Mary MacLane Quotes
“And it is in New York I have those strangest things of all: human friendships. Not many friendships and not of spent familiarities: for I don't like actual human beings too much around me. But yet friendships made of the edges of thoughts and vivid pathos and pregnant odds and ends of nervous human flesh and fire.
It is in New York I go to the apartment of a Friend at the end of an afternoon. In the apartment are some persons having tea, men and women. The Friend greets me at the door. She wears maybe a dress of thin dark and light silk, shaped in the quaint outlandish fashion of the hour. And she has shrewd kindly eyes like a Rembrandt portrait, and a worn New-York-ish Latin-ish brain and heart both of which are made of steel, sparkle and the very plain red meat of living. She says, 'Hello-Mary-Mac-Lane,' and clasps my hand, and we exchange a glance of no real understanding at all but suggesting warmed challenge of personality, and an oblique sweet call of depth to depth, and of friendship which by mere force of preference and of our separate quality and calibre is true rather than false. So close and no closer may friendship be. And friendship with-all, is closer than any love. It is the closest human beings ever come to meeting.”
“I Don’t Know whether lust is a human coarseness or a human fineness: I don’t know why death holds a so sweet lure since it would take away my Body: I don’t know that I wouldn’t deny my Christ, if I had one, three times before a given cockcrow: I don’t know on the other hand that I would: I don’t know whether honor is a reality in human beings or a pose: I don’t know that I mayn’t be able to think with my Body when it is in its coffin.”
“If you ever feel to express proper gratitude for the good things of this life, be sure that you express your gratitude for the right thing. Very likely you will not have a great deal of gratitude, and you must not waste any of it but what you do have will be of the most excellent quality. For it will accumulate, and the accumulation will all go to quality. And the things for which you are to be grateful are the bitternesses you have known.
If you have had it in mind ever to give way to bursts of gratitude for this air that comes from off the salt sea, for that line of pearls and violets that you see just above the horizon, for the health of your body, for the sleep that comes to you at the close of the day, for any of those things, then get rid of the idea at once. Those things are quite well, but they are not really given to you. They are merely placed where any one can reach them with little effort. The kind fates don't care whether you get them or not. Their responsibility ends when they leave them there.
But the bitternesses they give to each person separately. They give you yours, Mary MacLane, for your very own. Don't say they never think of you.”
“This article is going to be very egotistical and MacLanesque and maybe somewhat shocking besides, so I strongly advise divers citizens of Butte not to read it. It occurs to me that some of the things I write do not agree with the constitutions of the said citizens - it seems to be bad for their livers - hence this preliminary note of warning. So now if you go right on and read it and it affects your liver unpleasantly, don't blame me.”
“I can think of nothing in the world like the utter littleness, the paltriness, the contemptibleness, the degradation, of the woman who is tied down under a roof with a man who is really nothing to her; who wears the man’s name, who bears the man’s children—who plays the virtuous woman. There are too many such in the world now.”
“I shall have to miss forever some beautiful, wonderful things because of that wretched, lonely childhood. There will always be a lacking, a wanting -- some dead branches that never grew leaves. It is not deaths and murders and plots and wars that make life tragedy. It is day after day, and year after year, and Nothing. It is a sunburned little hand reached out and Nothing put into it.”
- Date of birth: May 01, 1881
- Died: August 01, 1929
- Born: in Winnipeg, Canada.
- Description: Mary MacLane was a controversial Canadian-born American writer whose frank memoirs helped usher in the confessional style of autobiographical writing. MacLane was known as the "Wild Woman of Butte."
MacLane was a very popular author for her time, scandalizing the populace with her shocking bestselling first memoir and to a lesser extent her two following books. She was considered wild and uncontrolled, a reputation she nurtured, and was openly bisexual as well as a vocal feminist. In her writings, she compared herself to another frank young memoirist, Marie Bashkirtseff, who died a few years after MacLane was born, and H. L. Mencken called her "the Butte Bashkirtseff."