I am lost in a romance of the purest kind with Atlas Shrugged right now.

Here are a few reasons why:

“She never tried to explain why she liked the railroad.  Whatever it was that others felt, she knew that this was one emotion for which they had no equivalent and no response.  She felt the same emotion in school, in classes of mathematics, the only lessons she liked.  She felt the excitement of solving problems, the insolent delight of taking up a challenge and disposing of it without effort, the eagerness to meet another, harder test.  She felt, at the same time, a growing respect for the adversary, for a science that was so clean, so strict, so luminously rational.  Studying mathematics, she felt, quite simply and at once: ‘How great that men have done this’ and ‘How wonderful that I’m so good at it.’  It was the joy of admiration and of one’s own ability, growing together.  Her feeling for the railroad was the same: worship of the skill that had gone to make it, of the ingenuity of someone’s clean, reasoning mind…”

“She sat listening to the music.  It was a symphony of triumph.  The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open.  It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose.  It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort.  Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be.  It was the song of an immense deliverance.”

“Then he said, ‘I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart.  I like to think of fire held in a man’s hand.  Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips.  I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking.  I wonder what great things have come from such hours.  When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind – and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression.'”

If I could write even half this well, and for only one day in my life, I would feel accomplished and entirely satisfied.

One thought on “

  1. Do you think Ayn Rand ever felt accomplished and satisfied? My guess is that she, like every writer I know, was afraid to hand these words to a friend to look over because she had some reason to dislike it.

    But, wow, I know what you’d mean. Just to write one paragraph that good…

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