early morning readings

Your imagination and your emotions are like a vast ocean

Etty Hillesum
shields pond…Nikon D750 f/4.5 1/400s 55mm

“…But let me impress just one thing upon you, sister. Wash your hands of all attempts to embody those great, sweeping thoughts. The smallest, most fatuous little essay is worth more than the flood of grandiose ideas in which you like to wallow. Of course you must hold on to your forebodings and your intuitions. They are the sources upon which you drew, but be careful not to drown in them. Just organize things a little, exercise some mental hygiene. Your imagination and your emotions are like a vast ocean from which you wrest small pieces of land that may well be flooded again. The ocean is wide and elemental, but what matter are the small pieces of land you reclaim from it. The subject right before you is more important than those prodigious thoughts on Tolstoy and Napoleon that occurred to you in the middle of last night, and the lesson you gave that keen young girl on Friday night is more important than all your vague philosophisings. Never forget that. Don’t overestimate your own intensity; it may give you the impression that you are cut out for greater things than the so-called man in the street, whose inner life is a closed book to you. In fact, you are no more than a weakling and a nonentity adrift and tossed by the waves.

Keep your eye fixed on the mainland and don’t flounder helplessly in the ocean…”

cited: Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941-1943, pp.6-7

3 replies to “early morning readings

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star