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Posts tagged with Lydia Davis.
“We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.”Lydia Davis, “Affinity,” Almost No Memory (via gravitys-rimbaud)
“Often I think that his idea of what we should do is wrong, and my idea is right. Yet I know that he has often been right before, when I was wrong. And so I let him make his wrong decision, telling myself, though I can’t believe it, that his wrong decision may actually be right. And then later it turns out, as it often has before, that his decision was the right one, after all. Or, rather, his decision was still wrong, but wrong for circumstances different from the circumstances as they actually were, while it was right for circumstances I clearly did not understand.”Lydia Davis, “How He Is Often Right,” from The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis
“The fact that he does not tell me the truth all the time makes me not sure of his truth at certain times, and then I work to figure out for myself if what he is telling me is the truth or not, and sometimes I can figure out that it’s not the truth and sometimes I don’t know and never know, and sometimes just because he says it to me over and over again I am convinced it is the truth because I don’t believe he would repeat a lie so often. Maybe the truth does not matter, but I want to know it if only so that I can come to some conclusions about such questions as: whether he is angry at me or not; if he is, then how angry; whether he still loves her or not; if he does, then how much; whether he loves me or not; how much; how capable he is of deceiving me in the act and after the act in the telling.”Break It Down by Lydia Davis
“These days I try to tell myself that what I feel is not very important. I’ve read this in several books now: what I feel is important but not the center of everything. Maybe I do see this, but I do not believe it deeply enough to act on it. I would like to believe it more deeply.
Lydia Davis, What I Feel (via seemstween)
What a relief it that would be. I wouldn’t have to think about what I felt all the time, and try to control it, with all its complications and all its consequences. I wouldn’t have to try to feel better all the time. In fact, if I didn’t believe what I felt was so important, I probably wouldn’t even feel so bad, and it wouldn’t be so hard to feel better. I wouldn’t have to say, oh, I feel so awful, this is like the end for me here, in this dark living room late at night, with the dark street corner outside under the street lights, I am so very alone, everyone else in the house asleep, there is no comfort anywhere, just me alone down here, I will never calm myself enough to sleep, never sleep, never be able to go on to the next day, I can’t possibly go on, I can’t live, even through the next minute.
If I believed that what I felt was not the center of everything, then it wouldn’t be, but just one of many things, off to the side, and I would be able to see and pay attention to other things that were equally important, and in this way I would have some relief.
But it is curious how you can see that an idea is absolutely true and correct and yet not believe it deeply enough to act on it. So I still act as though my feelings were the center of everything, and they still cause me to end up alone by the living-room window late at night. What is different, now, is that I have this idea: I have the idea that soon I will no longer believe my feelings are the center of everything. This is a real comfort to me, because if you despair of going on, but at the same time tell yourself that your despair may not be very important, then either you stop despairing or you still despair but at the same time begin to see how your despair, too, might move off to the side, one of many things.”
“No one is calling me. I can’t check the answering machine because I have been here all this time. If I go out, someone may call while I’m out. Then I can check the answering machine when I come back in.”Lydia Davis, “Lonely”, Varieties of Disturbance
“Sometimes, for a moment, I thought I would be able to do something. Then that moment would pass and I would want to move and not be able to move.”Lydia Davis, Therapy
“Even though it is late enough to go to sleep she has something more to eat. Cereal, then, after the cereal, bread and butter, then marshmallows and other foods. She turns onto her stomach and looks at the covers of some books. She can go on reading now without eating. Her stomach is so full that she can’t lie on it comfortably, and she feels as though she were lying on a rock or a bundle of sticks. She has filled her stomach as though she were filling a knapsack or a boat for a long journey.”Lydia Davis, Break It Down (1986)
“At times I am not just nervous about this work but frightened, and think I am going through a crisis, one that could be called existential. Then I realized the problem is much simpler—I have had no breakfast and too much coffee, and my nerves are raw, so tender that I am almost unbearably disturbed to look out the window and see a truck carrying one car on its back and pulling another behind it.
Lydia Davis, The End of the Story
But at other times I am really confused and uncomfortable. For instance, I am trying to separate out a few pages to add to the novel and I want to put them together in one box, but I’m not sure how to label the box. I would like to write on it MATERIAL READY TO BE USED, but if I do that it may bring me bad luck, because the material may not really be “ready.” I thought of adding parentheses and writing MATERIAL (READY) TO BE USED, but the word “ready” was still too strong despite the parentheses. I thought of throwing in a question mark so that it read MATERIAL (READY?) TO BE USED but the question mark immediately introduced more doubt than I could stand. The best possibility may be MATERIAL—TO BE USED, which does not go so far as to say that it is ready but only that in some form it will be used, though it does not have to be used, even if it is good enough to use.”