Diana Athill spent most of her life as an editor, working with titans of literary history. They were mostly male — most anointed titans are — and the challenge of this job was immense enough to warrant a thick memoir, “Stet: An Editor’s Life.” Remarkably, Athill didn’t use the pages to complain, an instinct that would have been easy to understand, but instead to sing the praises of the written word and the people who make it their mission to tell stories. What she less overtly advertised, though, was her fiercely independent life. Athill died last week at the age of 101, and her words, at several critical points in this reader’s life, provided a lifeline. Perhaps her greatest legacy was her refusal to cede to societal expectations as she carved out a persistently unusual world for herself in which the demands of femininity — marriage and children, specifically — were rethought and redefined.
I was introduced to Athill through her memoir “Somewhere Towards the End.” Published when she was 91, it was a meditation on the mixed bag that is aging. While Athill was quick to point out the injustices of growing older, chief among them giving up sex (Athill loved sex in her very British way, decreeing that every woman should have a few good love affairs), her tone was almost defiantly peppy — never saccharine, but refusing to give in to the weighty fear with which we tend to face the great unknown. I had my first existential crisis (that’s putting it generously) at age 13, and sat with the pain for years afterward. My primary literary bedfellows in the ensuing years were death obsessives like Philip Roth and Robert Lowell, or poets who were far too successful in its pursuit (Sylvia Plath, who was less enthusiastic about her life in the London literary scene than Athill, her counterpart who was born more than a decade before her and survived her by more than 50 years). I figured if I couldn’t solve the mystery around mortality then I could at least wallow with some of the greats. I was on year 15 of this strategy when I found myself in possession of Athill’s slim book in consideration of the topic. The simplicity of her prose belies a complexity of thought that would have been necessary to edit V. S. Naipaul (or survive a dinner with Jean Rhys); though Athill may not have been afraid of death, she didn’t think it was simple, either. She just didn’t dwell on its complexities. I swallowed her words like barbiturates and they killed the fear. “I think that underneath, or alongside, a reader’s conscious response to a text,” Athill writes, “whatever is needy in him is taking in whatever the text offers to assuage that need.” Guilty as charged.
In the same book Athill reflects on how her relationship to sex had “gone through several stages and had not always been a happy one, but that had always seemed central to my existence.” Sex, she explains, “obliterates the individuality of young women more often than it does that of young men, because so much more of a woman than a man is used by sex.” And her individuality appears to be the quality Athill valued most as she made decisions that were unorthodox, and geared to maximize joy and minimize obligation. She wasn’t the workaholic we expect passionately single women to be (in the movies, it seems everyone who’s unmarried by choice wears a blazer and wields a Blackberry), proclaiming in “Stet,” “I was not ashamed of valuing my private life more highly than my work; that, to my mind, is what everyone ought to do.”
But here she must have been underplaying her ambition, so spectacular was the second act that followed (achieved at fourth-act age). Athill was under no illusion that she would be celebrated for her work as an editor: “We must always remember that we are only midwives — if we want praise for progeny we must give birth to our own.” And so she did, writing novels, essays and nonfiction with the kind of 9-to-5 work ethic she’d once shown in the office of the publisher André Deutsch. She quickly found her subject: romance in its many forms. In “Stet,” it was a romance with words. In “Yesterday Morning,” with memories of childhood. In “After a Funeral,” it was a love lost to depression, her partner ending his life violently in Athill’s home, an act she treated with her signature lack of fanfare. She used “A Florence Diary” to describe every inch of the Italian city as happily as a tween with a thesaurus. She made peace with love’s dark demise in “Instead of a Letter,” in which she admits frankly that an early broken engagement has left her with a fear of lasting intimacy. She had love affair after love affair, including a brief but soul-expanding dalliance with the Black Panther Hakim Jamal (a man who’d also had a high-profile relationship with the actress Jean Seberg before the murder of his next girlfriend by his fellow Panthers, and who later was murdered himself). Athill lived with the Jamaican playwright Barry Reckord for nearly 40 years, though she was his lover for fewer than 10.
Athill never had children, and so managed to come to my rescue once again when, at the age of 31, I lost my fertility. We childless women are fairly devoid of infertile role models: Most who speak publicly about the fraught topic do so from a place of either wild grief or anti-procreative defiance. Athill miscarried Reckord’s child at 43, an event that was nearly fatal for her, too. In her final memoir, “Alive, Alive Oh!,” published in 2015, Athill described her short pregnancy as a blissful time, which made it all the more surprising when her miscarriage left her feeling nothing. Later she would develop “a dull ache, like a stomachache but not physical: that someone who didn’t yet exist could have the power to create spring.” Two things could be true at once: She wanted the child inside her, but once it was no longer a possibility she felt the relief of returning to her life and her trademark independence.
