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Three days to see All of us have read thrilling stories in which the hero had only a limited and specified time to live. Sometimes it was as long as a year; sometimes as short as twenty-four hours. But always we were interested in discovering just how the doomed man chose to spend his last days or his last hours. I speak, of course, of free men who have a choice, not condemned criminals whose sphere of activities is strictly confined. Such stories set us thinking, wondering what we should do under similar circumstances. What events, what experiences, what associations should we crowd into those last hours as mortal beings? What happiness should we find in reviewing the past, what regrets? Sometimes I have thought it would be an excellent rule to live each day as if we should die tomorrow. Such an attitude would emphasize sharply the values of life. We should live

each day with a gentleness, a vigor, and a keenness of appreciation which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to come. There are those, of course, who would adopt the motto of "Eat, drink, and
be merry," but most people would be punished by the certainty of death. Most of us take life for granted. We know that one day we must die, but usually we picture that day as far in the future. When we are in good health, death is all but unimaginable. unimaginable We seldom think of it. The days stretch out endlessly. So we go about our petty tasks, hardly aware of our listless attitude toward life.

The same listlessness , I am afraid, characterizes the use of all our faculties and senses.
Only the deaf appreciate hearing, only the blind realize the blessings that lie in sight. Particularly does this observation apply to those who have lost sight and hearing in adult life. But those who have never suffered loss of sight or hearing damage seldom make the fullest use of these blessed faculties. Their eyes and ears take in all sights and sounds hazily, without concentration and with little appreciation. It is the same old story of not being grateful for what we have until we lose it, of not being conscious of health until we are ill. I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would tech him the joys of sound. Now and then I have tested my seeing friends to discover what they see. Recently I was visited by a very good friend who had just returned from a long walk in the woods, and I asked her what she had observed. "Nothing in particular, " she replied. I might have been

incredulous had I not been accustomed to such responses, for long ago I became convinced that the seeing see little

How was it possible, I asked myself, to walk for an hour through the woods and see nothing worthy of note? I who cannot see find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate symmetry of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly about the smooth skin of a silver birch, or the rough, shaggy bark of a pine. In the spring I touch the branches of trees hopefully in search of a bud, the first sign of awakening Nature after her winter's sleep. I feel the delightful texture of a flower, and discover its remarkable folds; and something of the miracle of Nature is revealed to me. Occasionally, if I am very fortunate, I place my hand gently on a small tree and feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. I am delighted to have the cool waters of a brook rush through my open fingers. To me a thick carpet of pine needles or soft grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug To rug. me the colorful seasons are a thrilling and unending drama, the action of which streams through my finger tips. At times my heart cries out with longing to see all these things. If I can get so much pleasure from mere touch, how much more beauty must be revealed by sight. Yet, those who have eyes apparently see little. the panorama of color and action which fills

the world is taken for granted. It is human, perhaps, to appreciate little that which we have and to long for that which we have not, but it is a great pity that in the world of light the gift of sight is used only as a mere conveniences rather than as a means of adding fullness to life. Oh, the things that I should see if I had the power of sight for three days! 我们大家都读过一些令人激动的故事,这些故事里的主人公仅仅活在有限并且特定的 时间内,有时长达一年,有时短到24小时。但我们总是有兴趣发现,那命中注定要死的是 那些有选择自由的人,而不是那些活动范围被严格限定了的判了刑的犯人。 这样的故事让我们思考,在相似的情况下,我们该怎么办,作为终有一死的人,在那最 终的几个小时内安排什么事件, 什么经历, 什么交往?在回顾往事时, 我们该找到什么快乐? 什么悔恨? 有时我想到,过好每一天是个非常好的习惯,似乎我们明天就会死去。这种态度鲜明地 强调了生命的价值。我们应该以优雅、精力充沛、善知乐趣的方式过好每一天。而当岁月推 移,在经常瞻观未来之时日、未来之年月中,这些又常常失去。当然,也有人愿按伊壁鸠鲁 的信条“吃、喝和欢乐”去生活。(译注:伊壁鸠鲁是古希腊哲学家,他认为生活的主题目 的是享乐,而最高的享受唯通过合理的生活,如自我控制才能得到。因为生活享受的目的被 过分强调,而达此目的之手段被忽视,所以伊壁鸠鲁的信徒现今变为追求享乐的人。他们的 信条是:“让我们吃喝,因为明天我们就死亡”),但绝大多数人还是被即将面临死亡的必 然性所折磨。 但是,我们大多数人把生活认为是理所当然的。我们知道,某一天我们一定会死,但通 常我们把那天想象在遥远的将来。当我们心宽体健时,死亡几乎是不可想象的,我们很少想

到它。时日在无穷的展望中延展着,于是我们干着琐碎的事情,几乎意识不到我们对生活 的倦怠态度。 恐怕,同倦的懒散也成为利用我们所有的本能和感觉的特点。只有聋子才珍惜听力,唯有 瞎子才体会到能看见事物的种种幸福, 这种结论特别适合于那些在成年阶段失去视力和听力 的人们, 而那些从没有遭受视觉或听觉损伤之苦的人却很少充分利用这些天赐的官能。 他们 模模糊糊地眼观八方,耳听各音,毫无重点,不会鉴赏,还是那相同的老话,对我们所有的 官能不知珍惜,直至失去它,对我们的健康意识不到,直至生病时。 我常常想,如果每个人在他成年的早期有一段时间致瞎致聋,那会是一种幸事,黑暗会 使他更珍惜视力,寂静会教导他享受声音。 我不时地询问过我的能看见东西的朋友们,以了解他们看到什么。最近,我的一个很好 的朋友来看我,她刚从一片森林里散步许久回来,我问她看到了什么,她答道:“没什么特 别的。”如果我不是习惯了听到这种回答,我都可能不相信,因为很久以来我已确信这个情 况:能看得见的人却看不到什么。 我独自一人, 在林子里散步一小时之久而没有看到任何值得注意的东西, 那怎么可能呢? 我自己,一个不能看见东西的人,仅仅通过触觉,都发现许许多多令我有兴趣的东西。我感 触到一片树叶的完美的对称性。 我用手喜爱地抚摸过一株白桦那光潮的树皮, 或一棵松树的 粗糙树皮。春天,我摸着树干的枝条满怀希望地搜索着嫩芽,那是严冬的沉睡后,大自然苏 醒的第一个迹象。我抚摸过花朵那令人愉快的天鹅绒般的质地,感觉到它那奇妙的卷绕,一 些大自然奇迹向我展现了。有时,如果我很幸运,我把手轻轻地放在一棵小树上,还能感受 到一只高声歌唱的小鸟的愉快颤抖, 我十分快乐地让小溪涧的凉水穿过我张开的手指流淌过 去。 对我来说, 一片茂密的地毯式的松针叶或松软而富弹性的草地比最豪华的波斯地毯更受 欢迎。对我来说四季的壮观而华丽的展示是一部令人激动的、无穷尽的戏剧。这部戏剧的表 演,通过我的手指尖端涌淌出来。 有时,由于渴望能看到这一切东西,我的内心在哭泣。如果说仅凭我的触觉我就能感受 到这么多的愉快,那么凭视觉该有多少美丽的东西显露出来。然而,那些能看见的人明显地 看得很少,充满世间的色彩和动作的景象被当成理所当然,或许,这是人性共有的特点;对 我们具有的不怎么欣赏,而对我们不具有的却渴望得到。然而,这是一个极大的遗憾,在光 明的世界里,视力的天赋仅仅作为一种方便之用,而没有作为增添生活美满的手段。

The Shadowland of Dreams

By Alex Haley

Many a young person tells me he wants to be a writer. I always encourage such people, but I also explain that there's a big difference between "being a writer" and writing. In most cases these individuals are dreaming of wealth and fame, not the long hours alone at the typewriter. "You've got to want to write," I say to them, "not want to be a writer." The reality is that writing is a lonely, private and poor-paying affair. For every writer kissed by fortune, there are thousands more whose longing is never rewarded. Even those who succeed often know long periods of neglect and poverty. I did. When I left a 20-year career in the Coast Guard to become a freelance writer, I had no prospects at all. What I did have was a friend with whom I'd grown up in Henning Tennessee. George found me my home—a cleaned-out storage room in the Greenwich Village apartment building where he worked as superintendent. It didn't even matter that it was cold and had no bathroom. Immediately I bought a used manual typewriter and felt like a genuine writer. After a year or so, however, I still hadn't received a break and began to doubt myself. It was so hard to sell a story that I barely made enough to eat. But I knew I wanted to write. I had dreamed about it for years. I wasn't going to be one of those people who die wondering, "What if?" I would keep putting my dream to the test—even though it meant living with uncertainty and fear of failure. This is the Shadowland of hope, and anyone with a dream must learn to live there. Then one day I got a call that changed my life. It wasn't an agent or editor offering a big contract. It was the opposite—a kind of siren call tempting me to give up my dream. On the phone was an old acquaintance from the Coast Guard, now stationed in San Francisco. He had once lent me a few bucks and liked to egg me about it. "When am I going to get the $15, Alex?" he teased. "Next time I make a sale." "I have a better idea," he said. "We need a new public-information assistant out here, and we're paying $6,000 a year. If you want it, you can have it." Six thousand a year! That was real money in 1960. I could get a nice apartment, a used car, pay off debts and maybe save a little something. What's more, I could write on the side. As the dollars were dancing in my head, something cleared my senses. From deep inside a bull-headed resolution welled up. I had dreamed of being a writer—full time. And that's what I

