Let me tell you about customs, James," said Lillian. "I am not accustomed to being summoned to someone else's home. You're very fortunate that I came." "I am indeed blessed," Dad told her. "I am also, by the way, called Jon." Lillian looked faintly surprised. "Are you?" "Really?" Dad asked. "Really? I was the only Asian guy who went to our school. I kind of stood out. While you are an identical twin, and I still managed to know your name.
Sarah Rees Brennan
When Lillian (Holt) argues that leadership steals your spirit, she means that institutional pressures change you; they erode your courage, passion and humour and wear you down so that important things don't get named and get overtaken by the trivial. In the following excerpts from one interview I undertook with her, Lillian elaborates why Indigenous Australians find it hard to speak out. There is a systemic blockage. Something happens to Aboriginal people who work in hierarchies, whether bureaucracy or academic... a bit like my own story of climbing the ladder of success. You get to the top and find it bereft, bereft of passion, bereft of intuition, of emotion. 'For God's sake don't talk about emotion in a place like this!
Annabelle, what happened to you?' Lillian asked the next morning. 'You look dreadful. Why aren't you wearing your riding habit? I thought you were going to try out the jumping course this morning. And why did you disappear so suddenly last night? It's not like you to simply vanish without saying-' 'I didn't have a choice in the matter, ' Annabelle said testily, folding her fingers around the delicate bowl of a porcelain teacup. Looking pale and exhausted, her blue eyes ringed with dark shadows, she swallowed a mouthful of heavily sweetened tea before continuing. 'It was that blasted perfume of yours-as soon as he caught one whiff of it, he went berserk.' Shocked, Lillian tried to take in the information, her stomach plummeting. 'It... it had an effect on Westcliff, then?' she managed to ask. 'Good Lord, not Lord Westcliff.' Annabelle rubbed her weary eyes. 'He couldn't have cared less what I smelled like. It was my husband who went completely mad. After he caught the scent of that stuff, he dragged me up to our room and... well, suffice it to say, Mr. Hunt kept me awake all night. All night , ' she repeated in sullen emphasis, and drank deeply of the tea. 'Doing what?' Daisy asked blankly. Lillian, who was feeling a rush of relief that Lord Westcliff had not been attracted to Annabelle while she was wearing the perfume, gave her younger sister a derisive glance. 'What do you think they were doing? Playing a few hands of Find-the-Lady?
My mother had a master's degree and had been a schoolteacher before she started having kids at 30. But my father's family were landowners, farmer-merchants. Moneymaking was extremely important, like one of those semi-rapacious families in Lillian Hellman, where they know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your smile...no sound sweeter than your laughter...no pleasure greater than holding you in my arms. I realized today that I could never live without you, stubborn little hellion that you are. In this life and the next, you're my only hope of happiness. Tell me, Lillian, dearest love...how can you have reached so far inside my heart?
The names Lillian Smith, Eric Dazey, Jon Bullock, and Clari Higginson may mean nothing to most people but the mean the world to me. Of all my years in school, these are the teachers who challenged me to get better everyday and whole-heartedly believed in my dreams. The support they gave me was priceless and life changing.
There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your smile... no sound sweeter than your laughter... no pleasure greater than holding you in my arms. I realized today that I could never live without you, stubborn little hellion that you are. In this life and the next, you're my only hope of happiness. Tell me, Lillian, dearest love... how can you have reached so far inside my heart?
If you won't marry me for the sake of your own honor, then do it for the sake of everyone who would have to tolerate me otherwise. Marry me because I need someone who will help me to laugh at myself. Because someone has to teach me how to whistle. Marry me, Lillian... because I have the most irresistible fascination for your ears.
Westcliff thinks that St. Vincent is in love with you.' Evie choked a little and didn't dare look up from her tea. 'Wh-why does he think that?' 'He's known St. Vincent from childhood, and can read him fairly well. And Westcliff sees an odd sort of logic in why you would finally be the one to win St. Vincent's heart. He says a girl like you would appeal to... hmm, how did he put it?... I can't remember the exact words, but it was something like... you would appeal to St. Vincent's deepest, most secret fantasy.' Evie felt her cheeks flushing while a skirmish of pain and hope took place in the tired confines of her chest. She tried to respond sardonically. 'I should think his fantasy is to consort with as many women as possible.' A grin crossed Lillian's lips. 'Dear, that is not St. Vincent's fantasy, it's his reality. And you're probably the first sweet, decent girl he's ever had anything to do with.
Who can think of Larkin now without considering his fondness for the buttocks of schoolgirls and paranoid hatred of blacks ... Or Eric Gill's copulations with more or less every member of his family, including the dog? Proust had rats tortured, and donated his family furniture to brothels; Dickens walled up his wife and kept her from her children; Lillian Hellman lied. While Sartre lived with his mother, Simone de Beauvoir pimped babes for him; he envied Camus, before trashing him. John Cheever loitered in toilets, nostrils aflare, before returning to his wife. P.G. Wodehouse made broadcasts for the Nazis; Mailer stabbed his second wife. Two of Ted Hughes's lovers had killed themselves. And as for Styron, Salinger, Saroyan ... Literature was a killing field; no decent person had ever picked up a pen.