Letter to Naomi Mitchison March 11th

March 11 [1937]
[no address]

Dear Naomi Mitchison

Thank you for the p.s. Surely phrases like ‘inner realities of the mind’ don’t need the footnote ‘not sex’! Why should it be so mysterious? With outside people the emphasis is on means of existence. With people of inside tendency the emphasis is on truth, discovering, definining[sic], co-existing with, the permanent realities. You think it ‘transcendent’ to assert there are such realities, available to knowledge, to being? Well, I think there is a spiritual immorality which almost enjoys regarding them as unavailable – there is a sexual quality in this thinking in terms of generations between you and the realities – which contributes to present failure and actually creates generations of non-attainment... It’s easy, too easy, to say we can’t have good personal relations until economic justice prevails.

Actually personal relationships have reached a high level of decency. Relationships between large vague groups have not reached decency; they are therefore anachronistic. But that is no reason why we should delay truth, shove the actual achievements from us into the future. Women politicians – no, I don’t mean merely pink ones. I don’t think humanitarian contacts are the real inside contacts.

But I do think you understand now what I mean by ‘insideness’. But I mean it to the limit of meaning. When it’s insidest, clearest, it makes poems. I live my life entirely on the inside basis – and from the outside view, from the humanitarian view – I am communist* (physical and mental mutuality) to the point of pseudo-Christianity (if a vulgar concrete record were made of it all.)

Yours - Laura Riding

[written up left margin] *Most women are in the sense of close literal devotion. The trouble with the self-styled Communists – and Socialists – is that all the personal grace is used up in talk opinions political emotions

[written upside-down across top margin] The person writing good poetry there is perhaps John Crowe Ransom. Unfortunately he has become more & more of a God-ite.