Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quips and Quotations (Grover's Corners Edition)

It’s like what one of those Middle West poets said: You’ve got to love life to have life, and you've got to have life to love life…It's what they call a vicious circle.

They're waitin'. They're waitin' for something that they feel is comin'. Something important, and great. Aren't they waitin' for the eternal part in them to come out clear?

Does anyone ever realize life while they live it...every, every minute? No. Saints and poets maybe...they do some.

Yes, now you know. Now you know! That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those...of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another. Now you know — that's the happy existence you wanted to go back to. Ignorance and blindness

There are the stars – doing their old, old crisscross journeys in the sky. Scholars haven’t settled the matter yet, but they seem to think there are no living beings up there. Just chalk…or fire. Only this one is straining away, straining away all the time to make something of itself. The strain’s so bad that every sixteen hours everybody lies down and gets a rest.

--Thornton Wilder, Our Town


  1. "To spend and waste time as if you had a million years . . " Bulletproof and neverending are myths, I'm sorry to report.

  2. We all continue to live as if we'll live forever, despite all evidence to the contrary; probably right up to the moment of death itself.

  3. I don't know if anyone noticed or cared, but I originally had "Grover Mills" next to "Quips and Quotations". That's wrong. I've since changed it to "Grover's Corners", the name of the town in the play from whence these quotes originated. Grover's Mill, meanwhile, was the name of the town in Orson Welles 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Welles apparently thought there WAS more than chalk up there.

    @Leslie--Myths die hard. Problem is, you don't often realized you've wasted time until you have none left.

    @Cram Cake--I always try to tell the truth on this blog, even when I'm quoting from a work of fiction.

    @Badger--The evidence to the contrary never seems to decrease, does it?

  4. Oh, Kirk, do you mean "you don't know what you've lost till it's gone"?

  5. Um...I'd have to take that on a case by case basis. Most of what I've lost in the last few years, I haven't given up willingly, so, no, I haven't found myself surprised to miss something. I'm sometimes suprised to find myself adjusting to a loss, but I nevertheless regret losing it

    As far as the "Our Town" quotes go, I was attracted to them because of how fast time goes by, but that it only seems fast in retrospect.

    Is there something specific you're trying to find out with your question?

  6. No. Sorry, Kirk. I'm playing my own version of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" because I'm feeling that a lot lately.

    Yes, I've lost a lot of things most recently both due to my own fault and not due to any fault of my own. None of it feels any better than the other.

  7. Well, in terms of time lost, lot of that is my fault, so I do kick myself quite a bit. So much so in recent years, I may end up looking like Long John Silver. ARG!!

    But there are other losses that were beyond my control. And you're right, knowing that there was nothing I could do doesn't lessen the pain.

  8. I like to think that there is an eternal part. Every once in a while, not often nor rare comes a moment when you feel that infinity is at your finger tips. Or maybe not.

  9. @Tag--I purposely took the quote I believe you're referring to out of context because I felt there was a kind of universality about it. In the play, the "Stage Manager" is actually referring to some dead (though very talkative) people in a cemetary. That you have to wait for eternity even AFTER you died seems to me a bit unfair. Might as well just stay alive for all that's worth.

  10. You mean I'm not going to live forever? Why didn't somebody tell me earlier?

  11. @Rachel--I'm sure whoever kept it from you just didn't want to worry you.


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