22 May 2007

"When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire."


I have spent far too much time here at work trying to find the source for this quote. What I have mostly found, are 'blogs. Endless fields of 'blogs. The quote, as I know it, is a vocal sample at the start of a song called Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, by The Stars. It sounds rather like Orson Welles to me, but it could very easily be someone trying to sound like Orson. No clue. It's frustrating. I really need to know who said this, and as a part of what.

Because I want to tattoo it on my chest.

Just found it. It's the lead singer's father, a noted actor. (Dag! No wonder I was having trouble finding it.) Yet I am still context-less, apart from the album itself, which is mostly about breaking up and breaking down. (Such a novelty in a pop album.) It sounds so much like a classic quote, and Mr. Campbell is noted for his association with The Stratford Festival, so the possibility persists. In the meantime, I'll just have to go on ascribing my own meaning, on which more in a moment.

This is one of those strange things from strange places. The album was released some three years ago, and I'd never heard of it. The song came to me in the form of a mix CD made for me by a relative stranger (though we did pretend to tromp together through deepest Africa once) from Camp Nerdly. He handed it off to sort of drop cargo on his way out, originally intending--I believe--to barter with it at the Nerdly goods swap. It's all scratched up from transport and informal packaging, and I frankly couldn't be sure it would load into ye olde iTunes successfully. Yet it did, and weeks later it is rapidly scaling my "Tha' Jams You Can't Leave Alone" chart.

What does it mean? Not the fortuitous and coincidental nature of my acquisition, mind you, but the words: When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

Well, kids, for me this is a pretty direct statement. I mean, I do spend some time involuntarily picturing men in the arctic north who've set fire to everything and are now drawing lengths of rawhide to see who gets shoved in the flaming pile of sleds, dogs and clothing. But I quickly transcend such an image to my usual metaphor: acting. Also: life. Generally: inseparable, when you're doing something right.

As Friend Patrick might put it, fire has been a recurrent symbol in my life lately. Literally and figuratively, come to think of it. I loved my parents' fireplace back in Burke, Virginia, and lots of rituals surrounded it in the winter months. Whenever I get the chance (the last such chance being a rooftop barbecue last Sunday, and prior to that, Camp Nerdly), I put myself in charge of the fire. It's methodical and physical to build, dangerous and unpredictable in practice, but also warming, soothing and inspiring. So perhaps it's natural for me, especially now, to link the notion of fire with acting. There's a great quote from Slings and Arrows about why actors act that I can neither remember, nor find online, but it says something about why anyone would want to return to normal life once they had experienced the kind of truth one can achieve through a successful performance on the stage. That's setting yourself on fire.

As for having nothing left to burn, well, here's a couple of different thoughts on that:
  • Maybe that's the job of the actor, to find that level of stakes and desperation for the appropriate moments on stage. Not every character is despondent, but every good character should want something so badly that he or she comes to a point--at least once--of not knowing what to do about it.

  • Use it.

  • That happens all the time to most actors in America, and dare I say the world. Even when our personal or financial lives aren't a shambles, we tend to work ourselves past all endurance on parts we play until either epiphany or disaster occur. Either we pull off the trick of a phoenix . . . or we don't.

Of course, none of this probably has much of anything to do with what the songwriter(s) intended. But that's the beauty of pop music, isn't it? It means what you most need it to mean at the moment you need it.

When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.

68 comments:

Nat said...

I prefer to subscribe to the Dead Milkmen's ethos: "If you love somebody, set them on fire."

Only I substitute 'love somebody' with 'pass somebody on the sidewalk.'

Jeff Wills said...

I have no response to that.

Lea Maria said...

This may be very "musical theatre minded" of me, but this quote just makes me think of the finale of "Pippin," where he's tried everything in the whole world to feel fulfilled/inspired (love, sex, war, work, etc.), and in the end the only thing left for him to do is set himself on fire. What a great fucking musical.

Also: I tried to check your blog yesterday from England, but the server I was working off of told me it was restricted, due to the fact that it contained "High Profile Pornography."

Why do I always miss the good stuff?

Jeff Wills said...

"High Profile." Remember that. I suppose it's a result of my posting regarding anal intrusion. You hear that, Limeys? ANAL INTRUSION!

saiki said...

