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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The 'zest' of creating


“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” – Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

A French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator de Sainte-Exupery became a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and also won the U.S. National Book Award for his nonfiction book Wind, Sand and Stars.  Based on his years as a barnstorming postal aviator in the 1920s and ‘30s and his 1935 attempt to win an air speed contest from Saigon to Paris, the book is autobiographical, gripping and lyrical. 

Perhaps the first “texter” while driving, de Sainte-Exupery had the terrible habit of reading AND writing (on a yellow, lined notepad, no less) while flying, often paying little attention to the world around him as he buzzed through the then relatively uncrowded airspace.  That bad habit might have led to his crashing in the Sahara Desert during the air race, and later probably led to another crash that resulted in his death during World War II. 

Despite the amazing Wind, Sand and Stars, he probably is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) and for his lyrical aviation story Night Flight.  The Little Prince, now in print in over 250 languages and dialects, posthumously boosted both his worldwide reputation as a writer and his overall stature to national hero status in France. 

  
Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

“Perfection,” he once wrote,  “is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”  The works noted above reached such a status.


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