“If you quoted Bob Dylan or TS Eliot or, god forbid, Brecht at someone these days they would smile politely and step quietly backwards, and who would blame them? Ridiculous, at 38, to expect a song or book or film to change your life.” ― David Nicholls, One Day
I’m sure I’ve talked about movies as comfort food before. You know how you just have those couples of films that you can watch over and over again and it can be like your metaphorical tub of Ben & Jerrys ice cream. Exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. I feel that way about books.
A book. Three hundred odd pages full of words, each working together to evoke the imagination and make you feel
Words. They’re the simplest of things, we write and speak them hundreds of times throughout the average day but we very much underestimate the power that they can hold. For good or for bad, when we open our mouths to speak or put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) we don’t always realise the impact what we say could have on another person.
Do the authors of books that metaphorically turn into a massive warm hug of “it’s okay to feel the way you feel” know when they sit down to write, when they’re picking cover illustrations, when they’re signing their book deal and spending their advance. Do they realise that somewhere in the world there’s a girl whose way of thinking is being changed whilst they sit in a coffee shop with a book with a broken spine and thumbed pages or on a train with their Kindle.
When it comes to books there are two which I’ll profess “changed my life completely”. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert by & One Day by David Nicholls This wasn’t a revelation or akin to discovering Christ or some religious being, it was more that at that moment in time the book resonated and made me think about my life and how I want to conduct myself as a person in that life. I think that’s what all the good books, films or songs can do. Deep? I think it’s the appreciation of things like this that most definitely confirm that I am infact a writer. I like to think so anyway. I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite passages/quotes from the book in the hope that (even out of context) you’ll find them interesting/inspiring/vomit inducing.
“What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”
“He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph.”
“Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance”
“Occasionally, very occasionally, say at four o’clock in the afternoon on a wet Sunday, she feels panic-stricken and almost breathless with loneliness. Once or twice she has been known to pick up the phone to check that it isn’t broken. Sometimes she thinks how nice it would be to be woken by a call in the night: ‘get in a taxi now’ or ‘I need to see you, we need to talk’. But at the best of times she feels like a character in a Muriel Spark novel – independent, bookish, sharp-minded, secretly romantic.”
“You know what i can’t understand? You have all these people telling you all the time how great you are, smart and funny and talented and all that, I mean endlessly, I’ve been telling you for years. So why don’t you believe it? Why do you think people say that stuff, Em? Do you think it’s a conspiracy, people secretly ganging up to be nice about you?”
“You feel a little bit lost right now about what to do with your life, a bit rudderless and oarless and aimless but that’s okay that’s alright because we’re all meant to be like that at twenty-four.”
“She drinks pints of coffee and writes little observations and ideas for stories with her best fountain pen on the linen-white pages of expensive notebooks. Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationery.”
Eat, Pray, Love
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…”
“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
“I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.”
“I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”
“It’s still two human beings trying to get along, so it’s going to be complicated. And love is always complicated. But humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”