Three ingredients in a good life — according to Christopher Morley

A week or so ago the quote on my daily calendar was a statement from Christopher Morley:

There are three ingredients in a good life: learning, earning, and yearning.

The saying stayed with me because it’s true. Right now, I’m yearning to tear my novel apart and rearrange the parts. I’m also hoping that when the novel is finished there’ll be at least a little earning involved in the adventure. And learning — well, I didn’t know who Christopher Morley was so I looked him up on Wikipedia.

He makes the expression ‘prolific writer’ sound anemic. To quote Wikipedia: “Author of more than 100 novels, books of essays, and volumes of poetry, Morley is probably best known for his 1939 novel Kitty Foyle, which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie. Another well-known work is Thunder on the Left (1925).” He was also a magazine editor, a newspaper journalist and a newspaper columnist. Not all at the same time, of course. He wrote the introduction to an edition of The Complete Works of Shakespeare and was “appointed to revise and enlarge Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (11th edition in 1937 and 12th edition in 1948). He was one of the first judges for the Book of the Month Club, serving in that position until the early 1950s.” He also produced plays.

When I add his words to my notebook of quotes, I’ll probably include the info that he was a member of the “Three Hours for Lunch Club”. Three hour lunches with friends sounds good to me, but I have to wonder — if he took three hours for lunch every day, when did he write? Perhaps the man never slept.

Sleeping, that must be what I’m doing wrong. That’s a silly thought, but before you dismiss that remark as being flippant, consider the statement two New York newspapers published as Morley’s last message to his friends:

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.

I really need to be silly, or do something to step out of my usual self now and then. Maybe then I’ll be more productive and successful. Who knows?

(My thanks to Wikipedia for the info!)

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About Sharon Hart Addy

Writing is the monkey on my back. Sometimes it's great fun and sometimes it -- well, things can't be fun all the time, but it's still engrossing even when I chew my nails and scratch my head while searching for inspiration. Fiction is my particular fondness. Writing it and reading it.
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One Response to Three ingredients in a good life — according to Christopher Morley

  1. Kate Fellowes says:

    I love this entry–and the idea of three hours for lunch. That quote at the end is especially inspiring. I’ll be adding it to my book of quotes, too

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