I kind of imagine myself at eighty, a cat lady.
You make the mistake of thinking you have to choose, that you have to do what you want, that there are conditions for happiness. What matters- all that matters, really- is the will to happiness, a kind of enormous, ever present consciousness. The rest- women, art, success- is nothing but excuses. A canvas waiting for our embroideries.
The current flows fast and furious. It issues in a spate of words from the loudspeakers and the politicians. Every day they tell us that we are a free people fighting to defend freedom. That is the current that has whirled the young airman up into the sky and keeps him circulating there among the clouds. Down here, with a roof to cover us and a gasmask handy, it is our business to puncture gasbags and discover the seeds of truth.
Before I was born my mother was in great agony of spirit and in a tragic situation. She could take no food except iced oysters and champagne. If people ask me when I began to dance, I reply, In my mother's womb, probably as a result of the oysters and champagne - the food of Aphrodite.
Suppose that a man leaps out of a burning building as my dear friend and colleague Jeff Goldberg sat and said to my face over a table at La Tomate in Washington not two years ago and lands on a bystander in the street below. Now, make the burning building be Europe, and the luckless man underneath be the Palestinian Arabs. Is this a historical injustice? Has the man below been made a victim, with infinite cause of complaint and indefinite justification for violent retaliation? My own reply would be a provisional 'no,' but only on these conditions. The man leaping from the burning building must still make such restitution as he can to the man who broke his fall, and must not pretend that he never even landed on him. And he must base his case on the singularity and uniqueness of the original leap. It can't, in other words, be 'leap, leap, leap' for four generations and more. The people underneath cannot be expected to tolerate leaping on this scale and of this duration, if you catch my drift. In Palestine, tread softly, for you tread on their dreams. And do tell the Palestinians that they were never fallen upon and bruised in the first place. Do not shame yourself with the cheap lie that they were told by their leaders to run away. Also, stop saying that nobody knew how to cultivate oranges in Jaffa until the Jews showed them how. 'Making the desert bloom' one of Yvonne's stock phrases makes desert dwellers out of people who were the agricultural superiors of the Crusaders.
All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.
Oh! Pilot! 'tis a fearful night,There's danger on the deep,I'll come and pace the deck with thee,I do not dare to sleep.Go down, the sailor cried, go down,This is no place for thee;Fear not! but trust in Providence,Wherever thou mayst be.Ah! Pilot, dangers often metWe all are apt to slight,And thou hast known these raging wavesBut to subdue their might.It is not apathy, he cried,That gives this strength to me,Fear not but trust in Providence,Wherever thou mayst be.On such a night the sea engulphedMy father's lifeless form;My only brother's boat went downIn just so wild a storm;And such, perhaps, may be my fate,But still I say to thee,Fear not but trust in Providence,Wherever thou mayst be.
He would have liked his own funeral if he could have seen it. It was small and quiet, and really not at all pompous, as Michael had feared it might be. 'The dead,' he had said once, 'need nothing from the living, and the living can give nothing to the dead.' At 22, it had sounded precocious; at 34, it sounded mature, and this pleased Michael very much. Essentially a romantic, he had put away the trappings of romance, although he had loved them deeply and never known.
We think, sometimes, there's not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure ...not only are they here-and-now, they're all that ever lived on earth!Our century, they've changed clothes, of course. Dragons wear government-costumes, today, and failure-suits and disaster-outfits. Society's demons screech, whirl down on us should we lift our eyes from the ground, dare we turn right at corners we've been told to turn left. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden from themselves.