Athill maintained that independence even as she moved into active senior living (in a 2015 Guardian profile she described her downsized home as a “darling little room”). This move, she said, was one of her only real decisions. “How I was educated, where I have lived, why I am not married, how I have earned my living: All these crucial things happened to me rather than were made to happen by me.” If life for Diana Athill was so entirely outside of her control, then she made taking what you’d been given into a political act. She died in hospice after a short illness. She often spoke of the remarkable young people who filled her life and so, despite dying single and childless, she was not alone.
On the day she passed, I found myself sitting across from a young man in a coffee shop. It wasn’t exactly a date, but it was enough of one that putting my best foot forward was advisable. Diana had been on my mind all afternoon as I rose from my nap to look for her books, only to find I’d given every volume but one away in fits of enthusiasm. The young man asked me how, despite the various challenges of my past year, I seemed so chipper. And while an answer like “I have amazing friends” or “work is a balm” might have sufficed, instead — perhaps thanks to Athill’s influence — I said: “Because dealing with other people is exhausting. Every inch of my world is my own.” I told him about my various plans for my second room (either painting studio or nursery), and about how whoever fell in love with me would have to join my life as it is. They’d also have to home in on me: I was no longer looking. I’ve had the few affairs Diana advised, and then a few on top of that. A rich home life could also consist of friends, art, words. In a photo of Athill from her younger days, at home in North London, she is finely dressed in a patterned frock and pearls but she wears no shoes. Holding hands with an unnamed male friend, she quite literally jumps for joy.
It’s rare that a lack of sentimentality cohabitates with such a wild appreciation of the present. “Look! Why want anything more marvelous than what is,” Athill asked us, and we had to look around our warm rooms, our things in the places where we put them, and agree that yes, this was indeed pretty wonderful.B:
