Quote of Inspiration

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Atilla and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quote 4 of 52

I think most of us have heard this week's quote many times over. It's quite famous. But what I love about the quote most is what comes toward the end of the quote - the bit about retreat and advance. It's funny because so often, that part isn't actually quoted. And yet, I feel that it's the meat of what Roosevelt is trying to say - that fear causes retreat when we should advance. Obviously, this can be taken in a military context, but I love to apply it to my own life. I feel, as I stand up and pluck these figs from my imaginary tree, that I'm advancing rather than retreating or, perhaps worse, sitting still.

The quote is from Franklin D. Roosevelt's First Inaugural Address - March 4, 1933:

So let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

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