. . . this oligarchy of sex, which makes fathers, brothers, husbands and sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household - which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord, and rebellion into every house of the nation.
Once I was at the Atlanta airport. I was taking the train between terminals. Its a smooth, quiet train, and it was jammed when I walked in. But it was absolutely quiet except for a mechanical voice calling out the stops. The doors were about to close, a couple rushes in and the mechanical voice says, Because of late entry, the train will be delayed for 30 seconds. People were staring at the couple, they were angry, and I yelled out, George Orwell, your time has come and gone, things are so efficient we're losing our humanity and our sense of humor. Now there are three miscreants: The crowd is staring at me and at the young couple. Sitting nearby was a baby on a mothers lap. I asked the baby, What do you think about this? She laughs, and I say, A human voice at last! There's still hope!
I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep. Mom said, "Steven, time to go to sleep." I said, "But I don't know how." She said, "It's real easy. Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left." So I went down to the end of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right. My mother was there, and she said "I thought I told you to go to sleep."
Did that myth at the heart of all the fairy tales her mother had told her, that part about happily ever after, ever really work out that way? How many children around the galaxy had been given that pretty picture, had swallowed it entire, only to grow up and find that reality was not so simple, not so beautiful, not so easy? The story didn't end when the brave princess killed the wicked queen and rescued the prince. That, she was learning, was the easy part. The hard part came when the guns were cleaned and reholstered, the bodies of the villains cremated, and the day-to-day business of life reared its ugly cobra's head and grinned down at you. When your prince had doubts you couldn't answer for him, when you had doubts he could only shrug at, that, that was the hard part. That was the part the stories hadn't addressed.
Upon the death of his wife: May 16 - She died at nine in the morning, after being ill for two days-easy at last. I arrived here late last night. For myself, I scarce know how I feel - sometimes as firm as the Bass Rock, sometimes as weak as the waters that break on it. . . . May 18- Another day, and a bright one to the external world, again opens on us; the air soft, and the flowers smiling, and the leaves glittering. They cannot refresh her to whom mild weather was a natural enjoyment. Cerements of lead and wood already hold her; cold earth must have her soon. But it is not my Charlotte, it is not the bride of my youth, the mother of my children, that will be laid among the ruins of Cryburgh, which we have so often visited in gaiety and pastime. No, no. She is sentient and conscious of my emotions somewhere- somehow; where we cannot tell - how we cannot tell; yet would I not this moment renounce her in a better world, for all that this world can give me.