Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

May Sarton 1912-1995

In my reading log, my first May Sarton read appears after Adrienne Rich’s What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Poetics and before Jeanette Winterson’s Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery.

All three books had a fundamental impact on my life and writing but it was with Journal of a Solitude that I felt, as I had upon discovering L.M. Montgomery’s journals, the sense of meeting a kindred spirit. The cats, the blooms, the long walks, the loneliness, the books: all the more reasons to collect her work.

As far as I can see from here almost everyone I know is trying to do the impossible every day. All mothers, all writers, all artists of every kind every human being who has work to do and still wants to stay human and to be responsive to another human being’s needs, joys, and sorrows. There is never enough time and that’s the rub. In my case every choice I make means depriving someone. I write one letter and have to push another aside. I go away for a few days to see a friend, and lose the thread of the journal…I live in a perpetual state of guilt about the “undone”. Probably everyone does?
Recovering: A Journal 1978-1979

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