10/31/2013

This I needed today. Thank you Qurat for sharing this.

Takmeel

“God knows you’re in the most depressing and discouraging surroundings — but that’s what makes a writer. You have to catch hell. You’ve got to take punishment … Write a lot — but see a lot more. Keep your ears and eyes going and try all the time to get your conversations right.”

Ernest Hemingway’s advice to a young writer

Feature Image Credits here.

View original post

Advertisements

Absurdism at its best

Excerpts from: Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.”

“VLADIMIR:

I get used to the muck as I go along.

ESTRAGON:

( after prolonged reflection) . Is that the opposite?

VLADIMIR:

Question of temperament.

ESTRAGON:

Of character.

VLADIMIR:

Nothing you can do about it.

ESTRAGON:

No use struggling.

VLADIMIR:

One is what one is.

ESTRAGON:

No use wriggling.

VLADIMIR:

The essential doesn’t change.”

“POZZO:

Ah! Why couldn’t you say so before? Why he doesn’t make himself comfortable? Let’s try and get this clear. Has he not the right to? Certainly he has. It follows that he doesn’t want to. There’s reasoning for you. And why doesn’t he want to? ( Pause. ) Gentlemen, the reason is this.

VLADIMIR:

( to Estragon) . Make a note of this.

POZZO:

He wants to impress me, so that I’ll keep him.”

“VLADIMIR:

What is terrible is to have thought.

ESTRAGON:

But did that ever happen to us?

VLADIMIR:

Where are all these corpses from?

ESTRAGON:

These skeletons.

VLADIMIR:

Tell me that.

ESTRAGON:

True.

VLADIMIR:

We must have thought a little.”

Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot

“The general considered that the girls’ taste and good sense should be allowed to develop and mature deliberately, and that the parents’ duty should merely be to keep watch, in order that no strange or undesirable choice be made; but that the selection once effected, both father and mother were bound from that moment to enter heart and soul into the cause, and to see that the matter progressed without hindrance until the altar should be happily reached.”

“I used to watch the line where earth and sky met, and longed to go and seek there the key of all mysteries, thinking that I might find there a new life, perhaps some great city where life should be grander and richer—and then it struck me that life may be grand enough even in a prison.’”

“Once I am rich, I shall be a genius, an extremely original man. One of the vilest and most hateful things connected with money is that it can buy even talent; and will do so as long as the world lasts. You will say that this is childish—or romantic.”

“What is a terrible disgrace to a woman, does not disgrace a man, at least not in the same way. Perhaps public opinion is wrong in condemning one sex, and excusing the other.”

“In such circumstances there can, of course, be no doubt. One’s conscience very soon informs one what is the proper narrative to tell. I admit, that among the many silly and thoughtless actions of my life, the memory of one comes prominently forward and reminds me that it lay long like a stone on my heart.”

The Idiot (1869)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Invent and Reinvent

I have started reading Charles Bukowski recently and finally now understand the genius behind the man. Though I do confess to be a wee bit averse to this term genius, owing to the general carelessness with which people typically use it.
I have still read only a few poems in the poetry collection, Pleasures of the damned as yet. But enough, to conclude that these are undoubtedly some of the most beautifully written poems that I have ever come across.

In one of his poems, No leaders, please, he says,
“Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
Don’t swim in the same slough.”

He emphasizes again,
“Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and
Stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.”

The whole poem is about inventing and reinventing oneself in order to shun mediocrity. I am not of the opinion that mediocrity is something that must be considered as essentially an appalling thing, but if a man is not going to push his limits he will never know what he is capable of achieving. It is too easy to settle for mediocrity and too difficult to keep trying for something beyond that. Not everyone is destined for greatness but it would be utterly wrong to believe that one is just not capable of achieving it, without even giving it a due try.

Mediocrity is a general excuse people give for not trying. They would blame circumstances, people, even the weather. They would just not take responsibility for their own life. And would cruelly ridicule the ones who are crazy enough to try.

It is one thing to try and fail innumerable times; in which case mediocrity is inevitable. It is completely another to have some potential but settle for mediocrity nonetheless. The latter, I believe, is the death of all passion in a person.

I am not saying that I haven’t done this. For I have spent half of my life wasting my time, thinking that people other than myself were responsible for what I have become. After giving it a considerable thought, however, I have reached the conclusion that no one other than myself was responsible for what I did (or did not do) with my life. I was the one who let others rule my emotions and me when I could just as easily have decided that they wouldn’t affect me. I know, it is easier said than done. But now, when I see it all from a distance, I believe I could easily have avoided the pain and the agony that I caused myself. Yes, much havoc was caused in my life that could have easily been avoided had I not let the circumstances get to me.

But they say, all’s well that ends well. And so I believe.

He ends the poem with these motivating yet eloquently simple lines;
“And reinvent your life because you must;
It is your life and its history
And the present belong only to you.”

And I shall definitely remember this.