Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quote Analysis

"It wasn't so much desire that led me as my intention not to live like a coward. I was determined to take what life would offer. I didn't want to be the only woman of my generation to hold to standards everyone else had long ago abandoned."

-Anne Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust without Reason. New York: Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, 2011. 19.

I just began reading this book, and I'm already in love with it. The quote above is something that I know I have felt and thought, and that I have a feeling most people go through.

For how do we want to live life? Do we want to strive for an excellence that might not be achievable? I mean, I'm sorry, but the fact is we can't all be rich and famous. Celebrity depends upon and only means something when there is the mediocre, those yearning, the proletariat with which to compare.

So we can strive for whatever we want, but there's never a guarantee that we will achieve it. I can write until my fingers are knobbed and shaking with arthritis, and my wrists crack from carpel tunnel syndrome, but that doesn't mean I'll strike that lucky vein (or marketing team) that Stephenie Meyer did and be able to make a living from it. In fact, with all of these changes recently in the publishing world, it will probably only become harder for the diamonds to glitter among the rough (I'm not saying my work is any good, just that I think a lot more crap is going to be published with the increase of book piracy).

Do we go with what's safe? Can we trust what our parents tell us? All parents do their best, but the fact is that the world changes. People's attitudes generally don't, but it certainly seems that their morals do. The shy, smart girl is generally just considered a stuck-up bitch who won't put out, rather than chased and admired from afar like some John Hughes movie.

Sometimes, we just have to face our fears. That's the only way we can change, the only way that we can improve. For sometimes, we're not perfect just the way we are. To anyone.

And usually, when we feel the safest, that's when we need to change the most.

Anywho, that's what this quote got me thinking about. What about you? There's a lot of meat there, just begging to be chewed over... (Which is my way of saying, please comment below; I'd love to hear your thoughts!)


diamondintherough642 said...

Sounds like you have a lot on your mind! Honestly though isn't the fact that there is no guarantee on success what makes it so great? The fact that you have to take risks and chances? As for what our parents tell us, they grew up in a different era. Go to school to get a good job just doesn't work anymore. We have to do new and different things to get ahead. But that doesn't mean to lower our morals! People need to stop being afraid of failure because it is apart of life! we have to fail in order to succeed at anything! well enjoy.

Shelly Quade said...

I think what's great about the idea of success if achieving more or, at least, the amount of success you were aiming for. A big problem with society these days, however, is that so many of us want a great amount of success. We want the fame. We want the fortune. & worst of all, we feel like failures if we work for it & don't succeed, b/c there are SO MANY instances right in front of our faces, in the tabloids & on-line, in which people who don't deserve & didn't work for anything have everything. Paris Hilton. Jersey Shore. What's next? Walking syphilis becomes famous & publishes a book on the New York Times bestseller list? Oh wait - Snooki already did that.

The amorality mentioned in the quote, which I didn't address, is regarding the '50s-'60s. Everyone seemed to be sleeping with everyone, but these people had been raised to think that having sex without being married was completely wrong (& would prevent you from being married in the first place). Granted, some people still feel this way - I know I was raised that way. Society as a whole, however, doesn't really put the same stigma on pre-marital sex that it used to.

& you're right. You have to fail in order to succeed. But what about those who never succeed? Where does failing become too excessive &, rather than a quest for success, merely become stupidity?

Anyway, thanks for commenting. :)