This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Monday, June 7, 2010

Quotable Quote

...Or perhaps just food for thought.

Backstory: I regularly scout our county library's Free table, where one can deposit magazines for others to pick up (instead of putting them directly into the city recycling bin.) With three colleges in Conway, it's not surprising that someone subscribes to The New Yorker, although this person does not clear out his or her old issues regularly. A recent find: some 2002 numbers. I read the movie reviews, book reviews, various articles, and (of course) the cartoons, and this works out well since we're about 10 years behind on popular movies, and I'm always scouting for additions to my reading list. One 2002 issue had an article on Yale law professor Stephen L. Carter, who had just published a first novel, a mystery-thriller. (I checked the stacks, and he has four books out in all by now. Judging these books by their covers, ordinarily I would have written these off as lengthy 'block-buster' types of dubious interest; however, the New Yorker article persuaded me that I might want to read this writer.)

I just finished The Emperor of Ocean Park, which was interesting and well-written, if just a touch too much of a strain on my credulity. The best parts of the book are the narrator's reflective descriptions of his thoughts and feelings.

Here is the part I particularly noted--on page 215 of a 600+ page book:

Love is an activity, not a feeling--didn't one of the great theologians say that? Or maybe it was [my father,] who never ceased to stress duty rather than choice as the foundation of a civilized morality. I do not remember who coined the phrase, but I am beginning to understand what it means. True love is not the helpless desire to possess the cherished object of one's fervent affection; true love is the disciplined generosity we require of ourselves for the sake of another when we would rather be selfish.....


  1. Elaine, I liked Stephen Carter's first three books, too, but I have to warn you against his fourth, I think it was called Jericho Falls - one of the most infuriatingly lazy and unreadable stories ever. In fact, I'm getting mad just thinking about it.

    But you have two more good ones to go.

    I hope you had a fun birthday with your kids!

  2. Thanks, Sara. It was WONderful--a lot of laughter, reminiscing, and wordplay. My actual birth day is the 8th, but Sunday counts as 'the real celebration.' Modestly, I must admit these are two of the sweetest offspring ever! Color me lucky. :0)


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