Saturday, December 01, 2007

Who Do You Want to Be Today?

If you're one of the rare brave souls who has ventured to scroll way down on this blog, you may have seen in my sidebar some of the books I've been reading lately. Anyway, I was reading Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury for a minute today (its actually a book that lends itself quite well to brief moments of reading), and came across a real gem of a thought there. An older lady with a penchant for saving ticket stubs and theater programs is upset by the children who refuse to believe that she was young once, but then later that night she has this thought in the form of a rebuke from her deceased husband:
"My dear, you never will understand time, will you? You're always trying to be the things you were, instead of the person you are tonight. Why do you save those ticket stubs and theater programs? They'll only hurt you later. Throw them away my dear....

It won't work...No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now. Time hypnotizes. When you're nine, you think you've always been nine years old and will always be. When you're thirty, it seems you've always been balanced there on that bright rim of middle life. And then when you're seventy, you are always and forever seventy. You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen."
As I read this passage, I thought how true it is. No matter our past, we are only the person we are right now, and we should make the most of today. No sense in beating ourselves up over past failures, or resting on past victories. Who do you want to be today?

6 comments:

Geobadger said...

How was the Golden Compass? Atheistic?

j said...

The Golden Compass is actually pretty tame, although it does take some shots at the Catholic church. Its really the next two books in the series where things take a turn for the atheistic and bizarre. And actually I think thats probably why people are so upset about The Golden Compass -- because it looks like the first in a series of kids adventure books, and then leads into some stories that are more than that. I thought the first book was by far the most entertaining. The next two struggle to make sense at times, and weren't as much fun to read. Maybe because they were trying to hard to push their agenda. I don't know.

j said...

Anyway, if you are aware of that going in, I think the movie could actually be pretty entertaining. To be honest, I don't know how they would even make the next two books into movies, because they really do take some bizarre twists and there are some things that seem like they'd be pretty weird to see on film.

Sakievich said...

"Who Do You Want to Be" is the title to a classic Oingo Boingo song. And apparently Bradbury's latest book is a sequel to Dandelion Wine. Haven't read it yet though.

j said...

Yeah, I actually had that song in my head as I wrote the title for this post.

And Dandelion Wine is really not what I expected, being mostly familiar with Bradbury's sci-fi short stories. So far, not much in the way of sci-fi here, although there have been a few elements here and there. It reads like some kind of "life lessons" book.

Sakievich said...

Bradbury kinda writes all over the board. Realism, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy, whatever suits his fancy. I've got a few collections of his short stories. One of my favorites is Quicker Than the Eye. I was surprised when it came out because I thought he was dead...and that was over ten years ago and he's still kicking out new material.