Authority And Kindness Quotes

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You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico
And okay, fair enough, but there is this unwritten contract between author and reader and I think not ending your book kind of violates that contract.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.
Kate Forsyth (The Witches of Eileanan (The Witches of Eileanan, #1))
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness... The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
As for what it's against - the story is against those who pervert and misuse religion, or any other kind of doctrine with a holy book and a priesthood and an apparatus of power that wields unchallengeable authority, in order to dominate and suppress human freedoms.
Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials)
One kind of good book should leave you asking: how did the author know that about me?
Alain de Botton
it was the kind of moon that I would want to send back to my ancestors and gift to my descendants so they know that I too, have been bruised...by beauty.
Sanober Khan (Turquoise Silence)
I can't help it. I'm a Slytherin." And I'm the worst kind of Slytherin. I'm the kind who's so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can't even function. I'm the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.
Becky Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat (Simonverse, #3))
Stay curious, stay weird, stay kind and don't let anyone ever tell you you aren't smart or brave or worthy enough.
Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls: Journal 3)
The death of a dream can in fact serve as the vehicle that endows it with new form, with reinvigorated substance, a fresh flow of ideas, and splendidly revitalized color. In short, the power of a certain kind of dream is such that death need not indicate finality at all but rather signify a metaphysical and metaphorical leap forward.
Aberjhani (The River of Winged Dreams)
Live your life in such a way that you'll be remembered for your kindness, compassion, fairness, character, benevolence, and a force for good who had much respect for life, in general.
Germany Kent
It is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.
Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority)
Alexa and the other guests, and perhaps even Georgina, all understood the fleeing from war, from the kind of poverty that crushed human souls, but they would not understand the need to escape from the oppressive lethargy of choicelessness. They would not understand why people like him who were raised well fed and watered but mired in dissatisfaction, conditioned from birth to look towards somewhere else, eternally convinced that real lives happened in that somewhere else, were now resolved to do dangerous things, illegal things, so as to leave, none of them starving, or raped, or from burned villages, but merely hungry for for choice and certainty.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah)
He shook his head, just looking at me. - "What?" I asked. - "Nothing" he said. - "Why are you looking at me like that?" Augustus half smiled. "Because you`re beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence." A brief awkward silence ensued. Augustus plowed through: "I mean, particularly given that, as you so deliciously pointed out, all of this will end in oblivion and everything." I kind of scoffed or sighed or exhaled in a way that was vaguely coughy and then said, "I`m not beau-" - "You are like a millennial Natalie Portman. Like V for Vendetta Natalie Portman." - "Never seen it." - "Really?" he asked. "Pixie-haired gorgeous girl dislikes authority and can`t help but fall for a boy she knows is trouble. It`s your autobiography, so far as I can tell." His every syllable flirted. Honestly, he kind of turned me on. I didn`t even know that guys could turn me on - not, like, in real life.
John Green
The South believed an educated Negro to be a dangerous Negro. And the South was not wholly wrong; for education among all kinds of men always has had, and always will have, an element of danger and revolution, of dissatisfaction and discontent. Nevertheless, men strive to know.
W.E.B. Du Bois (The Souls of Black Folk)
I am Plato's Republic. Mr. Simmons is Marcus. I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Gulliver's Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and-this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Gandhi and Gautama Buddha and Confucius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Advice to my younger self: 1 Start where you are with what you have 2 Try not to hurt other people 3 Take more chances 4 If you fail, keep trying
Germany Kent
There was this book Dad used to read to me every night called "The Giving Tree." It was a really good book, but the back of it had a picture of the author, this guy named Shel Silverstein. But Shel Silverstein looks more like a burglar or a pirate than a guy who should be writing books for kids. Dad must have known that picture kind of freaked me out, because one night after I got out of bed, Dad said: "IF YOU GET OUT OF BED AGAIN TONIGHT, YOU'LL PROBABLY RUN INTO SHEL SILVERSTEIN IN THE HALLWAY." That really did the trick, Ever since then, I STILL don't get out of bed at night, even if I really need to use the bathroom.
Jeff Kinney (The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #3))
These girls with old gents don't do it despite the age—they're drawn to the age, they do it for the age. Why? In Consuela's case, because the vast difference in age gives her permission to submit, I think. My age and my status give her, rationally, the license to surrender, and surrendering in bed is a not unpleasant sensation. But simultaneously, to give yourself over intimately to a much, much older man provides this sort of younger woman with authority of a kind she cannot get in a sexual arrangement with a younger man. She gets both the pleasures of submission and the pleasures of mastery.
Philip Roth (The Dying Animal)
It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry. Imagine then the interest that surrounded Miss Wintertowne! No young lady ever had such advantages before: for she died upon the Tuesday, was raised to life in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was married upon the Thursday; which some people thought too much excitement for one week.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
No matter how many precautions we take, none of us are truly in control. Only God can claim that kind of authority. All we can do is use the good sense he provides and trust him to guide us.
Karen Witemeyer (Short-Straw Bride (Archer Brothers, #1))
Marginalia Sometimes the notes are ferocious, skirmishes against the author raging along the borders of every page in tiny black script. If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head. Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing. I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like who wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson. Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page. One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's. Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal. Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths. Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin. Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines. And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs. Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward. We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge. Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird singing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves. And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling. Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer. I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.
Billy Collins (Picnic, Lightning)
Katniss isn't the kind of hero we're used to seeing in fiction. She reacts more than she acts, she doesn't want to be a leader, and by the end of Mockingjay, she hasn't come into her own or risen like a phoenix from the ashes for some triumphant moment that gives us a sense of satisfaction with how far our protagonist has come. She's not a Buffy. She's not a Bella. She limps across the finish line when we're used to seeing heroes racing; she eases into a quiet, steady love instead of falling fast and hard.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Girl Who Was on Fire: Your Favorite Authors on Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Trilogy)
The most dangerous kind of man is not the one who spent his youth shoving others around. That kind of man gets lazy, and is often too content with his life to be truly dangerous. The man who spent his youth being shoved around, however … When that man gets a little power and authority, he often uses it to become a tyrant on par with the worst warlords in history.
Brandon Sanderson (The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1))
I am a Jane Austenite, and therefore slightly imbecile about Jane Austen. My fatuous expression, and airs of personal immunity—how ill they sit on the face, say, of a Stevensonian! But Jane Austen is so different. She is my favourite author! I read and reread, the mouth open and the mind closed. Shut up in measureless content, I greet her by the name of most kind hostess, while criticism slumbers.
E.M. Forster
But Thierry was shaking his head. "It doesn't matter." His voice was still quiet, but it was filled with the authority of absolute conviction, a kind of bedrock certainty that held even Hannah mesmerized.
L.J. Smith (Night World, No. 2 (Night World, #4-6))
The foundation of individual rights is the assumption that people have wants and needs and are authorities on what those wants and needs are. If people's stated desires were just some kind of erasable inscription or reprogrammable brainwashing, any atrocity could be justified.
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
In fiction, I searched for my favorite authors, women I have trusted to reassure me than not all teenage guys are total ditwads, that the archetype of the noble cute hero who devotes himself to the girl he loves has not gone the way of the rotary phone. That all I had to do was be myself (smart, hardworking, funny) and be patient and kind and he and I would find each other. As Bea would say, this why they call it fiction.
Sarah Strohmeyer (Smart Girls Get What They Want)
At the end of the day, I can't force any of you to treat people the way you should. But it should be on your conscience that whatever law I pass won't do much unless each of you takes it upon yourself to show kindness to your fellow citizens.
Kiera Cass (The Crown (The Selection, #5))
4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ. ...Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost... [Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
There is too much negativity in the world. Do your best to make sure you aren't contributing to it.
Germany Kent
Be the girl you want your daughter to be. Be the girl you want your son to date. Be classy, be smart, be real, but most importantly be nice.
Germany Kent
An admirable line of Pablo Neruda’s, “My creatures are born of a long denial,” seems to me the best definition of writing as a kind of exorcism, casting off invading creatures by projecting them into universal existence, keeping them on the other side of the bridge… It may be exaggerating to say that all completely successful short stories, especially fantastic stories, are products of neurosis, nightmares or hallucination neutralized through objectification and translated to a medium outside the neurotic terrain. This polarization can be found in any memorable short story, as if the author, wanting to rid himself of his creature as soon and as absolutely as possible, exorcises it the only way he can: by writing it.
Julio Cortázar (Around the Day in Eighty Worlds)
Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.
Germany Kent (You Are What You Tweet: Harness the Power of Twitter to Create a Happier, Healthier Life)
I miss her | & not the type of missing when you’re alone, not the type when you’re broken down half drunk, not even the type when you know she’s the one. I’m talking about the kind of missing that when you’re full of happiness…you wish they were there to enjoy it. I don’t care if we’re not together, I don’t care if I never see her again. All that I will every know is I’m here smiling & I know how much she’d like to see that.
Brandon Villasenor (I Can't Stop Drinking About You)
I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.
Dan Barker (Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist)
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
Authors, she soon decided, were probably best met within the pages of their novels, and were as much creatures of the reader's imagination as the characters in their books. Nor did they seem to think one had done them a kindness by reading their writings. Rather they had done one the kindness by writing them.
Alan Bennett (The Uncommon Reader)
I'll tell you how the sun rose A ribbon at a time... It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be. So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
People who believe they have bad luck create bad luck. Those who believe they are very fortunate, that the world is a generous place filled with trustworthy people, live in exactly that kind of world.
Chris Prentiss (The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure)
But the secret of intellectual excellence is the spirit of criticism ; it is intellectual independence. And this leads to difficulties which must prove insurmountable for any kind of authoritarianism. The authoritarian will in general select those who obey, who believe, who respond to his influence. But in doing so, he is bound to select mediocrities. For he excludes those who revolt, who doubt, who dare to resist his influence. Never can an authority admit that the intellectually courageous, i.e. those who dare to defy his authority, may be the most valuable type. Of course, the authorities will always remain convinced of their ability to detect initiative. But what they mean by this is only a quick grasp of their intentions, and they will remain for ever incapable of seeing the difference.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume One: The Spell of Plato)
Author note re: Torn (Book #2)..."There are all kinds of love in the world, but never the same love twice!" ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Kim Karr (Connected (Connections, #1))
Freedom of Speech doesn't justify online bullying. Words have power, be careful how you use them.
Germany Kent
If you are a kind and a peaceful person, you will see yourself when you look at an elegant flower!
Mehmet Murat ildan
It was a flight, a kind of fleeing, a kind of falling, falling higher and higher, spinning off the edge of the earth and beyond the sun and through the vast silent vacuum where there were no burdens and where everything weighed exactly nothing.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
For me, the last few years of the postmodern era have seemed a bit like the way you feel when you're in high school and your parents go on a trip, and you throw a party. You get all your friends over and throw this wild disgusting fabulous party. For a while it's great, free and freeing, parental authority gone and overthrown, a cat's-away-let's-play Dionysian revel. But then time passes and the party gets louder and louder, and you run out of drugs, and nobody's got any money for more drugs, and things get broken and spilled, and there's cigarette burn on the couch, and you're the host and it's your house too, and you gradually start wishing your parents would come back and restore some fucking order in your house. It's not a perfect analogy, but the sense I get of my generation of writers and intellectuals or whatever is that it's 3:00 A.M. and the couch has several burn-holes and somebody's thrown up in the umbrella stand and we're wishing the revel would end. The postmodern founders' patricidal work was great, but patricide produces orphans, and no amount of revelry can make up for the fact that writers my age have been literary orphans throughout our formative years. We're kind of wishing some parents would come back. And of course we're uneasy about the fact that we wish they'd come back--I mean, what's wrong with us? Are we total pussies? Is there something about authority and limits we actually need? And then the uneasiest feeling of all, as we start gradually to realize that parents in fact aren't ever coming back--which means we're going to have to be the parents.
David Foster Wallace
What you post online speaks VOLUME about who you really are. POST with intention. REPOST with caution.
Germany Kent
Don't promote negativity online and expect people to treat you with positivity in person.
Germany Kent
Time is a funny thing, it can give and it can take away; and a single moment in time can truly change one’s life forever! The best kind of love is unexpected, unexplainable, undeniable, and unimaginable. Your sweet scent will forever be with me, reminding me of the love we once shared. I will breathe in the memories until we meet again. Before you act on what you have been told, consider your source. It may simply be assumption on their part, and that can be far from fact. Why stand back and wait for someone to fail when you can stand up and offer your support? Love is when the sound of your partner’s snoring lulls you to sleep, and it acts as a reminder that they are there by your side. Building a wall around your heart is a voluntary imprisonment to which only you have the key. Open your heart to life’s possibilities!
Donna L. Jones
Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, tells us that people become unhappy if they have too many options in life. The problem with options is that choosing any path can leave you plagued with self-doubt.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
There are, first of all, two kinds of authors: those who write for the subject's sake, and those who write for writing's sake. [...] The truth is that when an author begins to write for the sake of covering paper, he is cheating the reader; because he writes under the pretext that he has something to say.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Art of Literature)
Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made. That is a philosophy of the disembodied, of a people who control nothing, who can protect nothing, who are made to fear not just the criminals among them but the police who lord over them with all the moral authority of a protection racket.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
Language can't describe reality. Literature has no stable reference, no real meaning. Each reader's interpretation is equally valid, more important than the author's intention. In fact, nothing in life has meaning. Reality is subjective. Values and truths are subjective. Life itself is a kind of illusion. Blah, blah, blah, let's have another scotch.
Dean Koontz (False Memory)
Idolatry happens when you worship or praise anything excessively to the point of causing you to believe it reigns supreme. All things on this earth are temporal, even your very own desires. Be careful that you do not create idols to worship.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
In terms of the historical record, I should also point out that there is no account in any ancient source whatsoever about King Herod slaughtering children in or around Bethlehem, or anyplace else. No other author, biblical or otherwise, mentions this event. Is it, like John's account of Jesus' death, a detail made up by Matthew in order to make some kind of theological point?
Bart D. Ehrman (Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don't Know About Them)
A child's reading is guided by pleasure, but his pleasure is undifferentiated; he cannot distinguish, for example, between aesthetic pleasure and the pleasures of learning or daydreaming. In adolescence we realize that there are different kinds of pleasure, some of which cannot be enjoyed simultaneously, but we need help from others in defining them. Whether it be a matter of taste in food or taste in literature, the adolescent looks for a mentor in whose authority he can believe. He eats or reads what his mentor recommends and, inevitably, there are occasions when he has to deceive himself a little; he has to pretend that he enjoys olives or War and Peace a little more than he actually does. Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity. Few of us can learn this without making mistakes, without trying to become a little more of a universal man than we are permitted to be. It is during this period that a writer can most easily be led astray by another writer or by some ideology. When someone between twenty and forty says, apropos of a work of art, 'I know what I like,'he is really saying 'I have no taste of my own but accept the taste of my cultural milieu', because, between twenty and forty, the surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it. After forty, if we have not lost our authentic selves altogether, pleasure can again become what it was when we were children, the proper guide to what we should read.
W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand)
Never underestimate a person who is kind and sweet. They may have friends in high places or some other superpower. I have written a large company about some improvements and glitches they have which affected my and other authors'/partners' sales. They did very little. Now they are being looked at by people in high places. - Strong by Kailin Gow about the Strength of Being an Influencer
Kailin Gow
Lack of any kind is always traceable to the fact that we have been seeking our supply from some secondary source, instead of from God himself, the author and giver of life.
Emmet Fox (Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings)
I think if you want to make a recipe for making a writer, have them feel a little out of place everywhere, have them be an observer kind of all the time.
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race. All through history, mankind has been bullied by scum. Those who lord it over their fellows and toss commands in every direction and would boss the grass in the meadow about which way to bend in the wind are the most depraved kind of prostitutes. They will submit to any indignity, perform any vile act, do anything to achieve power. The worst off-sloughings of the planet are the ingredients of sovereignty. Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.
