This will be my courage

I want to walk naked or in rags; I want to experience at least once the insipid flavour of the Host. To eat communion bread will be to taste the world’s indifference, and to immerse myself in nothingness. This will be my courage: to abandon comforting sentiments from the past.

*

But let us return to today. As is known, today is today. No one understands my meaning and I can obscurely hear mocking laughter with that rapid, edgy cackling of old men. I also hear measured footsteps on the road. I tremble with fear. Just as well that what I am about to write is already written deep inside me. I must reproduce myself with the delicacy of a white butterfly. This idea of the white butterfly stems from the feeling that, should the girl marry, she will marry looking as slender and ethereal as any virgin dressed in white. Perhaps she will not marry? To be frank, I am holding her destiny in my hands and yet am powerless to invent with any freedom: I follow a secret, fatal line. I am forced to seek a truth that transcends me. Why should I write about a young girl whose poverty is so evident? Perhaps because within her there is seclusion. Also because in her poverty of body and soul one touches sanctity and I long to feel the breath of life hereafter. In order to become greater than I am, for I am so little. I write because I have nothing better to do in this world: I am superfluous and last in the world of men. I write because I am desperate and weary. I can no longer bear the routine of my existence and, were it not for the constant novelty of writing, I should die symbolically each day. Yet I am prepared to leave quietly by the back door. I have experienced almost everything, even passion and despair. Now I only wish to possess what might have been but never was.

— Lispector, The Hour of the Star (tr. G. Pontiero)

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