Posts Tagged ‘Sherwood Anderson’


“There is a time in the life of every boy when he for the first time takes the backward view of life. Perhaps that is the moment when he crosses the line into manhood. The boy is walking through the street of his town. He is thinking of the future and of the figure he will cut in the world. Ambitions and regrets awake within him. Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name. Ghosts of old things creep into his consciousness; the voices outside of himself whisper a message concerning the limitations of life. From being quite sure of himself and his future he becomes not at all sure. If he be an imaginative boy a door is torn open and for the first time he looks out upon the world, seeing, as though they marched in procession before him, the countless figures of men who before his time have come out of nothingness into the world, lived their lives and again disappeared into nothingness. The sadness of sophistication has come to the boy. With a little gasp he sees himself as merely a leaf blown by the wind through the streets of his village. He knows that in spite of all the stout talk of his fellows he must live and die in uncertainty, a thing blown by the winds, a thing destined like corn to wilt in the sun.”

― Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

“Suddenly something happens; he stops under a tree and waits as for a voice calling his name.

I’ve only read bits and pieces of the writings of Sherwood Anderson but the paragraph above always knocks me out. It feels like he was somehow following me from his distant past and witnessed me stopping under ten thousand trees through the years, waiting for that voice to call out my name. He saw the uncertainty that marks my living days and saw my early recognition of our mortality, that those living days must someday end.

I want to say that I like this bit of prose simply because it’s a beautiful piece of writing but even now, my own uncertainty won’t allow that. How do I know what is good or beautiful?

It just feels that way to me because it comes so close to the bone, leaving me cut to the core.

Maybe that’s the definition of beauty.

Who the hell knows?

Anyway, just wanted to share it today along with a song from Glen Hansard that has that same close to the bone feel. Here’s his Say It To Me Now from the film, Once. The small painting at the top bears that same title, not by accident, and is at the West End Gallery. Have a good day.

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