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I don’t know if there’s a logic as such—I’m sure there are lots of contradictions throughout it, actually. I didn’t intend for it to be in any way persuasive, not as a literary work, not in terms of story, or in terms of ideas, or outlook—I can’t stand the notion that my business is to convince or prescribe, for one thing I don’t like to get too attached to my thoughts. I don’t want to over-identify with my mental activity, it just seems silly to do that, because habit creeps into thought and cuts off other more generative possibilities. Patterns, connections, associations, they occur quite naturally, don’t they? It’s not something you have to worry about or force or contrive.

I believe in the soul. I can’t tell you what it is, but I can feel it, it’s a sort of a presence and sometimes it vibrates very strongly. Years ago someone told me that Flaubert said the objects we are drawn to are not haphazard, they are material expressions of something intangible but vital that our soul wishes to bring to our attention, they are clues, in other words, and we should decipher them as such. I found that very interesting, and entirely feasible. I think what’s important to me, overall, is awareness, because I think when you are alert and receptive very interesting things begin to show up in your work, and you don’t have to rely on craft so much, you don’t have to engineer themes and so on. (…)

There is this phrase that something or other “has captured my imagination,” and I think that love captured mine at a young age. The madness and the mystery of it overwhelms me, the beauty and the tenderness of it reassures me. Love channels throughout my imagination in the same way that a fragile yet tenacious vine weaves in and out of an old wall. When I read Pond calmly for the first time I was shocked by how emotional it is. I didn’t write it in a frenzy—but then of course Wordsworth believed that a peaceful mind is the key to recollecting and recreating powerful feelings and sensations, so maybe the tranquility I experienced during most of its composition in fact enabled deep feelings to come to the surface quite painlessly. It’s all a kind of searching really, if I knew all along what was there I don’t think I’d bother. I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m just trying to find out what’s out there and what’s in here and if there’s much difference between the two. And in order to do that I need to spend a lot of time on my own, because it’s only when I’m alone that I can really get out of the way of myself.

Claire Louise-Bennett

little things that will change you forever may appear from way out of the blue
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