A bit flowery, Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe is a beautifully lyrical book. I read so much about the voyage to self-discovery as a teenager. Not surprising. I think that's when most of us would read these books about the pain and realities of living and the loss connected with personal growth.

"A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.

Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.

The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.

This is a moment

(source for image is Milycha's Art Blog)

In a similar vein, I remember loving Hermann Hesse's Demian, especially when I was in the full throes of the PTSD that plagued me for most of my childhood and adolescence. I struggled against meaninglessness on a regular basis. This quote particularly used to provide a lot of solace:

Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world's phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. That is why every man's story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross


I'd have to think long and hard to consider the words that might move me in a similar way as an adult—something that I'm not especially proud but I'm less moved by the lyricism of words. What are your favorite passages?