Taking Your Medicine.

The wisdom of Alexander McCall Smith, from his compiled serial in The Scotsman:

On Loss:

For Pat, who had been loved a great deal, and knew it, the sight of Bruce in the Cumberland Bar, his attention entirely given over to his American girlfriend, provided a new sort of unhappiness. This was the unhappiness of knowing that you simply cannot have what you want to have – an unhappiness which is a bitter discovery for the young. The young rarely believe that they will not be able to get what they want, because there is always an open future. I may not be beautiful today, but I shall be beautiful tomorrow. I may not have much money today, but that will all change. Not so.

As he escorted Pat out of the Cumberland bar, Angus Lordie was aware that she was feeling miserable. One with less psychological insight than he might have attempted to cheer her up with distracting remarks, or with observations on the fact that there were plenty of other young men. But he knew what it was to love without hope, and knew that the only way to deal with that bleak state was to look one’s unhappiness in the face. And it was important, he thought, to understand that the last thing that the unhappy wish to be reminded of is the greater unhappiness of others.


On Resolve:

“Of course you can change the way you feel about something or somebody. But it requires an effort of the will – a conscious decision to recognise what you have missed.”

“Precisely,” said Angus. “And this is exactly what the Professor of Aesthetics at Harvard did. She decided that she found palm trees beautiful – before that she thought them an unattractive sort of tree. Then she discovered that she liked the way that their fronds made striped light. And after that, palm trees were beautiful.”


On Art:

“Then there are people who are of some interest, but not quite enough, or at least not quite enough while they’re still alive. It will be fine when they’re dead, but the gallery can hardly tell them that the best thing to do is to die. That would be rude. It’s rather like the way we treat our poets. We’re tremendously nice to them after they’re dead. Mind you, some poets are rather awkward when they’re still alive. MacDiarmid could be a little troublesome after a bottle of Glendfiddich. He became much safer post-mortem.”

2 Responses to “Taking Your Medicine.”

  1. Anonymous Says:
    September 6th, 2005 at 8:20 pm

    *purr purr*
    That is my favorite music by far!

  2. avalokita Says:
    September 7th, 2005 at 6:15 am

    Good stuff to mull over.

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