Tuesday, September 22, 2009


“I was walking down Annankatu Street in Helsingfors when I saw two horns, a cello, a violin, and a picture of Beethoven in a store window, and remembered music. You go out into the world and all you see is telegraph poles and city streets, and all you hear is the train moving and automobile horns. You see multitudes of people trying to do all sorts of things, and in restaurants and in the streets you hear them talking anxiously. You forget music, and then all of a sudden you remember music.

Jesus Christ, you say. There is nothing else. After the train stops and you get off, or the ship docks and you walk down the gangplank, or the airplane comes down to the earth and lets you put your feet where they belong, there is nothing. You have arrived and you are nowhere. The name of the city is on the map. It is in big letters on the railway station. And the name of the country is on the new coins which buy bread, but you aree nowhere and the more places you reach the more you understand that there is no geographical destination for man.”
-William Saroyan, “Finlandia” p. 126

“He felt even better than the time he ate two whole watermelons one Sunday afternoon while his wife was in the hospital having the baby that died.”
-William Saroyan, “The World’s Champion Elevator Operator” p. 123

“Nevertheless it is important to recognize that they [those who have wasted their early years in German schools and strive to be students] have to be creative producers, and therefore lonely, aging people, and that a richer generation of children and youths has already been born, to whom they can only dedicate themselves as teachers. Of all feelings, this is the strangest for them. This is why they cannot accept their existence and are ill-prepared to live with the children from the outset—for that is what is involved in being a teacher—because children have not yet entered the sphere of loneliness . Because they do acknowledge the process of aging, they idle their time away. To have admitted their yearning for a beautiful childhood and worthy youth is the precondition of creativity. Without that admission, without the regret for a greatness missed, no renewal of their lives can be possible. It is the fear of loneliness that is responsible for their lack of erotic commitment, a fear of surrendering themselves. They measure themselves against their fathers, not against posterity, and this is how they salvage the illusion of their youth. Their friendship is bereft of greatness and loneliness. That expansive friendship between creative minds, with its snese of infinity and its concern for humanity as a whole even when those minds are alone together or when they experience yearning in solitude, has no place in the lives of university students. In its place, there is only that fraternizing which is both unbridled and personally limited.”
-Walter Benjamin, “The Life of Students” p. 46

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