7 Essential Modernist Literary Life Hacks -The Toast

Skip to the article, or search this site

Home: The Toast

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 12.06.06 PM

Virginia Woolf

Instead of relying on complicated mathematical formulae to calculate gratuity (typically 15-20% of the bill), tip the waitress with the plaited wreaths of hair by sliding a shilling under the edge of your plate, so that she may not find it till you are gone, and her scorn, as she picks it up with laughter, may not strike on you till you are past the swing-doors.

Samuel Beckett

The average person lives in a constant struggle against his or her own most base and loathsome needs, but this is a major energy zap. Instead, sit back and relax! In time your hideous desires will dwindle to your dimensions and become—you may find yourself thinking—of so exquisite a quality as to exclude all thought of succor.

T.S. Eliot

Sooner or later, we all decide that the shaking of a lady’s breasts can be stopped, and that some of the fragments of the afternoon might thereby be collected. Yet few people know how to accomplish it: simply concentrate your attention with careful subtlety to this end!

William Faulkner

Many people waste precious time and energy forming friendships and romantic liaisons in an attempt to stave off loneliness, when really there’s nothing to be done. If you feel lonely, it’s because you’re alone. If you could just feel it, it would be different, because you would not be alone. But if you were not alone, everybody would know it. And they could do so much for you, and then you would not be alone. Then you could be all right alone.

Ernest Hemingway

Countless wine-lovers are disappointed, glass after glass, by the blandness of their wine. To keep wine flavorful, just stop mixing so many emotions with it.

Gertrude Stein

After moving to a new home—that grueling routine of packing, hauling, and finally unpacking—we are left with a dilemma: what to do with all those empty boxes? A custom which is necessary when a box is used and taken is that a large part of the time there are three which have different connections. The one is on the table. The two are on the table. The three are on the table. The one, one is the same length as is shown by the cover being longer. The other is different there is more cover that shows it. The other is different and that makes the corners have the same shade the eight are in singular arrangement to make four necessary. 

James Joyce

Attaining complete awareness and understanding of humanity is at the top of nearly everyone’s to-do list, but in practice it can seem daunting. That’s because most people have no idea there’s a shortcut! Encountering for the millionth time the reality of experience and forging in the smithy of your soul is a quick and easy way to fully comprehend the uncreated conscience of your race.

Emma Smith-Stevens lives and writes in Gainesville, Florida.

Add a comment

Skip to the top of the page, search this site, or read the article again