Tonight I’m hosting a dinner party for 17 guests, not all of whom I’ve met. I am trying not to channel The horror, the horror of Conrad (who, by the way, died on this date in 1924 at the horrifically young age of 66) but rather the giddy anticipation of Woolf: Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. ..What a lark! What a plunge! (a novel published, by the way, the very next year, 1925)
Of course Clarissa Dalloway was not faced with the task of scraping cat fur from every soft surface of her house. And I will pick, rather than buy, those flowers. Obviously I am insane to be sitting here. Off I go, to slice like a knife through everything. But wait!
Must share this astonishing quote from “Splendors and Glooms”, a forthcoming novel by that magician Laura Amy Schlitz. At the heart of the story is an opal endowed with enormous mystical powers. An evil puppeteer (!) longs to possess it, but discovers he can’t steal it. Only a child on the brink of adulthood can. And why?
“For the child believes–everything! And he feels–everything! So much life, instinct, vital force–and then the first stirrings of adult desire. Everything is potent, volatile!”
It turns conventional wisdom upside down: children are the ones with the true power.