31.10.11

 

 

You don't even know what sophisticatedmeans!

My mother turned on me sharply. I should repeat that she was twenty-one when I was born. I have never been much younger than her and she has never been much older than me. Another school run: Swansea, in the late Fifties.

— Ooh I do know what sophisticated means!

No you don't. Not what it really means.

— Yes I do.

— Go on then. What does it mean?

I now see my mother's profiled face, lightly frowning in concentration as she listed some of the more attractive attributes that went hand in hand with being sophisticated - all of them worth the aspiration of a bashful country-girl from Berkshire. I said,

— That's not what it really means.

— All right then. What does it really mean?

Corrupt.

My mother was innocent. Then experience came, and she experienced it. And then she got her innocence back again. I have always wondered how she did that.

 

Martin Amis

in Experience  p.106

Vintage Books, London

© Martin Amis  2000

 

 

 

link do postPor VF, às 23:26  comentar

27.10.11

 

I remember one day long ago driving down Park Avenue on the way to Penn Station with a sheaf of notes for a Harvard lecture in the right-hand pocket of my raincoat, and in the left, a celluloid packet containing twelve photographs, with accompanying text, of one girl model spanking another on her bare bottom with a hairbrush. Given a choice, I would far rather have jettisoned the contents of the right-hand pocket: with this dichotomy I have spent my life. (Note the fearless candour of this amazing revelation.) (And note, too, the self-deprecating irony — 'fearless candour', 'amazing revelation' — with which I have phrased it, thereby showing what a self-critical person I am.) (And if you think that sounds self-congratulatory, let me answer you that I am well aware of my faults, which are numerous.) (And if that implies too much self- knowledge, may I add that, in fact etc. etc. etc.) Such is the art of autobiography.

 

Kenneth Tynan

in The diaries of Kenneth Tynan edited by John Lahr 

Bloomsbury Publishing, Plc, London

©2001 by Tracy Tynan

 

 

 

 

 

link do postPor VF, às 22:03  comentar

20.10.11

 

 

I like to hole up in hotel suites. I like to turn off the lights and crank the AC. I like temperature-controlled and contained environments. I like to sit in the dark and let my mind race. I was set to meet Bill Stoner the next morning. I ordered a room-service dinner and a big pot of coffee. I turned out the lights and let the redhead take me places.


I knew things about us. I sensed other things. Her death corrupted my imagination and gave me exploitable gifts. She taught me self-sufficiency by negative example. I possessed a self-preserving streak at the height of my self-destruction. My mother gave me the gift and the curse of obsession. It began as curiosity in lieu of childish grief. It flourished as a quest for dark knowledge and mutated into a horrible thirst for sexual and mental stimulation. Obsessive drives almost killed me. A rage to turn my obsessions into something good and useful saved me. I outlived the curse. The gift assumed its final form in language.

 

 

James Ellroy

in My Dark Places, An L.A. Crime Memoir  p.206

© 1996 James Ellroy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13.10.11

 

Every night when I was a boy, I sat and read in our living room, listening to my father writing letters. He wrote on his lap in longhand, with the letter paper backed by one of his long yellow legal pads, and the scratch and swirl of his black Waterman pen across the page sounded like the scrabblings of a creature in the underbrush. There were no pauses or crossings out, and in time I realized that I could even identify the swoosh of a below-the-line “g” leaping diagonally upward into an “h” and the crossing double zag of an ensuing “t,” and, soon after, the blip of a period. When he reached the bottom of the page, the sheet was turned over and smoothed down in a single, back-of-the-hand gesture, and the rush of writing and pages went on, while I waited for the declarative final “E” or “Ernest”— the loudest sound of all — that told me the letter was done. When the envelope had been addressed, licked, and sealed with a postmasterish thump of his fist, he would pluck a Lucky Strike out of its green pack and whack it violently four times against his thumbnail, like a man hammering a spike, then damply tongue the other end before lighting up. By the time the first deep drag appeared as a pale upward jet of smoke, another letter was in progress. I went back to my book. Sooner or later, the letters would be over, and he would be ready to read aloud to me. “Finished,” he would announce, picking up “Oliver Twist.” “Now, where were we?”

 

 

Roger Angell

in The King of the Forest

 

The New Yorker, Fevereiro de 2000 (The King of the Forest na íntegra aqui )

e em Let Me Finish © 2006 by Roger Angell

 

 

 



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9.10.11

 

 

 

 

 

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link do postPor VF, às 12:39  comentar

1.10.11

 

 

My mother would have liked to go to art school, but on Bankbottom nobody had heard of such a thing. She applied for a clerical job by competitive exam, but it went to a girl called Muriel; poor Muriel, she got all the questions wrong, my mother said, but you see her uncles had pull. Thwarted, unhappy, she stayed in the mill and earned, she said, a wage as good as a man's. The work was hard and took a painful toll on immature muscle and bone. It would be many years before the effects showed; then, with energy to spare, she danced and sang through her evenings, in amateur shows and pantomimes. Cinderella was her favourite part. Her favourite scene: the Transformation. She asked herself, could she really be the child of her parents? Or some changeling princess, dropped into Bankbottom by accident?

For the whole of my childhood I worried about the glass slipper. It is such a treacherous object to wear: splintering, and cutting the curved, tender sole of the dancing foot. The writer Emily Prager once said that she had rewritten, as a child, the second half of the story; Cinderella gets to the ball and breaks her leg. My own feelings were similar; the whole situation was too precarious, you were too dependent on irresponsible agents like pumpkins and mice, and always there was midnight, approaching, tick-tock, the minutes shaving away, the minutes before you were reduced to ashes and rags. I was relieved, as an adult, when I learned that the slipper was not of verre, but of vair, which is to say, ermine. The prince and his agents were ranging the kingdom with a tiny female organ in hand — his ideal bride, represented by her pudendum. Never mind her face: he had not raised his eyes so far. All he knew was that the fit was tight.

 

Hilary Mantel

in Giving up the ghost, a memoir  p.50-51

© Hilary Mantel 2003 

 

 

 

 

 

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