Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Great Mystery

"I see scores of people every day, and most of what makes them who they are remains a mystery. And I love a good mystery. Like Philip Marlowe, I love figuring out people's stories.

". . . I understood early that there was something magical in the power of words. To me, words were like incantations that could conjure fantastic worlds in the mind and take me to places I had never been. I devoured books, hunted words in dictionaries, and was a library junkie by the time I was eight. I read Star Wars before I saw it in the movies and devoured all of Ian Fleming's books by the time I was thirteen. I picked up most of what I know about grammar and usage by osmosis. I also had two great English teachers in high school. They taught me that reading literature could teach you about the 'universal human experience.' Maybe you'll never hunt another man through the jungle, my teachers told me. Maybe you won't climb Mount Kilimanjaro or watch a bullfight in the afternoon -- you don't have to. The word's a big place. You can't do or be everything, nor should you. Life is bigger than any one man. But when you read about other people's lives, when you read their stories, you catch a glimpse of a world bigger than your own. You may never travel a hundred miles from where you were born, but if you read stories, you'll get to see the entire world. You'll enter into the Great Mystery." (p. 188-189.)

-- "The Waiter" in Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip -- Confessions of a Cynical Waiter

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