P.J. O'Rourke (Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government)
The Thing about people who wanted to show you things was that sometimes their interest in granting you knowledge was laced with a little voyeuristic sadism. They were waiting for the Look or the Reaction, and they didn’t care what it was so long as it inflicted some kind of discomfort.
Jeff VanderMeer (Authority)
All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised. When it is violently, grossly, and cruelly used, it produces a good effect by creating, or at any rate bringing out, the spirit of revolt and individualism that is to kill it. When it is used with a certain amount of kindness, and accompanied by prizes and rewards, it is dreadfully demoralising. People, in that case, are less conscious of the horrible pressure that is being put on them, and so go through their lives in a sort of coarse comfort, like petted animals, without ever realising that they are probably thinking other people's thoughts, living by other people's standards, wearing practically what one may call other people's second-hand clothes, and never being themselves for a single moment.
Oscar Wilde (The Soul of Man Under Socialism)
There is a circularity here I do not doubt. I am defending the Bible by the Bible. Circularity of a kind is unavoidable when one seeks to defend an ultimate standard of truth, for one's defense must itself be accountable to that standard.
John M. Frame (The Doctrine of the Word of God (A Theology of Lordship))
Have you ever been reading a book and found yourself having to pause for a second and read a certain part again because the author has summed up in a few sentences exactly what you were feeling at a certain point in your life; a feeling you'd never been able to put into words before and there it suddenly is laid out before you, written by someone you've never even met? It's kind of a tragically wonderful feeling.
Emily May
It has been remarked (by a lady infinitely cleverer than the present author) how kindly disposed the world in general feels to young people who either die or marry.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
Greatness is achieved through kindness, compassion, and love.
A.D. Posey
Editing is a kind of creative activity where, in a perfect world, an author and an editor find that elusive oneness to understand each other intuitively.
Sahara Sanders
Exercise power by means of kindness, and you may be causing more damage than you could by cruelty. Neither approach is correct.
Idries Shah (Learning How to Learn: Psychology and Spirituality in the Sufi Way)
Today, the mere idea of aristocracy is incompatible with the dominant ideology. But every people needs an aristocracy. It's an integral part of human nature and can't be dispensed with. The question then is not 'For or against aristocracy?' but 'What kind of aristocracy?
Guillaume Faye (Why We Fight)
There are two kinds of people: eaters and bakers. Eaters think the world is a zero-sum game: what someone else eats, they cannot eat. Bakers do not believe that the world is a zero-sum game because they can bake more and bigger pies.
Guy Kawasaki (APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. How to Publish a Book)
In the shower today I tried to think about the best advice I'd ever been given by another writer. There was something that someone said at my first Milford, about using style as a covering, but sooner or later you would have to walk naked down the street, that was useful... And then I remembered. It was Harlan Ellison about a decade ago. He said, "Hey. Gaiman. What's with the stubble? Every time I see you, you're stubbly. What is it? Some kind of English fashion statement?" "Not really." "Well? Don't they have razors in England for Chrissakes?" "If you must know, I don't like shaving because I have a really tough beard and sensitive skin. So by the time I've finished shaving I've usually scraped my face a bit. So I do it as little as possible." "Oh." He paused. "I've got that too. What you do is, you rub your stubble with hair conditioner. Leave it a couple of minutes, then wash it off. Then shave normally. Makes it really easy to shave. No scraping." I tried it. It works like a charm. Best advice from a writer I've ever received.
Neil Gaiman
August in Mississippi is different from July. As to heat, it is not a question of degree but of kind. July heat is furious, but in August the heat has killed even itself and lies dead over us.
Elizabeth Spencer (Fire in the Morning)
[...] he made it a rule never to touch a book by any author who had not been dead at least 30 years. "That's the only kind of book I can trust", he said. "It's not that I don't believe in contemporary literature," he added, "but I don't want to waste valuable time reading any book that has not had the baptism of time. Life is too short.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
There is a kind of gaping admiration that would fain roll Shakespeare and Bacon into one, to have a bigger thing to gape at; and a class of men who cannot edit one author without disparaging all others.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes)
Author's Prayer If I speak for the dead, I must leave this animal of my body, I must write the same poem over and over for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender. If I speak of them, I must walk on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind man who runs through the rooms without touching the furniture. Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking "What year is it?" I can dance in my sleep and laugh in front of the mirror. Even sleep is a prayer, Lord, I will praise your madness, and in a language not mine, speak of music that wakes us, music in which we move. For whatever I say is a kind of petition and the darkest days must I praise.
Ilya Kaminsky (Dancing in Odessa)
He looks like the kind of boy who would jump trains, strum guitars, and pass a joint.
Heather Demetrios (Something Real (Something Real, #1))
There is no good or bad author; there is only one kind of an author, that who connects with the readers.
Saru Singhal
Book lovers love books!" her mother announced. "There's romance about the books- even having them seems to have a kind of excitement." from Mr. Linden's Library by Walter Dean Myers
Chris Van Allsburg (The Chronicles of Harris Burdick: Fourteen Amazing Authors Tell the Tales)
One day I woke up and realized no amount of love, care, pain, hurt, anger, or retribution could ever transform those who are evil into good or kind people. That day I let go; I stopped caring for them, gave up any hope for their souls, and knew they were never worthy of me or my time.
Ken Poirot
What kind of men, then, does our society need? What is the "social character" suited to twentieth century Capitalism? It needs men who co-operate smoothly in large groups; who want to consume more and more, and whose tasks are standardized and can easily be influenced and anticipated. It needs men who feel free and independent, not subject to any authority, or principle, or conscience - yet willing to be commanded, to do what is expected, to fit into the social machine without friction.
Erich Fromm (The Sane Society)
Whatever you may have heard, self-publishing is not a short cut to anything. Except maybe insanity. Self-publishing, like every other kind of publishing, is hard work. You don’t wake up one morning good at it. You have to work for that.
Zoe Winters (Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author)
Im happy to sit and be an ear to listen when the world gets wild but Id much prefer to watch the ways your eyes in sparkle in the midst of convincing me why you love the things you do. It gives me hope that someone else out there feels everything with this much depth and has the willingness to create a beautiful life from it.
Nikki Rowe
Grayson: Fiction is just a lie anyway. Brianna: But it's not - it's a different kind of truth - it would be your truth at the time of the writing, wouldn't it?
Nora Roberts (Born in Ice (Born In Trilogy, #2))
What profession is more trying than that of author? After you finish a piece of work it only seems good to you for a few weeks; or if it seems good at all you are convinced that it is the last you will be able to write; and if it seems bad you wonder whether everything you have done isn’t poor stuff really; and it is one kind of agony while you are writing, and another kind when you aren’t.
T.S. Eliot
I feel a kind of reverence for the first books of young authors. There is so much aspiration in them, so much audacious hope and trembling fear, so much of the heart's history, that all errors and shortcomings are for a while lost sight of in the amiable self assertion of youth.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I doubt that my sense of personal freedom is any stronger than anybody else's. I'm happy to respect authority when it's genuine authority, based on moral or intellectual or even technical superiority. I'm eager to follow a hero if we can find one. But I tend to resist or evade any kind of authority based merely on the power to coerce. Government, for example. The Army tried to train us to salute the uniform, not the man. Failed. I will salute the man, maybe, if I think he's worthy of it, but I don't salute uniforms anymore.
Edward Abbey (Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)
Graham Chapman, co-author of the "Parrot Sketch", is no more. He has ceased to be. Bereft of life, he rests in peace. He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky. And I guess that we're all thinking how sad it is that a man of such talent, of such capability for kindness, of such unusual intelligence, should now so suddenly be spirited away at the age of only forty-eight, before he'd achieved many of the things of which he was capable, and before he'd had enough fun. Well, I feel that I should say: nonsense. Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries. And the reason I feel I should say this is he would never forgive me if I didn't, if I threw away this glorious opportunity to shock you all on his behalf. Anything for him but mindless good taste. (He paused, then claimed that Chapman had whipered in his ear while he was writing the speech): All right, Cleese. You say you're very proud of being the very first person ever to say 'shit' on British television. If this service is really for me, just for starters, I want you to become the first person ever at a British memorial service to say 'fuck'.
John Cleese
When we hear these kinds of excuses from a drunk, we assume they are exactly that—excuses. We don’t consider an active alcoholic a reliable source of insight. So why should we let an angry and controlling man be the authority on partner abuse?
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
Lord, if I thought you were listening, I'd pray for this above all: that any church set up in your name should remain poor, and powerless, and modest. That it should wield no authority except that of love. That it should never cast anyone out. That it should own no property and make no laws. That it should not condemn, but only forgive. That it should be not like a palace with marble walls and polished floors, and guards standing at the door, but like a tree with its roots deep in the soil, that shelters every kind of bird and beast and gives blossom in the spring and shade in the hot sun and fruit in the season, and in time gives up its good sound wood for the carpenter; but that sheds many thousands of seeds so that new trees can grow in its place. Does the tree say to the sparrow, 'Get out, you don't belong here?' Does the tree say to the hungry man, 'This fruit is not for you?' Does the tree test the loyalty of the beasts before it allows them into the shade?
Philip Pullman (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ)
Mysteries in books were the best kind. The real world was absolutely full of boring mysteries, questions that never got answered and lost things that never got found. That wasn't allowed, in books. In books, mysteries were always interesting and exciting, packed with daring and danger, and in the end, the good guys found the clues and the bad guys got their comeuppance. Best of all, nothing was ever lost forever. If something mattered enough for the author to write it down, it would always come back before the last page was turned. It would always come back.
Seanan McGuire (In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4))
A writer writes knowing that nothing else will elicit the same kind of satisfaction and personal triumph as molding the written word into a reader's great experience.
Richelle E. Goodrich
It was no place for a Kabra, not even a poor one living in exile with a psychopathic cat. He approached the counter and rand the bell with authority. The clerk turned around. Evan Tolliver. "You're Amy's cousin!" "Yes, I am," Ian confirmed. "I have here a list of items–" "Have you heard from her?" Evan interrupted. "Is she okay?" "Her health is excellent." "No, I mean–" Ian sighed. "Why should you care? She promises to phone you, and she doesn't. You were nearly arrested, thanks to her. There's a message in there somewhere, don't you agree?" Evan nodded sadly. "I kind of think so, too. But we were awesome together. She's smart, fun to be with, and not immature like most of the girls in our school. It's as if she has an automatic switch for when it's time to be serious–she can almost be old beyond her years at times. Where do you learn something like that?" "I have no earthly idea," Ian lied.
Gordon Korman (The Medusa Plot (39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #1))
Historically, all ethics undoubtedly begin with religion; but I do not now deal with historical questions. I do not ask who was the first lawgiver. I only maintain that it is we, and we alone, who are responsible for adopting or rejecting some suggested moral laws; it is we who must distinguish between the true prophets and the false prophets. All kinds of norms have been claimed to be God-given. If you accept 'Christian' ethics of equality and toleration and freedom of conscience only because of its claim to rest upon divine authority, then you build on a weak basis; for it has been only too often claimed that inequality is willed by God, and that we must not be tolerant with unbelievers. If, however, you accept the Christian ethics not because you are commanded to do so but because of your conviction that it is the right decision to take, then it is you who have decided.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume One: The Spell of Plato)
If you've spent any time trolling the blogosphere, you've probably noticed a peculiar literary trend: the pervasive habit of writers inexplicably placing exclamation points at the end of otherwise unremarkable sentences. Sort of like this! This is done to suggest an ironic detachment from the writing of an expository sentence! It's supposed to signify that the writer is self-aware! And this is idiotic. It's the saddest kind of failure. F. Scott Fitzgerald believed inserting exclamation points was the literary equivalent of an author laughing at his own jokes, but that's not the case in the modern age; now, the exclamation point signifies creative confusion. All it illustrates is that even the writer can't tell if what they're creating is supposed to be meaningful, frivolous, or cruel. It's an attempt to insert humor where none exists, on the off chance that a potential reader will only be pleased if they suspect they're being entertained. Of course, the reader isn't really sure, either. They just want to know when they're supposed to pretend to be amused. All those extraneous exclamation points are like little splatters of canned laughter: They represent the "form of funny," which is more easily understood (and more easily constructed) than authentic funniness.
Chuck Klosterman (Eating the Dinosaur)
For every bad man and woman I have ever known, I have met . . . an overwhelming number of thoroughly clean and decent people who still believe in God and cherish high ideals, and it is upon the lives of these people that I base what I write. To contend that this does not produce a picture true to life is idiocy. It does. It produces a picture true to ideal life; to the best that good men and good women can do at level best. I care very little for the . . . critics who proclaim that there is no such thing as a moral man, and that my pictures of life are sentimental and idealized. They are! And I glory in them! They are straight, living pictures from the lives of men and women of morals, honor, and loving kindness. . . . Such a big majority of book critics and authors have begun to teach, whether they really believe it or not, that no book is true to life unless it is true to the worst in life.
Gene Stratton-Porter (Gene Stratton Porter: A Little Story of Her Life and Work)
Crowds exhibit a docile respect for force, And are but slightly impressed by kindness, Which for them is scarcely other than a form of weakness. Their sympathies have never been bestowed upon easy going masters, but the tyrants who vigorously oppressed them. It is to these latter that they always erect the loftiest statues. It is true that they willingly trample on the despot whom they have stripped of his power, but it is because having lost his power he resumes his place among the feeble who are to be despised because they are not to be feared. The type of hero dear to a crowd will always have the semblance of a Caesar, His insignia attract them, His authority overawes them, and his sword instils them with fear.
Gustave Le Bon (The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind)
I think when a reader reads a whole book - which takes six to ten hours - that’s kind of a gift to the author. The gift of close, undivided attention. To who else do we listen so closely for eight straight hours? And when readers give that gift to me, I’m grateful for it.
Po Bronson
I said that any sort of power is coercion of the people, and that the time will come when there will be no power, neither of the caesars, nor of any other sort of authority. Man will move on to the kingdom of truth and justice where no kind of power will be needed at all.
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
I want you to be on the lookout for people who talk with unerring conviction and authority about what others should do. Especially about what others should do. These are the people who always seem to lead us into some kind of trouble.
Omar Saif Ghobash (Letters to a Young Muslim)
One more, final question came from the audience on my last night in Newtown, and it was the one I most did not want to hear: “Will God protect my child?” I stayed silent for what seemed like minutes. More than anything I wanted to answer with authority, “Yes! Of course God will protect you. Let me read you some promises from the Bible.” I knew, though, that behind me on the same platform twenty-six candles were flickering in memory of victims, proof that we have no immunity from the effects of a broken planet. My mind raced back to Japan, where I heard from parents who had lost their children to a tsunami in a middle school, and forward to that very morning when I heard from parents who had lost theirs to a shooter in an elementary school. At last I said, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t promise that.” None of us is exempt. We all die, some old, some tragically young. God provides support and solidarity, yes, but not protection—at least not the kind of protection we desperately long for. On this cursed planet, even God suffered the loss of a Son.
