“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”—Bill Watterson (via alesthetique)
“I live my life, you live yours. If you’re clear about what you want, then you can live any way you please. I don’t give a damn what people say. They can be reptile food for all I care.”—Haruki Murakami - Dance Dance Dance (via murakamistuff)
“Go and get a job. Go and find a flat. Find somebody else. Put them in the flat. Make them stay. Get a toaster. Go to work. Get on the bus. Look at your boss. Say, “fuck”. Sit down. Pick up the thing. Go blank. Scream internally. Go home. Listen to the radio. Look at the other person. Think, “WHY? Why did this happen?”. Go to bed. Lie awake! At night! Get up. Feel groggy. Put the things on - your clothes - whatever they’re called. Go out the door, into work - same thing! Same people, again, it’s real, it is happening, to you. Go home again! Sit, Radio, Dinner - mmm, GARDENING, GARDENING, GARDENING, death!”—Dylan Moran (via alesthetique)
“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.”—Richard Walker in Twenty-Four Hours A Day. Taken from writer, Austin Kleon's wonderful post: “Something Small, Every Day.” (via crashinglybeautiful)
The Book of Job enacts the most human and inevitable of tragedies. Job has love, wealth, solidity, community, certainty. And then his world is scoured, and the only purpose given for his harrowing doesn’t seem to even convince the great anonymous poet behind the poem. The poem’s a wrestling with a mystery, the ceaseless process of diminishment and loss.
For your lover to die is not to be guided by fire but immolated by it; to lose what you love, as Job loses his children, is to be entirely plunged into darkness, vulnerable, unprotected by any hedge. And we’re forced to the ultimate question of self-pity: why me? Why did I suffer? Why did I live to lose? Does this have any meaning at all, or is it merely the grinding down of ourselves, the grand arbitrary motions the spheres enact? […]
Remember: life is a breath;
Soon I will vanish from your sight.
The eye that looks will not see me;
You may search, but I will be gone.
Like a cloud fading in the sky,
Man dissolves into death.
He leaves the whole world behind him
And never comes home again.
A characteristically Old Testament vision of human life: a breath caught between two darknesses, a difficulty endurable only through submission to God. Submission to power and law, the acceptance of our lot – an expected stance, and one which Job all at once bracingly, completely belies.
“Therefore,” he says, “I refuse to be quiet…”
This is the opposite of acceptance. Job sees plainly and unflinchingly the unbearably human lot and says, No, I will not have it, I do not understand it, it is not just. Job and his friends need to believe – don’t we all need to believe? – the universe is sane, benign in its orders. Job’s upright friends – righteous men, good spiritual citizens – would have him accept that he must have sinned somehow, must have done something to deserve this. Or at least want him to accept, silently, an incomprehensible will greater than his own.
But Job’s humanity lies in his no-saying. No easy answer, no humble acceptance, NO – I rage against the excoriating process of loss in my life, I will not be silent in the face of it, I refuse to be quiet. I will look at the great black tree of the world through the window of bitterness, the window of misery, I’ll put my face to that dark, and I will say what I see. Silence is submission to the implacable order. For Job, silence equals the death of the self.
“Your life is not an episode of Skins. Things will never look quite as good as they do in a faded, sun-drenched Polaroid; your days are not an editorial from Lula. Your life is not a Sofia Coppola movie, or a Chuck Palahniuk novel, or a Charles Bukowski poem. Grace Coddington isn’t your creative director. Bon Iver and Joy Division don’t play softly in the background at appropriate moments. Your hysterical teenage diary isn’t a work of art. Your room probably isn’t Selby material. Your life isn’t a Tumblr screencap. Every word that comes out of your mouth will not be beautiful and poignant, infinitely quotable. Your pain will not be pretty. Crying till you vomit is always shit. You cannot romanticize hurt. Or sadness. Or loneliness. You will have homework, and hangovers and bad hair days. The train being late won’t lead to any fateful encounters, it will make you late. Sometimes your work will suck. Sometimes you will suck. Far too often, everything will suck - and not in a Wes Anderson kind of way. And there is no divine consolation - only the knowledge that we will hopefully experience the full spectrum - and that sometimes, just sometimes, life will feel like a Coppola film.”—(Letters From Nowhere)