thou art mortal

The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

a chaos of slippages and blunders

Currently reading and loving The Thousand Autums of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.

If only, Shiroyama dreams, human beings were not masks behind masks behind masks. If only this world was a clean board of lines and intersections. If only time was a sequence of considered moves and not a chaos of slippages and blunders.

A Fresh Air interview with author David Mitchell.

a photo and a quote

Two things I love: poetic language and a string of lights.

"So avoid using the word 'very' because it's lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women. And, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won't do in your essays."

– John Keating, Dead Poet's Society (via unicornology)

All One's Own

“It is a terrible thing to learn as a child that one is a being separate from all the world, that no one and no thing hurts along with one’s burned tongues and skinned knees, that one’s aches and pains are all one’s own. Even more terrible, as we grow older, to learn that no person, no matter how beloved, can ever truly understand us.”

— Donna Tartt, The Secret History (via Something Changed: Psychotherapy)

And yet, in spite of our existential solitude, isn't the whole point to try, and keep trying? To create relationships over the years, continually making time and effort to know and grow with others, which most likely will be very few. But infinitely worthwhile.

Café Contentment

From the far end of this café something goes back over the scattered moments of this Sunday and solders them together, gives them a meaning: I have gone through the whole of this day to end up here, with my forehead pressed against this window, to gaze at this delicate face blossoming against a red curtain. Everything has come to a stop; my life has come to a stop: this big window, this heavy air, as blue as water, this thick-leaved white plant at the bottom of the water, and I myself, we form a complete and motionless whole: I am happy.

Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre

On the Road

kerouacI will be on a trans-Atlantic flight next week to go from one home to another. Not quite the road trip experience, but any trip is a good time for Kerouac. My favorite quotes from 'On the Road'.

"How sad it was. Our minds, with their store of madness, had diverged. O gruesome life, how I moaned and pleaded, and then I got mad and realized I was pleading with a dumb little Mexican wench and I told her so."

"...I told him about a strange dream I had about a strange Arabian figure that was pursuing me across the desert; that I tried to avoid; that finally overtook me just before I reached the Protective City. "Who is this?" shouted Carlo. We pondered it. I proposed it was myself, wearing a shroud. That wasn't it. Something, someone, some spirit was pursuing all of us across the desert of life and was bound to catch us before we reached heaven. Naturally, now that I look back on it, this is only death: death will overtake us before heaven. The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death. But who wants to die? In the rush of events I kept thinking about this in the back of my mind. I told it to Dean and he instantly recognized it as the mere simple longing for pure death; and because we're all of us never in life again, he, rightly, would have nothing to do with it, and I agreed with him then."

"...I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I have nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."