Thursday, 15 April 2010

Walking to the Library

An orange left unpeeled on somebody's lawn. And a sky, somehow, suddenly, in flight. Full of gentle eager wings. A description of Philip Roth's (from Goodbye, Columbus), springing to mind: an embrace in which the young man says he can imagine tiny invisible wings on a young lady's back, beating softly.

Here is Javier Marías, in his essay 'What Does and Doesn't Happen,' from 1995: We all have at bottom the same tendency… go on seeing the different stages of our life as the result and compendium of what has happened to us and what we have achieved and what we’ve realised, as if it were only this that made up our existence.

And we almost always forget that…every path consists of our losses and farewells, of our omissions and unachieved desires, of what we one day set aside or didn’t chose or didn’t finish, of numerous possibilities most of which – all but one in the end – weren’t realised, of our vacillations and our daydreams, of our frustrated projects and false or lukewarm longings, of the fears that paralysed us, of what we left behind or what we were left behind by.

We perhaps consist, in sum, as much of what we have not been as of what we are, as much of the uncertain, indecisive or diffuse as of the shareable and quantifiable and memorable; perhaps we are made in equal measure of what could have been and what is.

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