I have already posted a couple of quotes from Joseph Conrad's "Notes on Life and Letters" and having read the volume (online, thanks to Project Gutenberg I would like to quote one more passage if you allow me. This passage sums up for me why I love writers like Joseph Conrad, not only because he was born Polish, like me; not because english is his second language, as is mine; perhaps because in this passage taken from the author's introduction to this volume of scribblings from 1898 to 1920 one can not help but to see a man fully aware of the passing of life, fragile skeleton we all build with our relationships to others, the others' skeletons of life; and then to know that our constructions were only a mere temporary housing for the humanity we only have had glimpses of, and perhaps some of our pieces of construction material and methods shall be used as building blocks for others that will come after us to afford them better glimpses of humanity within themeslves, chance will tell.
"This volume (including these embarrassed introductory remarks) is
as near as I shall ever come to DESHABILLE in public; and perhaps
it will do something to help towards a better vision of the man, if
it gives no more than a partial view of a piece of his back, a
little dusty (after the process of tidying up), a little bowed, and
receding from the world not because of weariness or misanthropy but
for other reasons that cannot be helped: because the leaves fall,
the water flows, the clock ticks with that horrid pitiless
solemnity which you must have observed in the ticking of the hall
clock at home. For reasons like that. Yes! It recedes. And this
was the chance to afford one more view of it--even to my own eyes"
~ get the text at gutenberg.net