Philip Yancey (The Question That Never Goes Away)
When the web started, I used to get really grumpy with people because they put my poems up. They put my stories up. They put my stuff up on the web. I had this belief, which was completely erroneous, that if people put your stuff up on the web and you didn’t tell them to take it down, you would lose your copyright, which actually, is simply not true. And I also got very grumpy because I felt like they were pirating my stuff, that it was bad. And then I started to notice that two things seemed much more significant. One of which was… places where I was being pirated, particularly Russia where people were translating my stuff into Russian and spreading around into the world, I was selling more and more books. People were discovering me through being pirated. Then they were going out and buying the real books, and when a new book would come out in Russia, it would sell more and more copies. I thought this was fascinating, and I tried a few experiments. Some of them are quite hard, you know, persuading my publisher for example to take one of my books and put it out for free. We took “American Gods,” a book that was still selling and selling very well, and for a month they put it up completely free on their website. You could read it and you could download it. What happened was sales of my books, through independent bookstores, because that’s all we were measuring it through, went up the following month three hundred percent. I started to realize that actually, you’re not losing books. You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there. When I give a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people say, “Well, what about the sales that I’m losing through having stuff copied, through having stuff floating out there?” I started asking audiences to just raise their hands for one question. Which is, I’d say, “Okay, do you have a favorite author?” They’d say, “Yes.” and I’d say, “Good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favorite author by being lent a book, put up your hands.” And then, “Anybody who discovered your favorite author by walking into a bookstore and buying a book raise your hands.” And it’s probably about five, ten percent of the people who actually discovered an author who’s their favorite author, who is the person who they buy everything of. They buy the hardbacks and they treasure the fact that they got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it, and that’s how they found their favorite author. And I thought, “You know, that’s really all this is. It’s people lending books. And you can’t look on that as a loss of sale. It’s not a lost sale, nobody who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free.” What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people, you’re raising awareness. Understanding that gave me a whole new idea of the shape of copyright and of what the web was doing. Because the biggest thing the web is doing is allowing people to hear things. Allowing people to read things. Allowing people to see things that they would never have otherwise seen. And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.
Neil Gaiman
Later I would come to believe that erotic ties were all a spell, a temporary psychosis, even a kind of violence, or at least they coexisted with these states. I noted that criminals as well as the insane tended to give off a palpable, vibrating allure, a kind of animal magnetism that kept them loved by someone. How else could they survive at all? Someone had to hide them from the authorities! Hence the necessity and prevalence of sex appeal for people who were wild and on the edge.
Lorrie Moore
That distinctive singular stamp of himself is one of the main reasons readers come to love an author. The way you can just tell, often within a couple paragraphs, that something is by Dickens, or Chekhov, or Woolf, or Salinger, or Coetzee, or Ozick. The quality’s almost impossible to describe or account for straight out — it mostly presents as a vibe, a kind of perfume of sensibility — and critics’ attempts to reduce it to questions of “style” are almost universally lame.
David Foster Wallace (Consider the Lobster and Other Essays)
If I may be pardoned for suggesting the obvious, I do so only because the obvious is not observed in so many instances. The obvious includes four imperatives with reference to children: (1) love them, (2) teach them, (3) respect them, and (4) pray with them and for them... How much more beautiful would be the world and the society in which we live if every father looked upon his children as the most precious of his assets, if he led them by the power of his example in kindness and love, and if in times of stress he blessed them by the authority of the holy priesthood; and if every mother regarded her children as the jewels of her life, as gifts from the God of heaven, who is their Eternal Father, and brought them up with true affection in the wisdom and admonition of the Lord...
Gordon B. Hinckley
How many of the ragged workingmen who pass him in the street are secret authors of works that will outlast them: roads, walls, pylons? Immortality of a kind, a limited immortality, is not so hard to achieve after all. Why then does he persist in inscribing marks on paper, in the faint hope that people not yet born will take the trouble to decipher them?
J.M. Coetzee (Summertime)
You will not remember much from school. School is designed to teach you how to respond and listen to authority figures in the event of an emergency. Like if there's a bomb in a mall or a fire in an office. It can, apparently, take you more than a decade to learn this. These are not the best days of your life. They are still ahead of you. You will fall in love and have your heart broken in many different, new and interesting ways in college or university (if you go) and you will actually learn things, as at this point, people will believe you have a good chance of obeying authority and surviving, in the event of an emergency. If, in your chosen career path, there are award shows that give out more than ten awards in one night or you have to pay someone to actually take the award home to put on your mantlepiece, then those awards are more than likely designed to make young people in their 20's work very late, for free, for other people. Those people will do their best to convince you that they have value. They don't. Only the things you do have real, lasting value, not the things you get for the things you do. You will, at some point, realise that no trophy loves you as much as you love it, that it cannot pay your bills (even if it increases your salary slightly) and that it won't hold your hand tightly as you say your last words on your deathbed. Only people who love you can do that. If you make art to feel better, make sure it eventually makes you feel better. If it doesn't, stop making it. You will love someone differently, as time passes. If you always expect to feel the same kind of love you felt when you first met someone, you will always be looking for new people to love. Love doesn't fade. It just changes as it grows. It would be boring if it didn't. There is no truly "right" way of writing, painting, being or thinking, only things which have happened before. People who tell you differently are assholes, petrified of change, who should be violently ignored. No philosophy, mantra or piece of advice will hold true for every conceivable situation. "The early bird catches the worm" does not apply to minefields. Perfection only exists in poetry and movies, everyone fights occasionally and no sane person is ever completely sure of anything. Nothing is wrong with any of this. Wisdom does not come from age, wisdom comes from doing things. Be very, very careful of people who call themselves wise, artists, poets or gurus. If you eat well, exercise often and drink enough water, you have a good chance of living a long and happy life. The only time you can really be happy, is right now. There is no other moment that exists that is more important than this one. Do not sacrifice this moment in the hopes of a better one. It is easy to remember all these things when they are being said, it is much harder to remember them when you are stuck in traffic or lying in bed worrying about the next day. If you want to move people, simply tell them the truth. Today, it is rarer than it's ever been. (People will write things like this on posters (some of the words will be bigger than others) or speak them softly over music as art (pause for effect). The reason this happens is because as a society, we need to self-medicate against apathy and the slow, gradual death that can happen to anyone, should they confuse life with actually living.)
pleasefindthis
MAN: What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “anarchist,” exactly? There’s no difference, really. I think they’re the same thing. But you see, “libertarian” has a special meaning in the United States. The United States is off the spectrum of the main tradition in this respect: what’s called “libertarianism” here is unbridled capitalism. Now, that’s always been opposed in the European libertarian tradition, where every anarchist has been a socialist—because the point is, if you have unbridled capitalism, you have all kinds of authority: you have extreme authority.
Noam Chomsky
(on the Pip and Squeak asking for a taxi tip) "How about a tip?" "Here's a tip," I said. "Next time you're at the library, check out a book about a champion of the world." "By that author with all the chocolate?" "Yes, but this one's even better It has some very good chapters in it." "That's the kind of tip we can use," Squeak said. "Pip reads to me between fares.
Lemony Snicket (Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions, #1))
In previous centuries, the Church was the great controller, dictating morality, stifling free expression and posing as conservator of all great art and music. Instead we have TV, doing just as good a job at dictating fashions, thoughts, attitudes, objectives as did the Church, using many of the same techniques but doing it so palatably that no one notices. Instead of ‘sins’ to keep people in line, we have fears of being judged unacceptable by our peers (by not wearing the right shoes, not drinking the right kind of beer, or wearing the wrong kind of deodorant). Coupled with that fear is imposed insecurity concerning our own identities. All answers and solutions to these fears come through the television, and only through television. Only through exposure to TV can the new sins of alienation and ostracism be absolved.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
THE FIRST STAGE OF ANALYTICAL READING, OR RULES FOR FINDING WHAT A BOOK IS ABOUT 1. Classify the book according to kind and subject matter. 2. State what the whole book is about with the utmost brevity. 3. Enumerate its major parts in their order and relation, and outline these parts as you have outlined the whole. 4. Define the problem or problems the author is trying to solve.
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book)
You know, I like to think my life is kind of like the books I read, only I'm the author. I can write the story I want. The future can be anything I want it to be." He moved his head side to side, considering my words. "That works, as long as your story has a blond stud that fucks like an animal.
Adriana Locke (The Exception (The Exception, #1))
The birth of a true poet is neither an insignificant event nor an easy delivery. Complications generally begin long before the fated soul carries its dubious light into whatever womb has been kind enough to volunteer the intricate machinery of its blood and prayers and muscles for a gestation period much longer than nine months or even nine years.
Aberjhani (The American Poet Who Went Home Again)
Lots of people perish on the highways. All those faces should be preserved, engagements kept, promises upheld. Impossible. I walked out instantly. Fleeing the scene of a crime. That kind of game can destroy you. Anyway, I've never known who I was. I authorize my biographer to simply call me "a man," and I wish him luck. I've been unable to lengthen my stride, my breath, or my sentences. He won't understand the first thing about this story. Neither do I. We're even.
Patrick Modiano (La Ronde de nuit)
What one means by integrity, in the case of the novelist, is the conviction that he gives one that this is the truth. . . . When one so exposes it [integrity] and sees it come to life one exclaims in rapture, But this is what I have always felt and known and desired! And one boils over with excitement, and, shutting the book even with a kind of reverence as if it were something very precious, a stand-by to return to as long as one lives, one puts it back on the shelf.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority .... Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.
Alexander Hamilton
I have a pesky little critic in the back of my mind. He's a permanent fixture and passes judgment on everything I write. In order to placate him, especially when I'm endeavoring to write anything as ambitious as a novel, I have to constantly mutter, 'I'm not writing a masterpiece, I'm not writing a masterpiece.' This mantra lulls him into a kind of stupor so that he pays no attention to what I'm doing, because after all, I'm not claiming it's any good. Slowly, and secretly, one page at a time, I write my story. I know I've succeeded when he grudgingly admits, 'That's pretty good.' And if I'm lucky, every once in a while, I blow him away.
Rukhsana Khan
That's why I've just gone on … collecting this particular kind of stuff – what you might call riff-raff. There's not a book here, Lawford, that hasn't at least a glimmer of the real thing in it – just Life, seen through a living eye, and felt. As for literature, and style, and all that gallimaufry, don't fear for them if your author has the ghost of a hint of genius in his making.
Walter de la Mare (The Return)
I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different colour, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
Chinua Achebe
Captain Kidd said, It has been said by authorities that the law should apply the same to the king and to the peasant both, it should be written out and placed in the city square for all to see, it should be written simply and in the language of the common people, lest the people grow weary of their burdens. The young man tipped his head toward the Captain with an odd look on his face, It was a kind of longing, a kind of hope. Who said that? Hammurabi.
Paulette Jiles (News of the World)
Her mind moved around and around the subject, moving with a kind of fuzzy firmness. With no coherent thought process, she arrived at a conviction - a habit with the basically insecure; an insecurity whose seeds are invariably planted earlier, in under or over-protectiveness, in a distrust in parental authority which becomes all authority. It can later, with maturity - a flexible concept - be laughed away, dispelled by determined clear thinking. Or it can be encouraged by self-abusive resentment and brooding self-pity. It can grow ever greater until the original authority becomes intolerable, and a change becomes imperative. Not to a radical one in thinking; that would be too troublesome, too painful. The change is simply to authority in another guise which, in time, and under any great stress, must be distrusted and resented even more than the first.
Jim Thompson (The Getaway)
Peter Parker: I mean, what I do sometimes requires violence, but I'm not a violent man, I'm really not. But I just-- Mary Jane: You wanted to deck her. Peter: Twice. And I hate feeling that way. Why is it that people feel the need to take whatever little authority they have and shove it down your throat? And the smaller the authority, the bigger the shove. Aunt May: It offends you, doesn't it? Peter: Yeah, it does. Aunt May: Why? Peter: I -- What do you mean, why? Aunt May: Why does it offend you? Peter: Shouldn't it? Aunt May: If a lion broke out of its cage at the zoo, and bit you, it would hurt, sure, and you'd be upset, of course. But would you be offended? Peter: No, of course not. Aunt May: Why? Peter: Because that's the nature of a lion. Aunt May: Some people by nature are kind and charitable. You could say that some people, including at least one person at this table, are by their nature heroes. Ben always reminded me that we each contain all the nobler and meaner aspects of humanity, but some get a bigger dose than others of one thing or another. Some are petty, and mean, and uncharitable. That's their nature. You can hope for better, even try to lead them to be and you may even succeed. But when they behave badly, it's right to be upset by it, or hurt by it, but you can be no more offended by it than you can when a lion bites you.
J. Michael Straczynski
There is a sacred calling on your life, and the question is: Will you spend your life flittering and fluttering about or take the time and really heed that call and create your own path to your highest good?...You cannot let other people define your life for you. You are the author of your own life...Real power is when you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing, the best it can be done. Authentic power. There's a surge, there's a kind of energy field that says, "I'm in my groove, I'm in my groove." And nobody has to tell you, "You go, girl," because you know you're already gone.
Oprah Winfrey
I flipped to the author’s photo in the Library of America edition of O’Connor’s collected works, and forked it over. Solitary examined the photo. “Okay,” she said, handing it back, “I’ll read it.” What in Flannery O’Connor’s countenance met with Solitary’s approval? “I dunno,” she said. “She looks kind of busted up, y’know? She ain’t too pretty. I trust her.
Avi Steinberg (Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian)
And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obeyed in office. Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand. Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back. Thou hotly lust’st to use her in that kind For which thou whipp’st her. The usurer hangs the cozener. Through tattered clothes great vices do appear; Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold, And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks. Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it. None does offend—none, I say, none. I’ll able 'em. Take that of me, my friend, who have the power To seal th' accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes, And like a scurvy politician seem To see the things thou dost not.
William Shakespeare (King Lear)
I especially loved the Old Testament. Even as a kid I had a sense of it being slightly illicit. As though someone had slipped an R-rated action movie into a pile of Disney DVDs. For starters Adam and Eve were naked on the first page. I was fascinated by Eve's ability to always stand in the Garden of Eden so that a tree branch or leaf was covering her private areas like some kind of organic bakini. But it was the Bible's murder and mayhem that really got my attention. When I started reading the real Bible I spent most of my time in Genesis Exodus 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Talk about violent. Cain killed Abel. The Egyptians fed babies to alligators. Moses killed an Egyptian. God killed thousands of Egyptians in the Red Sea. David killed Goliath and won a girl by bringing a bag of two hundred Philistine foreskins to his future father-in-law. I couldn't believe that Mom was so happy about my spending time each morning reading about gruesome battles prostitutes fratricide murder and adultery. What a way to have a "quiet time." While I grew up with a fairly solid grasp of Bible stories I didn't have a clear idea of how the Bible fit together or what it was all about. I certainly didn't understand how the exciting stories of the Old Testament connected to the rather less-exciting New Testament and the story of Jesus. This concept of the Bible as a bunch of disconnected stories sprinkled with wise advice and capped off with the inspirational life of Jesus seems fairly common among Christians. That is so unfortunate because to see the Bible as one book with one author and all about one main character is to see it in its breathtaking beauty.
Joshua Harris (Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters)
though books, as Milton says, may be the embalming of mighty spirits, they are also the resurrection of rebellious, reactionary, fantastical, and wicked spirits! in books dwell all the demons and all the angels of the human mind. it is for this reason that a a bookshop -- especially a second-hand bookshop / antiquarian - is an arsenal of explosives, an armory of revolutions, an opium den of reaction. and just because books are the repository of all the redemptions and damnations, all the sanities and insanities, of the divine anarchy of the soul, they are still, as they have alwasys been, an object of suspicion to every kind of ruling authority. in a second-hand bookshop are the horns of the altar where all the outlawed thoughts of humanity can take refuge! here, like depserate bandits, hide all the reckless progeny of our wild, dark, self-lacerating hearts. a bookshop is powder-magazine, a dynamite-shed, a drugstore of poisons, a bar of intoxicants, a den of opiates, an island of sirens. of all the 'houses of ill fame' which a tyrant, a bureaucrat, a propagandist, a moralist, a champion of law and order, an advocate of keeping people ignorant for their own good, hurries past with averted eyes or threatens with this minions, a bookshop is the most flagrant. ~ autobiography
John Cowper Powys
An old book was a time capsule. When you opened the front cover, you opened a door to another world—a world accessible through a kind of looking glass made of hard-board and cloth. The author’s voice resonated in the reader’s head with the same words that had resonated in his own as he wrote them. He spoke to the reader from the past. What he had witnessed, experienced, learned, and discovered would live forever. You only had to turn a page to travel in time.
