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Thread: Joyful/Uplifting/Life-affirming writing

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    Joyful/Uplifting/Life-affirming writing

    Is there any passage of writing that always cheers you up when you feel depressed? A paragraph/ chapter/ passage or even a single sentence/ line that is guaranteed to make you feel like life is worth living again?

    Here are some of mine:

    - The speech scene in PG Wodehouse's Right Ho Jeeves
    - The New Year's Eve party in On the Road
    - Almost anything by the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor
    - Oscar Wilde describing what he is looking forward to when he is released from prison in De Profundis
    - Roald Dahl's description of the discovery of buried treasure in The Mildenhall Treasure
    - George Orwell's description of pre-war England in Coming Up For Air and also his essay The Common Toad

    It could be anything – popular science writing, essays, newspaper articles you have cut out, poetry, novels, short stories...something joyful and life-affirming for when you are depressed (maybe something you read out loud?). It would be great if you could quote it in full.
    Last edited by WICKES; 02-14-2017 at 12:46 PM.

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    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
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    Why would anyone want to deceive oneself like this?

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    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    There are a lot of songs that are uplifting, too many to remember, even when the subject matter seems sad. For examples of sad ones that are uplifting search for the BeeGee's "Heartbreaker" or Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard's "Kentucky Rain" on YouTube.

    I don't think cheering oneself up is "deceiving oneself". On the contrary, those with a negative view of reality are the ones deceiving themselves.

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    There is a four-word saying that suites every occasion or situation: "this, too, shall pass": https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-or...too-shall-pass

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    From what I remember of it, Albert Camus's The Myth of Sisyphus is life affirming. It is a philosophical essay on his concept of the Absurd (the discrepancy between the human need to find meaning in life and the inability to actually succeed in this endeavor). I don't actually own a copy, though, so I can't recall any specific quotes.

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WICKES View Post
    Is there any passage of writing that always cheers you up when you feel depressed? A paragraph/ chapter/ passage or even a single sentence/ line that is guaranteed to make you feel like life is worth living again?

    Here are some of mine:

    - The speech scene in PG Wodehouse's Right Ho Jeeves
    Is that the one in which Jeeves tricks Bertie Wooster into having to make an extempore speech at a girls' school? That was rather a good one, and the only chapter I have read that was written in Jeeves' voice. I quite like the a chapter in one of the Jeeves and Wooster books in which Jeeves struggles with his arch nemesis Steggles over bets placed on a school sports day.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    Is that the one in which Jeeves tricks Bertie Wooster into having to make an extempore speech at a girls' school? That was rather a good one, and the only chapter I have read that was written in Jeeves' voice. I quite like the a chapter in one of the Jeeves and Wooster books in which Jeeves struggles with his arch nemesis Steggles over bets placed on a school sports day.
    No, I think it is a boy's grammar school. Some people have called that chapter the single greatest piece of comic writing in the English language.

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    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
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    E. M. Cioran's "A short history of Decay" ("Précis de décomposition" in original) would be a fairly good start, it's full of joyous fragments, for example the last one, "Quousque Eadem?".
    Last edited by EmptySeraph; 04-08-2017 at 06:41 PM.
    Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes.

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    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Another essay by Orwell that is amusing concerns the risque seaside postcards by Donald McGill that adorned stalls and newsagents until roughly the 1970s.
    Here's an extract:
    'I have said that at least half of McGill's postcards are sex jokes, and a proportion, perhaps ten per cent, are far more obscene than anything else that is now printed in England. Newsagents are occasionally prosecuted for selling them, and there would be many more prosecutions if the broadest jokes were not invariably protected by double meanings. A single example will be enough to show how this is done. ln one postcard, captioned 'They didn't believe her', a young woman is demonstrating, with her hands held apart, something about two feet long to a couple of open-mouthed aquaintances.
    Behind her on the wall is a stuffed fish in a glass case, and beside that is a photograph of a nearly-naked athlete. Obviously it is not the fish that she is referring to, but this could never be proved.'
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions erronèes a partir de chiffres exacts." Napoléon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet état d’esprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concernés par l’Histoire. Mais pourtant, de temps à autre, l’Histoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

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    Gladys Taber's writings

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