The pretty ones are usually unhappy. They expect everyone to be enamored of their beauty. How can a person be content when their happiness lies in someone else's hands, ready to be crushed at any moment? Ordinary-looking people are far superior, because they are forced to actually work hard to achieve their goals, instead of expecting people to fall all over themselves to help them.
J. Cornell Michel (Jordan's Brains: A Zombie Evolution)
nothing proving or sick or partial. Nothing false,nothing difficult or easy or small or colossal. Nothing ordinary or extraordinary,nothing emptied or filled,real or unreal;nothing feeble and known or clumsy and guessed. Everywhere tints childrening, innocent spontaneous,true. Nowhere possibly what flesh and impossibly such a garden,but actually flowers which breasts are among the very mouths of light. Nothing believed or doubted; brain over heart, surface:nowhere hating or to fear;shadow, mind without soul. Only how measureless cool flames of making;only each other building always distinct selves of mutual entirely opening;only alive. Never the murdered finalities of wherewhen and yesno,impotent nongames of wrongright and rightwrong;never to gain or pause,never the soft adventure of undoom,greedy anguishes and cringing ecstasies of inexistence; never to rest and never to have:only to grow.
Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.
My type has a romantic soul. He’ll make my brain and my heart fight over who gets him first. He does what’s right, even when it’s not easy—actually, especially when it’s not easy. He knows the value of discipline, education, honor, and restraint. And his strength of character is the only thing that outweighs the strength of his love for me.
Penny Reid (Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0))
In prehistoric times, early man was bowled over by natural events: rain, thunder, lightning, the violent shaking and moving of the ground, mountains spewing deathly hot lava, the glow of the moon, the burning heat of the sun, the twinkling of the stars. Our human brain searched for an answer, and the conclusion was that it all must be caused by something greater than ourselves - this, of course, sprouted the earliest seeds of religion. This theory is certainly reflected in faery lore. In the beautiful sloping hills of Connemara in Ireland, for example, faeries were believed to have been just as beautiful, peaceful, and pleasant as the world around them. But in the Scottish Highlands, with their dark, brooding mountains and eerie highland lakes, villagers warned of deadly water-kelpies and spirit characters that packed a bit more punch.
Signe Pike (Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World)
He tossed me over his shoulder, making his way through the crowd behind us. “Make way! Move it, people! Let’s make room for this poor woman’s hideously disfigured, ginormous brain! She’s a fucking genius!”
I giggled at the amused and curious exp
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
I keep such music in my brain
No din this side of death can quell;
Glory exulting over pain,
And beauty, garlanded in hell.
It’s just death and resurrection, over and over again, day after day, as God reaches down into our deepest graves and with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead wrests us from our pride, our apathy, our fear, our prejudice, our anger, our hurt, and our despair. Most days I don’t know which is harder for me to believe: that God reanimated the brain functions of a man three days dead, or that God can bring back to life all the beautiful things we have killed. Both seem pretty unlikely to me.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.
WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands;
Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true Soul and Body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem;
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
O I have been dilatory and dumb;
I should have made my way straight to you long ago;
I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you.
I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you;
None have understood you, but I understand you;
None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself;
None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you;
None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you;
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all;
From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light;
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light;
From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life;
Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time;
What you have done returns already in mockeries;
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?)
The mockeries are not you;
Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk;
I pursue you where none else has pursued you;
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me;
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you;
There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you;
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you;
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.
As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you;
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard!
These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you;
These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they;
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution.
The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency;
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself;
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted;
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.
They could see how love might control you, from your head to your toes, not to mention every single part of you in between.
A woman could want a man so much she might vomit in the kitchen sink or cry so fiercly blood would form in the corners of her eyes.
She put her hand to her throat as though someone were strangling her, but really she was choking on all that love she thought she’d needed so badly.
What had she thought, that love was a toy, something easy and sweet, just to play with? Real love was dangerous, it got you from inside and held on tight, and if you didn’t let go fast enough you might be willing to do anything for it’s sake.
She refused to believe in superstition, she wouldn’t; yet it was claiming her.
Some fates are guaranteed, no matter who tries to intervene.
After all I’ve done for you is lodged somewhere in her brain, and far worse, it’s in her heart as well.
She was bad luck, ill-fated and unfortunate as the plague.
She is not worth his devotion. She wishes he would evaporate into thin air. Maybe then she wouldn’t have this feeling deep inside, a feeling she can deny all she wants, but that won’t stop it from being desire.
Love is worth the sum of itself and nothing more.
But that’s what happens when you’re a liar, especially when you’re telling the worst of these lies to yourself.
He has stumbled into love, and now he’s stuck there. He’s fairly used to not getting what he wants, and he’s dealt with it, yet he can’t help but wonder if that’s only because he didn’t want anything so badly.
It’s music, it’s a sound that is absurdly beautiful in his mouth, but she won’t pay attention. She knows from the time she spent on the back stairs of the aunts’ house that most things men say are lies. Don’t listen, she tells herself. None if it’s true and none of it matters, because he’s whispering that he’s been looking for her forever. She can’t believe it. She can’t listen to anything he tells her and she certainly can’t think, because if she did she might just think she’d better stop.
