“I woke up and suddenly knew: being able to play the grand piano as it deserves - that's no longer within the span of my life. …It's not about unimportant little joys and fleeting pleasures as when you toss down a glass of water in dusty heat. It's about things you want to do and experience because only they would make your own, this very special life whole and because without them, life remains incomplete, a torso and a mere fragment.…But from the moment of death on, [you] would no longer be there to suffer and mourn this lack of completion….Yes, of course,.... but it is about the current, living awareness that life would remain incomplete, fragmentary, and without the coherence we hope for. This knowledge, that's what was bad - the fear of death itself."
It was something different that constituted unhappiness: "the knowledge that even in the future, it would no longer be possible to have those rounding off, perfecting experiences." The question is: “from which point of view on is the unreachable wholeness to be lamented and a possible object of fear? If it is not the point of view of the fleeting moments for which the missing wholeness is not an evil, but rather an incentive and a sign of life.”
“It is ultimately a question of self-image, the determining idea one has made for oneself a long time ago of what one had to have accomplished and experienced so that it would be a life one could approve? Fear of death as fear of the unfulfilled then lay - it seems - completely in my hand, for it is I who draw the image of my own life as it was to be fulfilled. The fear of death could be described as the fear of not being able to become whom one had planned to be. The bright awareness of finitude …disturbs us like nothing else because, often without knowing it, we live toward such wholeness and because every moment we live to the fullest draws its liveliness from the fact that it represents a piece in the puzzle of that unknown wholeness. If the certainty befalls us that it will never more be achieved, this wholeness, we suddenly don't know how to live the time that can no longer be part of a whole life."
A friend lent me a Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier, letting me know that when she had tried to read it she got stuck. 'It is too dense and doesn't move along fast, lots of dialogue, can't figure out what the story is about and whose the protagonist. I just couldn't get into it, could be the mood I'm in. I thought you might enjoy it.' That was a couple of weeks ago. It has been far from a fast read and I'm not treating it as such. I believe each book has its own pace and the reader needs to get in tune with the energy of that book. A few pages into the book, I felt the same melancholy and energy as Heinrich Boll's The Clown. I did an online search and learned that both books were originally written in German. A site with reviews of the book suggested that European readers probably appreciate the pace more, as well as the meditative introspection. I'm thoroughly enjoying all the ponderings, thoughts that have on occassion crossed my own mind but I have never put into words, and now I find myself pondering on the ponderings.