Stephen Parrish
Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment - an attitude that has never again left me. - Albert Einstein, Autobiographical Notes, edited by Paul Arthur Schilpp
Albert Einstein
Marxism, like all other totalitarian movements in our century, must be seen as kind of secular pattern of redemption , designed to bring hope and fulfillment to those who have come to feel alienated , frustrated, and excluded from what they regard as their rightful place in a community. In its promise of unity and belonging lies much of the magic of totalitarian mistery, miracle, and authority. Bertrand Russell has not exaggerated in summing up the present significance of Marxism somewhat as follows: dialectical materialism is God; marx the Messiah; Lenin and Stalin the apostles; the proletariat the elect; the Communist party the Church; Moscow the seat of Church; the Revolution the second coming; the punishment of capitalismo hell; Trotsky the devil; and the communist commonwealth kingdom come.
Robert A. Nisbet (The Quest For Community: A Study In The Ethics Of Order And Freedom (Ics Series In Self Governance))
The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state. We are spinning our fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar. The drunken Rip Van Winkle, in Jefferson’s play, excuses himself for every fresh dereliction by saying, “I won’t count this time!” Well! He may not count it, and a kind Heaven may not count it; but it is being counted none the less. Down among his nerve-cells and fibers the molecules are counting it, registering and storing it up to be used against him when the next temptation comes. Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out. Of course this has its good side as well as its bad one. As we become permanent drunkards by so many separate drinks, so we become saints in the moral, and authorities and experts in the practical and scientific spheres, by so many separate acts and hours of work. Let no youth have any anxiety about the upshot of his education, whatever the line of it may be. If he keeps faithfully busy each hour of the working-day, he may safely leave the final result to itself. He can with perfect certainty count on waking up some fine morning, to find himself one of the competent ones of his generation, in whatever pursuit he may have singled out.
William James (The Principles of Psychology)
Dissident Natan Sharansky writes that there are two kinds of states -- "fear societies" and "free societies," two kinds of consciousness. The consciousness derived of oppression is despairing, fatalistic, and fearful of inquiry. It is mistrustful of the self and forced to trust external authority. It is premised on a dearth of self-respect. It is cramped. In contrast, the consciousness of freedom is one of expansiveness, trust of the self, and hope. It is a consciousness of limitless inquiry. It builds up in a citizen a wealth of self-respect.
Naomi Wolf (Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries)
What people look like, or, rather, the race they have been assigned or are perceived to belong to, is the visible cue to their caste. It is the historic flash card to the public of how they are to be treated, where they are expected to live, what kinds of positions they are expected to hold, whether they belong in this section of town or that seat in a boardroom, whether they should be expected to speak with authority on this or that subject, whether they will be administered pain relief in a hospital, whether their neighborhood is likely to adjoin a toxic waste site or to have contaminated water flowing from their taps, whether they are more or less likely to survive childbirth in the most advanced nation in the world, whether they may be shot by authorities with impunity.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce your commands; and incapable, moreover, of quelling disorder: then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they are useless for any practical purpose.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
If you want one last picture of authority and vulnerability together, laughter will do the trick. To laugh, to really laugh out loud, is to be vulnerable, taken beyond ourselves, overcome by surprise and gratitude. And to really laugh may be the last, best kind of authority—the capacity to see the meaning of the whole story and discover that our final act, our only enduring responsibility in that story, is simply celebration, delight and worship.
Andy Crouch (Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing)
I have a foreboding of America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time–when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all of the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; with our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. And when the dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites now down to 10 seconds or less, lowest-common-denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
Traditional publishers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars marketing and promoting a single book. With that kind of budget, as opposed to the budget of indie publishers, every single traditionally published book should be a #1 bestseller on all lists. Every traditionally published author should be millionaires with that kind of marketing budget. But they're not, so...it isn't how much you spend on marketing the book that determines the success of the book, it is how really good it is, and what is loved by the people as a whole, not by the editors. - Kailin Gow on Economy of Book Publishing, Authors Voice
Kailin Gow
[W]hen I put Jorge in the library I did not yet know he was the murderer. He acted on his own, so to speak. And it must not be thought that this is an 'idealistic' position, as if I were saying that the characters have an autonomous life and the author, in a kind of trance, makes them behave as they themselves direct him. That kind of nonsense belongs in term papers. The fact is that the characters are obliged to act according to the laws of the world in which they live. In other words, the narrator is the prisoner of his own premises.
Umberto Eco (Postscript to the Name of the Rose)
Excuse me while I throw this down, I’m old and cranky and tired of hearing the idiocy repeated by people who ought to know better. Real women do not have curves. Real women do not look like just one thing. Real women have curves, and not. They are tall, and not. They are brown-skinned, and olive-skinned, and not. They have small breasts, and big ones, and no breasts whatsoever. Real women start their lives as baby girls. And as baby boys. And as babies of indeterminate biological sex whose bodies terrify their doctors and families into making all kinds of very sudden decisions. Real women have big hands and small hands and long elegant fingers and short stubby fingers and manicures and broken nails with dirt under them. Real women have armpit hair and leg hair and pubic hair and facial hair and chest hair and sexy moustaches and full, luxuriant beards. Real women have none of these things, spontaneously or as the result of intentional change. Real women are bald as eggs, by chance and by choice and by chemo. Real women have hair so long they can sit on it. Real women wear wigs and weaves and extensions and kufi and do-rags and hairnets and hijab and headscarves and hats and yarmulkes and textured rubber swim caps with the plastic flowers on the sides. Real women wear high heels and skirts. Or not. Real women are feminine and smell good and they are masculine and smell good and they are androgynous and smell good, except when they don’t smell so good, but that can be changed if desired because real women change stuff when they want to. Real women have ovaries. Unless they don’t, and sometimes they don’t because they were born that way and sometimes they don’t because they had to have their ovaries removed. Real women have uteruses, unless they don’t, see above. Real women have vaginas and clitorises and XX sex chromosomes and high estrogen levels, they ovulate and menstruate and can get pregnant and have babies. Except sometimes not, for a rather spectacular array of reasons both spontaneous and induced. Real women are fat. And thin. And both, and neither, and otherwise. Doesn’t make them any less real. There is a phrase I wish I could engrave upon the hearts of every single person, everywhere in the world, and it is this sentence which comes from the genius lips of the grand and eloquent Mr. Glenn Marla: There is no wrong way to have a body. I’m going to say it again because it’s important: There is no wrong way to have a body. And if your moral compass points in any way, shape, or form to equality, you need to get this through your thick skull and stop with the “real women are like such-and-so” crap. You are not the authority on what “real” human beings are, and who qualifies as “real” and on what basis. All human beings are real. Yes, I know you’re tired of feeling disenfranchised. It is a tiresome and loathsome thing to be and to feel. But the tit-for-tat disenfranchisement of others is not going to solve that problem. Solidarity has to start somewhere and it might as well be with you and me
Hanne Blank
Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of the world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion [quoting 1 Tim 1:7].
Augustine of Hippo (The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol 2 (De Genesi ad litteram))
Harry had read once, somewhere, that the opposite of happiness wasn't sadness, but boredom; and the author had gone on to say that to find happiness in life you asked yourself not what would make you happy, but what would excite you. And by the same reasoning, hatred wasn't the true opposite of love. Even hatred was a kind of respect that you could give to someone's existence. If you cared about someone enough to prefer their dying to their living, it meant you were thinking about them.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
You know, there was a time when childbirth was possibly the most terrifying thing you could do in your life, and you were literally looking death in the face when you went ahead with it. And so this is a kind of flashback to a time when that's what every woman went through. Not that they got ripped apart, but they had no guarantees about whether they were going to live through it or not. You know, I recently read - and I don't read nonfiction, generally - Becoming Jane Austen. That's the one subject that would get me to go out and read nonfiction. And the author's conclusion was that one of the reason's Jane Austen might not have married when she did have the opportunity...well, she watched her very dear nieces and friends die in childbirth! And it was like a death sentence: You get married and you will have children. You have children and you will die. (Laughs) I mean, it was a terrifying world.
Stephenie Meyer (The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide)
I believe it was Napoleon who first sensed the ease with which, in modern society, the illusion of freedom can be created by strategic relaxation of regulations and law on individual thought, provided it is only individual, while all the time fundamental economic and political liberties are being circumscribed. The barriers to the kind of power Napoleon wielded as emperor are not individual rights so much as the kinds of rights associated with autonomy of local community, voluntary association, political party. These are the real measure of the degree to which central political power is limited in a society. Neither centralization nor bureaucratized collectivism can thrive as long as there is a substantial body of local authorities to check them
Robert A. Nisbet
I am quite scandalous, you see. I come packaged with unpredictable moments, brutal honesty, calamitous outbursts, the ghastly need for love, a fiendish lack of filter, the horrific need to question everything, nauseating affection, offensive kindness, indecent spirituality, obscene beauty, monstrous creativity, barbaric embellishments, contemptuous passion, sinful childhood traumas, unscrupulous hobbies, vexatious caring, abominable sensitivity, reprehensible humor, hideous sarcasm, displeasing feelings, unpalatable confidence, offensive compassion, villainous inspiration and a devilish wit. I am quite grotesque in my imperfectness and I am not ashamed to admit it.
Shannon L. Alder
Life, raw life, the kind we lead every day, whether it leads us into the past or the future, has the curious property of not seeming real enough. We have a need, however illusive, for a life that is more real than life. It lies in the imagination. Fiction would seem to be the way it is processed into reality. If this were not so we should have little excuse for art. Life, raw life, would be more than satisfactory in itself. But it seems to be the nature of man to transform—himself, if possible, and then the world around him—and the technique of this transformation is what we call art.
Wright Morris (The Territory Ahead)
But Orlando was a woman — Lord Palmerston had just proved it. And when we are writing the life of a woman, we may, it is agreed, waive our demand for action, and substitute love instead. Love, the poet has said, is woman’s whole existence. And if we look for a moment at Orlando writing at her table, we must admit that never was there a woman more fitted for that calling. Surely, since she is a woman, and a beautiful woman, and a woman in the prime of life, she will soon give over this pretence of writing and thinking and begin at least to think of a gamekeeper (and as long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking). And then she will write him a little note (and as long as she writes little notes nobody objects to a woman writing either) and make an assignation for Sunday dusk and Sunday dusk will come; and the gamekeeper will whistle under the window — all of which is, of course, the very stuff of life and the only possible subject for fiction. Surely Orlando must have done one of these things? Alas,— a thousand times, alas, Orlando did none of them. Must it then be admitted that Orlando was one of those monsters of iniquity who do not love? She was kind to dogs, faithful to friends, generosity itself to a dozen starving poets, had a passion for poetry. But love — as the male novelists define it — and who, after all, speak with greater authority?— has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity, or poetry. Love is slipping off one’s petticoat and — But we all know what love is. Did Orlando do that? Truth compels us to say no, she did not. If then, the subject of one’s biography will neither love nor kill, but will only think and imagine, we may conclude that he or she is no better than a corpse and so leave her.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
When I started to learn how to read, I discovered the same kind of power. I could create an environment that I didn't have, and I could order this environment in the way that I couldn't in my actual life. Then, when I learned to write, I learned that I could do this not only for myself, but for other people. I could create whole things that were believable, at least to myself, at that point. And in this way, I began to wield an authority and a power that I had not had before. In other words, every child goes through this. Some pick football and some pick the library. I picked the library.
Donald Richie (The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan)
The many mysteries boil down to three. There is the kind that can be solved: who planted the bomb? Will the travellers reach their destination? What is Mother's childhood secret? There is the supernatural: dark metaphysical forces, never to be fully exposed, yet hinting of themselves in a way that suggests the author could reveal more if he chose, and might do, in his next book. And there are the insoluble mysteries: what lies beyond life, what beauty is for, why the innocent suffer and the guilty prosper, what goes on in the heads of other people, why life keeps fucking us over just when we're doing all right -- these are the mysteries the books dealing with them can't solve, and it is for this reason that the best of these books are the ones we keep rereading.
James Meek
I mention all this to make the point that if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn't choose human beings for the job. But here's an extremely salient point: we have been chosen, by fate or Providence or whatever you wish to call it. It's an unnerving thought that we may be living the universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously. Because we are so remarkably careless about looking after things, both when alive and when not, we have no idea-- really none at all-- about how many things have died off permanently, or may soon, or may never, and what role we have played in any part of the process. In 1979, in the book The Sinking Ark, the author Norman Myers suggested that human activities were causing about two extinctions a week on the planet. By the early 1990s he had raised the figure to about some six hundred per week. (That's extinctions of all types-- plants, insects, and so on as well as animals.) Others have put the figure ever higher-- to well over a thousand a week. A United Nations report of 1995, on the other hand, put the total number of known extinctions in the last four hundred years at slightly under 500 for animals and slightly over 650 for plants-- while allowing that this was "almost certainly an underestimate," particularly with regard to tropical species. A few interpreters think most extinction figures are grossly inflated. The fact is, we don't know. Don't have any idea. We don't know when we started doing many of the things we've done. We don't know what we are doing right now or how our present actions will affect the future. What we do know is that there is only one planet to do it on, and only one species of being capable of making a considered difference. Edward O. Wilson expressed it with unimprovable brevity in The Diversity of Life: "One planet, one experiment." If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-- and by "we" i mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp. We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviorally modern human beings-- that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities-- have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth's history. But surviving for even that little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune. We really are at the beginning of it all. The trick, of course, is to make sure we never find the end. And that, almost certainly, will require a good deal more than lucky breaks.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
The writer in any field, and particularly the television writer, runs into "dry periods"—weeks or months when it seems that everything he writes goes the rounds and ultimately gets nowhere. This is not only a bad moment but an endless one. I remember a five-month period late in 1952 when my diet consisted chiefly of black coffee and fingernails. I'd written six half-hour television plays and each one had been rejected at least five times. What this kind of thing does to a family budget is obvious; and what it does to the personality of the writer is even worse.
Rod Serling (Patterns: Four Television Plays with the Author’s Personal Commentaries (Early Works Book 1))
Once, headed uptown on the 9 train, I noticed a sign posted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority advising subway riders who might become ill in the train. The sign asked that the suddenly infirm inform another passenger or get out at the next stop and approach the stationmaster. Do not, repeat, do not pull the emergency brake, the sign said, as this will only delay aid. Which was all very logical, but for the following proclamation at the bottom of the sign, something along the lines of, “If you are sick, you will not be left alone.” This strikes me as not only kind, not only comforting, but the very epitome of civilization, good government, i.e., the the crux of the societal impulse. Banding together, pooling our taxes, not just making trains, not just making trains that move underground, not just making trains that move underground with surprising efficiency at a fair price—but posting on said trains a notification of such surprising compassion and thoughtfulness. I found myself scanning the faces of my fellow passengers, hoping for fainting, obvious fevers, at the very least a sneeze so that I might offer a tissue.
Sarah Vowell
That war [Bosnian war] in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought - destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
Christopher Hitchens
Waywardness is a practice of possibility at a time when all reads, except the ones created by smashing out, are foreclosed. It obeys no rules and abides no authorities. It is unrepentant. It traffics in occult visions of other worlds and dreams of a different kind of life. Waywardness is an ongoing exploration of what might be; it is an improvisation with the terms of social existence, when the terms have already been dictated, when there is little room to breathe, when you have been sentenced to a life of servitude, when the house of bondage looms in whatever direction you move. It is the untiring practice of trying to live when you were never meant to survive.
