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As You Wish

As with many people, certain lines from favorite books and writings stick with me. Some are the sort that lend themselves being used and repeated, others are the kind that simply pop into my head at random times.

Here are a few of my favorites. I will fully admit that I have paraphrased a few or even not gotten some quite right. But you know what? That means that they ring so true for me and have become so much part of my life that I've incorporated them into myself.


As you wish: Princess Bride by William Goldman. Yes, I know, I know - it's quite a well known movie. But as good as the movie is (and it is very good), the original novel is even better. The line is, at its core, a never ending and deepest heart statement of the willingness to do anything for someone you love. And yes, I watch Hallmark movies ;)

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eye: Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein. I was corrupted early on by Heinlein. I devoured his juveniles by about age ten and had moved on to his adult fiction by eleven or twelve. Everyone not has only their own agenda but their own perspective on the world and themselves. It helps me try to find common ground with other folks.

Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet you can't win.

and also

If the cards are stacked against you, reshuffle the deck.

A twofer. The first is another from Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, the second from one of John D. McDonald's Travis McGee novels, The Turquoise Lament. A reminder that the world can be a harsh and unfair place, but it's the only game in town. You do what you can, when you can, to improve the odds.

It isn't time to worry: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It may not come across as the most cuddly statement a parent can offer their child during rough or scary times, but I think it does two things. It's a reassurement that whatever is going on, it will pass and is nothing to sweat too much, and that the parent is there, keeping an eye on things.

Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. When everyone else leaves, I'm still right here, so I might as well try to be comfortable with myself.

Let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I joke around about hoping my robot body is ready when my current one falls apart. Time keeps chugging along and at some point, mine will run out (maybe). I try not to waste it on unimportant stuff. Note that I didn't say 'little stuff' because I long ago decided it's the little things that often matter the most.

And finally...

And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion: Carl Sandburg's poem, Happiness. It's the closing line to the piece about a man going around, asking people and trying to figure out what is happiness.

I reckon he found the answer, and I'm pretty damn close.

Let me know what some of yours are!

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