I read the following passage the other day and it so strongly reminded me of an ex-girlfriend of mine I began to believe in time machines, that Djuna Barnes somehow travelled to New York a couple of years ago, studied this woman then said, "Fuck this," hopped back in her tin-foil space craft and headed back to 1920's Paris.
Her walls, her cupboards, her bureaux, were teeming with the second-hand dealings with life. It takes a bold and authentic robber to get first-hand plunder. Someone else's marriage ring was on her finger; the photograph taken of Robin for Nora say upon her table. The books in her library were other people's selections. She lived among her own things like a visitor to a room kept "exactly like it was when--"
When anyone was witty about a contemporary event, she would look perplexed and a little dismayed, as if someone had done something that really shout not have been done; therefore her attention had been narrowed down to listening for faux pas She frequently talked about something being the "death of her" and certainly anything could have been had she been the first to suffer it...Hovering, trembling, tip-toeing, she would unwind anecdote after anecdote in a light rapid lisping voice which one always expected to change, to drop and to become the "every day" voice,; but it never did. The stories were humorous, well told. She would smile, toss her hands up, widen her eyes; immediatey everyone in the room had a certain feeling of something lost, sensing that there was one person who was missing the omporance of the moment, who had not heard the story; the teller herself.
No one could intrude upon her because there was no place for intrusion. This inadequacy made her insubordinate--she could not participate in a great love, she could only report it. Since her emotional reactions were without distinction, she had to fall back on the emotions of the past, great loves already lived and reated, and over those she seemed to suffer and grow glad.
When she fell in love it was with a perfect fury of accumulated dishonesty; she became instantly a dealer in second-hand and therefore incalculable emotions. As, from the solid archives of usage, she had stolen or appropriated the dignity of speech, so she appropriated the most passionate love that she knew, Nora's for Robin, She was a "squatter" by instinct.