Sept. 18th - Cold and rainy all day. This A.M. I cooked some watermelon preserves with lemons. Dr. Wasson is still here.
Feb. 11th - Ellen is 19 today. Pa gave her a gold necklace. Miss Mary Haley gave cuffs and collar and wheelbarrow needlebook and silver thimble. Sis and Squire took Ma with them to Rodes (?) to spend today. Very rainy. Pa and Miss Mary went to Lex., Mr and Mrs. Walton to Stanford. This P.M. M(?) Oliver Redd, Geo. Burch, S.R. Smith Jr. and Mrs. Smith and Marie called. Mrs. Frank Houghton died at noon. I finished Mr. Pettie's letter this P.M. All but Pa, Ma and Henry went to the Literary Society tonight, I had to read, was awfully embarrassed. Ben Crenshaw brought me home. The night is lovely. Got home at 11. Last bed time 12.
I am lying on a hammock, on the terrace of my room at the Hotel Mirador, the diary open on my knees, the sun shining on the diary, and I have no desire to write. The sun, the leaves, the shade, the warmth, are so alive that they lull the senses, calm the imagination. This is perfection. There is no need to portray, to preserve. It is eternal, it overwhelms you, it is complete.
Where I am is here is social without story. It shows people, unknown to them, living and working and doing things with a kind of quotidian care and love, above all it shows a kind of calm survival, a getting-on-with-it, whether in the cleaning of or traversing of a street or the putting up of a new city. It does all this by forcing nothing, by allowing images their own voice. It is meditative and calm; its seeming structurelessness is a deception; its images are reverberative, as in all working poetic structure.
Its final section is entitled The Bravest Boat. Images of a small boat on a calm pond, then images of a roaring fall of water. Images of all kinds of fire, then images of the cityís insurance buildings and banks. Images of the waterfall, then images of lions, caged. Where I am is here is a focus on the tenousness of the journey to wherever it is we are, and the giving over of the self, first to the seeming shapelessness and meaninglessness then the unexpected shapeliness and beauty of where it is we are, and last, a suggestion that we simply give ourselves over to the astonishing and everyday richness of the experience of being here.
Murry was an influential editor and critic, and Mansfield’s husband. He was also responsible for publishing and promoting her work after her death; however, his selective editing – some would call it censoring – of her letters and journals falsely cast her as a saint.
The new papers offer very personal insights into Mansfield, Murry, and their relationships – both with each other and with their circle of friends and literary contemporaries.
They show Mansfield not as a saint, but as painfully sensitive, witty, at times fierce, ribald and playful.
There are little-known and unpublished letters, sketches, fragments of stories and poems, and notes in Mansfield’s hand. Other gems include photographs, pressed flowers from a holiday in France, a hand-painted box, and her passport.