Friday, October 5, 2012

Only the beginning

 Two Fridays ago I read Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. It was a good, albeit kind of "different," book. It's the first in a series of three, and I'm reserving my final judgement until after I've finished all of them, but I definitely liked it.

I won't go much into the plot, other than to say that a totally normal guy ends up having the following conversation with his seal/otter-like alien friend. They are talking about happiness and memory, and the seal/otter says (and this is one of my new favorite passages ever, in any book I've ever read): 

"A pleasure is only fully grown when it is remembered. You are speaking...as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then -- that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it."

Stop and think about that for a moment. Read it again maybe, thinking about each line.


I love it.

He goes on to say this:

"How could we endure to live if we were always crying for one day or one ear to come back - if we did not know that every day in life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?"

This whole week, that line has been playing over and over again in my head. Every time I've had an especially happy moment, where Ellie has been laughing and I'm just feeling joy in my heart, I keep thinking, "Every day is this day." And every time I've thought of a past time that I was especially happy, the same thought comes to me. Remember this post that I wrote just a little while ago? Those times. This day is those days as well.

It's just a super interesting thought and one that I really wanted to share with you. It honestly has increased my happiness as I've been thinking about it ever since I read the book.

If you like C.S. Lewis, I would recommend checking this book out. And I'll give you an update on what I thought of the series once I've finished the other two. :)


(Big side note: The cover of this book (at least on our copy) was totally, totally wrong for it.

The copy of the book that we have is old; it was published in 1965 and I honestly don't think whoever chose the cover for the book had even read it. "It's a space book!" they said. "We need to give it a space cover!" And then they went and found some generic sci-fi drawing on somebody's desk a couple of cubicles over and put it on this book.

This is the cover of our copy:


And here is the cover of a copy that I think suits the book much, much better:


Anyway, I feel better now that we've cleared all that up.)

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