You've seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks in the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself every time that it's an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the sea, or do you simply enjoy the beauty of it?
John Steinbeck (Sweet Thursday (Cannery Row, #2))
I want to see beauty. In the ugly, in the sink, in the suffering, in the daily, in all the days before I die, the moments before I sleep.
Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are)
But pain's like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There's no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface.
Love knows no boundaries. I wish I would have known that before I hired a cartographer to map out my romantic territory.
Jarod Kintz (The Titanic would never have sunk if it were made out of a sink.)
Sometime years before, I had dragged an old bean bag chair to that place. I watched Zach sink onto it, and then he pulled me down to lean against him. I felt his arms go around me, holding me tight.
I was safe.
I was warm.
I was home.
Ally Carter (United We Spy (Gallagher Girls, #6))
When I was a child, all problems had ended with a single word from my father. A smile from him was sunshine, his scowl a bolt of thunder. He was smart, and generous, and honorable without fail. He could exile a trespasser, check my math homework, and fix the leaky bathroom sink, all before dinner. For the longest time, I thought he was invincible. Above the petty problems that plagued normal people.
And now he was gone.
Rachel Vincent (Alpha (Shifters, #6))
Why did I not die? More miserable than man ever was before, why did I not sink into forgetfulness and rest? Death snatches away many blooming children, the only hopes of their doting parents: how many brides and youthful lovers have been one day in the bloom of health and hope, and the next a prey for worms and the decay of the tomb! Of what materials was I made, that I could thus resist so many shocks, which, like the turning of the wheel, continually renewed the torture?
But I was doomed to live;
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
The suspense: the fearful, acute suspense: of standing idly by while the life of one we dearly love, is trembling in the balance; the racking thoughts that crowd upon the mind, and make the heart beat violently, and the breath come thick, by the force of the images they conjure up before it; the desperate anxiety to be doing something to relieve the pain, or lessen the danger, which we have no power to alleviate; the sinking of soul and spirit, which the sad remembrance of our helplessness produces; what tortures can equal these; what reflections of endeavours can, in the full tide and fever of the time, allay them!
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
I glare at my sister with enough force to make her wince. “Not one word out of you,” I snap. “And don’t think I didn’t feel you kick me right before I passed out. Who does that, Summer? Who kicks a man when he’s down?” From the corner of my eye, I see Tucker sink to the floor. He buries his face in his hands, shaking with laughter.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
I remember a story I once heard about drowning: that when you fall into cold water it's not that you drown right away but that the cold disorients you and makes you think that down is up and up is down, so you may be swimming, swimming, swimming for your life in the wrong direction, all the way toward the bottom until you sink. That's how I feel, as though everything has been turned around.
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth "home." Before you know it, I am calling luxeries "needs" and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don't think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached people drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.
John Piper (Don't Waste Your Life)
You better get over here with my car,” Grandad says. “Before I call the cops and tell them you stole it.”
“Sorry,” I say contritely. Then the rest of what he said sinks in and I laugh.
“Wait, did you just threaten me with calling the police? Because that I’d like to
Holly Black (White Cat (Curse Workers, #1))
You okay?’ Nate asked warily.
My fingers shook with the hangover as I leaned across my sink. ‘I look like the Bride of Frankenstein with a massive hangover.’
‘I’d be hungover too if I’d just had to fuck Frankenstein.
Samantha Young (Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3))
I thought if only I had a keen, shapely bone structure to my face or could discuss politics shrewdly or was a famous writer Constantin might find me interesting enough to sleep with.
And then I wondered if as soon as he came to like me he would sink into ordinariness, and if as soon as he came to love me I would find fault, the way I did with Buddy Willard and the boys before him.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
Dear me! how long is art!
And short is our life!
I often know amid the scholar's strife
A sinking feeling in my mind and heart.
How difficult the means are to be found
By which the primal sources may be breached;
And long before the halfway point is reached,
They bury a poor devil in the ground.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Faust, First Part)
If you’re going to hold a grudge, at least put on an oven mitt before you pick it up.
Jarod Kintz (The Titanic would never have sunk if it were made out of a sink.)
Dying Speech of an Old Philosopher
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife.
Nature I loved, and, next to Nature, Art:
I warm'd both hands before the fire of life;
It sinks; and I am ready to depart.
Walter Savage Landor
I was only then, when I knew I was alone, at least for the moment, that I reached under my gown into the pocket of my dress. As I pulled out my key from the yellow house, which I'd kept on my bureau since the day Nate left, I traced the shape one last time before folding my hand tightly around it.
Behind me, Cora was calling again. My family was waiting. Looking down at the pond, all I could think was that it is an incredible thing, how a whole world can rise from what seems like nothing at all. I stepped closer to the edge, keeping my eyes on my reflection as I dropped the key into the water, where it landed with a splash. At first, the fish darted away, but as it began to sink they circled back, gathering around. Together, they followed it down, down until it was gone.<3
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
In the morning I'm like a snake in the spring: I need to lie out on a warm rock and let the sun sink into me before I can start wiggling around and get on with the day.
Katherine Hannigan (Ida B. . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World)
He felt something he'd never felt before - but he had a sinking sensation that he recognized it anyway.
He was pretty sure he felt like he was in love.
Cassandra Clare (The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, #5))
The biggest defeat in every department of life is to forget, especially the things that have done you in, and to die without realizing how far people can go in the way of crumminess. When the grave lies open before us, let’s not try to be witty, but on the other hand, let’s not forget, but make it our business to record the worst of the human viciousness we’ve seen without changing one word. When that’s done, we can curl up our toes and sink into the pit. That’s work enough for a lifetime.
This is the thing that troubles me, for I cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men's thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the lake of Hali; and my mind will bear for ever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with its beautiful stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth--a world which now trembles before the King In Yellow.
Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories (Dover Mystery, Detective, & Other Fiction))
That's what love does/ It chases the dragons away/ before their claws can sink in.
Toby Barlow (Sharp Teeth)
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be
John Keats (The Complete Poems)
In the hour before a thunderstorm, the color of the forest deepens: the pine needles take on a dense vibrant greenness they possess at no other time, the slender trunks go black, and the leaden sky above sinks lower by the minute.
Michael McDowell (Cold Moon Over Babylon)
The worst moments in life are heralded by small observations. The tiny lump on your side that wasn’t there before. Coming home to your wife and seeing two wineglasses in the sink. Anytime you hear “We interrupt this program…
Andy Weir (The Martian)
Christ sometimes delays His help so He may test our faith and energize our prayers. Our boat may be tossed by the waves while he continues to sleep, but He will awake before it sinks.
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman (Streams in the Desert, KJV)
I live alone," he said simply. "I live in the open. I hear the waves at night and see the black patterns of the pine boughs against the sky. With sound and silence and color and solitude, of course I see visions. Anyone would."
"But you don't believe in them?" Doc asked hopefully.
"I don't find it a matter for belief or disbelief," the seer said. "You've seen the sun flatten and take strange shapes just before it sinks into the ocean. Do you have to tell yourself everytime that it's an illusion caused by atmospheric dust and light distorted by the sea, or do you simply enjoy the beauty of it? Don't you see visions?"
"No," said Doc.
John Steinbeck (Sweet Thursday (Cannery Row, #2))
You know," she says. "You're still alive. I don't know how many different ways I can try to tell you before it finally sinks in.
Courtney Summers (Fall for Anything)
So this is the young man who has intentions toward my little girl." Bobby shifted in his seat and crossed his legs. "It is not fun on this side of the table, is it, Robert?" Uncle Eddie huffed, and Kat had to remember that once upon a time her mother had been a dark-haired girl in that kitchen, and her dad had been the stray she'd brought home. She watched the two men looking at Hale as if they'd never before laid eyes on him. "He's better-looking than the last vagabond I had to take in," Eddie said, standing and carrying empty bowls to the sink. "I'll give him that.
Ally Carter (Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3))
The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set --
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink --
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSE IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK -- HE ONLY SEES!
'All right!' you'll cry. 'All right!' you'll say,
'But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!'
We'll answer this by asking you,
'What used the darling ones to do?
'How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?'
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching 'round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start -- oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.
Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1))
She'd known girls on diets her entire life. Iron-rich blood had rarely, if ever, been their goal. Most of them had been looking for smaller waists, clearer complexions, and richer boyfriends, spurred on by a deeply ingrained self-loathing that had been manufactured for them before they were old enough to understand the kind of quicksand they were sinking in.
Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1))
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasureable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales)
Emma convinced herself she'd lost him because she was fast. She was also adept at convincing herself of things that might not be - good at pretending. She could pretend she took classes at night by choice, and that blushing didn't make her thirsty--
A vicious growl sounded. Her eyes widened, but she didn't turn back, just sprinted across the field. She felt claws sink into her anckle a second before she was dragged to the muddy ground and thrown onto her back. A hand covered her mouth, though she'd been trained not to scream.
"Never run from one such as me." Her attacker didn't sound human. "You will no' get away. And we like it." His voice was guttural like a beast's, breaking, yet his accent was... Scottish?
Kresley Cole (A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark, #1))
Okay, so if that's not real, what
is? What counts, to you?"
He thought for a second, then said, "I don't know. Just because someone's pretty doesn't mean she's decent.
Or vice versa. I'm not into appearances. I like flaws, I think they make things interesting."
I wasn't sure what answer I'd expected. But this wasn't it. For a second, I just sat there, letting it sink in.
"You know," I said finally, "saying stuff like that would make girls even crazier for you. Now you're cuteand
somewhat more attainable. If you were appealing before, now you're off the charts.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Wow," Puck mused, standing beside me. "The River of Dreams." ... Moons, comets and constellations rippled on the surface, and other, stranger things floated upon the misty black waters. Petals and book pages, butterfly wings and silver medals. The hilt of a sword stuck out of the water at an odd angle, the silver blade tangled with ribbons and spiderwebs. A coffin bobbed to the surface, covered in dead lilies, before sinking into the depths once more. The debris of human imaginations, floating through the dark waters of dream and nightmare.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4))
And then I wondered if as soon as he came to like me he would sink into ordinariness, and if as soon as he came to love me I would find fault after fault, the way I did with Buddy Willard and the boys before him. The same thing happened over and over: I would catch sight of some flawless man off in the distance, but as soon as he moved closer I immediately saw he wouldn't do at all.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
Everyone knows the ship could sink, unable to hold the piles of bodies that keep crawling on like raging ants from a disrupted nest. But no one is heartless enough to say stop because what if they had been stopped before their turn?
Thanhhà Lại (Inside Out & Back Again)
I can’t believe it’s you. Wait, why does my chart say Randy Johnson?”
Reid chuckled at the ridiculous name he used for anonymity.
“It’s an alias.”
Wanting to erase the pained look from whatever had happened before he arrived, he gave her a wicked smile and added,
“And sometimes a state of being.”
Her brows gathered together for the few seconds it took to sink in, then her cheeks flushed with color and her eyes grew wide. “Reid!
Gina L. Maxwell (Seducing Cinderella (Fighting for Love, #1))
She's a pot-of-tea-before-I-say-boo-to-you woman. There's always a pile of warm teabags in the sink when I come down, like what a horse would leave behind.
And then I wondered if as soon as he came to like me he would sink into
ordinariness, and if as soon as he came to love me I would find fault after fault, the way I did with Buddy Willard and the boys before him.
The same thing happened over and over:
I would catch sight of some flawless man off in the distance, but as soon as he moved closer I immediately saw he wouldn't do at all.
That's one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth
of July rocket.
We are surrounded by monsters," she said. "We can cower before them or we can pick one and sink our teeth in with the aim to give it hell.
Eli Brown (Cinnamon and Gunpowder)
My father had put these things on the table.
I looked at him standing by the sink. He was washing his hands, splashing water on his face. My mamma left us. My brother, too. And now my feckless, reckless uncle had as well. My pa stayed, though. My pa always stayed.
I looked at him. And saw the sweat stains on his shirt. And his big, scarred hands. And his dirty, weary face. I remembered how, lying in my bed a few nights before, I had looked forward to showing him my uncle's money. To telling him I was leaving.
And I was so ashamed.
Jennifer Donnelly (A Northern Light)
It takes three or four years before the present day sinks in to you as a novelist. It has not just to be accepted in the mind but travel down your spine and fill your body and you can’t respond immediately to immediate events, there is this incubation period.
SONIA: What can we do? We must live our lives. [A pause] Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle, we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile—and—we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith. [SONIA kneels down before her uncle and lays her head on his hands. She speaks in a weary voice] We shall rest. [TELEGIN plays softly on the guitar] We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see all evil and all our pain sink away in the great compassion that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and tender and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith. [She wipes away her tears] My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying! [Weeping] You have never known what happiness was, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. [She embraces him] We shall rest. [The WATCHMAN’S rattle is heard in the garden; TELEGIN plays softly; MME. VOITSKAYA writes something on the margin of her pamphlet; MARINA knits her stocking] We shall rest.
Anton Chekhov (Uncle Vanya)
Hope is a thing I drag out of storage
when I am done thinking; hope answers
my phone; hope breaks my furniture
and helps me rebuild before the next
party; hope turns into more hope
unless it does not in which case
it turns into more or less less
than what I had hoped for; hope
sinks; hope drinks with me and against
me; hope is my ride home; hope is
asleep, I'm asleep, dear god, I can't
Neil Hilborn (Our Numbered Days)
I cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men's thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the lake of Hali; and my mind will bear for ever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with this beautiful, stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth—a world which now trembles before the King in Yellow.
Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow)
What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
I am the woman at the water’s edge,
offering you oranges for the peeling,
knife glistening in the sun.
This is the scent and taste
of my skin: citon and sweet.
Touch me and your life will unfold
before you, easily as this skirt
billows then sinks,
lapping against my legs, my toes
filtering through the rivers silt.
Following the current out to sea,
I am the kind of woman
who will come back to haunt
your dreams, move through your
humid nights the way honey
swirls through a cup of hot tea
The average person has the most fear of death and in reality thinks most rarely about it. The most prominent one occupies himself with it most persistently, but nevertheless fears it the least. The one lives blindly day to day, sinning away, only to sink down before the grim reaper. The other carefully observes his approach but then looks him in the eye, calm and composed.
Adolf Hitler (Hitler's Second Book: The Unpublished Sequel to Mein Kampf)
It is the fate of great achievements, born from a way of life that sets truth before security, to be gobbled up by you and excreted in the form of shit. For centuries great, brave, lonely men have been telling you what to do. Time and again you have corrupted, diminished and demolished their teachings; time and again you have been captivated by their weakest points, taken not the great truth, but some trifling error as your guiding principal. This, little man, is what you have done with Christianity, with the doctrine of sovereign people, with socialism, with everything you touch. Why, you ask, do you do this? I don't believe you really want an answer. When you hear the truth you'll cry bloody murder, or commit it. … You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman. You had the choice between Lenin's truly democratic constitution and Stalin's dictatorship. You chose Stalin's dictatorship. You had your choice between Freud's elucidation of the sexual core of your psychic disorders and his theory of cultural adaptation. You dropped the theory of sexuality and chose his theory of cultural adaptation, which left you hanging in mid-air. You had your choice between Jesus and his majestic simplicity and Paul with his celibacy for priests and life-long compulsory marriage for yourself. You chose the celibacy and compulsory marriage and forgot the simplicity of Jesus' mother, who bore her child for love and love alone. You had your choice between Marx's insight into the productivity of your living labor power, which alone creates the value of commodities and the idea of the state. You forgot the living energy of your labor and chose the idea of the state. In the French Revolution, you had your choice between the cruel Robespierre and the great Danton. You chose cruelty and sent greatness and goodness to the guillotine. In Germany you had your choice between Goring and Himmler on the one hand and Liebknecht, Landau, and Muhsam on the other. You made Himmler your police chief and murdered your great friends. You had your choice between Julius Streicher and Walter Rathenau. You murdered Rathenau. You had your choice between Lodge and Wilson. You murdered Wilson. You had your choice between the cruel Inquisition and Galileo's truth. You tortured and humiliated the great Galileo, from whose inventions you are still benefiting, and now, in the twentieth century, you have brought the methods of the Inquisition to a new flowering. … Every one of your acts of smallness and meanness throws light on the boundless wretchedness of the human animal. 'Why so tragic?' you ask. 'Do you feel responsible for all evil?' With remarks like that you condemn yourself. If, little man among millions, you were to shoulder the barest fraction of your responsibility, the world would be a very different place. Your great friends wouldn't perish, struck down by your smallness.
Wilhelm Reich (Listen, Little Man!)
"Even before Brett?"
"Always," Bekka said. Her lively freckled face was dead serious.
"Wow," Melody said in surprise. They really were friends. Hearing it helped her feel it. And feeling it was like sinking deeper into a warm bath.
Lisi Harrison (Monster High (Monster High, #1))
An embarrassing scream escapes as he changes the angle of his hips and hits a spot that instantly makes my legs violently shake. “Oh my God,” I moan. And this time, I can’t stop my head from dropping back to the mirror behind me and my eyes from rolling backwards. “That's right, baby. I am your fucking God,” he growls before I feel his teeth sink into my neck.
H.D. Carlton (Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet, #1))
Now he felt temper snapping at the nerves. “If you can’t be comfortable in the house while I’m not here, you can barricade yourself in this apartment. You can damn well barricade yourself in it while I am here. It’s up to you.”
“Yes, it is.” She took a deep breath and turned to him. “You did this for me.”
Annoyed, he inclined his head. “There doesn’t seem to be much I wouldn’t do for you.”
“I think that’s starting to sink in.” No one had ever given her anything quite so perfect. No one, she realized, understood her quite so well. “That makes me a lucky woman, doesn’t it?”
He opened his mouth, bit back something particularly nasty. “The hell with it,” he decided. “I have to go.”
“Roarke, one thing.” She walked to him, well aware he was all but snarling with temper. “I haven’t kissed you good-bye,” she murmured and did so with a thoroughness that rocked him back on his heels. “Thank you.” Before he could speak, she kissed him again. “For always knowing what matters to me.”
“You’re welcome.” Possessively, he ran a hand over her tousled hair.
“I already am.”
“Don’t take any unnecessary chances.” His hands gripped in her hair hard, briefly. “There’s no use asking you not to take the necessary ones.”
“Then don’t.” Her heart stuttered when he kissed her hand. “Safe trip,” she told him when he stepped into the elevator. She was new at it, so waited until the doors were almost shut. “I love you.” The last thing she saw was the flash of his grin.
J.D. Robb (Glory in Death (In Death, #2))
Do you ever feel lost?” The question hangs between us, intimate, awkward only on my end. He doesn’t scoff as Tactus and Fitchner would, or scratch his balls like Sevro, or chuckle like Cassius might have, or purr as Victra would. I’m not sure what Mustang might have done. But Roque, despite his Color and all the things that make him different, slowly slides a marker into the book and sets it on the nightstand beside the four-poster, taking his time and allowing an answer to evolve between us. Movements thoughtful and organic, like Dancer’s were before he died. There’s a stillness in him, vast and majestic, the same stillness I remember in my father. “Quinn once told me a story.” He waits for me to moan a grievance at the mention of a story, and when I don’t, his tone sinks into deeper gravity. “Once, in the days of Old Earth, there were two pigeons who were greatly in love. In those days, they raised such animals to carry messages across great distances. These two were born in the same cage, raised by the same man, and sold on the same day to different men on the eve of a great war. “The pigeons suffered apart from each other, each incomplete without their lover. Far and wide their masters took them, and the pigeons feared they would never again find each other, for they began to see how vast the world was, and how terrible the things in it. For months and months, they carried messages for their masters, flying over battle lines, through the air over men who killed one another for land. When the war ended, the pigeons were set free by their masters. But neither knew where to go, neither knew what to do, so each flew home. And there they found each other again, as they were always destined to return home and find, instead of the past, their future.
Pierce Brown (Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2))
Two thousand Sufi poets assembled in Baghdad last night
Bullets, rockets and granades flying
Allah heard only their wine voices
Bursting in a fireball straight to Paradise
Bombs and explosives
Illuminated the shame for an instant
Before sinking suddenly to earth
Echoes of their words seep through wounds
You should be especially careful when associating with one of your former friends or acquaintances not to sink to their level; otherwise you will lose yourself. If you are troubled by the idea that ‘He’ll think I’m boring and won’t treat me the way he used to,’ remember that everything comes at a price. It isn’t possible to change your behavior and still be the same person you were before.
