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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thomas Wolfe

 I read books not for the story, but for the author's mind - for some scrap to identify with in this too big world of surface skating by one another, rarely breaching the gap between souls. I know Thomas Wolfe better than most of the people now in my world. Because he has given me a glimpse into his soul, now resting in the great earth he spoke of so mystically...
"Was it at such a moment—engine-smoke, a station, a street, the sound of time, a face that came and passed and vanished, could not be forgot—HERE or HERE or HERE, at such a moment of man’s unrecorded memory, that he breathed fury from the air, that fury came?
He never knew; but now mad fury gripped his life, and he was haunted by the dream of time. Ten years must come and go without a moment’s rest from fury, ten years of fury, hunger, all of the wandering in a young man’s life. And for what? For what?
What is the fury which this youth will feel, which will lash him on against the great earth for ever? It is the brain that maddens with its own excess, the heart that breaks from the anguish of its own frustration. It is the hunger that grows from everything it feeds upon, the thirst that gulps down rivers and remains insatiate. It is to see a million men, a million faces and to be a stranger and an alien to them always. It is to prowl the stacks of an enormous library at night, to tear the books out of a thousand shelves, to read in them with the mad hunger of the youth of man.
It is to have the old unquiet mind, the famished heart, the restless soul; it is to lose hope, heart, and all joy utterly, and then to have them wake again, to have the old feeling return with overwhelming force that he is about to find the thing for which his life obscurely and desperately is groping—for which all men on this earth have sought—one face out of the million faces, a wall, a door, a place of certitude and peace and wandering no more. For what is it that we Americans are seeking always on this earth? Why is it we have crossed the stormy seas so many times alone, lain in a thousand alien rooms at night hearing the sounds of time, dark time, and thought until heart, brain, flesh and spirit were sick and weary with the thought of it: “Where shall I go now? What shall I do?”" - Thomas Wolfe

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