In sync with the ‘inner rhythm’ of Thomas Wolfe

“The little town of Monroe [Georgia], where I spent my 14th summer, seemed miles from everywhere….It was there one morning that my older cousin gave me ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ by Thomas Wolfe and insisted that I begin reading immediately.

“Four hours later, at the height of the afternoon heat, I let go the book, hands trembling, face flushed. I had finished only some 50 pages and my life had been changed. I was shaken, not so much by the specific content of the writing as by the  quality — the rhythm if you will — of the experience….

“Years later, on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina, I visited Wolfe’s home and grave. I met people who had known him intimately and had lunch and dinner with his sister.  But his personal presence was not so well rounded and clearly defined on that trip as it had been on those long, hot days and magical nights when I first read ‘Look Homeward, Angel.’ ”

— From “The Silent Pulse: A search for the Inner Rhythm that Exists in Each of Us” (2006) by George B. Leonard (UNC Chapel Hill ’48).

Leonard, an accomplished journalist but better known as a founder and popularizer of the human potential movement, died Jan. 6 in Mill Valley, Calif. He was 86.

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