Keeping Care of the World
There are two passages I keep coming back to in two books by Clarice Lispector. The first is from The Stream of Life, the Lowe/Fitz translation.
“I’m tired. I tire easily because I’m an extremely busy person: I keep care of the world. Every day I look out from my terrace at that bit of beach and ocean and I see the thick, whiter foam and see that during the night the waters have advanced restlessly. I see this from the marks the waves leave in the sand. I look at the almond trees on my street. Before I go to sleep I take care of the world and I see if the night sky is starry and indigo blue because on certain nights, instead of black, the sky seems to be an intense indigo blue, a colour I’ve painted on glass before. I like intensities. I take care of the boy who is nine years old and who is dressed in rags and who is extremely thin. He’ll get tuberculosis, if he doesn’t already have it already. I become exhausted at the Botanical Gardens. I have to watch over thousands of plants and trees and especially the victoria. She’s there. I watch her.
“I speak of some of the thousands of things and persons I take care of. And it has nothing to do with a job because I don’t earn money with it. I just end up knowing what the world is like.”
And then, from Selected Crônicas:
“All human beings experience annunciation. With pregnant souls we raise our hands to our throats with surprise and anguish. As if each of us had learned at a given moment in life that we have a mission to fulfill.
That mission is by no means easy: each of us is responsible for the entire world.”
We’re always asking ourselves, we literary types anyway, how to live? And the answer is, the message is: each of us is responsible for the entire world. Too much? Let’s start with our 3 meters of influence. I’m tired of being tired.
Also from TSOL by CL:
“That living is not just unrolling crude sentiments – it’s something more magical and more graceful, something that for all that does not lose its fine animal vigor.”
“But I know still another life. I know and want it and I devour it ferociously. It’s a life of magic violence. It’s mysterious and bewitching.”
“In this darkness the flowers grow entangled in an enchanted and moist garden. And I am the sorceress of this mute bacchanal.”
And maybe most importantly let’s remember this too:
“I refuse to become sad. Let’s be happy. If you’re not afraid of being happy, of just once trying this mad, profound happiness you’ll have the best of our truth. I am – despite everything, oh despite everything – I am happy this very instant that’s slipping by if I don’t stick it down with words. I’m being happy this very instant because I refuse to be vanquished: therefore I love.”
There, now do you see why I keep going on about Clarice Lispector? Why I can’t live without her?