A Year End Quotes

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It's all in the view. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
If someone were to harm my family or a friend or somebody I love, I would eat them. I might end up in jail for 500 years, but I would eat them.
Johnny Depp
I'm going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don't think I don't know how this might end. I've known it for years.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
For last year's words belong to last year's language And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." (Little Gidding)
T.S. Eliot
Nothing's ever the same," she said. "Be it a second later or a hundred years. It's always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.
Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane)
I've spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that's gotten me. I'm at the finish line but I never ran the race.
Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End)
Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn't waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.
Colleen Hoover (It Ends with Us)
Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines he wrote a poem And he called it "Chops" because that was the name of his dog And that's what it was all about And his teacher gave him an A and a gold star And his mother hung it on the kitchen door and read it to his aunts That was the year Father Tracy took all the kids to the zoo And he let them sing on the bus And his little sister was born with tiny toenails and no hair And his mother and father kissed a lot And the girl around the corner sent him a Valentine signed with a row of X's and he had to ask his father what the X's meant And his father always tucked him in bed at night And was always there to do it Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines he wrote a poem And he called it "Autumn" because that was the name of the season And that's what it was all about And his teacher gave him an A and asked him to write more clearly And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door because of its new paint And the kids told him that Father Tracy smoked cigars And left butts on the pews And sometimes they would burn holes That was the year his sister got glasses with thick lenses and black frames And the girl around the corner laughed when he asked her to go see Santa Claus And the kids told him why his mother and father kissed a lot And his father never tucked him in bed at night And his father got mad when he cried for him to do it. Once on a paper torn from his notebook he wrote a poem And he called it "Innocence: A Question" because that was the question about his girl And that's what it was all about And his professor gave him an A and a strange steady look And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door because he never showed her That was the year that Father Tracy died And he forgot how the end of the Apostle's Creed went And he caught his sister making out on the back porch And his mother and father never kissed or even talked And the girl around the corner wore too much makeup That made him cough when he kissed her but he kissed her anyway because that was the thing to do And at three a.m. he tucked himself into bed his father snoring soundly That's why on the back of a brown paper bag he tried another poem And he called it "Absolutely Nothing" Because that's what it was really all about And he gave himself an A and a slash on each damned wrist And he hung it on the bathroom door because this time he didn't think he could reach the kitchen.
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Happy endings are still endings.
Gregory Maguire (Son of a Witch (The Wicked Years, #2))
We're so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody's going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don't even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven't learned how to care for one another. We're gonna save the fuckin' planet? . . . And, by the way, there's nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin' great. It's been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn't goin' anywhere, folks. We are! We're goin' away. Pack your shit, we're goin' away. And we won't leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we'll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.
George Carlin
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.
George Carlin
Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. it's like forever, always changing. for any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. you can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count. what you have to decide is how you want your life to be. if your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you'd want to have spent it?
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
In his forty-third year William Stoner learned what others, much younger, had learned before him: that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.
John Williams (Stoner)
It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years I had roses, and apologized to no one.
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Wherever they might be they always remember that the past was a lie, that memory has no return, that every spring gone by could never be recovered, and that the wildest and most tenacious love was an ephemeral truth in the end.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.
Richard Brautigan (Trout Fishing in America)
And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning—— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
It is only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion. A man who is master of himself can end a sorrow as easily as he can invent a pleasure. I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3))
I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'Well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.
Maya Angelou
Intrigued by that enigma, he dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her.
Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
I have only known her for two years. But if you took every memory, every moment, if you stretched them end to end-they'd reach forever.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow. Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail. A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all. A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
Hermann Hesse (Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte)
But you see," said Roark quietly, "I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
I've looked at the world for quite a few years now and I've found that if I don't laugh, I'll probably end up crying." - Prince Kheldar of Drasnia
David Eddings (Demon Lord of Karanda (The Malloreon, #3))
Death doesn't exist. It never did, it never will. But we've drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we've got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
Racism isn’t born, folks. It’s taught. I have a 2-year-old son. Know what he hates? Naps. End of list.
Denis Leary
The first ten million years were the worst," said Marvin, "and the second ten million years, they were the worst too. The third ten million years I didn't enjoy at all. After that I went into a bit of a decline.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
I've learned one thing, and that's to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does...
Tom Petty
A year. A thousand kisses. And now a thousand one, a thousand two. There are so many other place we could have ended up, but I have to believe none of them would have felt this right. "All I want is you" is not entirely true. I want so much more, and with you I think I can get it.
David Levithan (The Realm of Possibility)
You wish for something, you've wanted it for years, and you're sure you want it, as long as you know you can't have it. But if all at once it looks as though your wish might come true, you suddenly find yourself wishing you had never wished for any such thing.
Michael Ende (The Neverending Story)
People whose freedom is taken away always end up hating somebody.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
Good men and bad men alike are capable of weakness. The difference is simply that a bad man will be proud all his life of one good deed - while an honest man is hardly aware of his good acts, but remembers a single sin for years on end.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
I could not count the times during the average day when something would come up that I needed to tell him. This impulse did not end with his death. What ended was the possibility of response.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I thought of the things that had happened to me over the years, and of how little I had made happen.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-six years: with an idiot -- in this case, my brother, Shaun -- deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens.
Mira Grant (Feed (Newsflesh, #1))
Please stop putting quotes from Nietzsche at the end of your emails. Five years ago you were laughing your guts out over American Pie 2. What — suddenly you’ve magically turned into Noam Chomsky?
Douglas Coupland (JPod)
I was in Nashville, Tennessee last year. After the show I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm alone, I'm eating and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: 'Hey, whatcha readin' for?' Isn't that the weirdest fuckin' question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading FOR? Well, goddamnit, ya stumped me! Why do I read? Well . . . hmmm...I dunno...I guess I read for a lot of reasons and the main one is so I don't end up being a fuckin' waffle waitress.
Bill Hicks
And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course —those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape ‘kit ‘n’ stuff, But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.
Tina Fey
It was the perfect moment to tell her. This is my last year. But I couldn’t say it. Not yet. I wanted another minute, another hour, another night of pretending this wasn’t the end.
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
The question is frequently asked: Why does a man become a drug addict? The answer is that he usually does not intend to become an addict. You don’t wake up one morning and decide to be a drug addict. It takes at least three months’ shooting twice a day to get any habit at all. And you don’t really know what junk sickness is until you have had several habits. It took me almost six months to get my first habit, and then the withdrawal symptoms were mild. I think it no exaggeration to say it takes about a year and several hundred injections to make an addict. The questions, of course, could be asked: Why did you ever try narcotics? Why did you continue using it long enough to become an addict? You become a narcotics addict because you do not have strong motivations in the other direction. Junk wins by default. I tried it as a matter of curiosity. I drifted along taking shots when I could score. I ended up hooked. Most addicts I have talked to report a similar experience. They did not start using drugs for any reason they can remember. They just drifted along until they got hooked. If you have never been addicted, you can have no clear idea what it means to need junk with the addict’s special need. You don’t decide to be an addict. One morning you wake up sick and you’re an addict. (Junky, Prologue, p. xxxviii)
William S. Burroughs (Junky)
For once, I agree with Blake." Daemon met my shocked stare. "We can't, Kitten. Not now." I wasn't okay with this, but I couldn't run down the hall, letting people free. We didn't plan for that and we only had a set amount of time. It sucked-sucked worse than people who pirated books, sucked more than a year for the next book in a beloved series, and sucked more than a brutal cliffhanger ending.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opal (Lux, #3))
The most important thing to remember about depression is this: you do not get the time back. It is not tacked on at the end of your life to make up for the disaster years. Whatever time is eaten by a depression is gone forever. The minutes that are ticking by as you experience the illness are minutes you will not know again.
Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression)
If all the insects were to disappear from the earth, within 50 years all life on earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.
Check Snopes.com
I don't let anyone touch me," I finally said. Why not?" Why not? Because I was tired of men. Hanging in doorways, standing too close, their smell of beer or fifteen-year-old whiskey. Men who didn't come to the emergency room with you, men who left on Christmas Eve. Men who slammed the security gates, who made you love them then changed their minds. Forests of boys, their ragged shrubs full of eyes following you, grabbing your breasts, waving their money, eyes already knocking you down, taking what they felt was theirs. (...) It was a play and I knew how it ended, I didn't want to audition for any of the roles. It was no game, no casual thrill. It was three-bullet Russian roulette.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
I know now, after fifty years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/remembering, leaving/returning, never stops. The whole of life is about another chance, and while we are alive, till the very end, there is always another chance.
Jeanette Winterson (Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?)
In the contemporary world where things fall apart, and the centre cannot hold, you have to imagine a community where there is no centre. Hank, at the end of this year I started thinking that a lot of life is about doing things that don’t suck with people who don’t suck.
John Green
Every incident chips away at your limit. Every time you choose to stay, it makes the next time that much harder to leave. Eventually, you lose sight of your limit altogether, because you start to think, ‘I’ve lasted five years now. What’s five more?
Colleen Hoover (It Ends with Us)
Eternity ended ten years ago.
Brandon Sanderson
My heart was broken so badly last time that it still hurts. Isn't that crazy? To still have a broken heart almost two years after a love story ends? 
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia)
Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into the nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.
Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)
I wasn't particularly afraid of death itself. As Shakespeare said, die this year and you don't have to die the next.
Haruki Murakami (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World)
Why? Why does what was beautiful suddenly shatter in hindsight because it concealed dark truths? Why does the memory of years of happy marriage turn to gall when our partner is revealed to have had a lover all those years? Because such a situation makes it impossible to be happy? But we were happy! Sometimes the memory of happiness cannot stay true because it ended unhappily. Because happiness is only real if it lasts forever? Because things always end painfully if they contained pain, conscious or unconscious, all along? But what is unconscious, unrecognized pain?
Bernhard Schlink (The Reader)
April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot wrote, by which I think he meant (among other things) that springtime makes people crazy. We expect too much, the world burgeons with promises it can't keep, all passion is really a setup, and we're doomed to get our hearts broken yet again. I agree, and would further add: Who cares? Every spring I go out there anyway, around the bend, unconditionally. ... Come the end of the dark days, I am more than joyful. I'm nuts.
Barbara Kingsolver (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life)
I’d a million times rather live and risk and have it all end badly than stay in the box I’ve been in for the past two years.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
I'm not really sure what makes a book a 'classic' to begin with, but I think it has to be at least fifty years old and some person or animal has to die at the end.
Jeff Kinney
There is always the temptation in life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for years on end. It is all so self conscience, so apparently moral...But I won't have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous...more extravagant and bright. We are...raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus.
Annie Dillard
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance. . . . That pure chance could be so generous and so kind. . . . That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time. . . . That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful. . . . The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don't think I'll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.
Ann Druyan
There are no happy endings... There are no endings, happy or otherwise. We all have our own stories which are just part of the one Story that binds both this world and Faerie. Sometimes we step into each others stories - perhaps just for a few minutes, perhaps for years - and then we step out of them again. But all the while, the Story just goes on.
Charles de Lint (Dreams Underfoot (Newford, #1))
summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. for those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. you can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out.
Deb Caletti (Honey, Baby, Sweetheart)
Maybe I am fated to always be alone, Tsukuru found himself thinking. People came to him, but in the end they always left. They came, seeking something, but either they couldn’t find it, or were unhappy with what they found (or else they were disappointed or angry), and then they left. One day, without warning, they vanished, with no explanation, no word of farewell. Like a silent hatchet had sliced the ties between them, ties through which warm blood still flowed, along with a quiet pulse.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess: Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity. Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends. Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing. I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces. Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen
Anonymous
I am almost a hundred years old; waiting for the end, and thinking about the beginning. There are things I need to tell you, but would you listen if I told you how quickly time passes? I know you are unable to imagine this. Nevertheless, I can tell you that you will awake someday to find that your life has rushed by at a speed at once impossible and cruel. The most intense moments will seem to have occurred only yesterday and nothing will have erased the pain and pleasure, the impossible intensity of love and its dog-leaping happiness, the bleak blackness of passions unrequited, or unexpressed, or unresolved.
Meg Rosoff (What I Was)
Once again, life had a lesson to teach me: It takes years to build up, it takes moments to destroy.
Haruki Murakami (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World)
I miss us too. I always have and I probably always will. Sometimes there are no happy endings. No matter what, I'll be losing something, someone. But maybe that's what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice again and again, day in and day out, year after year,says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.
Emily Giffin (Love the One You're With)
It now lately sometimes seemed a black miracle to me that people could actually care deeply about a subject or pursuit, and could go on caring this way for years on end. Could dedicate their entire lives to it. It seemed admirable and at the same time pathetic. We are all dying to give our lives away to something, maybe.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end
Homer (The Odyssey)
But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses
Jane Smiley (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck)
Are you going to be all right now? No more tears? I don't know how to handle crying girls. Every time my five-year-old sister turns on the waterworks, I end up buying her a Barbie. You don't need a new Barbie, do you?
