In the Time of Your Life

“In the time of your life, live – so that in good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding-place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, nor of any man be the superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle… and have no regret. In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

– William Saroyan, “The Time of Your Life” (1939)

William Saroyan 1970s.jpgWilliam Saroyan was an Armenian-American novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of his novel The Human Comedy.

An Armenian American, Saroyan wrote extensively about the Armenian immigrant life in California. Many of his stories and plays are set in his native Fresno. Some of his best-known works are The Time of Your LifeMy Name Is Aram and My Heart’s in the Highlands.

He has been described in a Dickinson College news release as “one of the most prominent literary figures of the mid-20th century”and by Stephen Fry as “one of the most underrated writers of the [20th] century.” Fry suggests that “he takes his place naturally alongside HemingwaySteinbeck and Faulkner.”

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