I know you now have a baby daughter, which must be incredible and incomparable and insane, and I’m sure that Marlow will follow in your feet and end up having a net positive impact on the world, which isn’t easy to do and is realistically the most any of us can hope for. In case you ever run out of ways to inspire her, you can use these as sporadic bedtime monologues:
The world is your oyster. It is your androgynous aphrodisiac. You’ll squirt a little lemon juice on it and slurp it down with confidence you don’t always have. But be careful it might turn out that it’s gone bad. Nobody knows why, but for some reason it is most uncertain of the shellfish. Everyone is weary of its contents, and maybe rightfully so. It can make you sick, but more likely it will give you passion. The risk is worth it. Don’t be too careful.
The world is your canvas. Paint it with oomph. A little chutzpah. Potency. Animation and ardor. Vim, vigor and vitality. Zip, zest zing and zeal. Or get an elephant to paint an elephant on it. Graham Clark might paint on it with his beard. I hope he doesn’t get it too full of paint. like the Sherwin-Williams logo. I haven’t looked into it, but I assume it was made in the 1940s, when nobody saw an Earth literally covered in paint as a bad thing. Climate change, environmental destruction, human environmental negligence wasn’t top of mind. And now, it’s run by this guy’s grandson, Sherman Sherwin, who is resistant to any change. He has people casually offering an alternative logo, but they know he’s not going to listen and they need to be careful not to step over the line because he fired Hector for suggesting he be allowed to do payroll on a computer.
The world is at your service. It is all for you. All of it. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be better. Do better. Act better, even when it goes against your instincts. They’re your base instincts. Part of it being at your service is reciprocation. You are at its service as well. Serve well.
The world is at your feet. You tower over it. You kick it a little, but not maliciously. It just happened to be in front of you and you’re feeling particularly introverted today. No matter where you go, you’ll still be in your own head. The surroundings change but you never do. The ups and downs are more referential than meaningful in your own life. Everything that is is only what you see. Outside of your immediate vicinity, it’s only there as a memory, and a hopeful destination for the future. But the future again only exists as potential energy. It doesn’t matter. Now matters. Even as nothing matters.
The world is a handkerchief. It’s disappearing. But it’s time to bring it back. The proliferation of soft tissues make it take a backseat for a while. How bad the tissues must have been back then, for people to be willing to blow their nose into the same piece of fabric that they carry about in their pocket. Toilet paper was awful, I’m sure. It’s still got a ways to go in a lot of the world, and not only the poor world. We’re so spoiled now that if we don’t have exactly what we want we’ll complain until someone makes it, someone who wants money and sees us as the market. “I want to make better feel better” is the lie. “I want to make money” isn’t a public relational statement. So you put bubbly background music on and trick people with emotional valence. You play puppeteer. Manipulative marketers. Manipulation is all they know. All we know? Technological, timed, planned obsolescence. The handkerchief is back.
The world is a traveller’s hotel. It is a low-priced hostel in a romantic country. It’s filthy but in the most pure and inviting sense. Bring on the filth. You can handle it. You’re bathe in it. This is the best place to go for meaningful interactions. Everybody wants to meet people, wants to connect. Don’t let the world be a hotel. You can trick yourself into thinking it is. Get other people to do things for you, things you don’t want to do. Who the hell are you to not need to do anything yourself? The paycheck has confused you into believing you get to avoid whatever you want because you sell your time for a sufficient amount of money. Plant your own garden.
The world is a pot, and you’re the spoon, stirring it around. Keeping it from burning on the bottom. Moving the stew around, keeping it evenly heated. Watching its progress, as it readies itself for consumption.
The world before you is wide open. It’s a gaping hole. You peek over the edge and realize you’re at the top, but you’re only a step away from the bottom, the bottom of it all. L’appel du vide. It calls you. Jump. It might not be so bad. It can carry you. Down there is where the stories are. Up here you’re all alone.
The world is the world for the world. The world is the world is the world. The world is water. This is water. It’s easy to forget, but you can’t. This is water. This is water.
What the hell is water?
[Editor’s note: With the image below, James Chapman brought to my attention the global variations on the idea of the world being yours, the royal yours. I have a feeling he’s right.]