Olivia Laing Famous Quotes & Sayings

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47 Olivia Laing Famous Sayings, Quotes and Quotation.

Olivia Laing Sayings: Of these latter, desolating states, she comments: 'Loneliness, in its quintessential form, is of a Of these latter, desolating states, she comments: 'Loneliness, in its quintessential form, is of a nature that is incommunicable by the one who suffers it. Nor, unlike other non-communicable emotional experiences, can it be shared via empathy. It may well be that the second person's empathic abilities are obstructed by the anxiety-arousing quality of the mere emanations of the first person's loneliness.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Loneliness grows around them, like mould or fur, a prophylactic that inhibits contact, no matter Loneliness grows around them, like mould or fur, a prophylactic that inhibits contact, no matter how badly contact is desired.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. Loneliness is personal, and it is also political. Loneliness is collective; it is a city. As to how to inhabit it, there are no rules and nor is there any need to feel shame, only to remember that the pursuit of individual happiness does not trump or excuse our obligations to each another. We are in this together, this accumulation of scars, this world of objects, this physical and temporary heaven that so often takes on the countenance of hell. What matters is kindness; what matters is solidarity. What matters is staying alert, staying open, because if we know anything from what has gone before us, it is that the time for feeling will not last.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: That's the dream of sex, isn't it? That you will be liberated from the prison That's the dream of sex, isn't it? That you will be liberated from the prison of the body by the body itself, at long last desired, its strange tongue understood.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: This is what's so terrifying about being lonely: the instinctive sense that it is literally This is what's so terrifying about being lonely: the instinctive sense that it is literally repulsive, inhibiting contact at just the moment contact is most required.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: I was working, but I didn't have anything like enough to do, and the bad I was working, but I didn't have anything like enough to do, and the bad times came in the evenings, when I went back to my room, sat on the couch and watched the world outside me going on through glass, a light bulb at a time.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which Loneliness is difficult to confess; difficult too to categorise. Like depression, a state with which it often intersects, it can run deep in the fabric of a person, as much a part of one's being as laughing easily or having red hair.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Speech failures, communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, mishearings, episodes of muteness, stuttering and stammering, word forgetfulness, even Speech failures, communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, mishearings, episodes of muteness, stuttering and stammering, word forgetfulness, even the inability to grasp a joke: all these things invoke loneliness, forcing a reminder of the precarious, imperfect means by which we express our interiors to others. They undermine our footing in the social, casting us as outsiders, poor or non-participants.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Not so long ago, I spent a period in New York City, that teeming island Not so long ago, I spent a period in New York City, that teeming island of gneiss and concrete and glass, inhabiting loneliness on a daily basis. Though it wasn't by any means a comfortable experience, I began to wonder if Woolf wasn't right, if there wasn't more to the experience than meets the eye -- if, in fact, it didn't drive one to consider some of the larger questions of what it is to be alive.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: Cities can be lonely places, and in admitting this we see that loneliness doesn't necessarily Cities can be lonely places, and in admitting this we see that loneliness doesn't necessarily require physical solitude, but rather an absence or paucity of connection, closeness, kinship: an inability, for one reason or another, to find as much intimacy as is desired.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: When he changed his mind, very suddenly, expressing increasingly grave reservations into a series of When he changed his mind, very suddenly, expressing increasingly grave reservations into a series of hotel phones, I found myself adrift, stunned by the swift arrival and even swifter departure of everything I thought I lacked.
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Olivia Laing Sayings: At some point, you have to set down the past. At some point, you have At some point, you have to set down the past. At some point, you have to accept that everyone was doing their best. At some point, you have to gather yourself up, and go onward into your life.
Olivia Laing Sayings: That autumn, I kept coming back to Hopper's images, drawn to them as if they That autumn, I kept coming back to Hopper's images, drawn to them as if they were blueprints and I was a prisoner; as if they contained some vital clue about my state. Though I went with my eyes over dozens of rooms, I always returned to the same place: to the New York diner of Nighthawks, a painting that Joyce Carol Oates once described as "our most poignant, ceaselessly replicated romantic image of American loneliness" ...
Green shadows were falling in spikes and diamonds on the sidewalk. There is no colour in existence that so powerfully communicates urban alienation, the atomisation of human beings inside the edifices they create, as this noxious pallid green, which only came into being with the advent of electricity, and which is inextricably associated with the nocturnal city, the city of glass towers, of empty illuminated offices and neon signs.
Olivia Laing Sayings: You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that You can be lonely anywhere, but there is a particular flavour to the loneliness that comes from living in a city, surrounded by millions of people.
Olivia Laing Sayings: If I could have put what I was feeling into words, the words would have If I could have put what I was feeling into words, the words would have been an infant's wail: I don't want to be alone. I want someone to want me. I'm lonely. I'm scared. I need to be loved, to be touched, to be held.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Is sex a cure for loneliness, and if it is, what happens if our body Is sex a cure for loneliness, and if it is, what happens if our body or sexuality is considered deviant or damaged, if we are ill or unblessed with beauty?
