I tell my friends: every year I’ve got less and less, and every year I’m a happier man. I just wonder what it’s going to be like when I don’t have anything. That’s the way we come, and that’s the way we go. I’m just preparing for that a little in advance, I guess.
I am not one of those who believe — broadly speaking — that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.
The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad.
You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different worlds on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.
With the onset of these later years, the fragile self finds that “less is more”, and learns to moderate its youthful egotism. Young people think they are immortal, and that the world revolves around them. Older people know they are mortal, that their future is not infinite, and also that they must take their place in the scheme of things.
Listening to the Koln Concert by Robert Bly
After we had loved each other intently,
we heard notes tumble together,
in late winter, and we heard ice
falling from the ends of twigs.
The notes abandon so much as they move.
They are the food not eaten, the comfort
not taken, the lies not spoken.
The music is my attention to you.
And when the music came again,
late in the day, I saw tears in your eyes.
I saw you turn your face away
So that others would not see.
When men and women come together,
how much they have to abandon. Wrens
make their nests of fancy threads
and string ends, animals
abandon all their money each year.
What is it that men and women leave?
Harder than wren’s doing, they have
to abandon their longing for the perfect.
The inner nest not made by instinct
will never be quite round,
and each has to enter the nest
made by the other imperfect bird.
…I have been attempted to abandon my books altogether — This however is impossible — for the habit has so long been fixed in me, as to have become a passion, and when once severed from my books, I find little or nothing in life, to fill the vacancy of time — I must therefore continue to plod, and to lose my labour; contenting myself with the consolation, that even this drudgery of Science, contributes to Virtue, though it lead not to wealth or honor.