Another Athill moment.
14 February 2011
Was I successful in my plan to make you desire to read anything by Diana Athill?
If you'll remember, I've been reviewing (and loving) some of her books here. The last one I talked about was her work memoir, Stet: An Editor's Life, and I shared one long quote from it.
Well, there was another quote I liked, but the book had to go back to the library, and so I decided to type the quote in a draft post so I could keep it. So then I thought, why not just publish the draft, and you can get another little dose of Athill? The following quote came from near the end of Stet, when she's describing a recent visit to a publisher's office:
"I have just visited one: the first time in seven years that I have set foot in a publisher's office. It astonished me: how familiar it was, the way I knew what was happening behind its doors...and how much I loved it. 'It's still there!' I said to myself; and on the way home I saw that by 'it' I meant not only publishing of a kind I recognized, but something even more reassuring: being young. Old people don't want to mop and mow, but age has a blinkering effect, and their narrowed field of vision often contains things that are going from bad to worse; it is therefore consoling to be reminded that much exists outside that narrow field, just as it did when we were forty or thirty or twenty." (pp. 248-249.)
This year, I'd like Diana Athill to be my valentine. Happy VD* to you--now go hug a loved one or something else suitably sappy.
*I have never stopped being amused that this day shares initials with "venereal disease." That's just the super-mature way I roll.