What would it be like
to live in a library
of melted books.
With sentences streaming over the floor
and all the punctuation
settled to the bottom as a residue.
It would be confusing.
A great adventure.
from “Villette,” Charlotte Brontë
"Happiness is the cure—a cheerful mind the preventive: cultivate both."
No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.
"Cultivate happiness!" I said briefly to the doctor: "do you cultivate happiness? How do you manage?”
About all I could think of were those two nuns that went around collecting dough in those beat-up old straw baskets
"You don’t like anything that’s happening."
It made me even more depressed when she said that.
"Yes I do. Yes I do. Sure I do. Don’t say that. Why the hell do you say that?"
"Because you don’t. You don’t like any schools. You don’t like a million things. You don’t.”
"I do! That’s where you’re wrong—that’s exactly where you’re wrong! Why the hell do you have to say that?" I said. Boy, was she depressing me.
"Because you don’t," she said. "Name one thing."
"One thing? One thing I like?" I said. "Okay."
The trouble was, I couldn’t concentrate too hot. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate.
"One thing I like a lot you mean?" I asked her.
….”You can’t even think of one thing.”
"Yes, I can. Yes, I can."
"Well, do it, then."
"I like Allie," I said. "And I like doing what I’m doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking, and thinking about stuff, and—"
"Allie’s dead—You always say that! If somebody’s dead and everything, and in Heaven, then it isn’t really—"
"I know he’s dead! Don’t you think I know that? I can still like him, though, can’t I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake—especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all."
Old Phoebe didn’t say anything. When she can’t think of anything to say, she doesn’t say a goddam word.
"Anyway, I like it now," I said. "I mean right now. Sitting here with you and just chewing the fat and horsing—"
"That isn’t anything really!"
"It is so something really! Certainly it is! Why the hell isn’t it? People never think anything is anything really. I’m getting goddam sick of it,"