Scotchman! But I think Scott will come around in the end; people usually do, if you treat them well, and I mean to. I like the fellow. As for Rosamond, you mustn’t give that a thought. I love her when she’s naughty. She’s a bit unreasonable sometimes, but I’m always hoping for a period of utter, of fantastic unreasonableness, which will be the beginning of a great happiness for us all.
Louie Marsellus, The Professor’s House, Willa Cather
“What do I want? A new place, in a new house, amongst new faces, under new circumstances: I want this because it is of no use wanting anything better. How do people do to get a new place? They apply to friends, I suppose: I have no friends. There are many others who have no friends, who must look about for themselves and be their own helpers; and what is their resource?”
I could not tell: nothing answered me; I then ordered my brain to find a response, and quickly. It worked and worked faster: I felt the pulses throb in my head and temples; but for nearly an hour it worked in chaos; and no result came of its efforts. Feverish with vain labour, I got up and took a turn in the room; undrew the curtain, noted a star or two, shivered with cold, and again crept to bed.
A kind fairy, in my absence, had surely dropped the required suggestion on my pillow; for as I lay down, it came quietly and naturally to my mind. - “Those who want situations advertise; you must advertise in the—-shire Herald.”
“How? I know nothing about advertising.”
Replies rose smooth and prompt now: -
“You must enclose the advertisement and the money to pay for it under a cover directed to the editor of the Herald; you must put it, the first opportunity you have, into the post at Lowton; answers must be addressed to J.E., at the post-office there; you can go and inquire in about a week after you send your letter, if any are come, and act accordingly.”
This scheme I went over twice, thrice; it was then digested in my mind; I had it in a clear practical form: I felt satisfied, and fell asleep.
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
(Van Gogh, Mulberry Tree, 1889)
I’m taking charge of this nightmare! If I have to be married to you, then things are gonna change. First of all, I’m not working at the beeper store anymore. Second, we’re moving outta this madhouse, and finally, YOU’RE gonna start sharing some of the responsibilities… Look, I know you’re not this lazy and cold and uncaring! You may act like that, but, deep down, I know you’re smart and you have feelings, and if we HAVE to be married to each other, then I want you to start showing it!
If there’s a crisis you don’t freeze. You move forward. You get the rest of us to move forward. Because you’ve seen worse. You’ve survived worse. And you know we’ll survive too. You say you’re dark and twisty. It’s not a flaw. It’s a strength. It makes you who you are.
O fairest of Creation, last and best
Of all Gods works, Creature in whom excell’d
Whatever can to sight or thought be formd,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defac’t, deflourd, and now to Death devote?
Rather how hast thou yeelded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred Fruit forbidd’n! som cursed fraud
Of Enemie hath beguil’d thee, yet unknown,
And mee with thee hath ruind, for with thee
Certain my resolution is to Die;
How can I live without thee, how forgoe
Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn’d,
To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no no, I feel
The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.
(in every sense of the phrase)
Hitting your fourth decade of existence sooner rather than later? Magnificent! This is the perfect time to…
1. Take up ballet, even if the only leotard with which you’ve been familiar is Jean François Lyotard. Nothing like a grown woman in pink flats.
2. Wear your hair in a timeless, charmingly wild bob cut. Just wash and go.
3. Move to Paris. Associate with songwriters, artists and anyone that looks like Owen Wilson.
4. If there’s a handsome, tall, but insecure writer in your life insisting that you that you can’t write for beans (but who is nonetheless stealing all of your brilliant ideas), f*** that s***! Write a novel, girl! Getting institutionalized is an excellent way to find the time to do so. Save Me the Waltz
5. On that note, embrace your crazy. No one is as uniquely you as you are. But take your meds if you need them, for the safety of everyone on the road. And take heart: “Many people with [borderline personality] disorder find greater stability in their lives during their 30s and 40s” (Mayo Clinic).
6. Adopt a fluffy cat to complement your leonine nature.
7. When communing with William the Conqueror, ask him what he thought about the Bayeux Tapestry, and with Christ, the Da Vinci Code. Publish your interviews in the Huffington Post.
8. Procure a good watercolor set. Generally non-toxic and easy clean up. Post your masterpieces to tumblr.
9. If you’re thinking about kids (this would be the time), give your son or daughter a whimsical gender-non-specific pet name. Since Scottie is taken, might I recommend Morgan (le Fey) as an excellent secondary go-to.
10. Most importantly, stay away from kitchen fires and doors that lock from the outside.
“Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease.” - Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Living
Grey Tree, Piet Mondrian, 1912
“Surely, I’d adore to.” She didn’t smile.
“Of course not—I can never judge a man while he’s talking. But I’m not through; the reason you have so little real self-confidence, even though you gravely announce to the occasional philistine that you think you’re a genius, is that you’ve attributed all sorts of atrocious faults to yourself and are trying to live up to them. For instance, you’re always saying that you are a slave to high-balls.”
“You are not!” She brought one little fist down onto the other. “You’re a slave, a bound helpless slave to one thing in the world, your imagination.”
“I notice that when you want to stay over an extra day from college you go about it in a sure way. You never decide at first while the merits of going or staying are fairly clear in your mind. You let your imagination shinny on the side of your desires for a few hours, and then you decide. Naturally your imagination, after a little freedom, thinks up a million reasons why you should stay, so your decision when it comes isn’t true. It’s biassed.”
“My dear boy, there’s your big mistake. This has nothing to do with will-power; that’s a crazy, useless word, anyway; you lack judgment—the judgment to decide at once when you know your imagination will play you false, given half a chance.”
“I never fall in love in August or September,” he proffered.
“Christmas or Easter. I’m a liturgist.”
“Easter!” She turned up her nose. “Huh! Spring in corsets!”
“Easter would bore spring, wouldn’t she? Easter has her hair braided, wears a tailored suit.”
“Bind on thy sandals, oh, thou most fleet. Over the splendor and speed of thy feet”
quoted Eleanor softly, and then added: “I suppose Hallowe’en is a better day for autumn than Thanksgiving.”
“Much better and Christmas eve does very well for winter, but summer…”
“Summer has no day,” she said. “We can’t possibly have a summer love. So many people have tried that the name’s become proverbial. Summer is only the unfulfilled promise of spring, a charlatan in place of the warm balmy nights I dream of in April. It’s a sad season of life without growth…. It has no day.”
Whereupon it made this threne
To the phoenix and the dove,
Co-supreme and stars of love;
As chorus to their tragic scene.
- “The Phoenix and the Turtle,” William Shakespeare
Walter Potter, “Death and Burial of Cock-Robin”
“…distress’s closed reciprocation: rapt auditor of herself, recoiling into solipsism, the persona images the other in something like her likeness.” - John Kerrigan, Motives of Woe