“I took to writing at an early age to escape from meaninglessness, uselessness, unimportance, insignificance, poverty, enslavement, ill health, despair, madness, and all manner of other unattractive, natural and inevitable things.” (William Saroyan)
Versione italiana al link: Nel tempo della tua vita
William Saroyan (1908 -1981) was an internationally renowned Armenian-American writer, playwright and humanitarian. The setting of many of his stories and plays is his native Fresno, the center of Armenian immigrant life in California. He made his initial impact during the Depression writing brash, original, and irreverent stories which celebrates the joy of living in spite of poverty, hunger, and insecurity. Saroyan spoke for Armenians to the world. He gave international recognition to his people at a time when they remained dispersed and continued to meet with prejudice and outright hatred.
This passage is taken from the play “The Time of Your Life”(1939) where Saroyan depicts a group of alienated loners in a shabby waterfront bar, looking for love and meaning in their lives. I find this passage very significant and very timely, considering the era of degradation and loss of values that we are going through.
“In the time of your life, live—so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.
Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.
Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.
In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”
Here is the link to the video: In the time of your life