Journal Excerpts 1997–1999 | Lydia Davis | Granta

Journal Excerpts 1997–1999

Lydia Davis

A bus driver yelled at me, as I drove behind the back of the bus station today: ‘Buses only! – pay attention!’

Barth, Barthes, Barthelme

‘For could one not in his right mind be reasonably said to wonder if he was in his right mind and bring what is more his remains of reason to bear on this perplexity in the way he must be said to do if he is to be said at all?’

The foreign language is a relief – a retreat – from the busy meanings of English.

Sh–ty! That’s just sh–ty!

‘You were saying Fuck it?’
‘As you were saying . . . where were we? . . . you were saying Fuck it . . . ?’

‘That thou doest, do quickly.’
(Jesus’s words to Judas)

At first, she was pleased that the piped music on the phone was Chopin, but as she listened carefully to it, having nothing else to do while she waited, she began to object to the interpretation.

modern music

at the roller-skating rink, skating to ‘modern music’

Though she herself is gone from the room, for the moment, she has left behind a noisy watch.

By 1907, telephones in France were being used to summon a tailor, order an ice-cream, or listen in on live opera or theater in Paris.

‘You’re no help at all.’
‘Do not leave without my express permission.’
‘That was a great mistake’ (about the tea, which had spilled on the floor).
(statements Dad made in the nursing home)

Lydia Davis

Lydia Davis is the author of seven collections of stories, one novel and two books of non-fiction, Essays One and Essays Two. She is also the translator of a number of works from French and other languages, including Proust’s Swann’s Way and Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. A new collection of short fiction, Our Strangers, will be appearing this autumn from Bookshop Editions and Canongate. In honour of her literary achievements, she was made Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2013.

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