The Body and The Mind

Dear Millicent,

Forgive me as I continue talking about the divine Ms. Sayers and her great character, the divine Ms. Vane.  I was reading a section that hit on a conversation we have had at least once or twice.  You and I have discussed the magic of our younger and less boy-ridden days, where our mind sucked up the majority of our time.   In college, all of my passion (all of it–except that which was spent on obsessing about music and movies) was pitched towards my work and books.  I didn’t know it yet.  It was only when it wasn’t all pitched there anymore, when credit cards and kissing became realities, that I noticed my work had fallen off.  I blamed it for a long time on stupid sex (and credit cards were their own song (tawdry) of innocence and experience).  I always think of Tom Robbins quote from Even Cowgirls Get The Blues that “all magic requires purity.”  This book was read at the height of my sharpened, celibate powers. I agreed.   I assumed my virginity was linked to my force as a scholar and go-getter.  This seems ridiculous, and yet, even now, a part of me believes it.  I did feel magical then.   Now I offer that the virginity part takes on little of it, but the passion, the compression of desire that demands the articulation of form,  has now been allowed to become a mist instead of a laser beam.    I also don’t hunger as much for sad songs sung by lonely raspy-voiced men.  I sleep better,  too.  But I miss it.  In ways, I think I might be muffins where I used to be magic.

Harriet has been there.

In the melodious silence [she is out on a walk, early morning, Oxford], something came back to her that had lain dumb and dead ever since the old, innocent undergraduate days.  The singing voice, stifled long ago by the pressure of the struggle for existence, and throttled into dumbness by that queer, unhappy contact with physical passion, began to stammer out a few uncertain notes.  Great golden phrases, rising from nothing and leading to nothing swam up out of her dreaming mind like the huge, sluggish carp in the cool waters of Mercury (243).

She goes on to write some verses that come from an inner voice that she trusts, “once more in her own place,”  and finds that

she had got her mood on paper–and this is the release that all writers, even the feeblest, seek for as men seek love; and, having found it, they doze off happily into dreams and trouble their hearts no further (244).

This made me feel better about things.  If such an apt description could have been written in 1936 by Sayers, then it offers proof that the struggle is real, and hearty, and never quite gone.

Meaning, it’s still there.  Which may explain the situation you and our mutual friend recently discussed: the enhanced productivity that occurs when in the midst of an unrequited crush?