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Against failure

November 23, 2008

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No, the high wire is not what you think it is.
It is not a realm of lightness, space, and smiles.
It is a job.
Grim, tough, deceptive.

And whoever does not want to struggle
against failure, against danger,
whoever is not prepared to give everything
to feel that he is alive,
does not need to be a high-wire walker.
Nor could he ever become one.

As for this book–
the study of the high wire is not rigorous,
it is useless.

Philippe Petit, from On the High Wire,
in Translations, by Paul Auster

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2008 12:24 pm

    if you enjoy the book, you must see the soul-reanimating documentary on Petit, _Man on Wire_. it’s on the radar for an Academy Award, but beyond that (transcending that), it is an amazing story, and the visuals will destroy you as you wonder, “where is *my* passion?” (it did me). enjoy, i hope.

  2. November 24, 2008 2:10 pm

    at long last i was able to watch Man on Wire just the other day and i couldn’t agree with you more Bonnie: “soul-reanimating.” When it comes to describing the creative act and the committment necessary to be an artist, for me there are few better books than Petit’s On the High Wire and Tarkovsky’s Sculpting in Time.

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