Imagine the worst nightmare: you are allowed one book for the rest of your life. Hideous thought, I know. But mine would be, at least today, A Breath of Life by Clarice Lispector, translated by Johnny Lorenz.
You’ve heard me go on about it before. But here is a passage that keeps leaping out at me:
“Daily life contains within itself the abuse of daily life: daily life has the tragedy of the tedium of repetition. But there’s a loophole: that the great reality is exceptional, like a dream in the entrails of the day.”
My questions for today are: what are the dreams in the entrails of your tedious day? What is your exceptional reality? Where is the loophole in your daily life?
The ordinary, the daily, ordinary life, is what interests me, so I’ve always found these words by Nin interesting:
“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvellous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.”
– Anais Nin
I think the marvellous is there at all times, and we just have to be in the correct state to peer into the cracks of the universe. But I also feel like this is something we have to constantly relearn.
“That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.”
– Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
I’ve been thinking a lot about still life lately, and how it can be that loophole. It can be a sort of crack where the light gets into the daily. A shortcut to the marvellous….