Some more personal notes

I am still reading Morson’s The Words of Others and very much enjoy it.

When reaching the chapter “Burden of the Future” (p.189), I was frowning my eyebrows. Morson describes in this chapter a situation, in which a person discovers much later that words or thoughts that he or she created for a given occasion have already be expressed long ago. This person gets then the feeling, according to Morson, that they have been stolen from him / from her in advance. While reading these lines, I wondered whether this may really happen? Could that be possible: given the almost infinite combinations of words to create meaning, or to express one’s thoughts, was it possible to fall twice on the same formulation, by chance, so to say, or at least without having any intention to do so?

I read further, without giving much thought to my doubts, eager to discover the rest of the book.

At page 238, I get puzzled and smiled. We are now in the chapter entitled “Lists and Crumbs”. Morson quotes here an extract from Francis Spufford’s The Chatto Book of Cabbages and Kings, a work that I totally ignored before reading this chapter. The end of the quote goes as follows:

“Crumbs should not be scorned; from time to time they have been made into a very satisfactory banquet in themselves.”

While reading this, I remember a situation back in 2005, – or was it 2006–, when I said to someone who was inquiring about how I dealt with an unfavourable decision:

“They give me crumbles, I shall make a feast out of it!

That comes pretty close to the feeling that something has been stolen in advance…



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