Perhaps on the best book dedications I’ve ever come across (and one of the greatest novels)
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”
“To put things in.”
“What kind of things?”
“Whatever you have,” you said.
Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
“Work out your own salvation,” said the Buddha. “Do not depend on others.”
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“Medicine makes people ill, mathematics makes them sad, and theology makes them sinful.” — Martin Luther
The last words of François Rabelais were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”
“We can only hope that, contrary to surface amnesia, all we’ve read is still within us somewhere.”
-Alain de Botton
“In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”
“I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts.” – John Steinbeck
While you’re here, why not check out some more!
- Here’s my 2018: In Review — full of ‘best of’ pics from the year as well as travel and writing
- Here’s my essay on the fantastic Elif Shafak piece ‘Why The Novel Matters In The Age Of Anger’
Lastly, check out my book — The 9 to 5 Nomad: A Modern Guide For The Location-Independent Employee (full website)
Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.
In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cozy parlor, the tinkling piano our guide.
So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childhood days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.