Sunday, December 23, 2012

j.b. priestley | after finishing

After finishing a piece of work that has been long and rather difficult, I have a sense of the satisfaction that can expand into delight. This does not come from surveying the work done, for at these times I am rarely sure of the value of what I have just created, am more than doubtful if my first intention has been fulfilled, and may even wonder gloomily, while I hold the work in mind, if I have not been wasting time and energy. No, the delight springs from a sense of release. I have been in prison with this one idea, and now, I feel, I am free. Tomorrow, ten times the size of last Tuesday, is suddenly rich with promise. Time and space are both extended. I catch a glimpse of fifty new ideas, flickering like lizards among the masonry of my mind; but I need not bother about them. I am now the master and not the slave. I can go to China, learn the clarinet, read Gibbon again, study metaphysics, grow strange flowers in hothouses, lie in bed, lunch and dine with old friends and brilliant acquaintances, look at pictures, take the children to concerts, tidy up the study, talk properly to my wife. What a world this is to be free and curious in! What a wealth of sunlight and starlight and firelight! And so for a little while, before the key grates in the lock again, there I am, out and free, with mountains of treasure before my dazzled eyes. Yes, there comes a moment - just a moment - of delight.

from "Delight," chapter 4