One of the cool things that happens when you buy used books is that you occasionally find something really interesting stuck somewhere in the pages. In the last batch I brought home, one of the books, The Temper of Our Time by Eric Hoffer, had a snippet from another of the author’s works. Here’s what it said:
There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life. Moreover, when we have an alibi for not writing a book, painting a picture, and so on, we have an alibi for not writing the greatest book and not painting the greatest picture. Small wonder that the effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked achievement.
I read that and I really started thinking. How many of the things do I cop out on, citing “insurmountable obstacles” that don’t really exist? I don’t want to be that person.
If the book is as good as the scrap stuck in it, it will be incredible.