I have a levis T-Shirt i bought last summer with this quote on it as well as a skull on what looks like a table of alchemist shop of potions and ancient scribed text.

Jeff Wills said...

Saiki, could this indicate that this is a bizarre viral sort of sentence, one that is permeating every aspect of our human culture? Or is Levis printing merchandising for the band Stars? Or is the quote in fact FROM SOMETHING OTHER THAN THAT SONG? Great Caesar's ghost. This query will haunt me for the rest of my days . . .

elyzabeth said...

I have stumbled upon your blog while also searching for the origin of the phrase. Quite like you, I also came across the Stars song by chance and I would like to use the quote for an art piece. It really does sound so familiar. It's been eating away at my soul, I feel your pain.

Jeff Wills said...

It should not be this hard, should it, elyzabeth? Ah well. I have just about decided it was something they wrote for the purposes of the song. But how strange that two people within days of one another should accidentally seek out this lyric on ma' 'blog. Did they re-air the appropriate episode of the OC that purportedly features Stars?

Holley said...

I also found your page searching for the origin of the quote, haha.I've loved this quote since I first heard it. I always imagined the monk who set himself on fire, Thich Quang Duc. It makes me think just of self sacrifice. I'm not an actress, though, nor am I in any sort of theatre. I'm just rambling philosopher stuck on the internet. :)

Anonymous said...

i too love this quote!

i got it tattooed to my arm, ill link you to a photo :)

i love the idea of the quote tatted to your chest! if you ever get it pleasee show me!


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v45/frappi87/firelife2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v45/frappi87/firelife.jpg

-Ashley
(breatheinrust@hotmail.com)

postmoderngirls said...

Hi,
I too found your blog trying to figure out the origin of the sentence.
I have some weird idea that it has something to do with the Dalai Lama, but that might be because of the image of a monk self-immolating that I associate this quote with.
Good luck figuring it out!
X

Jeff Wills said...

Holley: Just? Just?! Where would the internet be without you? Self-sacrifice is certainly a strong suggestion in the introduction; odd that the song doesn't seem to return to it in the lyrics.

Ashley: I am way too much a wuss to get it tattooed on my chest, but kudos to you for your tatt'. I like the suggestion in the quote that one should never give up. But please: do not ever get drunk and take your tattoo as helpful literal instruction!

Pomog: Is that Thich Quang Duc to whom you refer? I think of the cover of the first Rage Against the Machine album, first thing, then remember the cause behind his sacrifice. The last thing that song seems to be about is the arbitrary injustice and inhumanity of war. Still a great song, though.

Sam Christie-Sgro said...

Dude amazing post! Added you to RSS so i can finish reading it later. Just wanted to let you know my roomate and I were debating where this came from, and I stumbled upon your blog. Our guess was the book Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Guess we were wrong!

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks much, Sam! Yeah, I just read F451, and it ain't in there. Judging by the period of time over which I've gotten responses from complete strangers since posting this, I'm guessing now that the band wrote those words. Or the actor-father? Dag. DAG, I say!

GeorgeW said...

Like everyone else, I've been wondering about the source of that quote. So I went emailed Q, the fantastic Canadian arts program on CBC radio. They in turn contacted someone closely connected to Stars to resolve the question. The answer is - Torquil Campbell. Although it sounds like a classic literary quote, it was in fact written by the lead singer and the recording was done by Torquil's father.

Jeff Wills said...

GeorgeW, sir, to you off goes my hat. Seriously: I am profoundly affected today by having this question answered. I, and a grateful nation (of at least 4/5 people) salute you.

Also: I kind of figured as much at this point, what with how dead-end my (and others') searches have been. But now I'm looking up "Q," and will likely become a huge fan. Please tell them I said you're owed a commission.

Now there's nothing left to lose! Everyone: Set yourselves afire!

SetOnFire said...

Hi,

I dont mean to dig up anything that has been long buried, BUT... I found something interesting after researching a song by mewithoutYou called - The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate, which ends in -

"Our beloved's not dead, but his highness instead,
has been utterly changed into fire."
"Why not be utterly changed into fire?"

This was thought to have come from the sayings of Abba Joseph in the Apophthegmata Patrum, or the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. The quote/saying is as follows -

“Abbot Lot came to Abbot Joseph and said: ‘Father, to the limit of my ability, I keep my little rule, my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and to the limit of my ability, I work to cleanse my heart of thoughts, what more should I do?’ The elder rose up in reply, and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: ‘Why not be utterly changed into fire?’”

