Gully and Coker have just left the home of Sarah in Joyce Cary’s effulgent classic The Horse’s Mouth. To unbalanced artist Gully—though the few would argue he is the only balanced one—his former wife Sarah represents the crazy vital vagrancies of Woman and Life.
“‘Come up,’ said Coker, for the truth is, I walked over the kerb at the end of the street, not noticing. And gave myself a shock. ‘You aren’t fit to be out by yourself.’ And she took me by the arm and gave me a jerk that nearly dislocated my neck. ‘Go on. You ought to be shut up. That’s the fact.’
‘That’s right,’ I said, just like Sarah, to keep the woman quiet. ‘For everything that lives is holy.’”
Everything that lives is holy! Isn’t that beautiful?
However, Gully does have some sage advice for those foolish enough to think they want to be artists:
“‘B-but, Mr. Jimson, I w-want to be an artist,’” says a young admirer.
“‘Of course you do,’ I said, ‘everybody does once. But they get over it, thank God, like the measles and the chicken-pox. Go home and go to bed and take some hot lemonade and put on three blankets and sweat it out.’”
“‘But Mr. J-Jimson, there must be artists.’ ‘Yes, and lunatics and lepers, but why go and live in an asylum before you’re sent for?’”
Ah, so I was drawn into an exchange with a commenter on one of my slowly disappearing YouTube videos, and as far as I am concerned they cannot disappear fast enough. I long ago realized the utter futility of such folly, but like an idiot now and again I succumb.
That’s why it’s a boon to have your own place and to be able to close the doors and draw the blinds over the windows periodically, just for a spell of quiet sanity and communing with the self.
Maybe even pick up a book like The Horse’s Mouth for a good chuckle and a restorative charge.
If you don’t have the time to read they made a movie of it back in 1958, staring Alec Guinness.
“Everything that lives is Holy,” rhapsodized Gully.
Yes, and I’d add Life is ALL there is…
Words to live by.