"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela
Mandela died today, at the age of 95. It was not unexpected; many media organizations were able to publish comprehensive obituaries online soon after his death was confirmed.
I didn't know very much at all about him when the song Free Nelson Mandela (as it was called here; it was simply called Nelson Mandela in the U.K. and elsewhere) was released in 1984 by the Special A.K.A., an offshoot of the Specials. Jerry Dammers wrote the song (and evidently got some details wrong, like the shoes too small to fit his feet) after attending an anti-apartheid rally the year before. Apartheid became a burning issue in the years that followed; this song helped fuelled awareness of a gross injustice, and indeed of Mandela himself. You don't see that very often with a pop song these days!
When Mandela was released in 1990, I was not necessarily surprised to see him with a raised fist in the air. I was surprised, though, to see how profoundly forgiving he was, and willing to move forward in hope rather than look back in anger and bitterness.
"We take to fiction, I suppose, because no such thing is going to happen, and at least on the printed page we can observe beginnings, middles and ends, and can find out where morality resides." - Fay Weldon
"Being in a garret doesn’t do you any good unless you’re some sort of a Keats. ... As for me, I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money." - Dorothy Parker
"The life of a creator is not the only life nor perhaps the most interesting which a man leads. There is a time for play and a time for work, a time for creation and a time for lying fallow." - Henry Miller
"It’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn’t even speak to each other if they met at a party." - Nick Hornby
"Information is all around us, now more than ever before in human history. You barely have to stir or incommode yourself to find things out. The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriosity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is." - Stephen Fry
"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity." - Gilda Radner
[Radner would have turned 67 today. She died in 1989 from ovarian cancer.]
"Art and magic are pretty much synonymous. I would imagine that this all goes back to the phenomenon of representation, when, in our primordial past, some genius or other actually flirted upon the winning formula of 'This means that.' Whether 'this' was a voice or 'that' was a mark upon a dry wall or 'that' was a guttural sound, it was that moment of representation. That actually transformed us from what we were into what we would be." - Alan Moore
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.