Thursday, August 2, 2012

Great House, Nicole Krauss

“…in truth it was all just an illusion, just as solid matter is an illusion, just as our bodies are an illusion, pretending to be one thing when really they are millions upon millions of atoms coming and going, some arriving while others are leaving us forever, as if each of us were only a great train station, only not even that since at least in a train station the stones and the tracks and the glass roof stay still while everything else rushes through it, no, it was worse that that, more like a giant empty field where every day a circus erected and dismantled itself, the whole thing from top to bottom, but never the same circus, so what hope did we really have of ever making sense of ourselves, let alone one another?”

"How little I understood of him then, of how the more you hide, the more it becomes necessary to withdraw, how soon it becomes impossible to live among others."

The pauses between words became longer, when for an instant the momentum of pressing thought into language faltered and a dark spot of indifference bloomed. I suppose it’s what I’ve battled most often in my life as a writer, a sort of entropy of care of languishing of will, so consistently, in fact, that I barely paid it any attention— a pull to give in to an undertow of speechlessness. But now I often became suspended in these moments, they grew longer and wider, and sometimes it became impossible to see the other shore. And when I finally got there, when a word at last came along like a lifeboat, and then another and another, I greeted them with faint distrust, a suspiciousness that took root and did not confine itself to my work. It is impossible to distrust one’s writing without awakening a deeper distrust in oneself.”

 "Of course it isn't that simple. One doesn't choose between the outer and the inner life; they co-exist, however poorly. The question is: Where does one place the emphasis?"

" It wasn't always like this. There was a time where I imagined my life could happen in another way. It's true that early on I became used to the long hours I spent alone. I discovered I did not need people as much as others did. After writing all day it took an effort to make conversation, like wading through cement, and often I simply chose not to make it, eating at a restaurant with a book or going for long walks alone instead, unwinding the solitude of the day through the city. But loneliness, true loneliness, is impossible to accustom oneself to, and while I was still young I thought of my situation as somehow temporary, and did not stop hoping and imagining that I would meet someone and fall in love, and that he and I might share our lives, each one free and independent yet bound together by our love. Yes, there was a time before I closed myself off to others."

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