The Christmas card factory. End of the production line.
Above my gmail window, there appears an icon signifying emoticons. Click it, and you have a whole library of these little symbols. At first, I resolve to neglect them. I have no time for ready-made slogans and jokes such as you see on cards and sometimes on to the rear window of cars. I would rather put a sentiment in my own words than use, second hand, someone else's wit and ingenuity. But I find myself making an exception for these, little sweeties. And, I have to admit that I have already popped one or two of them into emails.
While reading the massive French novel Les Thibault, by the novel prize winning Roger Martin du Gard, I come across a passage, where a professor of literature shows Antoine Thibault, one of the central characters, a missive from his brother, who has gone missing. The missive consists of a poem by Walt Whitman. "My English is not up to this," says Antoine. So the professor translates the poem off the cuff. Suddenly I have to look for my copy of Whitman's poems. And I realize that, by such hap hazard procedures, has my reading progressed throughout my life. This is no plan and very little purpose, except that of self-indulgence and satisfying my curiosity. So I recently I began to read Montaigne only because Flaubert, whose letters I was reading at the time, praised him constantly. And now I am reading the journals of the Goncourt brothers because they knew and constantly gossiped about Zola, another novelist with whom I had been absorbed. And now back to Whitman, the first of the beat poets, I always thought, though he wouldn't have known it.