In Pursuit of the Obvious

In the course of writing last night’s post, I struggled to corral my thoughts so as to share them in an orderly fashion.  But these other quotations express a little bit more on the subject, so I wanted to share them too.


I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne.  – GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Five senses; an incurably abstract intellect; a haphazardly selective memory; a set of preconceptions and assumptions so numerous that I can never examine more than a minority of them – never become even conscious of them all. How much of total reality can such an apparatus let through? – CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

I have the most ill-regulated memory.  It does those things which it ought not to do and leaves undone the things it ought to have done.  But it has not yet gone on strike altogether.  – Lord Peter Wimsey, Gaudy Night

I see that the life of this place is always emerging beyond expectation or prediction or typicality, that it is unique, given to the world minute by minute, only once, never to be repeated. And this is when I see that this life is a miracle, absolutely worth having, absolutely worth saving. We are alive within mystery, by miracle.  – Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition

Tuesday with Thalia: Winning Words

Lovelies, I am not feeling especially clever today. So I am taking here the path of least resistance and interpreting this to mean “words and phrases that I love.” I know that there are lots of other interpretations. I look forward to reading about them. But for today, bear with me, my friends, and let me share some delicious phrases.

I am an insatiable connoisseur of tasty words. If you don’t know what I mean, I can only conclude that you had a barren and dusty childhood which warped your soul into an unhealthy shape. Some words taste really, really good when you say them! Here is a sample drawn from an endless supply of Tasty Words.

sphygmamanometer, bumbershoot, cudgel, pith.

Chant those for a while and get a feel for the flavor, the rhythm, the feeling. Then get back to me, cretinous one.

Anyway, my favorite phrases and words from books share a few things. Strong imagery, lyric rhythm and the music of sound are important. There is also a deepseated need for style. Style, the indefinable quality that distinguishes artistry from pedantry.  Hwaet.

“I shrugged my shoulders, and burnt my boats.” The Pale Horse

“Once there was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“No more of comfort shall ye get/Save that the sky grows darker yet/And the sea rises higher.” Ballad of the White Horse. 

“Death smelled different in Russia.” A Time to Love, A Time to Die.

“There he saw the sister of Gregory, the girl with the gold-red hair, cutting lilac before breakfast, with the great unconscious gravity of a girl.”  The Man Who Was Thursday

“….That meeting displeases me. I am going to pull that meeting’s great, ugly, mahogany-colored nose.” Ibid.

“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man’s part to discern them, as much in the Golden Wood as in his own house. ” The Two Towers

“‘I knew it!’ said Peter. ‘Whoop! I knew it!! You blasphemed the aspidistra and something awful has come down that chimney!'”
Busman’s Honeymoon 

“Two Beggars said I could not miss my way!” Cymbeline 

“This is the forest primeval….” Evangeline


Off the top of my head, I can’t remember any more. I know there are many lines that I read which strike deep and sink into my heart. But they are archived for moments when I need them. These are the ones in the top files today. Do share your favoritest line of writing in the comments!