Life, the Universe, and a Screwed Up Morass of Stuff


I’m lifting this quote shamelessly from Terri Windling’s beautiful blog:

“Life is wonderful and strange…and it’s also absolutely mundane and tiresome. It’s hilarious and it’s deadening. It’s a big, screwed-up morass of beauty and change and fear and all our lives we oscillate between awe and tedium. I think stories are the place to explore that inherent weirdness; that movement from the fantastic to the prosaic that is life….

“What interests me — and interests me totally — is how we as living human beings can balance the brief, warm, intensely complicated fingersnap of our lives against the colossal, indifferent, and desolate scales of the universe. Earth is four-and-a-half billion years old. Rocks in your backyard are moving if you could only stand still enough to watch. You get hernias because, eons ago, you used to be a fish. So how in the world are we supposed to measure our lives — which involve things like opening birthday cards, stepping on our kids’ LEGOs, and buying toilet paper at Safeway — against the absolutely incomprehensible vastness of the universe?

“How? We stare into the fire. We turn to friends, bartenders, lovers, priests, drug-dealers, painters, writers. Isn’t that why we seek each other out, why people go to churches and temples, why we read books? So that we can find out if life occasionally sets other people trembling, too?”

-Anthony Doerr

Well.  I think so.  Thanks, Terri.  I’m so glad I came across this quote today.

8 thoughts on “Life, the Universe, and a Screwed Up Morass of Stuff

  1. Sometimes it’s scary to think past your immediate surroundings. I walk the dogs at night and look up at the moon. We seem so fragile when I think of that huge expanse beyond it.

  2. We have this compulsion (learned I think) to want to understand what living is about because being doesn’t seem to be enough. Sharing in the experience of the universe can be quite a fantastical ride. Trying to manipulate that experience is a whole other story of the human ego.

  3. And, oops, thank you Anthony Doerr. And sorry for the double “a” and extraneous comma above. One day I will learn to read before posting. Maybe.

  4. Ohh, thank you. I really needed this this morning. The scope of human experience is truly mind-boggling – it can swamp us sometimes- and I am so very glad for storytellers like Mr. Doerr and folks like you and Ms. Windling. Thanks ever so much.

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