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Month: November, 2014

One Year to Live…

Anthony Burgess (February 25 - November 22 1993)

Anthony Burgess (February 25 – November 22 1993)

Anthony Burgess was 40 when he learned that he had only one year to live. He had a brain tumour that would kill him within a year. He knew he had a battle on his hands. He was completely broke at the time, and he didn’t have anything to leave behind for his wife, Lynne, soon to be a widow.

Burgess had never been a professional novelist in the past, but he always knew the potential was inside him to be a writer. So, for the sole purpose of leaving royalties behind for his wife, he put a piece of paper into a typewriter and began writing. He had no certainty that he would even be published, but he couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“It was January of 1960,” he said, “ and according to the prognosis, I had a winter and spring and summer to live through, and would die with the fall of the leaf.”

In that time Burgess wrote energetically, finishing five and a half novels before the year wad through (very nearly the entire lifetime output of E.M. Foster, and almost twice that of J. D. Salinger.)

But Burgess did not die. His cancer had gone into remission and then disappeared altogether. In his long and full life as a novelist ( he is best known for A Clockwork Orange), he wrote more than 70 books, but without the death sentence from cancer, he may not have written at all.

Many of us are like Anthony Burgess, hiding greatness inside, waiting for some external emergency to bring it out. Ask yourself what you’d do if you had Anthony Burgess’s original predicament.

If I had just a year to live, how would I live differently? What exactly would I do?

 

 

– Author Unknown

Profiles in Greatness: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 - 22 March 1832)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. He was a prolific and versatile writer at the same time. Prolific because he produced volumes of poetry, essays, criticism, a theory of colours, novels, and early work on evolution and linguistics. Versatile because he wrote on a number of diverse topics such as epic, poetry, essays, criticism, botany, anatomy and numerous other scientific and literary pieces. What is more, he was fascinated by mineralogy too. In fact, mineral goethite (iron oxide) is named after him.

Goethe became a literary celebrity by the age of 25 and was ennobled by Carl August, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar in 1792. Goethe had a great effect on the nineteenth century as he was the originator of many ideas, which became widespread.

Here are twenty-five gems from the numerous quotes. Read them, reflect on them for they provide valuable insights into life and living.

1. Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
2. The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.
3. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
4. None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
5. Behaviour is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.
6. If you treat an individual.. as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
7. There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.
8. A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.
9. Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.
10. We don’t get to know people when they come to us; we must go them to find out what they are like.
11. Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
12. Precaution is better than cure.
13. Fresh activity is the only means of overcoming adversity.
14. The coward only threatens when he is safe.
15. Love does not dominate; it cultivates.
16. It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.
17. We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.
18. We know accurately only we know little, with knowledge doubt increases.
19. An unused life is an early death
20. Man is made by his belief. As e believes, so he is.
21. Nothing is worth more than this day.
22. Go to foreign countries and you will get to know the good things one possesses at home.
23. What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
24. Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
25. To rule is easy, to govern difficult.

 

 

Image: Wikipedia