What good would it do her to get involved with someone like him? She’d have to feel so much, and she’s not that kind.
The greatest portion of grief is the one you dish out for yourself.
She preferred cats to human beings and turned down every offer from the men who fell in love with her.
They told her how sticks and stones could break bones, but taunting and name-calling were only for fools.
— & now here she is, all used up.
Although she’d never believe it, those lines in *’s face are the most beautiful part about her. They reveal what she’s gone through and what she’s survived and who exactly she is, deep inside.
She’s gotten back some of what she’s lost. Attraction, she now understands, is a state of mind.
If there’s one thing * is now certain of, it’s house you can amaze yourself by the things you’re willing to do.
You really don’t know? That heart-attack thing you’ve been having? It’s love, that’s what it feels like.
She knows now that when you don’t lose yourself in the bargain, you find you have double the love you started with, and that’s one recipe that can’t be tampered with.
Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
Surely boys are interested in proposing only to girls in lacy gowns. Why care about beauty and brains when they can have beauty over brains? Foolish creatures they are.
Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1))
Cruelty is seldom forgotten. You feel it as a child. Somebody takes away your toy or thoughtlessly kicks over your sand castle. A beautiful boy walks into your life, sees something he doesn’t like or doesn’t understand, and painstakingly endeavours to make you feel how much he hates you, to be constantly aware of the flaws that provoke that hatred. And then you grow older and wiser, but you don’t forget the cruelty. You can’t forget it, because there is nothing stronger, nothing more palpable in the human brain than the memory of mistreatment.
L.H. Cosway (The Nature of Cruelty)
Beauty is an illusion, created by Mother Nature to drive the human species in the path of reproduction. In reality, beauty is irrelevant to human life, especially in a relationship. What you today perceive as beautiful and special, over time, becomes not so special. That’s how the human brain works. It is not beauty that keeps a relationship alive, it is attachment. Without attachment, a naked body is merely a lifeless sex toy.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Like I said, when I get pissed I say a lotta shit I don't mean and what I said about you I didn't mean," he repeated, beginning to look as impatient as he sounded.
"And like I said, you're old enough to learn you shouldn't do that," I repeated too, probably also looking impatient.
"That isn't me," he replied.
"Well, then, this obviously is eating you and that's your consequence because I have feelings and you walked all over them and you can't order me to shake it off so you can feel better. It's there, burned in my brain and I can't just forget it because you tell me to. So you have to live with that. You can't and want me gone, say it now because I'm beginning to like Betty and I met Shambles and Sunny and I'm having dinner with them tomorrow night and I'd rather not make ties when I'm going to need to hit the road because my boss is going to get rid of me."
"Shambles and Sunny?" he asked.
"Shambles and Sunny," I answered but didn't share more. "Now, can we just move on and do our best to work together and all other times avoid each other or do you want me to go?"
He moved forward an inch and I again fought the urge to retreat.
"Forgiveness is divine," he said softly and I'd never heard him talk soft. He had a very nice voice but when it went soft, it was beautiful.
This also sucked. (BTW, in the beginning a lot of things sucked! :D) I mean Lauren uses this word 'sucks'.
"I'm not divine," I returned. "I'm also not Ace and I'm not Babe. I'm Lauren. You don't like my name, don't call me anything at all. Now can I clean the danged table?"
I had my head tipped back to look him in the eye but I could tell he was expending effort to hold his whole body still.
Then he said in that soft voice, "I'm sorry, Ace."
"Me too," I replied instantly being clear I didn't accept his apology...
Kristen Ashley (Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2))
By starving myself into society’s beauty ideal, I had compromised my success, my independence, and my quality of life. Being overweight was really no different. It was just the “f— you” response to the same pressure. I was still responding to the pressure to comply to the fashion industry’s standards of beauty, just in the negative sense. I was still answering to their demands when really I shouldn’t have been listening to them at all. The images of stick-thin prepubescent girls never should have had power over me. I should’ve had my sights set on successful businesswomen and successful female artists, authors, and politicians to emulate. Instead I stupidly and pointlessly just wanted to be considered pretty. I squandered my brain and my talent to squeeze into a size 2 dress while my male counterparts went to work on making money, making policy, making a difference.
