Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Finding The Time And Discipline Needed To Figure Out What Is Important

The following is from Graham Greene’s The End Of The Affair. The starting point is a meeting between a private detective and a novelist. The Mr. Savage in this excerpt is the detective—

” ‘And if there’s anything more you could tell me that would be relevant?’  I remember Mr. Savage had said—a detective must find it as important as a novelist to amass his trivial materials before picking out the right clue. But how difficult that picking out is–the release of the real subject. The enormous pressure of the real world weighs down on us like a peine forte et dure…..How can I disinter the human character from the heavy scene—the daily newspaper, the daily meal, the traffic grinding toward Battersea, the gulls coming up from the Thames looking for bread, and the early summer of 1939 glinting on the park where the children sailed their boats—one of those bright condemned pre-war summers?”  ( Please see the bottom of the post for what peine forte et dure means and where Battersea is located.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the time to sit and think— or maybe take a walk and think— and to be able to sift out what’s important from what’s not important or not as important? 

I recall the Japanese Tea Garden (picture below) in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco as a place where I felt I could think. But I’ve only been there once and may never go again.

The time and effort to think things through, must, when all is said and done, be summoned as act of personal discipline and good use of time.

( I’ve looked up what peine forte et dure means–It was a form of punishment for a defendant who refused to plead one way or another to a crime. Heavier and heavier stones would be placed on his chest until he either made a plea or died. Battersea is a section of London running along the River Thames—I had to look that up as well.)

February 4, 2008 - Posted by | Books, Uncategorized | , , , ,

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