Saturday, September 11, 2010

Two Quotes, Somehow Related

Henry David Thoreau:

Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having had time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals three times a day, and give each other a new taste of that old musty cheese that we are. We have had to agree on a certain set of rules, called etiquette and politeness, to make this frequent meeting tolerable and that we need not come to open war. We meet at the post-office, and at the sociable, and about the fireside every night; we live thick and are in each other's way, and stumble over one another, and I think that we thus lose some respect for one another. Certainly less frequency would suffice for all important and hearty communications ... The value of a man is not in his skin, that we should touch him.
Today, etiquette is as antiquated as, say, citing Henry David Thoreau; and yet, so too is the practice of meeting at the post-office and at three daily meals. So where does that leave us? I have no idea.

Jonathan Franzen:
People who have a depressive cast of mind are usually the funniest people you meet, and there's nothing like putting a couple of Eeyores into the text to make it at least a little bit funny. What else? Why did I want depressives in here? It's, you know, most interesting people become somewhat depressed at some point in their life, and I'm not writing books for people whose lives are perfectly great. People whose lives are perfectly great probably don't need to read books like the kind I write.

Only if you have some regular connection with some kind of darkness or difficulty or conflict does serious fiction begin to matter. [emphasis mine]
I report, you decide.

1 comment:

Eric Beyer said...

Thank you for sharing these quotes. They inspire a great deal of thought. Regarding the second quote... I never thought about serious fiction that way, but I suppose it's true.