Writing: an odd autobiographical habit

But there was no harshness in the eyes which, looking at the world from under their tawny eyebrows, gave the impression of a man ever alert to greet a redeeming instinct in others but often disappointed. He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an…

Joyce

The Irishman, finding himself in another environment, outside Ireland, very often knows how to make his worth felt. The economic and intellectual conditions of his homeland do not permit the individual to develop. The spirit of the country has been weakened by centuries of useless struggle and broken treaties. Individual initiative has been paralyzed by…

Do not swallow a match looking for warmth

A girl swallows a matchstick, stifles the slow burn in the hollow of her throat. She wants a home, she says, smoke curling from her tongue. Come to my place, the boy offers, kicking aside piles of ashes. She follows him into the flames —hair singed, eyes sealed shut. Painting her eyelids with cinders, she…

Degrees of Greatness

“It’s because I haven’t courage,’ said Samuel. ‘I could never quite take the responsibility. When the Lord God did not call my name, I might have called his name – but I did not. There you have the difference between greatness and mediocrity. It’s not an uncommon disease. But it’s nice for a mediocre man…

I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone

I was trying to describe you to someone a few days ago. You don’t look like any girl I’ve ever seen before. I couldn’t say, “Well she looks just like Jane Fonda, except that she’s got red hair, and her mouth is different and of course, she’s not a movie star…” I couldn’t say that…

There ain’t no Sin and There ain’t no Virtue

“Before I knowed it, I was sayin’ out loud, ‘The hell with it! There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing.’ . . . . I says, ‘What’s this call, this sperit?’ An’ I says, ‘It’s love. I love people so much…