Gladness and despair

Gladness and despair

A finely phrased evocation of the twin elements of human experience of time, every new morning or moment heralding good or bad for somebody somewhere.  We can only work towards increasing and making the most of ‘new forces’ for gladness, genius and love....
Defining moments

Defining moments

It has always interested me how life can turn on a sixpence, for better and worst.  Adam Bede is one of the finest English novels, and it has a number of moments when events take a fateful turn.  Here we have Adam recalling – all his life – exactly where...
Will to live or fear of death?

Will to live or fear of death?

This refers to the looming death of the Brideshead patriarch, surrounded by his family. I was struck by the implication that the will to live gives strength, while the fear of death drains it. If you extend that, it might suggest that people are more motivated by...
Evidence of life?

Evidence of life?

This response by Charles Ryder to his wife’s question is striking.  While change is inevitable, I am not sure it is ‘evidence of life’.  The dead also change. Yet given the state of his marriage when his wife posed the question, and the...
On the practice of life

On the practice of life

Alice Herz-Sommer was a pianist also believed to be the oldest Holocaust survivor, living to 110.  She combined an astonishing resilience and a passion for music, and the discipline of the piano she applies adroitly to the business of life. ‘The artist’s job is...
Reading to live more intensely

Reading to live more intensely

Reading allows you to meet people, places, periods and perspectives you might never otherwise encounter, intensifying your experience of life.  Yes. ‘That book taught me that by reading, I could live more intensely.’   Source: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The...
Of time and place

Of time and place

Time occupies my mind spaciously, and yet I’d never thought of it like this.  Is it true?  Think about your past, and whether you can divorce the recollection of time from the place where you experienced it. ‘You can’t remember time, only the places...
Do men drown in regret?

Do men drown in regret?

Do not drown and do not regret. Just jettison, while you can, ‘the stupidities and meannesses, self-delusions and deceits’, and sail lighter. ‘Do men drown regretting what they have done with their lives, all the stupidities and meannesses, the...
Trauma recollects forward

Trauma recollects forward

Harold Bloom refers here to Esther in Dickens’ Bleak House. I’ve been turning over in my mind his statement that ‘trauma recollects forward’, and that being tempted to weep at love and kindness is a sign of life, of not being ‘caught in death in life’. May your cup...

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