da Capo

Hans Baldung Grien - Eve, the Serpent and Death

[Hans Baldung Grien - Eve, the Serpent and Death]

In this response to a common field of action, Justine was truer to herself than she had ever been, responding as a flower responds to light. And it was now, while they talked quietly and coldly, their heads bent towards each other like flowers, that she could at last say, magnificently: 'Ah, Nessim, I never suspected that I should agree. How did you know that I only exist for those who believe in me?'

He stared at her, thrilled and a little terrified, recognizing in her the perfect submissiveness of the oriental spirit -- the absolute feminine submissiveness which is one of the strongest forces in the world.

I'm immersed again in Alexandria, this world of love and death. A world where every human story is a true palimpsest, overwritten and underscored and itself a cipher. A world where the above passage causes me pause but does not inflame. These are strange books -- they seem to outrun themselves, the story being more powerful than its writer. Or perhaps it is that the artist has done too sure a job. Or is the intention of the artist even described well in the first volume? [Our common actions in reality are simply the sackcloth covering which hides the cloth-of-gold -- the meaning of the pattern. For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded or defeated us in daily life; in this way, not to evade destiny, as the ordinary people try to do, but to fulfill it in its true potential -- the imagination.]

Perhaps the true work of my writing will be to collect every description of art, every description of the artist and to weave them together into some commonplace book overflowing with the ideas of others. A handmaiden of sorts.