Marian Engel said this quote

Where have I been? she wondered. Is a life that can now be considered an absence a life?For some time things had been going badly for her. She could cite nothing in particular as a problem; rather, it was as if life in general had a grudge against her. Things persisted in turning grey. Although at first she had revelled in the erudite seclusion of her job, in the protection against the vulgarities of the world that it offered, after five years she now felt that in some way it had aged her disproportionately, that she was as old as the yellowed papers she spent her days unfolding. When, very occasionally, she raised her eyes from the past and surveyed the present, it faded from her view and became as ungraspable as a mirage. Although she had discussed this with the Director, who had waved away her condition of mind as an occupational hazard, she was still not satisfied that this was how the only life she had been offered should be lived.