Saidiya Hartman (Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals)
But sometimes, very occasionally, songs and books and films and pictures express who you are perfectly. And they don’t do this in words or images, necessarily; the connection is a lot less direct and more complicated than that. When I was first beginning to write seriously, I read Anne Tyler’s Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, and suddenly knew what I was, and what I wanted to be, for better or worse. It’s a process something like falling in love. You don’t necessarily choose the best person, or the wisest, or the most beautiful; there’s something else going on. There was a part of me that would rather have fallen for Updike or Kerouac, or DeLillo – for someone masculine, or at least, maybe somebody a little more opaque, and certainly someone who uses more swearwords- and, though I have admired those writers, at various stages in my life, admiration is a very different thing from the kind of transference I’m talking about. I’m talking about understanding – or at least feeling like I understand- every artistic decision, every impulse, the soul of both the work and its creator. “This is me,” I wanted to say when I read Tyler’s rich, sad, lovely novel. “I’m not a character, I’m nothing like the author, I haven’t had the experiences she writes about. But even so, this is what I feel like, inside. This is what I would sound like, if I ever I were to find a voice.” And I did find a voice, eventually, and it was mine, not hers; but nevertheless, so powerful was the process of identification that I still don’t feel as though I’ve expressed myself as well, as completely, as Tyler did on my behalf.
Nick Hornby (Songbook)
there was a sort of embarrassment about storytelling that struck home powerfully about one hundred years ago, at the beginning of modernism. We see a similar reaction in painting and in music. It's a preoccupation suddenly with the surface rather than the depth. So you get, for example, Picasso and Braque making all kinds of experiments with the actual surface of the painting. That becomes the interesting thing, much more interesting than the thing depicted, which is just an old newspaper, a glass of wine, something like that. In music, the Second Viennese School becomes very interested in what happens when the surface, the diatonic structure of the keys breaks down, and we look at the notes themselves in a sort of tone row, instead of concentrating on things like tunes, which are sort of further in, if you like. That happened, of course, in literature, too, with such great works as James Joyce's Ulysses, which is all about, really, how it's told. Not so much about what happens, which is a pretty banal event in a banal man's life. It's about how it's told. The surface suddenly became passionately interesting to artists in every field about a hundred years ago. In the field of literature, story retreated. The books we talked about just now, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair -- their authors were the great storytellers as well as the great artists. After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's..." So there was a great split that took place. Story retreated, as it were, into genre fiction-into crime fiction, into science fiction, into romantic fiction-whereas the high-art literary people went another way. Children's books held onto the story, because children are rarely interested in surfaces in that sort of way. They're interested in what-happened and what-happened next. I found it a great discipline, when I was writing The Golden Compass and other books, to think that there were some children in the audience. I put it like that because I don't say I write for children. I find it hard to understand how some writers can say with great confidence, "Oh, I write for fourth grade children" or "I write for boys of 12 or 13." How do they know? I don't know. I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story. Your interest really is not in excluding people and saying to some of them, "No, you can't come, because it's just for so-and-so." My interest as a storyteller is to have as big an audience as possible. That will include children, I hope, and it will include adults, I hope. If dogs and horses want to stop and listen, they're welcome as well.
Philip Pullman
The prison inspector and the warders, though they had never understood or gone into the meaning of these dogmas and of all that went on in church, believed that they must believe, because the higher authorities and the Tsar himself believed in it. Besides, though faintly (and themselves unable to explain why), they felt that this faith defended their cruel occupations. If this faith did not exist it would have been more difficult, perhaps impossible, for them to use all their powers to torment people, as they were now doing, with a quiet conscience. The inspector was such a kind-hearted man that he could not have lived as he was now living unsupported by his faith.
Leo Tolstoy (Resurrection)
Far and away the greatest menace to the writer—any writer, beginning or otherwise—is the reader. The reader is, after all, a kind of silent partner in this whole business of writing, and a work of fiction is surely incomplete if it is never read. The reader is, in fact, the writer's only unrelenting, genuine enemy. He has everything on his side; all he has to do, after all, is shut his eyes, and any work of fiction becomes meaningless. Moreover, a reader has an advantage over a beginning writer in not being a beginning reader; before he takes up a story to read it, he can be presumed to have read everything from Shakespeare to Jack Kerouac. No matter whether he reads a story in manuscript as a great personal favor, or opens a magazine, or—kindest of all—goes into a bookstore and pays good money for a book, he is still an enemy to be defeated with any kind of dirty fighting that comes to the writer's mind.
Shirley Jackson (Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings)
Joel Bakan, author of The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power argues that if corporations have 'person hood' under the law, then it makes sense to question what kind of people they are. He posits that corporations behave with all the classical signs of sociopathy: they are inherently amoral, they elevate their own interests above all others', and they disregard moral and sometimes legal limits on their behavior in pursuit of their own advancement. Organizations of this type would thrive under the leadership of people who have the same traits: sociopaths.
M.E. Thomas (Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight)
If you read many of my Middle Grade and YA book series, you would notice the common theme of how the main characters always choose to be good. That's because when you write for YA, as an author, you automatically become a person of authority. Be a good role model yourself as a YA author. Help teens grow up into responsible and good adults. YA Authors - Don't get accused of sexual harassment (like some authors) or of encouraging your teen readers to gang up on and bully /harass an author. I've been the receiving end of that kind of behavior, and it is cyberbullying and harassment. Authors and anyone in a position of authority who encourage teens and kids to cyberbully another human being is not a good role model. Parents and Teachers should help their kids choose books and role models. When a teen has committed cyberbullying as a minor, but grows it, they can still be held accountable for that. In many states, cyberbullying is a crime. - Strong by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
My Venus is damaged, or in exile, that’s what you say of a Planet that can’t be found in the sign where it should be. What’s more, Pluto is in a negative aspect to Venus, and in my case Pluto rules the Ascendant. The result of this situation is that I have, as I see it, Lazy Venus syndrome. That’s what I call this Conformity. In this case we’re dealing with a Person whom fortune has gifted generously, but who has entirely failed to use their potential. Such People are bright and intelligent, but don’t apply themselves to their studies, and use their intelligence to play card games or patience instead. They have beautiful bodies, but they destroy them through neglect, poison themselves with harmful substances, and ignore doctors and dentists. This Venus induces a strange kind of laziness—lifetime opportunities are missed, because you overslept, because you didn’t feel like going, because you were late, because you were neglectful. It’s a tendency to be sybaritic, to live in a state of mild semiconsciousness, to fritter your life away on petty pleasures, to dislike effort and be devoid of any penchant for competition. Long mornings, unopened letters, things put off for later, abandoned projects. A dislike of any authority and a refusal to submit to it, going your own way in a taciturn, idle manner. You could say such people are of no use at all.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
The fallacy of the socialists lies in supposing that because in the present stage of European society property as a source of power is predominant, the same is true of India, or the same was true of Europe in the past. Religion, social status, and property are all sources of power and authority which one man has to control the liberty of another. One is predominant at one stage; the other is predominant at another stage. That is the only difference. If liberty is the ideal, and if liberty means the destruction of the dominion which one man holds over another, then obviously it cannot be insisted upon that economic reform must be the one kind of reform worthy of pursuit. If the source of power and dominion is, at any given time or in any given society, social and religious, then social reform and religious reform must be accepted as the necessary sort of reform.
B.R. Ambedkar
STAGE 1—shared by most street gangs and characterized by despair, hostility, and the collective belief that “life sucks.” STAGE 2—filled primarily with apathetic people who perceive themselves as victims and who are passively antagonistic, with the mind-set that “my life sucks.” Think The Office on TV or the Dilbert comic strip. STAGE 3—focused primarily on individual achievement and driven by the motto “I’m great (and you’re not).” According to the authors, people in organizations at this stage “have to win, and for them winning is personal. They’ll outwork and outthink their competitors on an individual basis. The mood that results is a collection of ‘lone warriors.’” STAGE 4—dedicated to tribal pride and the overriding conviction that “we’re great (and they’re not).” This kind of team requires a strong adversary, and the bigger the foe, the more powerful the tribe. STAGE 5—a rare stage characterized by a sense of innocent wonder and the strong belief that “life is great.” (See Bulls, Chicago, 1995–98.)
Phil Jackson (Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success)
[W]hen the modern mythmaker, the writer of literary fairy tales, dares to touch the old magic and try to make it work in new ways, it must be done with the surest of touches. It is, perhaps, a kind of artistic thievery, this stealing of old characters, settings, the accoutrements of magic. But then, in a sense, there is an element of theft in all art; even the most imaginative artist borrows and reconstructs the archetypes when delving into the human heart. That is not to say that using a familiar character from folklore in the hopes of shoring up a weak narrative will work. That makes little sense. Unless the image, character, or situation borrowed speaks to the author’s condition, as cryptically and oracularly as a dream, folklore is best left untapped.
Jane Yolen (Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie & Folklore in the Literature of Childhood)
Being a reader is how I choose to spend my life, every aspect of it, inside and outside of the classroom. I often wonder whether my identity as a reader, someone who reads voraciously and always has a book recommendation, is all I have to offer. That may be true, but it is an oversimplification. How can I express the extent to which reading has shaped who I am as a human being? Although I see myself as kind, I am not a demonstrative person. If I have ever brought you a book unasked for, know that I cared. I said everything to you that I wanted with that book. I have enough wisdom to acknowledge that an author’s words are more eloquent than my own. When we meet and I discover that we have read and loved the same books, we are instant friends. We know a great deal about each other already if we both read. I imagine this is why I strive so hard to get people around me to read. If you don’t read, I don’t know how to communicate with you. I know this is a shortcoming. Perhaps my mother, who worried that reading would make me socially stunted, was half right. I can never express who I really am in my own words as powerfully as my books can.
Donalyn Miller
I stood by and spoke out for Amazon when Amazon was attacked by Hatchett and other traditional publishers in the early days. I also represented Amazon as an author spokesperson to the media during the Press Conference launch in Santa Monica for Kindle Family as well as at Book Expo America. Today, authors don't have that kind of loyalty to a distributor of their books. They don't have that kind of loyalty to the publishers of their books and jump around to find the best deal for each book and going back and forth between publishing with a big publisher and self-publishing. Publishing like any industry is built on relationships. When an author is published by multiple publishers and jumps around, it signals to her publishers her lack of commitment to them. It is only human to see this lack of trust. So, my advice to authors who jump around...find a good publisher to land with if you decide to go with a traditional publisher. Be committed to them or it will seem like a betrayal when you are published with another publisher in the same genre. - Advice to Authors by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
This was what I came to found. The conquest of loneliness was the missing link that was one day going to make a decent novelist out of me. If you are out here and cannot close off the loves and hates of all that back there in the real world the memories will overtake you and swamp you and wilt your tenacity. Tenacity stamina... close off to everything and everyone but your writing. That s the bloody price. I don t know maybe it's some kind of ultimate selfishness. Maybe it's part of the killer instinct. Unless you can stash away and bury thoughts of your greatest love you cannot sustain the kind of concentration that breaks most men trying to write a book over a three or four year period.
Leon Uris
When those who have been placed in my life to lead me and train me betray me and turn against me, as Saul turned against David, I will follow the example of David and refuse to let hope die in my heart. Holy Spirit, empower me to be a spiritual father or mother to those who need me to disciple, love, support, and encourage them. Father, raise up spiritual leaders in our land who can lead others with justice, mercy, integrity, and love. Allow me to be one of these leaders. When I am cut off from my father [physical or spiritual] through his insecurity, jealousy, or pride, cause me to recognize that as You did with David, You want to complete Your work in my life. Holy Spirit, release me from tormenting thoughts or self-blame and striving for acceptance. Cause me to seek only Your acceptance and restoration. I refuse to allow the enemy to cause me to seek revenge against those who have wronged me. I will not raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed or seek to avenge myself. I will leave justice to You. Father, cause my heart to be pure as David’s was pure. Through Your power, O Lord, I will refuse to attack my enemies with my tongue, for I will never forget that both death and life are in the power of the tongue (Prov. 18:21). I will never seek to sow discord or separation between myself and my Christian brothers and sisters, for it is an abomination to my Lord. I will remain loyal to my spiritual leaders even when they have rejected me or wronged me. I choose to be a man [or woman] after the heart of God, not one who seeks to avenge myself. Holy Spirit, like David I will lead my Christian brother and sister to honor our spiritual leaders even in the face of betrayal. I refuse to sow discord among brethren. I will show kindness to others who are in relationship with the ones who have wronged me. Like David I will find ways to honor them and will not allow offense to cause me to disrespect them. Father, only You are worthy to judge the intents and actions of myself or of those around me. I praise You for Your wisdom, and I submit to Your leading. Lord, I choose to remain loyal to those in a position of authority over me. I choose to focus on the calling You have placed on my life and to refuse to be diverted by the actions of others, even when they have treated me wrongly. Father, may You be able to examine my life and know and see that there is neither evil nor rebellion in my heart toward others (1 Sam.24:11).
John Bevere (The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense)
I regularly tell our seminary students that if I happen to visit the church in which one of them serves, I will not ask first, “Is this man a good preacher?” Rather, first of all I will ask the secretaries, office staff, janitors, and cleaners what it is like to work for this pastor. I will ask, “What kind of man is he? Is he a servant? Is he demanding and harsh, or his he patient, kind, and forbearing as a man in authority?” One of our graduates may preach great sermons, but if he is a pain to work for, then you know he will cause major problems in any congregation. Leaders in the church are required by Scripture to set an example in the areas of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and forbearance before they are appointed to preach, teach, and rule. If we obediently require these attitudes and character traits of our leaders, what will our “new community” look like
Jerram Barrs
My conception of a novel is that it ought to be a personal struggle, a direct and total engagement with the author's story of his or her own life. This conception, again, I take from Kafka, who, although he was never transformed into an insect, and although he never had a piece of food (an apple from his family's table!) lodged in his flesh and rotting there, devoted his whole life as a writer to describing his personal struggle with his family, with women, with moral law, with his Jewish heritage, with his Unconscious, with his sense of guilt, and with the modern world. Kafka's work, which grows out of the nighttime dreamworld in Kafka's brain, is *more* autobiographical than any realistic retelling of his daytime experiences at the office or with his family or with a prostitute could have been. What is fiction, after all, if not a kind of purposeful dreaming? The writer works to create a dream that is vivid and has meaning, so that the reader can then vividly dream it and experience meaning. And work like Kafka's, which seems to proceed directly from dream, is therefore an exceptionally pure form of autobiography. There's an important paradox here that I would like to stress: the greater the autobiographical content of a fiction writer's work, the *smaller* its superficial resemblance to the writer's actual life. The deeper the writer digs for meaning, the more the random particulars of the writer's life become *impediments* to deliberate dreaming.
Jonathan Franzen (Farther Away)
Life, it has been agreed by everyone whose opinion is worth consulting, is the only fit subject for novelist or biographer; life, the same authorities have decided, has nothing whatever to do with sitting still in a chair and thinking. Thought and life are as the poles asunder. Therefore — since sitting in a chair and thinking is precisely what Orlando is doing now — there is nothing for it but to recite the calendar, tell one’s beads, blow one’s nose, stir the fire, look out of the window, until she has done… Surely, since she is a woman, and a beautiful woman, and a woman in the prime of life, she will soon give over this pretence of writing and thinking and begin at least to think of a gamekeeper (and as long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking). And then she will write him a little note (and as long as she writes little notes nobody objects to a woman writing either) and make an assignation for Sunday dusk… She was kind to dogs, faithful to friends, generosity itself to a dozen starving poets, had a passion for poetry. But love — as the male novelists define it — and who, after all, speak with greater authority? — has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity, or poetry. Love is slipping off one’s petticoat and — But we all know what love is… If then, the subject of one’s biography will neither love nor kill, but will only think and imagine, we may conclude that he or she is no better than a corpse and so leave her.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
I distrust summaries, any kind of gliding through time, any too great a claim that one is in control of what one recounts; I think someone who claims to understand but who is obviously calm, someone who claims to write with emotion recollected in tranquility, is a fool and a liar. To understand is to tremble. To recollect is to reenter and be riven. An acrobat after spinning through the air in a mockery of flight stands erect on his perch and mockingly takes his bow as if what he is being applauded for was easy for him and cost him nothing, although meanwhile he is covered with sweat and his smile is edged with a relief chilling to think about; he is indulging in a show-business style; he is pretending to be superhuman. I am bored with that and with here it has brought us. I admire the authority of being on one's knees in front of the event. - Innocence, from My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead
Harold Brodkey
There is a kind of counter-criticism that seeks to expand the work of art, by connecting it, opening up its meanings, inviting in the possibilities. A great work of criticism can liberate a work of art, to be seen fully, to remain alive, to engage in a conversation that will not ever end but will instead keep feeding the imagination. Not against interpretation, but against confinement, against the killing of the spirit. Such criticism is itself a great art. This is a kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text, does not seek authority. It seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, to invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. This is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective. The worst criticism seeks to have the last word and leave the rest of us in silence; the best opens up an exchange that need never end.