Abbot Lot has burnt/sacrificed everything to gain a religious experience ('When there is nothing left to burn')and when he asks what else he can do, he gets his response 'change into fire'. This close to 'set yourself on fire'.

Im not questioning that Stars wrote this, but I think its really close to this quote and may have had some influence on the its construction.

Just thought I would bring it to the table for future readers.

Jeff Wills said...

Wow. I continue to be amazed at how this quote attracts curiosity. I wonder if the band could have expected such a response? SetOnFire, you offer some interesting influences. I'm inclined to believe the concept of setting one's self alight appeals to us on some level . . . especially if it somehow could be done sans consequence (a la The Human Torch). Then again, sacrifice is really the point, isn't it?

Cynthia said...

i take the quote as to say: when all of your resources are gone all thats left to depend on is yourself.

it's a truly beautiful quote.

Jeff Wills said...

Just so, Cynthia. Popular music can survive centuries, so it's nice to know at least some of it is trying to say something beautifully.

Jeremy said...

Wow i didnt know others would be looking for meaning in the same quote. been one of my favourite lines in music for a long time. to me it feels like the christians who burnt heretics at the stake, and when youre so zealous and you end up burning everything around you the only thing left is you, you dont really have a choice but to set yourself on fire. almost like he without sin casting the first stone kinda quote. what do u think?

Jeff Wills said...

What I wonder, Jeremy, is if the band knew what an incredible imaginative force they were creating in their audience by this line. I can imagine some producer or other asking them to "leave that part off" because it might come across as too dramatic or self-conscious. If so, I'm glad they didn't listen. As to the quote's meaning, one thing that's clear from the responses I've gotten over time is that it means different, important things to different people. I think that's one of the best results an artist can hope for.

Inez said...

wow, all this time I thought it was just me wondering about this beautiful little quote. SO happy I'm not alone in thinking it's pretty powerful sentiment, no matter the true meaning. ALso, if you haven't yet, make sure to share this song. I know that it my neck of the woods, no one had even heard of the band let alone this brilliant song/album.

Jeff Wills said...

It's a kind of little blessing to me that so many people have been drawn to my little 'blog here in search of more information about this line, Inez. Thanks for adding to that. Hopefully we're adding to The Stars' resources to write resonant words, one fan at a time.

Adagio said...

I also have read a little about this quote over the internet. F451 seems to appear though in Stars' new(er) album "Do You Trust Your Friends". Each of the songs featured on the album is a remix of older songs, and the titles are all followed by some sort of explanation for the mix. The third song on the album is called "Set Yourself on Fire (Montag)"...and seeing that Montag is the lead character of F451, I still see some kind of correlation. It's probably nothing, but interesting nonetheless.

Jeff Wills said...

Fascinating. Are you the alleged roommate of Sam Christie-Sgro...?

colleen said...

i love the mystery of this quote. makes it even more powerful.

every year i do a new search. while i find no new information on the quote's origin, i find that i am not alone in what i am looking for, on a number of levels.

lets all keep searching...

Jeff Wills said...

Good point, Colleen. Sometimes the wondering's more rewarding than the knowing.

oliverholden said...

agreed. I am a painter and i'm always on the quest for perfection - the perfect picture. but i know if i found it i would have nothing left to do, yet i must remain on the quest. For there is nothing else that satisfies.

Jeff Wills said...

I agree, Oliver Holden (of Oliver Holden fame). There's a quote from "Letters to a Young Poet" of which I'm fond that saw me through some of the more trying episodes of being a young, broke actor in NYC:

"I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now."

oliverholden said...

what a perfect quote Jeff, thank you. I shall copy it out to my studio diary. Certainly i shall find myself returning to it often. I am a man who rarely tires of query, only now i shall approach such questions with a new appreciation. Kind Regards, A young, broke artist.

Lewis said...

I'm another random Internet wanderer, who stumbled upon you blog as I was looking for information about this quote. I still remember the first time I heard Your Ex-Lover Is Dead, several years ago. I don't listen to Stars often, but that song (and the quote) constantly pop into my mind at random times.