Epictetus (Discourses and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics))
No. I hear you say the word, as if I sat in the room beside you. I see you, bent over the tome in your hand with a frown on your face and a curse on your lips, as if I were puddled in the shadow at your feet. The realization that there are no more pages is sinking in now. I hear it. I see it. No, you say again. What of Mia and Jonnen? Of Scaeva? Mercurio and Ashlinn and Tric? The secrets of the darkin? The Crown of the Moon? I promised ruins in her wake. Pale light glittering on waters that drank a city of bridges and bones. All these questions unanswered, and yet the book is at its end? No, you say. It cannot end like that. Fear not, little mortal. The song is not yet sung. This is but the calm before the crescendo. This tale is only two of three. Birth. And life. And death. So patience, gentlefriends. Patience. Close your eyes. Take my hand. And walk with me.
Jay Kristoff (Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2))
Restrooms at gas stations were an unpleasant and shocking surprise; I had never considered the serious drawbacks of such lazily-cleaned rooms. I was completely unable to ignore the filth, and wasted a burst of power to turn the sink, floors and porcelain toilet into sparkling, clean examples of their kind before using the facility. I felt that was a much less judgmental response than simply blowing the place off the face of the Earth, which was also a distinct temptation, especially when the storekeeper overcharged me for a bottle of cold water.
Rachel Caine (Unknown (Outcast Season, #2))
Before I take you into the beating heart of the story, let’s get one thing out of the way. I know from experience that when it comes up later, it will distract you so much that you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else I will tell you. My name is Jubilee Dougal. Take a moment and let it sink in.
Maureen Johnson (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
Harness the imagination: Sometimes curbing her, sometimes giving her rein, for she is the whole of happiness. She sets to rights even the understanding. She sinks to tyranny, not satisfied with mere faith, but demanding works. Thus she becomes the mistress of life itself. She does so with pleasure or with pain, according to the nonsense presented. She makes people contented or discontented with themselves. By dangling before some nothing but the specter of their eternal suffering, she becomes the scourge of these fools. To others she shows nothing but fortune and romance, while merrily laughing. Of all this she is capable if not held in check by the wisest of wills.
Baltasar Gracián (The Art of Worldly Wisdom: A Pocket Oracle)
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact
which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was
because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made
it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's
mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily
over the stony course of its education and reflects here a
flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and she attempted to
guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be
fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened
out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid
surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the
blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower.
Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every
teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he
feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must
feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment
before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and
resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of
My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart
from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is
innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. I
feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the
footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to
her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that
has not been awakened by her loving touch.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
Fuck…” he closed his eyes a moment, “you’re like a sadomasochistic dessert. A pretty little cupcake I want to devour in one bite or maybe smell and lick all over before sinking so very slowly into you.
Lucian Bane (Mercy (Mercy, #1))
I press my face against his chest, inhale his scent, take comfort from it. "I'm so sorry, Victor. I'm not sure I realized how truly awful this is for you."
"It could be worse. I might not have you."
I sink against him.
"Trust me," he whispers.
J.A. London (Blood-Kissed Sky (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy, #2))
Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, "They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting." Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, "He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death." Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason.
The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. You fail to see that this very facility proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain reflects, as in a mirror, the things you show them, but nothing sinks in. The child remembers the words and the ideas are reflected back; his hearers understand them, but to him they are meaningless.
Although memory and reason are wholly different faculties, the one does not really develop apart from the other. Before the age of reason the child receives images, not ideas; and there is this difference between them: images are merely the pictures of external objects, while ideas are notions about those objects determined by their relations.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Emile, or On Education)
...when a storm was coming on, and they anticipated that a ship might sink, they swam before it, and sang most sweetly of the delight to be found beneath the water, begging the seafarers not to be afraid of coming down below.
Hans Christian Andersen
Now where does he sit as he thinks of her? These years later. A stone of history skipping over the water, bouncing up so she and he have aged before it touches the surface again and sinks.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
This habit of getting used to things is the reason that we seem to forget so quickly. The day before yesterday we were still under fire, today we are fooling about, seeing what we can scrounge around here, tomorrow we’ll be back in the trenches. In fact we don’t really forget anything. All the time we are out here the days at the front sink into us like stones the moment they are over, because they are too much for us to think about right away. If we even tried, they would kill us. Because one thing has become clear to me: you can cope with all the horror as long as you simply duck thinking about it – but it will kill you if you try to come to terms with it.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
The Fever Bird
The fever bird sand out last night.
I could not sleep, try as I might.
My brain was split, my spirit raw.
I looked into the garden, saw
The shadow of the amaltas
Shake slightly on the moonlit grass
Unseen, the bird cried out its grief,
Its lunacy, without relief:
Three notes repeated closer, higher,
Soaring, then sinking down like fire
Only to breathe the night and soar,
As crazed, as desperate, as before.
I shivered in the midnight heat
And smelt the sweat that soaked my sheet.
And now tonight I hear again
The call that skewers though my brain,
The call, the brain-sick triple note--
A cone of pain stuck inits throat.
I am so tired I could weep.
Mad bird, for God's sake let me sleep
Why do you cry like one possessed?
When will you rest? When will you rest?
Why wait each night till all but I
Lie sleeping in the house, then cry?
Why do you scream into my ear
What no one else but I can hear?
Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy (A Bridge of Leaves, #1))
She smiled. She was happy, yet sad. Life had never been more bittersweet. She looked at the
sunset. The pink sky was sinking into the deep blue ocean. It was almost as if the sky knew
it was making a mistake, digging its own grave. But for a moment there, at the very moment
before diving into the darkness of the sea, on the golden horizon, the sky shone brighter
than it ever had. It was glorious in its five seconds of fame. It was serendipitously happy,
like all its life had led to that moment. And then it died into the sea, content.
Thisuri Wanniarachchi (The Terrorist's Daughter)
Treasure is like a beautiful woman. It wants to know that you have taken the time to understand it, before it reveals itself." [...]
"If I were treasure and I heard you utter that, I would sink to the bottom of the ocean where you would never find me.
Roshani Chokshi (The Bronzed Beasts (The Gilded Wolves, #3))
I learned that life can change in an instant. It can flip over like a box of Styrofoam peanuts, and you're left scrambling to gather enough insulation to survive, before it all blows away. After that, you sink down into what's left, like a fragile glass vase with a crack in it, trying to avoid further damage.
One bold year is worth a dozen timid ones....
Lisa Wingate (Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner (Texas Hill Country #3))
It was the shadow of Some one who had gone by long before: of Some one who had gone on far away quite out of reach, never, never to come back. It was bright to look at; and when the tiny woman showed it to the Princess, she was proud of it with all her heart, as a great, great, treasure. When the Princess had considered it a little while, she said to the tiny woman, And you keep watch over this, every day? And she cast down her eyes, and whispered, Yes. Then the Princess said, Remind me why. To which the other replied, that no one so good and so kind had ever passed that way, and that was why in the beginning. She said, too, that nobody missed it, that nobody was the worse for it, that Some one had gone on to those who were expecting him--
'Some one was a man then?' interposed Maggy.
Little Dorrit timidly said yes, she believed so; and resumed:
'-- Had gone on to those who were expecting him, and that this remembrance
was stolen or kept back from nobody. The Princess made answer, Ah! But when the cottager died it would be discovered there. The tiny woman told her No; when that time came, it would sink quietly into her own grave, and would never be found.
Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit)
Without a word he started stalking down the street in the opposite direction my grandparents had taken. I started after him, my steps slower.
And then quite abruptly Caine whipped around and marched back toward me. Features etched with determination, he yanked me roughly to him and crushed his mouth down over mine. I made a noise of surprise in the back of my throat before my instincts took over. I couldn’t help sinking into his kiss.
When he finally let me go we were both breathing hard. Caine smoothed his thumb over my cheek, his eyes still dark with passion and anger.
“I could give a fuck who saw that.
Samantha Young (Hero (Hero, #1))
I appreciate the scientific rigor with which you’ve approached this project, Anna,” said Christopher, who had gotten jam on his sleeve. “Though I don’t think I could manage to collect that many names and also pursue science. Much too time-consuming.”
Anna laughed. “How many names would you want to collect, then?”
Christopher tilted his head, a brief frown of concentration crossing his face, and did not reply.
“I would only want one,” said Thomas.
Cordelia thought of the delicate tracery of the compass rose on Thomas’s arm, and wondered if he had any special person in mind.
“Too late for me to only have one,” declared Matthew airily. “At least I can hope for several names in a carefully but enthusiastically selected list.”
“Nobody’s ever tried to seduce me at all,” Lucie announced in a brooding fashion. “There’s no need to look at me like that, James. I wouldn’t say yes, but I could immortalize the experience in my novel.”
“It would be a very short novel, before we got hold of the blackguard and killed him,” said James.
There was a chorus of laughter and argument. The afternoon sun was sinking in the sky, its rays catching the jeweled hilts of the knives in Anna’s mantelpiece. They cast shimmering rainbow patterns on the gold-and-green walls. The light illuminated Anna’s shabby-bright flat, making something in Cordelia’s heart ache. It was such a homey place, in a way that her big cold house in Kensington was not.
“What about you, Cordelia?” said Lucie.
“One,” said Cordelia. “That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it, really? Instead of many who give you little pieces of themselves—one who gives you everything.”
Anna laughed. “Searching for the one is what leads to all the misery in this world,” she said. “Searching for many is what leads to all the fun.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
The days of what's left stretch before me like a black ribbon of road sinking into an uncaring horizon.
Marata Eros (The Token (The Token, #1))
And the man who will be my king sinks to his knees before me.
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
Hey,” he said, half-asleep, “what were you before you met me?” “I think I was drowning.” A pause. “And what are you now?” he whispered, sinking. I thought for a second. “Water.
Ocean Vuong (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous)
As if I didn't have enough to worry about. My kingdom is threatened by war, extinction, or both, and the only way to solve it is to give up the only thing I've ever really wanted. Then Toraf pulls something like this. Betrays me and my sister. Galen cant imagine how things could get worse. So he's not expecting it when Emma giggles.
He turns on her. "What could be funny?"
She laughs so hard she has to lean into him for support. He stiffens against the urge to wrap his arms around her. Wiping tears from her eyes, she says, "He kissed me!" The confession makes her crack up all over again.
"And you think that's funny?"
"You don't understand, Galen," she says, the beginnings of hiccups robbing her of breath.
"Don't you see? It worked!"
"All I saw was Toraf, my sister's mate, my best friend, kissing my...my..."
"Your student. Wow." Emma shakes her head then hiccups. "Well, I know you're mad about what he did to Rayna, but he did it to make her jealous."
Galen tries to let that sink in, but it stays on the surface like a bobber. "You're saying he kissed you to make Rayna jealous?"
She nods, laugher bubbling up again. "And it worked! Did you see her face?"
"You're saying he set Rayna up." Instead of me? Galen shakes his head. "Where would he get an idea like that?"
"I told him to do it."
Galen's fists ball against his will. "You told him to kiss you?"
"No! Sort of. Not really though."
"I told him to play hard to get. You know, act uninterested. He came up with kissing me all on his own. I'm so proud of him!"
She thinks Toraf is a genius for kissing her. Great. "Did...did you like it?"
"I just told you I did, Galen."
"Not his plan. The kiss."
The delight leaves her face like a receding tide. "That's none of your business, Highness."
He runs a hand through his hair to keep from shaking her. And kissing her.
"Triton's trident, Emma. Did you like it or not?"
Taking several steps back, she throws her hands on her hips. "Do you remember Mr. Pinter, Galen? World history?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Tomorrow is Monday. When I walk into Mr. Pinter's class, he won't ask me how I liked Toraf's kiss. In fact, he won't care what I did for the entire weekend. Because I'm his student. Just like I'm your student, remember?" Her hair whips to the side as she turns and walks away with that intoxicating saunter of hers. She picks up her towel and steps into her flip-flops before heading up the hill to the house.
"I'm tired of waiting, Galen. Good night.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
We often told ourselves off for wasting time in chairs, fully dressed, talking, when we could be doing the same, lying down in bed, face to face and naked. That precious time before love-making is ill-served by the pseudo-clinical term, ‘foreplay’. The world would narrow and deepen, our voices would sink into the warmth of our bodies, the conversation became associative and unpredictable. Everything was touch and breath. Certain simple phrases came to me which I didn’t say out loud because they sounded so banal - Here we are, or, This again or Yes, this. Like a moment in a recurring dream, these spacious, innocent minutes were forgotten until we were back inside them. When we were, our lives returned to the essentials and began again. When we fell silent, we would lie so close we were mouth to mouth, delaying the union which bound us all the more because of this prelude.
Ian McEwan (Enduring Love)
Here for example the beautiful silver mirror of a river swells, a boy falls in, the water ripples sweetly around his locks, he sinks - and after a short while the silver mirror swells as before.
Adalbert Stifter (Brigitta, with Abdias, Limestone & the Forest Path)
She shut the door and locked it before sinking helplessly to the floor. Tears sprang to her eyes fast and hot. A sob racked her chest and she slapped her hand over her mouth. No. No. No. No. No. No.
K.A. Linde (On the Record (Record, #2))
In the cage is the lion. She paces with her memories. Her body is a record of her past. As she moves back and forth, one may see it all: the lean frame, the muscular legs, the paw enclosing long sharp claws, the astonishing speed of her response. She was born in this garden. She has never in her life stretched those legs. Never darted farther than twenty yards at a time. Only once did she use her claws. Only once did she feel them sink into flesh. And it was her keeper's flesh. Her keeper whom she loves, who feeds her, who would never dream of harming her, who protects her. Who in his mercy forgave her mad attack, saying this was in her nature, to be cruel at a whim, to try to kill what she loves. He had come into her cage as he usually did early in the morning to change her water, always at the same time of day, in the same manner, speaking softly to her, careful to make no sudden movement, keeping his distance, when suddenly she sank down, deep down into herself, the way wild animals do before they spring, and then she had risen on all her strong legs, and swiped him in one long, powerful, graceful movement across the arm. How lucky for her he survived the blow. The keeper and his friends shot her with a gun to make her sleep. Through her half-open lids she knew they made movements around her. They fed her with tubes. They observed her. They wrote comments in notebooks. And finally they rendered a judgment. She was normal. She was a normal wild beast, whose power is dangerous, whose anger can kill, they had said. Be more careful of her, they advised. Allow her less excitement. Perhaps let her exercise more. She understood none of this. She understood only the look of fear in her keeper's eyes. And now she paces. Paces as if she were angry, as if she were on the edge of frenzy. The spectators imagine she is going through the movements of the hunt, or that she is readying her body for survival. But she knows no life outside the garden. She has no notion of anger over what she could have been, or might be. No idea of rebellion.
It is only her body that knows of these things, moving her, daily, hourly, back and forth, back and forth, before the bars of her cage.
Susan Griffin (Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her)
Keefe?' Amy repeated, her lips curling into a grin. 'He's the supercute blonde guy you picked up cookies for, right? The one who keeps staring at you all intense when I met him, like you were the only person that mattered to him in the entire universe?'
Someone coughed near the doorway.
It was probably Grady, maybe Edaline too, but Sophie decided she would rather not know who was eavesdropping.
'He doesn't stare at me like that,' she said, hoping her cheeks weren't blushing too badly.
It didn't help that Ro kept cackling beside her.
'I swear, you have no idea how lucky you are, getting to be around so many gorgeous boys all the time. I don't know how you haven't dated any of them--or have you?'
'She tried with Fitzy,' Ro answered for her. 'But then she realized he was too boring, so they broke up.'
'That's not what happened!' Sophie argued--over lots more coughing from the doorway. 'We didn't really date. We just sort of... liked each other... openly. But then it got super complicated, so we decided to focus on being friends.
Why are we talking about this?' Sophie asked
'Because it's fun watching you get all red and fidgety!' Amy told her.
'Plus, there's a chance our boy is somewhere nearby, listening to this conversation,' Ro added before she raised her voice to a shout. 'Hear that, Hunkyhair? Get your overdramatic butt back here! Your girl is single--and the great Foster Oblivion is over! This is what you've been waiting for!'
'Hunkyhair?' Amy asked, raising one eyebrow as Sophie contemplated smothering herself with her blankets. 'Great Foster Oblivion?'
'Never mind,' Sophie mumbled, sinking deeper into her blankets.
Shannon Messenger (Stellarlune (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #9))
Today each of you is the object of the other's reading, each reads in the other the unwritten story. Tomorrow, Reader and Other Reader, if you are together, if you lie down in the same bed like a settled couple, each will turn on the lamp at the side of the bed and sink into his or her book; two parallel readings will accompany the approach of sleep; first you, then you will turn out the light; returning from separated universes, you will find each other fleetingly in the darkness, where all separations are erased, before divergent dreams draw you again, one to one side, and one to the other. But do not wax ironic on this prospect of conjugal harmony: what happier image of a couple could you set against it?
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
Southern California, which is shaped somewhat like a coffin, is a giant sanatorium with flowers where people come to be cured of life itself in whatever way .... This is the last stop before the sun gives up and sinks into the black, black ocean, and night - usually starless here - comes down.
The doorway smells of lavender, of freshly brewed chamomile tea, and my doll eyes flutter, suddenly heavy, like silver coins placed on the eyelids of the dead.
I feel the soft, dreamy tug of a gentle wind. Easy and quiet. Like bedding down in a knoll of moss, or sinking into a cellar, without sound.
Shea Ernshaw (Long Live the Pumpkin Queen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas)
In a lifetime of hearing people celebrate weekends, she finally saw what all the fuss was about. By no means did her workload cease on Saturday, but it did shift gears. If her kids wanted to pull everything out of the laundry basket to make a bird's nest and sit in it, fine. Dellarobia could even sit in there with them and incubate, if she so desired. Household chores no longer called her name exclusively. She had an income. She'd never before understood how much her life in this little house had felt to her like confinement in a sinking vehicle after driving off a bridge. ..... To open a hatch and swim away felt miraculous. Working outside the home took her about fifty yards from her kitchen, which was far enough. She couldn't see the dishes in the sink.
Barbara Kingsolver (Flight Behavior)
She’d read more than was healthy, hundreds of books every year. Some of them she read twice, or even three times, before returning them. Some of them she would check out again after letting them sink in a while. She’d thought at the time that books were at their best when you’d read them two or three times.
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (The Rabbit Back Literature Society)
For a long moment, he held her gaze without speaking, simply letting the impact of words sink in, before adding rapidly, as though he wished to get it over with as quickly as possible, "I won't deny that you're beautiful. No mirror could tell you otherwise. But there are beautiful women for the buying in any brothel in London. Oh yes, and the ballrooms, too, if one has the proper price. It wasn't your appearance that caught me. It was the way you put me down in the gallery at Sibley Court." Vaughn's lips curved in a reminiscent smile. "And the way you tried to bargain with me after."
"Successfully bargained," Mary corrected.
"That," replied Lord Vaughn, "is exactly what I mean. Has anyone ever told you that you haggle divinely? That the simple beauty of your self-interest is enough to bring a man to his knees?"
Mary couldn't in honesty say that anyone had.
Vaughn's eyes were as hard and bright as silver coins. "Those are the reasons I want you. I want you for your cunning mind and your hard heart, for your indomitable spirit and your scheming soul, for they're more honest by far than any of the so-called virtues."
"The truest poetry is the most feigning?" Mary quoted back his own words to him.
"And the most feigning is the most true.
Lauren Willig (The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (Pink Carnation, #4))
and as they stood in silence before her, prayed again. "Nothing is altered and in spite of God's mercy I am still alone. Though my suffering seems senseless I am still in agony. There is no explanation of my life." Indeed there was not, nor was this what he'd meant to convey. "Please let Yvonne have her dream -- dream? -- of a new life with me -- please let me believe that all that is not an abominable self-deception," he tried... "Please let me make her happy, deliver me from this dreadful tyranny of self. I have sunk low. Let me sink lower still, that I may know the truth. Teach me to love again, to love life." That wouldn't do either... "Where is love? Let me truly suffer. Give me back my purity, the knowledge of the Mysteries, that I have betrayed and lost. -- Let me be truly lonely, that I may honestly pray. Let us be happy again somewhere, if it's only together, if it's only out of this terrible world. Destroy the world!" he cried in his heart.
Malcolm Lowry (Under the Volcano)
You’re awfully quiet.”
Her head snapped the other way, heat creeping up into her cheeks as she focused on the ocean below. “Just waiting for all of this to sink in.”
“Oh.” He chuckled. “I was hoping you were staring at me because you liked what you saw.”
Clio grinned, shaking her head. “I thought you were concentrating on the road.”
He pulled into a cobblestone driveway. The truck vibrated as they rumbled over the uneven surface. When he stopped in front of a cottage, he turned off the engine and met her eyes. “I have a hard time concentrating on anything but you when you’re around.”
Her heart pounded. “No one’s ever had that problem around me before.”
