“A writer takes earnest measures to secure his solitude and then finds endless ways to squander it.”
“I am engaged in putting my life and my study in order so that I can go full steam ahead in four different directions at the same time. This, as I don’t need to tell you, is much too like building a house of cards. And some of the disorder is internal.”
– William “Bill” Maxwell to Eudora Welty, What There Is To Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell.
“I don’t think it’s terribly controversial to note that women, from a young age, are required to consider the reality of the opposite gender’s consciousness in a way that men aren’t. This isn’t to say that women don’t often misunderstand, mistreat, and stereotype men, both in literature and in life. But on a basic level, functioning in society requires that women register that men are fully conscious; it is not really possible for a woman to throw up her hands and write men off as eternally unknowable space aliens — and even if she says she has, she cannot really behave as though she has. Every element of her life — from reading books about boys and men to writing papers about the motivations of male characters to being attentive to her own safety to navigating most any institutional or professional or economic sphere — demands an ironclad familiarity with, and belief in, the idea that men really are fully human entities. And no matter how many men come to the same conclusions about women, the structure of society simply does not demand so strenuously that they do so. If you didn’t really deep down believe that women were, in general, exactly as conscious as you, you could probably still get by in life. You could probably still get a book deal. You could probably still get elected to office.”