“There is one question which we seldom ask each other directly: it is too brutal. And yet it is the only question worth asking our fellow travelers. What makes you go on living? Why don’t you kill yourself? Why is all this bearable? What makes you bear it?
Could I answer that question about myself? No. Yes. Perhaps … I supposed, vaguely, that it was a kind of balance, a complex of tensions. You did whatever was next on the list. A meal to be eaten. Chapter eleven to be written. The telephone rings. You go off somewhere in a taxi. There is one’s job. There are amusements. There are people. There are books. There are things to be bought in shops. There is always something new. There has to be. Otherwise, the balance would be upset, the tension would break.
It seemed to me that I had always done whatever people recommended. You were born; it was like entering a restaurant. The waiter came forward with a lot of suggestions. You said, ‘What do you advise?’ And you ate it, and supposed you liked it, because it was expensive, or out of season, or had been a favorite of King Edward the Seventh. The waiter had recommended teddy bears, football, cigarettes, motor bikes, whiskey, Bach, poker, the culture of Classical Greece. Above all, he had recommended Love: a very strange dish,” – Christopher Isherwood, Prater Violet: A Novel.