August 25th, 2009 § 0 comments

The following is from a draft copy of a short story I wrote. Though I like this passage immensely, it didn’t end up making the final cut.

Simple facts are not dry and boring. That the sky is blue is a violently unexpected surprise every morning. The man who gets used to such simple facts, the cynical realist, is a sad humorless man. What a curse it must be to know everything! All true pleasures are surprises, repeated over and over again, smiles, smells, or roller coasters. Our imperfect memory is one of God’s greatest gifts.

And so it was that Nathaniel walked to class late one afternoon in May, under another blue sky. This morning, Nathaniel found himself on the verge of knowing everything. He was becoming used to the idea that girls are pretty. He was getting used to the feel of a Bruckner symphony and the way the sky fades from pink to blue at dawn. When he saw the clouds like mountains piled haphazardly one on top of the other, mountains floating and shifting and fighting amongst each other, he looked back down at the sidewalk and continued to class. And when it rained, he didn’t notice the far-off pavement shining like silver.

To some degree, that bit that I wrote was inspired by a Chestertonian passage (Heretics, Chapter III):

There is no such thing on earth as an uninteresting subject; the only thing that can exist is an uninterested person. Nothing is more keenly required than a defence of bores. When Byron divided humanity into the bores and bored, he omitted to notice that the higher qualities exist entirely in the bores, the lower qualities in the bored, among whom he counted himself. The bore, by his starry enthusiasm, his solemn happiness, may, in some sense, have proved himself poetical. The bored has certainly proved himself prosaic.

We might, no doubt, find it a nuisance to count all the blades of grass or all the leaves of the trees; but this would not be because of our boldness or gaiety, but because of our lack of boldness and gaiety. The bore would go onward, bold and gay, and find the blades of grass as splendid as the swords of an army. The bore is stronger and more joyous than we are; he is a demigod–nay, he is a god. For it is the gods who do not tire of the iteration of things; to them the nightfall is always new, and the last rose as red as the first.

I must say, today I am not Nathaniel, nor am I among the bored. Everything is interesting; everything is surprising. Behold, all things have become new again.

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