Don’t make no false pretense

‘Tea Cake, you sure you want me tuh go tuh dis picnic wid yuh?’

‘Me scramble ’round tuh git de money tuh take yuh – been workin’ lak uh dawg for two whole weeks – and she come astin’ me if Ah want her tuh go!  Puttin’ mahself tuh ul whole heap uh trouble tuh git dis car so  you kin go over tuh Winter Park or Orlandah tuh buy de things you might need and dis woman set dere and ask me if Ah want her tuh go?

‘Don’t git mad, Tea Cake, Ah just didn’t want you doin’ nothin’ outa politeness.    If dere’s somebody else you’d ruther take, it’s all right wid me.’

‘Naw, it ain’t all right wid you.   If it was you wouldn’t be sayin’ dat.   Have de nerve tuh say what you mean.’

‘Well, all right, Tea Cake.  Ah wants tuh go wid you real bad, but, – oh, Tea Cake, don’t make no false pretense wid me!’


Hurston, Zora Neale.  Their Eyes were watching God.  United States of America:   JP Lippincott Company.  1937


She found love .. eventually

Janie debated the matter that night in bed.

‘Logan, you ‘sleep?’

‘If Ah wuz, you’d be done woke me up callin’ me’.

Ah wuz thinking’ real hard about us, about you and me.

‘It’s about time.  Youse powerful independent around here sometimes considerin’.’

‘Considering whut for instance?’

‘Considerin’ youse born in a carriage ‘thut no top to it, and your mama and you being’ born and raised in de white folks back-yard.’

‘You did’t say all that when you wuz begging Nanny for me to marry you.’

‘Ah though you would ‘preciate good treatment.  Thoughts Ah’d take and make somethin’ outa yuh.  You think youse white folks by de way you act.’

‘S’posin’ Ah wuz to run off and leave yuh sometime.’

There!  Janie had put words to his held-in fears.  She might run off sure enough.  The thought put a terrible ache in Logan’s body, but he thought it best to put on scorn.

‘Ah’m gettin’ sleepy Janie.  Let’s don’t talk no mo’. ‘Tain’t too many mens would trust yuh, knowin’ yo’ folks lak dey do.’


Hurston, Zora Neale.  Their Eyes were watching God.  United States of America:   JP Lippincott Company.  1937

The Alchemy of Suffering

Well, whispered the king with his dying breath.  “The history of men?”

His friend gazed steadily at him and, as the king was about to die, he said:

“They suffer, Majesty.”

Yes they suffer, at every moment and throughout the world.  Some die when they’ve just been born; some when they’ve just given birth.  Every second, people are murdered, tortured, beaten, maimed, separated from their loved ones.   Others are abandoned, betrayed, expelled, rejected.  Some are killed out of hatred, greed, ignorance, ambition, pride, or envy.   Mothers lose their children, children lose their parents.  The ill pass in never-ending procession through the hospitals.  Some suffer with no hope of being treated, others are treated with no hope of being cured.  The dying endure their pain, and the survivors their mourning.  Some die by hunger, cold, exhaustion;  others are charred by fire, crushed by rocks, or swept away by the waters.

This is true not only for human beings.  Animals devour each other in the forests, the savannahs, the oceans, and the skies.  At any given moment tens of thousands of them are being killed by humans, at the hands of their owners, bearing heavy burdens, in chains their entire lives;  still others are hunted, fished, trapped between teeth of steel, strangled in snares, smothered under nets, tortured for their flesh, their musk, their ivory, their bones, their fur, their skin, thrown into boiling water or flayed alive.

These are not mere words but a reality that is an intrinsic part of our daily lives:  death, the transitory nature of all things, and suffering.  Though we may feel overwhelmed by it all, powerless before so much pain, turning away from it is only indifference or cowardice.  We must be intimately concerned with it, and do everything we possibly can to relieve the suffering.

RICARD, Matthieu.  Happiness – a guide to developing life’s most important skill. New York:  Little, Brown and Company. 2006


The medicinal benefit of books

‘Let’s stick to Monsieur Jordan for the moment.  Monsieur Jordan, if you don’t mind.   You see, I sell books like medicine.  There are books that are suitable for a million people, others only for a hundred.   There are even medicines – sorry books – that were written for one person only.’

‘Oh God.  One person?  A single person?  After all those years of work?’

‘Of course – if it saves that person’s life!  That customer didn’t need Night right now.  She couldn’t have coped with it.   The side effects are too severe.’

Jordan considered this.   He looked at the thousands of books on the freighter – on the bookshelves, on the chairs and piled on the floor.

‘But how can you know what a person’s problem is and what the side effects are?’

Now, how was he to explain to Jordan that he didn’t know exactly how he did it.

George, Nina.  The Little Paris Bookshop. London:  Abacus. 2015 (translated by Simon Para)

At the end of the day

“Shortly before midnight Jean raised his glass.

‘Thank you,’ he said.  ‘For friendship. For truth.  And for this unbelievably delicious meal.’

They all raised their glasses.  Their clinking sounded like a bell tolling for the end of their journey together.”

George, Nina.  The Little Paris Bookshop. Abacus. 2015 (translated by Simon Para)

Blogging Books & Writing

“Between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be!” – anon.

Maybe it is time to share some of the other blogs about books and reading that I have been enjoying over recent months and sneaking a peak at now and then …

Seth Adam Smith – check out this post for a little motivation..

