There is a large annual book fair near where we live. We were wandering through this book fair the other day with our chum, Rick Bomstein. Dozens of tables were set out piled with books. A little placard posted above the table told you something of the subject matter on each table. “Mystery.” “History.” “Travel.” “Absurd.”
We are kidding about that last one…
While poking around we found Henry Miller’s Colossus of Maroussi, one of our favorite Miller books about his travels to Greece before the Second World War. It is a lyrical book, a peaceful book, a meditative book full of epiphanies. It also has its absurd moments.
Anyway, this used edition was all of a dollar. We offered this to Bomstein who put it in is his increasingly heavy bag of books.
Later, we went home and pulled out our own copy of this book, which we have read more than once, but not again in several years. We had certain passages marked as our favorites. Here is one particularly absurd passage, which we share on this bright and cool Saturday morning:
“Our diseases are our attachments, be they habits, ideologies, ideals, principles, possessions, phobias, gods, cults, religions, what you please. Good wages can be a disease just as much as bad wages. Leisure can be just as great a disease as work. Whatever we cling to, even if it be hope or faith, can be the disease which carries us off. Surrender is absolute: if you cling to even the tiniest crumb, you nourish the germ which will devour you…”
Wonderfully put… The absurd man revels in his lack of attachments. Yes, he enjoys his creature comforts, his favorite food and beer and whatever else. But he is also secure in his knowledge that he could do without just as well. He attaches no meaning and importance to any of it. He is free in the most powerful sense of that word...