Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I love this quotation, from Archibald MacLeish's poem "Speech to a Crowd:"
"The world was always yours: you would not take it."

It has always been a reminder to me not to wait too long, hold back too much, be too afraid of risks. I thought of this line often while writing Try Not to Breathe--especially with respect to the main character, Ryan. I even toyed with the idea of including the quote at the front of my book.

When I finally found the whole poem (it's the last poem on this page), I discovered that the context is rather different from what I'd imagined; it's about casting off what the narrator sees as the delusions of religions and the supernatural. While a person of faith myself, I have not the slightest interest in pushing others either toward or away from religion; decide for yourself and make of it what you will. But in a larger sense, that last line still speaks to me of carpe diem. Those are amazing words.

Elsewhere in the inspiration department, I saw a picture of an intriguing sculpture called "Freedom" on the blog of athgarvan . Commenters on that blog identified the work and the artist, and you can see other views of it at sculptor Zeno Frudakis's website and the blog My Modern Met.

What really amused me was that even though athgarvan blogs from Ireland, the sculpture of "Freedom" is located in Philadelphia, my very own stomping grounds. It's even in an area where I've spent a lot of time (the neighborhood of Magee Hospital). And so, in the past few days, reintroduced to my own backyard by a blogger on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I visited the sculpture in person. I was fascinated to find that, apart from the big figures you can see in the photos, there are also faces, body parts, and objects peeking out of the backdrop piece, including the artist's hands holding a sculpting tool.

That's one thing I love about Philadelphia: even though I've lived here for years, I'm still finding new things, without having to venture far afield.

The world is yours. Take it.


  1. I've always loved that sculpture. I drive by it on occasion, but have never had an opportunity to stop. Now, I really should. Thanks for helping me re-discover this.

    1. It's just slightly farther north than I usually go, and that neighborhood is more car-friendly than pedestrian-friendly (although it's certainly walkable), so I had never seen this before. Even though I'd been within a block of it!

  2. It's always exciting to find treasures in our own backyard.

    1. I marvel at what's going on just around the corner.