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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Top 5

A reader asked, in the comments section of this week's quote, which 5 figs I would focus on if I had only a month or year to live. It's a compelling question, and while it might be an obvious question now that I think about it, I hadn't yet thought about it.

Top 5 figs?

Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Write a letter to Aunt Marie
2. Visit Grandpa Bob
3. Write poems to my children
4. Ride in a motorcycle sidecar
5. Ride a horse fast, at a solid gallop

I realize that when I make lists, I start to work the list instead of living each experience. I find myself each week thinking about which fig to start, and my thinking is shifting from what I really want to do or experience to what I have time for or feel I can feasibly accomplish in a few days.

It's not at all the point.

So, thank you Chad, for the thoughtful reminder.


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