Geoff Dyer

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We think a happy life consists in tranquility of mind.
Marcus T. Cicero
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Geoff Dyer (born June 5, 1958) is an author. He lives in London. He is best known as the author of But Beautiful, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, and has been called (by Keith Jarrett, for example) the best book ever written about jazz. Other notable titles are Paris Trance, Out of Sheer Rage (a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award), and Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It.


Yoga For People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It

  • This book is a ripped, by no mean reliable map of some of the landscapes that make up a particular phase of my life. It’s about places where things happened or didn’t happen, places where I stayed and things that have stayed with me, places I’d wanted to see or places I passed through or just ended up. In a way they’re all the same place—the same landscape—because the person these things happened to was the same person who in turn is the sum of all things that happened or didn’t happen in these and other places. Everything in this book really happened, but some of the things that happened only happened in my head; by that same token, all the things that didn’t happen didn’t happen there too. (p. 1)
  • When you are lonely, writing can keep you company. It is a form of self-compensation, a way of making up for things—as opposed to making things us—that did not quite happen. (p.11)
  • [On travel] I was constantly surprised by how much people didn’t know. That’s one of the things about traveling, one of the things you learn: many people in the world, even educated ones, don’t know much, and it doesn’t actually matter at all. (p. 15)
  • Virility of one kind or another is so important if you are to feel like a man. You have to be able to perform stunts. You have to be able to show off in front of your woman, do things she urges you not to do because they look dangerous. (p. 64)
  • The made two thousand years ago seem like yesterday, and yesterday looked like today, just as today would, in time, look like tomorrow. (p. 128)
  • Dave was committed to making it a truly memorable weekend in the sense that he would remember nothing whatsoever about it. (p. 152)
  • “It’s all about moderation,” he said, “Everything in moderation. Even moderation itself. From this it follows that you must from time to time, have excess. And this is going to be one of those occasions.” (p. 152)
  • “Once you turn forty,” I said to Matt, “the whole world is water off a duck’s back. Once you turn forty you realize that life is there to be wasted.” (p. 165)
  • The best way to learn was by looking, to become articulate in the language of sight. The eye could learn to look after itself. (p. 180)
  • [In the developing world] The idea is to generate paperwork. The word could hardly be more apt. Paper is work. Paper is the big employer. Someone fills out a form (in triplicate), someone files one copy, the other copy goes somewhere else to be filed by someone else, the third is retained by the customer for his records. The most insignificant transaction must be scrupulously recorded and logged, filed and stored, even, on occasion, retrieved. (p. 183)
  • I said goodbye to my new [and unwanted friend] and walked on. I had to be on my own, just so that I would not feel as alone. (p. 201)
  • …I saw I had spent the last fifteen years dragging the same burden of frustrated expectation from one corner of the world to the next. I felt I could no longer take the roller-coaster of emotions of travel, its surges of exaltation, its troughs of despondency, it’s large stretches of boredom and inconvenience…(p. 202)
  • Increased speed has served mainly to accelerate our impatience at any delay. (p. 204)
  • Ruins do not make you wish that you had seen them earlier; before they were ruins—unless, that is, they have become ruined. Ruins—antique ruins at least—are what is left when history has moved on. They are no longer at the mercy of history, only of time. (p. 207)
  • The more you covet something, the more certain it is that you’ll lose it, and the more devastating the loss will be when it happens—which it will. (p. 216)
  • I should have been happy—I was being paid to be here—but happiness is not respond to that kind of imperative; it is no good telling yourself you should be happy. (p. 225)
  • All we can do is keep applying the creosote, propping ourselves up with health and success, trying to keep the rain and the damp and the rot at bay for a little longer, trying to postpone the moment of complete collapse of abandonment for the same reason that one waits as long as possible for the alcoholic drink of the day: because the longer you leave it, the better it will feel. (p. 227)

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