Aging Beautifully Quotes

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The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,but true beauty in a Woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.
Audrey Hepburn
Women who love themselves are threatening; but men who love real women, more so.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Never did the world make a queen of a girl who hides in houses and dreams without traveling.
Roman Payne (The Wanderess)
And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!
Audrey Hepburn
When You Are Old" WHEN you are old and grey and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true, But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face; And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
W.B. Yeats
We all have souls of different ages
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Beauty provokes harassment, the law says, but it looks through men's eyes when deciding what provokes it.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Beauty is not who you are on the outside, it is the wisdom and time you gave away to save another struggling soul like you.
Shannon L. Alder
How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true; But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
The heads of strong old age are beautiful / Beyond all grace of youth
Robinson Jeffers
Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.
Anthon St. Maarten (Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny)
There is strange comfort in knowing that no matter what happens today, the Sun will rise again tomorrow.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
Dear parents, Jasmine was in a relationship with a dirty homeless boy named Aladdin. Snow White lived alone with 7 men. Pinnochio was a liar. Robin Hood was a thief. Tarzan walked around without clothes on. A stranger kissed sleeping beauty and she married him. Cinderella lied and snuck out at night to attend a party. You can't blame us. We were taught to rebel since a young age.
Walt Disney Company
Your face is marked with lines of life, put there by love and laughter, suffering and tears. It's beautiful.
Lynsay Sands
Besides, it happens fast for some people and slow for some, accidents or gravity, but we all end up mutilated. Most women know this feeling of being more and more invisible everyday.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
I was tired of seeing the Graces always depicted as beautiful young things. I think wisdom comes with age and life and pain. And knowing what matters.
Louise Penny (A Fatal Grace (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #2))
The struggles we endure today will be the ‘good old days’ we laugh about tomorrow.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any mind. I never stopped to think of it as something that would make a lasting impression, certainly never imagined that eighteen years later I would recall it in such detail. I didn't give a damn about the scenery that day. I was thinking about myself. I was thinking about the beautiful girl walking next to me. I was thinking about the two of us together, and then about myself again. It was the age, that time of life when every sight, every feeling, every thought came back, like a boomerang, to me. And worse, I was in love. Love with complications. The scenery was the last thing on my mind.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
The beauty myth is always actually prescribing behaviour and not appearance.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Nothing captures the biological argument better than the famous New Age slogan: ‘Happiness begins within.’ Money, social status, plastic surgery, beautiful houses, powerful positions – none of these will bring you happiness. Lasting happiness comes only from serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The Victorian woman became her ovaries, as today's woman has become her "beauty.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
She is one of those ladies who is more beautiful at sixty than she could possibly have been at twenty. (how I hope someone says that about me someday)!
Mary Ann Shaffer
Love is the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is not found only at the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arched across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, and neighbors! Love, like faith, is a gift of God. It is also the most enduring and most powerful virtue.
Gordon B. Hinckley (Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes)
I thought of you and how you love this beauty, And walking up the long beach all alone I heard the waves breaking in measured thunder As you and I once heard their monotone. Around me were the echoing dunes, beyond me The cold and sparkling silver of the sea -- We two will pass through death and ages lengthen Before you hear that sound again with me.
Sara Teasdale
To tell a woman who is forty, "You look like sixteen," is boloney. The blarney way of saying it is "Tell me how old you are, I should like to know at what age women are the most beautiful.
Fulton J. Sheen
You must find a boy your own age. Someone mild and beautiful to be your lover. Someone who will tremble for your touch, offer you a marguerite by its long stem with his eyes lowered. Someone whose fingers are a poem.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
If you can see yourself as an artist, and you can see that your life is your own creation, then why not create the most beautiful story for yourself?
Miguel Ruiz
They had nothing to say to each other. A five-year age gap between siblings is like a garden that needs constant attention. Even three months apart allows the weeds to grow up between you.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.
Brandon Mull (Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1))
Men are visually aroused by women's bodies and less sensitive to their arousal by women's personalities because they are trained early into that response, while women are less visually aroused and more emotionally aroused because that is their training. This asymmetry in sexual education maintains men's power in the myth: They look at women's bodies, evaluate, move on; their own bodies are not looked at, evaluated, and taken or passed over. But there is no "rock called gender" responsible for that; it can change so that real mutuality--an equal gaze, equal vulnerability, equal desire--brings heterosexual men and women together.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
It's not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: "This is what you should wear at age twenty", "That is what you must act like at age twenty-five", "This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen." But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It's always wonderful to be elegant, it's always fashionable to have grace, it's always glamorous to be brave, and it's always important to own a delectable perfume! Yes, wearing a beautiful fragrance is in style at any age!
C. JoyBell C.
We should have taken our chances back then, when we were young and beautiful and didn't even know it.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga, #13))
Why are we worn out? Why do we, who start out so passionate, brave, noble, believing, become totally bankrupt by the age of thirty or thirty-five? Why is it that one is extinguished by consumption, another puts a bullet in his head, a third seeks oblivion in vodka, cards, a fourth, in order to stifle fear and anguish, cynically tramples underfoot the portrait of his pure, beautiful youth? Why is it that, once fallen, we do not try to rise, and, having lost one thing, we do not seek another? Why?
Anton Chekhov (The Complete Short Novels)
We make love every single day — no matter what. She is the only woman I’ve seen that gets more beautiful with age. She is the only woman I see.
Tarryn Fisher (Thief (Love Me with Lies, #3))
Life's trials will test you, and shape you, but don’t let them change who you are.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen, ‘100 Days Drive
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
It's in those quiet little towns, at the edge of the world, that you will find the salt of the earth people who make you feel right at home.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Cosmetic surgery processes the bodies of woman-made women, who make up the vast majority of its patient pool, into man-made women.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
As we grow old...the beauty steals inward.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
True friends don't come with conditions.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness, not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men's souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! Don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men - machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers! Don't fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfill that promise. Let us fight to free the world! To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Charlie Chaplin
Real love ought to be more like a tree and less like a flower. That's the kind of love my parents had. Not so consuming and more everlasting. And you see that tree over there? Now it's only showing green leaves, but during the spring it's covered in flowers. Because as reliable as trees are, they can also speak of beauty and passion.
Mya Robarts (The V Girl: a Coming of Age Story)
Beauty can be wearing out easily, like glitzy pants, slowly waning through the tiredness of age, the fickleness of neglect, the boredom of habit, or the revenge of poor treatment. ("Absence of beauty was like hell")
Erik Pevernagie
From this point forward, you don’t even know how to quit in life.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen, ‘100 Days Drive
Aaron Lauritsen
What are other women really thinking, feeling, experiencing, when they slip away from the gaze and culture of men?
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
I wonder what the retirement age is in the novel business. The day you die.
Yasunari Kawabata (Beauty and Sadness)
I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic, and a progressive religious experience.
Shelley Winters
A consequence of female self-love is that the woman grows convinced of social worth. Her love for her body will be unqualified, which is the basis of female identification. If a woman loves her own body, she doesn't grudge what other women do with theirs; if she loves femaleness, she champions its rights. It's true what they say about women: Women are insatiable. We are greedy. Our appetites do need to be controlled if things are to stay in place. If the world were ours too, if we believed we could get away with it, we would ask for more love, more sex, more money, more commitment to children, more food, more care. These sexual, emotional, and physical demands would begin to extend to social demands: payment for care of the elderly, parental leave, childcare, etc. The force of female desire would be so great that society would truly have to reckon with what women want, in bed and in the world.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
What editors are obliged to appear to say that men want from women is actually what their advertisers want from women.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
I've enjoyed every age I've been, and each has had its own individual merit. Every laugh line, every scar, is a badge I wear to show I've been present, the inner rings of my personal tree trunk that I display proudly for all to see. Nowadays, I don't want a "perfect" face and body; I want to wear the life I've lived.
Pat Benatar (Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir)
Lines don’t make beautiful women less beautiful
Isabel Wolff (A Vintage Affair)
Those who achieve the extraordinary are usually the most ordinary because they have nothing to prove to anybody. Be Humble.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
He's always going to be old. He has to be. That's the only way I can stay young and dripping with beauty.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
I am a frayed and nibbled survivor in a fallen world, and I am getting along. I am aging and eaten and have done my share of eating too. I am not washed and beautiful, in control of a shining world in which everything fits, but instead am wondering awed about on a splintered wreck I've come to care for, whose gnawed trees breathe a delicate air, whose bloodied and scarred creatures are my dearest companions, and whose beauty bats and shines not in its imperfections but overwhelmingly in spite of them...
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
When I was your age...I wish I'd known that I already had everything I needed within myself to be happy, instead of looking for happiness at beauty counters.
Ilene Beckerman
The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.
Howard Zinn (A Power Governments Cannot Suppress)
Youthfulness is not determined by age. It is determined by one's life force. One who possesses hope is forever young. One who continually advances is forever beautiful.
Daisaku Ikeda
You know, Annie, a long time ago an old man told me beauty doesn't mean much in a woman. It disappears with age. But he said some women have something better. They have a special glow that lasts all their life and just gets richer. You're like that. You really shine.
Ellen O'Connell (Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold)
Even beauty, in abundance, turns creepy.
Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles)
She was at that crucial age when a women begins to regret having stayed faithful to a husband she never really loved, when the glowing sunset colors of her beauty offer her one last, urgent choice between maternal and feminine love. At such a moment a life that seemed to have chosen its course long ago is questioned once again, for the last time the magic compass needle of the will hovers between final resignation and the hope of erotic experience.
Stefan Zweig (The Burning Secret and other stories)
...it is so silly of people to fancy that old age means crookedness and witheredness and feebleness and sticks and spectacles and rheumatism and forgetfulness! It is so silly! Old age has nothing whatever to do with all that. The right old age means strength and beauty and mirth and courage and clear eyes and strong painless limbs.
George MacDonald (The Princess and the Goblin)
Health makes good propaganda.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
It doesn't matter if you're 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100. Embrace your sexy-ass self and express it!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
I also felt that Ron and Hermione would have gotten divorced. I'm sorry, I just do. The end of Harry Potter did feel ultimately to me...just the fact everybody had married everybody. The books were so real and so grounded in what things are really like when you're that age, she nailed that so beautifully. And then there was this slightly fantastical ending. I know that was there for her to say, 'Really, I mean it, no more books,' but you do sort of go, people who were in a war are different from people who haven't been, and how does it affect them? But am I going to second-guess my favorite writer? I think not.
Joss Whedon
Tous mes anciens amours vont me revenir.' - All my old loves will be returned to me
Carolyn Turgeon (Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story)
I covet truth; beauty is unripe childhood's cheat; I leave it behind with the games of youth.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Emerson's Prose and Poetry)
This is what a woman is: unadorned, after children and work and age, and experience-these are the marks of living.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
age has its own glory, beauty, and wisdom that belong to it.
Joseph Murphy (The Power of Your Subconscious Mind)
Why should I blame her that she filled my days With misery, or that she would of late Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways, Or hurled the little streets upon the great, Had they but courage equal to desire? What could have made her peaceful with a mind That nobleness made simple as a fire, With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind That is not natural in an age like this Being high and solitary and most stern? Why, what could she have done, being what she is? Was there another Troy for her to burn?
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
But thy strong Hours indignant work’d their wills, And beat me down and marr’d and wasted me, And tho’ they could not end me, left me maim’d To dwell in presence of immortal youth, Immortal age beside immortal youth, And all I was, in ashes. - Tithonus
Alfred Tennyson
You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
What kind of woman is still able to trust people after everything she's been through? If she'd been Vin, she would have stabbed him in the back at the first opportunity, and that would have probably been the right thing to do. Yet, this girl just continued to trust. It was like finding a beautiful plant growing alone in a field of burnt ash.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
Most girls prefer flowers over trees.' I brush my fingers on the petals." These orange flowers blossom quickly. They speak of passion. Of beauty." I take a witheting flower that had dropped to the ground and worry it between my fingers. "But they don't last; they wither so easily. Flowers have limited growth. A tree might not speak of passion but sturdiness. Yet it grows higher and lasts more. Some of these trees have been here before I was born and they'll be here once I'm gone.
Mya Robarts (The V Girl: a Coming of Age Story)
I don't like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not 'hike!' Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It's a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, 'A la sainte terre', 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them.
John Muir
Today a woman must ignore her reflection in the eyes of her lover, since he might admire her, and seek it in the gaze of the God of Beauty, in whose perception she is never complete.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Whatever is deeply, essentially female--the life in a woman's expression, the feel of her flesh, the shape of her breasts, the transformations after childbirth of her skin--is being reclassified as ugly, and ugliness as disease. These qualities are about an intensification of female power, which explains why they are being recast as a diminution of power. At least a third of a woman's life is marked with aging; about a third of her body is made of fat. Both symbols are being transformed into operable condition--so that women will only feel healthy if we are two thirds of the women we could be. How can an "ideal" be about women if it is defined as how much of a female sexual characteristic does not exist on the woman's body, and how much of a female life does not show on her face?
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
A man is unlikely to be brought within earshot of women as they judge men's appearance, height, muscle tone, sexual technique, penis size, personal grooming, or taste in clothes--all of which we do. The fact is that women are able to view men just as men view women, as objects for sexual and aesthetic evaluation; we too are effortlessly able to choose the male "ideal" from a lineup and if we could have male beauty as well as everything else, most of us would not say no. But so what? Given all that, women make the choice, by and large, to take men as human beings first.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Ladies first" Mina Hesitated. "Uh, age before beauty." "Grimms never win." "Prince before pauper." "Oh, fine. Just don't say chivalry is dead. 'Cause you had your chance.
Chanda Hahn (Fable (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #3))
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, it beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap... Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
[The Old Astronomer to His Pupil] Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet, When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet; He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how We are working to completion, working on from then to now. Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete, Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet, And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true, And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you. But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn, You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn, What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles; What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles. You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late, But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate. Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight; You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night. I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known. You 'have none but me,' you murmur, and I 'leave you quite alone'? Well then, kiss me, -- since my mother left her blessing on my brow, There has been a something wanting in my nature until now; I can dimly comprehend it, -- that I might have been more kind, Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind. I 'have never failed in kindness'? No, we lived too high for strife,-- Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life; But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still To the service of our science: you will further it? you will! There are certain calculations I should like to make with you, To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true; And remember, 'Patience, Patience,' is the watchword of a sage, Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age. I have sown, like Tycho Brahe, that a greater man may reap; But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleep So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name; See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame. I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak; Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak: It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,-- God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.
Sarah Williams (Twilight Hours: A Legacy of Verse)
The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold. Or, if your ad revenue or your seven-figure salary or your privileged sexual status depend on it, it is an operable condition.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
And still the brain continues to yearn, continues to burn, foolishly, with desire. My old man's brain is mocked by a body that still longs to stretch in the sun and form a beautiful shape in someone else's gaze, to lie under a blue sky and dream of helpless, selfless love, to behold itself, illuminated, in the golden light of another's eyes.
Meg Rosoff (What I Was)
Don't be afraid. Change is such a beautiful thing", said the Butterfly.
Sabrina Newby
Poets are not so scrupulous as you are. They know how useful passion is for publication. Nowadays a broken heart will run to many editions." "I hate them for it," cried Hallward. "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them. We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty. Some day I will show the world what is it; and for that the world shall never see my portrait of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Beirut is the Elizabeth Taylor of cities: insane, beautiful, falling apart, aging, and forever drama laden.She'll also marry any infatuated suitor who promises to make her life more comfortable, no matter how inappropriate he is.
Rabih Alameddine (An Unnecessary Woman)
ONCE UPON A time, there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. He loved each of them dearly. One day, when the young ladies were of age to be married, a terrible, three-headed dragon laid siege to the kingdom, burning villages with fiery breath. It spoiled crops and burned churches. It killed babies, old people, and everyone in between. The king promised a princess’s hand in marriage to whoever slayed the dragon. Heroes and warriors came in suits of armor, riding brave horses and bearing swords and arrows. One by one, these men were slaughtered and eaten. Finally the king reasoned that a maiden might melt the dragon’s heart and succeed where warriors had failed. He sent his eldest daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, but the dragon listened to not a word of her pleas. It swallowed her whole. Then the king sent his second daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, but the dragon did the same. Swallowed her before she could get a word out. The king then sent his youngest daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, and she was so lovely and clever that he was sure she would succeed where the others had perished. No indeed. The dragon simply ate her. The king was left aching with regret. He was now alone in the world. Now, let me ask you this. Who killed the girls? The dragon? Or their father?
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. . . . Children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. . . . The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have—to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return.
Charles Alexander Eastman
What ever happened to creativity? What ever happened to the passion? What ever happened to speaking ones mind? I'll tell you what happened. The kids aged, but never grew up. A baby can whine if it does not like something because it doesn't know better. What's your excuse? Stop getting offended whenever the wind blows your hair the wrong way! We will get nowhere if we continue to avoid truths to avoid offense. Speak your mind and do not be afraid of stepping on toes. The truth can be ugly, and that's what makes it so beautiful. Speak your mind, but don't take this as a chance to lose respect either. Always keep respect. If someone then still claims to be offended, it is not because of you, nor is it your fault. They simply don't like the taste of the bittersweet truth.
Caitlyn Paige
[G]rowing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is. (267-268)
Victoria Moran (Younger by the Day: 365 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body and Revitalize Your Spirit)
The newcomer stood well over six feet, as tall as any Warden. His hair was dark, the color of obsidian, and it reflected blue in the dim light. Lazy locks slipped over his forehead and curled just below his ears. Brows arched over golden eyes and his cheekbones were broad and high. He was attractive. Very attractive. Mind-bendingly beautiful, actually, but the sardonic twist to his full lips chilled his beauty. The black T-shirt stretched across his chest and flat stomach. A huge tattoo of a snake curled around his forearm, the tail disappearing under his sleeve and the diamond-shaped head rested on the top of his hand. He looked my age. Total crush material—if it wasn’t for the fact that he had no soul.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1))
Women could probably be trained quite easily to see men first as sexual things. If girls never experienced sexual violence; if a girl's only window on male sexuality were a stream of easily available, well-lit, cheap images of boys slightly older than herself, in their late teens, smiling encouragingly and revealing cuddly erect penises the color of roses or mocha, she might well look at, masturbate to, and, as an adult, "need" beauty pornography based on the bodies of men. And if those initiating penises were represented to the girl as pneumatically erectible, swerving neither left nor right, tasting of cinnamon or forest berries, innocent of random hairs, and ever ready; if they were presented alongside their measurements, length, and circumference to the quarter inch; if they seemed to be available to her with no troublesome personality attached; if her sweet pleasure seemed to be the only reason for them to exist--then a real young man would probably approach the young woman's bed with, to say the least, a failing heart.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
The surgeons' market is imaginary, since there is nothing wrong with women's faces or bodies that social change won't cure; so the surgeons depend for their income on warping female self-perception and multiplying female self-hatred.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Things which are not" are indeed mightier than "things that are". In all ages men have fought most desperately for beautiful cities yet to be built and gardens yet to be planted.
Eric Hoffer (The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements)
self-attachment is the first sign of madness, but it is because man is attached to himself that he accepts error as truth, lies as reality, violence and ugliness as beauty and justice.
Michel Foucault (Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason)
What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?...The thing man wanted to invent, but never did...If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out. What is fire? It is a mystery. Scientists give us gobbledygook about friction and molecules. But they don't really know. Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
A Gift for You I send you... The gift of a letter from your wise self. This is the part of you that sees you with benevolent, loving eyes. You find this letter in a thick envelope with your name on it, and the word YES written boldly above your name. My Dear, I am writing this to remind you of your 'essence beauty.' This is the part of you that has nothing to do with age, occupation, weight, history, or pain. This is the soft, untouched, indelible you. You can love yourself in this moment, no matter what you have, or haven't done or been. See past any masks, devices, or inventions that obscure your essence. Remember your true purpose, WHICH is only Love. If you cannot see or feel love, lie down now and cry; it will cleanse your vision and free your heart. I love you; I am you.
S.A.R.K. (Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day)
It is our destiny to be born beautiful into an ugly age.
Henry Rollins (Solipsist)
…You see, my dear friend, I am made up of contradictions, and I have reached a very mature age without resting upon anything positive, without having calmed my restless spirit either by religion or philosophy. Undoubtedly I should have gone mad but for music. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
My mother always wanted to live near the water," she said. "She said it's the one thing that brings us all together. That I can have my toe in the ocean off the coast of Maine, and a girl my age can have her toe in the ocean off the coast of Africa, and we would be touching. On opposite sides of the world.
Megan Miranda (Vengeance (Fracture, #2))
Growing old and dying is what gives meaning and beauty to the fleeting span of a human life. It's precisely because we age and die that our lives have value and nobility. Strength is not a word that means much in regard to the flesh.
Koyoharu Gotouge (鬼滅の刃 8 [Kimetsu no Yaiba 8] (Kimetsu no Yaiba, #8))
He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me that newness is no virtue and oldness is no vice. Truth and beauty and goodness are not determined by when they exist. Nothing is inferior for being old, and nothing is valuable for being modern. This has freed me from the tyranny of novelty and opened for me the wisdom of the ages.
John Piper (Don't Waste Your Life)
When [beauty pornography is] aimed at men, its effect is to keep them from finding peace in sexual love. The fleeting chimera of the airbrushed centerfold, always receding before him, keeps the man destabilized in pursuit, unable to focus on the beauty of the woman--known, marked, lined, familiar—-who hands him the paper every morning.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
You used to believe that with age you would become less unhappy, because you then would have reasons to be sad. When you were still young, your suffering was inconsolable because you believed it to be unfounded. Your suicide was scandalously beautiful… You died because you searched for happiness at the risk of finding the void. We shall have to wait for death before we can know what it is that you found. Or before leaving off knowing anything at all, if it is to be silence and emptiness that awaits us.
Édouard Levé (Suicide)
Beauty is an intangible thing; can not be fixed on the surface, and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it. Nor will a "pretty" face make it, for "pretty" faces are often dull and empty, and beauty is never dull and it fills all spaces.
Robert Henri (The Art Spirit)
Down through the ages and in the whole world, Watt and Newton cannot have been the only ones to notice the steam from a boiling kettle or observe an apple fall. Having eyes, but not seeing beauty; having ears, but not hearing music; having minds, but not perceiving truth; having hearts that are never moved and therefore never set on fire. These are the things to fear, said the headmaster.
Tetsuko Kuroyanagi (Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window)
believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
John Keats
Everyone under the age of sixty called it the War Between the States, while everyone over sixty called it the War of Northern Aggression, as if somehow the North had baited the South into war over a bad bale of cotton.Read
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
Rock'n'roll is a teenage sport, meant to be played by teenagers of all ages--they could be 15, 25 or 35. It all boils down to whether they've got the love in their hearts, that beautiful teenage spirit... -Calvin Johnson
Michael Azerrad (Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991)
Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history; so she seemed in this age of Napoleon III with her towering buildings, her massive cathedrals, her grand boulevards and ancient winding medieval streets--as vast and indestructible as nature itself. All was embraced by her, by her volatile and enchanted populace thronging the galleries, the theaters, the cafes, giving birth over and over to genius and sanctity, philosophy and war, frivolity and the finest art; so it seemed that if all the world outside her were to sink into darkness, what was fine, what was beautiful, what was essential might there still come to its finest flower. Even the majestic trees that graced and sheltered her streets were attuned to her--and the waters of the Seine, contained and beautiful as they wound through her heart; so that the earth on that spot, so shaped by blood and consciousness, had ceased to be the earth and had become Paris.
Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1))
Learn from my mistakes, [...] and learn from my joys. Surround yourself with those who'll love you always, through your mistakes and your faults. Make a family that will find you more beautiful every day, even when your hair is white with age. Be the light that makes someone's lantern shine.
Elizabeth Lim (Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes, #1))
The dreams of the left are always beautiful - the imagining of a better world, the damnation of the present one. This faith, this luminescent anger - these are worthy of being called human. These are the Beautiful that an age produces.
Tony Kushner
She would not say of any one in the world that they were this or were that. She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, far out to the sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day. Not that she thought herself clever, or much out of the ordinary. How she had got through life on the few twigs of knowledge Fraulein Daniels gave them she could not think. She knew nothing; no language, no history; she scarcely read a book now, except memoirs in bed; and yet to her it was absolutely absorbing; all this; the cabs passing; and she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend word of wounding without having these words becomg the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.
Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
The man smiled at him a sly smile. As if they knew a secret between them, these two. Something of age and youth and their claims and the justice of those claims. And of the claims upon them. The world past, the world to come. Their common transiencies. Above all a knowing deep in the bone that beauty and loss are one.
Cormac McCarthy (Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3))
Beauty is, in some way, boring. Even if its concept changes through the ages… a beautiful object must always follow certain rules. A beautiful nose shouldn’t be longer than that or shorter than that, on the contrary, an ugly nose can be as long as the one of Pinocchio, or as big as the trunk of an elephant, or like the beak of an eagle, and so ugliness is unpredictable, and offers an infinite range of possibility. Beauty is finite, ugliness is infinite like God.
Umberto Eco (On Ugliness)
Giovanni had awakened an itch, had released a gnaw in me. I realized it one afternoon, when I was taking him to work via the Boulevard Montparnasse. We had bought a kilo of cherries and we were eating them as we walked along. We were both insufferably childish and high-spirited that afternoon and the spectacle we presented, two grown men jostling each other on the wide sidewalk and aiming the cherry pits, as though they were spitballs, into each other's faces, must have been outrageous. And I realized that such childishness was fantastic at my age and the happiness out of which it sprang yet more so; for that moment I really loved Giovanni, who had never seemed more beautiful than he was that afternoon.
James Baldwin (Giovanni's Room)
The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty. The more indifferent people are to politics, to the interests of others, the more obsessed they become with their own faces. The individualism of our time. Not being able to fall asleep and not allowing oneself to move: the marital bed. If high culture is coming to an end, it is also the end of you and your paradoxical ideas, because paradox as such belongs to high culture and not to childish prattle. You remind me of the young men who supported the Nazis or communists not out of cowardice or out of opportunism but out of an excess of intelligence. For nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought… You are the brilliant ally of your own gravediggers. In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty. How to live in a world with which you disagree? How to live with people when you neither share their suffering nor their joys? When you know that you don’t belong among them?... our century refuses to acknowledge anyone’s right to disagree with the world…All that remains of such a place is the memory, the ideal of a cloister, the dream of a cloister… Humor can only exist when people are still capable of recognizing some border between the important and the unimportant. And nowadays this border has become unrecognizable. The majority of people lead their existence within a small idyllic circle bounded by their family, their home, and their work... They live in a secure realm somewhere between good and evil. They are sincerely horrified by the sight of a killer. And yet all you have to do is remove them from this peaceful circle and they, too, turn into murderers, without quite knowing how it happened. The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order. Or to put it the other way around: the desire for order is a virtuous pretext, an excuse for virulent misanthropy. A long time a go a certain Cynic philosopher proudly paraded around Athens in a moth-eaten coat, hoping that everyone would admire his contempt for convention. When Socrates met him, he said: Through the hole in your coat I see your vanity. Your dirt, too, dear sir, is self-indulgent and your self-indulgence is dirty. You are always living below the level of true existence, you bitter weed, you anthropomorphized vat of vinegar! You’re full of acid, which bubbles inside you like an alchemist’s brew. Your highest wish is to be able to see all around you the same ugliness as you carry inside yourself. That’s the only way you can feel for a few moments some kind of peace between yourself and the world. That’s because the world, which is beautiful, seems horrible to you, torments you and excludes you. If the novel is successful, it must necessarily be wiser than its author. This is why many excellent French intellectuals write mediocre novels. They are always more intelligent than their books. By a certain age, coincidences lose their magic, no longer surprise, become run-of-the-mill. Any new possibility that existence acquires, even the least likely, transforms everything about existence.
Milan Kundera
We do not have to spend money and go hungry and struggle and study to become sensual; we always were. We need not believe we must somehow earn good erotic care; we always deserved it. Femaleness and its sexuality are beautiful. Women have long secretly suspected as much. In that sexuality, women are physically beautiful already; superb; breathtaking. Many, many men see this way too. A man who wants to define himself as a real lover of women admires what shows of her past on a woman's face, before she ever saw him, and the adventures and stresses that her body has undergone, the scars of trauma, the changes of childbirth, her distinguishing characteristics, the light is her expression. The number of men who already see in this way is far greater than the arbiters of mass culture would lead us to believe, since the story they need to tell ends with the opposite moral.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Ego Tripping I was born in the congo I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light I am bad I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst My oldest daughter is nefertiti the tears from my birth pains created the nile I am a beautiful woman I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert with a packet of goat's meat and a change of clothes I crossed it in two hours I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can't catch me For a birthday present when he was three I gave my son hannibal an elephant He gave me rome for mother's day My strength flows ever on My son noah built new/ark and I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day I turned myself into myself and was jesus men intone my loving name All praises All praises I am the one who would save I sowed diamonds in my back yard My bowels deliver uranium the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels On a trip north I caught a cold and blew My nose giving oil to the arab world I am so hip even my errors are correct I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission I mean...I...can fly like a bird in the sky...
Nikki Giovanni
The surgeons are playing on the myth's double standard for the function of the body. A man's thigh is for walking, but a woman's is for walking and looking "beautiful." If women can walk but believe our limbs look wrong, we feel that our bodies cannot do what they are meant to do; we feel as genuinely deformed and disabled as the unwilling Victorian hypochondriac felt ill.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Among the fluctuation of the river currents, an abyss as green as the sea, its extension and profundity as immense as the ocean opened before me: the eyes of a beautiful girl. I succumbed into that abyss instantly, like a man who falls from the highest cliff into the ocean … … and I drowned.
Mya Robarts (The V Girl: a Coming of Age Story)
The reader must come armed , in a serious state of intellectual readiness. This is not easy because he comes to the text alone. In reading, one's responses are isolated, one'sintellect thrown back on its own resourses. To be confronted by the cold abstractions of printed sentences is to look upon language bare, without the assistance of either beauty or community. Thus, reading is by its nature a serious business. It is also, of course, an essentially rational activity.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world - its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and not be afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
Our society does reward beauty on the outside over health on the inside. Women must not be blamed for choosing short-term beauty "fixes" that harm our long-term health, since our life spans are inverted under the beauty myth, and there is no great social or economic incentive for women to live a long time. A thin young woman with precancerous lungs [who smokes to stay thin] is more highly rewarded socially that a hearty old crone. Spokespeople sell women the Iron Maiden [an intrinsically unattainable standard of beauty used to punish women for their failure to achieve and conform to it]and name her "Health": if public discourse were really concerned with women's health, it would turn angrily upon this aspect of the beauty myth.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
For the first time in history, children are growing up whose earliest sexual imprinting derives not from a living human being, or fantasies of their own; since the 1960s pornographic upsurge, the sexuality of children has begun to be shaped in response to cues that are no longer human. Nothing comparable has ever happened in the history of our species; it dislodges Freud. Today's children and young men and women have sexual identities that spiral around paper and celluloid phantoms: from Playboy to music videos to the blank females torsos in women's magazines, features obscured and eyes extinguished, they are being imprinted with a sexuality that is mass-produced, deliberately dehumanizing and inhuman.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Do you suppose you will look the same when you are an old woman as you do now? Most folk have three faces—the face they get when they’re children, the face they own when they’re grown, and the face they’ve earned when they’re old. But when you live as long as I have, you get many more. I look nothing like I did when I was a wee thing of thirteen. You get the face you build your whole life, with work and loving and grieving and laughing and frowning.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2))
you were the most beautiful thing i'd ever felt till now. and i was convinced you'd remain the most beautiful thing i'd ever feel. do you know how limiting that is. to think at such a ripe young age i'd experienced the most exhilarating person i'd ever meet. how i'd spend the rest of my life just settling. to think i'd tasted the rawest form of honey and everything else would be refined and synthetic. that nothing else would be refined and synthetic. that nothing beyond this point would add up. that all the years beyond me could not combine themselves to be sweeter than you. - falsehood
Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey)
One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: "Beauty will save the world". What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes - but whom has it saved? There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious. Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition - and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted. In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart. But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them. So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar to that very same place, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three? In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Nobel Lecture)
This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove. Our first flaws were emerging, but they were being corrected. Blurry vision could be fixed invisibly with the magic of the contact lens. Crooked teeth were pulled straight with braces. Spotty skin could be chemically cleared. Some girls were turning beautiful. A few boys were growing tall.
Karen Thompson Walker (The Age of Miracles)
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
Oh, I can see it happening, age after age, and growing worse the more you reveal your beauty: the son turning his back on the mother and the bride on her groom, stolen away by this everlasting calling, calling, calling of the gods. Taken where we can't follow. It would be far better for us if you were foul and ravening. We'd rather you drank their blood than stole their hearts. We'd rather they were ours and dead than yours and made immortal.
C.S. Lewis (Till We Have Faces)
I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream...
Black Elk
We sat grown quiet at the name of love; We saw the last embers of daylight die, And in the trembling blue-green of the sky A moon, worn as if it had been a shell Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell About the stars and broke in days and years. I had a thought for no one's but your ears: That you were beautiful, and that I strove To love you in the old high way of love; That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown As weary-hearted as that hollow moon
W.B. Yeats (In the Seven Woods: Being Poems Chiefly of the Irish Heroic Age)
As I thought of these things, I drew aside the curtains and looked out into the darkness, and it seemed to my troubled fancy that all those little points of light filling the sky were the furnaces of innumerable divine alchemists, who labour continually, turning lead into gold, weariness into ecstasy, bodies into souls, the darkness into God; and at their perfect labour my mortality grew heavy, and I cried out, as so many dreamers and men of letters in our age have cried, for the birth of that elaborate spiritual beauty which could alone uplift souls weighted with so many dreams.
W.B. Yeats (Rosa Alchemica)
But her attention was on the prince across from her, who seemed utterly ignored by his father and his own court, shoved down near the end with her and Aedion. He ate so beautifully, she thought, watching him cut into his roast chicken. Not a drop moved out of place, not a scrap fell on the table. She had decent manners, while Aedion was hopeless, his plate littered with bones and crumbs scattered everywhere, even some on her own dress. She’d kicked him for it, but his attention was too focused on the royals down the table. So both she and the Crown Prince were to be ignored, then. She looked at the boy again, who was around her age, she supposed. His skin was from the winter, his blue-black hair neatly trimmed; his sapphire eyes lifted from his plate to meet hers. “You eat like a fine lady,” she told him. His lips thinned and color stained his ivory cheeks. Across from her, Quinn, her uncle’s Captain of the Guard, choked on his water. The prince glanced at his father—still busy with her uncle—before replying. Not for approval, but in fear. “I eat like a prince,” Dorian said quietly. “You do not need to cut your bread with a fork and knife,” she said. A faint pounding started in her head, followed by a flickering warmth, but she ignored it. The hall was hot, as they’d shut all the windows for some reason. “Here in the North,” she went on as the prince’s knife and fork remained where they were on his dinner roll, “you need not be so formal. We don’t put on airs.” Hen, one of Quinn’s men, coughed pointedly from a few seats down. She could almost hear him saying, Says the little lady with her hair pressed into careful curls and wearing her new dress that she threatened to skin us over if we got dirty. She gave Hen an equally pointed look, then returned her attention to the foreign prince. He’d already looked down at his food again, as if he expected to be neglected for the rest of the night. And he looked lonely enough that she said, “If you like, you could be my friend.” Not one of the men around them said anything, or coughed. Dorian lifted his chin. “I have a friend. He is to be Lord of Anielle someday, and the fiercest warrior in the land.
Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3))
What was unfolding in Mumbai was unfolding elsewhere, too. In the age of global market capitalism, hopes and grievances were narrowly conceived, which blunted a sense of common predicament. Poor people didn't unite; they competed ferociously amongst themselves for gains as slender as they were provisional. And this undercity strife created only the faintest ripple in the fabric of the society at large. The gates of the rich, occasionally rattled, remained unbreached. The politicians held forth on the middle class. The poor took down one another, and the world's great, unequal cities soldiered on in relative peace.
Katherine Boo (Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity)
And how old are you, Miss Beckett?” “Seventeen.” “What!” There is no way she’s seventeen. I inspect her face, studying it intently, but don’t know what it is I hope to find. Laugh lines maybe? She watches my face. “Is my age a problem for you?” “Hell, yeah, seventeen is a problem.” I throw my napkin on the table. All of this has been a waste. “Forget it all. This whole thing is off.” “I don’t act seventeen. I’m very mature for my age.” “No way. You’re not even old enough to be drinking that wine.” I lean in and whisper so no one will overhear. “I’m almost twice your age.” “I don’t mind. I have daddy issues.” She breaks into a huge grin and I hear a girlish giggle. That’s when I realize she’s fucking with me and has the ability to lie with a straight face. I’ll have to remember that for future reference. I’m not amused. “I see I have a comedienne on my hands.
Georgia Cates (Beauty from Pain (Beauty, #1))
You could see the signs of female aging as diseased, especially if you had a vested interest in making women too see them your way. Or you could see that a woman is healthy if she lives to grow old; as she thrives, she reacts and speaks and shows emotion, and grows into her face. Lines trace her thought and radiate from the corners of her eyes as she smiles. You could call the lines a network of 'serious lesions' or you could see that in a precise calligraphy, thought has etched marks of concentration between her brows, and drawn across her forehead the horizontal creases of surprise, delight, compassion and good talk. A lifetime of kissing, of speaking and weeping, shows expressively around a mouth scored like a leaf in motion. The skin loosens on her face and throat, giving her features a setting of sensual dignity; her features grow stronger as she does. She has looked around in her life and it shows. When gray and white reflect in her hair, you could call it a dirty secret or you could call it silver or moonlight. Her body fills into itself, taking on gravity like a bather breasting water, growing generous with the rest of her. The darkening under her eyes, the weight of her lids, their minute cross-hatching, reveal that what she has been part of has left in her its complexity and richness. She is darker, stronger, looser, tougher, sexier. The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
I am convinced that poets are toddlers in a cathedral, slobbering on wooden blocks and piling them up in the light of the stained glass. We can hardly make anything beautiful that wasn’t beautiful in the first place. We aren’t writers, but gleeful rearrangers of words whose meanings we can’t begin to know. When we manage to make something pretty, it’s only so because we are ourselves a flourish on a greater canvas. That means there’s no end to the discovery. We may crawl around the cathedral floor for ages before we grow up enough to reach the doorknob and walk outside into a garden of delights. Beyond that, the city, then the rolling hills, then the sea. And when the world of every cell has been limned and painted and sung, we lie back on the grass, satisfied that our work is done. Then, of course, the sun sets and we see above us the dark dome of glittering stars. On and on it goes, all the way to the lightless borderlands of time and space, which we come to discover in some future age are but the beginnings or endings of a single word spoken from the mouth of God. Some nights, while I traipse down the hill, I imagine that word isn’t a word at all, but a burst of laughter.
