Friday, August 24, 2007
Words, words, words.
What must remain striking about me is my extraordinary love of words. I gather them up; I cherish them, but I don't hoard them in my breast; on the contrary, I am always ready to pour them out by the hour or by the night with an enthusiasm, a sweeping abundance, with such an aptness of application sometimes that, as in the case of very accomplished parrots one can't defend oneself from the suspicion that they really understand what they say. There is a generosity in my ardor of speech that removes it as far as possible from common loquacity; and it is ever too disconnected to be classed as eloquence . . . But I must apologize for this digression.
It would be idle to inquire why I have left this record of myself behind. It is inconceivable that any human being would want to have such intimate facts about himself broadcast to the world. A mysterious impulse of human nature comes into play here. Putting aside Samuel Pepys, who has forced in this way the door of immortality, innumerable people, criminals, saints, philosophers, young girls, statesmen, and simple imbeciles, have kept self-revealing records from vanity no doubt, but also from other more inscrutable motives. There must be a wonderful soothing power in mere words since so many men have used them for self-communion. Being myself a quiet individual I take it that what all men are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace. Certainly they are crying loud enough for it at the present day. What sort of peace I expect to find in the writing up of my record on this earth it passes my understanding to guess.
The fact remains that I have written it.