To me, it's always meant that when you're truly tired of your life and the direction that it's going, you have to remove or change (burn) everything in it. And after that's done, the final step is to burn away whatever it is within you that's keeping you from being who you want to be. If you don't carry out that last step, then all will be for naught.

KT said...

I was thinking along the same lines as Lewis. I always understood the opening line to be a reminder that, if we are unhappy with our circumstances, we cannot constantly blame our surroundings. At some point ("when there's nothing left to burn"), we need to look inwards and acknowledge we are responsible for our experiences (accept the blame and "set ourselves on fire").

I think this interpretation might even fit in with the story line of the song. where a girl could not admit her love - and then finds herself nearly forgotten by her former lover many years later. She can only blame herself for the situation.

I also love Lea Maria's interpretation. Am incredibly impressed the dialogue over such a simple line has lived on for so many years(!) since the release of this Stars' song. I would have never guessed the band (or the singer's father) originally authored this quote. True art.

Klozit Rokstar said...

Here's an odd one for you. I had never heard the song by The Stars, nor come across this quote anywhere else (I recently saw it as a tattoo on someone's back in a YouTube video - search "James Frehn's Wicked Game"), but nonetheless, I said something very similar toward the end of the Temple Burn at Burning Man in 2007.

The burning of the Temple takes place on the final day, Sunday, of Burning Man, ostensibly for some, marking the close of the event; at the very least, in spirit for virtually all others in attendance.

We were solemnly sitting on the dusty playa, watching the embers wane, when an overwhelming feeling swelled within me. I've since struggled to put the feeling into words; "pure joy" or "ultimate bliss" are the closest I've come to doing so. The feeling steadily rose within, and it soon felt as though the very feeling itself had physically manifested and was radiating outward, from my every pore.

Contrary to my struggle to find adequate words for the feeling, the physical sensation it created was immediately apparent. I stood, stoic for a short moment, looked around at the faces surrounding me, wildly agaze at the receding flames of the Temple, raised my arms high and screamed to my capacity, "There's nothing more to burn! So let's burn ourselves!!"

The crowd of my fellow burners roared in answer to my call. I was compelled to begin dancing in my spot, my arms waving and weaving frantically over my head, as that of flames of a fire licking the starry sky above. Others began to rise from the dry lakebed of Black Rock City, equally compelled to dance, with arms raised and rocking to the unheard beat of the fire that was burning within us all. An audible beat soon rose with the crowd, courtesy of a nearby artcar, blasting a perfect, bassful accompaniment that fueled the fiery frenzy growing around me.

Seemingly hundreds of us continued to dance, continued to flame, well into the night. It was a night I shall never forget; it was the night I was burned alive, and lived to rejoice it.

Jeff Wills said...

I very, very clearly now owe The Stars some royalties of some 'bloggish kind.

Thank you, Lewis, KT and Klozit. Part of what's so fascinating to me about all this curiosity in the line is that it reminds me of the ways different actors can interpret what is ostensibly the same role. Sometimes it seems to me that there is no better or worse way to create a new thing, only a degree of fullness to which one can achieve.

Thanks again, with great fullness.

shivanesh said...

Hello there,

I really enjoyed reading this. I especially like the way you end off, saying that music is whatever we want it to be at that moment. Maybe i found this three years too late. Ive always wondered what that opening line meant. Thank you, for making known your take on this.

Shiv

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks for the thanks, Shiv! I continue to be amazed by this line's perseverance.

Kris said...

Many many years later, don't know if you have a real answer yet but I was just search the internets this morning and from what I can find its attributed to Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Or at least thats what wikiquote shall have us believe.

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jack_Kevorkian

james said...

I have loved this song (Your Ex-Lover is Dead) and I must admit the opening line has haunted me as well. On a side note I just finished reading "The Hunger Games" series, and it feels like this song was written for the main character of the book. Not sure if anyone else has made the connection but both the book and the song are great!

J

Sruthi said...

Hi! I adore the song, and have also been looking for the source of the quote. I think it's supposed to be an allusion to Jan Palach, a Czechoslovakian student who set himself on fire in protest of Soviet occupation during the Prague Spring. I think he was one of the first people to resort to self-immolation as a means of protest. I also believe Torquil Campbell, lead singer of The Stars wrote the line himself. I certainly can't be sure if the line is actually supposed to allude to Palach, but it seems probable. Hope that helped!