Andrew Peterson
The beauty myth sets it up this way: A high rating as an art object is the most valuable tribute a woman can exact from her lover. If he appreciates her face and body because it is hers, that is next to worthless. It is very neat: The myth contrives to make women offend men by scrutinizing honest appreciation when they give it; it can make men offend women merely by giving them honest appreciation. It can manage to contaminate the sentence "You're beautiful," which is next to "I love you" in expressing a bond of regard between a woman and a man. A man cannot tell a woman that he loves to look at her without risking making her unhappy. If he never tells her, she is destined to be unhappy. And the "luckiest" woman of all, told she is loved because she's "beautiful," is often tormented because she lacks the security of being desired because she looks like who she lovably is.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
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)
I caught the look Benjamin gave me. "What?" "Nothing. We just thought a svetocha would be more, well, difficult." Leon's mouth twitched. "I do seriously want a slushie." I tried a tentative smile. I definitely liked him now. "I haven't had one in ages. Maybe the guys outside—the double blonds—would want one, too?" For some reason Leon found that utterly fricking hysterical. He snorted and chuckled all the way through Housewares to the Health and Beauty section, and even Benjamin unbent enough to grin.
Lilith Saintcrow (Jealousy (Strange Angels, #3))
The real difference between God and human beings, he thought, was that God cannot stand continuance. No sooner has he created a season of a year, or a time of the day, than he wishes for something quite different, and sweeps it all away. No sooner was one a young man, and happy at that, than the nature of things would rush one into marriage, martyrdom or old age. And human beings cleave to the existing state of things. All their lives they are striving to hold the moment fast....Their art itself is nothing but the attempt to catch by all means the one particular moment, one light, the momentary beauty of one woman or one flower, and make it everlasting.
Karen Blixen (Seven Gothic Tales)
Let me tell you the truth about the world to which you so desperately want to return. It is a place of pain and suffering and grief. When you left it, cities were being attacked. Women and children were being blasted to pieces or burned alive by bombs dropped from planes flown by men with wives and children of their own. People were being dragged from their homes and shot in the street. Your world is tearing itself apart, and the most amusing thing of all is that it was little better before the war started. War merely gives people an excuse to indulge themselves further, to murder with impunity. There were wars before it, and there will be wars after it, and in between people will fight one another and hurt one another and maim one another and betray one another, because that is what they have always done. And even if you avoid warfare and violent death, little boy, what else do you think life has in store for you? You have already seen what it is capable of doing. It took your mother from you, drained her of health and beauty, and then cast her aside like the withered, rotten husk of a fruit. It will take others from you too, mark me. Those whom you care about--lovers, children--will fall by the wayside, and your love will not be enough to save them. Your health will fail you. You will become old and sick. Your limbs will ache, your eyesight will fade, and your skin will grow lined and aged. There will be pains deep within that no doctor will be able to cure. Diseases will find a warm, moist place inside you and there they will breed, spreading through your system, corrupting it cell by cell until you pray for the doctors to let you die, to put you out of your misery, but they will not. Instead you will linger on, with no one to hold your hand or soothe your brow, as Death comes and beckons you into his darkness. The life you left behind you is no life at all. Here, you can be king, and I will allow you to age with dignity and without pain, and when the time comes for you to die, I will send you gently to sleep and you will awaken in the paradise of your choosing, for each man dreams his own heaven.
John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things)
When You Are Old When you are old and grey and full of sleep And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep; How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true; But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face. And bending down beside the glowing bars, Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead, And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
I can't reconcile the way that the world is jolted by events that are wonderful and terrible, the gorgeous and the tragic. Except that I am beginning to believe that these opposites do not cancel each other out. I see a middle aged woman in the waiting room of the cancer clinic, her arms wrapped around the frail frame of her son. She squeezes him tightly, oblivious to the way he looks down at her sheepishly. He laughs after a minute, a hostage to her impervious love. Joy persists somehow and I soak it in. The horror of cancer has made everything seem like it is painted in bright colors. I think the same thoughts again and again. Life is so beautiful. Life is so hard.
Kate Bowler (Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved)
Why is wisdom so fair? Why is beauty so wise? Because all else is temporary, while beauty and wisdom are the only real and constant aspects of truth that can be perceived by human means. And I don't mean the kind of surface beauty that fades with age, or the sort of shallow wisdom that gets lost in platitudes. True beauty grips your gut and squeezes your lungs, and makes you see with utmost clarity exactly what is before you. True wisdom then steps in, to interpret, illuminate, and form a life-altering insight.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Men can have an obvious display of heroics or strength or accomplishment, but it is the unsung women throughout all ages of humankind who have endured with superlative strength, beauty and love, often with secret suffering, that deserve absolute respect and acknowlegement. They are the true heroes of humanity. They are the champions who have birthed and nurtured us, who have held us together at the most integral level, when men seemed intent only on tearing apart the fabric of life for irrelevant ideals.
Red Haircrow
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)
On two chairs beneath the bole of the tree and canopied by a living bough there sat, side by side, Celeborn and Galadriel. Very tall they were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
You act as if I were your enemy. “You are my enemy. You seek to end the things I love.” And is an ending always bad? it asked. Must not all things, even worlds, someday end? “There is no need to hasten that end,” Vin said. “No reason to force it.” All things are subject to their own nature, Vin, Ruin said, seeming to flow around her. She could feel its touch on her—wet and delicate, like mist. You cannot blame me for what I am. Without me, nothing would end. Nothing could end. And therefore, nothing could grow. I am life. Would you fight life itself? Vin fell silent. Do not mourn because the day of this world’s end has arrived, Ruin said. That end was ordained the very day of the world’s conception. There is a beauty in death—the beauty of finality, the beauty of completion. For nothing is truly complete until the day it is finally destroyed.
Brandon Sanderson (The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3))
Fabulous. If you possess it, you don’t need to ask what it is. When you attempt to delineate it, you move away from it. Fabulous is one of those words that provide a measure of the degree to which a person or event manifests a particular oppressed subculture’s most distinctive, invigorating features. What are the salient features of fabulousness? Irony. Tragic History. Defiance. Gender-fuck. Glitter. Drama. It is not butch. It is not hot. The cathexis surrounding fabulousness is not necessarily erotic. The fabulous is not delineated by age or beauty. It is raw materials reworked into illusion. To be truly fabulous, one must completely triumph over tragedy, age, and physical insufficiencies. The fabulous is the rapturous embrace of difference, the discovering of self not in that which has rejected you but in that which makes you unlike, the dislike, the other.
Tony Kushner
But if there was ever a time for us to go to extremes for our God, it is now. The truth of the gospel is being diluted, dumbed down, and trampled upon by the very ones entrusted to keep it sacred and whole. It may seem 'unnecessary' to get on your knees for multiple hours each and every day, but, may I remind you that unless someone rises up and says, 'Lord, I'm willing to travail,' there are lives, promises, and spiritual realities that will not be born into our day and age. Effectual, fervent prayer is how God changes this world and bestows upon it the beauty, grace and power that He purchased at the cross.
Leslie Ludy (Wrestling Prayer: A Passionate Communion with God)
At the end of his life, the great picture book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak said on the NPR show Fresh Air, 'I cry a lot because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die, and I can't stop them. They leave me, and I love them more.' He said, 'I'm finding out as I'm aging that I'm in love with the world.' It has taken me all my life up to now to fall in love with the world, but I've started to feel it the last couple of years. To fall in love with the world isn't to ignore or overlook suffering, both human and otherwise. For me anyway, to fall in love with the world is to look up at the night sky and feel your mind swim before the beauty and the distance of the stars. It is to hold your children while they cry, to watch as the sycamore trees leaf out in June. When my breastbone starts to hurt, and my throat tightens, and tears well in my eyes, I want to look away from the feeling. I want to deflect with irony, or anything else that will keep me from feeling directly. We all know how loving ends. But I want to fall in love with the world anyway, to let it crack me open. I want to feel what there is to feel while I am here.
John Green (The Anthropocene Reviewed)
The God of Imagination lived in fairytales. And the best fairytales made you fall in love. It was while flicking through "Sleeping Beauty" that I met my first love, Ivar. He was a six-year-old bello ragazzo with blond hair and eyebrows. He had bomb-blue eyes and his two front teeth were missing. The road to Happily Ever After, however, was paved with political barbed wire. Three things stood in my way. 1. The object of my affection didn't know he was the object of my affection. 2. The object of my affection preferred Action Man to Princess Aurora. 3. The object of my affection was a boy and I wasn't allowed to love a boy.
Diriye Osman (Fairytales for Lost Children)
The old oak, utterly transformed, draped in a tent of sappy dark green, basked faintly, undulating in the rays of the evening sun. Of the knotted fingers, the gnarled excrecenses, the aged grief and mistrust- nothing was to be seen. Through the rough, century-old bark, where there were no twigs, leaves had burst out so sappy, so young, that is was hard to believe that the aged creature had borne them. "Yes, that is the same tree," thought Prince Andrey, and all at once there came upon him an irrational, spring feeling of joy and renewal. All the best moments of his life rose to his memory at once. Austerlitz, with that lofty sky, and the dead, reproachful face of his wife, and Pierre on the ferry, and the girl, thrilled by the beauty of the night, and that night and that moon- it all rushed at once into his mind.
Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)
The noblest calling in the world is motherhood. True motherhood is the most beautiful of all arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a masterpiece, or who can write a book that will influence millions, deserve the plaudits and admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will exert influence throughout the ages long after paintings shall have faded, and books and statues shall have decayed or been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God.
David O. McKay
No doubt your sword is indeed a beautiful thing. It is a tribute to whoever forged it in bygone ages. There are very few such swords as this one left in the world, but remember, it is only a sword, Matthias! It contains no secret spell, nor holds within its blade any magical power. This sword is made for only one purpose, to kill. It will only be as good or evil as the one who wields it. I know that you intend to use it only for the good of your Abbey, Matthias; do so, but never allow yourself to be tempted into using it in a careless or idle way. It would inevitably cost you your life, or that of your dear ones. Martin the Warrior used the sword only for right and good. This is why it has become a symbol of power to Redwall. Knowledge is gained through wisdom, my friend. Use the sword wisely.
Brian Jacques (Redwall (Redwall, #1))
I just want you to know, before I make my promises, that I'm super stubborn. You already know I'm hard to live with, and you've made it clear on dozens of occasions that I drive you crazy. And I'm sure I've driven anyone who's watched these last few months crazy with my indecision and uncertainty. But I want you to know that whatever love is, this has got to be it. We were best friends first, and we tried not to fall in love, and we did anyway. If you're not with me, it's not where I want to be. I'm in this. I'm with you. We might be impulsive, and absolutely insane to be standing here at our age, six months after we met. This whole thing might play out to be a completely wonderful, beautiful disaster, but I want that if it's with you.
Jamie McGuire (A Beautiful Wedding (Beautiful, #2.5))
Stories are bulls. Writers come of age full of vigor, and they feel the need to drive the old stories from the herd. One bull rules the herd awhile but then he loses his vigor and the young bulls take over. Stories are nations, empires. They can last as long as ancient Rome or as short as the Third Reich. Story-nations rise and decline. Governments change, trends rise, and they go on conquering their neighbors. Stories are people. I'm a story, you're a story . . . your father is a story. Our stories go in every direction, but sometimes, if we're lucky, our stories join into one, and for a while, we're less alone.
Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins)
As they approached the next stall, the old woman tending to it looked up at Matthias with suspicious eyes. Nina nodded encouragingly at him. Matthias smiled broadly and boomed in a singsong voice, “Hello, little friend!” The woman went from wary to baffled. Nina decided to call it an improvement. “And how are you today?” Matthias asked. “Pardon?” the woman said. “Nothing,” Nina said in Ravkan. “He was saying how beautifully the Ravkan women age.” The woman gave a gap-toothed grin and ran her eyes up and down Matthias in an appraising fashion. “Always had a taste for Fjerdans. Ask him if he wants to play Princess and Barbarian,” she said with a cackle.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. No, no, wait. Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods. Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the road after the war. Once upon a time there were three little pigs. Once upon a time there were three brothers. No, this is it. This is the variation I want. Once upon a time there were three Beautiful children, two boys and a girl. When each baby was born, the parents rejoiced, the heavens rejoiced, even the fairies rejoiced. The fairies came to christening parties and gave the babies magical gifts. Bounce, effort, and snark. Contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. Sugar, curiosity, and rain. And yet, there was a witch. There's always a witch. This which was the same age as the beautiful children, and as she and they grew, she was jealous of the girl, and jealous of the boys, too. They were blessed with all these fairy gifts, gifts the witch had been denied at her own christening. The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable and handsome. Though it's true, he was exceptionally short. The next boy was studious and open hearted. Though it's true, he was an outsider. And the girl was witty, Generous, and ethical. Though it's true, she felt powerless. The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her. She was lonely. Her only strength was her dark and ugly magic. She confuse being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them. She confuse being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it. She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts are making them think. Hey magic was all she had, and she used it to destroy what she most admired. She visited each young person in turn in their tenth birthday, but did not harm them out right. The protection of some kind fairy - the lilac fairy, perhaps - prevented her from doing so. What she did instead was cursed them. "When you are sixteen," proclaimed the witch in a rage of jealousy, "you shall prick your finger on a spindle - no, you shall strike a match - yes, you will strike a match and did in its flame." The parents of the beautiful children were frightened of the curse, and tried, as people will do, to avoid it. They moved themselves and the children far away, to a castle on a windswept Island. A castle where there were no matches. There, surely, they would be safe. There, Surely, the witch would never find them. But find them she did. And when they were fifteen, these beautiful children, just before their sixteenth birthdays and when they're nervous parents not yet expecting it, the jealous which toxic, hateful self into their lives in the shape of a blonde meeting. The maiden befriended the beautiful children. She kissed him and took them on the boat rides and brought them fudge and told them stories. Then she gave them a box of matches. The children were entranced, for nearly sixteen they have never seen fire. Go on, strike, said the witch, smiling. Fire is beautiful. Nothing bad will happen. Go on, she said, the flames will cleanse your souls. Go on, she said, for you are independent thinkers. Go on, she said. What is this life we lead, if you did not take action? And they listened. They took the matches from her and they struck them. The witch watched their beauty burn, Their bounce, Their intelligence, Their wit, Their open hearts, Their charm, Their dreams for the future. She watched it all disappear in smoke.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
Why does the social order feel the need to defend itself by evading the fact of real women, our faces and voices and bodies, and reducing the meaning of women to these formulaic and endlessly reproduced "beautiful" images? Though unconscious personal anxieties can be a powerful force in the creation of a vital lie, economic necessity practically guarantees it. An economy that depends on slavery needs to promote images of slaves that "justify" the institution of slavery. Western economies are absolutely dependent now on the continued underpayment of women. An idealogy that makes women feel "worth less" was urgently needed to counteract the way feminism had begun to make us feel worth more. This does not require a conspiracy; merely an atmosphere. The contemporary economy depends right now on the representation of women within the beauty myth.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
To His Coy Mistress Had we but world enough and time, This coyness, lady, were no crime. We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our long love’s day. Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide Of Humber would complain. I would Love you ten years before the flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of the Jews. My vegetable love should grow Vaster than empires and more slow; An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart. For, lady, you deserve this state, Nor would I love at lower rate. But at my back I always hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near; And yonder all before us lie Deserts of vast eternity. Thy beauty shall no more be found; Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound My echoing song; then worms shall try That long-preserved virginity, And your quaint honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust; The grave’s a fine and private place, But none, I think, do there embrace. Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew, And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires, Now let us sport us while we may, And now, like amorous birds of prey, Rather at once our time devour Than languish in his slow-chapped power. Let us roll all our strength and all Our sweetness up into one ball, And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life: Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Andrew Marvell (The Complete Poems)
Our fantastic civilization has fallen out of touch with many aspects of nature, and with none more completely than with night. Primitive folk, gathered at a cave mouth round a fire, do not fear night; they fear, rather, the energies and creatures to whom night gives power; we of the age of the machines, having delivered ourselves of nocturnal enemies, now have a dislike of night itself. With lights and ever more lights, we drive the holiness and beauty of night back to the forests and the sea; the little villages, the crossroads even, will have none of it. Are modern folk, perhaps, afraid of night? Do they fear that vast serenity, the mystery of infinite space, the austerity of stars? Having made themselves at home in a civilization obsessed with power, which explains its whole world in terms of energy, do they fear at night for their dull acquiescence and the pattern of their beliefs? Be the answer what it will, to-day's civilization is full of people who have not the slightest notion of the character or the poetry of night, who have never even seen night. Yet to live thus, to know only artificial night, is as absurd and evil as to know only artificial day.
Henry Beston (The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod)
In fairy tales, monsters exist to be a manifestation of something that we need to understand, not only a problem we need to overcome, but also they need to represent, much like angels represent the beautiful, pure, eternal side of the human spirit, monsters need to represent a more tangible, more mortal side of being human: aging, decay, darkness and so forth. And I believe that monsters originally, when we were cavemen and you know, sitting around a fire, we needed to explain the birth of the sun and the death of the moon and the phases of the moon and rain and thunder. And we invented creatures that made sense of the world: a serpent that ate the sun, a creature that ate the moon, a man in the moon living there, things like that. And as we became more and more sophisticated and created sort of a social structure, the real enigmas started not to be outside. The rain and the thunder were logical now. But the real enigmas became social. All those impulses that we were repressing: cannibalism, murder, these things needed an explanation. The sex drive, the need to hunt, the need to kill, these things then became personified in monsters. Werewolves, vampires, ogres, this and that. I feel that monsters are here in our world to help us understand it. They are an essential part of a fable.
Guillermo del Toro
No matter what the universe has in store, it cannot take away from the fact that you were born. You’ll have some joy and some pain, and all the other experiences that make up what it’s like to be a tiny part of a grand cosmos. No matter what happens next, you were here. And even when any record of our individual lives is lost to the ages, that won’t detract from the fact that we were. We lived. We were part of the enormity. All the great and terrible parts of being alive, the shocking sublime beauty and heartbreak, the monotony, the interior thoughts, the shared pain and pleasure. It really happened. All of it. On this little world that orbits a yellow star out in the great vastness. And that alone is cause for celebration.
Sasha Sagan (For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World)
Love is the divine Mother's arms; when those arms are spread, every soul falls into them. The Sufis of all ages have been known for their beautiful personality. It does not mean that among them there have not been people with great powers, wonderful powers and wisdom. But beyond all that, what is most known of the Sufis is the human side of their nature: that tact which attuned them to wise and foolish, to poor and rich, to strong and weak -- to all. They met everyone on his own plane, they spoke to everyone in his own language. What did Jesus teach when he said to the fishermen, 'Come hither, I will make you fishers of men?' It did not mean, 'I will teach you ways by which you get the best of man.' It only meant: your tact, your sympathy will spread its arms before every soul who comes, as mother's arms are spread out for her little ones.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
In other words, that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure, and what is true could always go on. Why is that important? Why would I like to do that? Because that’s the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don’t know. But, I do know that it is the conversation I want to have while I am still alive. Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet… that I haven’t understood enough… that I can’t know enough… that I am always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I’d urge you to look at those who tell you, those people who tell you at your age, that you are dead until you believe as they do. What a terrible thing to be telling to children. …and that you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don’t think of that as a gift. Think of it as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.
Christopher Hitchens
ON THE DAY I DIE On the day I die, when I'm being carried toward the grave, don't weep. Don't say, He's gone! He's gone. Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and the moon sets, but they're not gone. Death is a coming together. The tomb looks like a prison, but it's really release into union. The human seed goes down in the ground like a bucket into the well where Joseph is. It grows and comes up full of some unimagined beauty. Your mouth closes here, and immediately opens with a shout of joy there. --------------------------------- One who does what the Friend wants done will never need a friend. There's a bankruptcy that's pure gain. The moon stays bright when it doesn't avoid the night. A rose's rarest essence lives in the thorn. ---------------------------------- Childhood, youth, and maturity, and now old age. Every guest agrees to stay three days, no more. Master, you told me to remind you. Time to go. ----------------------------------- The angel of death arrives, and I spring joyfully up. No one knows what comes over me when I and that messenger speak! ------------------------------------- When you come back inside my chest no matter how far I've wandered off, I look around and see the way. At the end of my life, with just one breath left, if you come then, I'll sit up and sing. -------------------------------------- Last night things flowed between us that cannot now be said or written. Only as I'm being carried out and down the road, as the folds of my shroud open in the wind, will anyone be able to read, as on the petal-pages of a turning bud, what passed through us last night. ------------------------------------- I placed one foot on the wide plain of death, and some grand immensity sounded on the emptiness. I have felt nothing ever like the wild wonder of that moment. Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself brings the cure. The only rule is, Suffer the pain. Your desire must be disciplined, and what you want to happen in time, sacrificed.
Rumi (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, real hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilization. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, everyone does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzsche’s had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Forty is a most beautiful age for both men and women. Did you know that in mystic thought forty symbolizes the ascent from one level to a higher one and spiritual awakening? When we mourn we mourn for forty days. When a baby is born it takes forty days for him to get ready to start life on earth. And when we are in love we need to wait for forty days to be sure of our feelings. The Flood of Noah lasted forty days, and while the waters destroyed life, they also washed all impurity away and enabled human beings to make a new, fresh start. In Islamic mysticism there are forty degrees between man and God. Likewise, there are four basic stages of consciousness and ten degrees in each, making forty levels in total. Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days and nights. Muhammad was forty years old when he received the call to become a prophet. Buddha meditated under a linden tree for forty days. Not to mention the forty rules of Shams. You receive a new mission at forty, a new lease on life! You have reached a most auspicious number. Congratulations! And don’t worry about getting old. There are no wrinkles or gray hair strong enough to defy the power of forty!
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves.20 That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self. It is particularly noteworthy that our fantasy self tends to be very visual, whereas our actual experiences are corporeal. In the fantasy, you observe a scene in your mind’s eye or on the computer screen. You see yourself standing on a tropical beach, the blue sea behind you, a big smile on your face, one hand holding a cocktail, the other arm around your lover’s waist. Paradise. What the picture does not show is the annoying fly that bites your leg, the cramped feeling in your stomach from eating that rotten fish soup, the tension in your jaw as you fake a big smile, and the ugly fight the happy couple had five minutes ago. If we could only feel what the people in the photos felt while taking them! Hence if you really want to understand yourself, you should not identify with your Facebook account or with the inner story of the self. Instead, you should observe the actual flow of body and mind. You will see thoughts, emotions and desires appear and disappear without much reason and without any command from you, just as different winds blow from this or that direction and mess up your hair. And just as you are not the winds, so also you are not the jumble of thoughts, emotions and desires you experience, and you are certainly not the sanitised story you tell about them with hindsight. You experience all of them, but you don’t control them, you don’t own them, and you are not them. People ask ‘Who am I?’ and expect to be told a story. The first thing you need to know about yourself, is that you are not a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I’m fifteen and I feel like girl my age are under a lot of pressure that boys are not under. I know I am smart, I know I am kind and funny, and I know that everyone around me keeps telling me that I can be whatever I want to be. I know all this but I just don’t feel that way. I always feel like if I don’t look a certain way, if boys don’t think I’m ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ then I’ve failed and it doesn’t even matter if I am a doctor or writer, I’ll still feel like nothing. I hate that I feel like that because it makes me seem shallow, but I know all of my friends feel like that, and even my little sister. I feel like successful women are only considered a success if they are successful AND hot, and I worry constantly that I won’t be. What if my boobs don’t grow, what if I don’t have the perfect body, what if my hips don’t widen and give me a little waist, if none of that happens I feel like what’s the point of doing anything because I’ll just be the ‘fat ugly girl’ regardless of whether I do become a doctor or not. I wish people would think about what pressure they are putting on everyone, not just teenage girls, but even older people – I watch my mum tear herself apart every day because her boobs are sagging and her skin is wrinkling, she feels like she is ugly even though she is amazing, but then I feel like I can’t judge because I do the same to myself. I wish the people who had real power and control the images and messages we get fed all day actually thought about what they did for once. I know the girls on page 3 are probably starving themselves. I know the girls in adverts are airbrushed. I know beauty is on the inside. But I still feel like I’m not good enough.
Laura Bates (Everyday Sexism)
My Dearest Theresa, I have read this book in your garden, my love, you were absent, or else I could not have read it. It is a favourite book of mine. You will not understand these English words, and others will not understand them, which is the reason I have not scrawled them in Italian. But you will recognize the handwriting of him who passionately loved you, and you will divine that, over a book that was yours, he could only think of love. In that word, beautiful in all languages, but most so in yours, Amor mio, is comprised my existence here and thereafter. I feel I exist here, and I feel that I shall exist hereafter – to what purpose you will decide; my destiny rests with you, and you are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of a convent, I wish you had stayed there, with all my heart, or at least, that I had never met you in your married state. But all this is too late. I love you, and you love me, at least, you say so, and act as if you did so, which last is a great consolation in all events. But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love you. Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and ocean divide us, but they never will, unless you wish it.
Lord Byron
A Rock, A River, A Tree Hosts to species long since departed, Mark the mastodon. The dinosaur, who left dry tokens Of their sojourn here On our planet floor, Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages. But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, Come, you may stand upon my Back and face your distant destiny, But seek no haven in my shadow. I will give you no hiding place down here. You, created only a little lower than The angels, have crouched too long in The bruising darkness, Have lain too long Face down in ignorance. Your mouths spelling words Armed for slaughter. The rock cries out today, you may stand on me, But do not hide your face. Across the wall of the world, A river sings a beautiful song, Come rest here by my side. Each of you a bordered country, Delicate and strangely made proud, Yet thrusting perpetually under siege. Your armed struggles for profit Have left collars of waste upon My shore, currents of debris upon my breast. Yet, today I call you to my riverside, If you will study war no more. Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs The Creator gave to me when I And the tree and stone were one. Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow And when you yet knew you still knew nothing. The river sings and sings on. There is a true yearning to respond to The singing river and the wise rock. So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew, The African and Native American, the Sioux, The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek, The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh, The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher, The privileged, the homeless, the teacher. They hear. They all hear The speaking of the tree. Today, the first and last of every tree Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river. Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river. Each of you, descendant of some passed on Traveller, has been paid for. You, who gave me my first name, You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, Then forced on bloody feet, Left me to the employment of other seekers-- Desperate for gain, starving for gold. You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot... You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare Praying for a dream. Here, root yourselves beside me. I am the tree planted by the river, Which will not be moved. I, the rock, I the river, I the tree I am yours--your passages have been paid. Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need For this bright morning dawning for you. History, despite its wrenching pain, Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage, Need not be lived again. Lift up your eyes upon The day breaking for you. Give birth again To the dream. Women, children, men, Take it into the palms of your hands. Mold it into the shape of your most Private need. Sculpt it into The image of your most public self. Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances For new beginnings. Do not be wedded forever To fear, yoked eternally To brutishness. The horizon leans forward, Offering you space to place new steps of change. Here, on the pulse of this fine day You may have the courage To look up and out upon me, The rock, the river, the tree, your country. No less to Midas than the mendicant. No less to you now than the mastodon then. Here on the pulse of this new day You may have the grace to look up and out And into your sister's eyes, Into your brother's face, your country And say simply Very simply With hope Good morning.
Maya Angelou
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile. . . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. . . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism-- that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Arthur Less is the first homosexual ever to grow old. That is, at least, how he feels at times like these. Here, in this tub, he should be twenty-five or thirty, a beautiful young man naked in a bathtub. Enjoying the pleasures of life. How dreadful if someone came upon naked Less today: pink to his middle, gray to his scalp, like those old double erasers for pencil and ink. He has never seen another gay man age past fifty, none except Robert. He met them all at forty or so but never saw them make it much beyond; they died of AIDS, that generation. Less’s generation often feels like the first to explore the land beyond fifty. How are they meant to do it? Do you stay a boy forever, and dye your hair and diet to stay lean and wear tight shirts and jeans and go out dancing until you drop dead at eighty? Or do you do the opposite—do you forswear all that, and let your hair go gray, and wear elegant sweaters that cover your belly, and smile on past pleasures that will never come again? Do you marry and adopt a child? In a couple, do you each take a lover, like matching nightstands by the bed, so that sex will not vanish entirely? Or do you let sex vanish entirely, as heterosexuals do? Do you experience the relief of letting go of all that vanity, anxiety, desire, and pain?
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
Something else gets under your skin, keeps you working days and nights at the sacrifice of your sleeping and eating and attention to your family and friends, something beyond the love of puzzle solving. And that other force is the anticipation of understanding something about the world that no one has ever understood before you. Einstein wrote that when he first realized that gravity was equivalent to acceleration -- an idea that would underlie his new theory of gravity -- it was the "happiest thought of my life." On projects of far smaller weight, I have experienced that pleasure of discovering something new. It is an exquisite sensation, a feeling of power, a rush of the blood, a sense of living forever. To be the first vessel to hold this new thing. All of the scientists I've known have at least one more quality in common: they do what they do because they love it, and because they cannot imagine doing anything else. In a sense, this is the real reason a scientist does science. Because the scientist must. Such a compulsion is both blessing and burden. A blessing because the creative life, in any endeavor, is a gift filled with beauty and not given to everyone, a burden because the call is unrelenting and can drown out the rest of life. This mixed blessing and burden must be why the astrophysicist Chandrasekhar continued working until his mid-80's, why a visitor to Einstein's apartment in Bern found the young physicist rocking his infant with one hand while doing mathematical calculations with the other. This mixed blessing and burden must have been the "sweet hell" that Walt Whitman referred to when he realized at a young age that he was destined to be a poet. "Never more," he wrote, "shall I escape.
