Stallman on happiness and perseverance

What does happiness signify to you, I asked him, if it isn’t based on wealth and comfort?

“Happiness for me is a combination of feeling good about myself and having love,” he said. “And to feel good about myself, I have to do things that convince me I deserve it.”

(…)

“The point is, even though it’s sad to see people being foolish, there’s no use giving up. Nothing good can come of giving up. That just means you lose completely, right away.”

—Richard Stallman on the 30th anniversary of the GNU Manifesto.

Bonus: The Free Software Song by The GNU/Stallmans.

Did Bukowski really said “Find what you love and let it kill you”?

While chatting about life and meaning with my still blog-less friend Pedro, I recalled the “famous” quote which according to most of the internet was written by Bukowksi in a letter:

My dear,

Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain from you your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you, and let it devour your remains.

For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.

Falsely yours,
Henry Charles Bukowski”

I wasn’t able to find out if the quote was really from the poet himself, or just a typical invention of the internet.

In doubt, I simply labeled the letter to be misattributed since I had no further evidence to support its authenticity.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one to ask myself this question, but “Jef with one F” from HoustonPress actually got to the bottom of the matter:

The earliest source we could find for the phrase came from the April 1998 issue of CMJ New Music Monthly. In it David Grubbs interviewed Van Dyke Parks. Parks was asked about how he went about crafting a song, and he went on a roundabout answer involving trial and error and a fear that something wouldn’t work.

“It’s like my friend Kinky Friedman said,” mused Parks. “You’ve got to find what you love and let it kill you. I don’t think any of us should ever forget that.”

When contacted about Friedman being the original source, Friedman’s publicist Cleve Hattersley responded, “Kinky has assured me it is a pure Kinky-ism.”

I guess it’s myth busted… Up until the attribution to Bukowski. For all we know, Mr. Friedman could be pulling our leg :).