The stories we read · The stories we share

from Daniel Deronda

First of all, I’ve never read Daniel Deronda. So why am I sharing this?

I was reading Diary of an Autodidact the other night and came upon his review of George Eliot’s book. By the way, you should read his blog if you’re interested in books, feminism, and patriarchal elements in religion. I’m slightly obsessed with it and that, dear readers, is why I stumbled upon this nearly 3 year old post.

Aside from an interest to actually read Daniel Deronda, another take away from that post was a quote from the book that I’m sharing here. It’s one of the best arguments I’ve ever read for practicing your art, wether we’re writers, musicians, or other creators. Enjoy, and I hope it inspires you to keep going  and savor the process like it did for me.

“I don’t feel able to follow your advice of enjoying my own middlingness.”

“For my part,” said Deronda, “people who do anything finely always inspirit me to try. I don’t mean that they make me believe I can do it as well. But they make the thing, whatever it may be, seem worthy to be done. I can bear to think my own music not good for much, but the world would be more dismal if I thought music itself not good for much. Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.”

“But then if we can’t imitate it? – it only makes our own life seem the tamer,” said Gwendolyn, in a mood to resent encouragement founded on her own insignificance.

“That depends on the point of view, I think,” said Deronda. “We should have a poor life of it if we were reduced for all our pleasure to our own performances. “

Now, to hunt down that book…


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