Portia de Rossi (Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain)
I am no feminist. Even though the term "feminism" is founded upon the basic principle of gender equality, it possesses its own fundamental gender bias, which makes it inclined towards the wellbeing of women, over the wellbeing of the whole society. And if history has shown anything, it is that such fundamental biases in time corrupt even the most glorious ideas and give birth to prejudice, bigotry and differentiation.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Beautiful!” she would murmur, nudging Septimus, that he might see. But beauty was behind a pane of glass. Even taste (Rezia liked ices, chocolates, sweet things) had no relish to him. He put down his cup on the little marble table. He looked at people outside; happy they seemed, collecting in the middle of the street, shouting, laughing, squabbling over nothing. But he could not taste, he could not feel. In the tea-shop among the tables and the chattering waiters the appalling fear came over him—he could not feel. He could reason; he could read, Dante for example, quite easily (“Septimus, do put down your book,” said Rezia, gently shutting the Inferno), he could add up his bill; his brain was perfect; it must be the fault of the world then—that he could not feel.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Beauty is irrelevant to human life, especially in a relationship. What you today perceive as beautiful and special, over time, becomes not so special. That’s how the human brain works. It is not beauty that keeps a relationship alive, it is attachment. Without attachment, a naked body is merely a lifeless sex toy.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Believe me, a highly strung brain such as yours demands occasional relaxation from the strain of domestic surroundings. Forget for a little while that children want music lessons, and boots, and bicycles, with tincture of rhubarb three times a day; forget there are such things in life as cooks, and house decorators, and next-door dogs, and butchers’ bills. Go away to some green corner of the earth, where all is new and strange to you, where your over-wrought mind will gather peace and fresh ideas. Go away for a space and give me time to miss you, and to reflect upon your goodness and virtue, which, continually present with me, I may, human-like, be apt to forget, as one, through use, grows indifferent to the blessing of the sun and the beauty of the moon. Go away, and come back refreshed in mind and body, a brighter, better man—if that be possible—than when you went away.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men on the Bummel)
It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women ... Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds' pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God ... In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms ...
Anton Chekhov (The Bet)
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith:
Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished.
I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single.
He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower.
If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful.
Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little.
As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud.
She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt.
Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went.
“You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!”
He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq.
She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare!
If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD
I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity.
He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay.
Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal.
Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends?
Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad.
The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans.
Silence filled the room like tear gas.
The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time.
Happiness is the best cosmetic,
He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait.
Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang,
Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect.
During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading.
Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over.
His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah.
The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free.
Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus.
The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo.
Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus.
When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy.
Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace.
Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’
Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost.
Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply.
Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris.
America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won.
Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel.
Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious.
So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks.
If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded.
It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither.
In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay.
Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon.
In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans.
With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Dobby would never be able to tell them who had sent him to the cellar, but Harry knew what he had seen. A piercing blue eye had looked out of the mirror fragment, and then help had come. Help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.
Harry dried his hands, impervious to the beauty of the scene outside the window and to the murmuring of the others in the sitting room. He looked out over the ocean and felt closer, this dawn, than ever before, closer to the heart of it all.
And still his scar prickled, and he knew that Voldemort was getting there too. Harry understood and yet did not understand. His instinct was telling him one thing, his brain quite another. The Dumbledore in Harry’s head smiled, surveying Harry over the tips of his fingers, pressed together as if in prayer.
You gave Ron the Deluminator. You understood him…You gave him a way back…
And you understood Wormtail too…You knew there was a bit of regret there, somewhere…
And if you knew them…What did you know about me, Dumbledore?
Am I meant to know, but not to seek? Did you know how hard I’d find that? Is that why you made it this difficult? So I’d have time to work that out?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Negative thoughts are planted like a seed in the brain, and then once they grow, they take over the whole mind. Infecting your ability to see truth and beauty clearly. To see the honesty behind a person or situation. In the end those thoughts take over, and you lose sight of the joy of having that person in your life. Like the weed. It will grow and infest the entire planter box until all the beauty is destroyed and all that remains is the one thing you didn’t want in the first place. The weed or in this case, the negative thought.
Audrey Carlan (July (Calendar Girl #7))
For fifteen years I have been intently studying earthly life. It is true I have not seen the earth nor men, but in your books I have drunk fragrant wine, I have sung songs, I have hunted stags and wild boars in the forests, have loved women ... Beauties as ethereal as clouds, created by the magic of your poets and geniuses, have visited me at night, and have whispered in my ears wonderful tales that have set my brain in a whirl. In your books I have climbed to the peaks of Elburz and Mont Blanc, and from there I have seen the sun rise and have watched it at evening flood the sky, the ocean, and the mountain-tops with gold and crimson. I have watched from there the lightning flashing over my head and cleaving the storm-clouds. I have seen green forests, fields, rivers, lakes, towns. I have heard the singing of the sirens, and the strains of the shepherds' pipes; I have touched the wings of comely devils who flew down to converse with me of God ... In your books I have flung myself into the bottomless pit, performed miracles, slain, burned towns, preached new religions, conquered whole kingdoms ...
