The New York Times is my lover

My life, as written by Susan Sontag circa 1958:

“The only transformation that interests me is a total transformation — however minute. I want the encounter with a person or a work of art to change everything.”

“On Keeping a Journal. Superficial to understand the journal as just a receptacle for one’s private, secret thoughts — like a confidante who is deaf, dumb and illiterate. In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I could to any person; I create myself.

The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather — in many cases — offers an alternative to it.”

“Nothing prevents me from being a writer except laziness. A good writer.”

“Sexuality is the paradigm. Before, my sexuality was horizontal, an infinite line capable of being infinitely subdivided. Now it is vertical; it is up and over, or nothing.”

“I must help I. to write. And if I write, too, it will stop this uselessness of just sitting and staring

at her and begging her to love me again.

. . .

It hurts then to love. It’s like giving yourself

to be flayed and knowing that at any moment the other person may just walk off with your skin.”

“I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing — not just a waiting.”

“My desire to write is connected with my homosexuality. I need the identity as a weapon, to match the weapon that society has against me.”

“My faults:

— to censor [sic] others for my own vices

— to make my friendships into love affairs

— to ask that love include (and exclude) all”

“I like to feel dumb. That’s how I know there’s more in the world than me.”

“Why is writing important? Mainly, out of egotism, I suppose. Because I want to be that persona, a writer, and not because there is something I must say.”

“There is no stasis. To stand still is to fall away from the truth; the inner life dims and flickers, starts to go out, as soon as one tries to hold fast. It’s like trying to make this breath serve for the next one, or making today’s dinner do the work of next Wednesday’s as well.. . .Truth rides the arrow of time.”

“I discover, say, three-fours through something I’m writing that it is mediocre, inferior. I reply that I feel good and plow on to the end. I’m discharging the mediocre in myself.”

“My love wants to incorporate her totally, to eat her. My love is selfish.”

“The orgasm focuses. I lust to write. The coming of the orgasm is not the salvation but, more, the birth of my ego. I cannot write until I find my ego. The only kind of writer I could be is the kind who exposes himself.. . .To write is to spend oneself, to gamble oneself. But up to now I have not even liked the sound of my own name. To write, I must love my name. The writer is in love with himself. . .and makes his books out of that meeting and that violence.”

“I come each night around 2:00 or 3:00. The N.Y. Times is my lover.”


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