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  • 重庆英语培训:作家是世上唯一真正幸运之人的成员之一
  • 2014/6/9 9:05:11
  • The fortunate people in the world—the only really fortunate people in the world, in my mind —are those whose work is also their pleasure. The class is not a large one, not nearly so large as it is often represented to be; and authors are perhaps one of the most important elements in its composition. They enjoy in this respect at least a real harmony of life. To my mind, to be able to make your work your pleasure is the one class distinction in the world worth striving for; and I do not wonder that others are inclined to envy those happy human beings who find their livelihood in the gay effusions of their fancy, to whom every hour of labor is an hour of enjoyment, to whom repose—however necessary—is a tiresome interlude, and even a holiday is almost deprivation. Whether a man writes well or ill, has much to say or little, if he cares about writing at all, he will appreciate the pleasures of composition. To sit at one’s table on a sunny morning, with four clear hours of uninterruptible security, plenty of nice white paper, and a Squeezer pen—that is true happiness. The complete absorption of the mind upon an agreeable occupation—what more is there than that to desire? What does it matter what happens outside? The House of Commons may do what it likes, and so may the House of Lords. The heathen may rage furiously in every part of the globe. Consols may fall and suffragettes may rise. Never mind, for four hours, at any rate, we will withdraw ourselves from a common, ill-governed, and disorderly world, and with the key of fancy unlock that cupboard where all the good things of the infinite are put away.

    And speaking of freedom, is not the author free, as few men are free? Is he not secure, as few men are secure? The tools of his industry are so common and so cheap that they have almost ceased to have commercial value. He needs no bulky pile of raw material, no elaborate apparatus, no service of men or animals. He is dependent for his occupation upon no one but himself, and nothing outside him that matters. He is the sovereign of an empire, self-supporting, self-contained. No one can sequestrate his estates; no one can deprive him of his stock in trade; no one can force him to exercise his faculty against his will; no one can prevent him exercising it as he chooses. The pen is the great liberator of men and nations. No chains can bind; no poverty can choke; no tariff can restrict the free play of his mind. Whether his work is good or bad, so long as he does his best he is happy. I often fortify myself amid the uncertainties and vexations of political life by believing that I possess a line of retreat into a peaceful and fertile country where no rascal can pursue and where one need never be dull or idle or even wholly without power. It is then, indeed, that I feel devoutly thankful to have been born fond of writing. It is then, indeed, that I feel grateful to all the brave and generous spirits who, in every age and in every land, have fought to establish the now unquestioned freedom of the pen.

    Let us remember the author can always do his best. There is no excuse for him. The great cricketer may be out of form. The general may on the day of decisive battle have a bad toothache or a bad army. The admiral may be seasick—as a sufferer I reflect with satisfaction upon that contingency. Caruso may be afflicted with catarrh, or Hackenschmidt with influenza. As for an orator, it is not enough for him to be able to think well and truly. He must think quickly. Speed is vital to him. Spontaneity is more than ever the hallmark of good speaking. All these varied forces of activity require from the performer the command of the best that is in him at a particular moment which may be fixed by circumstances utterly beyond his control. It is not so with the author. He need never appear in public until he is ready. He can always realize the best that is in him. He is not dependent upon his best moment in any one day. He may group together the best moments of twenty days. There is no excuse for him if he does not do his best. Great is his opportunity; great also is his responsibility. Someone—I forget who—has said: “Words are the only things which last for ever.” That is, to my mind, always a wonderful thought. The most durable structures raised in stone by the strength of man, the mightiest monuments of his power, crumble into dust, while the words spoken with fleeting breath, the passing expression of the unstable fancies of his mind, endure not as echoes of the past, not as mere archaeological curiosities or venerable relics, but with a force and life as new and strong, and sometimes far stronger than when they were first spoken, and leaping across the gulf of three thousand years, they light the world for us today.