大乐透开奖结果18o81期【如】【坐】【针】【毡】。 【太】【子】【有】【些】【意】【外】。【自】【己】【的】【注】【视】，【竟】【然】【让】【兰】【馨】【郡】【主】【感】【觉】【到】【不】【适】？ 【见】【太】【子】【有】【些】【尴】【尬】，【陈】【木】【枝】【道】：“【不】【过】【真】【没】【想】【到】【啊】，【郡】【主】【比】【我】【还】【天】【不】【怕】【地】【不】【怕】【的】，【也】【会】【有】【发】【毛】【的】【时】【候】。” 【兰】【馨】【郡】【主】【和】【她】【哥】【哥】【一】【样】【爱】【哼】【哼】：“【哪】【是】【比】【不】【过】【东】【海】【郡】【主】，【我】【天】【不】【怕】【地】【不】【怕】，【倒】【是】【怕】【大】【海】。【东】【海】【郡】【主】【是】【连】【大】【海】【都】【不】【怕】【的】。”
【在】【梅】【晴】【带】【着】【向】【秋】【瓷】【来】【这】【家】【小】【宾】【馆】【时】，【便】【给】【了】【老】【板】【一】【大】【笔】【钱】，【更】【吩】【咐】【他】【们】【帮】【她】【看】【着】【警】【察】，【隐】【藏】【踪】【迹】。 【所】【以】，【在】【看】【到】【有】【警】【察】【来】【时】，【老】【板】【才】【会】【这】【么】【慌】【张】【的】【来】【给】【她】【报】【信】【儿】。 【现】【在】【听】【她】【在】【房】【内】【喊】【帮】【忙】，【无】【奈】【之】【下】，【只】【能】【推】【门】【进】【去】。 【看】【到】【向】【秋】【瓷】【身】【边】【白】【色】【的】【床】【单】【满】【是】【鲜】【血】，【老】【板】【也】【吓】【的】【不】【轻】。 “【姐】【妹】【儿】，【你】【这】【是】【要】【干】
【见】【外】【婆】【不】【说】【话】，【外】【公】【又】【补】【充】【道】：“【再】【说】【了】，【矜】【儿】【要】【是】【看】【到】【你】【让】【雨】【儿】【不】【幸】【福】，【她】【肯】【定】【也】【不】【开】【心】【的】！” “【就】【是】！”【寸】【雨】【得】【到】【外】【公】【的】【支】【持】，【当】【即】【理】【直】【气】【壮】【起】【来】，“【你】【要】【不】【舒】【服】，【大】【不】【了】【我】【以】【后】【都】【不】【改】【口】，【不】【叫】【乔】【蓉】【蓉】【妈】【就】【是】【了】【呀】！【反】【正】【她】【害】【过】【我】，【我】【有】【借】【口】【不】【改】【口】【的】，【我】【相】【信】【先】【熠】【绝】【对】【不】【会】【为】【难】【我】！” “【听】【见】【雨】【儿】【的】【话】大乐透开奖结果18o81期“【行】【了】【臭】【小】【子】，【她】【娘】【这】【面】【我】【先】【给】【你】【兜】【着】，【你】【快】【些】【把】【蓝】【狐】【给】【我】【弄】【出】【来】【才】【是】【正】【经】” 【这】【怎】【么】【成】【了】【给】【我】【兜】【着】【了】，【和】【我】【有】【什】【么】【关】【系】，【蓝】【狐】【心】【里】【腹】【诽】，【后】【又】【想】【了】【想】【道】：“【反】【正】【他】【不】【是】【族】【长】，【要】【给】【他】【兜】【着】【就】【兜】【着】【吧】！【反】【正】【要】【找】【算】【账】【也】【是】【找】【族】【长】，【和】【他】【可】【没】【有】【任】【何】【关】【系】。 【在】【那】【嬉】【笑】【了】【两】【声】【道】：“【好】【吧】，【好】【吧】，【我】【不】【替】【族】【长】【纷】【纷】【优】【好】
【随】【着】【天】【幕】【颜】【色】【的】【变】【换】，【那】【些】【在】【各】【个】【花】【中】【世】【界】【内】【的】【形】【形】**【的】【孩】【子】【们】【不】【由】【得】【抬】【起】【头】，【他】【们】【看】【着】【开】【始】【变】【动】【的】【虚】【空】【和】【天】【幕】，【皆】【是】【瞪】【着】【眼】【睛】，【露】【出】【惊】【恐】【神】【色】。 “【叔】【叔】【他】……【不】【会】【有】【事】【吧】。” “【不】【可】【能】，【叔】【叔】【那】【么】【强】，【这】【些】【外】【来】【者】【肯】【定】【不】【能】【伤】【他】。” 【孩】【子】【们】【如】【此】【议】【论】，【却】【也】【无】【比】【担】【心】。 【距】【那】【些】【外】【来】【者】【和】【叔】【叔】【从】【此】【地】
【第】【四】【百】【七】【十】【四】【章】【亲】【自】【来】【请】 【若】【是】【没】【了】【凤】【霁】【在】【一】【旁】【煽】【风】【点】【火】，【凤】【璟】【一】【定】【是】【个】【遇】【事】【果】【断】，【敢】【作】【敢】【当】【之】【人】。 【人】【虽】【然】【不】【够】【精】【明】，【可】【贵】【在】【坦】【承】【直】【率】。 【不】【会】【查】【案】【可】【以】【教】，【可】【如】【果】【一】【个】【人】【天】【生】【便】【是】【坏】【人】，【那】【就】【无】【论】【如】【何】【都】【没】【法】【子】【了】。“【阿】【樱】【的】【眼】【光】【自】【然】【是】【好】【的】。【也】【好】，【你】【便】【帮】【一】【帮】【我】【那】【四】【皇】【兄】【吧】。” “【四】【殿】【下】【来】【的】【时】【机】【刚】
【看】【这】【架】【势】，【他】【要】【喂】【顾】【蕊】【喝】【了】。 【紫】【芝】【见】【状】，【对】【着】【雪】【翎】【和】【几】【个】【小】【太】【监】【使】【了】【个】【眼】【色】，【悄】【悄】【地】【退】【了】【出】【去】。 【帝】【后】【如】【此】【这】【般】【也】【是】【常】【见】，【她】【们】【也】【都】【习】【惯】【了】。 【顾】【蕊】【一】【见】【陆】【凌】【风】【吹】【汤】，【眉】【头】【就】【皱】【了】【起】【来】，【哼】【唧】【着】，“【你】【可】【别】【喂】【我】，【告】【诉】【你】，【我】【不】【喝】。” “【别】【啊】，【大】【冷】【的】【天】【儿】，【喝】【点】【儿】【怕】【什】【么】？”【陆】【凌】【风】【舀】【了】【一】【勺】【放】【在】【唇】【边】【吹】