It’s short. It’s snappy. It’s the new trailer for my forthcoming book Carpe Diem Regained. Please take 20 seconds of your day to check it out (and if you can share it on social media I’d be hugely grateful).
If you have another 20 seconds up your sleeve and would like a more contemplative route to seizing the day, treat yourself to this pithy poem I recently came across by Emily Dickinson (whose naughty brother Austin makes a guest appearance in my book):
A Death blow is a Life blow to Some
Who till they died, did not alive become —
Who had they lived, had died but when
They died, Vitality begun.
This poem is usually interpreted as a spiritual statement about the richness of life after death. But I wonder if it isn’t just as much a carpe diem poem, saying that we cannot truly live until we face the reality of our mortality and have the taste of death upon our lips.
What do you think? What meanings does it evoke for you?
4 thoughts on “Can you seize the day in 20 seconds?”
I agree; it’s about living life FULLY. She was not about dwelling on death in a morbid way. She was about extracting every bit of juicy life out of each day. The journey was the thing, not he destination. This also resonates as a Francis of Assisi perspective. He spoke of dying to life, to live again, meaning freeing the bonds of ego, while in body, to become more creative and infinite expression of life on Earth.
That’s a really interesting connection to Francis of Assisi, Christopher. It seems that he was able to fuse a spiritual and temporal approach to the art of living.
My brother died ten days ago. I feel he never really lived his life, merely survived it, so the poem is comforting to me as it says that now perhaps he’s living the life he deserved to live.
For me, the poem speaks of the spiritual, as a reminder that NOW is the time to do, and be, and live the dream.
It also reminds me of the relationship between Dorothy and William Wordsworth.
“On the day of William Wordsworth’s wedding, his sister grieved as if it were a funeral. Dorothy
lived with William and his bride for the next twenty years. But she
had “lived for and through her brother,” said Frances Wilson, the author
of The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth. “And when he no longer had need of
her, you know, there wasn’t any point to her life anymore . . . And so for
20 years, she lived in the top of the house like the mad woman in the attic
in Jane Eyre.”
When William died, she changed once more. “She suddenly becomes
her old self again . . . having been unrecognizable for 20 years,” Wilson
said. “She became an adult again and became beautiful, wild, amazing, fascinating
Dorothy again. So it’s as if . . . when he’d gone, she could breathe again.”
When Emily Dickinson’s father’s funeral service was held
in the family home, she stayed upstairs and listened from her bedroom,
with the door ajar.