How was my day? It was a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. I was both lonely and never alone. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed. I was saturated with touch—desperate to get the baby off of me and the second I put her down I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. This day required more than I’m physically and emotionally capable of, while requiring nothing from my brain. I had thoughts today, ideas, real things to say and no one to hear them. I felt manic all day, alternating between love and fury. At least once an hour I looked at their faces and thought I might not survive the tenderness of my love for them. The next moment I was furious. I felt like a dormant volcano, steady on the outside but ready to explode and spew hot lava at any moment. And then I noticed that Amma’s foot doesn’t fit into her Onesie anymore, and I started to panic at the reminder that this will be over soon, that it’s fleeting—that this hardest time of my life is supposed to be the best time of my life. That this brutal time is also the most beautiful time. Am I enjoying it enough? Am I missing the best time of my life? Am I too tired to be properly in love? That fear and shame felt like adding a heavy, itchy blanket on top of all the hard. But I’m not complaining, so please don’t try to fix it. I wouldn’t have my day or my life any other way. I’m just saying—it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain—an entire day with lots of babies. It’s far too much and not even close to enough. But
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
I decided then to tell Artichoke to be ugly. To make herself as ugly as possible and not worry too much about beauty or what anyone thought of her. To be unpainted, to live in the breeze and stand under waterfalls and not be worried over the height of mountains, of quiet trails deep in the woods. To not be scared of roads slick with rain, of valleys dry in drought. I'd tell her 'no fear' and she'd know it was the deepest truth and she would be everything I was not. She would be wild and free. And I wouldn't worry because I knew the secret. That through all of her ugliness, all her hiking and running and jumping and falling and getting back up and saying no and saying what she wanted, her scraped hands, her freckled skin, her smart brain, she would of course be beautiful.
Chelsea Bieker (Godshot)
Okay.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “My type has a romantic soul. He’ll make my brain and my heart fight over who gets him first. He does what’s right, even when it’s not easy—actually, especially when it’s not easy. He knows the value of discipline, education, honor, and restraint. And his strength of character is the only thing that outweighs the strength of his love for me.” Drew’s
Penny Reid (Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0))
Don't be superior. Everyone drinks blood. Blood is a word that means alive. You can do without almost anything: arms, legs, teeth, hope. But you can't do without blood. Lose even a little and you grow slow and stupid and not yourself at all. We are all of us beautiful and complicated vessels for carrying blood the way a bottle carries wine. I suppose you think there's no blood in your roast beef? Life eats life. Blood makes you move, makes you blush, makes the pulse pound in your brow when you see your love walking across a street toward you, makes your very thoughts fly through your brain. Blood is everything and everything is blood.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
The question of what a dog is thinking is actually an old metaphysical debate, which has its origins in Descartes’s famous saying cogito ergo sum—“I think, therefore I am.” Our entire human experience exists solely inside our heads. Photons may strike our retinas, but it is only through the activity of our brains that we have the subjective experience of seeing a rainbow or the sublime beauty of a sunset over the ocean. Does a dog see those things? Of course. Do they experience them the same way? Absolutely not.
Gregory Berns (How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain)
...fascism is more plausibly linked to a set of "mobilizing passions" that shape fascist action than to a consistent and fully articulated philosophy. At the bottom is a passionate nationalism. Allied to it is a conspiratorial and Manichean view of history as a battle between the good and evil camps, between the pure and the corrupt, in which one's own community or nation has been the victim. In this Darwinian narrative, the chosen people have been weakened by political parties, social classes, unassimilable minorities, spoiled rentiers, and rationalist thinkers who lack the necessary sense of community. These "mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism's foundations:
-a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions;
-the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it;
-the belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;
-dread of the group's decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences;
-the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary;
-the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the groups' destiny;
-the superiority of the leader's instincts over abstract and universal reason;
-the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group's success;
-the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group's prowess within a Darwinian struggle.
...Fascism was an affair of the gut more than the brain, and a study of the roots of fascism that treats only the thinkers and the writers misses the most powerful impulses of all.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
Winter's last rain and a light I don't recognize
through the trees and I come back in my mind
to the man who made me suck his cock
when I was seven, in sunlight, between boxcars.
I thought I could leave him standing there
in the years, half smile on his lips,
small hands curled into small fists,
but after he finished, he held my hand in his
as if astonished, until the houses were visible
just beyond the railyard. He held my hand
but before that he slapped me hard on the face
when I would not open my mouth for him.
I do not want to say his whole hips
slammed into me, but they did, and a black wave
washed over my brain, changing me
so I could not move among my people in the old way.
On my way home I stopped in the churchyard
to try to find a way to stay alive.
In the branches a red-wing flitted, warning me.
In the rectory, Father prepared
the body and the blood for mass
but God could not save me from a mouthful of cum.
That afternoon some lives turned away from the light.
He taught me how to move my tongue around.
In his hands he held my head like a lover.
Say it clearly and you make it beautiful, no matter what.
Each of us hides our own private Delaware lost in the gray jungle-tangle of our brains. No one else can know its depths and byways. No one else can know the height of its towers, the secrets of its tides and pools. There will always be lost lagoons to find there, and ruins almost hidden by the sand. There will always be monsters of great beauty and good men with ugly frowns. The forests are dark but lights bob among the branches. You are at home there, more at home than anyplace else, and yet you will never go there in your life. Their legends are yours. The pirates sale around the cape, a crew of skeletons in the rigging. Milkmaids run down mountain passes, dragging kites behind them. Wizards crack their backs after long days of chalk and incantation while above the crowded bazaars, over the golden temples, against the setting sun, around the ruddy minarets, the pterodactyls call out a long farewell.
