‘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

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‘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 

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‘You must demolish the work and start over. You can save some of the sentences, like bricks. It will be a miracle if you can save some of the paragraphs, no matter how excellent in themselves or hard-won. You can waste a year worrying about it, or you can get it over with now. (Are you a woman, or a mouse?)

The part you must jettison is not only the best written part; it is also, oddly, that part which was to have been the very point. It is the original key passage, the passage on which the rest was to hang, and from which you yourself drew the courage to begin.’

– Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

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‘Ammu loved her children (of course), but their wife-eyed vulnerability, and their willingness to love people who didn’t really love them, exasperated her and sometimes made her want to hurt them – just as an education, a protection.
It was as though the window through which their father disappeared had been kept open for anyone to walk in and be welcomed.’

– Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

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