Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Saturday, February 2, 2008

An Important Day

You may think this is just another day, but it's not. Sure, it's Groundhog Day, but that's really not important. It's a day of personal significance, too, but still not anything to jump around about. No. I'm talking about something that has had a significant impact on many people (more than you think, although not as many as I'd like).

On this day in 1905, Ayn Rand was born. Through her fiction and her non-fiction, she has touched many lives. Through her philosophy of Objectivism, she has touched many minds. In a NY Times survey, Atlas Shrugged was second only to the bible as the most influential book in people's lives.

I first read Atlas Shrugged in 1984, and have since read it no less than a dozen times. Every time, I find something new, and every reading, I finish feeling refreshed and revived--with new purpose and a rewakened desire to forge ahead. I read The Fountainhead a couple years later, followed by We The Living and Anthem. With the exception of We The Living, her books have traditionally been a yearly staple for me. (WTL touches me too deeply to read too often. Once every ten years is as often as I can read it.) In 2000, I began reading her nonfiction works. For The New Intellectual was my first foray into those books, and it lead me to several others of her NF. I haven't read them all, but I've read the most important ones, so the others can wait. (And shame on me for not finishing The Art of Fiction, which is probably her most important book to me, considering my chosen profession. Truth be told, I have a tough time reading books on writing, but that's a post for another day.)

She's been gone now for almost 24 years. She passed away before I even knew she existed, and that fact saddens me. I would have loved to meet the woman. Now I can only hope that someday I meet the heir of her intellectual estate. *shrug* Some things we can't change. I would've liked to meet Thomas Jefferson or Aristotle, too, but that's like wishing for the moon. At least with Ms. Rand, she was alive during my lifetime. I just missed her.

So, take a moment today to think about Ayn Rand, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from her writings:

"The essence of life is the achievement of joy, not the escape from pain."

Are you achieving joy today?

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