Anonymous said...

i've been looking for years..and have found nothing, i feel as though there must be some deeper meaning but again..since so many people are searching and no one has found anything, it really must be what you make of it

Lark2002 said...

Stumbled across this blog like everyone, hadn't heard the song in years and as soon as I heard the first line went looking for its source. Guess its just one of those phrases that grabs everyones attentions.

Thanks everyone for all the hard work and research!
K

rrm said...

U are all wrong. Its not meant to be taken literally. it means, after riddding urself of all ur sins, after attempting to clear ur concience, after trying to renew urself of all ur bad ways... If all fails u must destroy urself within. A fresh start. A new skin. Only after the pain of setting ur old soul on fire, can ur new soul giv birth.

Jeff Wills said...

I think ull find that several people in the comments agree with ur phoenix-like interpretation, rrm. I giv u credit, however, for taking such a strong stand on something that's open to interpretation.

Evan. said...

I have always related this lyric to the process of changing one's life. Once you have changed everything else, the only thing left to do is to strip away everything about yourself that you feel needs changing.

Anonymous said...

It just sounds so timeless. Hooray for the awesomeness of this comment thread.

Anonymous said...

I always took it to mean something more in the context of relationships like the song discusses; more revolving around blame and burned bridges, but also mixed with the phoenix metaphor. When youve blamed and destroyed everything around you, you realize that you are the only thing left to blame and destroy before you can stop, and hopefully start over, better.

Anonymous said...

Hello! What a lovely comment thread! I was actually searching for the meaning of the quote, and chanced upon your blog!

I liked the idea that stars themselves are objects which are set on fire.

I was looking into getting a tattoo which compliments my other tattoo. (a symbol of iron, the core of stars before they turn to supernovas. which also means--at least to me--that when you have nothing left to burn, set yourself on fire)

Charles said...

This quote is inspiring. Does anyone know what the full text on the cover of the Album (set yourself on fire) says? The sides are cut off in the iTunes artwork.

Anonymous said...

Mega late to this, but I believe this quote is about having everything lost in your life (gone; like in a fire) it's time to get rid of your personal attachments to the past and start over. Set yourself on fire.. Like a phoenix.

Anonymous said...

After you destroy all the people around you - there's only one left.

The Traveling Bard said...

" it says something about why anyone would want to return to normal life once they had experienced the kind of truth one can achieve through a successful performance on the stage. That's setting yourself on fire." I really like what you said here. I think what you said in these lines makes the quote of "When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire." apply to anything that defies the norm. For example, I travel and live out of a backpack - it's invigorating and an unsettling life yet adventure and people become a home for me. Who would want to return to the normalcy of things? Setting yourself on fire is both a curse and a blessing, because you are fueling yourself, but you are also no longer sitting near the fire. You are as hot as you will ever get and all you can hope to do at that point - it hope you never burn out. Keep pulling into the flame.

Jeff Wills said...

Well put, Bard. And very personally interesting. I wrote this post after a year of almost non-stop acting work that took me all over. Now, I'm working in a museum, married and just had my first child.

I think what may be key about living by one's own fire is making sure you have enough to share - otherwise, that's a cold fire. Sounds like you're doing it right. As for me, I may not burn quite as hot these days, but normal's still something I would have to work to find.

And who's into work like that? Safe journeys; but not too safe.

Satanay Eshak said...

Maybe this is the true meaning?

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2044723,00.html

James Graves said...

Five years, and we're still not satisfied. I love how a little spark started by a teen against song has touched so many people's creativity.

Jeff Wills said...

I agree, James. This comment thread is one of my favorite surprises from my dealings with this Internet.

Dan said...

Add me to the group that believes, given the context of the song, that the quote means that after blaming everyone else for the bad things in your life, it's time to look at yourself.


Cool blog, even cooler organic debate on this seemingly innocuous quote. I personally would have never heard this song if not for Pandora. I bet a lot are in the same boat.

Jeff Wills said...

Thanks very much, Dan.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoWhyKN1eMw

faid2blac said...

It's haunted me too, and that song helped me through my worst breakup ever. I lost who is thought were friebds in the process but after some time and some changes, it all has worked out for the better. Being alone taught me many things about myself. I did meet someone new and, guess what? He's 100,000,000x better han my ex who was my very first (hence the difficult breakup) and whom I was with for 7 years years..