was going to be. "Thanks, but no," I heard myself saying. "I'm going to stick it out and write." Afterward, as I paced around my little room, I started to feel like a fool. Reaching into my cupboard—an orange crate nailed to the wall—I pulled out all that was there: two cans of sardines. Plunging my hands in my pockets, I came up with 18 cents. I took the cans and coins and jammed them into a crumpled paper bag. There Alex, I said to myself. There's everything you've made of yourself so far. I'm not sure I ever felt so low. I wish I could say things started getting better right away. But they didn't. Thank goodness I had George to help me over the rough spots. Through him I met other struggling artists, like Joe Delaney, a veteran painter from Knoxville, Tennessee. Often Joe lacked food money, so he'd visit a neighborhood butcher who would give him big bones with small pieces of meat, and a grocer who would hand him some withered vegetables. That's all Joe needed to make his favorite soup. Another Village neighbor was a handsome young singer who ran a struggling restaurant. Rumor had it that if a customer ordered steak, the singer would dash to a supermarket across the street to buy one. His name was Harry Belafonte. People like Delaney and Belafonte became role models for me. I learned that you had to make sacrifices and live creatively to keep working at your dreams. That's what living in the Shadowland is all about. As I absorbed the lesson, I gradually began to sell my articles ,I was writing about what many people were talking about then: civil rights, black Americans and Africa. Soon, like birds flying south, my thoughts were drawn back to my childhood. In the silence of my room, I heard the voices of Grandma, Cousin Georgia , Aunt Plus, Aunt Liz and Aunt Till as they told stories about our family and slavery. These were stories that black Americans had tended to avoid before, and so I mostly kept them to myself. But one day at lunch with editors of Reader’s Digest, I told these stories of my grandmother and aunts and cousins. I said that I had a dream to trace my family’s history to the first African brought to these shores in chains. I left that lunch with a contract that would help support my research and writing for nine years. It was a long, slow climb out of the shadows. Yet in 1970, 17 years after I left the Coast Guard, Roots was published. Instantly I had the kind of fame and success that few writers ever experience. The shadows had turned into dazzling limelight. For the first time I had money and open doors everywhere. The phone rang all the time with

