Elder Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 223 quotes )
I just can't help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems..." And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?" I demanded. They'd die more like mad dogs, I think--snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails." I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolation of literature?" In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system." Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested. No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!
Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.
For some people, the time differentials established in youth never really disappear: the elder remains the elder, even when both are dribbling greybeards. For some people, a gap of, say, five months means that one will perversely always think of himself--herself--as wiser and more knowledgeable than the other, whatever the evidence to the contrary. Or perhaps I should say because of the evidence to the contrary. Because it is perfectly clear to any objective observer that the balance has shifted to the marginally younger person, the other one maintains the assumption of superiority all the more rigorously. All the more neurotically.
Young Castle called me "Scoop." "Good Morning, Scoop. What's new in the word game?"I might ask the same of you," I replied. I'm thinking of calling a general strike of all writers until mankind finally comes to its senses. Would you support it?"Do writers have a right to strike? That would be like the police or the firemen walking out."Or the college professors."Or the college professors," I agreed. I shook my head. "No, I don't think my conscience would let me support a strike like that. When a man becomes a writer, I think he takes a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed."I just can't help thinking what a real shake up it would give people if, all of a sudden, there were no new books, new plays, new histories, new poems..."And how proud would you be when people started dying like flies?" I demanded. They'd die more like mad dogs, I think--snarling & snapping at each other & biting their own tails."I turned to Castle the elder. "Sir, how does a man die when he's deprived of the consolation of literature?"In one of two ways," he said, "petrescence of the heart or atrophy of the nervous system."Neither one very pleasant, I expect," I suggested. No," said Castle the elder. "For the love of God, both of you, please keep writing!
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Whatever his elders told him to do, he did. They told him to look before he leaped, and he always looked before he leaped. They told him never to put off until the next day what he could do the day before, and he never did. He was told to honor his father and his mother, and he honored his father and his mother. He was told that he should not kill, and he did not kill, until he got into the Army. Then he was told to kill, and he killed. He turned the other cheek on every occasion and always did unto others exactly as he would have had others do unto him. When he gave to charity, his left hand never knew what his right hand was doing. He never once took the name of the Lord his God in vain, committed adultery or coveted his neighbor's ass. In fact, he loved his neighbor and never even bore false witness against him. Major Major's elders disliked him because he was such a flagrant nonconformist.
(W)hy is poetry wholly an elderly taste? When I was twenty I could not for the life of me read Shakespeare for pleasure; now it lights me as I walk to think I have two acts of King John tonight, and shall next read Richard the Second. It is poetry that I want now -- long poems. I want the concentration and the romance, and the words all glued together, fused, glowing; having no time to waste any more on prose. When I was twenty I liked Eighteenth Century prose; now it's poetry I want, so I repeat like a tipsy sailor in the front of a public house.
Two bodies attract each other directly as the product of their masses and inversely as the square of their distance.' It sounds like a rule for simple physical facts, does it not? Yet it is nothing of the sort; it was the poetical way the old ones had of expressing the rule of propinquity which governs the emotion of love. The bodies referred to are human bodies, mass is their capacity for love. Young people have a greater capacity for love than the elderly; when thy are thrown together they fall in love, yet when they are separated they soon get over it. 'Out of sight, out of mind.' It's as simple as that. But you were seeking some deep meaning for it.
Our young people think about nothing more than love affairs and pleasure. They spend more time attempting to seduce and dishonor young women than in thinking about their country's welfare. Our women, in order to take care of the house and family of God, forget their own. Our men limit their activities to vice and their heroics to shameful acts. Children wake up in a fog of routine, adolescents live out their best years without ideals, and their elders are sterile, and only serve to corrupt our young people by their example.
If youth is the season of hope, it is often so only in the sense that our elders are hopeful about us; for no age is so apt as youth to think its emotions, partings, and resolves are the last of their kind. Each crisis seems final, simply because it is new. We are told that the oldest inhabitants in Peru do not cease to be agitated by the earthquakes, but they probably see beyond each shock, and reflect that there are plenty more to come.
The three of them set out every morning on adventures of their own kind. Once, an elderly professor of literature, Mrs. Taggart's friend, saw them on top of a pile in a junk yard, dismantling the carcass of an automobile. He stopped, shook his head and said to Francisco, 'A young man of your position ought to spend his time in libraries, absorbing the culture of the world.' 'What do you think I'm doing?' asked Francisco.