“I call bullshit.” He rolled his eyes. “I’ve been wishing you’d notice me since the day we met.”
Her jaw dropped. “I always notice you. Why do you think I’m at the theater site so often?”
He reached over to run a finger along her jawline. “You’re beautiful, Clio. But you’re so busy with your books and reading about the past, you must not notice the effect you have on everyone in the present.
Lisa Kessler (Devoted to Destiny (Muse Chronicles, #5))
I suppose there hasn’t been a single month since the war, in any trade you care to name, in which there weren’t more men than jobs. It’s brought a peculiar, ghastly feeling into life. It’s like on a sinking ship when there are nineteen survivors and fourteen lifebelts. But is there anything particularly modern in that, you say? Has it anything to do with the war? Well, it feels as if it had. The feeling that you’ve got to be everlastingly fighting and hustling, that you’ll never get anything unless you grab it from somebody else, that there’s always somebody after your job, that next month or the month after they’ll be reducing staff and it’s you that’ll get the bird – that, I swear, didn’t exist in the old life before the war.
George Orwell (Coming Up for Air)
It's a physical sickness. Etienne. How much I love him.
I love Etienne.
I love it when he cocks an eyebrow whenever I say something he finds clever or amusing. I love listening to his boots clomp across my bedroom ceiling. I love that the accent over his first name is called an acute accent, and that he has a cute accent.
I love that.
I love sitting beside him in physics. Brushing against him during lands. His messy handwriting on our worksheets. I love handing him his backpack when class is over,because then my fingers smell like him for the next ten minutes. And when Amanda says something lame, and he seeks me out to exchange an eye roll-I love that,too. I love his boyish laugh and his wrinkled shirts and his ridiculous knitted hat. I love his large brown eyes,and the way he bites his nails,and I love his hair so much I could die.
There's only one thing I don't love about him. Her.
If I didn't like Ellie before,it's nothing compared to how I feel now. It doesn't matter that I can count how many times we've met on one hand. It's that first image, that's what I can't shake. Under the streeplamp. Her fingers in his hair. Anytime I'm alone, my mind wanders back to that night. I take it further. She touches his chest. I take it further.His bedroom.He slips off her dress,their lips lock, their bodies press,and-oh my God-my temperature rises,and my stomach is sick.
I fantasize about their breakup. How he could hurt her,and she could hurt him,and of all the ways I could hurt her back. I want to grab her Parisian-styled hair and yank it so hard it rips from her skull. I want to sink my claws into her eyeballs and scrape.
It turns out I am not a nice person.
Etienne and I rarely discussed her before, but she's completely taboo now. Which tortures me, because since we've gotten back from winter break, they seem to be having problems again. Like an obsessed stalker,I tally the evenings he spend with me versus the evening he spends with her. I'm winning.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Memory gallops, then checks up and veers unexpectedly; to memory, the order of occurrence is arbitrary. Winkler was still on an airplane, hurtling north, but he was also pushing farther back, sinking deeper into the overlaps, to the years before he even had a daughter, before he had even dreamed of the woman who would become his wife.
Anthony Doerr (About Grace)
Quinn once told me a story.” He waits for me to moan a grievance at the mention of a story, and when I don’t, his tone sinks into deeper gravity. “Once, in the days of Old Earth, there were two pigeons who were greatly in love. In those days, they raised such animals to carry messages across great distances. These two were born in the same cage, raised by the same man, and sold on the same day to different men on the eve of a great war. “The pigeons suffered apart from each other, each incomplete without their lover. Far and wide their masters took them, and the pigeons feared they would never again find each other, for they began to see how vast the world was, and how terrible the things in it. For months and months, they carried messages for their masters, flying over battle lines, through the air over men who killed one another for land. When the war ended, the pigeons were set free by their masters. But neither knew where to go, neither knew what to do, so each flew home. And there they found each other again, as they were always destined to return home and find, instead of the past, their future.” He folds his hands gently, a teacher arriving at his point. “So do I feel lost? Always. When Lea died at the Institute …” His lips slip gently downward. “… I was in a dark woods, blind and lost as Dante before Virgil. But Quinn helped me. Her voice calling me out of misery. She became my home. As she puts it, ‘Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.’ ” He grasps the top of my hand. “Find your home, Darrow. It may not be in the past. But find it, and you’ll never be lost again.
Pierce Brown (Golden Son (Red Rising Saga, #2))
Can we talk now?” she asked.
“Nay, we need to . . . load the dishwasher.” He padded into the kitchen and took his time rinsing everything in the sink before stacking it into the machine. He even scrubbed the pot he’d warmed the soup in.
When he closed the dishwasher, she was waiting there, holding a mop.
She offered it to him. “Do you want to clean the floors now? And sweep the porch? I think the antlers on the moose head need polishing.
Kerrelyn Sparks (Vampire Mine (Love at Stake, #10))
Consider the cattle, grazing as they pass you by: they do not know what is meant by yesterday or today, they leap about, eat, rest, digest, leap about again, and so from morn till night and from day to day, fettered to the moment and its pleasure or displeasure, and thus neither melancholy nor bored. This is a hard sight for man to see; for, though he thinks himself better than the animals because he is human, he cannot help envying them their happiness – what they have, a life neither bored nor painful, is precisely what he wants, yet he cannot have it because he refuses to be like an animal…
[Man] also wonders at himself, that he cannot learn to forget but clings relentlessly to the past: however far and fast he may run, this chain runs with him. And it is a matter for wonder: a moment, now here and then gone, nothing before it came, again nothing after it has gone, nonetheless returns as a ghost and disturbs the peace of a later moment. A leaf flutters from the scroll of time, floats away – and suddenly floats back again and falls into the man’s lap. Then the man says ‘I remember’ and envies the animal, who at once forgets and for whom every moment really dies, sinks back into night and fog and is extinguished forever.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Untimely Meditations)
It is a matter for wonder: a moment, now here and then gone, nothing before it came, again nothing after it has gone, nonetheless returns as a ghost and disturbs the peace of a later moment. A leaf flutters from the scroll of time, floats away- and suddenly floats back again and falls into the man's lap. Then the man says 'I remember' and envies the animal, who at once forgets and for whom every moment really dies, sinks back into night and f og and is extinguished for ever. Thus the animal lives unhistorically: for it is contained in the present...
Most striking about the traditional societies of the Congo was their remarkable artwork: baskets, mats, pottery, copper and ironwork, and, above all, woodcarving. It would be two decades before Europeans really noticed this art. Its discovery then had a strong influence on Braque, Matisse, and Picasso -- who subsequently kept African art objects in his studio until his death. Cubism was new only for Europeans, for it was partly inspired by specific pieces of African art, some of them from the Pende and Songye peoples, who live in the basin of the Kasai River, one of the Congo's major tributaries.
It was easy to see the distinctive brilliance that so entranced Picasso and his colleagues at their first encounter with this art at an exhibit in Paris in 1907. In these central African sculptures some body parts are exaggerated, some shrunken; eyes project, cheeks sink, mouths disappear, torsos become elongated; eye sockets expand to cover almost the entire face; the human face and figure are broken apart and formed again in new ways and proportions that had previously lain beyond sight of traditional European realism.
The art sprang from cultures that had, among other things, a looser sense than Islam or Christianity of the boundaries between our world and the next, as well as those between the world of humans and the world of beasts. Among the Bolia people of the Congo, for example, a king was chosen by a council of elders; by ancestors, who appeared to him in a dream; and finally by wild animals, who signaled their assent by roaring during a night when the royal candidate was left at a particular spot in the rain forest. Perhaps it was the fluidity of these boundaries that granted central Africa's artists a freedom those in Europe had not yet discovered.
Adam Hochschild (King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa)
The essence of meditation practice in Dzogchen is encapsulated by these four points:
▪ When one past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet risen, in that gap, in between, isn’t there a consciousness of the present moment; fresh, virgin, unaltered by even a hair’s breadth of a concept, a luminous, naked awareness?
Well, that is what Rigpa is!
▪ Yet it doesn’t stay in that state forever, because another thought suddenly arises, doesn’t it?
This is the self-radiance of that Rigpa.
▪ However, if you do not recognize this thought for what it really is, the very instant it arises, then it will turn into just another ordinary thought, as before. This is called the “chain of delusion,” and is the root of samsara.
▪ If you are able to recognize the true nature of the thought as soon as it arises, and leave it alone without any follow-up, then whatever thoughts arise all automatically dissolve back into the vast expanse of Rigpa and are liberated.
Clearly this takes a lifetime of practice to understand and realize the full richness and majesty of these four profound yet simple points, and here I can only give you a taste of the vastness of what is meditation in Dzogchen.
Dzogchen meditation is subtly powerful in dealing with the arisings of the mind, and has a unique perspective on them. All the risings are seen in their true nature, not as separate from Rigpa, and not as antagonistic to it, but actually as none other–and this is very important–than its “self-radiance,” the manifestation of its very energy.
Say you find yourself in a deep state of stillness; often it does not last very long and a thought or a movement always arises, like a wave in the ocean. Don’t reject the movement or particulary embrace the stillness, but continue the flow of your pure presence. The pervasive, peaceful state of your meditation is the Rigpa itself, and all risings are none other than this Rigpa’s self-radiance. This is the heart and the basis of Dzogchen practice. One way to imagine this is as if you were riding on the sun’s rays back to the sun: ….
Of couse there are rough as well as gentle waves in the ocean; strong emotions come, like anger, desire, jealousy. The real practitioner recognizes them not as a disturbance or obstacle, but as a great opportunity. The fact that you react to arisings such as these with habitual tendencies of attachment and aversion is a sign not only that you are distracted, but also that you do not have the recognition and have lost the ground of Rigpa. To react to emotions in this way empowers them and binds us even tighter in the chains of delusion. The great secret of Dzogchen is to see right through them as soon as they arise, to what they really are: the vivid and electric manifestation of the energy of Rigpa itself. As you gradually learn to do this, even the most turbulent emotions fail to seize hold of you and dissolve, as wild waves rise and rear and sink back into the calm of the ocean.
The practitioner discovers–and this is a revolutionary insight, whose subtlety and power cannot be overestimated–that not only do violent emotions not necessarily sweep you away and drag you back into the whirlpools of your own neuroses, they can actually be used to deepen, embolden, invigorate, and strengthen the Rigpa. The tempestuous energy becomes raw food of the awakened energy of Rigpa. The stronger and more flaming the emotion, the more Rigpa is strengthened.
Sogyal Rinpoche (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
I was just wishing for you," he said. "And here you are."
"Must be your lucky day, Ace."
"Eve." He lifted a hand, not quite steady, skimmed his fingers along her jaw. "Eve," he said again, and his arms were around her, banded like steel as he lifted her off her feet. "Oh God. Eve."
She felt the shudder run through him as he buried his face in her hair, against the curve of her neck. And knew she'd been right to come. Whatever else there was, she'd been right to come.
"Everything's okay now." To soothe, she ran her hands over his back. "It's okay."
"You landed in a field of cows, in a jet-copter."
"You're telling me?"
He rubbed his hands up and down her arms before linking them with hers and easing back to look at her face. "You must love me madly."
His eyes were wild and beautiful, his lips warm and tender as he pressed them to her cheeks. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, but you missed a spot." She found his mouth with hers and let him sink in. When she felt the heat, the punch, her lips curved against his. "That's better.
J.D. Robb (Portrait in Death (In Death, #16))
An old man told me about how his wife had heard voices speaking to her from the drain of her kitchen sink in the three weeks before their daughter died—that was in the early winter of 1957–58.
Stephen King (It)
The first effect of the mind growing cultivated is that processes once multiple get to be performed in a single act. Lazarus has called this the progressive 'condensation' of thought. ... Steps really sink from sight. An advanced thinker sees the relations of his topics is such masses and so instantaneously that when he comes to explain to younger minds it is often hard ... Bowditch, who translated and annotated Laplace's Méchanique Céleste, said that whenever his author prefaced a proposition by the words 'it is evident,' he knew that many hours of hard study lay before him.
William James (The Principles of Psychology)
I went back in and grabbed my running clothes, then changed in the bathroom. I opened the door to the bathroom, stopping when I saw Kaidan's toiletry bag on the sink. I was overcome with curiosity about his cologne or aftershave, because I'd never smelled it on anyone else before. Feeling sneaky, I prodded one finger into the bag and peeked. No cologne bottle. Only a razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. I picked up the deodorant, pulled off the lid, and smelled it. Nope, that wasn't it.
The sound of Kaidan's deep chuckle close to the doorway made me scream and drop the deodorant into the sink with a clatter. I smacked one hand to my chest and grabbed the edge of the sink with the other. He laughed out loud now.
“Okay, that must have looked really bad.” I spoke to his reflection in the mirror, then fumbled to pick up the deodorant. I put the lid on and dropped it in his bag. “But I was just trying to figure out what cologne you wear.”
My face was on fire as Kaidan stepped into the small bathroom and leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. I stepped away. He seemed entertained by my predicament.
“I haven't been wearing any cologne.”
“Oh.” I cleared my throat. “Well, I didn't see any, so I thought it might be your deodorant, but that's not it either. Maybe it's your laundry detergent or something. Let's just forget about it.”
“What is it you smell, exactly?” His voice took on a husky quality, and it felt like he was taking up a lot of room. I couldn't bring myself to look at him. Something strange was going on here. I stepped back, hitting the tub with my heel as I tried to put the scent into words.
“I don't know. It's like citrus and the forest or something...leaves and tree sap. I can't explain it.”
His eyes bored into mine while he wore that trademark sexy smirk, arms still crossed.
“Citrus?” he asked. “Like lemons?”
“Oranges mostly. And a little lime, too.”
He nodded and flicked his head to the side to get hair out of his eyes. Then his smile disappeared and his badge throbbed.
“What you smell are my pheromones, Anna.”
A small, nervous laugh burst from my throat.
“Oh, okay, then. Well...” I eyed the small space that was available to pass through the door. I made an awkward move toward it, but he shifted his body and I stepped back again.
“People can't usually smell pheromones,” he told me. “You must be using your extra senses without realizing it. I've heard of Neph losing control of their senses with certain emotions. Fear, surprise...lust.”
I rubbed my hands up and down my upper arms, wanting nothing more than to veer this conversation out of the danger zone.
“Yeah, I do have a hard time reining in the scent sometimes,” I babbled. “It even gets away from me while I sleep now and then. I wake up thinking Patti's making cinnamon rolls and it ends up being from someone else's apartment. Then I'm just stuck with cereal. Anyway...”
“Would you like to know your own scent?” he asked me.
My heart swelled up big in my chest and squeezed small again. This whole scent thing was way too sensual to be discussed in this small space. Any second now my traitorous body would be emitting some of those pheromones and there'd be red in my aura.
“Uh, not really,” I said, keeping my eyes averted. “I think I should probably go.”
He made no attempt to move out of the doorway.
“You smell like pears with freesia undertones.”
“Wow, okay.” I cleared my throat, still refusing eye contact. I had to get out of there. “I think I'll just...” I pointed to the door and began to shuffle past him, doing my best not to brush up against him. He finally took a step back and put his hands up by his sides to show that he wouldn't touch me. I broke out of the confined bathroom and took a deep breath.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
It wasn’t Dean’s fault,” Allie insists. “Seriously, it’s all on me. I freaked out for no reason.” She finally looks over at me. “See? This is why I don’t like horror movies! You watch one scary movie when you’re a kid and suddenly everyone who comes to your door is a serial killer.”
“Are you kidding me right now? You’ll watch a horror movie with my sister but not me? We have to watch the cancer movie?”
“Dicky,” Summer chides. “You’re being grumpy.”
I glare at my sister with enough force to make her wince. “Not one word out of you,” I snap. “And don’t think I didn’t feel you kick me right before I passed out. Who does that, Summer? Who kicks a man when he’s down?”
From the corner of my eye, I see Tucker sink to the floor. He buries his face in his hands, shaking with laughter.
The EMT blocks my line of sight by squatting in front of me. “I need to examine you for a concussion.”
Oh for fuck’s sake.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
I knew she overre--holy shit!” he yelled, falling back on his ass and scooting away from the largest spider he’d ever seen. When it decided to come after him, he was left with little choice but to grab one of Zoe’s magazines off the neat pile near the toilet and beat the shit out of the spider as Toby barked encouragingly. Even after he was pretty sure that it was dead he kept up the attack, afraid that it was just a trick and the spider was biding its time before it attacked him and dragged him beneath the sink.
R.L. Mathewson (Perfection (Neighbor from Hell, #2))
How everyone is struggling for something. Trying to keep the balance.
Struggling to find their way back. Doing the best they can with what they've been dealt. Staying in place, doing anything to keep from sinking. To keep from rising.
Until something changes. Like a day at school, a friend for lunch, someone standing up for you.
And the choice to feel. Standing before you.
Realizing what part is yours. What you can and can't do. Who you are. Who you are meant to be.
More than the sum of all your broken parts.
Ash Parsons (Still Waters)
Brother, sister, flick your tongue
and taste the flakes of autumn sun.
Use these last few hours of gold
to travel, travel toward the cold.
Before your coils grow stiff and dull,
your heartbeat slows to winter's lull,
seek the sink of sheltered stones
that safely cradle sleeping bones.
Brother, sister, find the ways
back to the deep and tranquil bays,
and 'round each other twist and fold
to weave a heavy cloak of cold.
Joyce Sidman (Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold)
(All those paintings of women, in art galleries, surprised at private moments. Nymph Sleeping. Susanna and the Elders. Woman bathing, one foot in a tin tub - Renoir, or was it Degas? both, both women plump. Diana and her maidens, a moment before they catch the hunter's prying eyes. Never any paintings called Man Washing Socks in Sink.)
Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin)
I have that old sinking feeling. I've been overly available, sickeningly sweet and forever enabling all in the name of being 'liked.' I've compromised myself. I've suffered fools, idiots and dullards. I've gone on far too many dates with men because I felt guilty that they liked me more than I liked them. I've fallen deeply and madly I'm love with men I've never met just because I thought they looked 'deep.' I've built whole futures with men I hardly knew; I've planned weddings and named invisible children based on a side glance. I've made chemistry where there was none. I've forced intimacy while building higher Walls. I've been alone in a two year relationship. I've faked more orgasms than I can count while being comfortable with no affection at all.
I realise I have to make a decision right here and now. Do I go back to the sliver of a person I was before or do I, despite whatever bullshit happened tonight, hold on to this... This authenticity? If I go back to the the way I was before tonight, I'll have to compromise myself, follow rules with men who have none, hold my tongue, be quiet and laugh at shitty jokes. I have to never be challenged, yet be called challenging when I have an opinion or, really, speak at all. I'll never be torched by someone and get goosebumps again. I'll never be outside of myself. I'll never let go. I'll never lose myself. I'll never know what real love is - both for someone else and for me. I'll look back on this life and wish I could do it all over again. I finally see the consequences of that life. The path more travelled only led to someone else's life: an idealised, saturated world of White picket fences and gingham tablecloths. A life where the real me is locked away. Sure i had a plus-one but at what price? No. No matter how awkward and painful this gets, I can't go back.
Liza Palmer (More Like Her)
We all indulge in the strange, pleasant process called thinking, but when it comes to saying what we think, then how little we are able to convey! The phantom is through the mind and out of the window before we can lay salt on its tail, or slowly sinking and returning to the profound darkness which it has lit up momentarily with a wandering light.
Mom frowned, and I wanted to give her a thumbs-up to let her know I was okay. All I could manage was raising my bound hands in her general direction, clocking Cal on the chin as I did so. "Sorry."
"No problem. Must be weird for you, having your mom here."
"Weird for me, weird for her, probably weird for you since you had to give up your swinging bachelor pad."
"Mrs. Casnoff let me install my heart-shaped Jacuzzi in my new dorm room."
"Cal," I said with mock astonishment, "did you just make a joke?"
"Maybe," he replied. We'd reached the end of the pier. I looked down at the water and tried not to shudder.
"I'll be pretending, of course, but do you have any advice on how I'm supposed to not drown?" I asked Cal.
"Don't breathe in water."
"Oh,thanks,that's super helpful."
Cal shifted me in his arms, and I tensed. Just before he tossed me into the pond, he leaned in and whispered, "Good luck."
And then I hit the water.
I can't say what my first thought was as I sunk below the surface, because it was mostly a string of four-letter words. The water was way too cold for a pond in Georgia in May, and I could feel the chill sinking all the way into my bones. Plus my chest started burning almost immediately, and I sunk all the way to the bottom, landing in the slimy mud.
Okay,Sophie,I thought. Don't panic.