new friends and new deals. I packed up and moved to Los Angeles, where I could help in the making of the Roots TV mini-series. It was a confusing, exciting time, and in a sense, I was blinded by the light of my success. Then one day, while unpacking, I came across a box filled with things I had owned years before in the Village. Inside was a brown paper bag. I opened it, and there were two corroded sardine cans, a nickel, a dime and three pennies. Suddenly the past came flooding in like a tide. I could picture myself once again huddled over the typewriter in that cold, bleak, one-room apartment. And I said to myself, The things in this bag are part of my roots, too. I can't ever forget that. I sent them out to be framed . I keep that clear plastic case where I can see it every day. I can see it now above my office desk in Knoxville, along with the Pulitzer Prize, a portrait of nine Emmys awarded to the TV production of Roots. And the Spingarn medal –the NAACP’s highest honor. I’d be hard pressed to say which means the most to me But only one reminds me of the courage and persistence it takes to stay the course in the Shadowland. It's a lesson anyone with a dream should learn. 许多年轻人曾对我说他们的梦想是当一名作家。我给予他们鼓励,同时也告戒他们当 一名作家与写作相去甚远。 这些人大多数只为追逐名利, 殊不知那打字机前的写作过程是如 此漫长而孤独。“你要有写作的欲望,”我告诉他们,“而不是只想着当一名作家。” 其实,写作是一项孤军奋战、报酬甚微的工作。受到幸运之神眷顾、一举成名的作家还是少 数,更多的人壮志难酬。即便是成功的作家也会经历过默默无闻和生活窘困。我便是其中的 一位。 当我毅然放弃曾工作了二十载的海岸警卫队,选择当一名自由作家时,前途并不明朗。我一 无所有,除了和我在田纳西亨宁市一同长大的好友--乔治。乔治为我找到了住所--格林威治 小镇的一幢住宅大厦里,一间清空的仓库,而他是大厦管理员。尽管“家”里既阴冷又没有 浴室,但这并不碍事。我立马买了一台二手打字机,顿时觉得自己成了作家。 然而一年过去了,我仍旧没有取得突破,于是开始怀疑自己。我的作品没有销路,结果差点 连伙食费都挣不够。但是我很清楚自己喜欢写作,这是我多年的梦想。与其年华老去才悔不 当初,不如坚定自己的梦想,哪怕这意味着我的生活充满变数,担心失败。这是梦想的阴影 地带,而凡是有梦想的人都要学挺过这一阶段。 某天, 一通电话改变了我的一生。 但并不是什么经纪人或是编辑打来洽谈合同的。 刚好相反, 那是个引诱我放弃写作梦想的电话。 海岸警卫队的一个老相识曾经借给我几美元, 所以借此

致电劝我。“阿力克斯,你什么时候才能把那 15 美元还给我?”他揶揄道。 “等我把作品卖出去再还。” “我有个更好的主意,”他接着说道,“我们这里正需要一个新闻助理,年薪 6000 美元。 如果你有兴趣的话,这工作就是你的了。” 年薪 6000 美元!那在 1960 年可算是一笔丰厚的收入了,可以供一间高尚公寓,买一辆二手 车,还清债务之后也许还能留一点积蓄。而且,我还能兼顾写作。 当 6000 美元在我的脑海里不停晃动的时候,我的内心深处涌现出的坚定决心让我恢复了理 智。我的梦想是成为一名作家,专职的作家,而我一定会实现这个梦想。“谢谢你的好意, 不过我没兴趣,”我听见自己说,“我要继续写下去。” 挂了电话后,我在屋子里来回踱步,觉得自己像个白痴。打开橱柜--那只是钉在墙上的一个 橙色木箱——我把两罐沙丁鱼拿了出来,这就是里面的全部存货。我掏掏口袋,找到了 18 美分硬币。我把罐头和硬币都塞进一个皱巴巴的纸袋,对自己说:阿力克斯,这就是你全部 的成就。也许那是我头一回这么难过。 我总希望转机马上到来, 但事与愿违。 感谢上帝, 在那些最艰难的时刻, 总有乔治在我身边。 经过他的介绍, 我结识了几位不懈努力的艺术家, 像来自田纳西诺克斯维尔的老画家乔·德 莱尼。乔的伙食费经常不够,于是一个住在附近的肉贩常常给他几根带着少许肉的骨头,另 一个菜商则会送他些萎蔫了的蔬菜。这些就是乔的家常便汤的材料。 还有一个跟我住同一个镇的帅气青年歌手, 他开了一间餐馆勉强维持生计。 听说如果客人点 了牛排,他会立刻冲到街对面的超级市场去买。 像德莱尼和贝拉弗特这样的人成为了我的偶像。从他们身上,我明白到人必须做出牺牲,活 出自我,才能朝着梦想前进,才能在阴影下生存。 终于,我用了很长的时间才冲破成功前的漫长黑暗。那是在 1970 年,也就是我离开海岸警 卫队的 17 年后,我的作品《根》终于出版,并且一夜成名,这种名利对许多人来说是不可 企及的。就这样,十年苦读无人问,一举成名天下知。 忽然之间,我摇身变成了一个富有而受欢迎的人物。电话响个不停,结识了新的朋友,签订 了新的合同。不久,我收拾行李搬到了洛杉矶,在那里,我协助拍摄了《根》的电视连续短 剧。在那段日子里,我竟然不知所措,得意忘形了。在某种意义上说,成功的光芒蒙住了我 的双眼。 有一天,摆放行李的时候,我无意中发现了一个盒子,那是数年前我住在格林威治小镇时,

