Tuesday, August 17, 2010

absolutely

Since I am in one of my "Virginia Woolf" modes this week, I've been pondering her good friend, E. M. Forster, also a British writer, best known for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. This kooky photo of Forster, in official robes at Indian Court, is included in the collection of images in my current read, Virginia Woolf, by Ruth Webb. He must be embellished in his full "A Passage to India" outfit. He looks a bit like Groucho Marx in drag, don't you think?
Forster's enigmatic words, "At the side of the everlasting why, is a yes, and a yes, and a yes", from his novel, A Room With a View, have been rattling around in my head this week, as well. It is a curious statement, and I have been thinking about it's delicious implications, in a good-Karma-glass-half-full kind of way. I've decided to embrace, with abandon, a big, juicy, life-affirming YES. The kind of giddy yes that makes you happy to be alive and well on planet earth. And why not? A "yes" is there, waiting, just for the taking, ready to be relished.


I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite, which is YES.

e. e. cummings


Hey, now, don't skip this---turn your volume way up!


70 comments:

  1. ...and no post about the "yes" would be complete without Joyce's Molly Bloom's "yes, I said, yes I said, Yes" -- I think that's how it goes!

    I love this post, again, Willow. I love all your posts, actually!

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  2. Yes! it is a beautiful sound - and with woolly sock weather in the air - you must be sighing YES!!!!

    love the post...bkm

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  3. One of my favorite words and songs. Every year my husband and I declare it our "year of" and a few years ago was our year of "yes". It was great fun (and followed a year of allowing ourselves the right to say no). I have "what a wonderful world" on my itunes and I repeat it all the time but I don't think I've ever seen Louis actually singing it. It was transcending.

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  4. Not sure if you can get this on your side of the water but, there are archive recordings of Virginia Woolf, Forster and many more at this BBC Archive

    I love the way Woolf talks about words having been 'out and about' on other people's lips.

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  5. bkm, you're SO right! It's that woolly socks weather I feel in the air today! I am coming back to life after being stifled in summer these dawg-day long weeks. YES-YES!!

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  6. Martin, thanks for the link. I'm popping right over to take a listen. I have a certain "Maggie Smith" voice in my head for Virginia Woolf. I hope I'm not disappointed!

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  7. my yes is emphatic as well....smiles. wonderful post willow....

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  8. ohhhh, YES! Absolutely love this post! Love the song. And now off to put the kids in bed so that I can say YES to watching A Room with a View! You've put me in the mood!!

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  9. Something about the shape of the vest garment gives the impression that Mr. F has a bosom, doesn't it! Great post, as always, Willow!

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  10. Hmm, yes, Jane, now that you mention it, I do see just a hint of a bosom! ;^)

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  11. His novels became several of my favorite films .. of all time! Maurice, Where Angels Fear To Tread, Howard's End, A Room With A View!!!

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  12. Did you see the clip I borrowed from someone else on FB where she's actually speaking? It's quite remarkable.

    This photo of Forster is interesting. Especially when you think of some of his novels, like "Maurice", for example. Royal robes, huh? O-kay.

    Kat

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  13. oh , Willow , I so needed a yes post today.
    love everything about this,
    and you!
    thank you

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  14. Very interesting apparel, to be sure. There is something comforting about a yes; it perfectly complements the "everlasting why."

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  15. Wonderful and affirming. Yes, Yes, Yes!

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  16. I love this post Willow - I have been saying yes all this winter and have loved everything about it, I have never enjoyed a winter season as much before. I am aware of so much more, and not just what I see but also what i feel/sense so I love these words:
    "leaping greenly spirits of trees,
    and for the blue dream of sky'
    the whole quote is wonderful. Thank you.

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  17. As we say out here in the western United States - You bet.

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  18. Dear Willow, As you are in your Bloomsbury mode, I am able to add a little intrigue. In the early 1970s I met often with May and Bob Buckingam in whose house Forster died in 1970. Bob, as a younger man, was a long term lover of Forster, a fact which, after F's death, they [the Buckinghams] were at great pains to hush up.

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  19. Ah, Willow--yes, I do think he looks a little like Groucho in drag. Tch tch tch...lol

    That photo made me laugh inside.

    I loved this blog. I feel much the same as you do--and I loved your poetry.

