In London I was not so content as I am here on the lake and in the Alps, where there is solitude for the mind. London is perpetual; a constant streaming, present hurrying towards a receding future. Here, where time is neither so crammed nor so scarce, I fancy, anything might happen, anything is possible.
The timeless serenity of the past that we British do so well is an implanted memory – you could call it a fake memory. What seems so solid and certain is really part of the ceaseless pull-it-down-build-it-again pattern of history, where the turbulence of the past s recast as landmark, as icon, as tradition, as what we defend, what we uphold – until it’s time to call in the wrecking ball. […] History is what you make it.
I can tell you that calling things by their right names is more than giving them an identity bracelet or label, or a serial number. We summon a vision. Naming is power.
Is manhood dickhood?
Ah, but where is your heart, Ry? Is it in that bag?
You want me to give you my heart?
Give it? No. I’d like to take it.
(I am uneasy. His hand rests on my chest over my heart.)
And what would you do with it?
Examine it. Isn’t it the seat of love?
So they say…
So they do. They never say, I love you with all my kidneys. I love you with my liver. They never say, my gall bladder is yours and yours alone. No one says, she broke my appendix.
You’re an unlikely communist, I said.
I am not a communist, said Victor, and science is immensely – depressingly – competitive, but I am sympathetic to the human spirit. It interests me that it was Marx’s time in Manchester, and his friendship with Engels, who owned a factory here, that gave Marx the material he needed for the Communist Manifesto.
Do you know that in Manchester, in the nineteenth century, there were 15,000 windowless basement dwellings without water or sewerage – and those men, women and children worked twelve-hour days spinning the wealth of the world’s richest city – and were going home to disease, hunger, cold and a life expectancy of thirty years? Communism must have seemed like the best possible solution.
It is the best possible solution, I said, but human beings can’t share. We can’t even share free bicycles.
None can know the human mind. No, not if he read every thought man ever wrote. Every word written is like a child striking a flame against the darkness.
When we are alone it is the darkness that remains.
We are what we fear.
The English are serial racists – one group gets accepted, another group becomes a scapegoat.
She ate like a woman who needs help, even if it is from mozzarella.
We have returned to Italy because we cannot live in England. Small-minded, smug, self-righteous, unjust, a country that hates the stranger, whether that stranger be a foreigner or an atheist, or a poet, or a thinker, or a radical, or a woman. For women are strange to men.
I am twenty-two years old. I have lost three children.
Shelley too, you will say, Shelley too, has lost three children. Yet he does not break. I am broken.
Finally he exclaimed, I would never pull down a church! I adore churches. It is what happens inside them that I detest.
Didn’t they have loads of children when they ran away to France? The Jesus and Mary Chain? Like in The Da Vinci Code? said Ron.
Theirs was a pure union, said Claire. Don’t believe everything you read in Dan Brown.
Nice idea though, said Ron. Better than dying on the cross.
I mean, from Jesus’s point of view…
Jesus died for our sins, Ron.
I know he did Claire. I hear you. I’m just sorry he didn’t make it to France.
[…] my dear, being remarkable is no guarantee of human feeling.
Here you can find my review of Frankissstein
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska