echoes

Reading the fifth Outlander book today, I was caught unawares by a tug of familiarity:

“You invent yourself,” I said softly, to the shadows inside the hair that had fallen over my face. “You look at other women–or men; you try on their lives for size. You take what you can use, and you look inside yourself for what you can’t find elsewhere. And always…always…you wonder if you’re doing it right.” — Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross

Then remembered why it rang bells:

“You set out…you set out to make yourself. To make the world. All the things you must do, and see, and learn, and be, you must go through it all. You leave home, come to the city, travel, miss nothing, experience it all, you make yourself, you fill the world with yourself and your purposes, your ambitions, your desires. Until there’s no room left. No room to turn around.”
“There is, here,” Itale put in. “I told you. I’m as empty as that beer-jug. Air, sunlight, silence, space.”

“That won’t last.”

“It will. It’s we who won’t last.” — Ursula K. LeGuin, Malafrena

In my life, only men will say such things to my face. Women are not so open with me. I have to find them and read them and pretend they were giving this knowledge to me with intent. Which isn’t so much the point here, I know. At least I get to hear these things, one way or another. But I who have so few female friends, or female artists I look up to, am struck by this sentiment coming from rather different women in very different books. It isn’t as though I say such things to people, either, after all. I dump them with a link and then just hope months hence that they bother to keep reading my blog over time, because getting them physically into a state where the distraction or discomfiture or disinterest you read in their body language doesn’t derail such a conversation before it gets to its point is too high a bar to have to fling yourself over–day in, day out. It is easier to write it and hope maybe somebody will connect with it, than to attempt to deliver it verbally and to know that they did no such thing.

Anyway, they’re both great quotes.

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