This is your daily affirmation for the day, drawn in not-very-good picture form by me. The words themselves are not mine; the words were written by James Joyce in his great novel, ‘Ulysses.’ So, here is your daily affirmation for the day — treasure it. Crush it close to your heart–
The one minor flaw in my otherwise very inspiring drawing is that I misquoted the quote, and got it sli-iiightly wrong, and apparently I’ve been misquoting it for years. Here is the actual passage, with the actual quote:
“Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” All future, plunging at once. That’s better than my misquote; but then, James Joyce is a much better writer than I am. But I also like my misquote; I enjoy all misquotes, especially mine. Like, for example, in the Peter Gabriel song “In Your Eyes,” which also happened to be my high school prom song, which has nothing to do with anything — but I always thought the lyric was, “When I want to run away/ I’d rather in your eyes.” And I imagined the poetic image, the lover not running away in reality, but his image receding in his lover’s eyes, his image mirrored in her eyes and then vanishing into tininess; running away in her eyes.
Unfortunately, the actual lyric is “When I want to run away/ I drive off in my car.” …Which is… not nearly is good. So sometimes misquoting things by mistake can be good, is what I’m saying.
Anyway. Where was I?
But I digress. Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past. Hard to do, isn’t it? Where’s the here, where’s the now? All like might be like quantum physics, where nothing can be proven, where molecules break into ever-tinier parts until they’re so small that they’re nowhere and everywhere — they vanish, they jump, they appear at two places at the same time and so then, what does that mean, if they vanish like that? …Are they something? Or nothing? Do they exist? If they vanish, do they exist? The building blocks of everything, and are they even real, and so if they’re not real, if they flutter and vanish, then we inside are fluttering and vanishing, all the time.
What’s real? …Who’s who?
Where are we?
Hold to the here, the now, through which the future plunges into the past. All time funneling down like that, passing through the now like a thread threading through the eye of a needle.
The future doesn’t exist yet. And the past only exists in memory. And where’s the now? Try to grab onto it, it doesn’t exist. Quantum mechanics, baby. Where is the present, the past, and the future. Everywhere and nowhere.
Treasure the moment, Joyce is saying. But don’t spend your life trying to capture the present; because it flees, plunging into the past. Try to capture the present, and you’ll be like one of those people who go on vacation and do nothing but take photographs. …But then, where’s the vacation? Where is it? They never really got to have one; they were too busy taking photos of it.
Hold to the here, the now, but let it go as it rushes into the past. Enjoy it; don’t obsess over it.
And then, a few paragraphs after the “Hold to the now, the here” quote, we get this. This quote from James Joyce:
A beautiful quote. I think about it almost every day. Such a seemingly simple, obvious thought. …But no one in history had written it down before: Every life is many days, day after day. So true; so beautiful. I kinda wish I had illustrated this quote instead. Well; next time; next time.
Hold to the here, the now, if you can, as the future plunges into the beauty and lostness of the past. Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves — we walk through ourselves — in time, walk through the many possible visions of ourselves that are, that can be, that will never be, that always have been. We walk through ourselves, meeting ghosts, giants, old men, young men… But always meeting ourselves. And that’s your daily affirmation for the day.