A Quick One, by Way of Henry Miller

It’s my birthday. I have a party to get ready for. So whilst I have no intention of shirking today’s writing all together, I’m afraid I do not have the luxury of being able to sit here indefinitely, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd, and hoping for the Muse to whisper into my ear.

And so with time being of the essence, I decided to rifle through my Ralph Lauren shoebox of notecards for something pertinent and meaningful to share on my birthday. On each notecard is a quote or passage that meant enough to me at the time I came across it to go to the effort of copying it out by hand.

I rifled through, thinking that what would be most meaningful would be something I had copied down so long ago as to have forgotten it completely. But that’s not what happened.

The very first card on the pile – something I copied out at the start of this week after reading it in an article on the amazing brainpickings website – summed up perfectly what I wanted to say to you.

“If at eighty you’re not a cripple or an invalid, if you have your health, if you still enjoy a good walk, a good meal (with all the trimmings), if you can sleep without first taking a pill, if birds and flowers, mountains and sea still inspire you, you are a most fortunate individual and you should get down on your knees morning and night and thank the good lord for his savin’ and keepin’ power…

“If you are young in years but already weary in spirit, already on the way to becoming an automaton, it may do you good to say to your boss – under your breath, of course – “Fuck you, Jack! You don’t own me!”…

“If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive your parents for the crime of bringing you into the world, if you are content to get nowhere, just take each day as it comes, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter, and cynical, man you’ve it half licked.”

Henry Miller – “On Turning Eighty”

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