I wrote this four years ago on a southbound train after traveling through NYC. I met a lot of great people, many of whom I’m still friends with, and the experience was more than just memorable. In an effort to combine all my favorite bits of my life into this blog, I’m sharing this again today…
“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet.”
In John Steinbeck’s, “East of Eden,” dreamer Adam Trask is blessedly burdened by his infatuation for Cathy Ames, a deceptive woman with an agenda other than his love. And whatever conviction he held in his dreaming, he held true despite her apathy. And he did great things in her name and attributed them to her, his muse, before she left him.
“Whatever Cathy may have been, she set off the glory in Adam. His spirit rose flying and released him from fear and bitterness and rancid memories. The glory lights up the world and changes it the way a star shell changes a battlefield.”
And while we can attribute glory to external inspiration, it would be a shame not to attribute the glory to our own potential… that the inspiration only drew out what was inside of us all along. Because, if the inspiration should ever leave us, we can find comfort in knowing it was only a clever device to get us going.
“Then a breeze would move her bright hair, or she would raise her eyes, and Adam would swell out in his stomach with a pressure of ecstasy that was close kin to grief.”
That New York City stands as the greatest city in the world is unquestionable (though one may still regard one’s present home as more livable or loved). Historic. Modern. Tragic. Hopeful. A sort of glory of humanity, a monument for civilization’s sins, successes and squanders. It inspires the best out of anyone with the willingness to look.
And whatever it is that inspires a man to come here, whether he finds it or not, he can be certain he’ll leave with something satisfactory:
Conviction and glorious dreams of a better future, and newfound inspiration with himself.
“‘A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome…
And I was not afraid anymore.'”