Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mr. Blue on the Importance of Conversation

I just finished reading my first of the new Loyola Classics series of books (Amy Welborn, general editor) - Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly. I first heard of the title (first published in 1928) in Catholic Authors Crown Edition and had since heard many people lament its out-of-print status. It's a very unusual novel about an interesting fellow who shuns modern necessities and conventional wisdom and lives atop a skyscraper in Boston. More on the book later. Here is a quote I really liked:

It is the humble man who risks his dignity to speak up for what he loves. It is the courageous man who dares contradiction and the acrimony of argument to defend his beliefs. If one loves anything, truth, beauty, woman, life, one will speak out. Genuine love cannot endure silence. Genuine love breaks out into speech. And when it is great love, it breaks out into song. Talk helps to relieve us of the tiresome burden of ourselves. It helps some of us to find out what we think. It is essential for the happiest companionship. One of the minor pleasures of affection is in the voicing of it. If you love your friend, says the song, tell him so. Talk helps one to get rid of the surplus enthusiasm that often blurs our ideas. Talk, as the sage says, relieves the tension of grief by dividing it. Talk is one of man's privileges, and with a little care it may be one of his blessings. The successful conversationalist is not the epigram maker, for sustained brilliance is blinding. The successful conversationalist says unusual things in a usual way. The successful conversationalist is not the man who does not think stupid things, but the man who does not say the stupid things he thinks. Silence is essential to every happy conversation. But not too much silence. Too much silence may mean boredom or bewilderment. And it may mean scorn. For silence is an able weapon of pride.

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