‘And I who have barely started my journey, I start it with a sense of tragedy, guessing toward which lost ocean my steps of life are leading. And madly I take control of the recesses of myself, my ravings suffocate me with so much beauty. I am before, I am almost, I am never. And all of this I won when I stopped loving you.’

– Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

‘I suspect that desperation is what made her so daring, even though she didn’t know she was desperate, she was on her last legs, face-down in the dirt.’

– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star

‘Before her birth was she an idea? Before her birth was she dead? And after her birth she would die? What a thin slice of watermelon.’

– Clarice Lispector, The Hour of the Star

‘This was the first time she had ever worn an evening dress. She stood for a long time before the mirror. She was so tall that the dress came up two or three inches above her ankles – and the shoes were so short they hurt her. She stood in front of the mirror a long time, and finally decided she either looked like a sap or else she looked very beautiful. One or the other.’

– Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter 

‘I want to be strong I want to laugh along
I want to belong to the living
Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive
I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive
Do you want – do you want – do you want
To dance with me baby.’

– Joni Mitchell, All I Want

‘But to look back from the stony plain along the road which led one to that place is not at all the same thing as walking on the road; the perspective to say the very least, changes only with the journey; only when the road has, all abruptly and treacherously, and with an absoluteness that permits no argument, turned or dropped or risen is one able to see all that one could not have seen from any other place.’

– James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain

‘And woman was mystery in itself, she discovered. There was in all of them a quality of raw material, something that might one day define itself but which was never realized, because its real essence was “becoming”. Wasn’t it precisely through this that the past was united with the future and with all times?’

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart

‘No, she told them softly from the bottom of her new truth, no… The faces turned to smoke, for she had always been. For her body had never needed anyone, it was free. For she had walked through the streets. She drank water, had abolished God, the world, everything…

…And with each instant she fell deeper and deeper into herself, into caverns of milky light, her breathing vibrant, full of fear and happiness at the journey, perhaps like falling in sleep. Her intuition that those moments were fragile made her move lightly afraid to touch herself, to stir up and dissolve that miracle, the tender being of light and air that was trying to live inside her.’

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart 

‘It is not possible to control the outside of yourself until you have mastered your breathing space.’

– Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit

‘It is curious that I can’t say who I am. That is to say, I know it all too well, but I can’t say it… I feel who I am and the impression is lodged in the highest part of my brain, on my lips (especially on my tongue), on the surface of my arms and also running through me, deep inside my body, but where, exactly where, I can’t say. The taste is grey, slightly reddish, a bit bluish in the old parts, and it moves like gelatin, sluggishly. Sometimes it becomes sharp and wounds me, colliding with me.’

– Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart

‘Obviously, raising the voice compels attention and incites fear, but was she bold? Did I want to be bold like her? What shade of bold was I after?’

– Deborah Levy, Hot Milk

“I read a science fiction story a long time ago where these people are exploring space and they finally find this habitable planet – and it turns out to be identical to Earth in every detail. And I thought that was the supreme irony: that they’d originally left to find something better and arrived in the end – which was actually the same place. Which is how I feel about myself. I’m always trying to project myself at a tangent and always seem eventually to arrive back at the same place. It’s a loop. You actually can’t escape.”

– Brian Eno (quoted by Geeta Dayal, Another Green World)