    世上幸运之人——世上唯一真正幸运之人,在我看来,是那些以工作为乐的人。这种人并不多,至少没有人们想象的那样多;在这些人中,作家也许是其中最重要的成员之一。就乐趣而言,他们至少享受着一种真正和谐的生活。在我看来,能以工作为乐趣的人,代表着一个杰出的阶层,世人值得为加入这一阶层而拼搏;这些幸福的人们,往往会受到他人的羡慕,这也不足为奇,因为他们在驰骋想象的妙趣中找到了生存的手段。对他们来说,一小时的劳作,就是一小时的享受,而休憩——无论多么必要——都是一种无聊的插曲,甚至休假也几乎成了对快乐的掠夺。一个人无论写好写坏,写多写少,只要真心喜欢,就能领略到激扬文字的乐趣。在阳光灿烂的早晨,凭案而坐,铺一沓雪白的稿纸,握一支“挤压式”钢笔,享受整整四小时毫无干扰的清静时光——这才是真正的幸福。能够将所有心思都倾注到自己由衷喜爱的职业中——夫复何求!外界的风云变幻,与我何干?管它下议院上议院,爱干什么干什么,随它去吧。哪怕异教徒的嚣张气焰席卷了全球每一个角落。哪怕债券市场一落千丈,女权运动势不可挡。没有关系,不管世界如何变幻,我们拥有四个小时的时间,可以避开这混乱、无序的尘世,用想象的钥匙,去开启藏有无限宇宙中一切美好事物的宝箱。

    说到自由,虽然自由自在者为数不多,难道作家还不算自由?虽然安居乐业者实属少见,难道作家还不够安稳?作家这个行业用以工作的工具如此平常,如此便宜,几乎不再有什么商业价值。他不需要堆积如山的原材料,不需要精密仪器,不需要额外的人力物力。他独自从业,不靠别人,只靠自己;外在的一切对他来讲都无关紧要。他就是一国之君,独立独行,自给自足。任何人都无权扣押他的财产;任何人都无法剥夺他的库存产品;任何人都不能强迫他违心地创作;任何人都不能阻止他按自己的意愿施展才华。他的笔就是人类和各民族的解放者。他自由翱翔的神思,锁链锁不住,贫困困不住,关税挡不住。无论作品是好是坏,只要尽心尽力,他就会感到快乐。在变幻莫测、劳心伤神的政治生涯中,我常常这样安慰自己:我自信有一条退路,通向一片宁静富饶之地,任何无赖之徒都无法追踪到那里;在那里,一个人永远不会感到烦闷,或虚掷光阴,甚至孤独无助。确实,每当这种时候,我就会为自己与生俱来的写作爱好而真诚地感到欣慰;每当这种时候,我就会对各个时代、各个国家那些勇敢而慷慨的人们充满感激,感谢他们的奋斗赢得了当今无可争议的创作自由。

    让我们记住,作家永远可以展现最佳的自我。他没有任何理由不这样做。板球健将也许会有发挥失常的时候。将军在决战来临之日也许会突然牙疼,或者缺乏勇猛善战的部队。舰队司令也许会晕船——我本人作为晕船者确信有这种可能。卡鲁索也许会得黏膜炎,哈肯施密特也许会得流感。对于演说家来说,仅有正确缜密的思维是不够的,他还必须反应机敏。速度决定成败。出口成章现已成为优秀演讲的标志性特征。所有这一切活动都需要行动者在一个特定时刻发挥其最佳状态,但他们却可能因为某些不可控制的力量而错失良机。作家的情况却不一样。不到胜券在握,他可以永远不出场。他总是可以把自己最佳的一面展现出来。他不必依赖于某一天的某一最佳时刻,他可以把二十天的最佳时刻累加起来。他没有理由不做到最好。对他来说,机会很多,但责任也很重。有人说过——我忘了是谁——“话语是唯一永恒不朽之物。”这句话,在我看来,永远是绝妙佳句。人类用石头构筑的坚固无比的大厦——人力所能企及的最伟大的丰碑,也会化为废墟,而那瞬息即逝的话语,那思绪飘游时一闪而过的言辞,却流传了下来,但不是作为历史的回音,不是作为纯粹的考古奇迹或珍贵的遗迹,而是带着一种崭新的、强大的力量和生命——有时远比当初第一次说出时更为强大——跨越三千年时光的鸿沟,为我们照亮了今天的世界。

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