下的一个褐色的纸袋。 打开袋子,只见两个已经生锈的沙丁鱼罐头,一枚 5 分钱硬币,一枚 10 分钱硬币和三枚 1 分钱硬币。突然,往事如潮水一般涌上心头。我好像看见自己又坐在那个阴冷、简陋的屋子 里,蜷着身子伏在打字机上。我对自己说,这个袋子里的东西也是我的根。我不能忘本。 我让人用合成树脂给它们镶了个框, 放在我每天都能看见的地方。 现在他们就摆在我诺克斯 维尔的办公室桌上。旁边还摆着普利策新闻奖,电视剧《根》曾获得的 9 个艾美奖的纪念照 片。它时常提醒我,要在阴影下坚持自己的道路需要多大的勇气和毅力。 这是每个有梦想的人必修的一课。

Choose Optimism By Rich De Vos If you expect something to turn out bad, it probably will. Pessimism is seldom disappointed. But the same principle also works in reverse. If you expect good things to happen, they usually do! There seems to be a natural cause-and-effect relationship between optimism and success. Optimism and pessimism are with powerful forces, and each of us must choose which we want ,so as to shape our outlook and our expectations. There is enough good and bad in everyone’ life --- ample sorrow and happiness, sufficient joy and pain to find a rational s basis for either optimism or pessimism. We can choose to laugh or cry, bless or curse. It’s our decision: From which perspective do we want to view life? Will we look up in hope or down in despair? I believe in the upward look. I choose to highlight the positive and slip right over the negative. I am an optimist by choice as much as by nature. Sure, I know that sorrow exists. I am in my 70s now, and I’ve lived through more than one crisis. But when all is said and done, I find that the good in life is far greater and more important than the bad. An optimistic attitude is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. The way you look at life will determine how you feel, how you perform, and how well you get along with other people. Conversely, negative thoughts, attitudes, and expectations feed on themselves; they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Pessimism creates a sad and hopeless place which no one wants to live in. Years ago, I drove into a service station to get some gas. It was a beautiful day, and I was feeling great. As I walked into the station to pay for the gas, the attendant said to me, “How do you feel?” That seemed like an odd question, but I felt fine and told him so. “You don’t look well,” he replied. This took me completely by surprise. A little less confidently, I told him that I had never felt better. Without hesitation, he continued to tell me how bad I looked and my skin appeared yellow. By the time I left the service station, I was feeling a little uneasy. About a block away, I pulled over to the side of the road to look at my face in the mirror. How did I feel? Did I look that bad? Was everything all right? By the time I got home, I was beginning to feel a little sick. Did I have a bad liver? Had I picked up some rare disease? The next time I went into that gas station, feeling fine again, I figured out what had happened. The place had recently been painted a bright, disgusting yellow, and the light

reflecting off the walls made everyone inside look as though they had hepatitis! I wondered how many other folks had reacted the way I did. I had let one short conversation with a total stranger change my attitude for an entire day. He told me I looked sick, and before long, I was actually feeling sick. That single negative observation had a profound effect on the way I felt and acted. The only thing more powerful than negativism is a positive affirmation, a word of optimism and hope. One of the things I am most thankful for is the fact that I have grown up in a nation with a grand tradition of optimism. When a whole culture adopts an upward look, incredible things can be accomplished. When the world is seen as a hopeful, positive place, people are given the power to attempt and to achieve. Optimism doesn’t need to be naive. You can be an optimist and still recognize that problems exist and that some of them are not dealt with easily. But what a difference optimism makes in the attitude of the problem solver! For example, through the years I’ve heard some people say that the money spent on our space program has been wasted. “Instead of spending $455 million to put a man on the moon,” they say, “why not spend that money here on earth on the poverty problem?” But when you ask them exactly how they would spend that money to solve the poverty problem, most of them don’t have an answer. “Give me a solution,” I tell them, “and I’ll raise you the money.” Think in positive term about how to address the issue rather than criticizing money spent on other program, such as America’ space program, which resulted in many positive discoveries that s have benefited mankind. Optimism draws our attention away from negativism and channels it into positive, constructive thinking. When you’re an optimist, you’re more concerned with problem solving than with useless fault-finding. In fact, without optimism, issues as big and ongoing as poverty have no hope of solution. It takes a dreamer – someone with hopelessly optimistic ideas, great persistence, and unlimited confidence – to tackle a problem that big. It’s your choice.


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