Where new writing finds its voice
The List


Felicity Cloake

All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous
beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner
or in a restaurant’s revolving door.

– Albert Camus

  1. When one was young, said Peter, one was too much excited to know people. Now that one was old, fifty-two to be precise (Sally was fifty-five, in body, she said, but her heart was like a girl’s of twenty); now one was mature then, said Peter, one could watch, one could understand, and one did not lose the power of feeling, he said. No, that is true, said Sally. She felt more deeply, more passionately, every year.
    – Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway

  2. Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
    If it were death

    I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
    I would know you were serious.

    There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
    And the knife not carve, but enter

    Pure and clean as the cry of a baby,
    And the universe slide from my side.

    – Sylvia Plath, ‘A Birthday Present’

  3. Her mother followed Elizabeth round, marvelling at the change in her little girl. Could this really be Elizabeth – this polite, happy child? Everyone seemed to like her… ‘Well Elizabeth, you’re quite a different child,’ said her mother at last. ‘Oh, look – there is Miss Best. I must just have a word with her.’
    ‘Good morning, Miss Best,’ said Mrs Allen. ‘Elizabeth has just been showing me round – and really she does seem so happy and jolly. What a change you have made in her! I feel quite proud of her!’ 
    ‘She has made the change in herself,’ said Miss Best … ‘You know, Mrs Allen – she was the naughtiest girl in the school – yes she really was. It was difficult to know what to do with her – but she knew what to do with herself. One of these days she will be the best girl in the school, and how proud you will be of her then!’
    – Enid Blyton, The Naughtiest Girl in the School

  4. He laid her down on the bank. She was quite unconscious and running with water. He made the water come from her mouth, he worked to restore her. He did not have to work very long before he could feel the breathing begin again in her; she was breathing heavily naturally. He worked a little longer. He could feel her live beneath his hands; she was coming back. He wiped her face, wrapped her in his overcoat, looked round into the dim, dark grey world, then lifted her and staggered down the bank and across the fields.
    – DH Lawrence, The Horse Dealer’s Daughter

  5. Hearts with one purpose alone
    Through summer and winter seem
    Enchanted to a stone
    To trouble the living stream.
    The horse that comes from the road.
    The rider, the birds that range
    From cloud to tumbling cloud,
    Minute by minute they change;
    A shadow of cloud on the stream
    Changes minute by minute;
    A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
    And a horse plashes within it;
    The long-legged moor-hens dive,
    And hens to moor-cocks call;
    Minute by minute they live:
    The stone’s in the midst of all.
    – WB Yeats, ‘Easter 1916’

  6. Somebody asked me, when I first came home, if I had done it all for fun. ‘You’ve always looked so cheerful,’ he said, ‘and now you look like the cat that’s stolen the cream.’ It was true that a grand sense of euphoria now overcame me, in the fulfilment of my life’s desire... I knew for certain that I had done the right thing... It gave me a marvellous sense of calm, as though some enormous but ill-defined physical burden had been lifted from my shoulders, and when I woke each morning I felt resplendent in my liberation. I shone! I was Ariel!
    – Jan Morris, Conundrum

  7. There was a silly damn bird called Phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been first cousin to Man.
    – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  8. I started singing along and dancing. Here I was at seventeen, performing in my mum’s living room, but feeling like Madonna. Mum sat there welling up with pride, a can of lager by her side. ‘You’ll definitely be in the band, Kerry.’ She was certain.
    – Kerry Katona, Too Much, Too Young