Then I glanced over to my right, and through the murky water, made out a skull grinning back at me.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
She’d known girls on diets her entire life. Iron-rich blood had rarely, if ever, been their goal. Most of them had been looking for smaller waists, clearer complexions, and richer boyfriends, spurred on by a deeply ingrained self-loathing that had been manufactured for them before they were old enough to understand the kind of quicksand they were sinking in.
Seanan McGuire (Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1))
There are dark sides of every fandom. The pockets filled with a certain kind of nostalgia where everything is sacred and shouldn't be tampered with. Where new things are always trash, or judged too harshly, or not up to some unknown holy standard. Where new people with new ideas can't touch an old sinking ship even if it'll repair it---make it better than before.
Ashley Poston (The Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con, #2))
Dredge up a hostile, sulfurous silicate lava sink slaloming between two phlegmy suns well into their shuffleboard years, a miserable wad of hell-spit, free-range acid clouds, and the gravitational equivalent of untreated diabetes, a stellar expletive that should never be forced to cope with something as toxic and flammable as a civilization, and before you can say no, stop, don’t, why? the place will be crawling with postcapitalist glass balloons filled with sentient gases all called Ursula.
Catherynne M. Valente (Space Opera (Space Opera, #1))
I remember, in no particular order:
- a shiny inner wrist;
- steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
- gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;
- a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;
- another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;
- bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door. This last isn't something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
People had always amazed him, he began. But they amazed him more since the sickness. For as long as the two of them had been together, he said, Gary’s mother had accepted him as her son’s lover, had given them her blessing. Then, at the funeral, she’d barely acknowledged him. Later, when she drove to the house to retrieve some personal things, she’d hunted through her son’s drawers with plastic bags twist-tied around her wrists.
“…And yet,” he whispered, “The janitor at school--remember him? Mr. Feeney? --he’d openly disapproved of me for nineteen years. One of the nastiest people I knew. Then when the news about me got out, after I resigned, he started showing up at the front door every Sunday with a coffee milkshake. In his church clothes, with his wife waiting out in the car. People have sent me hate mail, condoms, Xeroxed prayers…”
What made him most anxious, he told me, was not the big questions--the mercilessness of fate, the possibility of heaven. He was too exhausted, he said, to wrestle with those. But he’d become impatient with the way people wasted their lives, squandered their chances like paychecks.
I sat on the bed, massaging his temples, pretending that just the right rubbing might draw out the disease. In the mirror I watched us both--Mr. Pucci, frail and wasted, a talking dead man. And myself with the surgical mask over my mouth, to protect him from me.
“The irony,” he said, “… is that now that I’m this blind man, it’s clearer to me than it’s ever been before. What’s the line? ‘Was blind but now I see…’” He stopped and put his lips to the plastic straw. Juice went halfway up the shaft, then back down again. He motioned the drink away. “You accused me of being a saint a while back, pal, but you were wrong. Gary and I were no different. We fought…said terrible things to each other. Spent one whole weekend not speaking to each other because of a messed up phone message… That time we separated was my idea. I thought, well, I’m fifty years old and there might be someone else out there. People waste their happiness--That’s what makes me sad. Everyone’s so scared to be happy.”
“I know what you mean,” I said.
His eyes opened wider. For a second he seemed to see me. “No you don’t,” he said. “You mustn’t. He keeps wanting to give you his love, a gift out and out, and you dismiss it. Shrug it off because you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid. It’s more like…” I watched myself in the mirror above the sink. The mask was suddenly a gag. I listened.
“I’ll give you what I learned from all this,” he said. “Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
In English, consciousness and unconsciousness are part of a vertical plane, so that we wake up ↑ and we fall ↓ asleep and we sink ↓ into a coma. Chinese uses the horizontal line, so that to wake is to cross a border towards consciousness → and to faint is to go back ← . Meanwhile, time itself is vertical so that last year is “the year above” ↑ and next year is “the year below” ↓. The day before yesterday is the day “in front” ↑ and the day after tomorrow is the day “behind” ↓. This means that future generations are not the generations ahead, but the ones behind. Therefore, to look into the future one must turn around...
Madeleine Thien (Do Not Say We Have Nothing)
Before I got better, if people didn’t have any protection in place for themselves I would aim right at them. Who doesn’t want a target that they can sink? But what I was doing, and what a lot of borderlines do, is not a game or a way to get kicks. It’s about survival. People who had healthy boundaries in place left me feeling too defective, too out of control, and too vulnerable.
Paul T. Mason (Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder)
Maggie held a pail of river water. She knew the well water would be too sweet. The river would have a bit of salt in it, and any healing comes first through hurt before it makes it to peace. That was a terrible thing, she knew. Yet there was nothing truer. She knew it was why so many people saw no point, didn’t have the resolve to make it through, and got stuck. A sucking mud. The sinking kind. There were a lot of people there. Knee-deep. Some submerged. Some clawing their way to solid ground. How few would make it.
Robert Jones Jr. (The Prophets)
And to the flour
add water, only
a thin stream whispering gathered
rains of a reticent winter.
And to the flour add oil, only
a glistening thread snaking through
ridges and ravines of what
sifts through your fingers,
what sinks, moist and burdened
between your palms.
And in the kneading
hinge forward, let the weight
of what you carry on your shoulders,
the luster of your language, shade
of your story press into the dough.
And to the dough bring
the signature of your fingertips, stretch
the canvas before you, summer linen
of wheat and autumn velvet of olive oil,
smooth like a map
of silence and fragrance,
of invisible terrains of memory.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
Love me like a wrong turn on a bad road late at night, with no
moon and no town anywhere
and a large hungry animal moving heavily through the brush in
Love me with a blindfold over your eyes and the sound of rusty
blurting from the faucet in the kitchen, leaking down through
the floorboards to hot cement. Do it without asking,
without wondering or thinking anything, while the machinery’s
shut down and the watchman’s slumped asleep before his small TV
showing the empty garage, the deserted hallways, while the thieves
the fence with steel clippers. Love me when you can’t find
a decent restaurant open anywhere, when you’re alone in a glaring
with two nuns arguing in the back booth, when your eggs are
and your hash browns underdone. Snick the buttons off the front
of my dress
and toss them one by one into the pond where carp lurk just
beneath the surface,
their cold fins waving. Love me on the hood of a truck no one’s
in years, sunk to its fenders in weeds and dead sunflowers;
and in the lilies, your mouth on my white throat, while turtles
their bellies through slick mud, through the footprints of coots and
Do it when no one’s looking, when the riots begin and the planes
when the bus leaps the curb and the driver hits the brakes and the
pedal sinks to the floor,
while someone hurls a plate against the wall and picks up another,
love me like a freezing shot of vodka, like pure agave, love me
when you’re lonely, when we’re both too tired to speak, when you
in anything, listen, there isn’t anything, it doesn’t matter; lie down
with me and close your eyes, the road curves here, I’m cranking up
and we’re going, we won’t turn back as long as you love me,
as long as you keep on doing it exactly like that.
Kim Addonizio (Tell Me (American Poets Continuum))
There is not, perhaps, a more painful exercise of the mind than that of treading, with weary and impatient pace, the entire round of thought, and arriving at the same conclusion for ever; then setting out again with increased speed and diminished strength, and again returning to the very same spot - of sending all our faculties on a voyage to discover, and seeing them all return empty, and watch the wrecks as they drift helplessly along, and sink before the eye that hailed their outward expedition with joy and confidence.
Charles Maturin (Melmoth the Wanderer: A Tale; Vol. III)
I was getting interested in self-transformation. I was straining to understand the worldview of the islanders whom we moved and lived among—and I had been doing so since before Guam, when I let myself sink deep into the coral-pebble speed-checkers subworld around the sakau bowl in Pohnpei. I had come here to learn, I figured, and not just a few things about some far-flung places and people. I wanted to learn new ways to be. I wanted to change, to feel less existentially alienated, to feel more at home in my skin, as they say, and in the world.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Perhaps as he was lying awake then, his life may have passed before him--his early hopeful struggles, his manly successes and prosperity, his downfall in his declining years, and his present helpless condition--no chance of revenge against Fortune, which had had the better of him--neither name nor money to bequeath--a spent-out, bootless life of defeat and disappointment, and the end here! Which, I wonder, brother reader, is the better lot, to die prosperous and famous, or poor and disappointed? To have, and to be forced to yield; or to sink out of life, having played and lost the game? That must be a strange feeling, when a day of our life comes and we say, “To-morrow, success or failure won’t matter much, and the sun will rise, and all the myriads of mankind go to their work or their pleasure as usual, but I shall be out of the turmoil.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
It’s weird the thing with Henry could make him understand this huge part of himself, but it does. When he sinks into thoughts of Henry’s hands, square knuckles and elegant fingers, he wonders how he never realized it before. When he sees Henry next at a gala in Berlin, and he feels that gravitational pull, chases it down in the back of a limo, and binds Henry’s wrists to a hotel bedpost with his own necktie, he knows himself better.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
Gods, my gods! How sad the earth is at eventide! How mysterious are the mists over the swamps. Anyone who has wandered in these mists, who has suffered a great deal before death, or flown above the earth, bearing a burden beyond his strength knows this. Someone who is exhausted knows this. And without regret he forsakes the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and sinks into the arms of death with a light heart knowing that death alone . . .
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
The objective of learning is not necessarily to remember. It may even be salutary to forget. It is only when we forget the early pains and struggles of forming letters that we acquire the capacity for writing. The adult does not remember all the history s/he learned but s/he may hope to have acquired a standard of character and conduct, a sense of affairs and a feeling of change and development in culture. Naturally there is nothing against having a well-stocked mind provided it does not prevent the development of other capacities. But it is still more important to allow knowledge to sink into one in such a way that it becomes fruitful for life; this best done when we feel deeply all we learn. For the life of feeling is less conscious, more dream-like, than intellectual activity and leads to the subconscious life of will where the deep creative capacities of humanity have their being. It is from this sphere that knowledge can emerge again as something deeply significant for life. It is not what we remember exactly, but what we transform which is of real value to our lives. In this transformation the process of forgetting, of allowing subjects to sink into the unconscious before "re-membering" them is an important element.
Henning Hansmann (Education for Special Needs: Principles and Practice in Camphill Schools)
I promise from now on to always make time for at least one more. One more chapter before I turn out the light and float off to sleep. One more kiss before I sink into this sea of words and search for meaning to bring back up with me. One more stretch and one more wiggle of my toes before I jump out of bed; and one more moment in meditation before I re-emerge. One more full, deep breath and one more look at the sunset. One more touch, one more smile, one more moment of stillness, of gratitude, of simplicity, of love. From now on, I’ll always make room for one more because you never know when one more is all you’ll ever have.
Aunt Jayne asks if we'd like to stop somewhere for dessert, and since nodding and smiling is easier than shaking our heads and inventing a reason for not wanting dessert, we okay it without thinking.
And since the universe has worked in its own mysterious way all vacation, tonight shouldn't be any different, which is why neither of us is particularly surprised to discover that Jayne is craving a smoothie.
Once Sam returns to his post behind the counter, Frankie stops kicking me and we slurp down our drinks in about two minutes, anxious to get out of here before anyone recognizes us. Uncle Red and Aunt Jayne, on the other hand, act like this is the last smoothie shop they'll ever see, like smoothies are an endangered species to be appreciated and savored and drawn out as long as possible. With each passing minute, Frankie and I sink lower in our chairs, praying to the God of Annoying Coincidences that Jake doesn't show up and blow our cover.
Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)
So what are they, then,” asked Lila, “these Sea Serpents?” “Swords for hire. They sink their own ships right before they attack.” “As a distraction?” asked Lila. He shook his head. “A message. That they won’t be needing them anymore, that once they’re done killing everyone aboard and dumping the bodies in the sea, they’ll take their victims’ boat instead and sail away.” “Huh,” said Lila. “Exactly.” “Seems like a waste of a perfectly good ship.” He rolled his eyes. “Only you would mourn the vessel instead of the sailors.” “Well,” she said matter-of-factly, “the ship certainly didn’t do anything wrong. The people might have deserved it.
V.E. Schwab (A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3))
“What were you going to do if he’d refused ?”
Jaenelle looked at him and smiled.
Butterflies filled his stomach and tickled unmercifully before turning into heavy, sinking stones.
“Well,” his darling said, “you have a wonderful deep voice too. So if Papa refused, I was going to ask you.”
Saetan walked into the sitting room where he’d asked Geoffrey and Draca, the Keep’s Seneschal, to meet him.
“My friends, this bottle of wine arrived this evening, compliments of Prince Sadi. Since it came from the wine cellar at the Hall, I can assure you it is a very fine vintage, one best enjoyed when shared.”
He called in three glasses and opened the wine.
Draca said nothing until he handed her a glass. “What iss the occassion ?”
Saetan grinned. “My son has just realized how much his father loves him.
Anne Bishop (Tangled Webs (The Black Jewels, #6))
Flowers floating down the river; yellow and scarlet cannas, roses, jasmine, hibiscus. They are placed in boats made of broad leaves, then consigned to the waters with a prayer. The strong current carries them swiftly downstream, and they bob about on the water for fifty, sometimes a hundred yards, before being submerged in the river. Do the pursued prayers sink too, or do they reach the hearts of the many gods who have favoured Hardwar - 'door of Hari,or Vishnu'- these several hundred years?
Suddenly the air got colder, and a black cloud appeared - the black cloud that you saw before, since Snodrog was, at bottom, a cheapskate. Only this time the cloud looked like an overdone hamburger, and it hovered low over the Shuffly's head. Then Snodrog's devious machine spread under the Shuffly's unsuspecting feet a glistening patina of Generalizations, and the immobilized hulk slid the hill into the valley below, ricocheting off trees with a sound like wet sponges being slapped on kitchen sinks.
John Bellairs (The Pedant and the Shuffly)
You need to give me a break. I’m an eighteen-year-old girl, and you’re my first boyfriend . . . and you just happen to be stupidly hot. So what if I get petty and jealous?” She shrugged. “I’m allowed. I bet if a guy looked at me like that, you’d probably feel the same.”
I let her words sink in before speaking. “A, if a guy looked at you in any way, I’d probably beat his ass. B, I didn’t know I was your boyfriend.”
Her eyes went wide. “I just assumed—”
“Good,” I interrupted. “Assume away, girlfriend.
Jay McLean (Where the Road Takes Me)
One more item slipped out of the bag. It was the metal identification tag from Maureen's cremation, the one I had burned with her just a few weeks before. These tags say with the body through the whole cremation, and leave stuck in with the ashes, which is how sacks of cremated remains found in old storage lockers and attics can still be identified years later. The tag I found was identical (except for the ID number) to the one I was putting in with Matthew now. I imagined his hands sinking into the grey mulch of Maureen's bones and finding the tag. I imagined him pulling the tag out and brushing the dusty metal against his cheek. It was a bizarre honor to have been a part of their last private moment together, the last act of their love story.
I cried (sobbed, if we're being honest) standing over Matthew's body, moments before it was loaded into the chamber. Even if all we love will die, I still ached for a love like theirs, to be adored so completely. Had not Disney guaranteed all of us such an ending?
Caitlin Doughty (Smoke Gets in Your Eyes & Other Lessons from the Crematory)
She remained in this attitude, clearly inviting him to touch her.
Taking a position of advantage, he rested his right hand on her buttock. He considered a moment then raised his arm and brought his palm upon her, delivering a sharp spank. He felt the acuteness of it on his own skin. He gave her another, watching his hand in the mirror opposite, as it made contact.
The slap caused her to flinch, but her heard her sigh also: the timbre of which was now familiar to him. He paused, allowing the sensation of the sting to sink in before giving her more. She remained folded over for him, eager for more of his burning smacks upon her flesh. The peach of her cheeks rippled each time under the impact of his blows.
Emmanuelle de Maupassant (The Gentlemen's Club)
What is so often said about the solders of the 20th century is that they fought to make us free. Which is a wonderful sentiment and one witch should evoke tremendous gratitude if in fact there was a shred of truth in that statement but, it's not true. It's not even close to true in fact it's the opposite of truth.
There's this myth around that people believe that the way to honor deaths of so many of millions of people; that the way to honor is to say that we achieved some tangible, positive, good, out of their death's. That's how we are supposed to honor their deaths. We can try and rescue some positive and forward momentum of human progress, of human virtue from these hundreds of millions of death's but we don't do it by pretending that they'd died to set us free because we are less free; far less free now then we were before these slaughters began. These people did not die to set us free. They did not die fighting any enemy other than the ones that the previous deaths created.
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names. Solders are paid killers, and I say this with a great degree of sympathy to young men and women who are suckered into a life of evil through propaganda and the labeling of heroic to a man in costume who kills for money and the life of honor is accepting ordered killings for money, prestige, and pensions. We create the possibility of moral choice by communicating truth about ethics to people. That to me is where real heroism and real respect for the dead lies. Real respect for the dead lies in exhuming the corpses and hearing what they would say if they could speak out; and they would say: If any ask us why we died tell it's because our fathers lied, tell them it's because we were told that charging up a hill and slaughtering our fellow man was heroic, noble, and honorable. But these hundreds of millions of ghosts encircled the world in agony, remorse will not be released from our collective unconscious until we lay the truth of their murders on the table and look at the horror that is the lie; that murder for money can be moral, that murder for prestige can be moral.
These poor young men and woman propagandized into an undead ethical status lied to about what is noble, virtuous, courageous, honorable, decent, and good to the point that they're rolling hand grenades into children's rooms and the illusion that, that is going to make the world a better place. We have to stare this in the face if we want to remember why these people died. They did not die to set us free. They did not die to make the world a better place. They died because we are ruled by sociopaths. The only thing that can create a better world is the truth is the virtue is the honor and courage of standing up to the genocidal lies of mankind and calling them lies and ultimate corruptions.
The trauma and horrors of this century of staggering bloodshed of the brief respite of the 19th century. This addiction to blood and the idea that if we pour more bodies into the hole of the mass graves of the 20th century, if we pour more bodies and more blood we can build some sort of cathedral to a better place but it doesn't happen. We can throw as many young men and woman as we want into this pit of slaughter and it will never be full. It will never do anything other than sink and recede further into the depths of hell. We can’t build a better world on bodies. We can’t build peace on blood. If we don't look back and see the army of the dead of the 20th century calling out for us to see that they died to enslave us. That whenever there was a war the government grew and grew.
We are so addicted to this lie. What we need to do is remember that these bodies bury us. This ocean of blood that we create through the fantasy that violence brings virtue. It drowns us, drowns our children, our future, and the world. When we pour these endless young bodies into this pit of death; we follow it.
The summer I turned eleven, I found out that ghosts are real.
Guess it's hard to rest nice and easy in your coffin if you got stuff on your mind. Your soul stays chained to earth instead of zipping up to heaven to sing in one of the angel choirs.
Sometimes ghosts show up in the msot peculiar places.
Sometimes ghosts fool you.
Then you are those ghosts that hang around because we have unfinished business. Business that sinks like old crawfish left in a bucket for a week. That's some nasty smell let me tell you.
But the most important thing I learned is that ghosts can help you spill your guts before guilt eats you up and leaves a hole that can't ever be fixed no matter how many patches you try to steam iron across it.
Kimberley Griffiths Little
Abundance is not the money you have in your bank account, the trophies on your shelf, the letters after your name, the list of goals reached, the number of people you know, your perfect, healthy body, your adoring fans. Abundance is your connection to each breath, how sensitive you are to every flicker of sensation and emotion in the body. It is the delight with which you savor each unique moment, the joy with which you greet each new day. It is knowing yourself as presence, the power that creates and moves worlds. It is your open heart, how deeply moved you are by love every day, your willingness to embrace, to hold what needs to be held. It is the freshness of each morning unencumbered by memory or false hope. Abundance is the feeling of the afternoon breeze on your cheeks, the sun warming your face. It is meeting others in the field of honesty and vulnerability, connecting beyond the story, sharing what is alive. It is your rootedness in the present moment, knowing that you are always Home, no matter what happens, no matter what is gained or lost. It is touching life at the point of creation, never looking back, feeling the belly rise and fall, thanking each breath, giving praise to each breath. It is falling to your knees in awe, laughing at the stories they tell about you, sinking more deeply into rest. Abundance is simplicity. It is kindness. It is you, before every sunrise: fresh, open, and awake. You are rich, friend! You are rich!
Jeff Foster (The Way of Rest: Finding The Courage to Hold Everything in Love)
All morning he organized the silver polishers and cake decorators, the oilers of trolley wheels and lift gates, the lint and vomit removers, the replacers of soap at each sink, the replacers of chlorine medallions in the urinals, and the men hosing the pavement outside the entrance, as well as immigrants who squeezed out English names they had never spelled before onto birthday cakes, diced up onions, slashed open pigs with terrible knives, or prepared whatever else would be desired twelve hours later in the Ivor Novello Room or the Miguel Invernio Room.
Michael Ondaatje (Warlight)
It is the custom on the stage: in all good, murderous melodramas: to present the tragic and the comic scenes, in as regular alternation, as the layers of red and white in a side of streaky, well-cured bacon. The hero sinks upon his straw bed, weighed down by fetters and misfortunes; and, in the next scene, his faithful but unconscious squire regales the audience with a comic song. We behold, with throbbing bosoms, the heroine in the grasp of a proud and ruthless baron: her virtue and her life alike in danger; drawing forth a dagger to preserve the one at the cost of the other; and, just as our expectations are wrought up to the highest pitch, a whistle is heard: and we are straightway transported to the great hall of the castle: where a grey-headed seneschal sings a funny chorus with a funnier body of vassals, who are free of all sorts of places from church vaults to palaces, and roam about in company, carolling perpetually.
Such changes appear absurd; but they are not so unnatural as they would seem at first sight. The transitions in real life from well-spread boards to death-beds, and from mourning weeds to holiday garments, are not a whit less startling; only, there, we are busy actors, instead of passive lookers-on; which makes a vast difference. The actors in the mimic life of the theatre, are blind to violent transitions and abrupt impulses of passion or feeling, which, presented before the eyes of mere spectators, are at once condemned as outrageous and preposterous.
Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist)
She had learned how to make the bandages during the second month of her apprenticeship after accidentally walking in on Emery in the privy while he was trimming his hair over the sink. Her embarrassment at seeing the privy occupied, as well as seeing Emery shirtless, had startled her so greatly that she hadn’t taken the time to remove her fingers from the doorframe before slamming the door closed, all while shouting a profuse apology. She had nearly broken her right middle finger in the process, and Emery had crafted one of these bandages to hasten its healing.
Charlie N. Holmberg (The Glass Magician (The Paper Magician, #2))
I know that the best time to see them is in that perfect hour before sunset when the sun sinks low on the horizon like a ripe peach and sends shafts of gold bursting through the trees. The "in between," I call it. No longer day, not yet night; some other place and time when magic hangs in the air and the light plays tricks on the eye. You might easily miss the flash of violet and emerald, but I- according to my teacher, Mrs. Hogan- am "a curiously observant child." I see their misty forms among the flowers and leaves. I know my patience will be rewarded if I watch and listen, if I believe.
Hazel Gaynor (The Cottingley Secret)
He closes the door with a determined click, and I hear him call to a flight attendant, and I sink down onto the toilet seat, resting my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands as I listen to him through the door.
"I'm sorry to bother you but my wife," he says, and then pauses. With the last word he says, my heart begins to hammer. "The one who now got sick? She's started her... cycle? And I'm wondering if you keep any, or rather if you have... something? You see this all happened a bit fast and she packed in a hurry, and before that we were in Vegas. I have no idea why she came with me but I really really don't want to screw this up. And now she needs something. Can she, uh," he stutters, finally saying simply, "borrow quelque chose?" I cover my mouth as he continues to ramble, and I would given anything in this moment to see the expression of the flight attendant on the other side of this door. "I meant use," he continues. "Not to borrow because I don't think they work that way."
I hear a woman's voice ask, "Do you know if she needs tampons or pads?"
Oh God. Oh God. This can't be happening.
"Um..." I hear him sigh and then say, "I have no idea but I'll give you a hundred dollars to end this conversation and give me both.
Christina Lauren (Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons, #1))
I am tormented, or tantalized, by the sense that I’m almost in view of something that is at the limit of my comprehension. I dream of being in the sea, treading water, trying to see a beacon on shore. But the view is blocked by the crests of the waves. Sometimes, when conditions are perfect, I can pop up high enough to glimpse it. But then, before I can form any firm impression of what it is I’m seeing, I sink back down of my own weight, and get slapped in the face by another wave.” “I feel that way all the time, when I am trying to understand something new,” I said. “Then, one day, all of a sudden—” “You just get it,” Orolo said.
Neal Stephenson (Anathem)
You are already
asleep. I lower
myself in next to
you, my skin slightly
numb with the restraint
of habits, the patina of
self, the black frost
of outsideness, so that even
unclothed it is
a resilient chilly
hardness, a superficially
You are a mound
of bedclothes, where the cat
in sleep braces
its paws against your
calf through the blankets,
and kneads each paw in turn.
Meanwhile and slowly
I feel a is it
my own warmth surfacing or
the ferment of your whole
body that in darkness beneath
the cover is stealing
bit by bit to break
down that chill.
You turn and
hold me tightly, do
you know who
I am or am I
your mother or
the nearest human being to
hold on to in a
What I, now loosened,
sink into is an old
big place, it is
there already, for
you are already
there, and the cat
got there before you, yet
it is hard to locate.
What is more, the place is
not found but seeps
from our touch in
continuous creation, dark
enclosing cocoon round
ourselves alone, dark
wide realm where we
walk with everyone.
Thom Gunn (Collected Poems)
Jack hit the floor and fired off push-ups until he thought he'd pass out. The spinning behind his eyes felt good. He'd gotten by with a half grapefruit (35 calories) at breakfast, because his mom was such an emotional wreck before driving him to the hospital. She didn't argue over the half cup of oatmeal (110 calories), which he dumped in the sink before polishing off the last of his red M&Ms, his go-to food when life got sucky.
Sherry Shahan (Skin and Bones)
What made him most anxious, he told me, was not the big questions -the mercilessness of fate, the possibility of heaven. He was too exhausted, he said, to wrestle with those. But he'd become impatient with the way people wasted their lives, squandered their chances like paychecks.
I sat on the bed, massaging his temples, pretending that just the right rubbing might draw out the disease. In the mirror I watched us both -Mr. Pucci, frail and wasted, a talking dead man. And myself with a surgical mask over my mouth, to protect him from me.
"The irony," he said, "... is that now that I'm this blind man, it's clearer to me now then it's ever been before. What's the line? 'Was blind but now I see...' " He stopped and put his lips to the plastic straw. Juice went halfway up the shaft, then back down again. He motioned the drink away.
"You accused me of being a saint a while back, pal, but you were wrong. Gary and I were no different. We fought ...said terrible things to each other. Spent one whole weekend not speaking to each other because of a messed-up phone message...
That time we separated was my idea. I thought, well, I'm fifty years old and there might be someone else out there. People waste their happiness -that's what makes me sad. Everyone's so scared to be happy."
"I know what you mean," I said.
His eyes opened wider. For a second he seemed to see me.
"No you don't," he said. "You mustn’t. He keeps wanting to give you his love, a gift out and out and you dismiss it. Shrug it off because you're afraid."
"I'm not afraid. It's more like ..." I watched myself in the mirror above the sink. The mask was suddenly a gag. I listened.
"l'll give you what I learned from all this," he said. "Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
We must not eat dripping any more,’ warned Mma Makutsi from behind a healthy living magazine. ‘We must give up such things, Mma.’ This advice had been accompanied by a stern look in Mma Ramotswe’s direction. Mma Ramotswe had not taken that lying down. ‘Soon they will be telling us not to eat anything,’ she countered. ‘They will say that only air is good for you. Air and water.’ Mma Makutsi had not approved. ‘You cannot fight science, Mma. Science is telling us that many of the things we like to eat in this country are not good for us. They say that these things are making us too large.’ ‘I am not fighting science, Mma,’ replied Mma Ramotswe. ‘I am just saying that we have to have some things that we like, otherwise we shall be very unhappy. And if you are very unhappy you can die – we all know that.’ She allowed that to sink in before she continued. ‘There are many people who have been thinking a lot about science who are now late. It would have been better for them to spend more time being happy while they had the chance. That is well known, Mma – it is very well known.’ Mma Makutsi had become silent.
Alexander McCall Smith (The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #16))
Xinxin Ming or Trust in the Heart
The Perfect Way is only difficult for those who pick and choose;
Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear.
Make a hairbreadth difference, and heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want the truth [of nonduality] to stand clear before you, never be for or against.
The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
When the Way is not understood, the mind chatters endlessly to no avail.
The Perfect Way is vastness without holiness.
Like infinite space it contains all and lacks nothing.
Because you pick and choose, cling and reject, you can't see its Suchness.
Neither be entangled in the world, nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things,
And dualism vanishes of its own accord.
Craving the passivity of Oneness you are filled with activity.
As long as you tarry in dualism,
You will never know Oneness.
If you don't trust in the Heart, you fall into assertion or denial.
In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self.
To be in accord with the Way, let go of all self-centered striving.
Denying the world [of duality] is the asserting of it;
Asserting emptiness [oneness] is the denying of it.
The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you go.
To return to the root [the One] is to find the meaning,
But to pursue appearances [the many] is to miss the source.
At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond the one and the many.
The mind clings to its image of the world;
We call it real only because of our ignorance.
Do not seek after the truth, merely cease to cherish your opinions.
For the mind in harmony with the One, all selfishness disappears.
With not even a trace of fear, you can trust the universe completely.
All at once you are free, with nothing left to hold on to.
All is empty, brilliant, perfect in its own being.
In the world of things as they are, there is neither observer nor observed.
If you want to describe its essence, the best you can say is "Not-two."
Even to have the idea of enlightenment is to go astray.
Thoughts that are fettered turn from truth, sink into the unwise habit of "not liking."
"Not liking" brings weariness of spirit; estrangements serve no purpose.
In this "Not-two" nothing is separate,
And nothing in the world is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places have entered into this truth.
The One is none other than the All, the All none other than the One.
Take your stand on this, and the rest will follow of its accord;
To trust in the Heart is the "Not-two," the "Not-two" is to trust in the Heart.
There is one reality, not many;
Distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant.
To seek Mind with the mind is the greatest of all mistakes.
I have spoken, but in vain;
For what can words say—
Of things that have no yesterday, tomorrow, or today.
(aka Seng-Ts'an, 僧璨, ?-606)
So coming back from a journey, or after an illness, before habits had spun themselves across the surface, one felt that same unreality, which was so startling; felt something emerge. Life was most vivid then. One could be at one’s ease. Mercifully one need not say, very briskly, crossing the lawn to great old Mrs. Beckwith, who would be coming out to find a corner to sit in, “Oh, good-morning, Mrs. Beckwith! What a lovely day! Are you going to be so bold as to sit in the sun? Jasper’s hidden the chairs. Do let me find you one!” and all the rest of the usual chatter. One need not speak at all. One glided, one shook one’s sails (there was a good deal of movement in the bay, boats were starting off) between things, beyond things. Empty it was not, but full to the brim. She seemed to be standing up to the lips in some substance, to move and float and sink in it, yes, for these waters were unfathomably deep. Into them had spilled so many lives. The Ramsays’; the children’s; and all sorts of waifs and strays of things besides. A washerwoman with her basket; a rook; a red-hot poker; the purples and grey-greens of flowers: some common feeling held the whole.
Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)
One man in a thousand, Solomon says.
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days
If you find him before the other.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend
On what the world sees in you,
But the Thousandth Man will stand your friend
With the whole round world agin you.
'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show
Will settle the finding for 'ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go
By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him,
The rest of the world don't matter;
For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim
With you in any water.
You can use his purse with no more talk
Than he uses yours for his spendings,
And laugh and meet in your daily walk
As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call
For silver and gold in their dealings;
But the Thousandth Man he's worth 'em all
Because you can show him your feelings.
His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right,
In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight
With that for your only reason!
Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide
The shame or mocking or laughter,
But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side
To the gallows-foot - and after!
Feeling drunk with the anticipation of being alone in the elevator with the blonde seductress, Jack turned back and flashed a wicked grin at Todd before disappearing down the hall.
"I’m Shala. I was also hoping we'd have a private moment together, before your adventure begins.” She spoke softly and slipped her hand into the crook of Jack's arm.
"Shala, you read my mind," Jack replied as they reached the elevator. "After Dr. Strong and I talk, how about you show me the sights of Landon."
"The most exciting thing in Landon is in my suite.” Shala whispered and leaned hard against him, forcing his back to the wall. Shala’s hands explored Jacks chest then moved to his sides and round to his back sinking lower. Her fiery smile sent an unexpected chill through him. Jack squirmed uncomfortably as he glanced up at the panel above the elevator doors. The second floor indicator lit and held. The doors silently slid aside to reveal a large banquet hall just as Shala's hands reached a sensitive spot.
Alaina Stanford (Forbidden Quest (Hypnotic Journey, #1))
Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pain of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the some times, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplies as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many million upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and i f the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it sop rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
As I speak, his fingers trail down my arm. I’m just so relieved he’s willing to touch me after I’ve told him this. He turns my hand over and traces the fine lines on my palm. “And?” He looks up beneath heavy lids. “What else should I know about you?”
“My skin—” I stop, swallow.
He leans down, presses his lips to my wrist in a feathery kiss. “What about your skin?”
“You know. You’ve seen it,” I rasp. “It changes. The color becomes—”
“Like fire.” His gaze lifts from my wrist and he says that word he said so long ago surrounded in cold mists, tucked on a ledge above a whispering pool of water. “Beautiful.”
“You said that before. In the mountains.”
“I meant it. Still do.”
I laugh weakly. “I guess this means you’re not mad at me.”
“I would be mad, if I could.” He frowns. “I should be.” He inches closer to me on the couch. We sink deeper into the tired cushions. “This is impossible.”
“This what?” I clutch the collar of his shirt in my fingers. His face is so close I study the varying color of his eyes.
For a long time, he says nothing. Stares at me in that way that makes me want to squirm. For a moment, it seems that his irises glow and the pupils shrink to slits. Then, he mutters, “A hunter in love with his prey.”
My chest squeezes. I suck in a breath. Pretty wonderful, I think, but am too embarrassed to say it. Even after what he just admitted.
He loves me?
Studying him, I let myself consider this and whether he can possibly mean it. But what else could it be? What else could drive him to this moment with me? To turn his back on his family’s way of life?
As he looks at me in that desperate, devouring way, I’m reminded of those moments in his car when he tended the cut on my palm and ran his hand over my leg. My belly twists.
I glance around, see how seriously, dangerously alone we are. More alone than in the stairwell. Or even the first time together, on that ledge. I lick my lips. Now we’re alone with no school bell ready to rip us apart. Even more alarming, no more secrets stand between us. No barriers. Nothing to stop us at all.
I hold my breath until I feel the first press of his lips, certain I’ve never been this close to another soul, this vulnerable. We kiss until we’re both breathless, warm and flushed, twisting against each other on the couch. His hands brush my bare back beneath my shirt, trace every bump of my spine. My back tingles, wings vibrating just beneath the surface. I drink the cooler air from his lips, drawing it into my fiery lungs.
I don’t even mind when he stops and watches my skin change colors, or touches my face as it blurs in and out. He kisses my changing face. Cheeks, nose, the corners of my eyes, sighing my name it like a benediction between each caress. His lips slide to my neck and I moan, arch, lost to everything but him. In this, with him . . . I’m as close to the sky as I’ve ever been.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story.
Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen.
You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten.
Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene.
Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point.
If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience.
Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are.
You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself.
People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited?
Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body.
Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person.
Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value.
You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again.
Cover the entire room with eye contact.
When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often.
When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said.
Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in.
After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in.
Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence.
Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.”
The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten.
Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes.
Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept.
Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words.
Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic.
If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story.
PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible.
Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow.
If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit.
Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them.
Never apologize on stage.
If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
Like unto ships far off at sea, Outward or homeward bound, are we. Before, behind, and all around, Floats and swings the horizons bound, Seems at its distant rim to rise And climb the crystal wall of the skies, And then again to turn and sink, As if we could slide from its outer brink. Ah! it is not the sea, It is not the sea that sinks and shelves, But ourselves That rock and rise With endless and uneasy motion, Now touching the very skies, Now sinking into the depths of ocean. Ah! if our souls but poise and swing Like the compass in its brazen ring, Ever level and ever true To the toil and the task we have to do, We shall sail securely, and safely reach The Fortunate Isles, on whose shining beach The sights we see, and the sounds we hear, Will be those of joy and not of fear!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Favorite Poems)
The sap rises and, itself a mixture of elements, flowers in a mixture of tones; the trees, the rocks, the granites cast their reflections in the mirror of the water; all the transparent objects seize and imprison colour reflections, both close and distant, as the light passes through them. As the star of day moves, the tones change in value, but always they respect their mutual sympathies and natural hatreds, and continue to live in harmony by reciprocal concessions. The shadows move slowly and drive before them or blot out the tones as the light itself, changing position, sets others vibrating. These mingle their reflections, and, modifying their qualities by casting over them transparent and borrowed glazes, multiply to infinity their melodious marriages and make them easier to achieve. When the great ball of fire sinks into the waters, red fanfares fly in all directions, a blood-red harmony spreads over the horizon, green turns to a deep red. But soon vast blue shadows chase rhythmically before them the crowd of orange and soft tones, which are like the distant and muted echoes of the light. This great symphony of today, which is the eternally renewed variation of the symphony of yesterday, this succession of melodies, where the variety comes always from the infinite, this complex hymn is called colour.
Charles Baudelaire (Selected Writings on Art and Literature)
The wind whistles down into the skyscraper-bound canyons, across the broad expanses of the avenues and the narrow confines of the streets, where lives unfolded in secret, day in, day out: Sometimes a man sighs for want of love. Sometimes a child cries for the dropped lollipop, its sweetness barely tasted. Sometimes the girl gasps as the train screams into the station, shaken by how close she’d allowed herself to wander to the edge. Sometimes the drunk raises weary eyes to the rows of building rendered beautiful by a brief play of sunlight. “Lord?” he whispers into the held breath between taxi horns. The light catches on a city spire, fracturing for a second into glorious rays before the clouds move in again. The drunk lowers his eyes. “Lord, Lord…” he sobs, as if answering his own broken prayer. […] Another day closes. The sun sinks low on the horizon. It slips below the Hudson, smearing the West Side of Manhattan in a slick of gold. Night arrives for its watchful shift. The neon city bursts its daytime seams, and the great carnival of dreams begins again.
Libba Bray (Lair of Dreams (The Diviners, #2))
There had been a time, once, when he had not lived like this, a .32 under his pillow, a lunatic in the back yard firing off a pistol for God knew what purpose, some other nut or perhaps the same one imposing a brain-print of his own shorted-out upstairs on an incredibly expensive and valued cephscope that everyone in the house, plus all their friends, loved and enjoyed. In former days Bob Arctor had run his affairs differently: there had been a wife much like other wives, two small daughters, a stable household that got swept and cleaned and emptied out daily, the dead newspapers not even opened carried from the front walk to the garbage pail, or even, sometimes, read. But then one day, while lifting out an electric corn popper from under the sink, Arctor had hit his head on the corner of a kitchen cabinet directly above him. The pain, the cut in his scalp, so unexpected and undeserved, had for some reason cleared away the cobwebs. It flashed on him instantly that he didn't hate the kitchen cabinet: he hated his wife, his two daughters, his whole house, the back yard with its power mower, the garage, the radiant heating system, the front yard, the fence, the whole fucking place and everyone in it. He wanted a divorce; he wanted to split. And so he had, very soon. And entered, by degrees, a new and somber life, lacking all of that.
Probably he should have regretted his decision. He had not. That life had been one without excitement, with no adventure. It had been too safe. All the elements that made it up were right there before his eyes, and nothing new could ever be expected. It was like, he had once thought, a little plastic boat that would sail on forever, without incident, until it finally sank, which would be a secret relief to all.
But in this dark world where he now dwelt, ugly things and surprising things and once in a long while a tiny wondrous thing spilled out at him constantly; he could count on nothing.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it.
Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem.
It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face.
I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now.
I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
Meanwhile, two other great currents in political thought, had a decisive significance on the development of socialist ideas: Liberalism, which had powerfully stimulated advanced minds in the Anglo-Saxon countries, Holland and Spain in particular, and Democracy in the sense. to which Rousseau gave expression in his Social Contract, and which found its most influential representatives in the leaders of French Jacobinism. While Liberalism in its social theories started off from the individual and wished to limit the state's activities to a minimum, Democracy took its stand on an abstract collective concept, Rousseau's general will, which it sought to fix in the national state. Liberalism and Democracy were pre-eminently political concepts, and since most of the original adherents of both did scarcely consider the economic conditions of society, the further development of these conditions could not be practically reconciled with the original principles of Democracy, and still less with those of Liberalism. Democracy with its motto of equality of all citizens before the law, and Liberalism with its right of man over his own person, both were wrecked on the realities of capitalist economy. As long as millions of human beings in every country have to sell their labour to a small minority of owners, and sink into the most wretched misery if they can find no buyers, the so-called equality before the law remains merely a pious fraud, since the laws are made by those who find themselves in possession of the social wealth. But in the same way there can be no talk of a right over one's own person, for that right ends when one is compelled to submit to the economic dictation of another if one does not want to starve.
