Monday, May 7, 2007

Sweet Thursday

I have just read Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday and I have wanted to share a few excerpts for the past two Thursdays. I can't upload the image I drew though and it is frustrating me so even though I like my posts to have an image at the top, this time, words alone will have to suffice.

There is too much to post at once so I will just have to post the joy I discovered in this book over a series of days. I forgot how much I enjoy Steinbeck. I am remembering how happy reading makes me…

From Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday:

“Where does discontent start? You are warm enough, but you shiver. You are fed, yet hunger gnaws you. You have been loved, but your yearning wanders in new fields. And to prod all these there's time, the bastard Time. The end of life is now not so terribly far away - you can see it the way you see the finish line when you come into the stretch - and you mind says "Have I worked enough? Have I eaten enough? Have I loved enough?" All of these, of course, are the foundation for man's greatest curse, and perhaps his greatest glory. "What has my life meant so far, and what can it mean in the time left to me?" And now we're coming to the wicked, poisoned dart: "What have I contributed in the Great Ledger? What am I worth?" And this isn't vanity or ambition. Men seem to be born with a debt they can never pay, no matter how hard they try. It piles up ahead of them. Man owes something to man. If he ignores the debt it poisons him, and if he tries to make payments the debt only increases, and the quality of his gift is the measure of the man.

Doc's greatest talent had been his sense of paying as he went. The finish line meant nothing to him except that he had wanted to crowd more living into the stretch. Each ended with its night; each thought with its conclusion; and every morning a new freedom arose over the eastern mountains and lighted the world. There had never been any reason to suppose it would be otherwise. People made pilgrimages to the laboratory to bask in Doc's designed and lovely purposelessness. For what can a man accomplish that has not been done a million times before? What can he say that he will not find in Lao-Tse or the Bhagavad-Gita or the Prophet Isaiah? It is better to sit in appreciative contemplation of a world in which beauty is eternally supported on a foundation of ugliness; cut out the support, and beauty will sink from sight. It was a good thing Doc had, and many people wished they had too.

But now the worm of discontent was gnawing at him.”

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