dinsdag 7 februari 2017

Susan Sontag -- 8 februari 1958

Reborn bevat (dagboek)notities van schrijfster Susan Sontag (1933-2004) uit de periode 1947-1963.


Time to break this silence — Somehow, this journal had become charmed, au fond I felt it destined to record real bonheur, and when everything came crashing, the day of my birthday when we moved into the Hôtel de Poitou, the impulse to write in it expired.

What happened, the total collapse of my affair with H, was so sudden I couldn't believe it was what it appeared to be. Wednesday night — [Chaplin's] Modern Times, and her being early, there at midnight, at the Flore, and going to the Club 55, and her presents waiting for me in the room, and above all, her really being tender and with me — was so beautiful; I was filled with joy — not deceiving myself that she loved me as I love her, but thinking that she was a little happy in our relationship, that she liked me, that we were good together. Thursday, we moved — and Thursday night, at Lapérouse and the theatre ([Luigi Pirandello's] Ce soir on improvise) was a kind of hell such as I've rarely been through. I felt myself blindly walkïng through a forest of pain, my inner eyes clenched shut, trying to keep from weeping. (Almost did at Lapérouse.) Then Friday, Saturday, Sunday in this hotel, + more of the same — with me dumb, stupefied like an animal, with pain — and she, riding me all the time for being moody, selfish, temperamental, a drag ...

Sunday afternoon, the walk to the l'Ile St. Louis — Sunday night, a lurching, snow-whipped, glamorous plane-ride to London — and then that crazy week of preparation for my return to France, in which I was neither here (in Paris) nör there emotionally, but suspended — still incredulous.

Sunday night — Jan. 26 — I returned, an endless dull flight it seemed, hauled my suitcases up to the room — it was already 1:30 a.m. — to find H as before, and myself so despairing and sad I couldn't kiss her. I had had the curse the four days before I left, she had had it four, five days (she led me to understand) after my return. No sex, and worse still, the way she moves her body away from any touch of mine in bed ...

Since then, it's thirteen days since my return, we've made love three or four times — once this past Monday night, very beautifully. Once since then. Every afternoon she works in her room at 226 Blvd. S[t.] G[ermain].

It's Saturday night, she's at dinner with friends, the host, someone named Sidney Leach, is responsible for getting her this translation job, so she can quit the Tribune. Ten o'clock. I am to meet her at 11:00 at the Old Navy.

Haven't had dinner. Reading [Italo Svevo's novel] The Confessions of Zeno, which moves and impresses me deeply.

Let me say it once more to myself. It's over. In the real sense: not that H no longer loves me, for she never did, but that she no longer plays the game of love. She didn't love, but we were lovers. We aren't any longer, haven't been since moving into this goddam hotel room, seething with her ghosts, with her memories of Irene [Fornes]. What sickens me is that she's come to dislike me, really, and doesn't at all feel required to hide it. She's openly rude, as when she hurried out slamming the door in my face, at the Beaux-Arts Friday after our lunch there. Insults, shoves, grimaces. And not a word of affection, not a single embrace or handclasp or look of tenderness. In short, she finds our relationship absurd, neither liking nor sexually desiring me anymore. And indeed it is absurd. ... A crucifixion, these last two weeks ... Must deserve it. Love is ridiculous. Feel continuously flushed + dizzy: actually did run a fever late Tuesday night and stayed in bed — with some provisions brought up by H before she went off at noon — all day Wednesday.

Mon coeur blessé ...

And Thursday afternoon, I was invited up to her room, Irene's room, (both rooms are hers, and Irene's) to help out, editing, the translation. Oh God, I don't want to remember! And that night, walking in the snow — so hot, so hot — and meeting Hilary + John Flint + then the racket of the Monaco, and our rendez-vous at 12:50 at the Deux Magots - so blind + love-sick and gut-torn I could barely stand.

Yesterday was better, all afternoon with Monique + Irving — I really forgot a bit, stepped outside my bloody wreck of a self in the intellectual effort of speaking French. But afterwards! H engaged in introspection and counsel à la St. Germain des Prés with her friend Reggie. And that unspeakable "party" in Passy from 4—6 ...

Face up to things, kid. You've had it ...

H thinks she is decadent because she has entered into a relation which neither physically nor emotionally interests her. How decadent then am I, who know how she really feels, and still want her?

"... they find ... that this lover has cormmitted the unpardonable error of not being able to exist - and they come down with a dummy in their arms." (Nightwood)

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