“writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. we are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. it's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. you can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
- anne lamott

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Franny and Zooey

"You still can't love a Jesus as much as you'd like to who did and said a couple of things he was at least reported to have said or done--and you know it. You're constitutionally unable to love or understand any son of God who throws tables around. And you're constitutionally unable to love or understand any son of God who says a human being, any human being--even a Professor Tupper--is more valuable to God than any soft, helpless Easter chick... God almighty, Franny. If you're going to say the Jesus Prayer, at least say it to Jesus and not to St. Francis and Seymour and Heidi's grandfather all wrapped up in one. Keep him in mind if you say it, and him only, and him as he was and not as you'd like him to have been."

"Don't go screaming about egos in general. In my opinion, if you really want to know, half the nastiness in the world is stirred up by people who aren't using their true egos."

"The part that stumps me, really stumps me, is that I can't see why anybody...would even want to say the prayer to a Jesus who was the least bit different from the way he looks and sounds in the New Testament. My God! who besides Jesus really knew which end was up?... Don't tell me Moses. He was a nice man, and he kept beautifully in touch with his God, and all that--but that's exactly the point. He had to keep in touch. Jesus realized there is no separation from God."

"Who else, for example, would have kept his mouth shut when Pilate asked for an explanation?
But most of all, above everything else, who in the Bible besides Jesus knew--knew--that we're carrying the Kingdom of Heaven around with us, inside, where we're all too goddam stupid and sentimental and unimaginative to look?"

"You have the right to work, but for the work's sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work...Be even tempered in success and failure.. Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. -Bhagavad Gita."

"One thing I know...if it's the religious life you want, you ought to know right now that you're missing out on every single goddam religious actions that's going on around this house. You don't even have sense enough to drink when somebody brings you a cup of consecrated chicken soup--which is the only kind of chicken soup Bessie ever brings to anybody around this madhouse."

"You can say the Jesus Prayer from now til doomsday, but if you don't realize that the only thing that counts in the religious life is detachment, I don't see how you'll ever move an inch... Desirelessness. 'Cessation from all hankerings.' It's this business of desiring, if you want to know the goddam truth, that makes an actor in the first place...Somewhere along the lines--in one damn incarnation or another, if you like--you not only had a hankering to be an actor or actress but to be a good one. You're stuck with it now. You can't just walk out on the results of your own hankerings. Cause and effect, buddy, cause and effect. The only thing you can do now, the only religous thing you can do, is act."

"An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's."

"Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes...I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron...and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them...they couldn't seem them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it.

...I'll tell you a terrible secret-- Are you listening to me? There is anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady... Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know--listen to me, now--don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?... Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy."

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