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Posts from the ‘Away with an idea’ Category

Shirley Hazzard

“ At first there is what you expect of life then there is what life expects of you. By the time you realise that they are one and the same it’s too late for expectations.”
The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard.

Jessica Anderson

Ceremony
“ Later, I remember that there was a voice, too, with rolling r’s.
“ A fine ceremony, madam! A verry fine ceremony!”
I think it consoled me, a little. I think ceremony always has, a little.”
Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson, Penguin Books, Australia 1978

Jessica Anderson

The Globe of memory
“ I find myself thinking that we were all great story-tellers at number six. Yes, all of us, meeting in passages or assembling in each other’s quarters or in the square, were busy collating, and presenting to ourselves and the other three, the truthful fictions of our lives.
I am often lonely for that audience, and yet, if it were possible to return and regain it, I would not go. An audience, especially so sympathetic an audience, imposes restrictions I now wish to do without.
“What do you do with yourself all day long?” asks Lyn Wilmot, as I show her how to set in a sleeve.
“If you can do that,” she says, showing an inclination to prod me in the arm, “couldn’t you make something?”
But I have made things, concocted things, all my life. Perhaps I shall do so again (and indeed there are times when I do prefigure some small hand-made object), but at present my concern is to find things. My globe of memory is in free spin, with no obscure side, and although at times in its swelling and spinning it offers the queer suggestion that imagination is only memory at one, or two, or twenty, removes, my interest now is in repudiating, or in trying to repudiate, those removes, even if it ends by my finding something only as small as a stone lying on the pale grass.”
Tirra Lirra by the River by Jessica Anderson, Penguin Books, Australia 1978.

Margaret Atwood

Surfacing
“ This above all, to refuse to be a victim. Unless I can do that I can do nothing. I have to recant, give up the old belief that I am powerless and because of it nothing I can do will ever hurt anyone. A lie which was always more disastrous than the truth would have been. The word games, the winning and losing games are finished; at the moment there are not others but they will have to be invented, withdrawing is no longer possible and the alternative is death.”
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, Bloomsbury 1973

Katherine Paterson

Singing to Oysters
“ Part of it was the discoveries – who would have believed that my father, whose voice could hardly be heard in church, stood there in his oilskins, his rubber-gloved hands on his tongs, and sang to the oysters. It was a wonderful sound, deep and pure. He knew the Methodist hymnbook by heart. “The crabs now, they don’t crave music, but oysters,” he explained shyly, “there’s nothing they favor more than a purty tune.” And he would serenade the oysters of Chesapeake Bay with the hymns the brothers Wesley had written to bring sinners to repentance and praise.”
“ Jacob Have I loved,” by Katherine Paterson, Harper Trophy Edition, New York 1990.

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