January 8th, 2005

alice lost in labyrinth

hurt must be examined

I think that writers [...] must try not to avoid knowing what is happening. Everyone has somewhere the ability to mask the events of pain and sorrow, call it shock . . . when someone dies for instance you have this shock that carries you over it, makes it bearable. But the creative person must not use this mechanism anymore than they have to in order to keep breathing. Other people may. But not you, not us. Writing is "life" in capsule and the writer must feel every bump edge scratch ouch inorder to know the real furniture of his capsule. (Am I making sense? I am trying, but I have never expressed this before). I, myself, alternate between hiding behind my own hands, protecting myself anyway possible, and this other, this seeing ouching other. I guess I mean that creative people must not avoid the pain that they get dealt. I say to myself, sometimes repeatedly, "I've got to get the hell out of this hurt" . . . But no. Hurt must be examined like a plague. The others can run, take bottles of Miltown etc. But I think we (let's say we have no name, this literary bunch) have got to hang around and know just what's going on.

- anne sexton, a self-portrait in letters