From "Clever Girl" by Tessa Hadley, in the June 6, 2011 New Yorker (I detest this magazine but my husband subscribes, and clips the short stories for me. And I read them, as consolation for the fact that there are stacks of these f---ing magazines creating clutter all over my house. The New Yorker owes me a good f---ing story. Occasionally they deliver. Very occasionally. Pretentious motherf---ers.):

In a reasonable voice, he communicated his warnings about the meanness at the heart of things, which he understood and I, in my childishness, was refusing to acknowledge.
I didn't make the connection that Nor did, between the power of what I read in books in my own time and the outward husk of learning, perfectly functional but not involving, that went on in the classroom.


Yet cease your ire, you angry stars of heaven!

Ah, 33. A very bulbous number, full of lumpy curves. Like a 33-year-old mom who doesn't get enough exercise.

I've been thinking about mortality lately, for reasons other than my birthday, though I suppose it contributed, and it really is most unpleasant. The abstract idea of an "age of innocence" takes on a sharper edge when you get old enough to realize how very innocent you were in the days of youthful immortality.

Funny thing about youthful immortality. It has the effect of making everything look like it's standing still. There you are with your youthful energy raging at the stodgy old world and its standing stillness, when all the while everything is incessantly, unrelentingly changing. And by the time you realize it you'll start to see it not as change but decay, and you'll fight for everything to be the same always and forever.

Today is perfect, in all its dying glory. So was yesterday, though it's now dead. If we're lucky, tomorrow will be perfect too before it goes. Happy Birthday, Anne.