Perhaps when our bodies throb and rub
against each other, they produce a sound
inaudible to us but heard up there, in the clouds and higher,
by those who can no longer hear common sounds . . .
Or, maybe, this is how He wants to check by ear: are we still intact?
No cracks in mortal vessels? And to this end He bangs
men against women?

Vera Pavlova
Trans. Steven Seymour

Saturday night, hearing the Durrells could not come to Paris, I boarded a train and went to Nîmes. I’m so glad I did. Not only are Durrell and his wife wonderful, he so deep and she so gay, but to see the Arlesienne countryside, the Nîmes Arena, to find again the beauty I had missed so much, the river, the house, the Roman town, the bridges, the castles. The Durrells have a small peasant house, but a lovely garden. They grow all their own vegetables. No hot water, no bathroom, no W.C.! It is like Mexico.

You cool bottles by lowering them down the well. He is very poor as they have two sets of children whom other parents take half the time. Both were married before. Claude is more international than I am—Irish, French, brought up in Alexandria, in New Zealand, in France — a saucy girl. They took me to an arena where bulls wear tassels on their horns and the men have to remove them for a prize. They try, and they run for their lives and jump the barrier, and some bulls jump too. The whole thing is very gay as there is no death. The men do get hurt now and then, but not as seriously as during bullfights. They drink red wine from morning till night, which keeps everyone glowing but never really drunk. Durrell has known so much poverty that he is obsessed with succeeding. He has already been compared to Proust in France.

We explored Nîmes, sat at the cafés, talked non-stop for two days, and I returned this morning tired out, but with my spiritual batteries recharged for years to come. I had to see Durrell to complete the carnet de bal. No one could be homelier and so humorous. He has an Irish prizefighter face, a thick potato nose, a large head on a small body, shorter than I, and as fat as [my brother] Joaquín…So there is nothing to threaten any husband! But you and he would hit it off — he hates cities, loves the sea, used to have a boat; they paddle a canoe down the river and swim. As soon as you get out of Paris you can live on nothing.

Anaïs Nin
13th May 1958 letter to her lover Rupert Pole

sacrificial lamb

November 9, 2019

Once every month he visited the woman who wore a carapace of black rubber and a face-mask. She had a room in her house that she’d transformed years ago into a torture chamber. It was in there she did what she did to him, the things so desperately required to replenish his emptiness. Tied to a solid wooden cross, a sacrificial lamb, his head full of silence broken by the sound of her spikey high heels on the wooden floorboards as she circled him, dragging her shadow behind her like a vast, unappreciated weight. He was all appetite. Soon he’d be filled to overflowing with pain. She laughed and he glimpsed Armageddon in her eyes – So his ordeal began.

I dreamed what you dreamed

November 9, 2019

We live and breathe words….It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colours and textures and sounds, I felt – I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted – and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.

Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Prince

hinge together

November 9, 2019

I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.

Lisa Kleypas
Blue-Eyed Devil

magician

November 9, 2019

I wish I were a magician. I would cast a spell to remove all your uncertainties. Kiss you and take away all your fears. Instead I’m here, waiting for my turn to make mistakes again, trying again.