I, Mary MacLane: A Diary of Human Days
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"I Mary MacLane, A Diary of Human Days", is a humanly revealing chapter of a life, which had more vividly expressed itself in "The Story of Mary MacLane" some twelve years earlier, which lived itself out in changing fashion at various epochs of childhood and young womanhood and has come back to a retrospect of itself, sincere and frank and unafraid. It even dares to display a self-absorbed egoism far beyond the limits which the false conventionalites regard as permissible. There are flaws to be picked in Mary MacLane and weaknesses to be found in the manner of the telling of this story of hers. Indeed, she might say that is just what she sets out to reveal as she writes. There are many indications of her insufficiencies in realizing her own life and turning it to such account that many of her perplexities would solve themselves because they would be resolved into a centering purpose. There would then be left no room for many of the difficulties, much of the loneliness of unfilled days.
Life has cast her at this time into the "outward role of a family daughter with no responsibilities," and in this inactivity and insincerity of family circle conversations, marked by reserve with which constant companions securely hide their true selves from one another, she has undertaken this task of writing to help her to keep herself sweet and sane. In the intimacy of her writing alone at her desk she gives free play to the multiplicity of elements which make up the real self, the intensely human self, which proves itself by its distractions and intricacies of manifestation, its seeming contradictions, its libertine longings, to which no outward convention so readily sets the barrier as does the real yearning impulse deeper and truer than these. Such longings are only partial and tentative, merely would-be excursions of the effort of the deeper, surer impulse, which both impels and restrains them. By these it proclaims itself of the unconscious soul of man, which has built itself out of uncountable ages of actual essay of these partial impulses, these "polymorphous" trends, through which the unity of the psyche has been trying to find and establish itself. They have become unconscious because one by one as the race progressed, or as the child, repeating the history of the race, made its way into the culture established about it, these partial instincts found themselves either left behind as no longer serviceable in the growth of culture and the building up of society, or became resolved by a sublimation into some higher and more complete form of self and racial expression and power. This they had preceded and for this they had been a partial preparation.
again. It has the owned sentientness of bone-and-flesh, and with it tremors fine as spirit-emotions. My Body is more chaste than my Mind, my Heart and my Soul My Body if fragile is healthful, and is one with the woman-race: it moves with the sunlit cosmos. My Mind wanders in sex-chaos and muses on piquant impure things, enchanting villainies, odd inversions, whatnot. My Soul—a sweet and an exquisite Thing—its tired wings have borne it languidly down the dim stairways of many centuries, some
not like it. I thought of all the women he had married and wondered if they had liked it. And I mused in my placid brain, ‘As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives.’ It was the only thought in my mind as I waited boredly for him to have done. (It’s no good struggling.) And that incident I know was not Respectable. And one summer day I was riding horseback up a steep gorge in these Montana hills. It was hot dusty riding. I came to a mountain stream with a beautiful little
You might cut off my two hands: but you could not keep me from remembering the Sad Gray Loveliness of the Sea when the Rain beats, beats, beats upon it. You might admonish me by driving a red-hot spike between my two white shoulders: but you could not by that influence my Thoughts—you could not so much as change their current. I am intently aware of my Mind from moment to moment—all the passing life-moments. The awareness is a troubled power, a heavy burden and a wild enchantment.— Also what I
one is made of the sun, and made of the moon, and made of the four winds and the seas and the last pink sea-foam on the crests of the twilit waves: and made of salt and of sugar and of lonesome calling of loons and quick song of skylarks: and made of sword-edges and of money and of dolls and toys and painted glass: and made of loose reckless shuffling of dry autumn leaves, and of nerves and of illusions and of broken food and hesitance: and made of Mother-Goose rhymes and of cigarette-ashes and
white fingers, which were tense, relax— —come more of the Thousand, and my rigid hard-riding thoughts grow drowsy and pliant and negligible. —come more of the Thousand, and my knees and the marrow in my bones are gently aware of most logical opiate ease— —come more of the Thousand, and my midriff is full of cream-and-chocolate casualness and my smooth arms are washed down with mists of custom. —come more of the Thousand, and my seven senses start to melt at the edges— —come more of the