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Friday, May 14, 2021

Striving for the Summit

“The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life.  You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose. “ – Arnold Bennett

Bennett, best known as a novelist, also worked in other fields such as journalism and film.    The British writer was born in 1867 and determined that he would be an editor before taking on a weekly syndicated column for his newspaper after being perplexed by the lack of good material from other writers.  He quickly discovered that he had a knack for writing and by 1900 was devoting all of his time to his new profession.
One of his most popular non-fiction works, which is still read to this day, is the self-help book How to Live on 24 Hours a Day, from which the above quote comes.   Bennett wrote 30 novels and his The Old Wives' Tale, published in 1908, is considered one of the great works in English literature.  It gives us an in-depth look at 70 years in the lives of two sisters, following their stories from youth through old age.  A very good read, especially for those interested in history and historical fiction.

Bennett was acclaimed as a “discoverer” of other great writers and his reviews were highly sought after.   Reviewing a constant stream of new books, he unerringly picked out the important writers of the next generation—James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway—and praised them discerningly.  He said everyone has “artistic” moments and we should strive to follow through when we have them.  
"It is easier to go down a hill than up," Bennett said.  "But the view is from the top."


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