a diamond for a nickel

“What do they think they’re up to, here? Well, there is the official answer; preparing themselves for life which means a job and security in which to raise children to prepare themselves for life which means a job and security in which. But, despite all the vocational advisers, the pamphlets pointing out to them what good money you can earn if you invest in some solid technical training — pharmacology, let’s say, or accountancy, or the varied opportunities offered by the vast field of electronics — there are still, incredibly enough, quite a few of them who persist in writing poems, novels, plays! Goofy from lack of sleep, they scribble in snatched moments between classes, part-time employment and their married lives. Their brains are dizzy with words as they mop out an operating room, sort mail at a post office, fix baby’s bottle, fry hamburgers. And somewhere, in the midst of their servitude to the must-be, the mad might-be whispers to them to live, know, experience — what? Marvels! The Season in Hell, the Journey to the End of the Night, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the Clear Light of the Void… Will any of them make it? Oh, sure. One, at least. Two or three at most — in all these searching thousands.

Here, in their midst, George feels a sort of vertigo. Oh God, what will become of them all? What chance have they? Ought I to yell out to them, right now, here, that it’s hopeless?

But George knows he can’t do that. Because, absurdly, inadequately, in spite of himself almost, he is a representative of the hope. And the hope is not false. No. It’s just that George is like a man trying to sell a real diamond for a nickel, on the street. The diamond is protected from all but the tiniest few, because the great hurrying majority can never stop to dare to believe that it could conceivably be real.”

A Single Man,” Christoper Isherwood, pg 32.


This entry was published on October 23, 2012 at 8:48 pm. It’s filed under Books, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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