Beautiful words. I’ve spent the morning researching ideas and concepts for my digital album track I’ll be teaching at CKU, and I’ve come across so much beautiful, inspiring writing.
Here’s an entire article in the New York Times from Annie Dillard, which was reprinted in her book, The Writing Life
Write Til You Drop by Annie Dillard
The whole essay is majestic. But this paragraph stuck out to me today (emphasis added):
Why are we reading, if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness, and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power? What do we ever know that is higher than that power which, from time to time, seizes our lives, and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves as creatures set down here bewildered? Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We still and always want waking.
And something caught my memory this morning and had me dashing for my Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson. I found the one I was looking for, and also found this one, which is strikingly similar to the one above. This is from Emerson’s groundbreaking Divinity School Address.
For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up in the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we inly were. “Divinity School Address” (p 113)
For Dillard it’s a power that seizes our lives, and for Emerson it’s other souls. But the idea of these flashes of light coming in to our lives is amazing. I have experienced them both - both the power and the other people. I didn’t expect to make friends - lifelong friends - at the CK events last year, for example. But they’ve come into my life and changed me forever. Given me the freedom, like Emerson says, to be what I really am. I love the idea of great friends and great words as light. As illumination. Maybe they help me see my own self better. Maybe they just make everything around me feel a little brighter. I don’t know. And technically I’m no closer to solving the riddles that’ll be the design of my CKU class. But I feel as though I can live a little more honestly, and a little more keenly, having read these two things today. It’s not always about days and schedules and to-do lists. And maybe that’s just as good. :)