I Want to be All that I am Capable of Becoming / Journals & Letters | Katherine Mansfield, 1918-1923



"I want to be all that I am capable of becoming." ~

"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different."

"Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can't build on it it's only good for wallowing in."

"How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you — you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences — like rags and shreds of your very life." *

"Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth."

"It's rather nice to think of oneself as a sailor bending over the map of one's mind and deciding where to go and how to go. The great thing to remember is we can do whatever we wish to do provided our wish is strong enough." *

"Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back."


Katherine Mansfield Family portrait                        Katherine Mansfield with her sister and her brother


"It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves."

"The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind."

"I adore Life. What do all the fools matter and all the stupidity. They do matter but somehow for me they cannot touch the body of Life. Life is marvellous. I want to be deeply rooted in it - to live - to expand - to breathe in it - to rejoice - to share it. To give and to be asked for Love." *

"By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with what I love - the earth and the wonders thereof - the sea - the sun, all that we mean when we speak of the external world. I want to enter into it, to be part of it, to live in it, to learn from it, to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious, direct human being. I want, by understanding myself, to understand others."

"The truth is that every true admirer of the novels cherishes the happy thought that he alone - reading between the lines - has become the secret friend of their author."



"I think of you often. Especially in the evenings, when I am on the balcony and it’s too dark to write or to do anything but wait for the stars. A time I love. One feels half disembodied, sitting like a shadow at the door of one’s being while the dark tide rises. Then comes the moon, marvellously serene, and small stars, very merry for some reason of their own. It is so easy to forget, in a worldly life, to attend to these miracles." *

"My love for you tonight is so deep and tender that it seems to be outside myself as well." +

"What I feel for you can’t be conveyed in phrasal combinations; It either screams out loud or stays painfully silent but I promise — it beats words. It beats worlds. I promise."

"I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing." >


Katherine Mansfield, 1888-1923


> Letters, 1918-19 / * Letters, 1922-23 / ~  Journal, 1922 / + Letters to John Middleton Murry, 1913-22

Katherine Mansfield at Menton, France, 1920

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