It was all beginning to run together in the back of Eleanor's mind, and the things that had probably really happened were confused with the things that probably hadn't. And every day everything in her whole past life - the real things and the imaginary things - was being pushed farther and farther back, because going to high school was so enormous, so vast! so different from all of Eleanor's life before. The milling crowds in the hall between classes, all those jostling elbows and swollen shoulders and bosoms, all those enormous hands and feet, they pushed and thumped and shoved at Eleanor's childhood, until there was no room anymore for anything but now, right now, a hurrying rushing now that was just incredibly thrilling, or absolutely rotten and just disgusting, this heaving present moment, right now.
There's a theme that appears in much of your work," I say to Maurice on my last visit to Connecticut, "and I can only hint at it because it's difficult to formulate or describe. It has something to do with the lines: 'As I went over the water/the water went over me' [from As I Went over the Water] or 'I'm in the milk and the milk's in me' [from Night Kitchen].""Obviously I have one theme, and it's even in the book I'm working on right now. It's not that I have such original ideas, just that I'm good at doing variations on the same idea over and over again. You can't imagine how relieved I was to find out that Henry James admitted he had only a couple of themes and that all of his books were based on them. That's all we need as artists - one power-driven fantasy or obsession, then to be clever enough to do variations… like a series of variations by Mozart. They're so good that you forget they're based on one theme. The same things draw me, the same images…""What is this one obsession?""I'm not about to tell you - not because it's a secret, but because I can't verbalize it.""There's a line by Bob Dylan in 'Just Like a Woman' which talks about being 'inside the rain.'""Inside the rain?""When it's raining outside," I explain, "I often feel inside myself, as if I were inside the rain… as if the rain were my self. That's the sense I get from Dylan's image and from your books as well.""It's strange you say that," Maurice answers, "because rain has become one of the potent images of my new book. It sort of scares me that you mentioned that line. Maybe that's what rain means. It's such an important ingredient in this new work, and I've never understood what it meant. There was a thing about me and rain when I was a child: if I could summon it up in one sentence, I'd be happy to. It's such connected tissue…
Come, my child," I said, trying to lead her away. "Wish good-bye to the poor hare, and come and look for blackberries.""Good-bye, poor hare!" Sylvie obediently repeated, looking over her shoulder at it as we turned away. And then, all in a moment, her self-command gave way. Pulling her hand out of mine, she ran back to where the dead hare was lying, and flung herself down at its side in such an agony of grief as I could hardly have believed possible in so young a child."Oh, my darling, my darling!" she moaned, over and over again. "And God meant your life to be so beautiful!
Down vith children! Do them in!Boil their bones and fry their skin!Bish them, sqvish them, bash them, mash them!Brrreak them, shake them, slash them, smash them!Offer chocs vith magic powder!Say “Eat up!” then say it louder.Crrram them full of sticky eats,Send them home still guzzling sveets.And in the morning little foolsGo marching off to separate schools.A girl feels sick and goes all pale.She yells, “Hey look! I've grrrown a tail!”A boy who's standing next to herScreams, “Help! I think I'm grrrowing fur!” Another shouts, “Vee look like frrreaks!There's viskers growing on our cheeks!”A boy who vos extremely tallCries out, “Vot's wrong? I'm grrrowing small!”Four tiny legs begin to sprrroutFrom everybody rrround about.And all at vunce, all in a trrrice,There are no children! Only MICE!