Rudolf Rocker (Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism)
Do you know why the lotus is one of my favorite flowers?" I cocked my head to one side so I could see his expression.
He shook his head.
"This beautiful flower lives in the most vile, muddy water of swamps and bogs," I said and rubbed the smooth metal of the pendant between my fingers.
"No, seriously... the grosser the environment, the better," I said.
"So let me get this straight. You like a flower that lives in disgusting places?" One of his eyebrows rose. "That ain't right."
"No, I love this flower," I corrected.
He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, "Seriously?"
"What?" You don't believe me?"
"Sure, I believe you. It's just weird."
"I'll tell you why, but only if you promise not to laugh," I said.
Taking a cleansing breath, I rested my head against the seat, closed my eyes, and took that scary first step.
"This flower stays in the mud and muck all night long."
I peeked at him without moving my head. His face had become set in the smooth lines of one who listens intently.
"Then, at sunrise, it climbs toward the light and opens into a pristine bloom. After the sun goes down, the bloom sinks into the mire. Even though it spends the whole night underwater, the flower emerges every morning as beautiful as the day before." Smiling, I swiveled in my seat to face him. "I love this flower because it reminds me that we get second chances every day, no matter what muck life drags us through.
K.D. Wood (Unwilling (Unwilling #1))
Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself: “I wonder what my next thought is going to be.” Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse hole. What thought is going to come out of the mouse hole? Try it now. Well? I had to wait for quite a long time before a thought came in. Exactly. As long as you are in a state of intense presence, you are free of thought. You are still, yet highly alert. The instant your conscious attention sinks below a certain level, thought rushes in. The mental noise returns; the stillness is lost. You are back in time.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Bring thy lust to the gospel, not for relief, but for further conviction of its guilt; look on Him whom thou hast pierced, and be in bitterness. Say to thy soul, “What have I done? What love, what mercy what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this the return I make to the Father for his love, to the Son for his blood, to the Holy Ghost for his grace? Do I thus requite the Lord? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, that the blessed Spirit has chosen to dwell in? And can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before him? Do I account communion with him of so little value, that for this vile lust’s sake I have scarce left him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation? In the meantime, what shall I say to the Lord? Love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation… I have despised them all and esteemed them as a thing of nought, that I might harbor a lust in my heart. Have I obtained a view of God’s fatherly countenance, that I might behold his face and provoke him to his face? Was my soul washed, that room might be made for new defilements? Shall I endeavor to disappoint the end of the death of Christ? Shall I daily grieve that Spirit whereby I am sealed to the day of redemption?” Entertain thy conscience daily with this treaty. See if it can stand before this aggravation of its guilt. If this make it not sink in some measure and melt, I fear thy case is dangerous.
The Bridal Gown
White - You have chosen right.
Grey - You'll go far away.
Black - You'll wish yourself back.
Red - You'll wish yourself dead.
Green - Ashamed to be seen.
Blue - You'll always be true.
Pearl - You'll live in a whirl.
Peach - A love out of reach.
Yellow - Ashamed of your fellow.
Pink - Your Spirits will sink.
The Wedding Day
Monday for health, Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday best of all,
Thursday for losses, Friday for crosses,
Saturday for no luck at all.
The Wedding Month
Marry in May, and you'll rue the day,
Marry in Lent, you'll live to repent.
Married when the year is new,
He'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate,
You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow,
Joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can,
Joy for maiden and the man.
Marry in the month of May,
And you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when the June roses grow,
Over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed,
Must labour for their daily bread.
Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change is sure to see.
Marry in September's shine,
Your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry,
Love will come, but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November,
Only joys will come, remember,
When December's snows fall fast,
Marry and true love will last.
Married in January's roar and rime,
Widowed you'll be before your prime.
Married in February's sleepy weather,
Life you'll tread in time together.
Married when March winds shrill and roar,
Your home will lie on a distant shore.
Married 'neath April's changeful skies,
A checkered path before you lies.
Married when bees o'er May blossoms flit,
Strangers around your board will sit.
Married in month of roses June,
Life will be one long honeymoon.
Married in July with flowers ablaze,
Bitter-sweet memories in after days.
Married in August's heat and drowse,
Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.
Married in September's golden glow,
Smooth and serene your life will go.
Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardships for you begin.
Married in veils of November mist,
Fortune your wedding ring has kissed.
Married in days of December's cheer,
Love's star shines brighter from year to year
New Zealand Proverb
A young black man, who I think was a summer intern, approached me in the lobby. Without saying so much as “Excuse me,” he sat down next to me in a huff and growled, “Why do black women get so mad when they see us walking down the street with a white girl?” I slowly turned toward this handsome, ebony boy and said, “Do you really want to know the answer to that question?” He said, “Yeah, I really want to know. I get sick of that shit.” I said, “Well, it might have something to do with this. For decades, black men were lynched, often for allegedly looking at a white woman. Our mothers’ mothers cut the black bodies of their sons and husbands down from the trees. But we black women did something we didn’t have to do before we buried them. First, we washed their bodies.” I let my words sink in and continued. “So, little boy, when you see a black woman walking down the street, you tilt your hat and acknowledge her existence. If only for the fact that first, we washed you. And next time you sit down next to me, you say, ‘Excuse me, Miss Lewis.’ Now get the fuck on where you’re going. I’m studying Brecht, little boy.
Jenifer Lewis (The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir)
Liberalism and Democracy were pre-eminently political concepts, and, since the great majority of the original adherents of both maintained the right of ownership in the 'old sense, these had to renounce them both when economic development took a course which could not be practically reconciled with the original principles of Democracy, and still less with those of Liberalism. Democracy with its motto of " equality of all citizens before the law," and Liberalism with its " right of man over his own person," both shipwrecked on the realities of the capitalist economic form. So long as millions of human beings in every country had to sell their labour-power to a small minority of owners, and to sink into the most wretched misery if they could find no buyers, the so-called "equality before the law" remains merely a pious fraud, since the laws are made by those who find themselves in possession of the social wealth. But in the same way there can also be no talk of a " right over one's own person," for that right ends when one is compelled to submit to the economic dictation of another if he does not want to starve.
Rudolf Rocker (Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (Working Classics))
(From Danielle Raver's short story THE ENCHANTRESS)
Thick chains attached to the wall hold a metal collar and belt, restraining most of the tiger's movements. Open, bloody slashes cover his face and back, but he shows no loss of strength as he pulls on the chains and tries to rip the flesh of the surrounding humans with his deadly claws. Out of his reach, I kneel down before him, and his lightning-blue eyes cross my space for a moment.
“Get her out of there!” I hear from behind me.
“Numnerai,” I speak urgently to the tiger. “They will kill you!”
He growls and gnashes his teeth, but I sense he is responding to me.
“Great white tiger, your duty is to protect the prince. But how can you do that if they sink the end of a spear into your heart?” He looks at me for a longer moment. The fighters respond to this by growing still. In their desperation, they are overlooking my foolishness for a chance to save their fellows' lives. I crouch on my feet and begin to nudge closer to him. The tiger growls a warning, but does not slash out at me. “Think of the prince, protector of the palace. Right now he prays for you to live.
D.M. Raver (The Story Tellers' Anthology)
DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me—upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain—upon the bleak walls—upon the vacant eye-like windows—upon a few rank sedges—and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees—with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opium—the bitter lapse into every-day life—the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart—an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it—I paused to think—what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled luster by the dwelling, and gazed down—but with a shudder even more thrilling than before—upon the remodeled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Best Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe)
No one can really explain, either before or after, what makes a teenager stop wanting to be alive. It just hurts so much at times, being human. Not understanding yourself, not liking the body you’re stuck in. Seeing your eyes in the mirror and wondering whose they are, always with the same question: “What’s wrong with me? Why do I feel like this?” She isn’t traumatized, she isn’t weighed down by any obvious grief. She’s just sad, all the time. An evil little creature that wouldn’t have shown up on any X-rays was living in her chest, rushing through her blood and filling her head with whispers, saying she wasn’t good enough, that she was weak and ugly and would never be anything but broken. You can get it into your head to do some unbelievably stupid things when you run out of tears, when you can’t silence the voices no one else can hear, when you’ve never been in a room where you felt normal. In the end you get exhausted from always tensing the skin around your ribs, never letting your shoulders sink, brushing along walls all your life with white knuckles, always afraid that someone will notice you, because no one’s supposed to do that.
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
He slammed his cup down. Coffee splashed over the rim and puddled around the base. “What on earth gave you the idea I want space? I want you here. With me. All the time. I want to come home and hear the shower running and get excited because I know you’re in it. I want to struggle every morning to get up and go to the gym because I hate the idea of leaving your warm body behind in bed. I want to hear a key turn in the lock and feel contented knowing you’re home. I don’t want fucking space, Harper.”
“I didn’t mean space. I meant space, like closet space, a drawer in the bedroom, part of the counter in the bathroom.”
Trent’s mouth twitched, a slight smile making its way to his lips.
“Like a compromise. A commitment that I want more. I seem to recall you telling me in the car about something being a step in the right direction to a goal we both agreed on. Well, I want all those things you just said, with you, eventually. And if we start to leave things at each other’s places, it’s a step, right?”
Trent reached up, flexing his delicious tattooed bicep, and scratched the side of his head. Without speaking, he leapt to his feet, grabbing Harper and pulling her into a fireman’s lift.
“Trent,” she squealed, kicking her feet to get free. “What are you doing?”
He slapped her butt playfully and laughed as he carried her down the hallway.
Reaching the bedroom, Trent threw her onto the bed. “We’re doing space. Today, right now.” He started pulling open his drawers, looking inside each one before pulling stuff out of the top drawer and dividing it between the others.
“Okay, this is for your underwear. I need to see bras, panties, and whatever other girly shit you have in here before the end of the day.”
Like a panther on the prowl, Trent launched himself at the bed, grabbing her ankle and pulling her to the edge of the bed before sweeping her into his arms to walk to the bathroom. He perched her on the corner of the vanity, where his stuff was spread across the two sinks.
“Pick one what?”
“Sink. Which do you want?”
“You’re giving me a whole sink? Wait … stop…”
Trent grabbed her and started tickling her. Harper didn’t recognize the girly giggles that escaped her.
Pointing to the sink farthest away from the door, she watched as he pushed his toothbrush, toothpaste, and styling products to the other side of the vanity.
He did the same thing with the vanity drawers and created some space under the sink.
“I expect to see toothbrush, toothpaste, your shampoo, and whatever it is that makes you smell like vanilla in here.”
“You like the vanilla?” It never ceased to surprise her, the details he remembered.
Turning, he grabbed her cheeks in both hands and kissed her hard. He trailed kisses behind her ear and inhaled deeply before returning to face her. “Absolutely. I fucking love vanilla,” he murmured against her lips before kissing her again, softly this time. “Oh and I’d better see a box of tampons too.”
“Oh my goodness, you are beyond!” Harper blushed furiously.
“I want you for so much more than just sex, Harper.
Scarlett Cole (The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos, #1))
Why do you choose to write about such gruesome subjects?
I usually answer this with another question: Why do you assume that I have a choice?
Writing is a catch-as-catch-can sort of occupation. All of us seem to come equipped with filters on the floors of our minds, and all the filters have differing sizes and meshes. What catches in my filter may run right through yours. What catches in yours may pass through mine, no sweat. All of us seem to have a built-in obligation to sift through the sludge that gets caught in our respective mind-filters, and what we find there usually develops into some sort of sideline.
The accountant may also be a photographer. The astronomer may collect coins. The school-teacher may do gravestone rubbings in charcoal. The sludge caught in the mind's filter, the stuff that refuses to go through, frequently becomes each person's private obsession. In civilized society we have an unspoken agreement to call our obsessions “hobbies.”
Sometimes the hobby can become a full-time job. The accountant may discover that he can make enough money to support his family taking pictures; the schoolteacher may become enough of an expert on grave rubbings to go on the lecture circuit. And there are some professions which begin as hobbies and remain hobbies even after the practitioner is able to earn his living by pursuing his hobby; but because “hobby” is such a bumpy, common-sounding little word, we also have an unspoken agreement that we will call our professional hobbies “the arts.”
Painting. Sculpture. Composing. Singing. Acting. The playing of a musical instrument. Writing. Enough books have been written on these seven subjects alone to sink a fleet of luxury liners. And the only thing we seem to be able to agree upon about them is this: that those who practice these arts honestly would continue to practice them even if they were not paid for their efforts; even if their efforts were criticized or even reviled; even on pain of imprisonment or death.
To me, that seems to be a pretty fair definition of obsessional behavior. It applies to the plain hobbies as well as the fancy ones we call “the arts”; gun collectors sport bumper stickers reading YOU WILL TAKE MY GUN ONLY WHEN YOU PRY MY COLD DEAD FINGERS FROM IT, and in the suburbs of Boston, housewives who discovered political activism during the busing furor often sported similar stickers reading YOU'LL TAKE ME TO PRISON BEFORE YOU TAKE MY CHILDREN OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD on the back bumpers of their station wagons. Similarly, if coin collecting were outlawed tomorrow, the astronomer very likely wouldn't turn in his steel pennies and buffalo nickels; he'd wrap them carefully in plastic, sink them to the bottom of his toilet tank, and gloat over them after midnight.
Stephen King (Night Shift)
Steve Carver-the guy with the faux-surfer hair-and Amanda's best friend, Nicole,are chosen.Rashmi and I groan in a rare moment of camaraderie.Steve pumps a fist in the air.What a meathead.
The selecting begins,and Amanda is chosen first. Of course. And then Steve's best friend.Of course. Rashmi elbows me. "bet you five euros I'm picked last."
"I'll take that bet.Because it's totally me."
Amanda turns in her seat toward me and lowers her voice. "That's a safe bet, Skunk Girl. Who'd want you on their team?"
My jaw unhinges stupidly.
"St. Clair!" Steve's voice startles me. It figures that St. Clair would be picked early. Everyone looks at him, but he's staring down Amanda. "Me," he says, in answer to her question. "I want Anna on my team,and you'd be lucky to have her."
She flushes and quickly turns back around,but not before shooting me another dagger.What have I ever done to her?
More names are called. More names that are NOT mine. St. Clair goes to get my attention,but I pretend I don't notice. I can't bear to look at him.I'm too humiliated. Soon the selection is down to me, Rashmi,and a skinny dude who, for whatever reason,is called Cheeseburger. Cheeseburger is always wearing this expresion of surprise, like someone's just called his name, and he can't figure out where the voice is coming from.
"Rashmi," Nicole says without hestitation.
My heart sinks.Now it's between me and someone named Cheeseburger. I focus my attention down on my desk, at the picture of me that Josh drew earlier today in history. I'm dressed like a medieval peasant (we're studying the Black Plague), and I have a fierce scowl and a dead rat dangling from one hand.
Amanda whispers into Steve's ear. I feel her smirking at me,and my face burns.
Steve clears his throat. "Cheeseburger.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Thanks for getting me out of there,” I murmur, lacing my fingers around my knees, and looking up at him on his step.
“Yeah. You looked a little green. “
“I don’t handle crowds too well. I’ve always been that way, I guess.”
“You might get in trouble,” he warns, staring at me in that strange, hungry way that unravels me. He strokes his bottom lip with a finger. For a flash of a second, his eyes look strange. Different. All glowing irises and thin dark pupils. Almost drake-like. I blink to clear my vision. His eyes are normal again. Just my imagination in overdrive. I’m probably projecting missing home and Az—everything--onto him. “Pep rallies are mandatory,” he continues. “A lot of people saw you leave. Teachers included.”
“They saw you leave, too,” I point out.
He leans to the side, propping an elbow on one of the steps behind him. “I’m not worried about that. I’ve been in trouble before.” He smiles a crooked grin and holds up crossed fingers. “The principal and I are like this. The guy loves me. Really.”
Laughter spills from me, rusty and hoarse.
His grin makes me feel good. Free. Like I’m not running from anything. Like I could stay here in this world, if only I have him.
The thought unsettles me. Sinks heavily in my chest. Because I can’t have him. Not really. All he can ever be for me is a temporary fix.
“But you’re worried I’ll get in trouble?” I try not to show how much this pleases me. I’ve managed to ignore him for days now and here I sit. Lapping up his attention like a neglected puppy. My voice takes on an edge. “Why do you care? I’ve ignored you for days.”
His smile fades. He looks serious, mockingly so. “Yeah. You got to stop that.”
I swallow back a laugh. “I can’t.”
“Why?” There’s no humor in his eyes now, no mockery. “You like me. You want to be with me.”
“I never said—”
“You didn’t have to.”
I inhale sharply. “Don’t do this.”
He looks at me so fiercely, so intently. Angry again. “I don’t have friends. Do you see me hang with anyone besides my jerk cousins? That’s for a reason. I keep people away on purpose,” he growls. “But then you came along . . .”
I frown and shake my head.
His expression softens then , pulls at some part of me. His gaze travels my face, warming the core of me. “Whoever you are, Jacinda, you’re someone I have to let in.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
There are vanishingly few of them, those days when the game can still surprise us. When it does happen, it comes without warning; we just have to trust that we’ll recognize it. So when the echo of the skates cutting into the ice bounds up the banks of seating, Sune stops and pauses for a moment before casting one final glance over his shoulder again. He sees the fifteen-year-old turn, holding his stick lightly in his hand, then set off again at blistering speed, and Sune will remember this as one of the true blessings in his life: seeing the impossible happen in Beartown for a third time. The caretaker looks up from the screws in the railing and sees the old coach sink onto one of the seats on the top row. At first he seems to be seriously ill. Then the caretaker realizes that it’s because he’s never seen the old man laugh before. Sune is breathing through his nose with tears in his eyes, and the whole rink smells of cherry blossom.
Fredrik Backman (Beartown (Beartown, #1))
It is a good thing she is on our side, is it not?”
Noah started, turning to confront the Demon who had appeared at his back with flawless silence and concealment.
“Jacob! You just took ten years off my life,” Noah hissed.
“Only ten? I must be losing my touch.” Jacob looked from Noah to the last place Legna had been standing. He nodded his head in her former direction. “What was that all about?”
“I have no idea, but I am beginning to feel like I am the only one who does not know what the hell is happening in his own damn house.”
“Sorry state of affairs, seeing as how you are King and all,” Jacob said, his lips twitching with amusement as Noah glared at him. “That is only my opinion, though. Perhaps I will ask my troublemaking wife for hers.”
Noah had the grace to openly wince.
“You heard that, hmm?”
“And therefore . . .” Jacob prompted.
“She heard it, too,” Noah concluded with comical pain. “Forgive me, Bella. I think I am just in a foul mood.”
“She says she will forgive you as soon as she needs a babysitter.”
“You know, I think you better go out there and enforce some of my laws before I begin to think of how many ways I can set your ass on fire,” the King said meanly, the glare of his gaze all business.
“I would, but I am in need of Gideon. Where is he?”
“How should I know?” Noah asked grumpily, moving to the fire and sinking down into the only thing in the room that wasn’t giving him grief: his favorite chair.
Jacquelyn Frank (Gideon (Nightwalkers, #2))
Write a two-page reflection about your life. What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? What do you live for? There’s a French term for the latter question. Raison d ’être. It means “reason for being.” My mum used to say that Elliot and I were her raison d’être. Mum had a reason, now she lacks a being. I have a being, I just lack a reason. I live because of the law of inertia. An object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. If I were to reflect on my life, I would say it’s like being engulfed in quicksand, and as much as I want to get out, I slowly sink deeper, towards an inevitable end. I want someone to pull me out, but I don’t know how they can. Their only reactions are to stand on dry land and watch me with concerned expressions, urging me to just walk like they are. Living is being in the middle of a dark tunnel, claustrophobic and boxed in, and feeling something closing in behind you, and realising you can only beat it by running. But the tunnel never ends, and you come to realise that you can’t run forever. You go for as long as you possibly can, hoping to God that you’ll see a light before you can’t run anymore. You desperately want to live. But everyone has their limit. And when you eventually hit yours, there’s nothing more you can do. Life is temporary. Nothing is certain about it except for the fact that it will end. It can end on your terms or as a surprise. The thing is . . . I don’t like surprises.
Sophie Gonzales (The Law of Inertia)
You came all this way for a whore?” Albert asked, and Royce shot him a harsh look.
“Don’t call her that if you want to live a long and happy life,” Hadrian said as they dismounted.