Olivia Laing Sayings: It began to occur to me that the whole story of love might be nothing It began to occur to me that the whole story of love might be nothing more than a wicked lie; that simply sleeping beside another body night after night gives no express right of entry to the interior world of their thoughts or dreams;that we are separate in the end whatever contrary illusions we may cherish; and that this miserable truth might as well be faced, since it will be dinned into one, like it or not by the failings of those we hold dear. I wasn't so bitter now. I'd begun to emerge into a sense of satisfaction with my not, but it would be a long time before I trusted someone, for I'd seen how essentially unknowable even the best loved might prove to be.
Olivia Laing Sayings: When it hurts,' wrote the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, 'we return to the banks of When it hurts,' wrote the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, 'we return to the banks of certain rivers,
Olivia Laing Sayings: There is a gentrification that is happening to cities, and there is a gentrification that There is a gentrification that is happening to cities, and there is a gentrification that is happening to the emotions too, with a similarly homogenising, whitening, deadening effect. Amidst the glossiness, of late capitalism, we are fed the notion that all difficult feeling - depression, anxiety, loneliness, rage - are simply a consequence of unsettled chemistry, a problem to be fixed, rather than a response to structural injustice or, on the other hand, to the native texture of embodiment, of doing time, as David Wojnarowicz memorably put it, in a rented body, with all the attendant grief and frustration that entails.
Olivia Laing Sayings: What did I want? What was I looking for? What was I doing there, hour What did I want? What was I looking for? What was I doing there, hour after hour? Contradictory things. I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to be stimulated. I wanted to be in contact and I wanted to retain my privacy, my private space.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Why do you put yourself in unsafe places? Because something in you feels fundamentally devoid Why do you put yourself in unsafe places? Because something in you feels fundamentally devoid of worth.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Loneliness feels like such a shameful experience, so counter to the lives we are supposed Loneliness feels like such a shameful experience, so counter to the lives we are supposed to lead, that it becomes increasingly inadmissible, a taboo state whose confession seems destined to cause others to turn and flee.
Olivia Laing Sayings: I wanted very much not to be where I was. In fact part of the I wanted very much not to be where I was. In fact part of the trouble seemed to be that where I was wasn't anywhere at all. My life felt empty and unreal and I was embarassed about its thinness, the way one might be embarassed about wearing a stained or threadbare piece of clothing. I felt like I was in danger of vanishing, though at the same time the feelings I had were so raw and overwhleming that I often wished I could find a way of losing myself altogether, perhaps for a few months, until the intensity diminished.
Olivia Laing Sayings: I don't believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it's I don't believe the cure for loneliness is meeting someone, not necessarily. I think it's about two things: learning how to befriend yourself and understanding that many of the things that seem to afflict us as individuals are in fact a result of larger forces of stigma and exclusion, which can and should be resisted.
Olivia Laing Sayings: But already this isn't quite right. The first apartment I had wasn't on the island But already this isn't quite right. The first apartment I had wasn't on the island at all. It was in Brooklyn Heights, a few blocks away from where I would have been living in the alternate reality of accomplished love, the ghostly other life that haunted me for almost two full years.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Physically, Echo Spring is nothing more than a nickname for a liquor cabinet, drawn from Physically, Echo Spring is nothing more than a nickname for a liquor cabinet, drawn from the brand of bourbon it contains.
Olivia Laing Sayings: For the present when backed by the past is a thousand times deeper than the For the present when backed by the past is a thousand times deeper than the present when it presses so close that you can feel nothing else
Olivia Laing Sayings: As long as Frank was well, I was happy,' he wrote in Memoirs. 'He had As long as Frank was well, I was happy,' he wrote in Memoirs. 'He had a gift for creating a life and, when he ceased to be alive, I couldn't create a life for myself.' And in a letter, written to Windham early in 1964: 'next to my work, Frankie was my life.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Collapse, spread, merging, union: these things sound like the opposite of loneliness, and yet intimacy Collapse, spread, merging, union: these things sound like the opposite of loneliness, and yet intimacy requires a solid sense of self to be successful and satisfying.
Olivia Laing Sayings: [of Nan Goldin] In an afterword to Ballad written in 2012, she declared: 'I decided [of Nan Goldin] In an afterword to Ballad written in 2012, she declared: 'I decided as a young girl I was going to leave a record of my life and experience that no one could rewrite or deny.
