the letter from Max


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She unfolded the sheet of paper faded to azure once on the train.

(Jack Cox, Dodge Rose)


the cheek of a healthy person, that of one who has not bothered to cultivate health


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That example implies, too, that it would be totally mistaken to pry the pleasure apart from the activity and seek it on its own: for it would then not be the bloom on the cheek of a healthy person, it would be the rouge on the cheek of a person who has not bothered to cultivate health.

(Martha Nussbaum, ‘Who is the happy warrior? Philosophy poses questions to psychology’)

the walls of the Incarnation Convent


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When I saw that Robin Cadwallader had recently published a novel titled ‘The Book of Colours’, I went back to my novel ‘The White Garden’ in which there is a long section called ‘The Book of Colours’. This one of mine is narrated by St Teresa of Avila. She is reflecting on moments in her life, taking as her prompt her memories of different colours.

Here is her piece on ‘The Cinnamon Walls of the Incarnation Convent’:

“I crossed the humped bridge over the little stream, and soon I saw the elms, their bare branches black amongst the snow, etched against the cinnamon walls of the Incarnation. I paused, small, and I drew in my breath. The crisp air entered my throat and lungs, and I felt an intense pain. Summoning all my resolve, I crossed the vestibule where the floor was cobbled and the…

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