“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
— The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real) by Margery Williams, 1922
"You’d better get busy, though, buddy. The goddam sands run out on you every time you turn around. I know what I’m talking about. You’re lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddam phenomenal world."
J.D. Salinger, ‘Zooey’, Franny and Zooey
The Hours 2002 dir. Stephen Daldry
"My life has been stolen from me. I’m living in a town I have no wish to live in… I’m living a life I have no wish to live… How did this happen?"
"I take it you want to be a poet…well then you must work. Spots of brilliance is not enough. I’ve been the whole trip myself. It wasn’t until I learned to work my guts out that a true poem came into being. Get to work, man, and let the publishing come in its own time even if it’s 15 years from now. No matter. Fight for the poem. Put your energy into it. Force discipline upon madness. You can do it. I did it. Why not you? Guard yourself from the easy thing. Push for the stars, or, at least, go back and push one poem all the way up there. And then another."
"It seems that a profound, impartial, and absolutely just opinion of our fellow-creatures is utterly unknown. Either we are men, or we are women. Either we are cold, or we are sentimental. Either we are young, or growing old. In any case life is but a procession of shadows, and God knows why it is that we embrace them so eagerly, and see them depart with such anguish, being shadows. And why, if this- and much more than this is true, why are we yet surprised in the window corner by a sudden vision that the young man in the chair is of all things in the world the most real, the most solid, the best known to us- why indeed? For the moment after we know nothing about him.
Such is the manner of our seeing. Such the conditions of our love."
Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room
The laughter died in the air. The sound of it could scarcely have reached any one standing by the Chapel, which stretched along the opposite side of the court. The laughter died out, and only gestures of arms, movements of bodies, could be seen shaping something in the room. Was it an argument? A bet on the boat races? Was it nothing of the sort? What was shaped by the arms and bodies moving in the twilight room?
Meanwhile behind him the shape they had made, whether by argument or not, the spiritual shape, hard yet ephemeral, as of glass compared with the dark stone of the Chapel, was dashed to splinters, young men rising from chairs and sofa corners, buzzing and barging about the room, one driving another against the bedroom door, which giving way, in they fell. Then Jacob was left there, in the shallow arm-chair, alone with Masham? Anderson? Simeon? Oh, it was Simeon. The others had all gone."
Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room