Ephemera: My Favorite Quote
Okay, Well, Among My Favorites
What comes around goes around…
In 1988 I was at a Landmark Education seminar where we were given copies of the following quote by George Bernard Shaw. At the time me and my friends were juggling any number of passions. Each of us wanted to be a writer and a carpenter and an actor and a painter and a potter and an artisan baker and an artisan ditch digger. The opportunity cost of choosing just one passion seemed too high, but by not choosing we couldn’t seem to attain much skill in any field. Go figure.
At last, this quote spurred me to devote my life to writing. Just writing. My dreams of doing everything went out the window, and I found peace in just focusing on fiction.
Today a friend sent me an email with a quote that “sounded a lot like your writing…” It was the Shaw quote. It’s not surprising to find that Tyler Durden’s speechifying arose from the quote that helped shape my life as a young man.
George Bernard Shaw from Man and Superman
This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
So, may you die with all your work complete.