    Have a perfectly marvelous day.

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  20. Sat up until midnight last night watching The Hours film again. Apart from her false nose...the rest of the film great. One of those ones that I can watch again and again. Then I like the Bloomsbury lot, wierd though they were. Thanks for all the stuff on Virginia and Oscar.

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  21. so true, it is a wonderful world, and seeing all the Yes's in life is a blissing!

    great reminder, thanks Willow!

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  22. Willow this is an awesome post!! Have had a rough weekend, and you have just made me look at things with a little more positivity...i will say "yes" to what comes my way next...:-)

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  23. I need a good loud 'yes' right now so I'm with you all the way.

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  24. thanks for the yes yes and yes ! i will give it a read...xx

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  25. This post made my day. We all need more "yes" in our lives!

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  26. Yes and yes! I need to watch the Merchant/Ivory 'Room with a view" again. Such a gorgeous film!

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  27. This is so wonderful, as I've just watched a BBC documentary all about the British novel, and archival footage of Woolf and Forster was shared with the audience. It was marvellous to hear the real voices of those two very different, but very excellent, writers.

    And thank you for the Louis Armstrong clip - he was one of my all time favourite musicians, so it was a delight to listen to :)

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  28. Willow,it's such a treat to come here, to breath new air, dip our feet in a cool pool on a hot day. Great post.

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  29. Loved the fact that someone thought Forster looked like a bullfighter in that outfit. There is the touch of matador about it, but enough to throw a bull completely off its tracks!

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  30. ...or anything else for that matter!

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  31. i was about to mention the most famous yes of all - joyce's molly bloom of ulysses - when i saw elizabeth's comment.......yes i said yes i will Yes.

    the satchmo song holds special meaning for me as well. i listened to it floating out of a bar in st. mark's square one evening in march, many years ago....

    loved the passage to india shot of e.m. dolled up, loved your post ---- enjoyed my visit to your blog.

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  32. Great post willow. So intrigued by the Forster photo - why does it look like the hat is stuck on?

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  33. Really....I'm kind of diggin' his outfit....

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  34. EM Forster must have had some day...wonder how it ended??
    I have the Louis Armstrong clip and all I can say is..Oh, yes!

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  35. So the big YES means you won't be going near any streams then? Thank Goodness!
    Yes he does look like Groucho, well spotted.

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  36. Oh man. I love me my Louis Armstrong.

    And I, too, am a YES person. I say YES every chance I get. OK, that means sometimes I bite off more than I can chew ... but it's well worth it. Life is short and we aren't dead yet.

    Say YES!!

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  37. How funny--as I was halfway through your post, I found myself reciting that cummings poem, so I smiled to see it at the end. I wondered if cummings got the idea for that from him! Fabulous. That photo is a riot.

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  38. willow, one summer i read all the e.m. forster i could find. it was addictive stuff. lovely rich and all about a part of england's personality and heritage that i had no knowledge of. but it was the people he created that i was most drawn to. cummings - well he showed up a year later and blew me away. it's so cool to see them side-by-side here at the manor! steven

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  39. That is a kooky photo. I like it!

    Thanks for the smile.

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  40. You've made me realize how much I LOVE Forster's works. I shall dig up "Where Angels Fear to Tread" and reread it. Then I will find all of those wonderfully adapted movies and watch them all! A Passage to India, A Room with a View, Maurice, and, my all time favourite ~ Howards End! What a splendid way to see August out! A bit of an Angel you are :)

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  41. I love saying Yes to a challenge, with absolutely not the foggiest idea how I'm going to succeed. It's what makes life such fun. My favourite EMF quote has always been 'Two cheers for Democracy - one because it admits variety and two because it permits criticism.'
    Millie ^_^

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  42. Only forty-three comments! I must dive in while the pool is still shallow.

    It looks as if dear Mr. Forster had a wine binge, followed by a blackout during which he shopped the vintage ladies' clothing section dry on ebay.

    8-)

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  43. A timely post for me, my friend. I've been trying to live more YES. I'm going to take the Forster quote with me too, as a mantra.

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  44. I really liked your post and the quote...but I havern't read "A room with a view" (I have read "A Passage to India" at least)
    p.s I see that you have "Love Me if You Dare" in your queue...which is one of my favorite movies, in terms of the look and feel.

