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Joshua Ferris Recommends...

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Posted 9.08.10

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“I take inspiration from the subtle daily forecasting of death. This should be impetus for anyone to get off his ass. Work is why we're here, and to waste an hour of any day, fretting or worrying or procrastinating, is to release into the air the odor of death. Emerson said, ‘To fill the hour—that is happiness.’ I try to fill the hour. And by filling the hour, the ones that follow come easier. Inspiration, then, is its own inspiration. But I must beware of why I work. ‘You have the right to work,’ it’s written in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘but for the work's sake only.’ And a little later: ‘Those who work selfishly for results are miserable.’ Here's inspiration, and good advice as well. And should the greatest fear come to pass, that I die in the middle of writing a novel? For that I have the comfort of Rabbi Tarphon's advice in the Saying of the Fathers: ‘It is not necessary for you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.’”
Joshua Ferris, author of The Unnamed (Arthur Books, 2010)

Reader Comments

  • phyllis says...

    Judging from his photograph, Joshua Ferris has more years than I to "take inspiration from the subtle daily forecasting of death." But wisdom does not discriminate against the young. These are such wise words and -on the verge of beginning my own novel - so helpful to me. My thanks.

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