Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

by Edgar Allen Poe, William Saroyan, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:48 am

What did you think of Saroyan’s reason for writing? Is his goal achievable?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby trygirl » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:12 pm

I think what Saroyan desired is the same as Captain Jack Sparrow, immortality. He says, "Thus, I could halt the action of things, to achieve new forms of halting, or art. That is roughly how and why I became a writer. In short, I began to write in order to get even on death." If such a goal could ever be achieved, a writer definitely has the best chance of the feat. Shakespeare comes to mind for art that refuses to halt.
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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby sweetchia » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:28 pm

I think Saroyan's goal is achievable in any form that allows the artist to live on through their work. Long after Johnny is gone, there will be people enjoying his movies. We are still enjoying VanGogh's paintings and I continue to gain inspiration from my favorite author, though he has now passed. A writer's words live on beyond him. A painter's vision goes on long after he has moved on. A singer's voice continues to move people beyond her life. An actor's characters continue to delight movie watchers for decades beyond him. Even if you never put your life to the page, canvas, film or record, your stories can live on in those you share them with. The art of passing down tales from generation to generation is still alive in many cultures and even with some American families I know. And don't we simply live on in just the gentlest way we may touch someone's life? It could be unintened and so subtle, we may not even know we've left that part of us behind and yet, a kind word to a perfect stranger can change their life, which then leaves a trail behind them, thus silently leaving your own footprint behind. Actually, when I think about it, it's near impossible NOT to acheive Saroyan's goal. For even if we never realize it, we touch so many, influence and affect those around us and inspire even without trying. We may not live on in the classic sense, leaving behind a bloodline or even in name...but we all leave a trace of ourselves when we cross over.
During a day, if you don’t make someone smile or feel good about himself, you’re not a man! I don’t think you’re fulfilling your part of the bargain as a human being - Johnny

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby shadowydog » Wed Nov 04, 2009 2:05 pm

sweetchia wrote:I think Saroyan's goal is achievable in any form that allows the artist to live on through their work. Long after Johnny is gone, there will be people enjoying his movies. We are still enjoying VanGogh's paintings and I continue to gain inspiration from my favorite author, though he has now passed. A writer's words live on beyond him. A painter's vision goes on long after he has moved on. A singer's voice continues to move people beyond her life. An actor's characters continue to delight movie watchers for decades beyond him. Even if you never put your life to the page, canvas, film or record, your stories can live on in those you share them with. The art of passing down tales from generation to generation is still alive in many cultures and even with some American families I know. And don't we simply live on in just the gentlest way we may touch someone's life? It could be unintened and so subtle, we may not even know we've left that part of us behind and yet, a kind word to a perfect stranger can change their life, which then leaves a trail behind them, thus silently leaving your own footprint behind. Actually, when I think about it, it's near impossible NOT to acheive Saroyan's goal. For even if we never realize it, we touch so many, influence and affect those around us and inspire even without trying. We may not live on in the classic sense, leaving behind a bloodline or even in name...but we all leave a trace of ourselves when we cross over.


So true. I agree and thanks for your insight. None of us grow up in a vacuum and travel through life alone. We all touch those we come in contact with and are in turn touched by them. No matter what the medium we use whether face to face; words; pictures; or music, what we do affects those around us; whether we intend it or not. Great post and so true. :applause2: :applause2:
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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby trygirl » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:17 pm

sweetchia wrote:I think Saroyan's goal is achievable in any form that allows the artist to live on through their work. Long after Johnny is gone, there will be people enjoying his movies. We are still enjoying VanGogh's paintings and I continue to gain inspiration from my favorite author, though he has now passed. A writer's words live on beyond him. A painter's vision goes on long after he has moved on. A singer's voice continues to move people beyond her life. An actor's characters continue to delight movie watchers for decades beyond him. Even if you never put your life to the page, canvas, film or record, your stories can live on in those you share them with. The art of passing down tales from generation to generation is still alive in many cultures and even with some American families I know. And don't we simply live on in just the gentlest way we may touch someone's life? It could be unintened and so subtle, we may not even know we've left that part of us behind and yet, a kind word to a perfect stranger can change their life, which then leaves a trail behind them, thus silently leaving your own footprint behind. Actually, when I think about it, it's near impossible NOT to acheive Saroyan's goal. For even if we never realize it, we touch so many, influence and affect those around us and inspire even without trying. We may not live on in the classic sense, leaving behind a bloodline or even in name...but we all leave a trace of ourselves when we cross over.


Very well said! It's about what remains behind. Proof of life.
I'm not a brand, I'm more of a variety. - Johnny Depp

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby ladylinn » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:27 pm

Such great answers. Yes, I too think we all can leave a bit of ourselves to others. Whether it is intensional by writing, art, music or other materialistic means, we touch other people (family or strangers) everyday by our words or actions.
This comes to my mind - I was working as a sales associate in a large dept. store and I was wearing a pink ribbon pin that stands for breast cancer awareness. A customer I was helping looked at the pin and with tears in her eyes told me she had just had breast cancer surgery. I told her of my own battle with cancer and encouraged her to keep fighting and stay strong. She began crying and we hugged and found strength from each other. I think of her often and hope that she won her battle.

