Honestly, you just take a deep breath and say fuck it.
— Johnny KnoxvilleJohnny Knoxville — The Vale of Soul-Making
I have flowed, become stagnant, festered, I have fallen from above. Mass, rhythmic, in harmony with my millions of drops, I have rained. I have been earth with the earths. Foaming, humid, I have slept a faceless face down. I have. Had. Lived. Done. Been. All the words that grow before the tip of the tongue, before I reach it. I am a body who has enjoyed creation.
— Hélène Cixous, White Ink: Interviews on Sex, Text, and Politics (European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism). Published by Columbia University Press; 1 edition (November 6, 2008)Hélène Cixous — The Vale of Soul-Making
into the strenuous briefness
handorgans and April
i charge laughing.
Into the hair-thin tints
of yellow dawn,
into the women-coloured twilight
into the big vermilion departure
(Do you think?)the
is probably made
of roses & hello:
(of solongs and,ashes)
— E.E. Cummings, ” [into the strenuous briefness],” 100 Selected Poems (Grove Press January 10, 1994) Originally published 1954.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley (1875) Published 1888.
Love is being stupid together. – Paul Valéry
I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned. (Charles Scribner’s Sons 1922)F. Scott Fitzgerald — The Vale of Soul-Making
When the starry sky, a vista of open seas, or a stained-glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things I see, hear, or think. The “sublime” object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.
— Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. (Columbia University Press; Reprint edition April 15, 1982)Julia Kristeva — The Vale of Soul-Making
Yet to me this decaying landscape has its uses:
To make me remember, who am always inclined to forget,
That there is always a changing at the root,
And a real world in which time really passes.
— Philip Larkin, from “New Year Poem,” Collected Poems, ed. Anthony Thwaite (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989)
The world is a hellish place, and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering. – Tom Waits
And amid all this confusion I, what’s truly I, am the centre that exists only in the geometry of the abyss: I’m the nothing around which everything spins, existing only so that it can spin, being a centre only because every circle has one. I, what’s truly I, am a well without walls but with the walls’ viscosity, the centre of everything with nothing around it.
— Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. (Penguin Classics; New Ed edition, December 31, 2002) Originally published 1982.Fernando Pessoa — The Vale of Soul-Making