Wednesday, June 20, 2012


When I read, I take notes, I underline sentences and paragraphs, and often, if I don't want to interrupt the reading flow, I just jot down the page number when there is something I know I will want to come back to. I have a notebook by my bedside just for that purpose.

There are excerpts that are moving or thought-provoking, or it may be the beauty of a certain arrangement of words. I keep them all in various books and folders and I love revisiting them; they take me back to the book in question, to a particular time in my life, and they trigger feelings, ideas and new ways of thinking. Some seem so familiar, others surprise me on re-reading.

And then there are those that I know by heart and they keep returning and I cannot get them out of my head for weeks.

Recently these two passages have been haunting me:

"It's not that. Honestly. It's just that I don't know who you are."
There was a silence. "Don't talk riddles," he whispered. 
"I'm not. I really don't know who you are."
If he couldn't see her face, at least he could touch it. He did so with a blind man's delicacy, drawing his fingertips from her temple down into the hollow of her cheek.
"And even if I did," she said, "I'm afraid it wouldn't help, because you see I don't know who I am, either."

(p. 262, Yates, Richard: Revolutionary Road, Vintage, London 2009) *

"I once started to work from a model and I was painting her breasts one day when I had the extremely strange feeling that there was nothing there. Two days later, she committed suicide."

(pp. 115f., Gayford, Martin: Man With a Blue Scarf. On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud, Thames and Hudson, London 2010)

[* Yates on his central theme: "If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy."]


  1. Good morning, Marina,

    How are you?

    I love taking notes, too. I use twelve coloured markers. They each marking different thoughts as I read.

    My books are covered with marginalia, written microscopically between the printed words. At the top of my pages are titles for the page, if I want to remember the summary of what I learned there.

    Yates' comment is interesting. And I differ. I love being alone, but I've never been lonely. I find loneliness happens when we cease to be at peace with ourselves.

    Because of the nature of my work, I relish time alone. It allows me to sort out not only my thoughts, but my feelings and my connection with God and his will for me.

    Wishing you a great week. I replied to your last comment over at my place. I hope to see you over there, soon.

    1. Twelve markers - wow! That is a good system. I use different colours sometimes, but wouldn't be that disciplined.
      Re Yates's comment - it is quite a bleak view, and I don't agree completely, either. I love being alone (solitude), too. I think he meant it in the sense that ultimately we can never fully know and understand another person and nobody can fully know and understand us. There is another quote by somebody else that says it much better than I did - I must find it. Thank you!

    2. I was just reading about Delacroix, who wrote in his diaries "It is one of the saddest things in life that we can never be completely known and understood by another person."

    3. Hi Marina,
      Thanks for the dialog. I'm not in agreement with Delacroix's perspective. Along with Yate’s comment, it is bleak. I didn't say it's inaccurate. I just see the same circumstances from a different, exciting, positive perspective.

      If I may, I'll elaborate. I believe intimacy is possible (er, I refer to that of the soul, spiritually and emotionally, not sex). And, we can be known; it can be a wonderful relational dance, shared with another. You know me, I'm the attitude of gratitude guy, so I see the complexity of others and myself, and getting to know another, from a positive perspective. I wasn't always positive, that’s another story.

      What a minefield of discovery, relating with another can be! I've learned it requires discretion. I don't open up to just anyone. I filter those I allow into my life, using boundaries. This permits me to let the safe people in and keep those who aren’t out, like a door. For more about that, you might want to check out this post I wrote about character discernment.
      Here’s the link:

      Character Discernment: Necessary for Healthy Relationships

      But once I'm satisfied I'm not relating with a narcissist, toxic individual, or an emotional bully---and I like the person---I slowly unfurl, like the petals of a flower greeting the sun. What an amazing gift an excellent, nurturing friendship is.

      They take time. The race doesn't always go to the swift. There's more to life or relationships than immediate results. Patience brings its gifts, if I'm willing to enjoy the process.

      I love the word intimacy. It comes from two Greek words. "In" which means in, and timao, which is defined as to revere or fear. When we are intimate, we are with a safe person and can be within one other's fears, with no threat of being violated.

      It is a safe environment, each providing the other the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Wow. Yes,it's rare, but possible.

      I enjoy such relationships. They heal my soul, spirit and mind. For more about the distinction between these three parts of us you might want to check out my post "An Un-American Concept, We Are Primarily Spiritual" Here's the link, you'll have to cut and paste it.

      In such a context, “becoming completely known” becomes a luxurious banquet, a wonderful dance. Intimacy is a joy, no longer fraught with fear or nervousness. I am accepted as I am and so are they. We comfortably discuss true soul killers, supporting each other, not just surface issues. There’s a depth plumbed that is both exhilarating and fulfilling. The real us, warts, pimples, boils, and all---steps out. It is embraced. The result is wholeness, lightness and deep, joyful, satisfying intimacy.

      I apologize for the length of this comment. I don’t have the time to shorten it. I have an appointment, I need to get ready. Thank you, for dropping by my place. You improve it, when you do. And may I say it again: you are a gifted woman. Yes, you.

      Wishing you the best, a fellow who lives on a smaller but lovely island. I hope to see you again at the inn.

  2. What a beautiful photo.

    I used to take notes when I read all the time. I have a little book somewhere with all of my favourite words from novels, newspapers, poems, etc. Now I just read, and I think it might have something to do with the fact that I don't write as much as I'd like anymore. I'm working on it!

    1. Thanks, Catherine - it's Galway Bay from the Salthill prom.
      Hope you get back into the writing mode!