Atara Press: Excerpts



Richard Neutra

Life and Shape



"Life is so short - you may miss the boat.
Or: Life is too short - why bother?
To bother or not to bother. That is the question."

"For the last thirty years I have not had a slow contemplative boat ride over a long distance, with some ports of call shocking me into new turns of thought. Sitting on a deck with sun and moon rising and setting, many thoughts came and still reverberate."

"From the almost eternal
biological common denominator I love to think of, I every so often returned to diverse and exotic regionalism, to ethnic behavior characteristics which would reach back a comparatively short milineum or two, and to passing circumstances which are different every few years. Even in this passing show I noticed with amazement that the stranger does not necessarily long remain a stranger. He can sometimes be more empathetic and intuitive than the local inhabitant who has gotten used to it all."

"One must not merely engage in an engineered chronology. One cannot look at time as an arithmetical table of dates, nor at space experience as if it were a dry geometric abstraction. Time, space, their intervals and distances, are differently measured, as we take them in, not by the calendar, nor by meters or millimeters. It is our organic responses, senses, moving limbs, that really count. They have kept 'counting' their way through a long human and prehuman past. They themselves measured time and space long before mathematics were invented or wrist watches began gauging life for us."

"Once at a London party, the hostess asked George Bernard Shaw, 'Are you enjoying yourself, Mr. Shaw?' He replied, 'Yes, but that is the only thing I am enjoying.' Mr. Shaw's pun notwithstanding, it is essentially true and by no means only at that party. The
reciprocal verb tells it. We always enjoy ourselves. This not mere egoism, but simply an organic function. Only through ourselves can we enjoy everything else. Or we fail to do so - the pleasure may miss - because our vital endowment at that particular stretch of 'living time' may be failing. And even a small failure here makes a big difference, may cause a long silent pause."





Gad Granach
Where Is Home?
Stories from the Life of a German-Jewish Emigre


"This land is like a magnet. There is something that attracts people from all corners of the world for all kinds of reasons, everybody looking for his own God and master, especially in Jerusalem."

"Everybody is searching for themselves. I don't know why everyone has to go searching for an identity. For me they told me my name, and that was all I needed."

"Of course there are people who always think of the future, who prepare for it, like a squirrel getting ready for the winter when its still summer. I have never prepared for winter, and now winter is here, but I am not cold."

"In Israel, everyone lives close to God and everybody can speak to him directly. Somebody should ask him why he had to create the world in just six days. What was the big hurry? From the looks of things here sometimes, it would have been better if he'd taken a bit more time with it!"









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