Jessica Verday (The Hollow (The Hollow, #1))
Oh, Will," she said, "What can we do? Whatever can we do? I want to live with you forever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don't want a memory, just a memory..." "No," he said. "Memory's a poor thing to have. It's your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn't know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, and the world could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep..." "Everyone except us! And you and I could live here forever and just love each other." "I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again..." "I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight..." They lay side by side, hand in hand, looking at the sky.
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
It's clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it's not easy.
Terence McKenna
Right. I look fine. Except I don't,' said Zora, tugging sadly at her man's nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn't be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman's magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki's knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies-- it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?' Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. 'This long.' He snapped his fingers. 'A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man.' 'Old?' asked Clevinger with surprise. 'What are you talking about?' 'Old.' 'I'm not old.' 'You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow down?' Dunbar was almost angry when he finished. 'Well, maybe it is true,' Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. 'Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?' 'I do,' Dunbar told him. 'Why?' Clevinger asked. 'What else is there?
Joseph Heller (Catch-22)
We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me. The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are! We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic… asshole.
George Carlin
For years, my life has been flat. I’m not sure how else to describe it. I’ve never admitted it before. I’m not depressed, I don’t think. That’s not what I’m saying. Just flat, listless. So much has felt accidental, unnecessary, arbitrary. It’s been lacking a dimension. Something seems to be missing.
Iain Reid (I'm Thinking of Ending Things)
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
Allowing yourself to stop reading a book - at page 25, 50, or even, less frequently, a few chapters from the end - is a rite of passage in a reader's life, the literary equivalent of a bar mitzvah or a communion, the moment at which you look at yourself and announce: Today I am an adult. I can make my own decisions.
Sara Nelson (So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading)
I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such: because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well-administred; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administred for a Course of Years and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.
Benjamin Franklin
Power Living in the earth-deposits of our history Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old cure for fever or melancholy a tonic for living on this earth in the winters of this climate. Today I was reading about Marie Curie: she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness her body bombarded for years by the element she had purified It seems she denied to the end the source of the cataracts on her eyes the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil She died a famous woman denying her wounds denying her wounds came from the same source as her power.
Adrienne Rich (The Dream of a Common Language)
In real life, shouldn't a wedding be an awesome party you throw with your great pal, in the presence of a bunch of your other friends? A great day, for sure, but not the beginning and certainly not the end of your friendship with a person you can't wait to talk about gardening with the for the next forty years.
Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns))
Sometimes there are no happy endings, No matter what, I'll be losing something, someone. But maybe that's what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all.
Emily Giffin (Love the One You're With)
If I show up at your house ten years from now and find nothing in your living room but The Readers Digest, nothing on your bedroom night table but the newest Dan Brown novel, and nothing in your bathroom but Jokes for the John, I’ll chase you down to the end of your driveway and back, screaming ‘Where are your books? You graduated college ten years ago, so how come there are no damn books in your house? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?
Stephen King
I think so, too. I know I felt that way. For years. It was as if I was a character in a movie and the real action was about to start at any minute. But I think some people wait forever, and only at the end of their lives do they realize that their life has happened while they were waiting for it to start.
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness—even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile—reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined—those dead, those living, those generations yet to come—that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength—to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.
Dean Koontz (From the Corner of His Eye)
It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man's hand and the wisdom in a tree's root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.
Ursula K. Le Guin (A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1))
Perhaps there are those who are able to go about their lives unfettered by such concerns. But for those like us, our fate is to face the world as orphans, chasing through long years the shadows of vanished parents. There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.
Kazuo Ishiguro (When We Were Orphans)
Crowley had always known that he would be around when the world ended, because he was immortal and wouldn’t have any alternative. But he hoped it was a long way off. Because he rather liked people. It was major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse. Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course. One of them had written it, hadn’t he…”Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
To the sea, to the sea! The white gulls are crying, The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying. West, west away, the round sun is falling, Grey ship, grey ship, do you hear them calling, The voices of my people that have gone before me? I will leave, I will leave the woods that bore me; For our days are ending and our years failing. I will pass the wide waters lonely sailing. Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling, Sweet are the voices in the Lost Isle calling, In Eressea, in Elvenhome that no man can discover, Where the leaves fall not: land of my people forever!
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings)
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Muhammad Ali
... the more I learned, the more conscious did I become of the fact that I was ridiculous. So that for me my years of hard work at the university seem in the end to have existed for the sole purpose of demonstrating and proving to me, the more deeply engrossed I became in my studies, that I was an utterly absurd person.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)
People often say that the English are very cold fish, very reserved, that they have a way of looking at things – even tragedy – with a sense of irony. There’s some truth in it; it’s pretty stupid of them, though. Humor won’t save you; it doesn’t really do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go through most of their lives seeing the funny side, but in the end, life always breaks your heart. Doesn’t matter how brave you are, how reserved, or how much you’ve developed a sense of humor, you still end up with your heart broken. That’s when you stop laughing. In the end there’s just the cold, the silence and the loneliness. In the end, there’s only death.
Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
But what is the sense in forever speculating what might have happened had such and such a moment turned out differently? One could presumably drive oneself to distraction in this way. In any case, while it is all very well to talk of 'turning points', one can surely only recognize such moments in retrospect. Naturally, when one looks back to such instances today, they may indeed take the appearance of being crucial, precious moments in one's life; but of course, at the time, this was not the impression one had. Rather, it was as though one had available a never-ending number of days, months, years in which to sort out the vagaries of one's relationship with Miss Kenton; an infinite number of further opportunities in which to remedy the effect of this or that misunderstanding. There was surely nothing to indicate at the time that such evidently small incidents would render whole dreams forever irredeemable.
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
I hadn't found out yet that mankind consists of two very different races, the rich and the poor. It took me ... and plenty of other people . . . twenty years and the war to learn to stick to my class and ask the price of things before touching them, let alone setting my heart on them.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
Twenty years of joy and support and friendship, that’s a success. Twenty years of anything with another person is a success. If a band stays together twenty years, it’s a miracle. If a comedy duo stays together twenty years, they’re a triumph. Is this night a failure because it will end in an hour? Is the sun a failure because it’s going to end in a billion years? No, it’s the fucking sun. Why does a marriage not count? It isn’t in us, it isn’t in human beings, to be tied to one person forever.
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . . History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . . There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . . And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . . So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
He couldn’t stand it, all of this inside him. In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year. They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
You give a lot of great advice about what to do. Do you have any advice of what not to do? Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
It’s funny how one summer can change everything. It must be something about the heat and the smell of chlorine, fresh-cut grass and honeysuckle, asphalt sizzling after late-day thunderstorms, the steam rising while everything drips around it. Something about long, lazy days and whirring air conditioners and bright plastic flip-flops from the drugstore thwacking down the street. Something about fall being so close, another year, another Christmas, another beginning. So much in one summer, stirring up like the storms that crest at the end of each day, blowing out all the heat and dirt to leave everything gasping and cool. Everyone can reach back to one summer and lay a finger to it, finding the exact point when everything changed. That summer was mine.
Sarah Dessen (That Summer)
She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know. So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing. Take all that you have and be poor. Love someone who does not deserve it. Denounce the government and embrace the flag. Hope to live in that free republic for which it stands. Give your approval to all you cannot understand. Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed. Ask the questions that have no answers. Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest. Say that the leaves are harvested when they have rotted into the mold. Call that profit. Prophesy such returns. Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years. Listen to carrion — put your ear close, and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come. Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts. So long as women do not go cheap for power, please women more than men. Ask yourself: Will this satisfy a woman satisfied to bear a child? Will this disturb the sleep of a woman near to giving birth? Go with your love to the fields. Lie down in the shade. Rest your head in her lap. Swear allegiance to what is nighest your thoughts. As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict the motions of your mind, lose it. Leave it as a sign to mark the false trail, the way you didn’t go. Be like the fox who makes more tracks than necessary, some in the wrong direction. Practice resurrection.
Wendell Berry
Whereas the tourist generally hurries back home at the end of a few weeks or months, the traveler belonging no more to one place than to the next, moves slowly over periods of years, from one part of the earth to another. Indeed, he would have found it difficult to tell, among the many places he had lived, precisely where it was he had felt most at home.
Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky)
Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be. Disappointment’ s cousin is Frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life – friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.
Chetan Bhagat
If you lack the iron and the fuzz to take control of your own life, if you insist on leaving your fate to the gods, then the gods will repay your weakness by having a grin or two at your expense. Should you fail to pilot your own ship, don't be surprised at what inappropriate port you find yourself docked. The dull and prosaic will be granted adventures that will dice their central nervous systems like an onion, romantic dreamers will end up in the rope yard. You may protest that it is too much to ask of an uneducated fifteen-year-old girl that she defy her family, her society, her weighty cultural and religious heritage in order to pursue a dream that she doesn't really understand. Of course it is asking too much. The price of self-destiny is never cheap, and in certain situations it is unthinkable. But to achieve the marvelous, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought.
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
You fall in love, it's intoxicating, an for a little while you feel like you've actually become one with the other person. Merged souls, and so on. You think you'll never be lonely again. Only it doesn't last and soon you realize you can only get so close and you end up brutally disappointed, more alone than ever, because the illusion-the hope you'd held on to all those years-has been shattered.
Nicole Krauss (Man Walks into a Room)
It's like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it's dense, isn't it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you're a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don't feel that we're still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually--if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning-- you're not something that's a result of the big bang. You're not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as--Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so--I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I'm that, too. But we've learned to define ourselves as separate from it.
Alan W. Watts
When the war has lasted twenty years... the dragonets will come. When the land is soaked in blood and tears... the dragonets will come. Find the SeaWing egg of deepest blue. Wings of night shall come to you. The largest egg in mountain high will give to you the wings of sky. For wings of earth, search through the mud for an egg the color of dragon blood. And hidden alone from the rival queens, the SandWing egg awaits unseen. Of three queens who blister and blaze and burn, two shall die and one shall learn if she bows to a fate that is stronger and higher, she'll have the power of wings of fire. Five eggs to hatch on brightest night, five dragons born to end the fight. Darkness will rise to bring the light. The dragonets are coming....
Tui T. Sutherland (The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, #1))
Books help to form us. If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, the contents of every one I have ever read, somehow transmuted and transformed into me. Alice in Wonderland. the Magic Faraway Tree. The Hound of the Baskervilles. The Book of Job. Bleak House. Wuthering Heights. The Complete Poems of W H Auden. The Tale of Mr Tod. Howard''s End. What a strange person I must be. But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books, all the same books and only the same books as me. So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA.
Susan Hill (Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home)
More than a decade ago, a Supreme Court decision literally wiped off the books of fifty states statutes protecting the rights of unborn children. Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to 1.5 million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will some day pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does. Unless and until it can be proven that the unborn child is not a living entity, then its right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must be protected.
Ronald Reagan
On Writing: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays 1. A beginning ends what an end begins. 2. The despair of the blank page: it is so full. 3. In the head Art’s not democratic. I wait a long time to be a writer good enough even for myself. 4. The best time is stolen time. 5. All work is the avoidance of harder work. 6. When I am trying to write I turn on music so I can hear what is keeping me from hearing. 7. I envy music for being beyond words. But then, every word is beyond music. 8. Why would we write if we’d already heard what we wanted to hear? 9. The poem in the quarterly is sure to fail within two lines: flaccid, rhythmless, hopelessly dutiful. But I read poets from strange languages with freedom and pleasure because I can believe in all that has been lost in translation. Though all works, all acts, all languages are already translation. 10. Writer: how books read each other. 11. Idolaters of the great need to believe that what they love cannot fail them, adorers of camp, kitsch, trash that they cannot fail what they love. 12. If I didn’t spend so much time writing, I’d know a lot more. But I wouldn’t know anything. 13. If you’re Larkin or Bishop, one book a decade is enough. If you’re not? More than enough. 14. Writing is like washing windows in the sun. With every attempt to perfect clarity you make a new smear. 15. There are silences harder to take back than words. 16. Opacity gives way. Transparency is the mystery. 17. I need a much greater vocabulary to talk to you than to talk to myself. 18. Only half of writing is saying what you mean. The other half is preventing people from reading what they expected you to mean. 19. Believe stupid praise, deserve stupid criticism. 20. Writing a book is like doing a huge jigsaw puzzle, unendurably slow at first, almost self-propelled at the end. Actually, it’s more like doing a puzzle from a box in which several puzzles have been mixed. Starting out, you can’t tell whether a piece belongs to the puzzle at hand, or one you’ve already done, or will do in ten years, or will never do. 21. Minds go from intuition to articulation to self-defense, which is what they die of. 22. The dead are still writing. Every morning, somewhere, is a line, a passage, a whole book you are sure wasn’t there yesterday. 23. To feel an end is to discover that there had been a beginning. A parenthesis closes that we hadn’t realized was open). 24. There, all along, was what you wanted to say. But this is not what you wanted, is it, to have said it?
James Richardson
Irony won't save you from anything; humour doesn't do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go through most of their lives seeing the funny side, but in the end, life always breaks your heart. Doesn't matter how brave you are, or how reserved, or how much you've developed a sense of humour, you still end up with your heart broken. That's when you stop laughing.
