Thursday, November 01, 2007

You bad snail

I'm interested in people here and now. I have not even any moral views. Maybe, within myself I think "you shouldn't do that," but I would never write such a thing, or express it openly, because I was brought up by a naturalist [her father, David Stead], and you don't say to a snail, "You bad snail, you mustn't cross my garden path" or anything, do you? A snail crosses your garden path and he leaves a little silver trail, which is very nice of him, and it's very pretty and that's all. A sea-anemone puts out its beautiful little tentacles making it look like a flower and it catches things out of the water and eats them. You don't say, "You bad sea-anemone, you shouldn't eat those live things," do you? They do eat them and otherwise they wouldn't be alive and be like a lovely little flower.

--Christina Stead, from a 1982 interview quoted in Michael Upchurch's "Rereading," American Scholar, Winter99, Vol. 68, Issue 1 (an article that's making me rethink my decision to ignore Stead's House of All Nations due to its focus on the high finance world)

No comments: