'HOW TO BE GOOD' by Nick Hornby

IN THIS DAY AND AGE

What it takes in this day and age, to have the courage of our convictions, to leave the safety of our old ways
What it takes in this day and age, to have the courage of our convictions, to leave the safety of our old ways
A danger is never far away...we may be mishandled, laughed at or even alienated.
A danger is never far away...we may be mishandled, laughed at or even alienated.
What it takes in this day and age to have the courage to leave the safety of the home behind...
What it takes in this day and age to have the courage to leave the safety of the home behind...
 to leave the wrong job or the wrong relationships we are trapped in...
to leave the wrong job or the wrong relationships we are trapped in...
to follow the yearning for a fresh start.
to follow the yearning for a fresh start.
We can hear the emptiness, we taste the silence, we smell the solitude...
We can hear the emptiness, we taste the silence, we smell the solitude...
Do we know what we are looking for? Do you know what you are sad about?
Do we know what we are looking for? Do you know what you are sad about?
We had the nagging feeling that we miss something without being able to describe precisely what that something is...
We had the nagging feeling that we miss something without being able to describe precisely what that something is...
A danger approaches and suddenly we think about the safety of the home again...
A danger approaches and suddenly we think about the safety of the home again...
We change back to yet another confused and fearful human being looking for comfort and love.
We change back to yet another confused and fearful human being looking for comfort and love.
We changed, we moved away and we came back. You know you could leave a lot of things behind but there is something you can not live without...
We changed, we moved away and we came back. You know you could leave a lot of things behind but there is something you can not live without...
What it takes in this day and age to have the courage to come back and admit that you have been wrong...
What it takes in this day and age to have the courage to come back and admit that you have been wrong...
that you need others, that you need love to feel alive...
that you need others, that you need love to feel alive...
Are you just looking for the reflection of yourself in someone else's eyes?
Are you just looking for the reflection of yourself in someone else's eyes?
Are you just looking for a pleasure in paradise?
Are you just looking for a pleasure in paradise?
Are you lost or confused and looking for someone to help you to find the way out?
Are you lost or confused and looking for someone to help you to find the way out?
Are you waiting patiently for your ideal partner to cross your path?
Are you waiting patiently for your ideal partner to cross your path?
Are you in a hunting mood ready to jump on every opportunity that appears in your way?
Are you in a hunting mood ready to jump on every opportunity that appears in your way?
Many of us happily live on their own and yet we should  prepare ourselves for the beginning of love...
Many of us happily live on their own and yet we should prepare ourselves for the beginning of love...
The beginning of love is to let those we love...
The beginning of love is to let those we love...
be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image.
be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image.
Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
There is a strange love-hate relationship between husband and wife in many marriages...
There is a strange love-hate relationship between husband and wife in many marriages...
Living in one myself I can safely say that enormous numbers of couples are dysfuntional in some way or another...
Living in one myself I can safely say that enormous numbers of couples are dysfuntional in some way or another...
partners feel sort of lost and alienated and kicking around thinking they are trapped and yet...
partners feel sort of lost and alienated and kicking around thinking they are trapped and yet...
probably just being human we yearn for love that never fails...we dream that at the end of our days we can say:'He was the one, she was the one...I was always faithful...He or she attracted that kind of loyalty.
probably just being human we yearn for love that never fails...we dream that at the end of our days we can say:'He was the one, she was the one...I was always faithful...He or she attracted that kind of loyalty.

‘HOW TO BE GOOD’ by Nick Hornby



‘Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’
“Who watches the watchers?”

Plato asked Socrates in 400 B.C.
“Who criticizes the critics?”
“Who is there to judge,
 if we live truthful and honest lives
full of goodness and love?”

Take on our modern selves,
take on our modern world,
just like in Plato’s time,
we seek a big truth about ourselves.
Tell me, whether there is or is not
absolute beauty or good,
or any other absolute existence?’


We pondered on our last meeting,
reading a little bit,
 a half or some of us,
the whole of the book:
‘How to be good.”
And yet, it occurred to me,
we were, to some degree,
all reading a different book,
hearing a different message,
affected by the different passions,
tastes,
emotions and attitudes
we bring to it.
The author,
one hopes,
would be pleased
with so many interpretations,
here is my reflection,
but is,
far from being the last word.

“We have a great belief in the power of words:
we read,
we talk,
we write,
we have therapists
and counselors and even priests
who are happy
to listen to us and tell us what to do,”

thought Katie,
the consummate liberal,
urban mom,
a doctor from North London,
whose world was being turned upside down:
“What happens when words fail us?”

Katie lived a different sort of life
in a different sort of world,
a world where action counted for more,
than words and feelings,
Katie had an affair with a man,
she didn’t care about.

“I think everything that you think,”
David,
without proper job or aim in life,
explained to his unfaithful wife:
“But I’m going to walk it like I talk it.”

Plagued by a bad back,
he visited a healer,
who cured him and changed him.
David, the angriest man in the neighborhood,
was replaced by a saint.

“I’m a good person in most ways,”
Katie began to think:
“But it doesn’t count for anything very much,
if you are a bad person in one way,
because most people are good people, aren’t they?”


All my life I have wanted to help people,
that’s why I wanted to be a doctor,
and having failed at that,
I come home and fail
at being a wife
and a mum,
well,
I haven’t got the energy
to fail
at anything else.”

Katie finished her thinking and moved out
of their family house.

“I was living a wasted life.”
David smiled giving away his roast beef lunch:
“I don’t want to die feeling that I never tried,”
he managed to persuade five neighbors
to accommodate one homeless kid.
The healer moved in
and makes Katie
 to feel guilty about:
the lies she has told,
the affairs she has had,
the hurt she had caused,
trying to get a feel
of where her own particular guilt lies.