Michel Houellebecq (The Elementary Particles)
If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation. If I got any comfort as I set out on my first story, it was that in nearly every story, the protagonist is transformed. He's a jerk at the beginning and nice at the end, or a coward at the beginning and brave at the end. If the character doesn't change, the story hasn't happened yet. And if story is derived from real life, if story is just condensed version of life then life itself may be designed to change us so that we evolve from one kind of person to another.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
I mean, d'you know what eternity is? There's this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there's this little bird-" -"What little bird?" said Aziraphale suspiciously. -"This little bird I'm talking about. And every thousand years-" -"The same bird every thousand years?" -Crowley hesitated. "Yeah," he said. -"Bloody ancient bird, then." -"Okay. And every thousand years this bird flies-" -"-limps-" -"-flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak-" -"Hold on. You can't do that. Between here and the end of the universe there's loads of-" The angel waved a hand expansively, if a little unsteadily. "Loads of buggerall, dear boy." -"But it gets there anyway," Crowley persevered. -"How?" -"It doesn't matter!" -"It could use a space ship," said the angel. Crowley subsided a bit. "Yeah," he said. "If you like. Anyway, this bird-" -"Only it is the end of the universe we're talking about," said Aziraphale. "So it'd have to be one of those space ships where your descendants are the ones who get out at the other end. You have to tell your descendants, you say, When you get to the Mountain, you've got to-" He hesitated. "What have they got to do?" -"Sharpen its beak on the mountain," said Crowley. "And then it flies back-" -"-in the space ship-" -"And after a thousand years it goes and does it all again," said Crowley quickly. There was a moment of drunken silence. -"Seems a lot of effort just to sharpen a beak," mused Aziraphale. -"Listen," said Crowley urgently, "the point is that when the bird has worn the mountain down to nothing, right, then-" Aziraphale opened his mouth. Crowley just knew he was going to make some point about the relative hardness of birds' beaks and granite mountains, and plunged on quickly. -"-then you still won't have finished watching The Sound of Music." Aziraphale froze. -"And you'll enjoy it," Crowley said relentlessly. "You really will." -"My dear boy-" -"You won't have a choice." -"Listen-" -"Heaven has no taste." -"Now-" -"And not one single sushi restaurant." A look of pain crossed the angel's suddenly very serious face.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
You know, I couldn't imagine living somewhere without seasons." Yeah?" Real seasons, I mean. I'd miss the changes, the variety. Especially spring. I couldn't live without spring. Days like today are worth every snowstorm and slush puddle. By March, it seems like winter will never end. All that snow and ice that seemed so wonderful in December is driving you crazy. But you know spring's coming. Every year, you wait for that first warm day, then the next and the next, each better than the last. You can't help but be happy. You forget winter and get the chance to start over. Fresh possibilities." A fresh start.
Kelley Armstrong (Bitten (Otherworld, #1))
I did some research on this a couple years ago," Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?" "And are there?" "Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I thought Marcus was going to be in my life forever. Then I thought I was wrong. Now he’s back. But this time I know what’s certain: Marcus will be gone again, and back again and again and again because nothing is permanent. Especially people. Strangers become friends. Friends become lovers. Lovers become strangers. Strangers become friends once more, and over and over. Tomorrow, next week, fifty years from now, I know I’ll get another one-word postcard from Marcus, because this one doesn’t have a period signifying the end of the sentence. Or the end of anything at all.
Megan McCafferty (Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling, #3))
It is time we admitted, from kings and presidents on down, that there is no evidence that any of our books was authored by the Creator of the universe. The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men and women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology. To rely on such a document as the basis for our worldview-however heroic the efforts of redactors- is to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular politics and scientific culture. We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
It is said that what is called "the spirit of an age" is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world's coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo (Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai)
If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's clichéd and not recognizably human, etc.--is also a description of today's world, then bad writing becomes an ingenious mimesis of a bad world. If readers simply believe the world is stupid and shallow and mean, then [Bret] Ellis can write a mean shallow stupid novel that becomes a mordant deadpan commentary on the badness of everything. Look man, we'd probably most of us agree that these are dark times, and stupid ones, but do we need fiction that does nothing but dramatize how dark and stupid everything is? In dark times, the definition of good art would seem to be art that locates and applies CPR to those elements of what's human and magical that still live and glow despite the times' darkness. Really good fiction could have as dark a worldview as it wished, but it'd find a way both to depict this world and to illuminate the possibilities for being alive and human in it. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage… The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naïveté. Sentiment equals naïveté on this continent. You burn with hunger for food that does not exist. A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.
David Foster Wallace
I love the book. I love the feel of a book in my hands, the compactness of it, the shape, the size. I love the feel of paper. The sound it makes when I turn a page. I love the beauty of print on paper, the patterns, the shapes, the fonts. I am astonished by the versatility and practicality of The Book. It is so simple. It is so fit for its purpose. It may give me mere content, but no e-reader will ever give me that sort of added pleasure.
Susan Hill (Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home)
[Said during a debate when his opponent asserted that atheism and belief in evolution lead to Nazism:] Atheism by itself is, of course, not a moral position or a political one of any kind; it simply is the refusal to believe in a supernatural dimension. For you to say of Nazism that it was the implementation of the work of Charles Darwin is a filthy slander, undeserving of you and an insult to this audience. Darwin’s thought was not taught in Germany; Darwinism was so derided in Germany along with every other form of unbelief that all the great modern atheists, Darwin, Einstein and Freud were alike despised by the National Socialist regime. Now, just to take the most notorious of the 20th century totalitarianisms – the most finished example, the most perfected one, the most ruthless and refined one: that of National Socialism, the one that fortunately allowed the escape of all these great atheists, thinkers and many others, to the United States, a country of separation of church and state, that gave them welcome – if it’s an atheistic regime, then how come that in the first chapter of Mein Kampf, that Hitler says that he’s doing God’s work and executing God’s will in destroying the Jewish people? How come the fuhrer oath that every officer of the Party and the Army had to take, making Hitler into a minor god, begins, “I swear in the name of almighty God, my loyalty to the Fuhrer?” How come that on the belt buckle of every Nazi soldier it says Gott mit uns, God on our side? How come that the first treaty made by the Nationalist Socialist dictatorship, the very first is with the Vatican? It’s exchanging political control of Germany for Catholic control of German education. How come that the church has celebrated the birthday of the Fuhrer every year, on that day until democracy put an end to this filthy, quasi-religious, superstitious, barbarous, reactionary system? Again, this is not a difference of emphasis between us. To suggest that there’s something fascistic about me and about my beliefs is something I won't hear said and you shouldn't believe.
Christopher Hitchens
Peeta,” I say lightly. “You said at the interview you’d had a crush on me forever. When did forever start?” “Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair... it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up,” Peeta says. “Your father? Why?” I ask. “He said, ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,’” Peeta says. “What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim. “No, true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings... even the birds stop to listen.’” “That’s true. They do. I mean, they did,” I say. I’m stunned and surprisingly moved, thinking of the baker telling this to Peeta. It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father. “So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says. “Oh, please,” I say, laughing. “No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew—just like your mother—I was a goner,” Peeta says. “Then for the next eleven years, I tried to work up the nerve to talk to you.” “Without success,” I add. “Without success. So, in a way, my name being drawn in the reaping was a real piece of luck,” says Peeta. For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love not actually being in love. But Peeta’s story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, although I don’t remember the song. And that red plaid dress... there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father’s death. It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful hollow day. So, if those details are true... could it all be true? “You have a... remarkable memory,” I say haltingly. “I remember everything about you,” says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.” “I am now,” I say. “Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says. I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, “Say it! Say it!” I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
For [erotically intelligent couples], love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries of life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning. They know that they have years in which to deepen their connection, to experiment, to regress, and even to fail. They see their relationship as something alive and ongoing, not a fait accompli. It’s a story that they are writing together, one with many chapters, and neither partner knows how it will end. There’s always a place they haven’t gone yet, always something about the other still to be discovered.
Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic)
One day soon, you’ll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You’ll hear footsteps coming up your front walk. Like they did for Edward Wayne Edwards, twenty-nine years after he killed Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Like they did for Kenneth Lee Hicks, thirty years after he killed Lori Billingsley, in Aloha, Oregon. The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You’re long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you. “You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.
Michelle McNamara (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)
Laila watches Mariam glue strands of yarn onto her doll's head. In a few years, this little girl will be a woman who will make small demands on life, who will never burden others, who will never let on that she too had sorrows, disappointments, dreams that have been ridiculed. A woman who will be like a rock in a riverbed, enduring without complaint, her grace not sullied but shaped by the turbulence that washes over her. Already Laila sees something behind this young girl's eyes, something deep in her core, that neither Rasheed nor the Taliban will be able to break. something as hard and unyielding as a block of limestone. Something that, in the end, will be her undoing and Laila's salvation. The little girl looks up. Puts the doll down. Smiles.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
Thomas Merton wrote, “there is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.” There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it. The world is wilder than that in all directions, more dangerous and bitter, more extravagant and bright. We are making hay when we should be making whoopee; we are raising tomatoes when we should be raising Cain, or Lazarus. Go up into the gaps. If you can find them; they shift and vanish too. Stalk the gaps. Squeak into a gap in the soil, turn, and unlock-more than a maple- a universe. This is how you spend this afternoon, and tomorrow morning, and tomorrow afternoon. Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Every time you look up at the stars, it’s like opening a door. You could be anyone, anywhere. You could be yourself at any moment in your life. You open that door and you realize you’re the same person under the same stars. Camping out in the backyard with your best friend, eleven years old. Sixteen, driving alone, stopping at the edge of the city, looking up at the same stars. Walking a wooded path, kissing in the moonlight, look up and you’re eleven again. Chasing cats in a tiny town, you’re eleven again, you’re sixteen again. You’re in a rowboat. You’re staring out the back of a car. Out here where the world begins and ends, it’s like nothing ever stops happening.
Bryan Lee O'Malley (Lost at Sea)
..when a war ends, what does that look like exactly? do the cells in the body stop detonating themselves? does the orphanage stop screaming for its mother? when the sand in the desert has been melted down to glass and our reflection is not something we can stand to look at does the white flag make for a perfect blindfold? yesterday i was told a story about this little girl in Iraq, six-years-old, who cannot fall asleep because when she does she dreams of nothing but the day she watched her dog eat her neighbor's corpse. if you told her war is over do you think she can sleep?
Andrea Gibson (The Madness Vase)
My dear Rosie, Unbeknownst to you I took this chance before, many, many years ago. You never received that letter and I'm glad because my feelings since then have changed dramatically. They have intensified with every passing day. I'll get straight to the point because if I don't say what I have to say now, I fear it will never be said. And I need to say it. Today I love you more than ever; I want you more than ever. I'm a man of fifty years of age coming to you, feeling like a teenager in love, asking you to give me a chance and love me back. Rosie Dunne, I love you with all my heart. I have always loved you, even when I was seven years old and I lied about falling asleep on Santa watch, when I was ten years old and didn't invite you to my birthday party, when I was eighteen and had to move away, even on my wedding days, on your wedding day, on christenings, birthdays and when we fought. I loved you through it all. Make me the happiest man on this earth by being with me. Please reply to me. All my love, Alex
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Clarissa had a theory in those days - they had heaps of theories, always theories, as young people have. It was to explain the feeling they had of dissatisfaction; not knowing people; not being known. For how could they know each other? You met every day; then not for six months, or years. It was unsatisfactory, they agreed, how little one knew people. But she said, sitting on the bus going up Shaftesbury Avenue, she felt herself everywhere; not 'here, here, here'; and she tapped the back of the seat; but everywhere. She waved her hand, going up Shaftesbury Avenue. She was all that. So that to know her, or any one, one must seek out the people who completed them; even the places. Odd affinities she had with people she had never spoke to, some women in the street, some man behind a counter - even trees, or barns. It ended in a transcendental theory which, with her horror of death, allowed her to believe, or say that she believed (for all her scepticism), that since our apparitions, the part of us which appears, are so momentary compared with the other, the unseen part of us, which spreads wide, the unseen might survive, be recovered somehow attached to this person or that, or even haunting certain places, after death. Perhaps - perhaps.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you Sing Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. Stretch Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.. Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Mary Schmich
I know there's no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care, I am me. My name is Valerie, I don't think I'll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography ill ever write, and god, I'm writing it on toilet paper. I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don't remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl's grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn't. In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn't have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn't look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I'd always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, "The Salt Flats". It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America's war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like collateral and rendition became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don't understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I've never cried so hard in my life. It wasn't long till they came for me.It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.
Shonda Rhimes (Year of Yes)
He rakes his fingers through his hair, looking agitated. “Look, I’m sure I could find you a nice little bomb shelter somewhere with two years worth of supplies.” “I’m guessing those are all taken.” “And I’m guessing someone would happily give one up for you, especially if I asked nicely.” He gives me a dry smile. “You could take a little vacation from all this and come out after things settle down. Hole up, wait it out, be safe.” “You’d better be careful. You might be mistaken for someone who’s worried about me.” He shakes his head. “I’m just worried someone might recognize my sword in your hands. If I squirrel you away for a couple of years, then maybe I can save myself the embarrassment
Susan Ee (World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2))
And after years of hearing the heart-cry of women, I am convinced beyond a doubt of this: God wants to be loved. He wants to be a priority to someone. How could we have missed this? From cover to cover, from beginning to end, the cry of God's heart is, "Why won't you choose Me?" It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point. "You will . . . find me," says the Lord, "when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). In other words, "Look for me, pursue me -- I want you to pursue me." Amazing. As Tozer says, "God waits to be wanted.
John Eldredge (Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul)
I only have two kinds of dreams: the bad and the terrible. Bad dreams I can cope with. They're just nightmares, and they end eventually. I wake up. The terrible dreams are the good dreams. In my terrible dreams, everything is fine. I am still with the company. I still look like me. None of the last five years ever happened. Sometimes I'm married. Once I even had kids. I even knew their names. Everything's wonderful and normal and fine. And then I wake up, and I'm still me. And I'm still here. And that is truly terrible.
Neil Gaiman (Dream Country (The Sandman, #3))
Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.
C.S. Lewis
For one brief, never-ending second, an entirely different path expanded behind the lids of my tear-wet eyes. As if I were looking through the filter of Jacob's thoughts, I could see exactly what I was going to give up, exactly what this new self-knowledge would not save me from losing. I could see Charlie and Renée mixed into a strange collage with Billy and Sam and La Push. I could see years passing, and meaning something as they passed, changing me. I could see the enormous red-brown wolf that I loved, always standing as protector if I needed him. For the tiniest fragment of a second, I saw the bobbing heads of two small, black-haired children, running away from me into the familiar forest. When they disappeared, they took the rest of the vision with them.
Stephenie Meyer (Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, #3))
I know that you and your girls have been told for years on end that you just don’t pass up any opportunities when a man walks your way—he could be The One. But I’m here to tell you that this philosophy is just plain dumb. Women are smart—you all can tell when your friends are lying, you know when your kids are up to no good, co-workers can’t get anything past you at the job. You’re quick to let each one of them know that you’re not stupid, that you see them coming a mile away, and you’re not going to let them play that game with you. But when it comes to your relationships with the opposite sex, all of that goes out the window; you relinquish your power and lose all control over the situation—cede it to any old man who looks at you twice. Just because he happened to look at you twice.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
Between 10 and 20 percent of people with anorexia die from heart attacks, other complications and suicide; the disease has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Or Kitty could have lost her life in a different way, lost it to the roller coaster of relapse and recovery, inpatient and outpatient, that eats up, on average, five to seven years. Or a lifetime: only half of all anorexics recovery in the end. The other half endure lives of dysfunction and despair. Friends and families give up on them. Doctors dread treating them. They’re left to stand in the bakery with the voice ringing in their ears, alone in every way that matters.
Harriet Brown
Sometimes, when I find it hard to sleep, I’ll think of when we first met, of the newness of each other’s body, and my impatience to know everything about this person. Looking back, I should have taken it more slowly, measured him out over the course of fifty years rather than cramming him in so quickly. By the end of our first month together, he’d been so thoroughly interrogated that all I had left was breaking news—what little had happened in the few hours since I’d last seen him. Were he a cop or an emergency-room doctor, there might have been a lot to catch up on, but, like me, Hugh works alone, so there was never much to report. “I ate some potato chips,” he might say, to which I’d reply, “What kind?” or “That’s funny, so did I!” More often than not we’d just breathe into our separate receivers. Are you still there?” I’m here.” Good. Don’t hang up.” I won’t.
David Sedaris
Millions of books written on every conceivable subject by all these great minds and in the end, none of them knows anything more about the big questions of life than I do … I read Socrates. This guy knocked off little Greek boys. What the Hell’s he got to teach me? And Nietzsche, with his theory of eternal recurrence. He said that the life we lived we’re gonna live over again the exact same way for eternity. Great. That means I’ll have to sit through the Ice Capades again. It’s not worth it. And Freud, another great pessimist. I was in analysis for years and nothing happened. My poor analyst got so frustrated, the guy finally put in a salad bar. Maybe the poets are right. Maybe love is the only answer.
Woody Allen
Hello, old friend. And here we are. You and me, on the last page. By the time you read these words, Rory and I will be long gone. So know that we lived well and were very happy. And above all else, know that we will love you always. Sometimes I do worry about you though. I think once we're gone you won't be coming back here for awhile. And you might be alone. Which you should never be. Don't be alone, Doctor. And do one more thing for me. There's a little girl waiting in a garden. She's going to wait a long while, so she's going to need a lot of hope. Go to her. Tell her a story. Tell her that if she's patient, the days are coming that she'll never forget. Tell her she'll go to see and fight pirates. She'll fall in love with a man who'll wait two thousand years to keep her safe. Tell her she'll give hope to the greatest painter who ever lived. And save a whale in outer space. Tell her, this is the story of Amelia Pond. And this is how it ends.
Steven Moffat
Cristina looked after Emma, her hand going to the pendant at her own throat. It was silver, in the shape of a circle with a rose inside it. The rose was wrapped around with thorny briars. Words were written in Latin on the back: she didn’t need to look at them to know them. She’d known them all her life. Blessed be the Angel my strength who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. The rose for Rosales, the words for Raziel, the Angel who had created the Shadowhunters a thousand years ago. Cristina had always thought Emma fought for her parabatai and for revenge, while she fought for family and faith. But maybe it was all the same thing: maybe it was all love, in the end.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
Listen, kid. This is what happens: Somebody-girl usually-got a free spirit, doesn't get on too good with her parents. These kids, they're like tied-down helium balloons. They strain against the string and strain against it, and then something happens, and that string gets cut, and they just fly away. And maybe you never see the balloon again. It lands in Canada or somethin', gets work at a restaurant, and before the balloon even notices, it's been pouring coffee in that same dinner to the same sad bastards for thirty years. Or maybe three or four years from now or three or four days from now, the prevailing winds take the balloon back home, because it needs money, or it sobered up, or it misses its kid brother. But listen, kid, that string gets cut all the time." "Yeah, bu-" "I'm not finished, kid. The thing about these balloons is that there are so goddamned many of them. The sky is choked full of them, rubbing up against one another as they float to here or from there, and every one of those damned balloons ends up on my desk, one way or another, and after awhile a man can get discouraged. Everywhere the balloons, and each of them with a mother and father, or God forbid both, and after a while, you can't even see'em individually. You look up at all the balloons in the sky and you can see all of the balloons, but you cannot see any one balloon.
John Green (Paper Towns)
Why kid ourselves, people have nothing to say to one another, they all talk about their own troubles and nothing else. Each man for himself, the earth for us all. They try to unload their unhappiness on someone else when making love, they do their damnedest, but it doesn't work, they keep it all, and then they start all over again, trying to find a place for it. "Your pretty, Mademoiselle," they say. And life takes hold of them again until the next time, and then they try the same little gimmick. "You're very pretty, Mademoiselle..." And in between they boast that they've succeeded in getting rid of their unhappiness, but everyone knows it's not true and they've simply kept it all to themselves. Since at the little game you get uglier and more repulsive as you grow older, you can't hope to hide your unhappiness, your bankruptcy, any longer. In the end your features are marked with that hideous grimace that takes twenty, thrity years or more to climb form your belly to your face. That's all a man is good for, that and no more, a grimace that he takes a whole lifetime to compose. The grimace a man would need to express his true soul without losing any of it is so heavy and complicated that he doesn't always succeed in completing it.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
Rosie, I'm returning to Boston tomorrow but before I go I wanted to write this letter to you. All the thoughts and feelings that have been bubbling up inside me are finally overflowing from this pen and I'm leaving this letter for you so that you don't feel that I'm putting you under any great pressure. I understand that you will need to take your time trying to decide on what I am about to say. I no what's going on, Rosie. You're my best friend and I can see the sadness in your eyes. I no that Greg isn't away working for the weekend. You never could lie to me; you were always terrible at it. Your eyes betray you time and time again. Don't pretend that everything is perfect because I see it isn't. I see that Greg is a selfish man who has absolutely no idea just how lucky he is and it makes me sick. He is the luckiest man in the world to have you, Rosie, but he doesn't deserve you and you deserve far better. You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you're doing, where you are, who you're with and if you're OK. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and who can protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who can make you happy, really happy, dancing-on-air happy. Someone who should have taken the chance to be with you years ago instead of becoming scared and being too afraid to try. I am not scared any more, Rosie. I am not afraid to try. I no what the feeling was at your wedding - it was jealousy. My heart broke when I saw the woman I love turning away from me to walk down the aisle with another man, a man she planned to spend the rest of her life with. It was like a prison sentence for me - years stretching ahead without me being able to tell you how I feel or hold you how I wanted to. Twice we've stood beside each other at the altar, Rosie. Twice. And twice we got it wrong. I needed you to be there for my wedding day but I was too stupid to see that I needed you to be the reason for my wedding day. I should never have let your lips leave mine all those years ago in Boston. I should never have pulled away. I should never have panicked. I should never have wasted all those years without you. Give me a chance to make them up to you. I love you, Rosie, and I want to be with you and Katie and Josh. Always. Please think about it. Don't waste your time on Greg. This is our opportunity. Let's stop being afraid and take the chance. I promise I'll make you happy. All my love, Alex
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
If I could,” he went on, “I would remain like this indefinitely—clasped by you, held inside you, a part of you—without moving at all. When we make love, I fight climax with everything I have. I don’t want to come; I do not want it to end. No matter how long I make it last, it isn’t nearly long enough. I am furious when I cannot hold back any longer. Why, Jess? If all I seek is the physical relief of natural lust, just as I would seek sleep or food, why would I deny myself?” She turned her head and caught his mouth with hers, kissing him desperately. “Tell me you understand,” he demanded, his lips moving beneath hers. “Tell me you feel it, too.” “I feel you,” she breathed, as intoxicated by his ardency as she was by the finest claret. “You have become everything to me.
Sylvia Day (Seven Years to Sin)
To believe in a child is to believe in the future. Through their aspirations they will save the world. With their combined knowledge the turbulent seas of hate and injustice will be calmed. They will champion the causes of life's underdogs, forging a society without class discrimination. They will supply humanity with music and beauty as it has never known. They will endure. Towards these ends I pledge my life's work. I will supply the children with tools and knowledge to overcome the obstacles. I will pass on the wisdom of my years and temper it with patience. I shall impact in each child the desire to fulfill his or her dream. I shall teach.
Henry James
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery. People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
To the most inconsiderate asshole of a friend, I’m writing you this letter because I know that if I say what I have to say to your face I will probably punch you. I don’t know you anymore. I don’t see you anymore. All I get is a quick text or a rushed e-mail from you every few days. I know you are busy and I know you have Bethany, but hello? I’m supposed to be your best friend. You have no idea what this summer has been like. Ever since we were kids we pushed away every single person that could possibly have been our friend. We blocked people until there was only me and you. You probably haven’t noticed, because you have never been in the position I am in now. You have always had someone. You always had me. I always had you. Now you have Bethany and I have no one. Now I feel like those other people that used to try to become our friend, that tried to push their way into our circle but were met by turned backs. I know you’re probably not doing it deliberately just as we never did it deliberately. It’s not that we didn’t want anyone else, it’s just that we didn’t need them. Sadly now it looks like you don’t need me anymore. Anyway I’m not moaning on about how much I hate her, I’m just trying to tell you that I miss you. And that well . . . I’m lonely. Whenever you cancel nights out I end up staying home with Mum and Dad watching TV. It’s so depressing. This was supposed to be our summer of fun. What happened? Can’t you be friends with two people at once? I know you have found someone who is extra special, and I know you both have a special “bond,” or whatever, that you and I will never have. But we have another bond, we’re best friends. Or does the best friend bond disappear as soon as you meet somebody else? Maybe it does, maybe I just don’t understand that because I haven’t met that “somebody special.” I’m not in any hurry to, either. I liked things the way they were. So maybe Bethany is now your best friend and I have been relegated to just being your “friend.” At least be that to me, Alex. In a few years time if my name ever comes up you will probably say, “Rosie, now there’s a name I haven’t heard in years. We used to be best friends. I wonder what she’s doingnow; I haven’t seen or thought of her in years!” You will sound like my mum and dad when they have dinner parties with friends and talk about old times. They always mention people I’ve never even heard of when they’re talking about some of the most important days of their lives. Yet where are those people now? How could someone who was your bridesmaid 20 years ago not even be someone who you are on talking terms with now? Or in Dad’s case, how could he not know where his own best friend from college lives? He studied with the man for five years! Anyway, my point is (I know, I know, there is one), I don’t want to be one of those easily forgotten people, so important at the time, so special, so influential, and so treasured, yet years later just a vague face and a distant memory. I want us to be best friends forever, Alex. I’m happy you’re happy, really I am, but I feel like I’ve been left behind. Maybe our time has come and gone. Maybe your time is now meant to be spent with Bethany. And if that’s the case I won’t bother sending you this letter. And if I’m not sending this letter then what am I doing still writing it? OK I’m going now and I’m ripping these muddled thoughts up. Your friend, Rosie
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant. but it is very important that you do it because, You can't know; You can't ever really know the meaning of your life, and you don't need to. Just know that your life has a meaning. Every life has a meaning; whether it lasts one-hundred years or one-hundred seconds.Every life and every death changes the world in its own way. Gandhi knew this. He knew his life would mean something to someone, somewhere, somehow. And he knew with as much certainty that he could never know that meaning. He understood that enjoying life should be of much greater concern than understanding it. And so do I. You can't know. So don't take it for granted; but don't take it too seriously. Don't postpone what you want. Don't leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know. Make sure they know how you really feel. Because just like that it could end.
