I'm sending you to an article the appeared at:
This is a prettier version of it though (Carrol will appreciate this):
This is one of the better ones I've posted.
'Words on Paper Will Outlast Us': How Claire Messud Distills Her Life
By Joe Fassler
By Heart is a series in which authors share and discuss their all-time
favorite passages in literature.
Joe Fassler, the editor of the series wrote:
Using a cherished line from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, [Claire Messud,
author of The Woman Upstairs] discussed the paradoxical nature of the
literary afterlife—the way writing gives us unrivaled access to another
person’s imagination, while still leaving the great bulk of personhood
shrouded, mysterious, and silent. Messud told me how Eliot’s image—of a
complete self broken down into smaller, enduring fragments—informs her
approach to writing, and to her life and death.
Messud picks her passage:
There’s one line in particular I have carried around with me for years. It’s
near the end of the poem:
These fragments I have shored against my ruins.
When I ask myself “What is it all for?” I think of this line.
And I pick one paragraph out of about 20 of hers to share here:
And so much of what we do experience vanishes without a trace from our
memory. Even under “normal” circumstances, we forget so much, but our
ability to remember can change rapidly. Towards the end of her life, my
mother lost her memory fairly quickly. I remember one day I said to her,
“Mom, what are you thinking about?” And, for a moment, she really did become
sort of like the Delphic Oracle. She turned to me, and with this sort of
lovely smile she said: “Shards of memory, and new worlds discovered.”