On the Pleasures of Life


You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination, giving your hearts and your bodies to all that your hearts and bodies desire.  Live in your imagination.  Live the life that only a god could dare to live, for you are a god or a goddess. You are immortal in that you are conscious at this moment while this moment stretches on for all of eternity.  The gods of Greece were silly in their playfulness, they were always cheerful and happy—simply for the fact that they knew that they were deathless.  So, you too are deathless.  So mock life with an air of superiority; and be cheerful and joyous as you wander in the wilderness.

And wander far, my friend!  Ô wander far!  Wander through cities and countries wide, knowing that everywhere you go, the world is on your side.  Be at peace with all things and keep your eyes bright with wonder.  Smile with sensuality at those of the sex you hold beloved, for it costs you nothing to give them romantic dreams.  Each encounter you have with  your beloved sex contains elements of the exotic, the erotic.  The glances with the stranger on the street or subway car are glances of wonder, want, and desire—a fire between the legs.

And when you next make love to a woman or a man, treat your lover as though she or he is a goddess or a god.  Adore every part of your lover’s body.  Worship them.  Inhale their odor with passion while you imagine the zebras on the beaches of Africa and the flowers in the jungles of Brazil.

Worship your lover’s sex.  Kiss it as though it were the flesh you need to devour.  Lap its moisture like the man laps at the fresh, cool water of the oasis he finds after crawling on his hands and knees through the desert for seven days, parched and panting.  Admire your lover’s body, for it is perfect, as is your body.  Kiss your lover’s body with gratitude, adore it with gratitude, for this person is giving you the gift of opening his or her nakedness to you, exposing to you their vulnerable innocence.  They can be hurt by you, but they trust you, be kind.

For we are all children on this exotic Earth and none of us know what we are here for or why.  Thus, in joy walk along; take part in dance, and sing your song.  Yet, never try to bind an hour, to your borrowed garden bower; nor shall you once entreat, a day to slumber at your feet.  For days aren’t lulled by lyric song, like morning birds they pass along, o’er crests of trees, to none belong.

Get drunk, feel free, get high, while the hours of life before you fly.  Don’t worry to ask yourself why you do the thing you do.  For you are a masterpiece of nature and life—your mother’s sacrifice.  And your dreams will become your life, and they will be bountiful, once you know that you are beautiful.  So, how shall beauty you achieve?  Simply laugh, and smile, and simply breathe.


The Birth of a Quote: “She was free in her wildness…”

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city.”

  • Roman Payne (“The Wanderess”)


How this quote became so popular, I have no idea.  I wrote it about one woman:  The heroine of “The Wanderess,” Saskia; yet I wrote these lines to describe Saskia at her best—praising the qualities of a heroine that all women should strive to have, or keep if they have them.  I wrote these lines to make Saskia be like a statue of Psyche or Demeter.  The masculine sculptor doesn’t see rock when he carves Aphrodite.  He sees before him the carving of the perfect feminine creature.


I was creating my ‘perfect feminine creature’ when I wrote about Saskia.  She is completely wild and fearless in her dramatic performance of life.  She knows that she may only have one life to live and that most people in her society wish to see her fail in her dream of living a fulfilled life.  For if a woman acts and lives exactly as society wants her to live, she will never be truly happy, never fulfilled.  For societies do not want girls and women to wander.


I am surprised that this quote became so famous, since I didn’t spend more than a few seconds writing it.  It was written merely as three sentences in a novel.  I didn’t write it to be a solitary poem.  This quote that touches so many people is no more than an arrangement of twenty-four words in a book of three-hundred pages.

What touches me the most is when fans send me photos of tattoos they’ve had done of this quote—either a few words from it or the whole quote. The fact that these wonderful souls are willing to guard words that I’ve written on their precious skin for the rest of their lives makes me feel that what I am writing is worth something and not nothing.  When I get depressed and feel the despair that haunts me from time to time, and cripples me, I look at these photos of these tattoos, and it helps me to think that what I am doing is important to some people, and it helps me to start writing again.

Am I a masculine version of the wanderess in this quote?  Of course I am!  I am wild and fearless, I am a wanderer who belongs to no city and to nobody; I am a drop of free water.  I am—to cite one of my other quotes—“free as a bird.  King of the world and laughing!”

(-Roman Payne, January 1, 2018, Marrakech, Morocco)


* * *  Ask the novelist and poet who wrote this famous quote a question.  Ask him anything at:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/359352.Roman_Payne/questions