selected-letters

My mind rejects the whole present social order and Christianity—home, the recognised virtues, classes of life, and religious doctrines. […] Six years ago I left the Catholic church, hating it most fervently. I found it impossible for me to remain in it on account of the impulses of my nature. I made secret war upon it when I was a student and declined to accept the positions it offered me. By doing this I made myself a beggar but I retained my pride. Now I make open war upon it by what I write and say and do.
—  James Joyce. Letter to Nora Barnacle. 29 August 1904. In Selected Letters of James Joyce. Richard Ellmann, ed. London: Faber and Faber, 1975.

did you know that if you select a letter and press shift f it turns it into a capital letter??? it only works on f’s though

Can you understand? Can I make you understand somehow? You have begun to mean the world; you have begun to mean poetry and heartbeats and inexplicable mood reactions and songs and scents and conflicting words which do not match yet somehow match. You are not only a series of question marks and abstract references: You are meaning itself. You are a bright inner composure of numerous elements. Now can you possibly understand — I am merely words. I used to believe I was merely words and I do not know whether I shall start hoping for something more. You planted that sense of hope in a secret deeply hidden place; it had walls made of bricks and huge abandoned gardens full of despair. It was covered in dusty waves and it was kept underground where no soul would ever walk. And you walked there - you planted hope. And now I cannot imagine myself without it.
—  Selected Letters (Katherine Mansfield)

Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended.

JACK KEROUAC, The Portable Jack Kerouac
(Selected Letters 1957-1969) written for his first wife, Edie, in 1957

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VINTAGE WOOLF

Born on this day in 1882, Virginia Woolf is one of the best loved and most admired writers of the twentieth century.

We are excited to share our latest Vintage Woolf Classics, including some previously unseen covers.

Like a stranger and an outcast, I move among them not one of their words or looks reaches me any longer. I am dumb for no one understands my speech ah, but they never did understand me! Or does the same fate bear the same burden on its soul? It is terrible to be condemned to silence when one has so much to say […] Was I made for solitude or for a life in which there was no one to whom I could speak? The inability to communicate one’s thoughts is in very truth the most terrible of all kinds of loneliness.
—  Friedrich Nietzsche, from Selected Letters