Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quotes That Made My day(s)

I like to read quotes that make me pause to consider their message, and recognize that they've changed me is some way, that I'll never be quite the same again.  Recently two quotes, from vastly different sources have had that effect.

The first was used several days ago by Felix Grant on his blog "The Growlery".  I'm stealing his quote, including citations.
A healthy artistic climate does not depend solely on the work of a handful of supremely gifted individuals. It demands the cultivation of talent and ability at all levels. It demands that everyday work, run-of-the-mill work, esoteric and unpopular work should be given a chance; not so much in the hope that genius may one day spring from it, but because, for those who make the arts their life and work, even modest accomplishment is an end in itself and a value worth encouraging.
  • Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister of Australia 1973-4 (requoted from Germain Greer's The Obstacle Race. 1979, London: Secker & Warburg. 043618799X.) And requoted here from "The Growlery".
This quote immediately brought to mind my wife, Marrianna, an artist.  She is neither genius, supremely gifted, or a run-of-the-mill artist.  Her modest accomplishment is that she has recently sold three of her paintings, and not only does that "make her day", but mine as well.  It's always nice to think of something she has done gracing someone else's home.  Her accomplishment is not modest in the amount of pride we feel, but is definitely a result of a value worth having and encouraging.

Marrianna is how I learned the second quote.  She works the newspaper's Cryptoquote, Soduku, and crossword puzzles every morning.  This morning she called out the solved Cryptoquote.
"There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday."  Robert Nathan
That struck me as particularly interesting, and I went on a Google trip to Wikipedia to learn more about Robert Nathan.  The quote is referenced in the Wikipedia article, so I followed the link where I learned more about him.  Nathan was an prolific author and poet from early in the 20th century.  Several films were made from his novels. Interestingly, one film, "The Bishop's Wife", starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven was remade more recently as The Preacher’s Wife, starring Denzel Washington.  I'd be interested in watching both versions to see how different people portray the story.

The quote reminds us that the past is as far from us as the future.  But is it true?  I immediately thought it was, but as I've pondered it through today, I wonder.  If we allow yesterday to be so distant, we lose a certain amount of self understanding.  On thinking about it, I don't like the idea that our yesterdays are so far away.  While I don't live in the past, and would not if I could, I surely recognize that without yesterday, I'd be less today.  I need yesterday to be all that I can be today.

1 comment:

  1. "There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday." Robert Nathan

    JP> But is it true?

    You've thereby made me think, Jim ... for which, thank you as always.

    Both profoundly true and yet also not at all true, I think ... in different ways, at the same time, depending on the spectacles and viewpoint involved.

    Inevitably brings to mind that other, different but related quotation, the opening line from L P Hartley's The go between (1953, Harmondsworth: Hamish Hamilton.): “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”