Rebecca Solnit
I try not to hate anybody. "Hate is a four-letter word," like the bumper sticker says. But I hate book reviewers. Book reviewers are the most despicable, loathsome order of swine that ever rooted about the earth. They are sniveling, revolting creatures who feed their own appetites for bile by gnawing apart other people's work. They are human garbage. They all deserve to be struck down by awful diseases described in the most obscure dermatology journals. Book reviewers live in tiny studios that stink of mothballs and rotting paper. Their breath reeks of stale coffee. From time to time they put on too-tight shirts and pants with buckles and shuffle out of their lairs to shove heaping mayonnaise-laden sandwiches into their faces, which are worn in to permanent snarls. Then they go back to their computers and with fat stubby fingers they hammer out "reviews." Periodically they are halted as they burst into porcine squeals, gleefully rejoicing in their cruelty. Even when being "kindly," book reviewers reveal their true nature as condescending jerks. "We look forward to hearing more from the author," a book reviewer might say. The prissy tones sound like a second-grade piano teacher, offering you a piece of years-old strawberry hard candy and telling you to practice more. But a bad book review is just disgusting. Ask yourself: of all the jobs available to literate people, what monster chooses the job of "telling people how bad different books are"? What twisted fetishist chooses such a life?
Steve Hely (How I Became a Famous Novelist)
It seems like I've only shut my eyes for a few minutes, but when I open them, I flinch at the sight of Haymitch sitting a couple of feet from my bed. Waiting. Possibly for several hours if the clck is right. I think about hollering for a witness, but I'm going to have to face him sooner or later. Haymitch leans forward and dangles something on a thin white wire in front of my nose. It's hard to focus on, but I'm pretty sur what it is. He drops it in to the sheets. "That is your earpiece. I will give you exactly one more chance to wear it. If you remove it from your ear again, I'll have you fitted with this." He holds up some sort of metal headgear that I instantly name the head shackle. "It's alternative audio unit that locks around your skull and under your chin until it's opened with a key. And I'll have the only key. If for some reason you're clever enough to disable it" ---- Haymitch dumps the head shackle on the bed and whips out a tiny silver chip--- "I'll authorize them to surgically implant this transmitter into your ear so that I may speak to you twenty-four hours a day." Haymitch in my head full-time. Horrifying. "I'll keep the earpiece in," I mutter "Excuse me?" He says "I'll keep the earpiece in!" I say loud enough to wake half the hospital. "You sure? Because I'm equally happy with any of the three options," he tells me "I'm sure," I say. I scrunch up the earpiece protectivley in my fist and fling the head shakle back in his face with my free hand, but he catches it easily. Probably was expecting me to throw it. "Anything else?" Haymitch rises to go. "While I was waiting. . . I ate your lunch." My eyes take in the empty stew bowl and tray on my bed table. "I'm going to report you," I mumble into my pillow. "You do that sweetheart." He goes out, safe in the knowledge that I'm not the reporting kind.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
He was harassed, but still he spoke with authority. He was, in fact, characteristic of the best type of dominant male in the world at this time. He was fifty-five years old, tough, shrewd, unburdened by the complicated ethical ambiguities which puzzle intellectuals, and had long ago decided that the world was a mean son-of-a-bitch in which only the most cunning and ruthless can survive. He was also as kind as was possible for one holding that ultra-Darwinian philosophy; and he genuinely loved children and dogs, unless they were on the site of something that had to be bombed in the National Interest. He still retained some sense of humor, despite the burdens of his almost godly office, and, although he had been impotent with his wife for nearly ten years now, he generally achieved orgasm in the mouth of a skilled prostitute within 1.5 minutes. He took amphetamine pep pills to keep going on his grueling twenty-hour day, with the result that his vision of the world was somewhat skewed in a paranoid direction, and he took tranquilizers to keep from worrying too much, with the result that his detachment sometimes bordered on the schizophrenic; but most of the time his innate shrewdness gave him a fingernail grip on reality.
Robert Anton Wilson
As you can see,” Daisy said, “one glass is filled with soap water, one with clear, and one with blue laundry water. The other, of course, is empty. The glasses will predict what kind of man you will marry.” They watched as Evie felt carefully for one of the glasses. Dipping her finger into the soap water, Evie waited for her blindfold to be drawn off, and viewed the results with chagrin, while the other girls erupted with giggles. “Choosing the soap water means she will marry a poor man,” Daisy explained. Wiping off her fingers, Evie exclaimed good-naturedly, “I s-suppose the fact that I’m going to be m-married at all is a good thing.” The next girl in line waited with an expectant smile as she was blindfolded, and the glasses were repositioned. She felt for the vessels, nearly overturning one, and dipped her fingers into the blue water. Upon viewing her choice, she seemed quite pleased. “The blue water means she’s going to marry a noted author,” Daisy told Lillian. “You try next!” Lillian gaveher a speaking glance. “You don’t really believe in this, do you?” “Oh, don’t be cynical—have some fun!” Daisy took the blindfold and rose on her toes to tie it firmly around Lillian’s head. Bereft of sight, Lillian allowed herself to be guided to the table. She grinned at the encouraging cries of the young women around her. There was the sound of the glasses being moved in front of her, and she waited with her hands half raised in the air. “What happens if I pick the empty glass?” she asked. Evie’s voice came near her ear. “You die a sp-spinster!” she said, and everyone laughed. “No lifting the glasses to test their weight,” someone warned with a giggle. “You can’t avoid the empty glass, if it’s your fate!” “At the moment I want the empty glass,” Lillian replied, causing another round of laughter. Finding the smooth surface of a glass, she slid her fingers up the side and dipped them into the cool liquid. A general round of applause and cheering, and she asked, “Am I marrying an author, too?” “No, you chose the clear water,” Daisy said. “A rich, handsome husband is coming for you, dear!” “Oh, what a relief,” Lillian said flippantly, lowering the blindfold to peek over the edge. “Is it your turn now?” Her younger sister shook her head. “I was the first to try. I knocked over a glass twice in a row, and made a dreadful mess.” “What does that mean? That you won’t marry at all?” “It means that I’m clumsy,” Daisy replied cheerfully. “Other than that, who knows? Perhaps my fate has yet to be decided. The good news is that your husband seems to be on the way.” “If so, the bastard is late,” Lillian retorted, causing Daisy and Evie to laugh.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
Look in it,' he said, smiling slightly, as you do when you have given someone a present which you know will please him and he is unwrapping it before your eyes. I opened it. In the folder I found four 8×10 glossy photos, obviously professionally done; they looked like the kind of stills that the publicity departments of movie studios put out. The photos showed a Greek vase, on it a painting of a male figure who we recognized as Hermes. Twined around the vase the double helix confronted us, done in red glaze against a black background. The DNA molecule. There could be no mistake. 'Twenty-three or -four hundred years ago,' Fat said. 'Not the picture but the krater, the pottery.' 'A pot,' I said. 'I saw it in a museum in Athens. It's authentic. Thats not a matter of my own opinion; I'm not qualified to judge such matters; it's authenticity has been established by the museum authorities. I talked with one of them. He hadn't realized what the design shows; he was very interested when I discussed it with him. This form of vase, the krater, was the shape later used as the baptismal font. That was one of the Greek words that came into my head in March 1974, the word “krater”. I heard it connected with another Greek word: “poros”. The words “poros krater” essentially mean “limestone font”. ' There could be no doubt; the design, predating Christianity, was Crick and Watson's double helix model at which they had arrived after so many wrong guesses, so much trial-and-error work. Here it was, faithfully reproduced. 'Well?' I said. 'The so-called intertwined snakes of the caduceus. Originally the caduceus, which is still the symbol of medicine was the staff of- not Hermes-but-' Fat paused, his eyes bright. 'Of Asklepios. It has a very specific meaning, besides that of wisdom, which the snakes allude to; it shows that the bearer is a sacred person and not to be molested...which is why Hermes the messenger of the gods, carried it.' None of us said anything for a time. Kevin started to utter something sarcastic, something in his dry, witty way, but he did not; he only sat without speaking. Examining the 8×10 glossies, Ginger said, 'How lovely!' 'The greatest physician in all human history,' Fat said to her. 'Asklepios, the founder of Greek medicine. The Roman Emperor Julian-known to us as Julian the Apostate because he renounced Christianity-conside​red Asklepios as God or a god; Julian worshipped him. If that worship had continued, the entire history of the Western world would have basically changed
Philip K. Dick (VALIS)
The Idiot. I have read it once, and find that I don't remember the events of the book very well--or even all the principal characters. But mostly the 'portrait of a truly beautiful person' that dostoevsky supposedly set out to write in that book. And I remember how Myshkin seemed so simple when I began the book, but by the end, I realized how I didn't understand him at all. the things he did. Maybe when I read it again it will be different. But the plot of these dostoevsky books can hold such twists and turns for the first-time reader-- I guess that's b/c he was writing most of these books as serials that had to have cliffhangers and such. But I make marks in my books, mostly at parts where I see the author's philosophical points standing in the most stark relief. My copy of Moby Dick is positively full of these marks. The Idiot, I find has a few... Part 3, Section 5. The sickly Ippolit is reading from his 'Explanation' or whatever its called. He says his convictions are not tied to him being condemned to death. It's important for him to describe, of happiness: "you may be sure that Columbus was happy not when he had discovered America, but when he was discovering it." That it's the process of life--not the end or accomplished goals in it--that matter. Well. Easier said than lived! Part 3, Section 6. more of Ippolit talking--about a christian mindset. He references Jesus's parable of The Word as seeds that grow in men, couched in a description of how people are interrelated over time; its a picture of a multiplicity. Later in this section, he relates looking at a painting of Christ being taken down from the cross, at Rogozhin's house. The painting produced in him an intricate metaphor of despair over death "in the form of a huge machine of the most modern construction which, dull and insensible, has aimlessly clutched, crushed, and swallowed up a great priceless Being, a Being worth all nature and its laws, worth the whole earth, which was created perhaps solely for the sake of the advent of this Being." The way Ippolit's ideas are configured, here, reminds me of the writings of Gilles Deleuze. And the phrasing just sort of remidns me of the way everyone feels--many people feel crushed by the incomprehensible machine, in life. Many people feel martyred in their very minor ways. And it makes me think of the concept that a narrative religion like Christianity uniquely allows for a kind of socialized or externalized, shared experience of subjectivity. Like, we all know the story of this man--and it feels like our own stories at the same time. Part 4, Section 7. Myshkin's excitement (leading to a seizure) among the Epanchin's dignitary guests when he talks about what the nobility needs to become ("servants in order to be leaders"). I'm drawn to things like this because it's affirming, I guess, for me: "it really is true that we're absurd, that we're shallow, have bad habits, that we're bored, that we don't know how to look at things, that we can't understand; we're all like that." And of course he finds a way to make that into a good thing. which, it's pointed out by scholars, is very important to Dostoevsky philosophy--don't deny the earthly passions and problems in yourself, but accept them and incorporate them into your whole person. Me, I'm still working on that one.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
But you see, "libertarian" has a special meaning in the United States. The United Statesis off the spectrum of the main tradition in this respect: what's called "libertarianism" here is unbridled capitalism. Now, that's always been opposed in the European libertarian tradition, where every anarchist has been a socialist—because the point is, if you have unbridled capitalism, you have all kinds of authority: you have extreme authority. If capital is privately controlled, then people are going to have to rent themselves in order to survive. Now, you can say, "they rent themselves freely, it's a free contract"—but that's a joke. If your choice is, "do what I tell you or starve," that's not a choice—it's in fact what was commonly referred to as wage slavery in more civilized times, like the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for example. The American version of "libertarianism" is an aberration, though—nobody really takes it seriously. I mean, everybody knows that a society that worked by American libertarian principles would self-destruct in three seconds. The only reason people pretend to take it seriously is because you can use it as a weapon. Like, when somebody comes out in favor of a tax, you can say: "No, I'm a libertarian, I'm against that tax"—but of course, I'm still in favor of the government building roads, and having schools, and killing Libyans, and all that sort of stuff. Now, there are consistent libertarians, people like Murray Rothbard [American academic]—and if you just read the world that they describe, it's a world so full of hate that no human being would want to live in it. This is a world where you don't have roads because you don't see any reason why you should cooperate in building a road that you're not going to use: if you want a road, you get together with a bunch of other people who are going to use that road and you build it, then you charge people to ride on it. If you don't like the pollution from somebody's automobile, you take them to court and you litigate it. Who would want to live in a world like that? It's a world built on hatred. The whole thing's not even worth talking about, though. First of all, it couldn't function for a second-and if it could, all you'd want to do is get out, or commit suicide or something. But this is a special American aberration, it's not really serious.
Noam Chomsky (Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky)
My conception of freedom. -- The value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it -- what it costs us. I shall give an example. Liberal institutions cease to be liberal as soon as they are attained: later on, there are no worse and no more thorough injurers of freedom than liberal institutions. Their effects are known well enough: they undermine the will to power; they level mountain and valley, and call that morality; they make men small, cowardly, and hedonistic -- every time it is the herd animal that triumphs with them. Liberalism: in other words, herd-animalization. These same institutions produce quite different effects while they are still being fought for; then they really promote freedom in a powerful way. On closer inspection it is war that produces these effects, the war for liberal institutions, which, as a war, permits illiberal instincts to continue. And war educates for freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one's cause, not excluding oneself. Freedom means that the manly instincts which delight in war and victory dominate over other instincts, for example, over those of "pleasure." The human being who has become free -- and how much more the spirit who has become free -- spits on the contemptible type of well-being dreamed of by shopkeepers, Christians, cows, females, Englishmen, and other democrats. The free man is a warrior. How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. This is true psychologically if by "tyrants" are meant inexorable and fearful instincts that provoke the maximum of authority and discipline against themselves; most beautiful type: Julius Caesar. This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, who attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong -- otherwise one will never become strong. Those large hothouses for the strong -- for the strongest kind of human being that has so far been known -- the aristocratic commonwealths of the type of Rome or Venice, understood freedom exactly in the sense in which I understand it: as something one has and does not have, something one wants, something one conquers
Friedrich Nietzsche
One last characteristic of the memoir that is important to recognize is one which also applies to essays, and which Georg Lukacs described as "the process of judging." This may seem problematic to some, since...we connect it with 'judgmental,' often used nowadays as a derogatory word. But the kind of judgment necessary to the good personal essay, or to the memoir, is not that nasty tendency to oversimplify and dismiss other people out of hand but rather the willingness to form and express complex opinions, both positive and negative. If the charm of memoir is that we, the readers, see the author struggling to understand her past, then we must also see the author trying out opinions she may later shoot down, only to try out others as she takes a position about the meaning of her story. The memoirist need not necessarily know what she thinks about her subject but she must be trying to find out; she may never arrive at a definitive verdict, but she must be willing to share her intellectual and emotional quest for answers. Without this attempt to make a judgment, the voice lacks interest, the stories, becalmed in the doldrums of neutrality, become neither fiction nor memoir, and the reader loses respect for the writer who claims the privilege of being the hero in her own story without meeting her responsibility to pursue meaning. Self revelation without analysis or understanding becomes merely an embarrassment to both reader and writer.