M.T. Anderson (Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware (Pals in Peril, #3))
It’s not simply that you are attracted to humans over frogs or that you like apples more than fecal matter—these same principles of hardwired thought guidance apply to all of your deeply held beliefs about logic, economics, ethics, emotions, beauty, social interactions, love, and the rest of your vast mental landscape.
David Eagleman (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
Why may you not kiss me?” she had demanded. “Am I a corpse?”
“Of course not.”
“Do you find me less attractive now that weather and wind have scoured the bloom from my cheeks?”
“Skaytha, it’s nothing like that. If anything you are more beautiful now than when we lived on Skyrl. Often enough I have no breath when I look at you. You rob me of any other thoughts.”
“So you’re afraid my kisses will take what little brain you have left?”
“I’m afraid the angels will do something I don’t want them to do if I fly in the face of their commands, commands I can only assume are divine as well as angelic.”
“Did you ever think to ask them the reasons behind their demands?”
“When it is an angel I just want to get out of the conversation alive or at least without being struck dumb. So I don’t prolong the chat.”
“You might have wanted my kisses more than that. If you had any romance in you you’d have told them you were ready to fight ten legions of angels for my love.”
Hawk had reached out to hold her. “If I’d told them that they might have taken me up on it. Angels are not just useful for gallant flourishes the moment you declare your intention to battle all comers for the woman you love. Angels burn like fire and blaze like a hundred suns – they strike fear in my heart.”
She had pulled away from his embrace and jumped to her feet. “Oh, no, you don’t. If I’m not good enough to kiss I’m not good enough to take in your arms either. It’s angels or me. Make up your mind whom you fear more. Or love more.”
“I don’t love the angels.”
“Clearly you don’t love me either.”
They had been in a tipi. She’d gone to the opening, lifted the flap, bent, and stalked away, passing by warriors of the tribe with her head as high as a goddess and her back as straight as the shaft of the spear. The chief had poked his head in.
“All is well, Hawk?’ he had asked.
Hawk had learned their tongue.
“It couldn’t be better,” Hawk had responded. “Only being slain in battle would be greater than this.”
The chief had thought this over and laughed. "That would bring you great honor."
"I am in short supply of honor right now and such short supply never pleases a woman like her. Better to die at the end of a spear and have it for a few moments and win her back."
The chief had nodded. "Sound wisdom. Would you like to join a raiding party against our enemy tonight?"
"I couldn't be happier."
(from The Name of the Hawk, Book 2)
Murray Pura (Legion (The Name of the Hawk, #1))
But now I speculate re the ants' invisible organ of aggregate thought... if, in a city park of broad reaches, winding paths, roadways, and lakes, you can imagine seeing on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon the random and unpredictable movement of great numbers of human beings in the same way... if you watch one person, one couple, one family, a child, you can assure yourself of the integrity of the individual will and not be able to divine what the next moment will bring. But when the masses are celebrating a beautiful day in the park in a prescribed circulation of activities, the wider lens of thought reveals nothing errant, nothing inconstant or unnatural to the occasion. And if someone acts in a mutant un-park manner, alarms go off, the unpredictable element, a purse snatcher, a gun wielder, is isolated, surrounded, ejected, carried off as waste. So that while we are individually and privately dyssynchronous, moving in different ways, for different purposes, in different directions, we may at the same time comprise, however blindly, the pulsing communicating cells of an urban over-brain. The intent of this organ is to enjoy an afternoon in the park, as each of us street-grimy urbanites loves to do. In the backs of our minds when we gather for such days, do we know this? How much of our desire to use the park depends on the desires of others to do the same? How much of the idea of a park is in the genetic invitation on nice days to reflect our massive neuromorphology? There is no central control mechanism telling us when and how to use the park. That is up to us. But when we do, our behavior there is reflective, we can see more of who we are because of the open space accorded to us, and it is possible that it takes such open space to realize in simple form the ordinary identity we have as one multicellular culture of thought that is always there, even when, in the comparative blindness of our personal selfhood, we are flowing through the streets at night or riding under them, simultaneously, as synaptic impulses in the metropolitan brain.
Is this a stretch? But think of the contingent human mind, how fast it snaps onto the given subject, how easily it is introduced to an idea, an image that it had not dreamt of thinking of a millisecond before... Think of how the first line of a story yokes the mind into a place, a time, in the time it takes to read it. How you can turn on the radio and suddenly be in the news, and hear it and know it as your own mind's possession in the moment's firing of a neuron. How when you hear a familiar song your mind adopts its attitudinal response to life before the end of the first bar. How the opening credits of a movie provide the parameters of your emotional life for its ensuing two hours... How all experience is instantaneous and instantaneously felt, in the nature of ordinary mind-filling revelation. The permeable mind, contingently disposed for invasion, can be totally overrun and occupied by all the characteristics of the world, by everything that is the case, and by the thoughts and propositions of all other minds considering everything that is the case... as instantly and involuntarily as the eye fills with the objects that pass into its line of vision.
E.L. Doctorow (City of God)
Rachel moans, “Great. Well, he’s not the only one sexually frustrated.”
I laugh. “Well, then get over these issues so you both can be relieved.”
“How’s Alex?” She raises an eyebrow at me.
“I’m sure fine,” I say defensively. “I haven’t seen him in a few weeks.”
“Really? I thought he made a nightly appearance.”
“Rachel, those dreams aren’t him. It’s my f’ed up brain replaying my memories as a form of torture...
Isabelle Joshua (The Bluebird (Caged Beauty Series, Book 2))
Contentment is not something I’ve known much in my life and not something I ever really knew I wanted. This, too, is the body’s grace—a gift of physiology, right there alongside my fading hair and skin. At younger ages, our brains are tuned to learn by novelty. At this stage in life, they incline to greater satisfaction in what is routine. Slowing down is accompanied by space for noticing. I am embodied with an awareness that eluded me when my skin was so much more glowy. I become attentive to beauty in ordinary, everyday aspects of my life. There is nothing more delicious than my first cup of tea in the morning; no experience more pleasurable than when my son, now much taller than me, wraps me in a hug; no view I find more breathtaking, over and over again, than the white pine that stands day in and day out behind my backyard.
Krista Tippett (Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living)
Yaa could ignore Kofi’s mother telling her that there were creams she could use to ‘heighten’ her skin, as she would supposedly be even more beautiful with ‘some of the sun lifted out’, because of the objective fact that Yaa had always gotten all the top prizes in school over Kofi. At political events, she was the one whose brain wanted to be picked, who engaged in debates that disturbed men enough for them to be both fearful and
Bolu Babalola (Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, Retold)
Wander with me through one mood of the myriad moods of sadness into which one is plunged by John Barleycorn. I ride out over my beautiful ranch. Between my legs is a beautiful horse. The air is wine. The grapes on a score of rolling hills are red with autumn flame. Across Sonoma Mountain wisps of sea fog are stealing. The afternoon sun smoulders in the drowsy sky. I have everything to make me glad I am alive. I am filled with dreams and mysteries. I am all sun and air and sparkle. I am vitalised, organic. I move, I have the power of movement, I command movement of the live thing I bestride. I am possessed with the pomps of being, and know proud passions and inspirations. I have ten thousand august connotations. I am a king in the kingdom of sense, and trample the face of the uncomplaining dust.... And yet, with jaundiced eye I gaze upon all the beauty and wonder about me, and with jaundiced brain consider the pitiful figure I cut in this world that endured so long without me and that will again endure without me. I remember the men who broke their hearts and their backs over this stubborn soil that now belongs to me. As if anything imperishable could belong to the perishable! These men passed. I, too, shall pass. These men toiled, and cleared, and planted, gazed with aching eyes, while they rested their labour-stiffened bodies on these same sunrises and sunsets, at the autumn glory of the grape, and at the fog-wisps stealing across the mountain. And they are gone. And I know that I, too, shall some day, and soon, be gone.
Jack London (John Barleycorn)
Dear New Orleans, What a big, beautiful mess you are. A giant flashing yellow light—proceed with caution, but proceed. Not overly ambitious, you have a strong identity, and don’t look outside yourself for intrigue, evolution, or monikers of progress. Proud of who you are, you know your flavor, it’s your very own, and if people want to come taste it, you welcome them without solicitation. Your hours trickle by, Tuesdays and Saturdays more similar than anywhere else. Your seasons slide into one another. You’re the Big Easy…home of the shortest hangover on the planet, where a libation greets you on a Monday morning with the same smile as it did on Saturday night. Home of the front porch, not the back. This engineering feat provides so much of your sense of community and fellowship as you relax facing the street and your neighbors across it. Rather than retreating into the seclusion of the backyard, you engage with the goings-on of the world around you, on your front porch. Private properties hospitably trespass on each other and lend across borders where a 9:00 A.M. alarm clock is church bells, sirens, and a slow-moving eight-buck-an-hour carpenter nailing a windowpane two doors down. You don’t sweat details or misdemeanors, and since everybody’s getting away with something anyway, the rest just wanna be on the winning side. And if you can swing the swindle, good for you, because you love to gamble and rules are made to be broken, so don’t preach about them, abide. Peddlin worship and litigation, where else do the dead rest eye to eye with the livin? You’re a right-brain city. Don’t show up wearing your morals on your sleeve ’less you wanna get your arm burned. The humidity suppresses most reason so if you’re crossing a one-way street, it’s best to look both ways. Mother Nature rules, the natural law capital “Q” Queen reigns supreme, a science to the animals, an overbearing and inconsiderate bitch to us bipeds. But you forgive her, and quickly, cus you know any disdain with her wrath will reap more: bad luck, voodoo, karma. So you roll with it, meander rather, slowly forward, takin it all in stride, never sweating the details. Your art is in your overgrowth. Mother Nature wears the crown around here, her royalty rules, and unlike in England, she has both influence and power. You don’t use vacuum cleaners, no, you use brooms and rakes to manicure. Where it falls is where it lays, the swerve around the pothole, the duck beneath the branch, the poverty and the murder rate, all of it, just how it is and how it turned out. Like a gumbo, your medley’s in the mix. —June 7, 2013, New Orleans, La.