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  45. Forster, Woolf, cummings...now if only I can win some sort of lottery to guarantee their company for tea after this life. That Would Be Cool.

    :)

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  46. Terresa, I would adore sitting down to tea with these three...plus my good friend Edna St. Vee, of course. What fascinating conversation would take place!

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  47. Doesn't Louis look small, slim, and young. What a voice that man had, and he puts his ALL into every song. YES!

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  48. I just came across to your blog from Amanda's travels with persephone.

    Yours is an amazingly literate, artistic, eclectic blog. I've "borrowed" your recipe for Dilly Bread. Looks scrumptious.

    When I read your profile, so many things stood out that are important to me, too; from icons, to musicians, to writers and books.

    I'll be back.

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  49. I think having a 'yes' overlay looking through glasses, or directly on the eye is a good inescapable idea. -J

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  50. Yes to a great post. Yes to Louis Armstrong. Yes to Fall even though it is still in the 90's here in Florida.

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  51. Dear Willow: Love your multi-tetrahedral comparisons, very unique and complimentary with all the right vibes! Virginia, EM Forester, ee, and Louis. The theme of Freedom, the breath of fresh air, reaching for the wooly socks weaves a wonderful multi-meme of the fullness of it all; the love of fullness; to be complete knowing that; as we love so we are loved. Such a simple premise in a complex world.

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  52. Yes. There is so much to be grateful. Much more right than wrong... at least in my world.

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  53. Well, Willow, I may envy Mr Forster his rather slender-seeming figure but not the outfit! But India may do that to a man. We just had Rupert-Penry Jones' "Who Do You Think You Are" on TV tracing his antecedents in India where he swapped his UK thick woolly jumper and leather jacket for a light cotton shirt and scarf.

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  54. YES! Thanks so much for your post.

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  55. Wonderful - and e.e.cummings is the cream on my coffee, merci! :-)

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  56. Millie, I love that EMF "two cheer for democracy" quote! That one's new to me. I'm saving it. Thanks, dear friend!

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  57. Marcheline, heehee, love your Freudian "dry" in your comment about EMF's wine binge! Priceless.

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  58. Yes! I find this post wildly fascinating and the previous one,too! I'd like to add Meg Ryan's palm slamming yesses in When Harry Met Sally as in inspirational yes.

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  59. oh willow..i love this too...
    i play that you tube alot over here...one of teddy's favorites ...

    happy to visit today, my friend

    kary and teddy
    xxx

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  60. Yes dear Willow! I have been offering up versions of that prayer to the powers that be for many a year through thick and thin.
    I have read most of his books and found them pretty gut wrenching Like 'Where Angels fear to tread'.
    Although I admire his writing, these days I go for something lighter.

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  61. Yes, Willow. I love reading your blog.
    More 'yes-es':
    The 2008 film,"Yes Man" with Jim Carrey (I was actually just thinking about that movie today.)
    The band, Yes
    Oh yes, indeed, James Joyce's Molly Bloom: "...and the sun shines for you today yes and that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is..."

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  62. He was charismatic engaging figure, a quality sadly lacking with many of today’s artists. I especially loved “We Have All the Time in the World.”

    - Willow -

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  63. MY three MOST favorite things.

    1. .www IS "What a Wonderful World" (Louis Armstrong...LA?)

    2. The word YESSSSS!

    3. Willow! (yewooo!)

    Thanks for it ALL!

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  64. ON the day you posted this, I was anxiously preparing for all of the new faces I would meet on Wednesday... and hoping & praying that I would not drop in my tracks from the fatigue of a 7 class period day that runs from 8:15 to 4:00 for the students! I am happy to report we have all survived it, and that I have some of the most charming and unique juniors and senoirs I have taught in a long time! This post....the saying from cummings....the song sung by Louis Armstrong....is just so perfect for how grateful I am feeling at the end of this first week back at school. Thank you, dear Willow!

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  65. I am a massive forster fan [thanks to merchant&ivory] and that quote is one of my favourites,what a kindred spirit you are!

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  66. As I was reading this the sun came out for the first time in 4 days...and yes what a wonderful world it is...thank you dear willow for this post!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)