And there is no better reason for preferring this elderberry bush than that it stirs an early memory, that it is no novelty in my life, speaking to me merely through my present sensibilities to form and colour, but the long companion of my existence that wove itself into my joys when joys were vivid.
As we grow older we become more conscious of the complexity, incoherence, and unreasonableness of human beings; this indeed is the only excuse that offers for the middle-aged or elderly writer, whose thoughts should more properly be turned to graver matters, occupying himself with the trivial concerns of imaginary people. For if the proper study of mankind is man it is evidently more sensible to occupy yourself with the coherent, substantial, and significant creatures of fiction than with the irrational and shadowy figures of real life.
Such are the visions which ceaselessly float up, pace beside, put their faces in front of, the actual thing; often overpowering the solitary traveller and taking away from him the sense of the earth, the wish to return, and giving him for substitute a general peace, as if (so he thinks as he advances down the forest ride) all this fever of living were simplicity itself; and myriads of things merged in one thing; and this figure, made of sky and branches as it is, had risen from the troubled sea (he is elderly, past fifty now) as a shape might be sucked up out of the waves to shower down from her magnificent hands, compassion, comprehension, absolution. So, he thinks, may I never go back to the lamplight; to the sitting-room; never finish my book; never knock out my pipe; never ring for Mrs. Turner to clear away; rather let me walk on to this great figure, who will, with a toss of her head, mount me on her streamers and let me blow to nothingness with the rest.
What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of the tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life?—startling, unexpected, unknown? For one moment she felt that if they both got up, here, now on the lawn, and demanded an explanation, why it was so short, why was it so inexplicable, said it with violence, as two fully equipped human beings from whom nothing should be hid might speak, then, beauty would roll itself up; the space would fill; those empty flourishes would form into shape; if they shouted loud enough Mrs. Ramsay would return. “Mrs. Ramsay!” she said aloud, “Mrs. Ramsay!” The tears ran down her face.
There, on the soft sand, a few feet away from our elders, we would sprawl all morning, in a petrified paroxysm of desire, and take advantage of every blessed quirk in space and time to touch each other: her hand, half-hidden in the sand, would creep toward me, its slender brown fingers sleepwalking nearer and nearer; then, her opalescent knee would start on a long cautious journey; sometimes a chance rampart built by younger children granted us sufficient concealment to graze each other's salty lips; these incomplete contacts drove our healthy and inexperienced young bodies to such a state of exasperation that not even the cold blue water, under which we still clawed at each other, could bring relief.
Her suspicions seethed. Over sixty, with a life of violence behind him, Buccleuch had been a broken man after the affair at Liddel Castle. More recently, however, the light of purpose had entered his eye, and, nimble as an elderly rectangular goblin, he had vanished and reappeared at Branxholm until they had all gone off their food.
The poet Robert Browning caused considerable consternation by including the word twat in one of his poems, thinking it an innocent term. The work was Pippa Passes, written in 1841 and now remembered for the line "God's in His heaven, all's right with the world." But it also contains this disconcerting passage: Then owls and batsCowls and twatsMonks and nuns in a cloister's moods,Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!Browning had apparently somewhere come across the word twat--which meant precisely the same then as it does now--but pronounced it with a flat a and somehow took it to mean a piece of headgear for nuns. The verse became a source of twittering amusement for generations of schoolboys and a perennial embarrassment to their elders, but the word was never altered and Browning was allowed to live out his life in wholesome ignorance because no one could think of a suitably delicate way of explaining his mistake to him.
IF anybody had been there to observe the gentle-looking elderlylady who stood meditatively on the loggia outside her bungalow, they would have thought she had nothing more on her mind thandeliberation on how to arrange her time that day. An expedition, perhaps, to Castle Cliff; a visit to Jamestown; a nice drive andlunch at Pelican Point_ or just a quiet morning on the beach. But the gentle old lady was deliberating quite other matters. Shewas in a militant mood.
Mortality is a school of suffering and trials. We are here that we may be educated in a school of suffering and of fiery trials, which school was necessary for Jesus, our Elder Brother, who, the scriptures tell us,?was made perfect through suffering? It is necessary that we suffer in all things, that we may be qualified and worthy to rule, and govern all things, even as our Father in Heaven and His eldest son, Jesus.
Therefore was I created with a stubborn outside, with an aspect of iron, that when I come to woo ladies, I fright them. But, in faith, Kate, the elder I wax, the better I shall appear. My comfort is that old age, that ill layer-up of beauty, can do no more spoil upon my face. Thou hast me, if thou hast me, at the worst, and thou shalt wear me, if thou wear me, better and better.