Will Fetters (Memoirs (Remember Me))
I wanted him dead too, so that if I couldn't stop thinking about him and worrying about when would be the next time I'd see him, at least his death would put an end to it. I wanted to kill him myself, even, so as to let him know how much his mere existence had come to bother me, how unbearable his ease with everything and everyone, taking all things in stride, his tireless I'm-okay-with-this-and-that, his springing across the gate to the beach when everyone else opened the latch first, to say nothing of his bathings suits, his spot in paradise, his cheeky Later!, his lip-smacking love for apricot juice. If I didn't kill him, then I'd cripple him for life, so that he'd be with us in a wheelchair and never go back to the States. If he were in a wheelchair, I would always know where he was, and he'd be easy to find. I would feel superior to him and become his master, now that he was crippled. Then it hit me that I could have killed myself instead, or hurt myself badly enough and let him know why I'd done it. If I hurt my face, I'd want him to look at me and wonder why, why might anyone do this to himself, until, years and years later--yes, Later!--he'd finally piece the puzzle together and beat his head against the wall.
André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by eactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for commiting thought-crime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occcured to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?
George Orwell (1984)
In light of my distanced telescopic exposure to the mayhem, I refused to plagiarise others’ personal tragedies as my own. There is an authorship in misery that costs more than empathy. Often I’d found myself dumbstruck in failed attempts to simulate that particular unfamiliar dolour. After all, no one takes pleasure in being possessed by a wailing father collecting the decapitated head of his innocent six year old. Even on the hinge of a willing attempt at full empathy with those cursed with such catastrophes, one had to have a superhuman emotional powers. I could not, in any way, claim the ability to relate to those who have been forced to swallow the never-ending bitter and poisonous pills of our inherited misfortune. Yet that excruciating pain in my chest seemed to elicit a state of agony in me, even from far behind the telescope. It could have been my tribal gene amplified by the ripple effect of the falling, moving in me what was left of my humanity.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
THE DAWN OF NEW POSSIBILITIES Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light. —ISAIAH 24:15 Every new day with God brings the dawn of new and better possibilities. Today could turn out to be the best day of your life—but how it ends largely depends on how you begin it. You are in charge of taking control of your day from its very beginning—as you command your morning—and as you do, know that whatever begins with God has to end right. No matter how good or bad your life is, every circumstance can change for the best if you learn how to command your morning before your day begins. Father, I stand and declare that today is a new day. Every element of my day shall cooperate with Your purpose and destiny for me. Anything or anyone assigned to undermine, frustrate, hinder, or hurt me, I command to be moved out of my sphere of influence. I greet
Cindy Trimm (Commanding Your Morning Daily Devotional: Unleash God's Power in Your Life--Every Day of the Year)
The stars are brilliant at this time of night and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break for darling, the times are quite glorious. I left him by the water’s edge, still waving long after the ship was gone and if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well. There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew. I used to go there to say goodbye. I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them, one way or the other, leaving sin on my body scrubbing tears off with salt and I built my rituals in farewells. Endings I still cling to. So I go to the ocean to say goodbye. He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my head and though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right one for I have used them myself and there is no coming back. Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay. I turned away from the ocean as not to fall for its plea for it used to seduce and consume me and there was this one night a few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewells and just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone. But I was younger then and easily fooled and the ocean was deep and dark and blue and I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones. I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival. Then days passed by and I spent them with my work and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send. But there is this one day every year or so when the burden gets too heavy and I collect my belongings I no longer need and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written words and I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone. Nothing left to hold me back. You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss like chains wrapped around my veins, and if you see a fire from the shore tonight it’s my chains going up in flames. The time of moon i quite glorious. We could have been so glorious.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
When did my house turn into a hangout for every grossly overpaid, terminally pampered professional football player in northern Illinois?" "We like it here," Jason said. "It reminds us of home." "Plus, no women around." Leandro Collins, the Bears' first-string tight end emerged from the office munching on a bag of chips. "There's times when you need a rest from the ladies." Annabelle shot out her arm and smacked him in the side of the head. "Don't forget who you're talking to." Leandro had a short fuse, and he'd been known to take out a ref here and there when he didn't like a call, but the tight end merely rubbed the side of his head and grimaced. "Just like my mama." "Mine, too," Tremaine said with happy nod. Annabelle spun on Heath. "Their mother! I'm thirty-one years old, and I remind them of their mothers." "You act like my mother," Sean pointed out, unwisely as it transpired, because he got a swat in the head next.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6))
Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. This was a definition of feminism I offered in Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center more than 10 years ago. It was my hope at the time that it would become a common definition everyone would use. I liked this definition because it did not imply that men were the enemy. By naming sexism as the problem it went directly to the heart of the matter. Practically, it is a definition which implies that all sexist thinking and action is the problem, whether those who perpetuate it are female or male, child or adult. It is also broad enough to include an understanding of systemic institutionalized sexism. As a definition it is open-ended. To understand feminism it implies one has to necessarily understand sexism.
bell hooks (Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics)
Since I am writing a book about depression, I am often asked in social situations to describe my own experiences, and I usually end by saying that I am on medication. “Still?” people ask. “But you seem fine!” To which I invariably reply that I seem fine because I am fine, and that I am fine in part because of medication. “So how long do you expect to go on taking this stuff?” people ask. When I say that I will be on medication indefinitely, people who have dealt calmly and sympathetically with the news of suicide attempts, catatonia, missed years of work, significant loss of body weight, and so on stare at me with alarm. “But it’s really bad to be on medicine that way,” they say. “Surely now you are strong enough to be able to phase out some of these drugs!” If you say to them that this is like phasing the carburetor out of your car or the buttresses out of Notre Dame, they laugh. “So maybe you’ll stay on a really low maintenance dose?” They ask. You explain that the level of medication you take was chosen because it normalizes the systems that can go haywire, and that a low dose of medication would be like removing half of your carburetor. You add that you have experienced almost no side effects from the medication you are taking, and that there is no evidence of negative effects of long-term medication. You say that you really don’t want to get sick again. But wellness is still, in this area, associated not with achieving control of your problem, but with discontinuation of medication. “Well, I sure hope you get off it sometime soon,” they say.
Andrew Solomon (The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression)
Imagine that you were on the threshold of this fairytale, sometime billions of years ago when everything was created. And you were able to choose whether you wanted to be born to a life on this planet at some point. You wouldn’t know when you were going to be born, nor how long you’d live for, but at any event it wouldn’t be more than a few years. All you’d know was that, if you chose to come into the world at some point, you’d also have to leave it again one day and go away from everything. This might cause you a good deal of grief, as lots of people think that life in the great fairytale is so wonderful that the mere thought of it ending can bring tears to their eyes. Things can be so nice here that it’s terribly painful to think that at some point the days will run out. What would you have chosen, if there had been some higher power that had gave you the choice? Perhaps we can imagine some sort of cosmic fairy in this great, strange fairytale. What you have chosen to live a life on earth at some point, whether short or long, in a hundred thousand or a hundred million years? Or would you have refused to join in the game because you didn’t like the rules? (...) I asked myself the same question maybe times during the past few weeks. Would I have elected to live a life on earth in the firm knowledge that I’d suddenly be torn away from it, and perhaps in the middle of intoxicating happiness? (...) Well, I wasn’t sure what I would have chosen. (...) If I’d chosen never to the foot inside the great fairytale, I’d never have known what I’ve lost. Do you see what I’m getting at? Sometimes it’s worse for us human beings to lose something dear to us than never to have had it at all.
Jostein Gaarder (The Orange Girl)
I love the stillness of the wood; I love the music of the rill: I love the couch in pensive mod Upon some silent hill. Scarce heard, beneath yon arching trees, The silver-crested ripples pass; and, like a mimic brook, the breeze Whispers among the grass. Here from the world I win release, Nor scorn of men, nor footstep rude, Break into mar the holy peace Of this great solitude. Here may the silent tears I weep Lull the vested spirit into rest, As infants sob themselves to sleep Upon a mothers breast. But when the bitter hour is gone, And the keen throbbing pangs are still, Oh, sweetest then to couch alone Upon some silent hill! To live in joys that once have been, To put the cold world out of sight, And deck life's drear and barren scene With hues of rainbow-light. For what to man the gift of breath, If sorrow be his lot below; If all the day that ends in death Be dark with clouds of woe? Shall the poor transport of an hour Repay long years of sore distress- The fragrance of a lonely flower Make glad the wilderness? Ye golden house of life's young spring, Of innocence, of love and truth! Bright, beyond all imagining, Thou fairy-dream of youth! I'd give all wealth that years have piled, The slow result of Life's decay, To be once more a little child For on bright summers day.
Lewis Carroll
In the spring of her twenty-second year, Sumire fell in love for the first time in her life. An intense love, a veritable tornado sweeping across the plains—flattening everything in its path, tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shreds, crushing them to bits. The tornado’s intensity doesn’t abate for a second as it blasts across the ocean, laying waste to Angkor Wat, incinerating an Indian jungle, tigers and everything, transforming itself into a Persian desert sandstorm, burying an exotic fortress city under a sea of sand. In short, a love of truly monumental proportions. The person she fell in love with happened to be 17 years older than Sumire. And was married. And, I should add, was a woman. This is where it all began, and where it all ended. Almost.
Haruki Murakami (Sputnik Sweetheart)
Dispassionately, reasonably, he contemplated the failure that his life must appear to be. He had wanted friendship and the closeness of friendship that might hold him in the race of mankind; he had had two friends, one of whom had died senselessly before he was known, the other of whom had now withdrawn so distantly into the ranks of the living that... He had wanted the singleness and the still connective passion of marriage; he had had that, too, and he had not known what to do with it, and it had died. He had wanted love; and he had had love, and had relinquished it, had let it go into the chaos of potentiality. Katherine, he thought. "Katherine." And he had wanted to be a teacher, and he had become one; yet he knew, he had always known, that for most of his life he had been an indifferent one. He had dreamed of a kind of integrity, of a kind of purity that was entire; he had found compromise and the assaulting diversion of triviality. He had conceived wisdom, and at the end of the long years he had found ignorance. And what else? he thought. What else? What did you expect? he asked himself.
John Williams (Stoner)
But the fact is that writing is the only way in which I am able to cope with the memories which overwhelm me so frequently and so unexpectedly. If they remained locked away, they would become heavier and heavier as time went on, so that in the end I would succumb under their mounting weight. Memories lie slumbering within us for months and years, quietly proliferating, until they are woken by some trifle and in some strange way blind us to life. How often this has caused me to feel that my memories, and the labours expended in writing them down are all part of the same humiliating and, at bottom, contemptible business! And yet, what would we be without memory? We would not be capable of ordering even the simplest thoughts, the most sensitive heart would lose the ability to show affection, our existence would be a mere neverending chain of meaningless moments, and there would not be the faintest trace of a past. How wretched this life of ours is!--so full of false conceits, so futile, that it is little more than the shadow of the chimeras loosed by memory. My sense of estrangement is becoming more and more dreadful.
W.G. Sebald (The Rings of Saturn)
Blue jeans, white shirt Walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn It was like, James Dean, for sure You're so fresh to death and sick as ca-cancer You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop But you fit me better than my favourite sweater, and I know That love is mean, and love hurts But I still remember that day we met in december, oh baby! I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time Big dreams, gangster Said you had to leave to start your life over I was like, “No please, stay here, We don't need no money we can make it all work,” But he headed out on sunday, said he'd come home monday I stayed up waitin', anticipatin', and pacin' But he was chasing paper "Caught up in the game" ‒ that was the last I heard I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time You went out every night And baby that's alright I told you that no matter what you did I'd be by your side Cause Imma ride or die Whether you fail or fly Well shit at least you tried. But when you walked out that door, a piece of me died I told you I wanted more-but that's not what I had in mind I just want it like before We were dancing all night Then they took you away-stole you out of my life You just need to remember.... I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time
Lana Del Rey
How often since then has she wondered what might have happened if she'd tried to remain with him; if she’d returned Richard's kiss on the corner of Bleeker and McDougal, gone off somewhere (where?) with him, never bought the packet of incense or the alpaca coat with rose-shaped buttons. Couldn’t they have discovered something larger and stranger than what they've got. It is impossible not to imagine that other future, that rejected future, as taking place in Italy or France, among big sunny rooms and gardens; as being full of infidelities and great battles; as a vast and enduring romance laid over friendship so searing and profound it would accompany them to the grave and possibly even beyond. She could, she thinks, have entered another world. She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself. Or then again maybe not, Clarissa tells herself. That's who I was. This is who I am--a decent woman with a good apartment, with a stable and affectionate marriage, giving a party. Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port. Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. Richard had stood beside her at the pond's edge at dusk, wearing cut-off jeans and rubber sandals. Richard had called her Mrs. Dalloway, and they had kissed. His mouth had opened to hers; (exciting and utterly familiar, she'd never forget it) had worked its way shyly inside until she met its own. They'd kissed and walked around the pond together. It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk. The anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other.
Michael Cunningham (The Hours)
Yet each disappointment Ted felt in his wife, each incremental deflation, was accompanied by a seizure of guilt; many years ago, he had taken the passion he felt for Susan and folded it in half, so he no longer had a drowning, helpless feeling when he glimpsed her beside him in bed: her ropy arms and soft, generous ass. Then he’d folded it in half again, so when he felt desire for Susan, it no longer brought with it an edgy terror of never being satisfied. Then in half again, so that feeling desire entailed no immediate need to act. Then in half again, so he hardly felt it. His desire was so small in the end that Ted could slip it inside his desk or a pocket and forget about it, and this gave him a feeling of safety and accomplishment, of having dismantled a perilous apparatus that might have crushed them both. Susan was baffled at first, then distraught; she’d hit him twice across the face; she’d run from the house in a thunderstorm and slept at a motel; she’d wrestled Ted to the bedroom floor in a pair of black crotchless underpants. But eventually a sort of amnesia had overtaken Susan; her rebellion and hurt had melted away, deliquesced into a sweet, eternal sunniness that was terrible in the way that life would be terrible, Ted supposed, without death to give it gravitas and shape. He’d presumed at first that her relentless cheer was mocking, another phase in her rebellion, until it came to him that Susan had forgotten how things were between them before Ted began to fold up his desire; she’d forgotten and was happy — had never not been happy — and while all of this bolstered his awe at the gymnastic adaptability of the human mind, it also made him feel that his wife had been brainwashed. By him.
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad)
How can I tell a story we already know too well? Her name was Africa. His was France. He colonized her, exploited her, silenced her, and even decades after it was supposed to have ended, still acted with a high hand in resolving her affairs in places like Côte d'Ivoire, a name she had been given because of her export products, not her own identity. Her name was Asia. His was Europe. Her name was silence. His was power. Her name was poverty. His was wealth. Her name was Her, but what was hers? His name was His, and he presumed everything was his, including her, and he thought be could take her without asking and without consequences. It was a very old story, though its outcome had been changing a little in recent decades. And this time around the consequences are shaking a lot of foundations, all of which clearly needed shaking. Who would ever write a fable as obvious, as heavy-handed as the story we've been given? ... His name was privilege, but hers was possibility. His was the same old story, but hers was a new one about the possibility of changing a story that remains unfinished, that includes all of us, that matters so much, that we will watch but also make and tell in the weeks, months, years, decades to come.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.
Elias Canetti (The Human Province)
Dear Max - You looked so beautiful today. I'm going to remember what you looked like forever. ... And I hope you remember me the same way - clean, ha-ha. I'm glad our last time together was happy. But I'm leaving tonight, leaving the flock, and this time it's for good. I don't know if I'll ever see any of you again. The thing is, Max, that everyone is a little bit right. Added up all together, it makes this one big right. Dylan's a little bit right about how my being here might be putting the rest of you in danger. The threat might have been just about Dr. Hans, but we don't know that for sure. Angel is a little bit right about how splitting up the flock will help all of us survive. And the rest of the flock is a little bit right about how when you and I are together, we're focused on each other - we can't help it. The thing is, Maximum, I love you. I can't help but be focused on you when we're together. If you're in the room, I want to be next to you. If you're gone, I think about you. You're the one who I want to talk to. In a fight, I want you at my back. When we're together, the sun is shining. When we're apart, everything is in shades of gray. I hope you'll forgive me someday for turning our worlds into shades of gray - at least for a while. ... You're not at your best when you're focused on me. I mean, you're at your best Maxness, but not your best leaderness. I mostly need Maxness. The flock mostly needs leaderness. And Angel, if you're listening to this, it ain't you, sweetie. Not yet. ... At least for a couple more years, the flock needs a leader to survive, no matter how capable everyone thinks he or she is. The truth is that they do need a leader, and the truth is that you are the best leader. It's one of the things I love about you. But the more I thought about it, the more sure I got that this is the right thing to do. Maybe not for you, or for me, but for all of us together, our flock. Please don't try to find me. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, besides wearing that suit today, and seeing you again will only make it harder. You'd ask me to come back, and I would, because I can't say no to you. But all the same problems would still be there, and I'd end up leaving again, and then we'd have to go through this all over again. Please make us only go through this once. ... I love you. I love your smile, your snarl, your grin, your face when you're sleeping. I love your hair streaming out behind you as we fly, with the sunlight making it shine, if it doesn't have too much mud or blood in it. I love seeing your wings spreading out, white and brown and tan and speckled, and the tiny, downy feathers right at the top of your shoulders. I love your eyes, whether they're cold or calculating or suspicious or laughing or warm, like when you look at me. ... You're the best warrior I know, the best leader. You're the most comforting mom we've ever had. You're the biggest goofball, the worst driver, and a truly lousy cook. You've kept us safe and provided for us, in good times and bad. You're my best friend, my first and only love, and the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, with wings or without. ... Tell you what, sweetie: If in twenty years we haven't expired yet, and the world is still more or less in one piece, I'll meet you at the top of that cliff where we first met the hawks and learned to fly with them. You know the one. Twenty years from today, if I'm alive, I'll be there, waiting for you. You can bet on it. Good-bye, my love. Fang P.S. Tell everyone I sure will miss them
James Patterson
I know I have a pretty good sense for music, but she was better than me. I used to think it was such a waste! I thought, ‘If only she had started out with a good teacher and gotten the proper training, she’d be so much further along!’ But I was wrong about that. She was not the kind of child who could stand proper training. There just happen to be people like that. They’re blessed with this marvelous talent, but they can’t make the effort to systematize it. They end up squandering it in little bits and pieces. I’ve seen my share of people like that. At first you think they’re amazing. Like, they can sight-read some terrifically difficult piece and do a damn good job playing it all the way through. You see them do it, and you’re overwhelmed. you think, ‘I could never do that in a million years.’ But that’s as far as they go. They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid to them. They’ll take some piece another kid has to work on for three weeks and polish it off in half the time, so the teacher figures they’ve put enough into it and lets them go to the next thing. And they do that in half the time and go on to the next piece. They never find out what it means to be hammered by the teacher; they lose out on a certain element required or character building. It’s a tragedy.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
Before I got here, I thought for a long time that the way out of the labyrinth was to pretend that it did not exist, to build a small, self-sufficient world in a back corner of, the endless maze and to pretend that I was not lost, but home. But that only led to a lonely life accompanied only by the last words of the looking for a Great Perhaps, for real friends, and a more-than minor life. And then i screwed up and the Colonel screwed up and Takumi screwed up and she slipped through our fingers. And there's no sugar-coating it: She deserved better friends. When she fucked up, all those years ago, just a little girl terrified. into paralysis, she collapsed into the enigma of herself. And I could have done that, but I saw where it led for her. So I still believe in the Great Perhaps, and I can believe in it spite of having lost her. Beacause I will forget her, yes. That which came together will fall apart imperceptibly slowly, and I will forget, but she will forgive my forgetting, just as I forgive her for forgetting me and the Colonel and everyone but herself and her mom in those last moments she spent as a person. I know that she forgives me for being dumb and sacred and doing the dumb and scared thing. I know she forgives me, just as her mother forgives her. And here's how I know: I thought at first she was just dead. Just darkness. Just a body being eaten by bugs. I thought about her a lot like that, as something's meal. What was her-green eyes, half a smirk, the soft curves of her legs-would soon be nothing, just the bones I never saw. I thought about the slow process of becoming bone and then fossil and then coal that will, in millions of years, be mined by humans of the future, and how they would their homes with her, and then she would be smoke billowing out of a smokestack, coating the atmosphere. I still think that, sometimes. I still think that, sometimes, think that maybe "the afterlife" is just something we made up to ease the pain of loss, to make our time in the labyrinth bearable. Maybe she was just a matter, and matter gets recycled. But ultimately I do not believe that she was only matter. The rest of her must be recycled, too. I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts. If you take Alaska's genetic code and you add her life experiences and the relationships she had with people, and then you take the size and shape of her body, you do not get her. There is something else entirety. There is a part of her knowable parts. And that parts has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed. Although no one will ever accuse me of being much of a science student, One thing I learned from science classes is that energy is never created and never destroyed. And if Alaska took her own life, that is the hope I wish I could have given her. Forgetting her mother, failing her mother and her friends and herself -those are awful things, but she did not need to fold into herself and self-destruct. Those awful things are survivable because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be. When adults say "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail. So I know she forgives me, just as I forgive her. Thomas Eidson's last words were: "It's very beautiful over there." I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
We love men because they can never fake orgasms, even if they wanted to. Because they write poems, songs, and books in our honor. Because they never understand us, but they never give up. Because they can see beauty in women when women have long ceased to see any beauty in themselves. Because they come from little boys. Because they can churn out long, intricate, Machiavellian, or incredibly complex mathematics and physics equations, but they can be comparably clueless when it comes to women. Because they are incredible lovers and never rest until we’re happy. Because they elevate sports to religion. Because they’re never afraid of the dark. Because they don’t care how they look or if they age. Because they persevere in making and repairing things beyond their abilities, with the naïve self-assurance of the teenage boy who knew everything. Because they never wear or dream of wearing high heels. Because they’re always ready for sex. Because they’re like pomegranates: lots of inedible parts, but the juicy seeds are incredibly tasty and succulent and usually exceed your expectations. Because they’re afraid to go bald. Because you always know what they think and they always mean what they say. Because they love machines, tools, and implements with the same ferocity women love jewelry. Because they go to great lengths to hide, unsuccessfully, that they are frail and human. Because they either speak too much or not at all to that end. Because they always finish the food on their plate. Because they are brave in front of insects and mice. Because a well-spoken four-year old girl can reduce them to silence, and a beautiful 25-year old can reduce them to slobbering idiots. Because they want to be either omnivorous or ascetic, warriors or lovers, artists or generals, but nothing in-between. Because for them there’s no such thing as too much adrenaline. Because when all is said and done, they can’t live without us, no matter how hard they try. Because they’re truly as simple as they claim to be. Because they love extremes and when they go to extremes, we’re there to catch them. Because they are tender they when they cry, and how seldom they do it. Because what they lack in talk, they tend to make up for in action. Because they make excellent companions when driving through rough neighborhoods or walking past dark alleys. Because they really love their moms, and they remind us of our dads. Because they never care what their horoscope, their mother-in-law, nor the neighbors say. Because they don’t lie about their age, their weight, or their clothing size. Because they have an uncanny ability to look deeply into our eyes and connect with our heart, even when we don’t want them to. Because when we say “I love you” they ask for an explanation.
Paulo Coelho
– But here is a question that is troubling me: if there is no God, then, one may ask, who governs human life and, in general, the whole order of things on earth? – Man governs it himself, – Homeless angrily hastened to reply to this admittedly none-too-clear question. – Pardon me, – the stranger responded gently, – but in order to govern, one needs, after all, to have a precise plan for a certain, at least somewhat decent, length of time. Allow me to ask you, then, how can man govern, if he is not only deprived of the opportunity of making a plan for at least some ridiculously short period, well, say, a thousand years , but cannot even vouch for his own tomorrow? And in fact, – here the stranger turned to Berlioz, – imagine that you, for instance, start governing, giving orders to others and yourself, generally, so to speak, acquire a taste for it, and suddenly you get ...hem ... hem ... lung cancer ... – here the foreigner smiled sweetly, and if the thought of lung cancer gave him pleasure — yes, cancer — narrowing his eyes like a cat, he repeated the sonorous word —and so your governing is over! You are no longer interested in anyone’s fate but your own. Your family starts lying to you. Feeling that something is wrong, you rush to learned doctors, then to quacks, and sometimes to fortune-tellers as well. Like the first, so the second and third are completely senseless, as you understand. And it all ends tragically: a man who still recently thought he was governing something, suddenly winds up lying motionless in a wooden box, and the people around him, seeing that the man lying there is no longer good for anything, burn him in an oven. And sometimes it’s worse still: the man has just decided to go to Kislovodsk – here the foreigner squinted at Berlioz – a trifling matter, it seems, but even this he cannot accomplish, because suddenly, no one knows why, he slips and falls under a tram-car! Are you going to say it was he who governed himself that way? Would it not be more correct to think that he was governed by someone else entirely?
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind..." "It doesn't matter what others think -because that's what they will think, in any case. So, relax. Let the universe move about. Discover the joy of surprising yourself." "The master says: “Make use of every blessing that God gave you today. A blessing cannot be saved. There is no bank where we can deposit blessings received, to use them when we see fit. If you do not use them, they will be irretrievably lost. God knows that we are creative artists when it comes to our lives. On one day, he gives us clay for sculpting, on another, brushes and canvas, or a pen. But we can never use clay on our canvas, nor pens in sculpture. Each day has its own miracle. Accept the blessings, work, and create your minor works of art today. Tomorrow you will receive others.” “You are together because a forest is always stronger than a solitary tree,” the master answered. "The forest conserves humidity, resists the hurricane and helps the soil to be fertile. But what makes a tree strong is its roots. And the roots of a plant cannot help another plant to grow. To be joined together in the same purpose is to allow each person to grow in his own fashion, and that is the path of those who wish to commune with God.” “If you must cry, cry like a child. You were once a child, and one of the first things you learned in life was to cry, because crying is a part of life. Never forget that you are free, and that to show your emotions is not shameful. Scream, sob loudly, make as much noise as you like. Because that is how children cry, and they know the fastest way to put their hearts at ease. Have you ever noticed how children stop crying? They stop because something distracts them. Something calls them to the next adventure. Children stop crying very quickly. And that's how it will be for you. But only if you can cry as children do.” “If you are traveling the road of your dreams, be committed to it. Do not leave an open door to be used as an excuse such as, 'Well, this isn't exactly what I wanted. ' Therein are contained the seeds of defeat. “Walk your path. Even if your steps have to be uncertain, even if you know that you could be doing it better. If you accept your possibilities in the present, there is no doubt that you will improve in the future. But if you deny that you have limitations, you will never be rid of them. “Confront your path with courage, and don't be afraid of the criticism of others. And, above all, don't allow yourself to become paralyzed by self-criticism. “God will be with you on your sleepless nights, and will dry your tears with His love. God is for the valiant.” "Certain things in life simply have to be experienced -and never explained. Love is such a thing." "There is a moment in every day when it is difficult to see clearly: evening time. Light and darkness blend, and nothing is completely clear nor completely dark." "But it's not important what we think, or what we do or what we believe in: each of us will die one day. Better to do as the old Yaqui Indians did: regard death as an advisor. Always ask: 'Since I'm going to die, what should I be doing now?'” "When we follow our dreams, we may give the impression to others that we are miserable and unhappy. But what others think is not important. What is important is the joy in our heart.” “There is a work of art each of us was destined to create. That is the central point of our life, and -no matter how we try to deceive ourselves -we know how important it is to our happiness. Usually, that work of art is covered by years of fears, guilt and indecision. But, if we decide to remove those things that do not belong, if we have no doubt as to our capability, we are capable of going forward with the mission that is our destiny. That is the only way to live with honor.
Paulo Coelho (Maktub)
For me, the last few years of the postmodern era have seemed a bit like the way you feel when you're in high school and your parents go on a trip, and you throw a party. You get all your friends over and throw this wild disgusting fabulous party. For a while it's great, free and freeing, parental authority gone and overthrown, a cat's-away-let's-play Dionysian revel. But then time passes and the party gets louder and louder, and you run out of drugs, and nobody's got any money for more drugs, and things get broken and spilled, and there's cigarette burn on the couch, and you're the host and it's your house too, and you gradually start wishing your parents would come back and restore some fucking order in your house. It's not a perfect analogy, but the sense I get of my generation of writers and intellectuals or whatever is that it's 3:00 A.M. and the couch has several burn-holes and somebody's thrown up in the umbrella stand and we're wishing the revel would end. The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We're kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of course we're uneasy about the fact that we wish they'd come back--I mean, what's wrong with us? Are we total pussies? Is there something about authority and limits we actually need? And then the uneasiest feeling of all, as we start gradually to realize that parents in fact aren't ever coming back--which means we're going to have to be the parents.
David Foster Wallace
Amanda: This weekend was wonderful, but it isn't real life. It was more like a honeymoon, and after a while the excitement will wear off. We can tell ourselves it won't happen, we can make all the promises we want, but it's inevitable, and after that you'll never look at me the way you do now. I won't be the woman you dream about, or the girl you used to love. And you won't be my long-lost love, my one true thing anymore, either. You'll be someone my kids despise because you ruined the family, and you'll see me for who I really am. In a few years, I'll simply be a woman pushing fifty with three kids who might or might not hate her, and who might end up hating herself because of all this. And in the end, you'll end up hating her, too. Dawson: That's not true. Amanda: But it is. Honeymoons always come to an end. Dawson: Being together isn't about a honeymoon. It's about the real you and me. I want to wake up with you beside me in the mornings, I want to spend my evenings looking at you across the dinner table. I want to share every mundane detail of my day with you and hear every detail of yours. I want to laugh with you and fall asleep with you in my arms. Because you aren't just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can't imagine giving that up again. You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same. I know you're afraid, and I'm afraid, too. But if we let this go, if we pretend none of this ever happened, then I'm not sure we'll ever get another chance. We're still young. We still have time to make this right. Amanda: We're not that young anymore- Dawson: But we are. We still have the rest of our lives. Amanda: I know. That's why I need you to do something for me. Dawson: Anything. Amanda: Please...don't ask me to go with you, because if you do, I'll go. Please don't ask me to tell Frank about us, because I'll do that, too. Please don't ask me to give up my responsibilities or break up my family. I love you, and if you love me, too, then you just can't ask me to do these things. Because I don't trust myself enough to say no.
Nicholas Sparks (The Best of Me)
Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And who of Huitzilopochtli? In one year - and it is no more than five hundred years ago - 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest. Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried out with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Richmond P. Hobson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey. Speaking of Huitzilopochtli recalls his brother Tezcatlipoca. Tezcatlipoca was almost as powerful; he consumed 25,000 virgins a year. Lead me to his tomb: I would weep, and hang a couronne des perles. But who knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quetzalcoatl is? Or Xiuhtecuhtli? Or Centeotl, that sweet one? Or Tlazolteotl, the goddess of love? Of Mictlan? Or Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimitl? Where are their bones? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what forlorn and unheard-of Hell do they await their resurrection morn? Who enjoys their residuary estates? Or that of Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Of that of Tarves, the bull? Or that of Moccos, the pig? Or that of Epona, the mare? Or that of Mullo, the celestial jackass? There was a time when the Irish revered all these gods, but today even the drunkest Irishman laughs at them. But they have company in oblivion: the Hell of dead gods is as crowded as the Presbyterian Hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and Drunemeton, and Silvana, and Dervones, and Adsullata, and Deva, and Bellisima, and Uxellimus, and Borvo, and Grannos, and Mogons. All mighty gods in their day, worshipped by millions, full of demands and impositions, able to bind and loose - all gods of the first class. Men labored for generations to build vast temples to them - temples with stones as large as hay-wagons. The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests, bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake. Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels; villages were burned, women and children butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them reverence. What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile Valley? What has become of: Resheph Anath Ashtoreth El Nergal Nebo Ninib Melek Ahijah Isis Ptah Anubis Baal Astarte Hadad Addu Shalem Dagon Sharaab Yau Amon-Re Osiris Sebek Molech? All there were gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Yahweh Himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet they have all gone down the chute, and with them the following: Bilé Ler Arianrhod Morrigu Govannon Gunfled Sokk-mimi Nemetona Dagda Robigus Pluto Ops Meditrina Vesta You may think I spoof. That I invent the names. I do not. Ask the rector to lend you any good treatise on comparative religion: You will find them all listed. They were gods of the highest standing and dignity-gods of civilized peoples-worshiped and believed in by millions. All were omnipotent, omniscient and immortal. And all are dead.
H.L. Mencken (A Mencken Chrestomathy)
When Hades decided he loved this girl he built for her a duplicate of earth, everything the same, down to the meadow, but with a bed added. Everything the same, including sunlight, because it would be hard on a young girl to go so quickly from bright light to utter darkness Gradually, he thought, he’d introduce the night, first as the shadows of fluttering leaves. Then moon, then stars. Then no moon, no stars. Let Persephone get used to it slowly. In the end, he thought, she’d find it comforting. A replica of earth except there was love here. Doesn’t everyone want love? He waited many years, building a world, watching Persephone in the meadow. Persephone, a smeller, a taster. If you have one appetite, he thought, you have them all. Doesn’t everyone want to feel in the night the beloved body, compass, polestar, to hear the quiet breathing that says I am alive, that means also you are alive, because you hear me, you are here with me. And when one turns, the other turns— That’s what he felt, the lord of darkness, looking at the world he had constructed for Persephone. It never crossed his mind that there’d be no more smelling here, certainly no more eating. Guilt? Terror? The fear of love? These things he couldn’t imagine; no lover ever imagines them. He dreams, he wonders what to call this place. First he thinks: The New Hell. Then: The Garden. In the end, he decides to name it Persephone’s Girlhood. A soft light rising above the level meadow, behind the bed. He takes her in his arms. He wants to say I love you, nothing can hurt you but he thinks this is a lie, so he says in the end you’re dead, nothing can hurt you which seems to him a more promising beginning, more true.
Louise Glück
Where are you going, Master?' cried Sam, though at last he understood what was happening. 'To the Havens, Sam,' said Frodo. 'And I can't come.' 'No, Sam. Not yet, anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a Ring-bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do.' 'But,' said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, 'I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done.' 'So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I had and might have had I leave to you. And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodo-lad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more that I cannot see. Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere. You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger, and so love their beloved land all the more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part in the Story goes on. 'Come now, ride with me!
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this, at a distance of roughly ninety million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet, whose ape descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. This planet has, or had, a problem, which was this. Most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small, green pieces of paper, which is odd, because on the whole, it wasn't the small, green pieces of paper which were unhappy. And so the problem remained, and lots of the people were mean, and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. Many were increasingly of the opinion that they'd all made a big mistake coming down from the trees in the first place, and some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no-one should ever have left the oceans. And then one day, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl, sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realised what it was that had been going wrong all this time and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no-one would have to get nalied to anything. Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone to tell anyone, the Earth was unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and so the idea was lost forever.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
my final piece We’re born into the world As just one small piece to the puzzle That makes up an entire life. It’s up to us throughout our years, to find all of our pieces that fit. The pieces that connect who we are To who we were To who we’ll one day be. Sometimes pieces will almost fit. They’ll feel right. We’ll carry them around for a while, Hoping they’ll change shape. Hoping they’ll conform to our puzzle. But they won’t. We’ll eventually have to let them go. To find the puzzle that is their home. Sometimes pieces won’t fit at all. No matter how much we want them to. We’ll shove them. We’ll bend them. We’ll break them. But what isn’t meant to be, won’t be. Those are the hardest pieces of all to accept. The pieces of our puzzle That just don’t belong. But occasionally . . . Not very often at all, If we’re lucky, If we pay enough attention, We’ll find a perfect match. The pieces of the puzzle that slide right in The pieces that hug the contours of our own pieces. The pieces that lock to us. The pieces that we lock to. The pieces that fit so well, we can’t tell where our piece begins And that piece ends. Those pieces we call Friends. True loves. Dreams. Passions. Beliefs. Talents. They’re all the pieces that complete our puzzles. They line the edges, Frame the corners, Fill the centers, Those pieces are the pieces that make us who we are. Who we were. Who we’ll one day be. Up until today, When I looked at my own puzzle, I would see a finished piece. I had the edges lined, The corners framed, The center filled. It felt like it was complete. All the pieces were there. I had everything I wanted. Everything I needed. Everything I dreamt of. But up until today, I realized I had collected all but one piece. The most vital piece. The piece that completes the picture. The piece that completes my whole life. I held this girl in my arms She wrapped her tiny fingers around mine. It was then that I realized She was the fusion. The glue. The cement that bound all my pieces together. The piece that seals my puzzle. The piece that completes my life. The element that makes me who I am. Who I was. Who I’ll one day be. You, baby girl. You’re my final piece.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
And do you know what “the world” is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by “nothingness” as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a space that might be “empty” here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms striving toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self- creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my “beyond good and evil,” without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself— do you want a name for this world? A solution for all of its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?— This world is the will to power—and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power—and nothing besides!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day! KING. What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin; If we are mark'd to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour As one man more methinks would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call'd the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.' Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words- Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester- Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
Paine suffered then, as now he suffers not so much because of what he wrote as from the misinterpretations of others... He disbelieved the ancient myths and miracles taught by established creeds. But the attacks on those creeds - or on persons devoted to them - have served to darken his memory, casting a shadow across the closing years of his life. When Theodore Roosevelt termed Tom Paine a 'dirty little atheist' he surely spoke from lack of understanding. It was a stricture, an inaccurate charge of the sort that has dimmed the greatness of this eminent American. But the true measure of his stature will yet be appreciated. The torch which he handed on will not be extinguished. If Paine had ceased his writings with 'The Rights of Man' he would have been hailed today as one of the two or three outstanding figures of the Revolution. But 'The Age of Reason' cost him glory at the hands of his countrymen - a greater loss to them than to Tom Paine. I was always interested in Paine the inventor. He conceived and designed the iron bridge and the hollow candle; the principle of the modern central draught burner. The man had a sort of universal genius. He was interested in a diversity of things; but his special creed, his first thought, was liberty. Traducers have said that he spent his last days drinking in pothouses. They have pictured him as a wicked old man coming to a sorry end. But I am persuaded that Paine must have looked with magnanimity and sorrow on the attacks of his countrymen. That those attacks have continued down to our day, with scarcely any abatement, is an indication of how strong prejudice, when once aroused, may become. It has been a custom in some quarters to hold up Paine as an example of everything bad. The memory of Tom Paine will outlive all this. No man who helped to lay the foundations of our liberty - who stepped forth as the champion of so difficult a cause - can be permanently obscured by such attacks. Tom Paine should be read by his countrymen. I commend his fame to their hands. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
Is that all?” he blurted out. Crowley and Halt exchanged slightly puzzled glances. Then Crowley pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Um…it seems to be…Listed your trainging, mentioned a few achievements, made sure you know which end of an arrow is the sharp part…decided your new name…I think that’s…” Then it seemed that understanding dawned on him and his eyes opened wide. “Of course! You have to have you Silver…whatsis, don ‘t you?” He took hold of the chain that held his own Silver Oakleaf around his throat and shook it lightly. It was a badge of a Graduate Ranger. Then he began to search through his pockets, frowning. “Had it here! Had it here! Where the devil is it…wait. I heard something fall on the boards as I came in! Must have dropped it. Just check outside the front door, will you, Will?” Too stunned to talk, Will rose and went to the door. As he set his hand on the latch, he looked back at the two Rangers, still seated at the table. Crowley made a small shooing motion with the back of his hand, urging him to go outside. Will was still looking back at them when he opened the door and stepped through on the verandah. “Congratulations!” The massive cry went up from at least forty throats. He swung around in shock to find all his friends gathered in the clearing outside around the table laid for a feast, their faces beaming with smiles. Baron Arald, Sir Rodney, Lady Pauline and Master Chubb were all there. So were Jenny and George, his former wardmates. There were a dozen others in the Ranger uniform – men he had met worked with over the past five years. And wonder of wonders, there were Erak and Svengal , bellowing his name and waving their huge axes overhead in his praise. Close by them stood Horace and Gilan, both brandishing their swords overhead as well. It looked like a dangerous section of the crowd to be in, Will thought. After the first concerted shout, people began cheering and calling his name, laughing and waving to him. Halt and Crowley joined him on the verandah. The Commandant was doubled over with laughter. “Oh, if you could have seen yourself!” he wheezed. “Your face! Your face! It was priceless! ‘Is that all?’” He mimicked Will’s plaintive tones and doubled over again. Will tuned to Halt accusingly. His teacher grinned at him. “Your face was a study,” he said. “Do you so that to all apprentices?” Will asked. Halt nodded vigorously. “Every one. Stops them getting a swelled head at the last minute. You have to swear never to let an apprentice in on the secret.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad. But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important. And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.” Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool. We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified.
John Piper
But there’s a reason. There’s a reason. There’s a reason for this, there’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never gonna get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the real owners, the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying, to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don’t want: They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. Thats against their interests. Thats right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table to figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don’t want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you, sooner or later, 'cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club. And by the way, it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media telling you what to believe, what to think and what to buy. The table is tilted folks. The game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people -- white collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on -- good honest hard-working people continue -- these are people of modest means -- continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about you. They don't care about you at all -- at all -- at all. And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on; the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes everyday. Because the owners of this country know the truth: it's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.
George Carlin
Not long ago, I advertised for perverse rules of grammar, along the lines of "Remember to never split an infinitive" and "The passive voice should never be used." The notion of making a mistake while laying down rules ("Thimk," "We Never Make Misteaks") is highly unoriginal, and it turns out that English teachers have been circulating lists of fumblerules for years. As owner of the world's largest collection, and with thanks to scores of readers, let me pass along a bunch of these never-say-neverisms: * Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read. * Don't use no double negatives. * Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't. * Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed. * Do not put statements in the negative form. * Verbs has to agree with their subjects. * No sentence fragments. * Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. * Avoid commas, that are not necessary. * If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. * A writer must not shift your point of view. * Eschew dialect, irregardless. * And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. * Don't overuse exclamation marks!!! * Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents. * Writers should always hyphenate between syllables and avoid un-necessary hyph-ens. * Write all adverbial forms correct. * Don't use contractions in formal writing. * Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided. * It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms. * If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is. * Steer clear of incorrect forms of verbs that have snuck in the language. * Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors. * Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. * Never, ever use repetitive redundancies. * Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing. * If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times, resist hyperbole. * Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration. * Don't string too many prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. * Always pick on the correct idiom. * "Avoid overuse of 'quotation "marks."'" * The adverb always follows the verb. * Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives." (New York Times, November 4, 1979; later also published in book form)
William Safire (Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage)
The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care. I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.' I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research. Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be. Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit. So, I believed.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
What about me?’ said Grantaire. ‘I’m here.’ ‘You?’ ‘Yes, me.’ ‘You? Rally Republicans! You? In defence of principles, fire up hearts that have grown cold!’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Are you capable of being good for something?’ ‘I have the vague ambition to be,’ said Grantaire. ‘You don’t believe in anything.’ ‘I believe in you.’ ‘Grantaire, will you do me a favour?’ ‘Anything. Polish your boots.’ ‘Well, don’t meddle in our affairs. Go and sleep off the effects of your absinthe.’ ‘You’re heartless, Enjolras.’ ‘As if you’d be the man to send to the Maine gate! As if you were capable of it!’ ‘I’m capable of going down Rue des Grès, crossing Place St-Michel, heading off along Rue Monsieur-le-Prince, taking Rue de Vaugirard, passing the Carmelite convent, turning into Rue d’Assas, proceeding to Rue du Cherche-Midi, leaving the Military Court behind me, wending my way along Rue des Vieilles-Tuileries, striding across the boulevard, following Chaussée du Maine, walking through the toll-gate and going into Richefeu’s. I’m capable of that. My shoes are capable of that.’ ‘Do you know them at all, those comrades who meet at Richefeu’s?' ‘Not very well. But we’re on friendly terms.’ ‘What will you say to them?’ ‘I’ll talk to them about Robespierre, of course! And about Danton. About principles.’ ‘You?’ ‘Yes, me. But I’m not being given the credit I deserve. When I put my mind to it, I’m terrific. I’ve read Prudhomme, I’m familiar with the Social Contract, I know by heart my constitution of the year II. “The liberty of the citizen ends where the liberty of another citizen begins.” Do you take me for a brute beast? I have in my drawer an old promissory note from the time of the Revolution. The rights of man, the sovereignty of the people, for God’s sake! I’m even a bit of an Hébertist. I can keep coming out with some wonderful things, watch in hand, for a whole six hours by the clock.’ ‘Be serious,’ said Enjolras. ‘I mean it,’ replied Grantaire. Enjolras thought for a few moments, and with the gesture of a man who had come to a decision, ‘Grantaire,’ he said gravely, ‘I agree to try you out. You’ll go to the Maine toll-gate.’ Grantaire lived in furnished lodgings very close to Café Musain. He went out, and came back five minutes later. He had gone home to put on a Robespierre-style waistcoat. ‘Red,’ he said as he came in, gazing intently at Enjolras. Then, with an energetic pat of his hand, he pressed the two scarlet lapels of the waistcoat to his chest. And stepping close to Enjolras he said in his ear, ‘Don’t worry.’ He resolutely jammed on his hat, and off he went.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
Thank you, Mr. Secretary General, UNICEF Executive Director, Excellencies and distinguished guests from across the world. My name is Kim Nam Jun, also known as RM, the leader of the group BTS. It’s an incredible honour to be invited to an occasion with such significance for today’s young generation. Last November, BTS launched the “Love Myself” campaign with UNICEF, building on our belief that “true love first begins with loving myself.” We have been partnering with UNICEF’s #ENDviolence program to protect children and young people all over the world from violence. Our fans have become a major part of this campaign with their action and enthusiasm. We truly have the best fans in the world! I would like to begin by talking about myself. I was born in Ilsan, a city near Seoul, South Korea. It’s a beautiful place, with a lake, hills, and even an annual flower festival. I spent a happy childhood there, and I was just an ordinary boy. I would look up at the night sky in wonder and dream the dreams of a boy. I used to imagine that I was a superhero, saving the world. In an intro to one of our early albums, there is a line that says, “My heart stopped…I was maybe nine or ten.” Looking back, that’s when I began to worry about what other people thought of me and started seeing myself through their eyes. I stopped looking up at the stars at night. I stopped daydreaming. I tried to jam myself into moulds that other people made. Soon, I began to shut out my own voice and started to listen to the voices of others. No one called out my name, and neither did I. My heart stopped and my eyes closed shut. So, like this, I, we, all lost our names. We became like ghosts. I had one sanctuary, and that was music. There was a small voice in me that said, ‘Wake up, man, and listen to yourself!” But it took me a long time to hear music calling my name. Even after making the decision to join BTS, there were hurdles. Most people thought we were hopeless. Sometimes, I just wanted to quit. I think I was very lucky that I didn’t give it all up. I’m sure that I, and we, will keep stumbling and falling. We have become artists performing in huge stadiums and selling millions of albums. But I am still an ordinary, twenty-four-year-old guy. If there’s anything that I’ve achieved, it was only possible because I had my other BTS members by my side, and because of the love and support of our ARMY fans. Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become. I would like to say one last thing. After releasing the “Love Yourself” albums and launching the “Love Myself” campaign, we started to hear remarkable stories from our fans all over the world, how our message helped them overcome their hardships in life and start loving themselves. These stories constantly remind us of our responsibility. So, let’s all take one more step. We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to "speak yourself". I would like to ask all of you. What is your name? What excites you and makes your heart beat? Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction. No matter who you are, where you’re from, your skin colour, gender identity: speak yourself. Find your name, find your voice by speaking yourself. I’m Kim Nam Jun, RM of BTS. I’m a hip-hop idol and an artist from a small town in Korea. Like most people, I made many mistakes in my life. I have many faults and I have many fears, but I am going to embrace myself as hard as I can, and I’m starting to love myself, little by little. What is your name? Speak Yourself!
Kim Namjoon
Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me. What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
History is ending because the dominator culture has led the human species into a blind alley, and as the inevitable chaostrophie approaches, people look for metaphors and answers. Every time a culture gets into trouble it casts itself back into the past looking for the last sane moment it ever knew. And the last sane moment we ever knew was on the plains of Africa 15,000 years ago rocked in the cradle of the Great Horned Mushroom Goddess before history, before standing armies, before slavery and property, before warfare and phonetic alphabets and monotheism, before, before, before. And this is where the future is taking us because the secret faith of the twentieth century is not modernism, the secret faith of the twentieth century is nostalgia for the archaic, nostalgia for the paleolithic, and that gives us body piercing, abstract expressionism, surrealism, jazz, rock-n-roll and catastrophe theory. The 20th century mind is nostalgic for the paradise that once existed on the mushroom dotted plains of Africa where the plant-human symbiosis occurred that pulled us out of the animal body and into the tool-using, culture-making, imagination-exploring creature that we are. And why does this matter? It matters because it shows that the way out is back and that the future is a forward escape into the past. This is what the psychedelic experience means. Its a doorway out of history and into the wiring under the board in eternity. And I tell you this because if the community understands what it is that holds it together the community will be better able to streamline itself for flight into hyperspace because what we need is a new myth, what we need is a new true story that tells us where we're going in the universe and that true story is that the ego is a product of pathology, and when psilocybin is regularly part of the human experience the ego is supressed and the supression of the ego means the defeat of the dominators, the materialists, the product peddlers. Psychedelics return us to the inner worth of the self, to the importance of the feeling of immediate experience - and nobody can sell that to you and nobody can buy it from you, so the dominator culture is not interested in the felt presence of immediate experience, but that's what holds the community together. And as we break out of the silly myths of science, and the infantile obsessions of the marketplace what we discover through the psychedelic experience is that in the body, IN THE BODY, there are Niagaras of beauty, alien beauty, alien dimensions that are part of the self, the richest part of life. I think of going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience like going to the grave without ever having sex. It means that you never figured out what it is all about. The mystery is in the body and the way the body works itself into nature. What the Archaic Revival means is shamanism, ecstacy, orgiastic sexuality, and the defeat of the three enemies of the people. And the three enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy and monotony! And if you get them on the run you have the dominators sweating folks, because that means your getting it all reconnected, and getting it all reconnected means putting aside the idea of separateness and self-definition through thing-fetish. Getting it all connected means tapping into the Gaian mind, and the Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. Its an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet. And without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies. But with that experience the compass of the self can be set, and that's the idea; figuring out how to reset the compass of the self through community, through ecstatic dance, through psychedelics, sexuality, intelligence, INTELLIGENCE. This is what we have to have to make the forward escape into hyperspace.
Terence McKenna