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Updated June 2012

T. E. Lawrence to Edward Garnett

[Postmarked Farnborough]

 7. XII. 22.

Your concern flatters me - but is misplaced. Lack of sleep hurts when it is due to brain-weariness, or to a man's chumbling his miseries or regrets over and over till his mind is on fire and scorches him. I now stay awake out of sheer pleasure, and invested strength, my day having no worries and little physical activity. Such sheer pleasure never hurts: it ceases with its causes. For instance when I ride up to London and back I sleep soundly for six or seven hours.

For the R.A.F. - no, it still interests me, and as long as it does I'll stick to it: though my hankering after flesh-pots is, I fear, too strong to be resisted when there shall be an alternative livelihood, of a workless character, within reach. So I won't ask for a loan, thanks: and my puritan self hopes that The War in the Desert will be a failure, to compel me to dwell longer in barracks.

The private press has been a life-dream of mine - and has been twice (1909 and 1914) on the point of coming true. It will come, and will, I hope, be as good as my expectations.

No, the born writer is the real fact, and without such ichor in his veins a man only makes a journeyman's job of book-writing: and my critical sense makes me not covet the creation (even while I enjoy it) of those who do so, by pain, make literature.


Lady into Fox is having a succès fou down here at Farnborough. Room after room has borrowed it, and handed it round from bed to bed; and the end isn't yet reached with them. The airmen say it's 'posh', and argue it fiercely among themselves

Source: DG 385-6
Checked: mv/
Last revised: 19 February 2006

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