“I must continue to follow the path I take now. If I do nothing, if I study nothing, if I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it — keep going, keep going come what may.”

— Vincent Van Gogh

“You can take everything from me except the freedom to look up at the sky occasionally.”

— Halldór Laxness, World Light (trans. Magnus Magnusson).

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

— Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy kneel with a group in prayer in Selma, Alabama, February 1965. The group was arrested after attempting to gain the right to vote. Following the prayer, the group peacefully marched to jail. Credit: Getty Images/Bettmann Archive

Lydia Davis

“What should the diet of your reading be? Read the best writers from all different periods; keep your reading of contemporaries in proportion—you do not want a steady diet of contemporary literature. You already belong to your time.”

— Lydia Davis, Essays One

View this post on Instagram

Cardiff Bay.

A post shared by Rhys Tranter (@rhys.tranter) on

I recently finished re-reading Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain, one of my favourite books. Now, I am dipping into the multi-volume edition of his letters. All of the books are secondhand copies, and I am sure that some of them have their own stories to tell. My copy of the first volume once sat on the shelves of a branch of The New York Public Library at 455 Fifth Avenue in Mid-Manhattan.

The letters are collected according to theme. There’s a volume of correspondence covering Merton‘s close friendships; there’s one devoted to poetry, literature, and the vocation of writing; and yet another two that deal with religious experience. The fifth and final volume collects together his letters on “Times of Crisis”. I think I might start with that one.