“But this is a whorehouse—a brothel, right? And you’re here to see a woman, so—”
“So keep talking, Albert.” Hadrian tied his horse to the post. “Just let me get farther away.”
Gwen saved our lives,” Royce said, looking up at the porch. “I beat on doors. I even yelled for help.” He looked at Albert, letting that image sink in. Yes, I yelled for help. “No one cared.” Royce gestured toward Hadrian. “He was dying in a pool of blood, and I was about to pass out. Broken leg, my side sliced open, the world spinning. Then she was there saying, ‘I’ve got you. You’ll be all right now.’ We would have died in the mud and the rain, but she took us in, nursed us back to health. People were after us—lots of people … lots of powerful people—but she kept us hidden for weeks, and she never asked for payment or explanation. She never asked for anything.” Royce turned back to Albert. “So if you call her a whore again, I’ll cut your tongue out and nail it to your chest.”
Albert nodded. “Point taken.”
Royce climbed the steps to the House and rapped once.
Albert leaned over to Hadrian and whispered, “He knocks at a—”
“Royce can still hear you.” Hadrian stopped him.
“Pretty sure. You have no idea how much trouble I got into before I learned that. Now I never say anything I don’t want him to know.
Michael J. Sullivan (The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2))
Mrs. Cattermole looked over her shoulder. The real Reg Cattermole, no longer vomiting but pale and wan, had just come running out of a lift.
She looked from her husband to Ron, who swore loudly.
The balding wizard gaped, his head turning ludicrously from one Reg Cattermole to the other.
“Hey--what’s going on? What is this?”
“Seal the exit! SEAL IT!”
Yaxley had burst out of another lift and was running toward the group beside the fireplaces, into which all of the Muggle-borns but Mrs. Cattermole had now vanished. As the balding wizard lifted his wand, Harry raised an enormous fist and punched him, sending him flying through the air.
“He’s been helping Muggle-borns escape, Yaxley!” Harry shouted.
The balding wizard’s colleagues set up an uproar, under cover of which Ron grabbed Mrs. Cattermole, pulled her into the still-open fireplace, and disappeared. Confused, Yaxley looked from Harry to the punched wizard, while the real Reg Cattermole screamed. “My wife! Who was that with my wife? What’s going on?”
Harry saw Yaxley’s head turn, saw an inkling of the truth dawn in that brutish face.
“Come on!” Harry shouted at Hermione; he seized her hand and they jumped into the fireplace together as Yaxley’s curse sailed over Harry’s head. They spun for a few seconds before shooting up out of a toilet into a cubicle. Harry flung open the door; Ron was standing there beside the sinks, still wrestling with Mrs. Cattermole.
“Reg, I don’t understand--”
“Let go, I’m not your husband, you’ve got to go home!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Anna? Anna,are you there? I've been waiting in the lobby for fifteen minutes." A scrambling noise,and St. Clair curses from the floorboards. "And I see your light's off.Brilliant. Could've mentioned you'd decided to go on without me."
I explode out of bed. I overslept! I can't believe I overslept! How could this happen?
St. Clair's boots clomp away,and his suitcase drags heavily behind him. I throw open my door. Even though they're dimmed this time of night,the crystal sconces in the hall make me blink and shade my eyes.
St. Clair twists into focus.He's stunned. "Anna?"
"Help," I gasp. "Help me."
He drops his suitcase and runs to me. "Are you all right? What happened?"
I pull him in and flick on my light. The room is illuminated in its disheveled entirety. My luggage with its zippers open and clothes piled on top like acrobats. Toiletries scattered around my sink. Bedsheets twined into ropes. And me. Belatedly, I remember that not only is my hair crazy and my face smeared with zit cream,but I'm also wearing matching flannel Batman pajamas.
"No way." He's gleeful. "You slept in? I woke you up?"
I fall to the floor and frantically squish clothes into my suitcase.
"You haven't packed yet?"
"I was gonna finish this morning! WOULD YOU FREAKING HELP ALREADY?" I tug on a zipper.It catches a yellow Bat symbol, and I scream in frustration.
We're going to miss our flight. We're going to iss it,and it's my fault. And who knows when the next plane will leave, and we'll be stuck here all day, and I'll never make it in time for Bridge and Toph's show. And St. Clair's mom will cry when she has to go to the hospital without him for her first round of internal radiation, because he'll be stuck iin an airport on the other side of the world,and its ALL. MY FAULT.
"Okay,okay." He takes the zipper and wiggles it from my pajama bottoms. I make a strange sound between a moan and a squeal. The suitcase finally lets go, and St. Clair rests his arms on my shoulders to steady them. "Get dressed. Wipe your face off.I'll takecare of the rest."
Yes,one thing at a time.I can do this. I can do this.
He packs my clothes. Don't think about him touching your underwear. Do NOT think about him touching your underwear. I grab my travel outfit-thankfully laid out the night before-and freeze. "Um."
St. Clair looks up and sees me holding my jeans. He sputters. "I'll, I'll step out-"
"Turn around.Just turn around, there's not time!"
He quickly turns,and his shoulders hunch low over my suitcase to prove by posture how hard he is Not Looking.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I’ve heard that when you’re in a life-or-death situation, like a car accident or a gunfight, all your senses shoot up to almost superhuman level, everything slows down, and you’re hyper-aware of what’s happening around you.
As the shuttle careens toward the earth, the exact opposite is true for me.
Everything silences, even the screams and shouts from the people on the other side of the metal door, the crashes that I pray aren’t bodies, the hissing of rockets, Elder’s cursing, my pounding heartbeat.
I feel nothing—not the seat belt biting into my flesh, not my clenching jaw, nothing. My whole body is numb.
Scent and taste disappear.
The only thing about my body that works is my eyes,and they are filled with the image before them. The ground seems to leap up at us as we hurtle toward it. Through the blurry image of the world below us, I see the outline of land—a continent. And at once, my heart lurches with the desire to know this world, to make it our home. My eyes drink up the image of the planet—and my stomach sinks with the knowledge that this is a coastline I’ve never seen before. I could spin a globe of Earth around and still be able to recognize the way Spain and Portugal reach into the Atlantic, the curve of the Gulf of Mexico, the pointy end of India. But this continent—it dips and curves in ways I don’t recognize, swirls into an unknown sea, creating peninsulas in shapes I do not know, scattering out islands in a pattern I cannot connect.
And it’s not until I see this that I realize: this world may one day become our home,but it will never be the home I left behind.
Beth Revis (Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3))
Is the consideration of a little dirty pelf, to individuals, to be placed in competition with the essential rights & liberties of the present generation, & of millions yet unborn? shall a few designing men for their own aggrandizement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset the goodly fabric we have been rearing at the expence of so much time, blood, & treasure? and shall we at last become the victems of our own abominable lust of gain? Forbid it heaven! forbid it all, & every state in the union! by enacting & enforcing, efficatious laws for checking the growth of these monstrous evils, & restoring matters in some degree to the pristine state they were in at the commencement of the War. Our cause is noble. It is the cause of Mankind! and the danger to it springs from ourselves—Shall we slumber & sleep then while we should be punishing those miscreants who have brought these troubles upon us, & who are aiming to continue us in them? While we should be striving to fill our Battalions—and devising ways and means to appreciate the currency—On the credit of which every thing depends? I hope not—let vigorous measures be adopted—not to limit the price of articles—for this I conceive is inconsistent with the very nature of things, & impracticable in itself—but to punish speculators—forestallers—& extortioners—and above all—to sink the money by heavy Taxes—To promote public & private Œconomy—encourage Manufactures &ca—Measures of this sort gone heartily into by the several states will strike at once at the root of all our misfortunes, & give the coup-de-grace to British hope of subjugating this great Continent, either by their Arms or their Arts—The first as I have before observed they acknowledge is unequal to the task—the latter I am sure will be so if we are not lost to every thing that is good & virtuous.
But it wasn't all bad. Sometimes things wasn't all bad. He used to come home easing into bed sometimes, not too drunk. I make out like I'm asleep, 'casue it's late, and he taken three dollars out of my pocketbook that morning or something. I hear him breathing, but I don't look around. I can see in my mind's eye his black arms thrown back behind his head, the muscles like a great big peach stones sanded down, with veins running like little swollen rivers down his arms. Without touching him I be feeling those ridges on the tips of my fingers. I sees the palms of his hands calloused to granite, and the long fingers curled up and still. I think about the thick, knotty hair on his chest, and the two big swells his breast muscles make. I want to rub my face hard in his chest and feel the hair cut my skin. I know just where the hair growth slacks out-just above his navel- and how it picks up again and spreads out. Maybe he'll shift a little, and his leg will touch me, or I feel his flank just graze my behind. I don't move even yet. Then he lift his head, turn over, and put his hand on my waist. If I don't move, he'll move his hand over to pull and knead my stomach. Soft and slow-like. I still don't move, because I don't want him to stop. I want to pretend sleep and have him keep rubbing my stomach. Then he will lean his head down and bite my tit. Then I don't want him to rub my stomach anymore. I want him to put his hand between my legs. I pretend to wake up, and turn to him, but not opening my legs. I want him to open them for me. He does, and I be soft and wet where his fingers are strong and hard. I be softer than I ever been before. All my strength in his hand. My brain curls up like wilted leaves. A funny, empty feeling is in my hands. I want to grab holt of something, so I hold his head. His mouth is under my chin. Then I don't want his hands between my legs no more, because I think I am softening away. I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me. Too heavy to hold, too light not to. He puts his thing in me. In me. In me. I wrap my feet around his back so he can't get away. His face is next to mine. The bed springs sounds like them crickets used to back home. He puts his fingers in mine, and we stretches our arms outwise like Jesus on the cross. I hold tight. My fingers and my feet hold on tight, because everything else is going, going. I know he wants me to come first. But I can't. Not until he does. Not until I feel him loving me. Just me. Sinking into me. Not until I know that my flesh is all that be on his mind. That he couldnt stop if he had to. That he would die rather than take his thing our of me. Of me. Not until he has let go of all he has, and give it to me. To me. To me. When he does, I feel a power. I be strong, I be pretty, I be young. And then I wait. He shivers and tosses his head. Now I be strong enough, pretty enough, and young enough to let him make me come. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind. My legs drop back onto the bed. I don't make a noise, because the chil'ren might hear. I begin to feel those little bits of color floating up into me-deep in me. That streak of green from the june-bug light, the purple from the berries trickling along my thighs, Mama's lemonade yellow runs sweet in me. Then I feel like I'm laughing between my legs, and the laughing gets all mixed up with the colors, and I'm afraid I'll come, and afraid I won't. But I know I will. And I do. And it be rainbow all inside. And it lasts ad lasts and lasts. I want to thank him, but dont know how, so I pat him like you do a baby. He asks me if I'm all right. I say yes. He gets off me and lies down to sleep. I want to say something, but I don't. I don't want to take my mind offen the rainbow. I should get up and go to the toilet, but I don't. Besides Cholly is asleep with his leg thrown over me. I can't move and I don't want to.
Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
Before us lay a green sloping land full of forests and woods, with here and there steep hills, crowned with clumps of trees or with farmhouses, the blank gable end to the road. There was everywhere a bewildering mass of fruit blossom- apple, plum, pear, cherry; and as we drove by I could see the green grass under the trees spangled with the fallen petals. In and out amongst these green hills of what they call here the 'Mittel Land' ran the road, losing itself as it swept round the grassy curve, or was shut out by the straggling ends of pine woods, which here and there ran down the hillside like tongues of flame. The road was rugged, but still we seemed to fly over it with a feverish haste. I could not understand then what the haste meant, but the driver was evidently bent on losing no time in reaching Borgo Prund. I was told that this road is in summertime excellent, but that it had not been put in order after the winter snows. In this respect it is different from the general run of roads in the Carpathians, for it is an old tradition that they are not to be kept in too good order. Of old the Hospadors would not repair them, lest the Turks should think that they were preparing to bring in foreign troops, and so hasten the war which was always really at loading point.
Beyond the green swelling hills of the Mittel Land rose mighty slopes of forest up to the lofty steeps of the Carpathians themselves. Right and left of us they towered, with the afternoon sun falling full upon them and bringing out all the glorious colors of this beautiful range, deep blue and purple in the shadows of the peaks, green and brown where grass and rock mingled, and an endless perspective of jagged rock and pointed crags, till these were themselves lost in the distance, where the snowy peaks rose grandly. Here and there seemed mighty rifts in the mountains, through which, as the sun began to sink, we saw now and again the white gleam of falling water.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
Silveny's pregnant,' Sophie told her friends when she joined them for breakfast.
Fitz dropped his fork. 'Are you sure?'
'Oh yeah,' Sophie mumbled, sinking into the chair next to him. 'She showed me...'
'GAH!' everyone said.
Keefe pushed his plate away. 'I'm done with food forever.'
'Me too,' Dex agreed.
'Me three,' Biana said.
'Seriously, that is one batch of memories you do not have to show me,' Fitz told Sophie. 'I don't care if it's part of our Cognate training.'
'But it's still huge,' Biana added. 'Do you know how far along she is?'
'I'm guessing it's new, since the last few times I transmitted to her she didn't mention anything about--'
'STOP!' Keefe held up his hands. 'Ground rules for this conversation: All talk of alicorn baby-making is off the table--got it? Otherwise I'll have to rip my ears off. And for the record, I do not want to be there when Baby Glitterbutt arrives.'
'Me either,' Fitz said. 'My dad made me go to the Hekses' unicorn preserve for a delivery one time.' He shuddered. 'Who knew they came out so slimy?'
'Ew, dude, I did not need to know that. Can we talk about something else? Anything else?'
'Does anyone know how long alicorns stay pregnant?' Sophie asked.
Biana shook her head. 'We've never had a baby alicorn before. But I'm pretty sure unicorns are pregnant for eleven months. So maybe it's the same?'
'Do you think Silveny knows?' Fitz asked. 'If her instincts are telling her she's pregnant, maybe they'll also tell her how it's going to work.'
'I guess I can ask. It was hard to get information out of her. All she wanted to tell me about was--'
'STOP!' Keefe said.
'I wasn't going to say that. She was telling me that she's really hungry. I'm not sure if it's a pregnancy craving or an excuse to get more treats, but she went on and on about how she needs more swizzlespice. We'll have to find a way to let Jurek know.
'Do you think he already knows?' Fitz asked. 'He's the equestrian caretaker at the Sanctuary. Maybe he...saw stuff.'
'WHAT DID I SAY ABOUT THE GROUND RULES?' Keefe shouted, covering his ears. 'That's it, this conversation is officially over. Next person who says "alicorn" is getting pelted with fruit.'
'What's wrong with the alicorns?' Granite asked behind them.
He'd arrived with Mr. Forkle, each of them carrying stacks of scrolls.
'Silveny's pregnant," Sophie said, and all the scrolls went THUNK!
'Are you certain?' Granite whispered, bending to gather the uncurling paper.
Sophie nodded, and Mr. Forkle rushed to her side. 'Tell me everything.'
'And I'm out!' Keefe said, covering his ears and singing, 'LALALALALA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!' as he raced up the stairs to the boys' tree house.
Shannon Messenger (Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4))
Being held by him, kissed and mastered, taken under and swept away, enthralled her in a way she—an independent woman if nothing else in this life—could not have understood until forced to understand.
From the tips of her toes to the ends of her hair, finally, a man's strength dominated her.
Suddenly, she understood why women wanted so deeply. Why they wanted him. If they sensed even one-tenth of his passion, his power, his vitality, they would break his door down to get to him.
And this, she learned as quickly as any pupil could, was what had been missing before: Zachariah Garrett's full participation. In all fairness to the dare, she locked her arms around his neck and consented to a draw.
He murmured something low and unintelligible, his wine glass dropping to the grass with a soft thump. The arm around her waist tightened, the other climbing, his fingers delving into her loose chignon and tilting her head as he deepened the kiss, drawing down on her bottom lip and sucking.
Instinct had her following his lead, shifting to better accommodate, parrying each thrust of his tongue with her own, rising on the tips of her toes to better sink into him, to gorge herself in vast, voracious gulps. The frantic nature of their joining melted her stiff posture and her cocksure bearing, rolling through her in a languid, glorious wave of sensation and recognition. It was a peculiar time to realize she had built her sense of self around an erroneous ideal.
She was no different than other women.
Tracy Sumner (Tides of Passion)
When I look at him, I don’t see the cowardly young man who sold me out to Jeanine Matthews, and I don’t hear the excuses he gave afterward.
When I look at him, I see the boy who held my hand in the hospital when our mother broke her wrist and told me it would be all right. I see the brother who told me to make my own choices, the night before the Choosing Ceremony. I think of all the remarkable things he is--smart and enthusiastic and observant, quiet and earnest and kind.
He is a part of me, always will be, and I am a part of him, too. I don’t belong to Abnegation, or Dauntless, or even the Divergent. I don’t belong to the Bureau or the experiment or the fringe. I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me--they, and the love and loyalty I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.
I love my brother. I love him, and he is quaking with terror at the thought of death. I love him and all I can think, all I can hear in my mind, are the words I said to him a few days ago: I would never deliver you to your own execution.
“Caleb,” I say. “Give me the backpack.”
“What?” he says.
I slip my hand under the back of my shirt and grab my gun. I point it at him. “Give me the backpack.”
“Tris, no.” He shakes his head. “No, I won’t let you do that.”
“Put down your weapon!” the guard screams at the end of the hallway. “Put down your weapon or we will fire!”
“I might survive the death serum,” I say. “I’m good at fighting off serums. There’s a chance I’ll survive. There’s no chance you would survive. Give me the backpack or I’ll shoot you in the leg and take it from you.”
Then I raise my voice so the guards can hear me. “He’s my hostage! Come any closer and I’ll kill him!”
In that moment he reminds me of our father. His eyes are tired and sad. There’s a shadow of a beard on his chin. His hands shake as he pulls the backpack to the front of his body and offers it to me.
I take it and swing it over my shoulder. I keep my gun pointed at him and shift so he’s blocking my view of the soldiers at the end of the hallway.
“Caleb,” I say, “I love you.”
His eyes gleam with tears as he says, “I love you, too, Beatrice.”
“Get down on the floor!” I yell, for the benefit of the guards.
Caleb sinks to his knees.
“If I don’t survive,” I say, “tell Tobias I didn’t want to leave him.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
Softly, he said, “Why are you crying?”
His words made the tears flow faster.
She drew a shaky breath. “Because when my father comes home, I will tell him that he has won. I will join the military.”
There was a silence. “I don’t understand.”
Kestrel shrugged. She shouldn’t care whether he understood or not.
“You would give up your music?”
Yes. She would.
“But your bargain with the general was for spring.” Arin still sounded confused. “You have until spring to marry or enlist. Ronan…Ronan would ask the god of souls for you. He would ask you to marry him.”
Arin didn’t speak.
“But I can’t,” she said.
“Kestrel, please don’t cry.” Tentative fingers touched her face. A thumb ran along the wet skin of her cheekbone. She suffered for it, suffered for the misery of knowing that whatever possessed him to do this could be no more than compassion. He valued her that much. But not enough.
“Why can’t you marry him?” he whispered.
She broke her word to herself and looked at him. “Because of you.”
Arin’s hand flinched against her cheek. His dark head bowed, became lost in its own shadow. Then he slipped from his seat and knelt before hers. His hands fell to the fists on her lap and gently opened them. He held them as if cupping water. He took a breath to speak.
She would have stopped him. She would have wished herself deaf, blind, made of unfeeling smoke. She would have stopped his words out of terror, longing. The way terror and longing had become indistinguishable.
Yet his hands held hers, and she could do nothing.
He said, “I want the same thing you want.”
Kestrel pulled back. It wasn’t possible his words could mean what they seemed.
“It hasn’t been easy for me to want it.” Arin lifted his face so that she could see his expression. A rich emotion played across his features, offered itself, and asked to be called by its name.
“But you’ve already given your heart,” she said.
His brow furrowed, then smoothed. “Oh. No, not the way you think.” He laughed a little, the sound soft yet somehow wild. “Ask me why I went to the market.”
This was cruel. “We both know why.”
He shook his head. “Pretend that you’ve won a game of Bite and Sting. Why did I go? Ask me. It wasn’t to see a girl who doesn’t exist.”
Kestrel blinked. “Then why did you go to the market?”
“Because I wanted to feel free.” Arin raised a hand to brush the air by his temple, then awkwardly let it fall.
Kestrel suddenly understood this gesture she’d seen many times. It was an old habit. He was brushing away a ghost, hair that was no longer there because she had ordered it cut.
She leaned forward, and kissed his temple.
Arin’s hand held her lightly to him. His cheek slid against hers. Then his lips touched her brow, her closed eyes, the line where her jaw met her throat.
