sometimes a man stands up during supper and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking, because of a church that stands somewhere in the East. And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead. And another man, who remains inside his own house, stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses, so that his children have to go far out into the world toward that same church, which he forgot.
It hit me very early on that something was terribly wrong, that I would see silos full of food and supermarkets full of food, and kids starving. . . . In Fair Trade, we see ourselves as this infinitesimal part of the world economy. But somebody's got to come up with an alternative model that says children eating is No. 1.
What can I expect from myself? My sensation in all their horrible acuity, and a profound awareness of feeling. A sharp mind that only destroys me, and an unusual capacity for dreaming to keep me entertained. A dead will and a reflection that cradles it, like a living child. From, The Book of Disquiet
Some of my youthful readers are developing wonderful imaginations. This pleases me. When I was young I longed to write a great novel that should win me fame. Now that I am getting old my first book is written to amuse children. For aside from my evident inability to do anything "great," I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-the-wisp which, when caught, is not worth the possession; but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one's heart and brings its own reward.
That's the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they're suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That's why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster.
I realized the shells were talking in a voice I recognized. I should have; it was my own. Had I always known that? I suppose I had. On some level, unless we're mad, I think most of us know the various voices of our own imaginations. And of our memories, of course. They have voices, too. Ask anyone who has ever lost a limb or a child or a long-cherished dream. Ask anyone who blames himself for a bad decision, usually made in a raw instant (an instant that is most commonly red). Our memories have voices, too. Often sad ones that clamor like raised arms in the dark.