Judith Barrington (Writing the Memoir)
When I got to Crude Sciences at the end of the day, Dante was waiting for me at our table. This time, with no Latin book, no journal. “Hello,” he said, pulling my chair out for me. Surprised, I sat down next to him, trying not to stare at his perfectly formed arms. “Hi,” I said, with an attempt at nonchalance. “How are you?” I could feel his eyes on me. “Fine,” I said carefully, as Professor Starking handed out our lab assignments. Dante frowned. “Not very talkative today, I see.” I thrust a thermometer into the muddy water of the fish tank in front of us, which was supposed to represent an enclosed ecosystem. “So now you want to talk? Now that you’ve finished your Latin homework?” After a prolonged period of silence, he spoke. “It was research.” “Research on what?” “It doesn’t matter anymore.” I threw him a suspicious look. “Why’s that?” “Because I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the right thing.” “Which is?” I asked, looking back at the board as I smoothed out the hem of my skirt. “You.” My lips trembled as the word left his mouth. “I’m not a specimen.” “I just want to know you.” I turned to him, wanting to ask him a million questions. I settled for one. “But I can’t know anything about you?” Dante leaned back in his chair. “My favorite author is Dante, obviously,” he said, his tone mocking me. “Though I’m partial to the Russians. I’m very fond of music. All kinds, really, though I especially enjoy Mussorgsky and Stravinsky or anything involving a violin. They’re a bit dark, no? I used to like opera, but I’ve mostly grown out of it. I have a low tolerance for hot climates. I’ve never enjoyed dessert, though I once loved cherries. My favorite color is red. I often take long walks in the woods to clear my head. As a result, I have a unique knowledge of the flora and fauna of North American. And,” he said, his eyes burning through me as I pretended to focus on our lab, “I remember everything everyone has ever told me. I consider it a special talent.” Overwhelmed by the sudden influx of information, I sat there gaping, unsure of how to respond. Dante frowned. “Did I leave something out?
Yvonne Woon (Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1))
Middlemarch is a novel that is diminished by being put on the screen. It can't help but be, because so much of what we enjoy in Middlemarch is the interplay between what the characters do and what we know about them because of the telling voice. It's less of a problem for the cinema when it deals with novels that are purely concerned with action and what people do. I haven't thought this through, and I'm just trying it now to see what it sounds like. But maybe it would be less a problem with novels that are told in the first person. The interesting thing to me about Middlemarch, and Thackeray's Vanity Fair, and several other great novels, is precisely this omniscient, as we call it, third person, which naive readers mistake for the author. It isn't George Eliot who is saying this; it's a voice that George Eliot adopts to tell this story. There can be something very interesting in a novel like Bleak House, which was also done very well on the television by the same adapter, Andrew Davis. Now, Bleak House is told in two voices, as you remember. One is the somewhat trying Esther Summerson, who is a paradigm of every kind of virtue, and the other is a different sort of voice entirely, a voice that tells the story in the present tense, which was unusual for the time, a voice that doesn't seem to have a main character attached to it. But I think that Dickens is playing a very subtle game here. I've noticed a couple of things about that second narration that make me wonder whether it isn't Esther herself writing the other bits of it. For instance, at the very beginning, she says, "When I come to write my portion of these pages . . ." So she knows that there is another narrative going on, but nobody else does. Nobody else refers to it. The second thing is that she is the only character who never appears in those passages of present-tense narration. The other characters do. She doesn't. Why would that be? There's one point very near the end of the book where she almost does. Inspector Bucket is coming into the house to collect Esther to go and look for Lady Dedlock, who's run away, and we hear that Esther is just coming -- but no, she's turned back and brought her cloak, so we don't quite see her. It's as if she's teasing us and saying, "You're going to see me; no, you're not." Now, that's Dickens, at the height of his powers, playing around -- in ways that we would now call, I don't know, postmodern, ironic, self-referential, or something -- with the whole notion of narration, characterization, and so on. Yet, it doesn't matter. Those things are there for us to notice and to enjoy and to relish, if we have the taste for that sort of thing. But the events of Bleak House are so thrilling, so perplexing, so exciting that a mere recital of the events themselves is enough to carry a whole television adaptation, a whole play, a whole story. It's so much better with Dickens's narrative playfulness there, but it's pretty good without them.
Philip Pullman
we as authors have been writing about people we aren't for forever. We find a way to empathise, we find a way in. Female characters are no different. All they are are characters. They are people too. Instead of asking yourself, "How do I write this female soldier?" ask yourself, "How do I write this soldier? Where is she from, how was she raised, does she have a sense of humour? Is she big and tall, is she short and petite? How does her size affect her ability to fight? What is her favourite weapon, her least favourite? Why? Is she more logical than emotional? The other way around? Was she an only child and spoiled, was she the eldest of six siblings and a surrogate mother? How does that upbringing affect how she interacts with her team? etc etc and so forth." Notice how the first question gets you some kind of broad, generalised answer, likely resulting in a stereotype, and how the second version asks lots and lots of smaller questions with the goal of creating someone well rounded. One would hope, really, that we as authors ask such detailed questions of all our characters, regardless of gender. So let me, at long last, actually answer the original question: "How do I write a female character?" Write her the way you would write any other character. Give her dimension, give her strength but please also don't forget to give her weaknesses (for a totally strong nothing can beat her kind of girl is not a person, she's again a type - the polar opposite yet exactly the same as the damsel in distress). Create a person.
Adrienne Kress
I think this generation has it worse or better than any other. Because I think we're going to have to make it up. I think we're going to have to make up a lot of our own morality, and a lot of our own values. I mean, the old ones-- the '60s and early '70s did a marvelous job of just showing how ridiculous and hypocritical, you know, the old authoritarian Father's-always-right, don't-question-authority stuff was. But nobody's ever really come along and given us anything to replace it with. Reagan gave us a kind-- I mean, the Reagan spasm I think was very much a story about a desperate desire to get back to that. But Reagan sold the past. Reagan enabled a fantasy that the last forty years hadn't taken place. And we're the first generation--maybe people starting about my age, it started in '62. We grew up sorta in the rubble of kind of the old system. And we know we don't want to go back to that. But the sort of--this confusion of permissions, or this idea that pleasure and comfort are the, are really the ultimate goal and meaning of life. I think we're starting to see a generation die.. on the toxicity of that idea.
David Foster Wallace
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life)
If everyone were invariably honest, able, wise, and kind, there should be no occasion for government. Everyone would readily understand what is desirable and what is possible in given circumstances, all would concur upon the best means toward their purpose and for equitable participation in the ensuing benefits, and would act without compulsion or default. The maximum production was certainly obtained from such voluntary action arising from personal initiative. But since human beings will sometimes lie, shirk, break promises, fail to improve their faculties, act imprudently, seize by violence the goods of others, and even kill one another in anger or greed, government might be defined as the police organization. In that case, it must be described as a necessary evil. It would have no existence as a separate entity, and no intrinsic authority; it could not be justly empowered to act excepting as individuals infringed one another's rights, when it should enforce prescribed penalties. Generally, it would stand in the relation of a witness to contract, holding a forfeit for the parties. As such, the least practicable measure of government must be the best. Anything beyond the minimum must be oppression.
Isabel Paterson (The God of the Machine)
This is apparently a little promotional ¶ where we’re supposed to explain “how and why we came to” the subject of our GD series book (the stuff in quotations is the editor’s words). The overall idea is to humanize the series and make the books and their subjects seem warmer and more accessible. So that people will be more apt to buy the books. I’m pretty sure this is how it works. The obvious objection to such promotional ¶s is that, if the books are any good at all, then the writers’ interest and investment in their subjects will be so resoundingly obvious in the texts themselves that these little pseudo-intimate Why I Cared Enough About Transfinite Math and Where It Came From to Spend a Year Writing a Book About It blurblets are unnecessary; whereas, if the books aren’t any good, it’s hard to see how my telling somebody that as a child I used to cook up what amounted to simplistic versions of Zeno’s Dichotomy and ruminate on them until I literally made myself sick, or that I once almost flunked a basic calc course and have seethed with dislike for conventional higher-math education ever since, or that the ontology and grammar of abstractions have always struck me as one of the most breathtaking problems in human consciousness—how any such stuff will help. The logic of this objection seems airtight to me. In fact, the only way the objection doesn’t apply is if these ¶s are really nothing more than disguised ad copy, in which case I don’t see why anyone reading them should even necessarily believe that the books’ authors actually wrote them—I mean, maybe somebody in the ad-copy department wrote them and all we did was sort of sign off on them. There’d be a kind of twisted integrity about that, though—at least no one would be pretending to pretend.
David Foster Wallace
O, ho, are you there with me? No eyes in your head, nor no money in your purse? Your eyes are in a heavy case, your purse in a light: yet you see how this world goes. Ear; of Gloster, “I see it feelingly.” Lear, “What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes with no eyes. Look with thine ears: see how yond justice rails upon yond simple thief. Hark, in thine ear: change places; and handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief? - Thou hast seen a farmer’s dog bark at a begger? Earl of Gloster, ‘Ay, sir. Lear, “And the creature run from the cur? There thou mightst behold the great image of authority: a dog’s obey’d in office. - Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand! Why dost though lash that whore? Strip thine own back; Thou hotly lusts to use her in that kind For which thou whipst her. The usurer hangs the cozener. Through tattere’d clothes small vices to appear; Robes and furr’d gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold, And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks; Arm it in rags, a pygmy’s straw does pierce it. None does offend, none, - I say, none; I’ll able ‘em to seal the accuser’s lips. Get thee glass eyes; To see the things thou dost not. - Now, now, now, now: Pull off my boots: - harder, harder: - so. Edgar (aside), “O, matter and impertinency mixt! Reason in madness!
William Shakespeare
I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. I was struck less by the West's technological developments and high living standards than by the absence of political witch-hunts, the lack of consuming suspicion, the dignity of the individual, and the incredible amount of liberty. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China. Almost every other day the front page of Reference, the newspaper which carded foreign press items, would feature some eulogy of Mao and the Cultural Revolution. At first I was angered by these, but they soon made me see how tolerant another society could be. I realized that this was the kind of society I wanted to live in: where people were allowed to hold different, even outrageous views. I began to see that it was the very tolerance of oppositions, of protesters, that kept the West progressing. Still, I could not help being irritated by some observations. Once I read an article by a Westerner who came to China to see some old friends, university professors, who told him cheerfully how they had enjoyed being denounced and sent to the back end of beyond, and how much they had relished being reformed. The author concluded that Mao had indeed made the Chinese into 'new people' who would regard what was misery to a Westerner as pleasure. I was aghast. Did he not know that repression was at its worst when there was no complaint? A hundred times more so when the victim actually presented a smiling face? Could he not see to what a pathetic condition these professors had been reduced, and what horror must have been involved to degrade them so? I did not realize that the acting that the Chinese were putting on was something to which Westerners were unaccustomed, and which they could not always decode. I did not appreciate either that information about China was not easily available, or was largely misunderstood, in the West, and that people with no experience of a regime like China's could take its propaganda and rhetoric at face value. As a result, I assumed that these eulogies were dishonest. My friends and I would joke that they had been bought by our government's 'hospitality." When foreigners were allowed into certain restricted places in China following Nixon's visit, wherever they went the authorities immediately cordoned off enclaves even within these enclaves. The best transport facilities, shops, restaurants, guest houses and scenic spots were reserved for them, with signs reading "For Foreign Guests Only." Mao-tai, the most sought-after liquor, was totally unavailable to ordinary Chinese, but freely available to foreigners. The best food was saved for foreigners. The newspapers proudly reported that Henry Kissinger had said his waistline had expanded as a result of the many twelve-course banquets he enjoyed during his visits to China. This was at a time when in Sichuan, "Heaven's Granary," our meat ration was half a pound per month, and the streets of Chengdu were full of homeless peasants who had fled there from famine in the north, and were living as beggars. There was great resentment among the population about how the foreigners were treated like lords. My friends and I began saying among ourselves: "Why do we attack the Kuomintang for allowing signs saying "No Chinese or Dogs" aren't we doing the same? Getting hold of information became an obsession. I benefited enormously from my ability to read English, as although the university library had been looted during the Cultural Revolution, most of the books it had lost had been in Chinese. Its extensive English-language collection had been turned upside down, but was still largely intact.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Two literary figures bridge the gap between the mediaeval age and the Renaissance. They are Sir Thomas Malory, the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, and the first 'poet-laureate', John Skelton. In their entirely separate ways, they made distinctive contributions to the history of literature and to the growth of English as a literary language. ........ Le Morte D'Arthur is, in a way, the climax of a tradition of writing, bringing together myth and history, with an emphasis on chivalry as a kind of moral code of honour. The supernatural and fantastic aspects of the story, as in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are played down, and the more political aspects, of firm government and virtue, emphasised. It was a book for the times. The Wars of the Roses ended in the same year as Le Morte D'Arthur was published. Its values were to influence a wide readership for many years to come. There is sadness, rather than heroism, in Arthur's final battle.. ...... John Skelton is one of the unjustly neglected figures of literature. His reputation suffered at the hands of one of the earliest critics of poetry, George Puttenham, and he is not easily categorised in terms of historical period, since he falls between clearly identified periods like 'mediaeval' and 'Renaissance'. He does not fit in easily either because of the kinds of poetry he wrote. But he is one of the great experimenters, and one of the funniest poets in English.
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
Let us fool ourselves no longer. At the very moment Western nations, threw off the ancient regime of absolute government, operating under a once-divine king, they were restoring this same system in a far more effective form in their technology, reintroducing coercions of a military character no less strict in the organization of a factory than in that of the new drilled, uniformed, and regimented army. During the transitional stages of the last two centuries, the ultimate tendency of this system might b e in doubt, for in many areas there were strong democratic reactions; but with the knitting together of a scientific ideology, itself liberated from theological restrictions or humanistic purposes, authoritarian technics found an instrument at hand that h as now given it absolute command of physical energies of cosmic dimensions. The inventors of nuclear bombs, space rockets, and computers are the pyramid builders of our own age: psychologically inflated by a similar myth of unqualified power, boasting through their science of their increasing omnipotence, if not omniscience, moved by obsessions and compulsions no less irrational than those of earlier absolute systems: particularly the notion that the system itself must be expanded, at whatever eventual co st to life. Through mechanization, automation, cybernetic direction, this authoritarian technics has at last successfully overcome its most serious weakness: its original dependence upon resistant, sometimes actively disobedient servomechanisms, still human enough to harbor purposes that do not always coincide with those of the system. Like the earliest form of authoritarian technics, this new technology is marvellously dynamic and productive: its power in every form tends to increase without limits, in quantities that defy assimilation and defeat control, whether we are thinking of the output of scientific knowledge or of industrial assembly lines. To maximize energy, speed, or automation, without reference to the complex conditions that sustain organic life, have become ends in themselves. As with the earliest forms of authoritarian technics, the weight of effort, if one is to judge by national budgets, is toward absolute instruments of destruction, designed for absolutely irrational purposes whose chief by-product would be the mutilation or extermination of the human race. Even Ashurbanipal and Genghis Khan performed their gory operations under normal human limits. The center of authority in this new system is no longer a visible personality, an all-powerful king: even in totalitarian dictatorships the center now lies in the system itself, invisible but omnipresent: all its human components, even the technical and managerial elite, even the sacred priesthood of science, who alone have access to the secret knowledge by means of which total control is now swiftly being effected, are themselves trapped by the very perfection of the organization they have invented. Like the Pharoahs of the Pyramid Age, these servants of the system identify its goods with their own kind of well-being: as with the divine king, their praise of the system is an act of self-worship; and again like the king, they are in the grip of an irrational compulsion to extend their means of control and expand the scope of their authority. In this new systems-centered collective, this Pentagon of power, there is no visible presence who issues commands: unlike job's God, the new deities cannot be confronted, still less defied. Under the pretext of saving labor, the ultimate end of this technics is to displace life, or rather, to transfer the attributes of life to the machine and the mechanical collective, allowing only so much of the organism to remain as may be controlled and manipulated.
