Brain Food #698
Live in it
Thoughts of the day
On my last post of the year, I return to Joyas Voladoras, a lyrical piece written by Brian Doyle, an essay The American Scholar described as ‘an ode to the heart’. The heart can ache and flutter, it carries on beating until it stops, and with it, so do we. Yet, no matter how much we try and shield it, a heart almost has its own mind, its responses uncontrollable, and often against our will. Our life but also our liveliness depend on it. Perhaps, once every now and then, we should attempt to listen to it more.
“So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment. […] You can brick up your heart as stout and tight and hard and cold and impregnable as you possibly can and down it comes in an instant, felled by a woman’s second glance, a child’s apple breath, the shatter of glass in the road, the words I have something to tell you, a cat with a broken spine dragging itself into the forest to die, the brush of your mother’s papery ancient hand in the thicket of your hair, the memory of your father’s voice early in the morning echoing from the kitchen where he is making pancakes for his children.”
And, before closing, a quote from Joan Didion, who said goodbye to all that yesterday at the age of 87.
“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”
Live in it, and see you in two weeks.
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