Saturday, February 10, 2007

Archive of the Day

From Answered Prayers by Truman Capote:
"Now," she said, startlingly down to business, "tell me what you expect from life. Fame and fortune aside -- those we take for granted." I said, "I don't know what I expect. I know what I'd like. And that is to be a grown-up person."

Colette's painted eyelids lifted and lowered like the slowly beating wings of a great blue eagle. "But that," she said, "is the one thing none of us can ever be: a grown-up person. If you mean a spirit clothed in the sack and ash of wisdom alone? Free of all mischief -- envy and malice and greed and guilt? Impossible. Voltaire, even Voltaire, lived with a child inside him, jealous and angry, a smutty little boy always smelling his fingers. Voltaire carried that child to his grave, as we all will to our own. The pope on his balcony . . . dreaming of a pretty face among the Swiss Guard. And the exquisitely wigged British judge, what is he thinking as he sends a man to the gallows? Of justice and eternity and mature matters? Or is he possibly wondering how he can manage election to the Jockey Club? Of course, men have grown-up moments, a noble few scattered here and there, and of these, obviously death is the most important. Death certainly sends that smutty little boy scuttling and leaves what's left of us simply an object, lifeless but pure, like The White Rose. Here"--she nudged the flowered crystal toward me--"drop that in your pocket. Keep it as a reminder that to be durable and perfect, to be in fact grown-up, is to be an object, an altar, the figure in a stained-glass window: cherishable stuff. But really, it is so much better to sneeze and feel human."


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