“ I don’t want to play
‘the possession game’”,

the healer explained to Kathy
while making himself
comfortable
in their house:
“People become lazy
and spoiled
and uncaring,
they just want to own things.”

Kathy watched him
piling his plate
full
with food
she cooked
and bought.
He caught her gaze
and smiled
apologetically:
“But I do have to live somewhere,
don’t I?”



“We become unhappy and take Prozac,
and then we might get divorced,
we will definitely die…”

Katie reached forward
in her suddenly
world-weary
and
bleak frame of mind
touching the foreheads
of her daughter and her son.
I just need some time out,”
she cried.
Why?” David asked.
Because I’m frightened
of what
you might do next.”

She replied.

“I can’t stand you,
you are awful,
always has been,
always will be.”

The healer banged the phone down.
“Who you talked to?”
David asked surprised.
My sister.

It’s so easy to love someone
you don’t know,
whether it’s a homeless kid
or the whole world,”

Kathy laughed:
But staying civil to your family,
now there is a miracle,
don’t worry I understand,
it’s just happening to us.”

The healer and the homeless kid
left their house.
It felt strange,
suddenly,
they were on the verge
of returning to their old life:
sarcasm and bitterness,
bad novels,
spare bedrooms,
life in a city,
where no one
cares
about anyone.
work for living,
shop in a supermarket,
watch TV,
read newspaper
and drive a car.
Eat frozen pizzas
and
live everyday life
with a huge slice of luck
and a little spare cash
to spend on overpriced goods…
living a nice life,
that makes us feel good.



Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?’
“Who watches the watchers?”

Plato asked Socrates in 400 B.C.
Who criticizes the critics?”
“Who is there to judge,
 if we live truthful and honest lives
full of goodness and love?”

Katie looked at David,
at her daughter,
at her son
and said:
I can live this life,
and yet,
I am disappointed
with
my work,
my marriage
and myself,
what is there to hope for?”

She caught a glimpse
of the night sky
and there was nothing
out there at all.
But maybe,
just maybe,
if she would look deep
into her children’s eyes
she would find the answers
she was looking for.











How to be Good by Nick Hornby

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Comments 21 comments

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

These two paragraphs are so true. I struggled with these problems most of my adult life and still do. I need to let people be who they are and not try to change them.

"Living in one myself I can safely say that enormous numbers of couples are dysfuntional in some way or another"

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves and not to twist them to fit our own image"

Thank you for this wonderful share, I know I have some work to do on myself. Peace to you


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

I agree -- there is no absolute good. In fact, I long ago stopped thinking in terms of good and bad, but just 'what is' -- accepted that and stopped demanding perfection or even goodness from myself, others or the world. How liberating!

As always, your delightful photographic essay with wisdom infused words is topped only by your prose and poetry. You are a true artist. Lynda


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thanks guys, I just was in very sad state of mind and felt I was not too uplifting (again) in my writing...but as you said Lynda...it is not point to struggle to reach for perfection...as there is none...we are who we are and if only one person finds something useful in my writings than I am happy:)

I have a very happy day today, thanks to you my dear followers:)


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 6 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

Wonderful words, I really liked all the captions and pictures, what a story that told


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Everything is relative, isn't it? The same scenario - viewed so differently buy different people or by the same person at different times. Your words and your pictures are so expressive, Beata - thanks for an awesome hub!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

This was an interesting read!!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 6 years ago from Western Australia Author

Happy you liked my reflection my fellow hubbers, I believe that our lives are enrinched by the different opinions we held...our originality and individuality make our lives more enrinched...we all bring a special flavour to a big pot called life:)


Goodpal profile image

Goodpal 5 years ago

I have to repeat myself: you talk through words and pictures as well.

You must be a black belt in communication!!


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thanks Goodpal that is really 'huge compliment'...but I just think 'some people are good in talking, some in writing...I just like to communicate through images:)...have a great 2011 my friend, hopefully you visit me again....


CYBERSUPE profile image

CYBERSUPE 5 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

Great Hub Beata. Love the pictures. Very interesting.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you, my new follower, happy you liked it, hopefully you come back for more...again:)


cybersupe 5 years ago

Hi Beata, I will return you have some great information.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Happy you liked it and come back dear 'cybersupe'....


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London

Beautiful :)


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you my dear fellow hubber...and come back again:)


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

You have said a lot in this one poem. Relationships need to be worked on constantly and always with an open mind. As you stated, we must allow people to be themselves otherwise we only make carbon images of ourselves.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you my dear fellow teacher for stopping by...you wrapped it up nicely what I wanted to say, I know it esiear said than done, we all have to work on ourselves, like you said, 'relationships need to be worked on constantly and always with an open mind'...at least 'there is a light at the end of the tunnel' - if we both sides work really hard on it...it will survive:)


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 4 years ago

Fascinating and serious stuff - I randomly arrived here from following another hub of yours Beata and started pondering - we are all creatures of darkness and light - some seek punishment for guilty feelings over a selfish side which when seen disgusts us as it reflects how alone we might be - coming into life alone and going out alone - can we face that? - not easily, maybe not at all - we try to banish it's traces in our existence - remove it from a life based on family and companionship. Thanks for the read.


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 4 years ago from Western Australia Author

Thank you for your 'deep reflection on my reflection of this fascinating book', I am often amazed to find out that my own reflections are just 'springboards' for deeply thought over and genuine reflections of others....it is great feeling to be at the source from where the river of deep and creative thoughts flow:) ...thank you for making me feel that way and good luck with your hubbing and pondering about 'how to be good...'


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

Lovely! Voted up and interesting! :)


Beata Stasak profile image

Beata Stasak 3 years ago from Western Australia Author

thank you, my fellow hubber, it is really good book to read as well...B

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