Matthew McConaughey (Greenlights)
Three Sides of a Coin"
Am I in your light?
No, go on reading
(the hackneyed light of evening quarrelling with the bulbs;
the book’s bent rectangle solid on your knees)
only my fingers in your hair, only, my eyes
splitting the skull to tickle your brain with love
in a slow caress blurring the mind,
kissing your mouth awake
opening the body’s mouth stopping the words.
This light is thick with birds, and
evening warns us beautifully of death.
Slowly I bend over you, slowly your breath
runs rhythms through my blood
as if I said
I love you
and you should raise your head.
listening, speaking into the covert night
: Did someone say something?
Love, am I in your light?
See how love alters the living face
go spin the immortal coin through time
watch the thing flip through space
Muriel Rukeyser, Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser. (University of Pittsburgh Press May 10th 2014)
Muriel Rukeyser (The Collected Poems)
If you like cool, funny entertainment, you might like this one. It's a first novel by a local author." She handed him a copy of Practical Demonkeeping. "A very different kind of buddy novel. I thought it was hilarious."
"You're reading me like a book." The guy shook his head as if embarrassed by his own lame joke. Then he looked over at Blythe. Natalie saw his gaze move swiftly over her mother's red V-neck sweater and short skirt. "How can you tell that's exactly what would make me happy?" he asked.
Oh boy. He was flirting. Guys did that a lot with her mom. She was super pretty, and Natalie knew it wasn't only because Mom was her mom and all kids thought their moms were pretty. Even her snottiest friends like Kayla said Blythe looked like a model. Like Julia Roberts. Plus, her mom had a knack for dressing cool and being social---she could talk to anyone and make them like her.
Also, she had a superpower, which was on full display right now. She had the ability to see a person for the first time and almost instantly know what book to recommend. She was really smart and had also read every book ever written, or so it seemed to Natalie. She could talk to high school kids about Ivanhoe and Silas Marner. She ran a mystery discussion group. She could tell people the exact day the new Mary Higgins Clark novel would come out. She knew which kids would only ever read Goosebumps books, no matter what, and she knew which kids would try something else, like Edward Eager or Philip Pullman.
Sometimes people didn't know anything about the book they were searching for except "It's blue with gold page edges" and her mom would somehow figure it out.
Susan Wiggs (The Lost and Found Bookshop (Bella Vista Chronicles, #3))
...there will be nights when they can't deal with all the space around them, the time passing, the schizophrenic burr of Father's voice in their brains. Nights in the years to come, when their stories are no longer theirs, and they can barely hear each other over the screaming headlines. Nights after everything's gone to shit and their dreams are decaying bodies in a distant place. Nights when their voices are the only thing to remind each other that the good things, love, beauty, family, still exist; that the night, endless as it seems, cannot undo their progress.
Laura Elizabeth Woollett (Beautiful Revolutionary)
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?
- Ode to a Nightingale
John Keats (The Complete Poems)
He hoped and feared,' continued Solon, in a low. mournful voice; 'but at times he was very miserable, because he did not think it possible that so much happiness was reserved for him as the love of this beautiful, innocent girl. At night, when he was in bed, and all the world was dreaming, he lay awake looking up at the old books against the walls, thinking how he could bring about the charming of her heart. One night, when he was thinking of this, he suddenly found himself in a beautiful country, where the light did not come from sun or moon or stars, but floated round and over and in everything like the atmosphere. On all sides he heard mysterious melodies sung by strangely musical voices. None of the features of the landscape was definite; yet when he looked on the vague harmonies of colour that melted one into another before his sight he was filled with a sense of inexplicable beauty. On every side of him fluttered radiant bodies, which darted to and fro through the illuminated space. They were not birds, yet they flew like birds; and as each one crossed the path of his vision he felt a strange delight flash through his brain, and straightaway an interior voice seemed to sing beneath the vaulted dome of his temples a verse containing some beautiful thought. Little fairies were all this time dancing and fluttering around him, perching on his head, on his shoulders, or balancing themselves on his fingertips. 'Where am I?' he asked. 'Ah, Solon?' he heard them whisper, in tones that sounded like the distant tinkling of silver bells, "this land is nameless; but those who tread its soil, and breathe its air, and gaze on its floating sparks of light, are poets forevermore.' Having said this, they vanished, and with them the beautiful indefinite land, and the flashing lights, and the illumined air; and the hunchback found himself again in bed, with the moonlight quivering on the floor, and the dusty books on their shelves, grim and mouldy as ever.'
Fitz-James O'Brien (Terror by Gaslight: More Victorian Tales of Terror)
Pushing through the market square,
So many mothers sighing.
News had just come over,
We had five years left to cry in.
News guy wept and told us,
Earth was really dying.
Cried so much his face was wet,
then I knew he was not lying.
I heard telephones, opera house, favourite melodies.
I saw boys, toys, electric irons and T.V.s.
My brain hurt like a warehouse,
It had no room to spare.