Kestrel’s mouth found his. His lips were salted with her tears, and the taste of that, of him, of their deepening kiss, filled her with the feeling of his quiet laugh moments ago. Of a wild softness, a soft wildness. In his hands, running up her thin dress. In his heat, burning through to her skin…and into her, sinking into him.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.
They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.
My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage——
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.
I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.
The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.
--"Tulips", written 18 March 1961
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
But mostly, finally, ultimately, I'm here for the weather.
As a result of the weather, ours is a landscape in a minor key, a sketchy panorama where objects, both organic and inorganic, lack well-defined edges and tent to melt together, creating a perpetual blurred effect, as if God, after creating Northwestern Washington, had second thoughts and tried unsuccessfully to erase it. Living here is not unlike living inside a classical Chinese painting before the intense wisps of mineral pigment had dried upon the silk - although, depending on the bite in the wind, they're times when it's more akin to being trapped in a bad Chinese restaurant; a dubious joint where gruff waiters slam chopsticks against the horizon, where service is haphazard, noodles soggy, wallpaper a tad too green, and considerable amounts of tea are spilt; but in each and every fortune cookie there's a line of poetry you can never forget. Invariably, the poems comment on the weather.
In the deepest, darkest heart of winter, when the sky resembles bad banana baby food for months on end, and the witch measles that meteorologists call "drizzle" are a chronic gray rash on the skin of the land, folks all around me sink into a dismal funk. Many are depressed, a few actually suicidal. But I, I grow happier with each fresh storm, each thickening of the crinkly stratocumulus. "What's so hot about the sun?" I ask. Sunbeams are a lot like tourists: intruding where they don't belong, promoting noise and forced activity, faking a shallow cheerfulness, dumb little cameras slung around their necks. Raindrops, on the other hand, introverted, feral, buddhistically cool, behave as if they were locals. Which, of course, they are.
Tom Robbins (Wild Ducks Flying Backward)
I would like to see you cheat,” Elizabeth said impulsively, smiling at him.
His hands stilled, his eyes intent on her face. “I beg your pardon?”
“What I meant,” she hastily explained as he continued to idly shuffle the cards, watching her, “is that night in the card room at Charise’s there was mention of someone being able to deal a card from the bottom of the deck, and I’ve always wondered if you could, if it could…” She trailed off, belatedly realizing she was insulting him and that his narrowed, speculative gaze proved that she’d made it sound as if she believed him to be dishonest at cards. “I beg your pardon,” she said quietly. “That was truly awful of me.”
Ian accepted her apology with a curt nod, and when Alex hastily interjected, “Why don’t we use the chips for a shilling each,” he wordlessly and immediately dealt the cards.
Too embarrassed even to look at him, Elizabeth bit her lip and picked up her hand.
In it there were four kings.
Her gaze flew to Ian, but he was lounging back in his chair, studying his own cards.
She won three shillings and was pleased as could be.
He passed the deck to her, but Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t like to deal. I always drop the cards, which Celton says is very irritating. Would you mind dealing for me?”
“Not at all,” Ian said dispassionately, and Elizabeth realized with a sinking heart that he was still annoyed with her.
“Who is Celton?” Jordan inquired.
“Celton is a groom with whom I play cards,” Elizabeth explained unhappily, picking up her hand.
In it there were four aces.
She knew it then, and laughter and relief trembled on her lips as she lifted her face and stared at her betrothed. There was not a sign, not so much as a hint anywhere on his perfectly composed features that anything unusual had been happening.
Lounging indolently in his chair, he quirked an indifferent brow and said, “Do you want to discard and draw more cards, Elizabeth?”
“Yes,” she replied, swallowing her mirth, “I would like one more ace to go with the ones I have.”
“There are only four,” he explained mildly, and with such convincing blandness that Elizabeth whooped with laughter and dropped her cards. “You are a complete charlatan!” she gasped when she could finally speak, but her face was aglow with admiration.
“Thank you, darling,” he replied tenderly. “I’m happy to know your opinion of me is already improving.”
The laughter froze in Elizabeth’s chest, replaced by warmth that quaked through her from head to foot. Gentlemen did not speak such tender endearments in front of other people, if at all. “I’m a Scot,” he’d whispered huskily to her long ago. “We do.” The Townsendes had launched into swift, laughing conversation after a moment of stunned silence following his words, and it was just as well, because Elizabeth could not tear her gaze from Ian, could not seem to move. And in that endless moment when their gazes held, Elizabeth had an almost overwhelming desire to fling herself into his arms. He saw it, too, and the answering expression in his eyes made her feel she was melting.
“It occurs to me, Ian,” Jordan joked a moment later, gently breaking their spell, “that we are wasting our time with honest pursuits.”
Ian’s gaze shifted reluctantly from Elizabeth’s face, and then he smiled inquisitively at Jordan. “What did you have in mind?” he asked, shoving the deck toward Jordan while Elizabeth put back her unjustly won chips.
“With your skill at dealing whatever hand you want, we could gull half of London. If any of our victims had the temerity to object, Alex could run them through with her rapier, and Elizabeth could shoot him before he hit the ground.”
Ian chuckled. “Not a bad idea. What would your role be?”
“Breaking us out of Newgate!” Elizabeth laughed.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Why can't we sit together? What's the point of seat reservations,anyway? The bored woman calls my section next,and I think terrible thoughts about her as she slides my ticket through her machine. At least I have a window seat. The middle and aisle are occupied with more businessmen. I'm reaching for my book again-it's going to be a long flight-when a polite English accent speaks to the man beside me.
"Pardon me,but I wonder if you wouldn't mind switching seats.You see,that's my girlfriend there,and she's pregnant. And since she gets a bit ill on airplanes,I thought she might need someone to hold back her hair when...well..." St. Clair holds up the courtesy barf bag and shakes it around. The paper crinkles dramatically.
The man sprints off the seat as my face flames. His pregnant girlfriend?
"Thank you.I was in forty-five G." He slides into the vacated chair and waits for the man to disappear before speaking again. The guy onhis other side stares at us in horror,but St. Clair doesn't care. "They had me next to some horrible couple in matching Hawaiian shirts. There's no reason to suffer this flight alone when we can suffer it together."
"That's flattering,thanks." But I laugh,and he looks pleased-until takeoff, when he claws the armrest and turns a color disturbingy similar to key lime pie. I distract him with a story about the time I broke my arm playing Peter Pan. It turned out there was more to flying than thinking happy thoughts and jumping out a window. St. Clair relaxes once we're above the clouds.
Time passes quickly for an eight-hour flight.
We don't talk about what waits on the other side of the ocean. Not his mother. Not Toph.Instead,we browse Skymall. We play the if-you-had-to-buy-one-thing-off-each-page game. He laughs when I choose the hot-dog toaster, and I tease him about the fogless shower mirror and the world's largest crossword puzzle.
"At least they're practical," he says.
"What are you gonna do with a giant crossword poster? 'Oh,I'm sorry Anna. I can't go to the movies tonight. I'm working on two thousand across, Norwegian Birdcall."
"At least I'm not buying a Large Plastic Rock for hiding "unsightly utility posts.' You realize you have no lawn?"
"I could hide other stuff.Like...failed French tests.Or illegal moonshining equipment." He doubles over with that wonderful boyish laughter, and I grin. "But what will you do with a motorized swimming-pool snack float?"
"Use it in the bathtub." He wipes a tear from his cheek. "Ooo,look! A Mount Rushmore garden statue. Just what you need,Anna.And only forty dollars! A bargain!"
We get stumped on the page of golfing accessories, so we switch to drawing rude pictures of the other people on the plane,followed by rude pictures of Euro Disney Guy. St. Clair's eyes glint as he sketches the man falling down the Pantheon's spiral staircase.
There's a lot of blood. And Mickey Mouse ears.
After a few hours,he grows sleepy.His head sinks against my shoulder. I don't dare move.The sun is coming up,and the sky is pink and orange and makes me think of sherbet.I siff his hair. Not out of weirdness.It's just...there.
He must have woken earlier than I thought,because it smells shower-fresh. Clean. Healthy.Mmm.I doze in and out of a peaceful dream,and the next thing I know,the captain's voice is crackling over the airplane.We're here.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
One could understand feminism generally as an attack on woman as she was under “patriarchy” (that concept is a social construction of feminism). The feminine mystique was her ideal; in regard to sex, it consisted of women’s modesty and in the double standard of sexual conduct that comes with it, which treated women’s misbehavior as more serious than men’s. Instead of trying to establish a single standard by bringing men up to the higher standard of women, as with earlier feminism, today’s feminism decided to demand that women be entitled to sink to the level of men. It bought into the sexual revolution of the late sixties and required that women be rewarded with the privileges of male conquest rather than, say, continue serving as camp followers of rock bands. The result has been the turn for the worse. ... What was there in feminine modesty that the feminists left behind?
In return for women’s holding to a higher standard of sexual behavior, feminine modesty gave them protection while they considered whether they wanted to consent. It gave them time: Not so fast! Not the first date! I’m not ready for that! It gave them the pleasure of being courted along with the advantage of looking before you leap. To win over a woman, men had to strive to express their finer feelings, if they had any. Women could judge their character and choose accordingly. In sum, women had the right of choice, if I may borrow that slogan. All this and more was social construction, to be sure, but on the basis of the bent toward modesty that was held to be in the nature of women. That inclination, it was thought, cooperated with the aggressive drive in the nature of men that could be beneficially constructed into the male duty to take the initiative. There was no guarantee of perfection in this arrangement, but at least each sex would have a legitimate expectation of possible success in seeking marital happiness. They could live together, have children, and take care of them.
Without feminine modesty, however, women must imitate men, and in matters of sex, the most predatory men, as we have seen. The consequence is the hook-up culture now prevalent on college campuses, and off-campus too (even more, it is said). The purpose of hooking up is to replace the human complexity of courtship with “good sex,” a kind of animal simplicity, eliminating all the preliminaries to sex as well as the aftermath. “Good sex,” by the way, is in good part a social construction of the alliance between feminists and male predators that we see today. It narrows and distorts the human potentiality for something nobler and more satisfying than the bare minimum.
The hook-up culture denounced by conservatives is the very same rape culture denounced by feminists. Who wants it? Most college women do not; they ignore hookups and lament the loss of dating. Many men will not turn down the offer of an available woman, but what they really want is a girlfriend. The predatory males are a small minority among men who are the main beneficiaries of the feminist norm. It’s not the fault of men that women want to join them in excess rather than calm them down, for men too are victims of the rape culture. Nor is it the fault of women. Women are so far from wanting hook-ups that they must drink themselves into drunken consent — in order to overcome their natural modesty, one might suggest. Not having a sociable drink but getting blind drunk is today’s preliminary to sex. Beautifully romantic, isn’t it?
Harvey Mansfield Jr.
She had only time, however, to move closer to the table where he had been writing, when footsteps were heard returning; the door opened; it was himself. He begged their pardon, but he had forgotten his gloves, and instantly crossing the room to the writing table, and standing with his back towards Mrs. Musgrove, he drew out a letter from under the scattered paper, placed it before Anne with eyes of glowing entreaty fixed on her for a moment, and hastily collecting his gloves, was again out of the room, almost before Mrs. Musgrove was aware of his being in it - the work of an instant!
The revolution which one instant had made in Anne, was almost beyond expression. The letter, with a direction hardily legible, to 'Miss A.E. - ,' was evidently the one which he had been folding so hastily. While supposed to be writing only to Captain Benwick, he had been also addressing her! On the contents of that letter depended all which this world could do for her! Any thing was possible, any thing might be defied rather than suspense. Mrs. Musgrove had little arrangements of her own at her own table; to their protection she must trust, and sinking into the chair which he had occupied, succeeding to the very spot where he had leaned and written, her eyes devoured the following words:
'I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. - Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
'I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never.
Jane Austen (Persuasion)
We are all poor; but there is a difference between what Mrs. Spark intends by speaking of 'slender means', and what Stevens called our poverty or Sartre our need, besoin. The poet finds his brief, fortuitous concords, it is true: not merely 'what will suffice,' but 'the freshness of transformation,' the 'reality of decreation,' the 'gaiety of language.' The novelist accepts need, the difficulty of relating one's fictions to what one knows about the nature of reality, as his donnée.
It is because no one has said more about this situation, or given such an idea of its complexity, that I want to devote most of this talk to Sartre and the most relevant of his novels, La Nausée. As things go now it isn't of course very modern; Robbe-Grillet treats it with amused reverence as a valuable antique. But it will still serve for my purposes. This book is doubtless very well known to you; I can't undertake to tell you much about it, especially as it has often been regarded as standing in an unusually close relation to a body of philosophy which I am incompetent to expound. Perhaps you will be charitable if I explain that I shall be using it and other works of Sartre merely as examples. What I have to do is simply to show that La Nausée represents, in the work of one extremely important and representative figure, a kind of crisis in the relation between fiction and reality, the tension or dissonance between paradigmatic form and contingent reality. That the mood of Sartre has sometimes been appropriate to the modern demythologized apocalypse is something I shall take for granted; his is a philosophy of crisis, but his world has no beginning and no end. The absurd dishonesty of all prefabricated patterns is cardinal to his beliefs; to cover reality over with eidetic images--illusions persisting from past acts of perception, as some abnormal children 'see' the page or object that is no longer before them --to do this is to sink into mauvaise foi. This expression covers all comfortable denials of the undeniable--freedom --by myths of necessity, nature, or things as they are. Are all the paradigms of fiction eidetic? Is the unavoidable, insidious, comfortable enemy of all novelists mauvaise foi?
Sartre has recently, in his first instalment of autobiography, talked with extraordinary vivacity about the roleplaying of his youth, of the falsities imposed upon him by the fictive power of words. At the beginning of the Great War he began a novel about a French private who captured the Kaiser, defeated him in single combat, and so ended the war and recovered Alsace. But everything went wrong. The Kaiser, hissed by the poilus, no match for the superbly fit Private Perrin, spat upon and insulted, became 'somehow heroic.' Worse still, the peace, which should instantly have followed in the real world if this fiction had a genuine correspondence with reality, failed to occur. 'I very nearly renounced literature,' says Sartre. Roquentin, in a subtler but basically similar situation, has the same reaction. Later Sartre would find again that the hero, however assiduously you use the pitchfork, will recur, and that gaps, less gross perhaps, between fiction and reality will open in the most close-knit pattern of words. Again, the young Sartre would sometimes, when most identified with his friends at the lycée, feel himself to be 'freed at last from the sin of existing'--this is also an expression of Roquentin's, but Roquentin says it feels like being a character in a novel.
How can novels, by telling lies, convert existence into being? We see Roquentin waver between the horror of contingency and the fiction of aventures. In Les Mots Sartre very engagingly tells us that he was Roquentin, certainly, but that he was Sartre also, 'the elect, the chronicler of hells' to whom the whole novel of which he now speaks so derisively was a sort of aventure, though what was represented within it was 'the unjustified, brackish existence of my fellow-creatures.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
You Are What You Eat
Take food for example. We all assume that our craving or disgust is due to something about the food itself - as opposed to being an often arbitrary response preprogrammed by our culture. We understand that Australians prefer cricket to baseball, or that the French somehow find Gerard Depardieu sexy, but how hungry would you have to be before you would consider plucking a moth from the night air and popping it, frantic and dusty, into your mouth? Flap, crunch, ooze. You could wash it down with some saliva beer.How does a plate of sheep brain's sound? Broiled puppy with gravy? May we interest you in pig ears or shrimp heads? Perhaps a deep-fried songbird that you chew up, bones, beak, and all? A game of cricket on a field of grass is one thing, but pan-fried crickets over lemongrass? That's revolting.
Or is it? If lamb chops are fine, what makes lamb brains horrible? A pig's shoulder, haunch, and belly are damn fine eatin', but the ears, snout, and feet are gross? How is lobster so different from grasshopper? Who distinguishes delectable from disgusting, and what's their rationale? And what about all the expectations? Grind up those leftover pig parts, stuff 'em in an intestine, and you've got yourself respectable sausage or hot dogs. You may think bacon and eggs just go together, like French fries and ketchup or salt and pepper. But the combination of bacon and eggs for breakfast was dreamed up about a hundred years aqo by an advertising hired to sell more bacon, and the Dutch eat their fries with mayonnaise, not ketchup.
Think it's rational to be grossed out by eating bugs? Think again. A hundred grams of dehydrated cricket contains 1,550 milligrams of iron, 340 milligrams of calcium, and 25 milligrams of zinc - three minerals often missing in the diets of the chronic poor. Insects are richer in minerals and healthy fats than beef or pork. Freaked out by the exoskeleton, antennae, and the way too many legs? Then stick to the Turf and forget the Surf because shrimps, crabs, and lobsters are all anthropods, just like grasshoppers. And they eat the nastiest of what sinks to the bottom of the ocean, so don't talk about bugs' disgusting diets. Anyway, you may have bug parts stuck between your teeth right now. The Food and Drug Administration tells its inspectors to ignore insect parts in black pepper unless they find more than 475 of them per 50 grams, on average. A fact sheet from Ohio State University estimates that Americans unknowingly eat an average of between one and two pounds of insects per year.
An Italian professor recently published Ecological Implications of Mini-livestock: Potential of Insects, Rodents, Frogs and Snails. (Minicowpokes sold separately.) Writing in Slate.com, William Saletan tells us about a company by the name of Sunrise Land Shrimp. The company's logo: "Mmm. That's good Land Shrimp!" Three guesses what Land Shrimp is. (20-21)
I push my eye farther into the crack, smushing my cheek. The door rattles.
Her arm freezes. The needle stops. Instantly, her shadow fills the room, a mountain on the wall.
I hold my breath. No hiding in the wood-box this time. Before I even have time to pull my eye away, the door opens. My mother's face, like the moon in the dark hallway. She squints and takes a step toward me. “Lei-lee?”
I want to tell her I’ve had a nightmare about the Sisters, that I can’t sleep with all this whispering and worrying from her—and what are you sewing in the dark, Mamma? I try to move my lips, but I have no mouth. My tongue is gone; my nose is gone. I don’t have a face anymore.
It has happened again.
I am lying on my back, flatter than bread. My mother’s bare feet slap against my skin, across my belly, my chest. She digs her heel in, at my throat that isn’t there. I can see her head turning toward her bedroom. Snores crawl under the closed door. The door to my room is open, but she can’t see my bed from where she stands, can’t see that my bed is empty. She nods to herself: everything as it should be. Her foot grinds into my chin. The door to the sewing room closes behind her.
I struggle to sit up. I wiggle my hips and jiggle my legs. It is no use. I am stuck, pressed flat into the grain of wood under me.
But it’s not under me. It is me.
I have become the floor.
I know it’s true, even as I tell myself I am dreaming, that I am still in bed under the covers. My blood whirls inside the wood knots, spinning and rushing, sucking me down and down. The nicks of boot prints stomp and kick at my bones, like a bruise. I feel the clunk of one board to the next, like bumps of a wheel over stone. And then I am all of it, every knot, grain, and sliver, running down the hall, whooshing like a river, ever so fast, over the edge and down a waterfall, rushing from room to room. I pour myself under and over and through, feeling objects brush against me as I pass by. Bookshelves, bedposts, Pappa’s slippers, a fallen dressing gown, the stubby ends of an old chair. A mouse hiding inside a hole in the wall. Mor’s needle bobbing up and down.
How is this possible?
I am so wide, I can see both Mor and Far at the same time, even though they are in different rooms, one wide awake, the other fast asleep. I feel my father’s breath easily, sinking through the bed into me, while Mor’s breath fights against me, against the floor. In and out, each breath swimming away, away, at the speed of her needle, up up up in out in out outoutout—let me out, get me out, I want out.
That’s what Mamma is thinking, and I hear it, loud and clear. I strain my ears against the wood to get back into my own body. Nothing happens. I try again, but this time push hard with my arms that aren’t there. Nothing at all. I stop and sink, letting go, giving myself into the floor.
Seven, soon to be eight… it’s time, time’s up, time to go.
The needle is singing, as sure as stitches on a seam. I am inside the thread, inside her head. Mamma is ticking—onetwothreefourfivesix—
Seven. Seven what? And why is it time to go?
Don’t leave me, Mamma. I beg her feet, her knees, her hips, her chest, her heart, my begging spreading like a big squid into the very skin of her.
It’s then that I feel it.
Something is happening to Mamma. Something neither Pappa nor I have noticed.
She is becoming dust.
She is drier than the wood I have become.
- Becoming Leidah
Quoted by copying text from the epub version using BlueFire e-reader.
Michelle Grierson (Becoming Leidah)