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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The (not quite) Daily Dick: Musings

From Chapter 32: Cetology

"For small erections may be finished by their first architects; grand ones, true ones, ever leave the copestone to posterity. God keep me from ever completing anything."


Musing: I had an occasion to talk about Moby-Dick with a cool, smart group of folks recently. That happens less often than you might think! When I read the quote above, I was reminded of how freeing it was the first time I read it. Perhaps Melville was speaking tongue in cheek, but he is correct. Once we finish something, we stop actively engaging with it. It can take years to complete a draft of a novel. When I start to want faster results, this quote often comes to me and relieves me of some pressure.

It also reminds me of my favorite quote from the Robert Browning poem "Andrea Del Sarto": "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,/Or what's a heaven for?" Let me be happy for the steps towards progress. Thank you Melville!

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