Alan Lightman
[Adapted and condensed Valedictorian speech:] I'm going to ask that you seriously consider modeling your life, not in the manner of the Dalai Lama or Jesus - though I'm sure they're helpful - but something a bit more hands-on, Carassius auratus auratus, commonly known as the domestic goldfish. People make fun of the goldfish. People don't think twice about swallowing it. Jonas Ornata III, Princeton class of '42, appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for swallowing the greatest number of goldfish in a fifteen-minute interval, a cruel total of thirty-nine. In his defense, though, I don't think Jonas understood the glory of the goldfish, that they have magnificent lessons to teach us. If you live like a goldfish, you can survive the harshest, most thwarting of circumstances. You can live through hardships that make your cohorts - the guppy, the neon tetra - go belly-up at the first sign of trouble. There was an infamous incident described in a journal published by the Goldfish Society of America - a sadistic five-year-old girl threw hers to the carpet, stepped on it, not once but twice - luckily she'd done it on a shag carpet and thus her heel didn't quite come down fully on the fish. After thirty harrowing seconds she tossed it back into its tank. It went on to live another forty-seven years. They can live in ice-covered ponds in the dead of winter. Bowls that haven't seen soap in a year. And they don't die from neglect, not immediately. They hold on for three, sometimes four months if they're abandoned. If you live like a goldfish, you adapt, not across hundreds of thousands of years like most species, having to go through the red tape of natural selection, but within mere months, weeks even. You give them a little tank? They give you a little body. Big tank? Big body. Indoor. Outdoor. Fish tanks, bowls. Cloudy water, clear water. Social or alone. The most incredible thing about goldfish, however, is their memory. Everyone pities them for only remembering their last three seconds, but in fact, to be so forcibly tied to the present - it's a gift. They are free. No moping over missteps, slip-ups, faux pas or disturbing childhoods. No inner demons. Their closets are light filled and skeleton free. And what could be more exhilarating than seeing the world for the very first time, in all of its beauty, almost thirty thousand times a day? How glorious to know that your Golden Age wasn't forty years ago when you still had all you hair, but only three seconds ago, and thus, very possibly it's still going on, this very moment." I counted three Mississippis in my head, though I might have rushed it, being nervous. "And this moment, too." Another three seconds. "And this moment, too." Another. "And this moment, too.
Marisha Pessl
At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
We read the pagan sacred books with profit and delight. With myth and fable we are ever charmed, and find a pleasure in the endless repetition of the beautiful, poetic, and absurd. We find, in all these records of the past, philosophies and dreams, and efforts stained with tears, of great and tender souls who tried to pierce the mystery of life and death, to answer the eternal questions of the Whence and Whither, and vainly sought to make, with bits of shattered glass, a mirror that would, in very truth, reflect the face and form of Nature's perfect self. These myths were born of hopes, and fears, and tears, and smiles, and they were touched and colored by all there is of joy and grief between the rosy dawn of birth, and death's sad night. They clothed even the stars with passion, and gave to gods the faults and frailties of the sons of men. In them, the winds and waves were music, and all the lakes, and streams, and springs,—the mountains, woods and perfumed dells were haunted by a thousand fairy forms. They thrilled the veins of Spring with tremulous desire; made tawny Summer's billowed breast the throne and home of love; filled Autumns arms with sun-kissed grapes, and gathered sheaves; and pictured Winter as a weak old king who felt, like Lear upon his withered face, Cordelia's tears. These myths, though false, are beautiful, and have for many ages and in countless ways, enriched the heart and kindled thought. But if the world were taught that all these things are true and all inspired of God, and that eternal punishment will be the lot of him who dares deny or doubt, the sweetest myth of all the Fable World would lose its beauty, and become a scorned and hateful thing to every brave and thoughtful man.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic. One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same axe---a woman---had asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given an utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these: "I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out. "I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward. "I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both. "I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, brining a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place---then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement---and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and faltering voice. "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
Friendship is a difficult thing to define. Oscar here is my oldest friend. How would you define friendship, Oscar?" Oscar grunts slightly, as though the answer is obvious. "Friendship is about choice and chemistry. It cannot be defined." "But surely there's something more to it than that." "It is a willingness to overlook faults and to accept them. I would let a friend hurt me without striking back," he says, smiling. "But only once." De Souza laughs. "Bravo, Oscar, I can always rely on you to distill an argument down to its purest form. What do you think, Dayel?" The Indian rocks his head from side to side, proud that he has been asked to speak next. "Friendship is different for each person and it changes throughout our lives. At age six it is about holding hands with your best friend. At sixteen it is about the adventure ahead. At sixty it is about reminiscing." He holds up a finger. "You cannot define it with any one word, although honesty is perhaps the closest word-" "No, not honesty," Farhad interrupts. "On the contrary, we often have to protect our friends from what we truly think. It is like an unspoken agreement. We ignore each other's faults and keep our confidences. Friendship isn't about being honest. The truth is too sharp a weapon to wield around someone we trust and respect. Friendship is about self-awareness. We see ourselves through the eyes of our friends. They are like a mirror that allows us to judge how we are traveling." De Souza clears his throat now. I wonder if he is aware of the awe that he inspires in others. I suspect he is too intelligent and too human to do otherwise. "Friendship cannot be defined," he says sternly. "The moment we begin to give reasons for being friends with someone we begin to undermine the magic of the relationship. Nobody wants to know that they are loved for their money or their generosity or their beauty or their wit. Choose one motive and it allows a person to say, 'is that the only reason?'" The others laugh. De Souza joins in with them. This is a performance. He continues: "Trying to explain why we form particular friendships is like trying to tell someone why we like a certain kind of music or a particular food. We just do.
Michael Robotham (The Night Ferry)
Poetic Terrorism WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. ... Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc. Go naked for a sign. Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty. Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, Xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement... The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails. PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now. An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE. Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you. Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
Hakim Bey (TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (New Autonomy))
The desire to make art begins early. Among the very young this is encouraged (or at least indulged as harmless) but the push toward a 'serious' education soon exacts a heavy toll on dreams and fantasies....Yet for some the desire persists, and sooner or later must be addressed. And with good reason: your desire to make art -- beautiful or meaningful or emotive art -- is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age ninety Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Stravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting. But if making art gives substance to your sense of self, the corresponding fear is that you're not up to the task -- that you can't do it, or can't do it well, or can't do it again; or that you're not a real artist, or not a good artist, or have no talent, or have nothing to say. The line between the artist and his/her work is a fine one at best, and for the artist it feels (quite naturally) like there is no such line. Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all -- and for those who do, trouble isn't long in coming. Doubts, in fact, soon rise in swarms: "I am not an artist -- I am a phony. I have nothing worth saying. I'm not sure what I'm doing. Other people are better than I am. I'm only a [student/physicist/mother/whatever]. I've never had a real exhibit. No one understands my work. No one likes my work. I'm no good. Yet viewed objectively, these fears obviously have less to do with art than they do with the artist. And even less to do with the individual artworks. After all, in making art you bring your highest skills to bear upon the materials and ideas you most care about. Art is a high calling -- fears are coincidental. Coincidental, sneaky and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials or surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others -- indeed anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot. What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don't, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.
David Bayles (Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser. do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on. do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material. this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition. the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence. avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
She looked now at the drawing-room step. She saw, through William’s eyes, the shape of a woman, peaceful and silent, with downcast eyes. She sat musing, pondering (she was in grey that day, Lily thought). Her eyes were bent. She would never lift them. . . . [N]o, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low. Then one gave it up; then the idea sunk back again; then one became like most middle-aged people, cautious, furtive, with wrinkles between the eyes and a look of perpetual apprehension. For how could one express in words these emotions of the body? Express that emptiness there? (She was looking at the drawing-room steps; they looked extraordinarily empty.) It was one’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physical sensations that went with the bare look of the steps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant. To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have – to want and want – how that wrung the heart, and wrung again and again! Oh, Mrs. Ramsay! she called out silently, to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract one made of her, that woman in grey, as if to abuse her for having gone, and then having gone, come back again. It had seemed so safe, thinking of her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you could play with easily and safely at any time of day or night, she had been that, and then suddenly she put her hand out and wrung the heart thus. Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, the frill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on the terrace, the whole wave and whisper of the garden became like curves and arabesques flourishing round a centre of complete emptiness. . . . A curious notion came to her that he did after all hear the things she could not say. . . . She looked at her picture. That would have been his answer, presumably – how “you” and “I” and “she” pass and vanish; nothing stays; all changes; but not words, not paint. Yet it would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be rolled up and flung under a sofa; yet even so, even of a picture like that, it was true. One might say, even of this scrawl, not of that actual picture, perhaps, but of what it attempted, that it “remained for ever,” she was going to say, or, for the words spoken sounded even to herself, too boastful, to hint, wordlessly; when, looking at the picture, she was surprised to find that she could not see it. Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did not think of tears at first) which, without disturbing the firmness of her lips, made the air thick, rolled down her cheeks. She had perfect control of herself – Oh, yes! – in every other way. Was she crying then for Mrs. Ramsay, without being aware of any unhappiness? She addressed old Mr. Carmichael again. What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life? – startling, unexpected, unknown? For one moment she felt that if they both got up, here, now on the lawn, and demanded an explanation, why was it so short, why was it so inexplicable, said it with violence, as two fully equipped human beings from whom nothing should be hid might speak, then, beauty would roll itself up; the space would fill; those empty flourishes would form into shape; if they shouted loud enough Mrs. Ramsay would return. “Mrs. Ramsay!” she said aloud, “Mrs. Ramsay!” The tears ran down her face.
Virginia Woolf
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter