Proud of What I Ultimately Mean to Be

Lorraine Hansberry’s list from 1962 (not long before she was diagnosed with the cancer that she would die from):

I regret­—

(this now comes first; ah age, age! thou art cruel)

That love is really as elusive as everybody over 30 knows it to be

Some parts of the last two years—but only parts

My lack of discipline

Lord, the hurt to D.S., I never meant to

That it didn’t work in the first place

That JW didn’t either (as of now at least, after a month)

That she is such a child

That she can’t understand that she is

My consuming loneliness

All the friggin’ hurts in this world

That a certain lady let my letter be read!

The shallowness of the people who have come into (and lately been expelled from) my life.

I like—

(it gets harder each time)

69 when it really works

The first scotch

The fact that I almost never want the third or even the second when I am alone. Praise fate!

The inside of a lovely woman’s mouth

The way little JW looks in the movies

Her coquettishness

Her behind—those fresh little muscles

Parts of the lingering memory of a betrayer

The memory of them very eyes

And some of the voice

God, to work, to work, to work!

And feel it right!


Those rare mornings when I awaken without unhappiness

Those rarer evenings when I go to sleep without unhappiness

The fact that JW is not home to answer the phone right now

I love


Some Ideas of Brecht


The fact it triumphs!

Newsreels of the fact

This insurgent age of mine

All which announces It!

I hate

A certain betrayer whom I will, I will get even with

loneliness—all of it, alone or with others

the ignorance of my friends


to meet people who are all tied up in it

Burnt out emotions

most lies, mine and other peoples

that people don’t understand me very often

don’t try to

my fears, my god-awful fears of almost everything

I am proud

that I am losing some of those fears

that I struggle to work


against many, many things

and on my own

of my people

world communism

of what I ultimately mean to be

that I shall not allow suicide because it would be

fuel to nihilists. Never them!

I should like

To hurry up and live in the country ad have the woods

and fresh morning airs around me

ah me, to have one swift affair, still, with old KB;

just for the body, the eyes, the boobs—don’t really want

the person

to be utterly, utterly in love

to work and finish something


Many thanks to BC Craig for finding and sharing this list. It’s such an absolute gem.

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