Olivia Laing Sayings: They'd even met, he recommended him to his own editor at Scribner, Max Perkins, suggesting They'd even met, he recommended him to his own editor at Scribner, Max Perkins, suggesting Max sign up this promising young
Olivia Laing Sayings: But despite its shared nature, language is also dangerous, a potentially isolating enterprise. Not all But despite its shared nature, language is also dangerous, a potentially isolating enterprise. Not all players are equal. In fact, Wittgenstein was by no means always a successful participant himself, frequently experiencing extreme difficulty in communication and expression. In an essay on fear and public language, the critic Rei Terada describes a scene repeated throughout Wittgenstein's life, in which he would begin to stammer while attempting to address a group of colleagues. Eventually, his stuttering would give way to a tense silence, during which he would struggle mutely with his thoughts, gesticulating all the while with his hands, as if he was still speaking audibly.
Olivia Laing Sayings: 99.9 per cent of the matter of all the human bodies on the planet, all 99.9 per cent of the matter of all the human bodies on the planet, all 6 billion of them, takes up no more space than a single sugar cube. The rest is made up of empty space and drifts of electrons, nothing more.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Hopper's paintings are full of women like her; women who appear to be in the Hopper's paintings are full of women like her; women who appear to be in the grips of a loneliness that has to do with gender and unattainable standards of appearance, and that gets increasingly toxic and strangulating with age.
Olivia Laing Sayings: You could go two ways from there. You could keep on marinating in blame, in You could go two ways from there. You could keep on marinating in blame, in helpless submission to your circumstance. Or you could stop, just clean stop, and take up the liberating burden of responsibility for yourself.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Outside the window, people threw dinner parties. Outside the window, people threw dinner parties.
Olivia Laing Sayings: There are kinds of solitude that provide a respite from loneliness, a holiday if not There are kinds of solitude that provide a respite from loneliness, a holiday if not a cure.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Had trouble again with twine. Mad enough to wish I was a bad tornado. Swore Had trouble again with twine. Mad enough to wish I was a bad tornado. Swore at God.' 18
Olivia Laing Sayings: A river passing through a landscape catches the world and gives it back redoubled: a A river passing through a landscape catches the world and gives it back redoubled: a shifting, glinting world more mysterious than the one we customarily inhabit. Rivers run through our civilisations like strings through beads,
Olivia Laing Sayings: There are sights too beautiful to swallow. They stay on the rim of the eye; There are sights too beautiful to swallow. They stay on the rim of the eye; it cannot contain them.
Olivia Laing Sayings: Safer cities, cleaner cities, richer cities, cities that grow ever more alike: what lurks behind Safer cities, cleaner cities, richer cities, cities that grow ever more alike: what lurks behind the rhetoric of the Quality of Life Task Force is a profound fear of difference, a fear of dirt and contamination, an unwillingness to let other life-forms coexist. And what this means is that cities shift from places of contact, places where diverse people interact, to places that resemble isolation wards, the like penned with the like. This
Olivia Laing Sayings: The art of writing was independently born in these four regions and I do not The art of writing was independently born in these four regions and I do not think it a coincidence that the advent of the written word was nourished by river water.
Olivia Laing Sayings: So much of the pain of loneliness is to do with concealment, with feeling compelled So much of the pain of loneliness is to do with concealment, with feeling compelled to hide vulnerability, to tuck ugliness away, to cover up scars as if they are literally repulsive. But why hide? What's so shameful about wanting, about desire, about having failed to achieve satisfaction, about experiencing unhappiness? Why this need to constantly inhabit peak states, or to be comfortably sealed inside a unit of two, turned inward from the world at large?
Olivia Laing Sayings: People don't like to talk about alcohol. They don't like to think about it, except People don't like to talk about alcohol. They don't like to think about it, except in the most superficial of ways. They don't like to examine the damage it does and I don't blame them. I don't like it either. I know that desire for denial with every bone in my body: clavicle, sternum, femur and phalanx.
Olivia Laing Sayings: The revelation of loneliness, the omnipresent, unanswerable feeling that I was in a state of The revelation of loneliness, the omnipresent, unanswerable feeling that I was in a state of lack, that I didn't have what people were supposed to, and that this was down to some grave and no doubt externally unmistakable failing in my person: all this had quickened lately, the unwelcome consequence of being so summarily dismissed. I don't suppose it was unrelated, either, to the fact that I was keeling towards the midpoint of my thirties, an age at which female aloneness is no longer socially sanctioned and carries with it a persistent whiff of strangeness, deviance and failure.
Olivia Laing Sayings: There is no possibility of permanent tenancy on this circling planet. It isn't part of There is no possibility of permanent tenancy on this circling planet. It isn't part of the deal.
Olivia Laing Sayings: What does it feel like to be lonely? It feels like being hungry: like being What does it feel like to be lonely? It feels like being hungry: like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast. It feels shameful and alarming, and over time these feelings radiate outwards, making the lonely person increasingly isolated, increasingly estranged. It hurts, in the way that feelings do, and it also has physical consequences that take place invisibly, inside the closed compartments of the body. It advances, is what I'm trying to say, cold as ice and clear as glass, enclosing and engulfing.