Sunday, March 11, 2012

The absence of darkness is light

My current read is a novel I borrowed from the local library called The Rule Of Four, written by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. It has been three weeks since I first took it out and I still have not finished reading it. I am perhaps two-thirds done... pretty slow by normal standards but I want to complete it nonetheless.

It is a story about two university students trying to unravel the mystery contained within the pages of a book written by an Italian during the Renaissance period. Quite heavy going sometimes.

Anyway it is not my intention to do a book review. I just would like to share a passage from the book which I found quite enlightening. I was afraid if I wait until I finish reading the whole book, I might forget where the passage is. In this paragraph, the narrator is musing about his room-mate and fellow researcher...

The fact is, Paul has always kept secrets from us. For years he hid the truth about his childhood, the details of his parochial school nightmare. Now he's been hiding the truth about his relationship with Taft. Close as he and I are, there's a certain distance now, a feeling that while we have a lot in common, good fences still make good neighbours. Leonardo wrote that a painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light. Most painters do the opposite, starting with a whitewash and adding the shadows last. But Paul, who knows Leonardo so well you'd think the old man slept in our bottom bunk, understands the value of starting with shadows. The only things people can ever know about you are the ones you let them see.

The Leonardo mentioned above, is of course, Leonardo da Vinci, the genius artist, inventor, mathematician, engineer and everything else. The last sentence in that passage is the one I really like.

I guess I am like that... I don't reveal too much of myself. The surface me does not tell too much of the inner me. Even close friends or family members have different bits and pieces of who I am. If they are to gather around and share information, some of them would probably say, `Hey, I didn't know that about him.'

The only things people can ever know about you are the ones you let them see...

12 comments:

Wan Sharif said...

I guess The great man's way of looking at things was just different.. Like the current hoo haa about thinking outside the box.. Come to think of it.. It is a great way to look at things

Cara Lim said...

.. and the shadows, there are always the hardest to paint 'coz although they might appear black at first glance, they are actually made up of many shades of grey.

:-)

Noir said...

I must salute you for your reading efforts. I've yet to 'restart'.

I guess when you don't reveal too much, there will always be elements of surprise which makes you more interesting :}

somuffins said...

Oldstock
OK then, let's be secretive, heheh..

Oldstock said...

Ayoh Wang,

When I was a young boy, I read quite a lot on da Vinci and I guess part of it spurred my interest in engineering. Can't match the man's talents, tapi kira ok la kan...

Oldstock said...

Cara,

True, the shadows are really difficult to paint because you really need to decide just how much light is affecting it. And yes, life is not pure black and white... there's plenty of grey in between. That's why grey is my favourite colour.

Oldstock said...

Noir,

Bits of surprises here and there makes life that bit more exciting... as long as there are no unpleasant ones :-)

Oldstock said...

Ok Cik Som... I won't tell you my next secret, heheheh...

book seller said...

expect unexpected.. :)

Oldstock said...

Bookseller,

Cannot meh... that would be a paradox :-)

Nurie said...

Oldstock,

Diam diam ubi berisi ;)
Kwang kwang kwang!

Oldstock said...

Noorsham,

Diam-diam si isteri, harap-harap janganlah makan hati... :-)