Margaret Atwood

  • Aug. 7th, 2013 at 1:06 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.

Margaret Atwood

  • Jul. 10th, 2013 at 11:03 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliffside. You can
hold on or let go.

Margaret Atwood

  • Jun. 24th, 2013 at 9:30 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.

Margaret Atwood

  • Mar. 24th, 2012 at 11:42 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
This is a Photograph of Me

It was taken some time ago
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you can see something in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or how small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion.

but if you look long enough
eventually
you will see me.)

Margaret Atwood

  • Jun. 12th, 2011 at 1:53 AM
beth_shulman: (stock: violin)
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.


(Variations on the word "Sleep")

Margaret Atwood

  • May. 11th, 2011 at 7:18 PM
beth_shulman: (book: jellicoe road)
What goes on in people's minds? Everyone thinks writers must know more about what goes on in the human head, but that is wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted.

Margaret Atwood

  • May. 25th, 2010 at 3:24 AM
beth_shulman: (Default)
 "A word after a word after a word is power."

Margaret Atwood

  • May. 25th, 2010 at 3:14 AM
beth_shulman: (Default)
"Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

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