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T. E. Lawrence to Robert Graves

Clouds Hill


Dear R.G.

Months since I felt moved to write to anyone: and now I think it's only because I ought to write elsewhere. And I haven't any paper.

The others in the hut are singing about Loch Lomond. It makes an undertone to the letter, without which you won't understand its horridness.

We live here in a suspension of mental activity, in a passivity of life which produces, for me, an impression of intense stillness... the hush in which one can hear time ticking away, outside, helplessly. I've cured myself of every wish to do anything or see anyone; unless the thing is ordered, it slides, so far as I am concerned. Nirvana perhaps: but there isn't a desire for nescience... it's just a letting slide off all of myself except the physical.

The other fellows are, as animals, so hugely more active and vital than myself, that my self-estimation justifies its lowly instinct. There are few animal spirits in me: and I'd not willingly have more.

How do your ways lie? You are writing more than usual: reviews, articles, all sorts of prose. It seems to me a good arm to put forth. The poems were getting too tight to breathe easily; and the exercise of ad hoc prose will loosen your spiritual arms.

Did you ever think of writing an official history? I've just explained to the powers that they would waste paper in suggesting me as the continuator of Raleigh's History of the Royal Air Force in the War. I'm so homesick to be back in it that the writing of it would be one misery. They don't know whom to ask. Hogarth did a little and then threw it up. It's a three year job, worth £600—800 a year. See Hogarth if you are tempted. He would tell you how to put in for it. My aim is to prevent, at all costs, its becoming an 'official' history: and the Air Ministry are on the same side.


Source: B:RG 28
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 28 February 2006

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