Wednesday, June 30, 2010

happiness - She Came to Stay - episode

Françoise followed the gypsy who produced a little piece of light-colored wood from her pocket.

"I'll tell you a secret. There's a dark young man in your life, you're very much in love with him, but you're not happy with him because of a blonde girl. This is a charm. You must put it into a small handkerchief and keep if on you for three days and then you'll be happy with the young man. I wouldn't give it to everybody, for this is a very precious charm; but I'l give it to you for a hundred franks."

"No thank you," said Françoise. "I don't want the charm. Here's something for forture."

The woman seized the coin. "A hundred francs for happiness is nothing. How much do you want to pay for your happiness, twenty francs?"

"Nothing at all," Françoise said. She went back and sad down beside Gerbert.

"What did she tell you?"
"Just a lot of twaddle," Françoise smiled. "She offered me happiness for twenty francs, but I found that too dear, if as you say, it's nothing but a word."
"I didn't say that!" Gerbert said, startled to have involved himself to such an extent.
"Perhaps it's true," said Françoise. "With Pierre one uses so many words, but what exactly lies behind them?"
She was seized by a sudden anguish, so violent that she wanted to scream. It was as if the the world had suddenly become a void; there was nothing more to fear, but nothing to love either. There was absolutely nothing. She was going to meet Pierre, they would exchange meaningless phrases, and then they would part. If Pierre's and Xavière's friendship was not more than a mirage, then neither did her love for Pierre and Pierre's love for her exist. There was nothing but an infinite accumulation of meaningless moments, nothing but a chaotic seething of flesh and thoughts, with death looming at the end.
"Let's go," she said abruptly.

an episode from She Came to Stay by Simone de Beaovoir

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tropic of Cancer - the beginning

These are the very first lines of one of my favorite books Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

'I am living at the Villa Gorghese. There is not a crumb of dirt anywhere, nor a chair misplaced. We are all alone here and we are dead.
Last night Boris discovered that he was lousy. I had to shave his armpits and even then the itching did not stop. How can one get lousy in a beautiful place like this? But no matter. We might never have known each other so intimately, Boris and I, had it not been for the lice.
Boris has just given me a summary of his views. He is a weather prophet. The weather will continue bad, he says. There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of time is eating us away. Our heroes have killed themselves, or are killing themselves. The hero, then, is not Time, but Timelessness. We must get in step, a lock step, towards the prison of death. There is no escape. The weather will not change.'

from Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, 1934

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller (small extract from the beginning)

...'By God, yes, I like it,' I was saying to myself over and over as I stood at the rail taking in the movement and the hubbub. i leaned back and looked up at the sky. i had never seen a sky like this before. It was magnificent. I felt completely detached from Europe. i had entered a new realm as a free man - everything had conjoined to make the experience unique and fructifying. Christ, I was happy. But for the first time n my life I was happy with the full consciousness of being happy. It's good to be just plain happy; it's a little better to know that you're happy; but to understand that you're happy and to know why and how, in what way, because of what concatenation of events or circumstances, and still be happy, be happy in the being and the knowing, well. that is beyond happiness, that is bliss, and if you have any sense you ought to kill yourself on the spot and be done with it. And that's how I was - except that i didn't have the power or the courage to kill myself then and there. It was good, too, that I didn't do myself in because there were even greater moments to come, something beyond bliss even, something which if anyone had tried to describe to me I would probably not have believed. I didn't know then that i would one day stand and Mycenae, or at the Phaestos, or that i would wake up one morning and looking through a port hole see with my own eyes the place I had written about in a book, but which i never knew existed nor bore the same name as the one I had given it in my imagination. Marvellous things happen to one in Greece - marvellous good things which can happen to one nowhere else on earth. Somehow, almost as if He were nodding, Greece still remains under the protection of the Creator. Men may go about their puny, ineffectual bedevilment, even in Greece, but God's magic is still at work and, no matter what the race of man my do or try to do, Greece is still a sacred precinct - and my belief is it will remain so until the end of time.'

a small extract from The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller