It was mild monsters like these that made Jack the Ripper go after young women, she decided: who could tolerate yielding the world to someone who behaved as if she had given birth to the very world herself?
Writers are much better behaved nowadays, for a couple of reasons. Once upon a time nobody was thinking of a career, unless you lived in New York, so there wasn't as much pressure to present a respectable exterior. And secondly, there was no social media. So if you were found face down on the floor - people did do that quite a bit; usually men, but not always - or fell through plate glass windows or got into scrapes, it became a rumor, and rumors are hard to pin down.
And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.
They're both about the correct or proper way to do something. There is a correct and proper way to use words and there is a correct and proper way to behave with other people. And I behaved improperly with John and feel bad, so I compensate by obsessing with language, which is easier to control than behavior.
I was not much afraid of punishment, I was only afraid of disgrace.But that I feared more than death, more than crime, more than anything in the world. I should have rejoiced if the earth had swallowed me up and stifled me in the abyss. But my invincible sense of shame prevailed over everything . It was my shame that made me impudent, and the more wickedly I behaved the bolder my fear of confession made me. I saw nothing but the horror of being found out, of being publicly proclaimed, to my face, as a thief, as a liar,... Read more »