Letters of Life


In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. — Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)

The second day of the week can very often feel like the penultimate, the close of a very very long week.

I have a notebook, new, where I copy down some very very excellent writing. The kind of writing that is nuanced, yet forceful because the tone is matter-of-fact. Writing that’s crafted in language that you yourself use and hear every day in conversation, whose very simplicity veils and conveys a complexity of thought that kindles the mind like few things can.

All the pleasant things I remember seem to be tied up with her, one way or another. Not because she was Sandra, but because the good moments were better for someone else’s being there. This sounds like women’s-magazine philosophy, but some things aren’t any good unless they are shared. Sitting up all night would be pointless if somebody you loved wasn’t sitting up with you, picking out music to play and helping you kill the bourbon. Walking by yourself in the rain is for college kids who think loneliness makes poets. You know what I mean.” — A Fine and Private Place (1960)

My notebook is going to be filled with passages like this. Reading fine writing is like putting on a fluid, well-cut dress of red spun silk: you feel so much better for it, even if it was only for five minutes in the dressing room of the store.

I kick myself for not taking a picture with my smartphone.


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