. . . it is almost impossible that I should be here.

"It is almost impossible that I should be here..."

Commonplace Book (June 2018)


June 14th (Thursday)

We started from places that saw no gay carracks wrecked
And where our green solitudes did not look deciduous;
And afternoons after schools, well our aunt Sorrow came,
Disciplined, erect,

To teach us writing. Outside boyhoods chased their leather
Football along the level glare of playing fields, and
Sweated and cursed amiably, while we sat, with slow tears
Shaping the heart's weather.

It is too early or too late, to ask if we were gifted
With this pain that saw all, yet was no man's remedy,
Blessed or cursed with vision that saw growth's long confusion
That time has not lifted?

Derek Walcott, "Private Journal" (1949)


June 12th (Tuesday)

If love is a devastating fire which melts the whole being into one mountain torrent, Mary was no more in love with Denham than she was in love with her poker or her tongs.

Virginia Woolf, Night and Day (1919)


June 10th (Sunday)

Then there's the man who says I'm Jane Austen (but I'd much rather write about tea parties and snails than be Jane Austen). And a Bishop's wife detects undoubted Xtianity, and an elderly lady writes to me that the love scenes [in Night and Day] make her 'jumpy', but she feels that its, 'the forerunner of a new species of book' (very intelligent). You see, its a question of the human heart, and cutting out the rotten parts according to ones convictions. Thats what I want to do, and thats where we differ, and thats why you'll dislike N. and D; and I shant mind if you do; but I should mind enormously if you didn't like me.

Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf (1975–1980),
Letter to Margaret Llewelyn Davies (November 1919)


June 8th (Friday)

If it "feels" "its own powerlessness," then the imagination touches upon its powerlessness [when experiencing the sublime]. The imagination encounters that which it cannot, the impossible for it; it comes into contact with what remains impossible for it. It encounters, therefore, that which it cannot encounter; it accedes, as such, to the inaccessible as such; it attains and reaches there; it falls, upward, and comes onto that which it cannot touch, and thereby it touches itself, as we shall see; it feels itself (powerless) there where it touches (tangentially) what it cannot attain or touch: the point or the line, the flimsy, unsubstantial limit, here, there, whither and whence it can no longer touch . . . It is not what it is—the imagination. It is touched, in a movement withdrawing or re-treating to the fold, at the moment it touches the untouchable. The imagination confines without confining itself to itself.

Jacques Derrida, On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy (2000, trans. 2005)
translated by Christine Irizarry


June 6th (Wednesday)

If nature has turned finite, and even fragile, no wonder entrepreneurs have rushed to get what they can before the goods run out, while conversationists desperately contrive to save scraps.

Anna L. Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World:
On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins
(2015)


June 5th (Tuesday)

. . . evaluation is, I think, always mingled with regards that stand aloof from the entire point: always compromised, impure, contingent; altering when it alteration finds; bending with the remover to remove; always Time's fool.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value:
Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (1988)