A mere 200 pages in. Some of my favorite words so far:
Like most North American of his generation, Hal tends to know way less about why he feels certain ways about the objects and pursuits he’s devoted to than he does about the objects and pursuits themselves. It’s hard to say for sure whether this is even exceptionally bad, this tendency.
Your U.S.A. word for fanatic, “fanatic,” do they teach you it comes from the Latin for “temple?” It is meaning, literally, “worshipper at the temple.”
As, if you will give the permission, does this love you speak of. It means only attachment. Our attachments are our temple. What we worship, no? What we give ourselves to, what we invest with faith.
Are we not all fanatics? I say only what you of the U.S.A. pretend you do not know. Attachments are of great seriousness. Choose you attachments carefully. Choose your temple of fanaticism with great care. What you wish to sing of as tragic love is an attachment not carefully chosen. Die for one person? This is craziness. Persons change, leave, die, become ill. They leave, lie, go mad, have sickness, betray you, die. Your nation outlives you. A cause outlives you.
You are what you love. No? You are, completely and only, what you with die for without, as you say, the thinking twice.
You, you would die without thinking twice for what?
He just sits there. I want to be like that. Able to just sit all quiet and pull life toward me.
The true opponent, the enfolding boundary, is the player himself. Always and only the self out there, on court, to be met, fought, brough to the table to hammer out terms. The competing boy on the net’s other side: he is not the foe: he is more the partner in the dance. He is the what is the word excuse or occasion for meeting the self. As you are his occasion. Tennis’s beauty’s infinite roots are self-competitive. You compete with your own limits to transcend the self in imagination and execution. Disappear inside the game: breakthrough limits: transcend: improve: win. Which is why tennis is an essentially tragic enterprise, to improve and grow as a serious junior, with ambitions. You seek to vanquish and transcend the self whose limits make the game possible in the firt place. It is tragic and sad and chaotic and lovely. All life is the same, as citizens of the human State: the animating limits are within, to be killed and mourned, over and over again.
I’m not saying something cliche like you take us for granted as much as I’m saying you cannot … imagine our absence. We’re so present it’s ceased to mean. We’re environmental. Furniture of the world.