Roger Ebert

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It is an interesting law of romance that a truly strong woman will choose a strong man who disagrees with her over a weak one who goes along.   Strength demands intelligence, intelligence demands stimulation, and weakness is boring.   It is better to find a partner you can contend with for a lifetime than one who accommodates you because he doesn’t really care. … Sixty seconds of wondering if someone is about to kiss you is more entertaining than 60 minutes of kissing. … Spill the beans, and the conversation is history.   Speak in code, with wit and challenge, and the process of decryption is like foreplay.

– Roger Ebert

The Little Prince

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One of my favorite books growing up was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.

I don’t even remember how I got it, but I do know that it wasn’t something that I would have picked out on my own because we didn’t learn about such books at school.  It was among the books that my mother stored on shelves above my childhood bed that included a cover-less copy of Harold Robbins’ The Adventurers and the classics such as Black Beauty and Robinson Crusoe.  

I still remember how the book felt in my hands. It was small and it was a quick read, but I had to read it a few times because it did not read like all the other classics I had read before.  It was almost cryptic at times.

How was I to know, a mere ten year old, what the book was really about?  When the fox says to the little prince, “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye,” I understood it because it has since shaped the way I see the world.   But I could not understand then what the fox meant when he said, “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed” – that it meant more than just the taming of a small animal, of which I probably with my limited experiences, associated that sentence then.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve read The Little Prince and I’m due for a reread.  I stumbled across the dedication of the book today,  and it brought tears to my eyes.  It brought me back to that room with the custom-made bed and the shelves above it, all filled with books about adventures and worlds so different from my own.  And one of them, my favorite one, about a little prince stranded in the desert, so far from home.

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Image from Letters of Note

Leon Werth, a French writer and art critic, was a close friend and confidante to  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  He would not learn of the book nor the dedication till five months after Saint-Exupéry’s death in November 1944.

WIth Every Good-Bye You Learn

“After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding an hand and chaining a soul, And you learn that love does not mean leaning and company does not always mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses are not contracts and presents are not promises. And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in flight. After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure and you really are strong and you really do have worth. And you learn and you learn with every goodbye you learn.”

–Virginia Shopstall