I could introduce myself properly, but it's not really necessary. You will know me well enough and soon enough, depending on a diverse range of variables. It suffices to say that at some point in time, I will be standing over you, as genially as possible. Your soul will be in my arms. A color will be perched on my shoulder. I will carry you gently away.
Let us put aside resolutely that great fright, tenderly and without malice, daring to be wrong in something important rather than right in some meticulous banality, fearing no evil while the mind is free to search, imagine, and conclude, inviting our countrymen to try other instruments than coercion and suppression in the effort to meet destiny with triumph, genially suspecting that no creed yet calendared in the annals of politics mirrors the doomful possibilities of infinity.
Charles A. Beard
It is easier to act your way into a better feeling than to feel your way into a better way of acting. When certain feelings hinder you, look for other feelings to feel. Supplant your fear with a greater motivation. The more frequently we feel and do not act, the less often we will feel. Act genially in the face of rancor; you may be the only angel in that person's life. What you practice projecting you are projecting and you become.
This is a world where things move at their own pace, including a tiny lift Fortey and I shared with a scholarly looking elderly man with whom Fortey chatted genially and familiarly as we proceeded upwards at about the rate that sediments are laid down. When the man departed, Fortey said to me: "That was a very nice chap named Norman who's spent forty-two years studying one species of plant, St. John's wort. He retired in 1989, but he still comes in every week." "How do you spend forty-two years on one species of plant?" I asked. "It's remarkable, isn't it?" Fortey agreed. He thought for a moment. "He's very thorough apparently." The lift door opened to reveal a bricked over opening. Fortey looked confounded. "That's very strange," he said. "That used to be Botany back there." He punched a button for another floor, and we found our way at length to Botany by means of back staircases and discreet trespass through yet more departments where investigators toiled lovingly over once-living objects.
After that they browsed for a minute or two in a semi-detached fashion. Nick found a set of Trollope which had a relatively modest and approachable look among the rest, and took down The Way We Live Now, with an armorial bookplate, the pages uncut. 'What have you found there?' said Lord Kessler, in a genially possessive tone. 'Ah, you're a Trollope man, are you?' 'I'm not sure I am, really, ' said Nick. 'I always think he wrote too fast. What was it Henry James said, about Trollope and his 'great heavy shovelfuls of testimony to constituted English matters'?' Lord Kessler paid a moment's wry respect to this bit of showing off, but said, 'Oh, Trollope's good. He's very good on money.' 'Oh... yes... ' said Nick, feeling doubly disqualified by his complete ignorance of money and by the aesthetic prejudice which had stopped him from ever reading Trollope. 'To be honest, there's a lot of him I haven't yet read.' 'No, this one is pretty good, ' Nick said, gazing at the spine with an air of judicious concession. Sometimes his memory of books he pretended to have read became almost as vivid as that of books he had read and half forgotten, by some fertile process of auto-suggestion. He pressed the volume back into place and closed the gilded cage.
Edward genially enough did not disagree with what I said, but he didn't seem to admit my point, either. I wanted to press him harder so I veered close enough to the ad hominem to point out that his life-the life of the mind, the life of the book collector and music lover and indeed of the gallery-goer, appreciator of the feminine and occasional boulevardier-would become simply unlivable and unthinkable in an Islamic republic. Again, he could accede politely to my point but carry on somehow as if nothing had been conceded. I came slowly to realize that with Edward, too, I was keeping two sets of books. We agreed on things like the first Palestinian intifadah, another event that took the Western press completely off guard, and we collaborated on a book of essays that asserted and defended Palestinian rights. This was in the now hard-to-remember time when all official recognition was withheld from the PLO. Together we debated Professor Bernard Lewis and Leon Wieseltier at a once-celebrated conference of the Middle East Studies Association in Cambridge in 1986, tossing and goring them somewhat in a duel over academic 'objectivity' in the wider discipline. But even then I was indistinctly aware that Edward didn't feel himself quite at liberty to say certain things, while at the same time feeling rather too much obliged to say certain other things. A low point was an almost uncritical profile of Yasser Arafat that he contributed to Interview magazine in the late 1980s.