I lay in that tub on the seventeenth floor of this hotel for-women-only, high up over the jazz and push of New York, for near unto an hour, and I felt myself growing pure again. I don't believe in baptism or the waters of Jordan or anything like that, but I guess I feel about a hot bath the way those religious people feel about holy water.
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Winning or losing an argument, receiving an acceptance or rejection, is no proof of the validity or value of personal identity. One may be wrong, mistaken, or a poor craftsman, or just ignorant - but this is no indication of the true worth of one's total human identity: past, present and future!
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You have lost all delight in life. Ahead is a large array of blind alleys. You are half-deliberately, half-desperately cutting off your grip on creative life. You are becoming a neuter machine. You cannot love, even if you knew how to begin to love. Every thought is a devil, a hell-if you could do a lot of things over again, ah, how differently you would do them! You want to go home, back to the womb. You watch the world bang door after door in your face, numbly, bitterly. You have forgotten the secret you knew, once, ah, once, of being joyous, of laughing, of opening doors.
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In a rabbit-fear I may hurl myself under the wheels of the car because the lights terrify me, and under the dark blind death of wheels I will be safe. I am very tired, very banal, very confused. I do not know who I am tonight. I wanted to walk until I dropped and not complete the inevitable circle of coming home.
If you have no past or no future, which, after all, is all that the present is made of, why then you may as well dispose of the empty shell of present and commit suicide. But the cold reasoning mass of gray entrail in my cranium which parrots, 'I think, therefore I am,' whispers that there is always the turning, the upgrade, the new slant. And so I wait.
I can't deceive myself that out of the bare stark realization that no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter how sure that character is fate, nothing is real, past or future, when you are alone in your room with the clock ticking loudly into the false cheerful brilliance of the electric light. And if you have no past or future which, after all, is all that the present is made of, why then you may as well dispose of the empty shell of present and commit suicide.
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If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter - - - for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.... Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
Yes, my consuming desire is to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, barroom regulars""to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording""all this is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always supposedly in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night...
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God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.
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... * to learn that money makes life smooth in some ways, and to feel how tight and threadbare life is if you have too little. * to despise money, which is a farce, mere paper, and to hate what you have to do for it, and yet to long to have it in order to be free from slaving for it. * to yearn toward art, music, ballet and good books, and get them only in tantalizing snatches.
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... * to know a lot of people I love pieces of, and to want to synthesize those pieces in me somehow, be it by painting or writing. * to know that millions of others are unhappy and that life is a gentleman's agreement to grin and paint your face gay so others will feel they are silly to be unhappy, and try to catch the contagion of joy, while inside so many are dying of bitterness and unfulfillment...
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