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I’ve never made plans for more than a day ahead.
– Mary MacLane
It is with pain that I read of the dire effects of my book upon the minds of young girls.
I was born to be alone, and I always shall be; but now I want to be.
I do not see any beauty in self-restraint.
The book, you understand, was not written for publication. It was the portrayal of my emotions, the analysis of my own soul life during three months of my nineteenth year. I wrote then all the time, just as I do now, but, though the book is in diary form, it is not a diary.
I read of the Kalamazoo girl who killed herself after reading the book. I am not at all surprised. She lived in Kalamazoo, for one thing, and then she read the book.
The only joy I had was writing what was. That book was. It no longer amuses me to be all the things I was when I wrote that. But it is my story as I was then.
Well, if I am not vulgar, neither is my book. I wrote myself. Suggestiveness is always vulgar. But truth never. My book is not even remotely suggestive. I call things by their names. That is all.
Fame is indeed beautiful and benign and gentle and satisfying, but happiness is something at once tender and brilliant beyond all things.
One must always say things that aim to interest, because in the world one must after all pay for one’s keep.
My intention to lecture is as vague as my intention is to go on the stage. I will never consider an offer to lecture, not because I despise the vocation, but because I have no desire to appear on the public rostrum.
The world is like a little marsh filled with mint and white hawthorn.
I would rather be a fairly happy wife and mother.
There is really no right and wrong. I recognize no right and wrong.
Genius of a kind has always been with me; an empty heart that has taken on a certain wooden quality; an excellent, strong woman’s body and a pitiably starved soul.
I want fame more than I can tell. But more than I want fame I want happiness.
I do not sing nor play, but I adore music, particularly Chopin. I like him because I cannot understand him.
Let me but make a beginning, let me but strike the world in a vulnerable spot, and I can take it by storm.
I want to write such things as compel the admiring acclamation of the world at large, such things as are written but once in years, things subtle but distinctly different from the books written every day.
I never give my real self. I have a hundred sides, and I turn first one way and then the other. I am playing a deep game. I have a number of strong cards up my sleeve. I have never been myself, excepting to two friends.
I want to live quietly.
I am a genius. Then it amused me to keep saying so, but now it does not. I expected to be happy sometime. Now I know I shall never be.
Just why I sent it to the publishers would be hard to say, but when I had finished it I felt that it was literature, because it is real and because it was well written. And I know that the world wants such things.
Of poets I put Virgil first – he was greatest.
I love devils.
I have never read a line of Walt Whitman.