Notable authors express transcendent experience

December 16, 2014 | Short Reflections

Truman Capote once said, “The greatest pleasure of writing is not what it is about but the inner music the words make.”

Here are two soliloquies that express the transcendent experience in the masculine (or feminine) journey—from the mouth of a seaman and an itinerant agricultural worker—written by two notable American authors.

What quality of connection is needed for an authentic life that goes beyond “my” possessions, career, and family?

I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself — actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way.
Edmund Tyronne
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Eugene O’Neill

A fellow ain’t got a soul of his own, just little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everybody, then… Then it don’t matter. I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.
Tom Joad
Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck