Scrawling 'I'm gay' in lipstick on your parents' bedroom mirror may demonstrate a personal signature of the highest style, but is not particularly sensitive to their feelings. Upon hearing me utter those words almost twenty years ago, my own mother did what and self-respecting middle-class mom would do: went directly into a seizure.
What is the right time [to discuss theology]? Whenever we are free from the mire and noise without, and our commanding faculty is not confused by illusory, wandering images, leading us, as it were, to mix fine script with ugly scrawling, or sweet-smelling scent with slime. We need actually 'to be still' (Ps. 46:10) in order to know God, and when we receive the opportunity, 'to judge uprightly' (Ps. 75:2) in theology.
Gregory of Nazianzus
Or maybe memories are like karaoke - where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't even know the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning - and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better not to know the lyrics to your life.
maybe memories are like karaoke-where you realize up on the stage, with all those lyrics scrawling across the screen's bottom, and with everybody clapping at you, that you didn't know even half the lyrics to your all-time favourite song. Only afterwards, when someone else is up on stage humiliating themselves amid the clapping and laughing, do you realize that what you liiked most about your favourite song was precisely your ignorance of its full meaning- and you read more into it than maybe existed in the first place. I think it's better to not know the lyrics to your life.
Among the many worlds which man did not receive as a gift of nature, but which he created with his own mind, the world of books is the greatest. Every child, scrawling his first letters on his slate and attempting to read for the first time, in so doing, enters an artificial and complicated world; to know the laws and rules of this world completely and to practice them perfectly, no single human life is long enough. Without words, without writing, and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity. And if anyone wants to try to enclose in a small space in a single house or single room, the history of the human spirit and to make it his own, he can only do this in the form of a collection of books.
We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides - pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book. "No one sees the barn, " he said finally. A long silence followed. "Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn." He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others. We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies." There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides. "Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism." Another silence ensued. "They are taking pictures of taking pictures, " he said.
I have hazarded into a new corner of the world, an unknown spot, a Brigadoon. Before me extends a low hill trembling in yellow brome, and behind the hill, filling the sky, rises an enormous mountain ridge, forested, alive and awesome with brilliant blown lights. I have never seen anything so tremulous and live. Overhead, great strips and chunks of cloud dash to the northwest in a gold rush. At my back the sun is setting- how can I have not noticed before that the sun is setting? My mind has been a blank slab of black asphalt for hours, but that doesn't stop the sun's wild wheel. I set my coffee on the curb; I smell loam on the wind; I pat the puppy; I watch the mountain. Shadows lope along the mountain's rumpled flanks; they elongate like root tips, like lobes of spilling water, faster and faster. A warm purple pigment pools in each ruck and tuck of the rock; it deepens and spreads, boring crevasses, canyons. As the purple vaults and slides, it tricks out the unleafed forest and rumpled rock in gilt, in shape-shifting patches of glow. These gold lights veer and retract, shatter, and glide in a series of dazzling splashes, shrinking, leaking, exploding. The ridge's bosses and hummocks sprout bulging from its sides; the whole mountain looms miles closer; the light warms and reddens; the bare forest folds and pleats itself like living protoplasm before my eyes, like a running chart, a wildly scrawling oscillography on the present moment. The air cools; the puppy's skin is hot. I am more alive than all the world. This is it, I think, this is it, right now, the present, this empty gas station, here, this western wind, this tang of coffee on the tongue, and I am patting the puppy, I am watching the mountain. Version 1 (joy)