This week, via Brainpickings: wonderful reflections on growing up from a 24-year-old William Styron. In a letter to his father in 1949, Styron writes: "For some reason, although I'm not exactly ecstatic about the world and life in general, I'm very happy. I don't know why that should be, as I’ve always thought of myself as an exceptionally melancholy person. Maybe the melancholy was merely adolescent, and maybe, though I can’t really sense it, I’m growing up, or reaching an “adjustment,” as the psychologists say. Whatever it is, it’s nice.
It’s not love — love of a girl, that is, because I haven’t found her yet. It’s not the excitement of being in New York, because I’ve been in New York before and now know how to take with a grain of salt its synthetic stimuli (though I still love New York). Actually I don’t know what it is. For the past four or five days I’ve been alone, not seeing anyone or talking to anyone I know except over the phone. Ordinarily this aloneness would have made me miserable, utterly wretched. But I haven’t minded it at all.
I haven’t drunk hardly anything — a few beers, that’s all. And yet I’ve been quite content, suffused with a sort of pleasant well-being that demanded really nothing strenuous of myself, or of anyone else. Perhaps it’s merely that I’ve gained a measure of Emerson’s self-reliance. Perhaps it’s just that, for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I feel surer of myself than I ever have before — more confident of my worth and my ultimate success, and less fearful of failure. Maybe — again for some reason I haven’t quite been able to analyze — I’m finding that life excites me, appeals to me in a way I’ve never felt before. I still have awful moments of despair, and I guess I always will, but they don’t seem to be as overpowering as in the past. I don’t take so much pleasure in my despondency any more; I try to throw my bleak moods off — which again perhaps is a sign that I’m growing up." (Read more on Brainpickings.)
Three more, just because:
-A Chinese village gives in to greenery.
-Lastly, I loved this description of a milkshake made with roasted strawberries: "After a solid 30 or 40 minutes, they'll release their juice and relax into their bodies — they will be like you at the very end of a yoga class, when you're allowed to lay flat and extend your limbs and forget how to move your toes. They are strawberries living their best life."
More recommended reading, here. Have a wonderful Monday. Photos by Max Wanger.