And now, these books. This. He touched PHYSIOGNOMONIE. The secrets of the individual's character as found on his face. Were Jim and Will, then, featured all angelic, pure, half-innocent, peering up through the sidewalk at marching terror? Did the boys represent the ideal for your Woman, Man, or Child of Excellent Bearing, Color, Balance, and Summer Disposition? Converserly...Charles Halloway turned a page...did the scurrying freaks, the Illustrated Marvel, bear the foreheads of the Irascible, the Cruel, the Covetous, the mouths of the Lewd and Untruthful? the teeth of the Crafty, the Unstable, the Audacious, the Vainglorious, and your Marvelous Beast? No. The book slipped shut. If faces were judged, the freaks were no worse than many he'd been slipping from the liberty late nights in his long career. There was only one thing sure. Two lines of Shakespeare said it. He should write them in the middle of the clock of books, to fix the heart of his apprehension: By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. So vague yet so immense. He did not want to live with it. Yet he knew that, during this night, unless he lived with it very well, he might have to live with it for all the rest of his life. At the window he looked out and thought Jim, Will, are you coming? Will you get here? Waiting, his flesh took paleness from his bones.
If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense.
You've got to jump off cliffs and build your wings on the way down.
The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventhday Adventist, Women's Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor whosees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
Facts quite often, I fear to confess, like lawyers, put me to sleep at noon. Not theories, however. Theories are invigorating and tonic. Give me an ounce of fact and I will produce you a ton of theory by tea this afternoon. That is, after all, my job.
We're all fools...all the time. It's just we're a different kind each day. We think, I'm not a fool today. I've learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we're not perfect and live accordingly.
If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.
It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
We are the miracle of force and matter making itself over into imagination and will. Incredible. The Life Force experimenting with forms. You for one. Me for another. The Universe has shouted itself alive. We are one of the shouts.
When I was a young man, I didn't think about having a family. My wife and I were too poor to have babies. Then all of a sudden, one came along and scared the hell out of us because we had no money. Once the baby arrives, you make do somehow. You fall in love with the baby and life adjusts itself. You find you don't need as much money as you thought. When that happens, you can ask the questions that should have come before the baby.