Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eavesdropping in on a Cyclical Conversation by Carl Hancock Rux

James Baldwin:I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

Anton Chekhov: (to Baldwin): Write only of what is important and eternal.

Luigi Pirandello: (to Baldwin) The man, the writer, the instrument of the creation will die, but his creation does not die.

Virginia Woolf: (to the room) To write weekly, to write daily, to write shortly, to write for busy people catching trains in the morning or for tired people coming home in the evening, is a heartbreaking task for men who know good writing from bad. They do it, but instinctively draw out of harm's way anything precious that might be damaged by contact with the public, or anything sharp that might irritate its skin.

(an uncomfortable silence)

Baldwin: (retrieving the room) Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.

Randolph S. Bourne: History remembers only the brilliant failures and the brilliant successes.

Charles Seignobos: (slightly disagreeing) History is not a science; it is a method.

Napolean: (emphatically disagreeing) History is a myth that men agree to believe!

Jakob Burckhardt: History is still in large measure poetry to me.

Napolean: (still too emphatic) History is the invention of historians!

Baldwin: (trying to retrieve the room once again) Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know.

Hegel: (refreshing everyone’s glass) We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit...or professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest.

Baldwin: (catching himself in the mirror, eyes wet and glassy) You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

Harry Truman: It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Hegel: The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything.

Baldwin: (looking for a match) A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.

William Adams: (lighting Baldwin's cigarette) My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.

Hegel: Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

Baldwin: (turning to Hegel) It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

Alvin Toffler: (throwing his wine glass to the floor) The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Oscar Wilde: (making his exit plucking a flower from a table arrangement; pins it to his coat's lapel) Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.

Eartha Kitt: (making her entrance plucking the flower from Wilde's lapel; tosses it into the fire) I am learning all the time--the tombstone will be my diploma.

carl hancock rux


Karen Cellini said...

I lifted my head from the well worn pillow, and followed ghosts of the past, to this conversation. I raise my eyes and notice a golden tent, created by Mother Nature. The morning sun illuminates the path, and I enter the wood, no longer abandoned by what I could not see, yesterday.

Linette said...

Provocative conversation. Enjoyed it immensely. Sheer brilliance!