Sunday, November 20, 2011

One Day

"That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it and think how different its course would have been. Pause, you who read this, and think for a long moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or of flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on that one memorable day."

- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

27 comments:

Isha said...

One of my favourite books. Ever.

Tangled up in blue... said...

It's one of my favourite books, too. This one and Of Human Bondage. :) I think I identify with confused young protagonists who foolishly fall in love and end up wandering aimlessly before straightening their lives out. :D

Sakshi said...

How true :)
Lovely lines, lovely book!

Puneet said...

If you ever get the chance, try reading Coffee with Dickens by Paul Schlicke. GREAT book about an imaginary conversation with Dickens (but based on facts); gives us additional insight into what this man was all about! :)

Susan Deborah said...

Lowe it.

Dickens is a master story-teller and observer of human follies and foibles and so is Maugham.

Joy always,
Susan

Tangled up in blue... said...

Sakshi, yeah, I was immediately struck by the beauty of these lines. It's something I've often wondered about myself. That one choice made differently on one single day could change the entire course of your existence really. :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

Puneet, I'm a huge fan of Dickens' reading ever since I read Oliver Twist for the first time thirteen years ago. :D I once watched this movie called Hans Christian Andersen: A Swansong which reimagined his meeting with Dickens who was his contemporary and they meet and discuss their writing. Dickens says "The difference between you and me is I make fairy tales look like real life and you make real life look like a fairy-tale." which was an interesting quote, I thought. :) Will seek out this book, apparently it's a part of a series. Coffee with..people like Einstein and Voltaire.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Susan, yes! I agree. There is something about Maugham's book that is very familiar and startling at the same time. I read that book atleast twice a year every year for that reason. It's like Philip is my literary doppelganger. :D

Gustaf Valström said...

You identify with protagonists that fall in love foolishly and wander aimlessly? I don't believe you've done either dearest. :)) I have read Charles Dickens' books and they are sometimes dreary but it is like an old dirty window outside which the sun always shines bright and only a layer of grime separates you from the sunshine. I like that quote where Dickens says he makes fairy tale look like real life. He is like that indeed. It always has a happy ending in all his stories.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Gustaf, that's an interesting metaphor. The grime on the window casting a room into darkness, but once opened, the window lets in light. Wonderful! :) And you've only known me recently, I've done a fair bit of both. But then, I've straightened my life out, too. :)

Arumugam said...

This reminds me of The butterfly effect,when Ashton Kutcher rewinds his life back to the postbox scene repeatedly in a desperate attempt to change his future:D

Tangled up in blue... said...

Arumugam, I agree. I was very fascinated by that very suggestion it makes of causality. And The Butterfly Effect was also an interesting movie. Quite in the league of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, although I'm one of the few people who thinks that way, I'm afraid. :D

Arumugam said...

The Butterfly effect,I think was one of the most superbly imaginative movies ever made with the most poignant ending ever.(not the alternative version where he kills himself in the womb but the one where as a 5 yr old, he fights with her at the birthday,so they never grow up together)
I think the movie was not taken seriously because of the 'Ashton Kutcher' tag,at that time.

Speaking of movies,check out this blog:

http://www.trustmovies.blogspot.com

Tangled up in blue... said...

I like that blog. Following it now, was immediately hooked by the A Dangerous Method review right off. That's a movie I'm really eager to watch.

And I wasn't aware The Butterfly Effect had such a radical alternate ending. I prefer the ending from the theatrical version, too. And as for Ashton Kutcher, I think he is a workable actor, if not a particularly effective one.

But I think the press tends to let Hollywood actors overshadow the good ideas in their movies. Like In Time became this Justin Timberlake vehicle but what an amazing idea - time literally as currency.

I even really enjoyed The Last Samurai though everyone pretty much slammed it because of Tom Cruise. It's like celebrity actors never can get it right, and when they do, nobody's willing to praise them. If they were less glamorous they'd be more acclaimed.

Haddock said...

What the Dickens?
Its been a long time since I read that book, and now I don't remember what it was about.
Signs of old age?

Tangled up in blue... said...

Haddock, let me refresh your memory. It was like most Dickens books about a very naive, slightly gauche young boy who gets knocked around by life before he learns a lesson after which his luck changes for the better and things finally start to go right.

Riddhi G.D said...

I read it a LOONG time ago and I remember nothing of it. The quote inspires me to pick it up again. Very lovely writing, no? I'm a little in love with Neruda at the moment. On a poetry trip :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

This is incredible! I read it a LOONG time ago, too. But I remember all these unnecessary details like what a magnificent name Estella has and what an oddly fascinating character Miss Havisham is. And Neruda, wow! Been there, loved that! :)

Poppy said...

Woww. You are totally allowed to kick me for this- I haven't read it yet. :| But I so, SO have to now. Helloooo Dickens. ;)

Jester said...

"And you've only known me recently, I've done a fair bit of both. But then, I've straightened my life out, too."
have to wonder if that's straightening out or losing out. just a thought, nothing personal about it!

Tangled up in blue... said...

Poppy, happy reading! :)

Jester, I've wondered about that myself. I've also wondered if that's chickening out. But then, I tell myself if contentment isn't necessarily a bad thing either. :)

Jester said...

Contrary to what people have us believe, i have often found contentment doesn't necessarily bring joy!

Tangled up in blue... said...

I think it's a tradeoff, nothing more. Between vivid joy which can be fleeting and tranquil contentment that has a chance at lasting. Perhaps different things are meant for different people. I've found the latter suits me just as much as the former once did. Isn't it odd?

ramya sriram said...

Nice. I haven't been able to get through much of Dickens. But since you mentioned Maugham, maybe you could try reading "The Summing Up". You might like it :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

Ramya! Thanks for the recco, it comes at a very opportune time for me. I was wondering what to read next and was leaning towards reading Of Human Bondage yet again. But I'll go for The Summing Up. Sounds pretty interesting! :)

Antara said...

What a wonderful thought about the nature of our lives.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Antara, I know! I was very struck by the way Dickens wrote about the ramifications of choices made in a single moment on a single day that can change the entire course of one's life. It's something I've often wondered about myself and I was delighted to find these lines that echoed those thoughts.