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The Sad, Sad Sargasso Sea February 6, 2011

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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I should probably save this to lede this week’s Odd Words, but it’s too good not to want to share it now. Maud Newton [sigh] collects quotes on fact and fiction and the autobiographical impulse. Today’s favorite from the list:

“When I think about it, if I had to choose, I’d rather be happy than write. You see, there’s very little invention in my books. What came first with most of them was the wish to get rid of this awful sadness that weighed me down. I found when I was a child that if I could put the hurt into words, it would go. It leaves a sort of melancholy behind and then it goes. I think it was Somerset Maugham who said that if you ‘write out’ a thing… it doesn’t trouble you so much. You may be left with a vague melancholy, but at least it’s not misery — I suppose it’s like a Catholic going to confession, or like psychoanalysis.” — Jean Rhys

This led me to Google The Wide Sargasso Sea, read long ago in college, and I think the tale of the dislocation of a colonial to an unfamiliar and unhappy England will have to go on the read (or re-read) stack, if only for its sense of connection with my own twenty year displacement from this northernmost outpost of the Caribbean to the vaguely alien country farther north.

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