Pamela Duran said...

Hey I think maybe the reason why you cannot find a conventional meaning is beacause the original history is in latin, it talks about a roman citizen called Cayo Mucio who was a defensor of the roman goverment agains the etruscans invasors, in a brave mission Cayo Mucio went into the etruscan camp like a spy but he was captured by the etruscan king who threatened to burn him alive if he don't confess how many and where did the young rebels were hidden (like a Darth Vader-rebels thing). Having nothing else to lose but also nothin left to defend himself from his captors, Cayo Mucio burnt his hand in that instant the pile of fire that was in front of him, to show the king how deep and reckless their convictions were.
The etruscans were shocked by his actions and the realesed him and as they were afraid that the rest of the romans were as brave as Mucio, the left the camp. After that, he was called cayo Muscio Escévola (wich means left handed)
From this history, the italian politicians took such saying "when there is nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire" i find no better explanation for this quote.

Anonymous said...

Love this thread.. commenting just to show that there's someone in 2016 still trying to figure it out.

My interpretation is that after you're done looking at others and find nothing you have to introspect.. or in a more negative way.. if you're done destroying everything around you, the only thing left to destroy is yourself..

Jeff Wills said...

Cayo Mucio:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/Scaevola_Porsenna_Romanelli_decoration_Louvre.jpg

Denzel said...

You know the first time I listened to this song I was 15 & I loved it. I was in high school and the song made me think of this girl I was loved from Canada.

Fast forward I'm 20, I have literally lost all my friends, I dropped out of college & I'm having trouble with family. I felt sloppy & unhappy & I was blaming everyone else for it. Then The song pops into my head after 3 years and immediately I get the meaning of the quote. I asked myself "Would I really want to be anyone else ever in the world?" And the answer is no. If there is reincarnation I wanna come back as the same Denzel. So I started acting like it. I lost the weight & I became the man I wanted to be. When there's nothing left to burn, I had to set myself on fire meaning I had to burn everything bad & lazy & petty & immature & any lie that I told myself. & the weight too lol.

God bless you guys. I pray we all get to go where we wanna go in life man. That was home for me.

Anonymous said...

I love this song and like so many ended up here while trying to find out the origin of the quote. My problem now is (for some random reason) when ever I think of the quote I hear Michael Caine say it in his role as Alfred in The Dark Knight.

For me the quote changes its meaning depending on how I am at the time. It can be optimistic or pessimistic. It can seem like great advice or seem really foreboding.

In general though it's great to know it has wormed it's way into other people's head as well.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly... I have found this quote has haunted me ever since my crazy intense breakup (I'm faid2blac from a few posts up). I have since that post, married... returned to grad school (for the second time)... and bought a house. It took awhile, but the pain of the breakup has faded and with clearer eyes I see all the wrong there was, why I let it drag so long, my foolish behavior. I couldn't see it at the time, but hindsight is 20/20. After finishing undergrad which was difficult as well, I told myself I've never go back to school. I went back the first time because my job was burning me out too quickly. Then I got a job doing the new thing I studied for in the same field, enjoyed it, but wasn't fulfilling. I oddly kinda wanted my other job back but I wanted the elusive graduate degree I didn't get the guts to get at the time, I was too young, too scared, and well, emotionally immature to handle it. Now I'm older and less scared, I know now I can handle the difficult school studies. But overcoming my fears and tribulations to continue to succeed on my own accord has always brought me back to this quote, if I set fire to myself, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. So this quote has helped me over breakups, over school and dreams.... we are stronger than we believe.

Anonymous said...

Part deux: Another thought -- I'm currently in a class about being a "great leader" and was reading an article posted by the teacher that really described what a great leader was and this author stated it goes hand in hand with solidarity. A leader thinks for himself, creates new path without being told how .... he/she coalesces his/her thoughts in their introspection to generate new thoughts/ideas and new direction. Sometimes that means doing it alone, without distraction. So it occurred me to while reading this article that it goes with our lovely song quote...... a good leader will have to set themselves on fire when no one else can. A leader is not about how many degrees they have or their position, but how to keep rising from the ashes.

Jeff Wills said...

faid2blac / Anonymous:
I'm quite moved to hear a continuation of your story, and agree with your new interpretations. Thanks for checking back in!