Illustrated Bites – has recently published a delightful book.

Free Mind Paradigm – lots of interesting quotes, essays and recommended reading & listening.

Lily and Such Small Hands – she writes about books she reads and likes as well as other books that creates a curiosity about life.

Let’s not forget the writing and reading we do each day with those emails and text messages – so check out this post by Jeffery Moore at Everyday Power.

Leaves and Cobwebs – snippets of interesting quotes, thoughts on the experiences of writing and a little poetry.


Stop Worrying

I was stunned by my failure.  It was almost as if someone had struck me a blow on the head.  My stomach, my insides, began to twist and turn.  For a while I was so worried I could not sleep…

Finally common sense reminded me that worry wasn’t getting me anywhere;  so I figured out a way to handle my problem without worrying.  It worked superbly.   I have been using this same anti-worry technique for more than thirty years.  It is simple.

  1. Ask yourself “what is the worst that can possibly happen?”
  2. Prepare yourself to accept it if you have to.
  3. Then calmly proceed to improve on the worst.

I probably would never have been able to do this [reduce my business loss of $20,000] if I had kept on worrying, because one of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our ability to concentrate.  When we worry, our minds jump here and there and everywhere, and we lose all power of decision.  However, when we force ourselves to face the worst and accept it mentally, we then eliminate all those vague imaginings and put ourselves in a position in which we are able to concentrate on our problem.

Carnegie, Dale. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Suffolk: The Chaucer Press, 1948.

Quotes … on the spiritual dance of life!

‘Life is hardly ever what it seems, thank God!’   –  Bo Lozoff.

‘An old woman, when asked why she was always cheerful, replied:  “Well, I wear this world like a loose garment!”‘     –   Unknown.

‘All his life a man struggles to reach the top of the ladder, and finally he does – only to discover it’s against the wrong wall!’   –   Unknown.

‘Be careful what you set your heart upon for someday it shall be yours and when I un-set my heart upon something I breathe more deeply and feel more free.  Narrow escape!’    –   Barry Stevens.

JEFFERS, Susan.  End the Struggle and Dance with Life. Great Britain:  Hodder and Stoughton  2005.  252 pp. (non-fiction)

Floods of Tears

But trying to uphold the fantasy that this is the best of all possible worlds is a difficult thing for the mind to do in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Just reading the daily newspaper should cause the slightest bit of doubt.  Yet I kept holding all the pain within me and around me.  It was as though I was holding my finger in the hole of the proverbial dike, trying to hold back the flood of tears that lived with me.   But the dike would leak every once in a while, as it did when I saw the pain on that little boy’s face as his lunch spilled all over the ground.

One day the dike cracked open and I could no longer hold back the flood.   I realized that all the hunger, greed, illness, unfairness, pain and horror in the world was real.   It was not a fragment of anyone’s imagination or a result of negative thinking.  The despair poured all over me and through me.   What a blow to a well-defended personality.  It took a while to absorb the shock of my despair and restructure my life in a more genuine and life-affirming way.   But it was well worth the effort.

Having made the Land of Tears an integral part of my life so many years ago has had enormous benefits.   In the first place, I’ve joined the human race.   When I watch the struggle of others, I can connect with my own struggle, and we are no longer strangers.   I don’t have to turn away.   I can embrace them and their pain and let them know they are not alone.  I’m a lot kinder and more patient, and that makes me feel good.   I’ve learned to judge others a lot less harshly, remembering that deep within them exists their own Land of Tears, no matter how they may appear on the outside.  What they do and say is just their way of handling hurt.

JEFFERS, Susan.  End the Struggle and Dance with Life. Great Britain:  Hodder and Stoughton  2005.  252 pp. (non-fiction)

Land of Tears

As I sat looking out the window, I noticed a group of schoolchildren walking in twos, heading for the park.   It was a warm sunny day in May and the children’s giggles and chatter put a smile on my face.  Each child carried a lunch bag filled with little treasures that some caring person had placed there earlier that morning.

My reverie was suddenly shattered when one little boy’s lunch bag burst open, spilling all his treasures on the ground.   As I  watched his anguished gaze fixated on the ruined contents of his bag, I had to turn away.   Somewhere deep within me, it hurt too much, and the tears started rolling down my cheeks.   I was surprised at the well of emotion this little incident had released in me.   My reaction seemed totally inappropriate to the scene that had occurred.

What was going on within me?

I realized that this was not the first time I had felt this puzzling depth of emotion over some relatively innocuous scene that I had witnessed.   This was not the first time that some situation outside myself had touched that place within that I had come to call the Land of Tears.   I knew that the deep sadness that I felt had nothing to do with what was happening in my life at the time.   In fact, my life was rich with meaningful work and the love of my family and caring friends.  No, the sadness was not about my personal story, but something much broader, much more significant than that.  Another perplexing part of the puzzle was that not only did sad things touch the Land of Tears, happy things did as well.   Just watching a family reunited at the airport left me sobbing.

What was that about?

Through much soul searching, I eventually found the answers to my questions.  I came to realize that my tears reflected something I had tried very hard to deny – .

JEFFERS, Susan.  End the Struggle and Dance with Life. Great Britain:  Hodder and Stoughton  2005.  252 pp. (non-fiction)