Lewis Mumford
When you start searching for ‘pure elements’ in literature you will find that literature has been created by the following classes of persons: Inventors. Men who found a new process, or whose extant work gives us the first known example of a process. The masters. Men who combined a number of such processes, and who used them as well as or better than the inventors. The diluters. Men who came after the first two kinds of writer, and couldn’t do the job quite as well. Good writers without salient qualities. Men who are fortunate enough to be born when the literature of a given country is in good working order, or when some particular branch of writing is ‘healthy’. For example, men who wrote sonnets in Dante’s time, men who wrote short lyrics in Shakespeare’s time or for several decades thereafter, or who wrote French novels and stories after Flaubert had shown them how. Writers of belles-lettres. That is, men who didn’t really invent anything, but who specialized in some particular part of writing, who couldn’t be considered as ‘great men’ or as authors who were trying to give a complete presentation of life, or of their epoch. The starters of crazes. Until the reader knows the first two categories he will never be able ‘to see the wood for the trees’. He may know what he ‘likes’. He may be a ‘compleat book-lover’, with a large library of beautifully printed books, bound in the most luxurious bindings, but he will never be able to sort out what he knows to estimate the value of one book in relation to others, and he will be more confused and even less able to make up his mind about a book where a new author is ‘breaking with convention’ than to form an opinion about a book eighty or a hundred years old. He will never understand why a specialist is annoyed with him for trotting out a second- or third-hand opinion about the merits of his favourite bad writer.
Ezra Pound (ABC of Reading)
I am trying to imagine under what novel features despotism may appear in the world. In the first place, I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, constantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest…. Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoyment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, thoughtful of detail, orderly, provident, and gentle. It would resemble parental authority if, fatherlike, it tried to prepare charges for a man’s life, but on the contrary, it only tries to keep them in perpetual childhood. It likes to see the citizens enjoy themselves, provided that they think of nothing but enjoyment. It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. It provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasure, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, makes rules for their testaments, and divides their inheritances. Why should it not entirely relieve them from the trouble of thinking and all the cares of living? Thus it daily makes the exercise of free choice less useful and rarer, restricts the activity of free will within a narrower compass, and little by little robs each citizen of the proper use of his own faculties. Equality has prepared men for all this, predisposing them to endure it and often even regard it as beneficial. Having thus taken each citizen in turn in its powerful grasp and shaped him to its will, government then extends its embrace to include the whole of society. It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty complicated rules that are both minute and uniform, through which even men of the greatest originality and the most vigorous temperament cannot force their heads above the crowd. It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends, and guides it; it seldom enjoins, but often inhibits, action; it does not destroy anything, but prevents much being born; it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
...fascism is more plausibly linked to a set of "mobilizing passions" that shape fascist action than to a consistent and fully articulated philosophy. At the bottom is a passionate nationalism. Allied to it is a conspiratorial and Manichean view of history as a battle between the good and evil camps, between the pure and the corrupt, in which one's own community or nation has been the victim. In this Darwinian narrative, the chosen people have been weakened by political parties, social classes, unassimilable minorities, spoiled rentiers, and rationalist thinkers who lack the necessary sense of community. These "mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism's foundations: -a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; -the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it; -the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external; -dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences; -the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary; -the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the groups' destiny; -the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason; -the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success; -the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle. ...Fascism was an affair of the gut more than the brain, and a study of the roots of fascism that treats only the thinkers and the writers misses the most powerful impulses of all.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
It’s no one’s fault really,” he continued. “A big city cannot afford to have its attention distracted from the important job of being a big city by such a tiny, unimportant item as your happiness or mine.” This came out of him easily, assuredly, and I was suddenly interested. On closer inspection there was something aesthetic and scholarly about him, something faintly professorial. He knew I was with him, listening, and his grey eyes were kind with offered friendliness. He continued: “Those tall buildings there are more than monuments to the industry, thought and effort which have made this a great city; they also occasionally serve as springboards to eternity for misfits who cannot cope with the city and their own loneliness in it.” He paused and said something about one of the ducks which was quite unintelligible to me. “A great city is a battlefield,” he continued. “You need to be a fighter to live in it, not exist, mark you, live. Anybody can exist, dragging his soul around behind him like a worn-out coat; but living is different. It can be hard, but it can also be fun; there’s so much going on all the time that’s new and exciting.” I could not, nor wished to, ignore his pleasant voice, but I was in no mood for his philosophising. “If you were a negro you’d find that even existing would provide more excitement than you’d care for.” He looked at me and suddenly laughed; a laugh abandoned and gay, a laugh rich and young and indescribably infectious. I laughed with him, although I failed to see anything funny in my remark. “I wondered how long it would be before you broke down and talked to me,” he said, when his amusement had quietened down. “Talking helps, you know; if you can talk with someone you’re not lonely any more, don’t you think?” As simple as that. Soon we were chatting away unreservedly, like old friends, and I had told him everything. “Teaching,” he said presently. “That’s the thing. Why not get a job as a teacher?” “That’s rather unlikely,” I replied. “I have had no training as a teacher.” “Oh, that’s not absolutely necessary. Your degrees would be considered in lieu of training, and I feel sure that with your experience and obvious ability you could do well.” “Look here, Sir, if these people would not let me near ordinary inanimate equipment about which I understand quite a bit, is it reasonable to expect them to entrust the education of their children to me?” “Why not? They need teachers desperately.” “It is said that they also need technicians desperately.” “Ah, but that’s different. I don’t suppose educational authorities can be bothered about the colour of people’s skins, and I do believe that in that respect the London County Council is rather outstanding. Anyway, there would be no need to mention it; let it wait until they see you at the interview.” “I’ve tried that method before. It didn’t work.” “Try it again, you’ve nothing to lose. I know for a fact that there are many vacancies for teachers in the East End of London.” “Why especially the East End of London?” “From all accounts it is rather a tough area, and most teachers prefer to seek jobs elsewhere.” “And you think it would be just right for a negro, I suppose.” The vicious bitterness was creeping back; the suspicion was not so easily forgotten. “Now, just a moment, young man.” He was wonderfully patient with me, much more so than I deserved. “Don’t ever underrate the people of the East End; from those very slums and alleyways are emerging many of the new breed of professional and scientific men and quite a few of our politicians. Be careful lest you be a worse snob than the rest of us. Was this the kind of spirit in which you sought the other jobs?
E.R. Braithwaite (To Sir, With Love)
[A] people needs to understand what freedom is. We Americans are fortunate that the Founders and their generation possessed that understanding. They knew that freedom, per se, is not enough. They knew that freedom must be limited to be preserved. This paradox is difficult for many students to grasp. Young people generally think freedom means authority figures leaving them alone so they can "do their own thing." That's part of what it means to be free, but true freedom involves much, much more. As understood by our Founders and by the best minds of the young republic, true freedom is always conditioned by morality. John Adams wrote, "I would define liberty as a power to do as we would be done by." In other words, freedom is not the power to do what one can, but what one ought. Duty always accompanies liberty. Tocqueville similarly observed, "No free communities ever existed without morals." The best minds concur: there must be borders: freedom must be limited to be preserved. What kinds of limits are we talking about? * The moral limits of right and wrong, which we did not invent but owe largely to our Judeo-Christian heritage. * Intellectual limits imposed by sound reasoning. Again, we did not invent these but are in debt largely to Greco-Roman civilization, from the pre-Socratic philosophers forward. * Political limits such as the rule of law, inalienable rights, and representative institutions, which we inherited primarily from the British. * Legal limits of the natural and common law, which we also owe to our Western heritage. * Certain social limits, which are extremely important to the survival of freedom. These are the habits of our hearts--good manners, kindness, decency, and willingness to put others first, among other things--which are learned in our homes and places of worship, at school and in team sports, and in other social settings. All these limits complement each other and make a good society possible. But they cannot be taken for granted. It takes intellectual and moral leadership to make the case that such limits are important. Our Founders did that. To an exceptional degree, their words tutored succeeding generations in the ways of liberty. It is to America's everlasting credit that our Founders got freedom right.
Russell Kirk (American Cause)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.” He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.” “Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?” Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.” “It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.” “Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word. “Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.” “You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“ “No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.” Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record. “What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.” “Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.” I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery. Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age? Apparently not. “What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
The chief care of the legislators [in the colonies of New England] was the maintenance of orderly conduct and good morals in the community: thus they constantly invaded the domain of conscience, and there was scarcely a sin which was no subject to magisterial censure. The reader is aware of the rigor with which these laws punished rape and adultery; intercourse between unmarried persons was likewise severely repressed. The judge was empowered to inflict either a pecuniary penalty, a whipping, or marriage, on the misdemeanants; and if the records of the old courts of New Haven may be believed, prosecutions of this kind were not unfrequent. We find a sentence, bearing date the 1st of May, 1660, inflicting a fine and reprimand on a young woman who was accused of using improper language, and of allowing herself to be kissed. The Code of 1650 abounds in preventive measures. It punishes idleness and drunkenness with severity. Innkeepers were forbidden to furnish more than certain quantities of liquor to each customer; and simple lying, whenever it may be injurious, is checked by a fine or a flogging. In other places, the legislator, entirely forgetting the great principles of religious toleration which he had himself demanded in Europe, makes attendance on divine service compulsory, and goes so far as to visit with severe punishment, and even with death, Christians who choose to worship God according to a ritual differing from his own. Sometimes, indeed, the zeal for regulation induces him to descend to the most frivolous particulars: thus a law is to be found in the same code which prohibits the use of tobacco. It must not be forgotten that these fantastical and vexatious laws were not imposed by authority, but that they were freely voted by all the persons interested in them, and that the manners of the community were even more austere and puritanical than the laws.... These errors are no doubt discreditable to human reason; they attest the inferiority of our nature, which is incapable of laying firm hold upon what is true and just, and is often reduced to the alternative of two excesses. In strict connection with this penal legislation, which bears such striking marks of a narrow, sectarian spirit, and of those religious passions which had been warmed by persecution and were still fermenting among the people, a body of political laws is to be found, which, though written two hundred years ago, is still in advance of the liberties of our own age.
Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America)
Methinks, Oh! vain ill-judging Book, I see thee cast a wishful look, Where reputations won and lost are In famous row called Paternoster. Incensed to find your precious olio Buried in unexplored port-folio, You scorn the prudent lock and key, And pant well bound and gilt to see Your Volume in the window set Of Stockdale, Hookham, or Debrett. Go then, and pass that dangerous bourn Whence never Book can back return: And when you find, condemned, despised, Neglected, blamed, and criticised, Abuse from All who read you fall, (If haply you be read at all Sorely will you your folly sigh at, And wish for me, and home, and quiet. Assuming now a conjuror’s office, I Thus on your future Fortune prophesy: — Soon as your novelty is o’er, And you are young and new no more, In some dark dirty corner thrown, Mouldy with damps, with cobwebs strown, Your leaves shall be the Book-worm’s prey; Or sent to Chandler–Shop away, And doomed to suffer public scandal, Shall line the trunk, or wrap the candle! But should you meet with approbation, And some one find an inclination To ask, by natural transition Respecting me and my condition; That I am one, the enquirer teach, Nor very poor, nor very rich; Of passions strong, of hasty nature, Of graceless form and dwarfish stature; By few approved, and few approving; Extreme in hating and in loving; Abhorring all whom I dislike, Adoring who my fancy strike; In forming judgements never long, And for the most part judging wrong; In friendship firm, but still believing Others are treacherous and deceiving, And thinking in the present aera That Friendship is a pure chimaera: More passionate no creature living, Proud, obstinate, and unforgiving, But yet for those who kindness show, Ready through fire and smoke to go. Again, should it be asked your page, ‘Pray, what may be the author’s age?’ Your faults, no doubt, will make it clear, I scarce have seen my twentieth year, Which passed, kind Reader, on my word, While England’s Throne held George the Third. Now then your venturous course pursue: Go, my delight! Dear Book, adieu!
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
Part of what kept him standing in the restive group of men awaiting authorization to enter the airport was a kind of paralysis that resulted from Sylvanshine’s reflecting on the logistics of getting to the Peoria 047 REC—the issue of whether the REC sent a van for transfers or whether Sylvanshine would have to take a cab from the little airport had not been conclusively resolved—and then how to arrive and check in and where to store his three bags while he checked in and filled out his arrival and Post-code payroll and withholding forms and orientational materials then somehow get directions and proceed to the apartment that Systems had rented for him at government rates and get there in time to find someplace to eat that was either in walking distance or would require getting another cab—except the telephone in the alleged apartment wasn’t connected yet and he considered the prospects of being able to hail a cab from outside an apartment complex were at best iffy, and if he told the original cab he’d taken to the apartment to wait for him, there would be difficulties because how exactly would he reassure the cabbie that he really was coming right back out after dropping his bags and doing a quick spot check of the apartment’s condition and suitability instead of it being a ruse designed to defraud the driver of his fare, Sylvanshine ducking out the back of the Angler’s Cove apartment complex or even conceivably barricading himself in the apartment and not responding to the driver’s knock, or his ring if the apartment had a doorbell, which his and Reynolds’s current apartment in Martinsburg most assuredly did not, or the driver’s queries/threats through the apartment door, a scam that resided in Claude Sylvanshine’s awareness only because a number of independent Philadelphia commercial carriage operators had proposed heavy Schedule C losses under the proviso ‘Losses Through Theft of Service’ and detailed this type of scam as prevalent on the poorly typed or sometimes even handwritten attachments required to explain unusual or specific C-deductions like this, whereas were Sylvanshine to pay the fare and the tip and perhaps even a certain amount in advance on account so as to help assure the driver of his honorable intentions re the second leg of the sojourn there was no tangible guarantee that the average taxi driver—a cynical and ethically marginal species, hustlers, as even their smudged returns’ very low tip-income-vs.-number-of-fares-in-an-average-shift ratios in Philly had indicated—wouldn’t simply speed away with Sylvanshine’s money, creating enormous hassles in terms of filling out the internal forms for getting a percentage of his travel per diem reimbursed and also leaving Sylvanshine alone, famished (he was unable to eat before travel), phoneless, devoid of Reynolds’s counsel and logistical savvy in the sterile new unfurnished apartment, his stomach roiling in on itself in such a way that it would be all Sylvanshine could do to unpack in any kind of half-organized fashion and get to sleep on the nylon travel pallet on the unfinished floor in the possible presence of exotic Midwest bugs, to say nothing of putting in the hour of CPA exam review he’d promised himself this morning when he’d overslept slightly and then encountered last-minute packing problems that had canceled out the firmly scheduled hour of morning CPA review before one of the unmarked Systems vans arrived to take him and his bags out through Harpers Ferry and Ball’s Bluff to the airport, to say even less about any kind of systematic organization and mastery of the voluminous Post, Duty, Personnel, and Systems Protocols materials he should be receiving promptly after check-in and forms processing at the Post, which any reasonable Personnel Director would expect a new examiner to have thoroughly internalized before reporting for the first actual day interacting with REC examiners, and which there was no way in any real world that Sylvanshine could expect
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)