To be alone; to be with children; to be with grownups; with me, unfortunately, one of these situations does not easily merge with the next (whereas for some women it is all so natural).
– Handke, The Weight of the World (tr. Manheim)
In the whole of your absurd past you discover so much that’s absurd, so much deceit and credulity, that it might be a good idea to stop being young this minute, to wait for youth to break away from you and pass you by, to watch it going away, receding in the distance, to see all its vanity, run your hand through the empty space it has left behind, take a last look at it, and then start moving, make sure your youth has really gone, and then calmly, all by yourself, cross to the other side of Time to see what people and things really look like.
– Celine, Journey to the End of the Night (tr. Manheim)
I knew that to be human was to be inadequate, to fail, to never be good enough. Everywhere weaknesses, everywhere flaws, which often hardened into self-righteousness. If there was one consistent character trait I saw in people, it was self-righteousness, conceit, smugness. Humility, that word that everyone in the public sphere was always tossing off, was something hardly anyone knew the meaning of anymore.
– Knausgaard, My Struggle, Vol. 6 (my tr.)
For years and years I thought about the light through the window, the light through the shutters. It seemed a pity not to reveal how it was. That light and the noises of the city outside. Although I was in complete privacy, no one in the street knew I was there. I was in bed with a man, my lover, yet at the same time I was also in the street. It felt like being in front of an audience. I was in public but at the same time totally private, completely hidden. I saw the street, but they didn’t know I was there. It’s a bit like the process of writing. The writer’s viewpoint is lost and taken over by the work itself.