|The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from Reminiscences of Tolstoy by Leo Tolstoy:
"I am frightened by the feeling that I am getting into my
summer mood again. I loathe what I have written. The
proof-sheets for the April number [of "Anna Karénina" in
the "Russky Vyéstnik"] now lie on my table, and I am
afraid that I have not the heart to correct them.
Everything in them is beastly, and the whole thing
ought to be rewritten,--all that has been printed, too,--scrapped
and melted down, thrown away, renounced. I ought to say, 'I am
sorry; I will not do it any more,' and try to write something
fresh instead of all this incoherent, neither-fish-nor-flesh-
|The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Herland by Charlotte Gilman:
and so much plus that when they did not choose to let the
womanness appear, you could not find it anywhere.
I don't say it was easy for me; it wasn't. But when I made
appeal to her sympathies I came up against another immovable wall.
She was sorry, honestly sorry, for my distresses, and made all manner
of thoughtful suggestions, often quite useful, as well as the wise
foresight I have mentioned above, which often saved all difficulty
before it arose; but her sympathy did not alter her convictions.
"If I thought it was really right and necessary, I could
perhaps bring myself to it, for your sake, dear; but I do not want
to--not at all. You would not have a mere submission, would you?
|The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis:
massy mirror. Voices thick, satisfied, authoritative, hurtled along the marble
walls, bounded from the ceiling of lavender-bordered milky tiles, while the
lords of the city, the barons of insurance and law and fertilizers and motor
tires, laid down the law for Zenith; announced that the day was warm-indeed,
indisputably of spring; that wages were too high and the interest on mortgages
too low; that Babe Ruth, the eminent player of baseball, was a noble man; and
that "those two nuts at the Climax Vaudeville Theater this week certainly are
a slick pair of actors." Babbitt, though ordinarily his voice was the surest
and most episcopal of all, was silent. In the presence of the slight dark
reticence of Paul Riesling, he was awkward, he desired to be quiet and firm
|The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Youth by Joseph Conrad:
rope about the men, the pumps, and the mainmast, and
we turned, we turned incessantly, with the water to our
waists, to our necks, over our heads. It was all one.
We had forgotten how it felt to be dry.
"And there was somewhere in me the thought: By
Jove! this is the deuce of an adventure--something you
read about; and it is my first voyage as second mate--
and I am only twenty--and here I am lasting it out as
well as any of these men, and keeping my chaps up to
the mark. I was pleased. I would not have given up
the experience for worlds. I had moments of exultation.