I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. (Virginia Woolf) We become ourselves through others, and the self is a porous thing, not a sealed container (Siri Hustvedt) En vez de mirarme en mi espejo quiero que mi espejo se mire en mí (Alejandra Pizarnik)
Now, Katherine, what do you mean by health? And what do you want it for?
Answer: By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love- the earth and the wonders thereof- the sea- the sun. All that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others. I want to be all that I’m capable of becoming so that I may be (and here I have stopped and waited and waited and it’s no good- there’s only one phrase that will do) a child of the sun. About helping others, about carrying a light and so on, it seems false to say a single word. Let it be that. A child of the sun.
Then I want to work. At what? I want so to live that I work with my hands and my feeling and my brain. I want a garden, a small house, grass, animals, books, pictures, music. And out of this, the expression of this, I want to be writing. (Though I may write about cabmen. That’s no matter.).
But warm, eager, living life –to be rooted in life- to learn, to desire to know, to feel, to think, to act. That is what I want. And nothing less.
That is what I must try for.
I wrote this for myself. I shall now risk sending it to J. He may do with it what he likes. He must see how much I love him.
And when I say “I fear” –don’t let it disturb you, dearest heart. We all fear when we are in waiting-rooms. Yet we must pass beyond them, and if the other can keep calm, it is all the help we can give each other…
And this all sounds very strenuous and serious. But now that I have wrestled with it, it’s no longer so. I feel happy- deep down. All is well.
Entry dated October 10, 1922.
Journal of Katherine Mansfield. Persephone Books.