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby sweetchia » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:05 pm

ladylinn wrote:Such great answers. Yes, I too think we all can leave a bit of ourselves to others. Whether it is intensional by writing, art, music or other materialistic means, we touch other people (family or strangers) everyday by our words or actions.
This comes to my mind - I was working as a sales associate in a large dept. store and I was wearing a pink ribbon pin that stands for breast cancer awareness. A customer I was helping looked at the pin and with tears in her eyes told me she had just had breast cancer surgery. I told her of my own battle with cancer and encouraged her to keep fighting and stay strong. She began crying and we hugged and found strength from each other. I think of her often and hope that she won her battle.


Beautiful! It IS those moments. You reminded me of a remarkable experience I had. I was in a grocery store when a young woman approached me and asked me about a pendant I was wearing. Before I knew it, she was pouring her heart and soul to me. She'd just moved here, knew nobody and was scared about a great many things. She said she felt comfortable with me and I offered her what little pearls I'd discovered along my own path. We spoke for at least an hour. I hoped afterward that I'd helped. I still think of her to this day, 3 years later. Wonder where she is and how she is doing. We never exchanged names and will probably never see one another again. I hope I touched her life even half as much as she touched mine. But one thing for sure...I gave her a little of me and she gave me a little of her. I would not like to think she is no longer with us, but if that were the case, she lives on in my memory.
During a day, if you don’t make someone smile or feel good about himself, you’re not a man! I don’t think you’re fulfilling your part of the bargain as a human being - Johnny

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby Buster » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:29 pm

Actually, when I think about it, it's near impossible NOT to achieve Saroyan's goal.

Seems true on many levels, sweetchia.

It got me thinking about how energy can not be destroyed, only changed...Each time an idea is exchanged, by whatever medium, it undergoes some sort of transformation. Your interpretation of my work of art becomes part of the art, because your interpretation is, for you, the art itself.
Just as our bodies now bear only a vague resemblance to the ones we were born with, our thoughts and ideas are mutated by the world we live in. (Shakespeare's plays were written for the common man - the emotions remain timely and universal, but the language can be difficult for the modern theatre goer.)
I like the thought of constant change, at varying rates of speed.
Ideas do live on long past their originator's life span, so I guess I do believe in intellectual ghosts at any rate. (And I certainly believe in goats!)

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby sweetchia » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:35 pm

Buster wrote:
(And I certainly believe in goats!)


:biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh:
During a day, if you don’t make someone smile or feel good about himself, you’re not a man! I don’t think you’re fulfilling your part of the bargain as a human being - Johnny

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby suec » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:48 pm

Nature's first green is gold

Her hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost


This is one of my favourite poems. It has always spoken very powerfully to me. It sums it up for me.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby magpie » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:51 pm

Definitely achievable. I have to say that while reading this selection I kept thinking of Ecclesiastes, and 'All is vanity.' While we all deal with that differently, Saroyan found his answer in writing.

So did Solomon.

Interesting discussion everyone, I'm enjoying reading along.
I'm having a thought here. . . .
. . if you simply try to tell the truth you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:50 pm

Inspirational and insightful answers from everyone! :applause2:

I have read many of Saroyan's short stories and I think he did a wonderful job of leaving the legacy of his experience and that of his culture in America.

Your answers remind me of one of my favorite quotes:


The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
~Frederick Buechner~
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby sweetchia » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:28 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Inspirational and insightful answers from everyone! :applause2:

I have read many of Saroyan's short stories and I think he did a wonderful job of leaving the legacy of his experience and that of his culture in America.

Your answers remind me of one of my favorite quotes:


The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
~Frederick Buechner~


I like that. I think we have an awesome example of that here...Johnny. Look how many lives he's touched, deeply and profoundly. Lives he has no idea even exist. And it's not only through his movies, but more through example of how he lives his own life and through his generosity of soul.
During a day, if you don’t make someone smile or feel good about himself, you’re not a man! I don’t think you’re fulfilling your part of the bargain as a human being - Johnny

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:34 pm

sweetchia, that is exactly how I came to find and appreciate the quote. He is truly an inspiration.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Saroyan Week ~ Question #3 ~ Saroyan's Goal

Unread postby gemini » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:04 am

I guess if his goal was to counteract impermanence and he died in 1981 and here we are wondering if he did it, then he did. Since we are still talking about him and so will the next few generations, I'd say he met his goal.
Anyone who can leave their mark on so many generations certainly has found some sort of immortality even if it isn't their first choice of living forever. I see a few of you who posted before me agree but you said it a bit more colorfully.
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.


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