Enlightened?

Recently–or, more precisely, last night during my midnight exploration of Instagram–I came across a quote that really spoke to me, which is to say it fell neatly into the category of quotations of the “‘Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death’ variety”, title that had its genesis the moment I heard Rosalind Russell deliver those words in Auntie Mame and realized suddenly that she had articulated my life mantra. Ever since, it has evolved beyond a simple powerful statement into a category that encompasses the piecemeal group of any similarly passionate advocation of that has moved me (A mantra which was incarnated in countless ways throughout my adolescence: glowing brightly against a tie dye painted canvas, the central theme of my paint and bake pottery, a headline for several internet profiles, and–yes–even as a consideration for the title of this blog).

Without further ado…

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.

Feeling inspired? Same. But, it’s obvious that I have not posted every quote that moves me onto this blog, so why this one? Well, at the bottom of that block minimalistic Insta-typography that held the words, the creator had cited Earnest Hemingway. As far as The Lost Generation goes, I tend to reside more in the Fitzgerald camp than the Hemingway camp. But before I begin sway you with my overwhelming expertise, full disclosure: my education is horribly lacking in regards to Hemingway–not for lack of trying. I made my way slowly and rudimentarily through every confusing page of This Side of Paradise an indubitably overwhelmed freshman in high school, but I have been starting For Whom the Bell Tolls for several years now to no avail. This lack of total proficiency, however, in no way inhibited me from embracing my passionate reception of Hemingway in Midnight In Paris when I was finally able to catch it via Netflix last summer. Still, I will never know definitively whether it was truly the subject matter or Woody Allen playing Cupid in that instance (another artist whose work I can mention but not explore in great depth because, though I’ve seen many of his films and his autobiographical documentary, I have not seen Annie Hall).

But, as it turns out, all of the bytes I have dedicated to defining my amateur status are irrelevant. Because when, in the middle of writing this post, I finally decided to research the quote that had so struck me this past midnight, I discovered that everything was a lie. It probably wasn’t even Hemingway who said it. It was probably William Saroyan. There goes my daily enlightenment.

Nevertheless, the irrevocable effect that the misquote will have on my destiny will inevitably manifest itself in the following ways:

  1. I will conduct an in-depth Google search focusing on the life and times of William Saroyan in order to see if he is worthy of obsessive fandom.
  2. I will try to read For Whom the Bell Tolls again over Thanksgiving break,
  3. I will try to locate that old copy of This Side of Paradise when I get home and bring it back with me, hoping that the collegiate reincarnation of my freshman status will have come with a new depth of analysis with which to attack it,
  4. I will watch Midnight in Paris again, and I am fairly certain that it’s newly relevant subject matter plus my strangely emotional current mental state will result in a tearful manifestation of my appreciation for the beauty of the movie,
  5. I have a legitimate reason, namely finding inexpensive copies of the work of both Fitzgerald and Hemingway, to go boldly into that intimidatingly hip used book store on the northeast(…?) corner of Bloomington’s courthouse square,
  6. I will paint several of those cliché typographically manipulative quote canvases for my dorm room regardless of the fact that I have no remaining wall space for any decorations,
  7. I will once again toy with naming my future daughter Zelda,
  8. and I will, even without the convincing ethos of the Lost Generation, still “try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive” because it seems I “will be dead soon enough.”

That’s what you get for reckless midnight Instagram rampages, kids.

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