I had to cram so many things
To store everything in there.
And all the fat-skinny people.
And all the tall-short people.
And all the nobody people.
And all the somebody people.
I never thought I'd need so many people.
A girl my age went off her head,
hit some tiny children.
If the black hadn't a-pulled her off,
I think she would have killed them.
A soldier with a broken arm
Fixed his stare to the wheel of a Cadillac.
A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest,
and a queer threw up at the sight of that.
I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour,
Drinking milk shakes cold and long.
Smiling and waving and looking so fine,
Don't think you knew you were in this song.
And it was cold and it rained so I felt like an actor,
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there.
Your face, your race, the way that you talk,
I kiss you, you're beautiful, I want you to walk.
We've got five years,
Stuck on my eyes.
What a surprise!
We've got five years,
My brain hurts a lot.
That's all we've got.
- Five Years
[Howard's] eyes were open and very clear. I'd forgotten what a beautiful gray they were--illness and medicine had regularly glazed them over; now they were bright and attentive, and he was watching me, consciously, through long lashes. Lungs, heart may have stopped but the optic nerves were still sending messages to a brain which, those who should know tell us, does not immediately shut down. So we stared at each other at the end... 'Can you hear me?' I asked him. 'I know you can see me.' Although there was no breath for speech, he now had a sort of wry wiseguy from the Bronx expression on his face which said clearly to me who knew all his expressions, 'So this is the big fucking deal everyone goes on about.
Gore Vidal (Point to Point Navigation)
Between Myself and Death
To Jimmy Blanton's Music:
Sophisticated Lady, Body and Soul
A fervor parches you sometimes,
And you hunch over it, silent,
Cruel, and timid; and sometimes
You are frightened with wantonness,
And give me your desperation.
Mostly we lurk in our coverts,
Protecting our spleens, pretending
That our bandages are our wounds.
But sometimes the wheel of change stops;
Illusion vanishes in peace;
And suddenly pride lights your flesh—
Lucid as diamond, wise as pearl—
And your face, remote, absolute,
Perfect and final like a beast's.
It is wonderful to watch you,
A living woman in a room
Full of frantic, sterile people,
And think of your arching buttocks
Under your velvet evening dress,
And the beautiful fire spreading
From your sex, burning flesh and bone,
The unbelievably complex
Tissues of your brain all alive
Under your coiling, splendid hair.
* * *
I like to think of you naked.
I put your naked body
Between myself alone and death.
If I go into my brain
And set fire to your sweet nipples,
To the tendons beneath your knees,
I Can see far before me.
It is empty there where I look,
But at least it is lighted.
I know how your shoulders glisten,
How your face sinks into trance,
And your eves like a sleepwalker's,
And your lips of a woman
Cruel to herself.
I like to
Think of you clothed, your body
Shut to the world and self contained,
Its wonderful arrogance
That makes all women envy you.
I can remember every dress,
Each more proud then a naked nun.
When I go to sleep my eves
Close in a mesh of memory.
Its cloud of intimate odor
Dreams instead of myself.
Kenneth Rexroth (Selected Poems)
The span of his seventy-five years had acted as a magic bellows—the first quarter-century had blown him full with life, and the last had sucked it all back. It had sucked in the cheeks and the chest and the girth of arm and leg. It had tyrannously demanded his teeth, one by one, suspended his small eyes in dark-bluish sacks, tweeked out his hairs, changed him from gray to white in some places, from pink to yellow in others—callously transposing his colors like a child trying over a paintbox. Then through his body and his soul it had attacked his brain. It had sent him night-sweats and tears and unfounded dreads. It had split his intense normality into credulity and suspicion. Out of the coarse material of his enthusiasm it had cut dozens of meek but petulant obsessions; his energy was shrunk to the bad temper of a spoiled child, and for his will to power was substituted a fatuous puerile desire for a land of harps and canticles on earth.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
There was a moment of stillness before something in him seemed to snap. she pounced on her with a sort of tigerish delight, and clamped his mouth over hers. She squeaked in surprise, wriggling in his hold, but his arms clamped around her easily, his muscles as solid as oak. He kissed her possessively, almost roughly at first, gentling by voluptuous degrees. Her body surrendered without giving her brain a chance to object, applying itself eagerly to every available inch of him. The luxurious male heat and hardness of him satisfied a wrenching hunger she hadn't been aware of until now. It also gave her the close-but-not-close-enough feeling she remembered from before. Oh, how confusing this was, this maddening need to crawl inside his clothes, practically inside his skin.
She let her fingertips wander over his cheeks and jaw, the neat shape of his ears, the taut smoothness of his neck. When he offered no objection, she sank her fingers into his thick, vibrant hair and sighed in satisfaction. He searched for her tongue, teased and stroked intimately until her heart pounded in a tumult of longing, and a sweet, empty ache spread all through her. Dimly aware that she was going to lose control, that she was on the verge of swooning, or assaulting him again, she managed to break the kiss and turn her face away with a gasp.
"Don't," she said weakly.
His lips grazed along her jawline, his breath rushing unsteadily against her skin. "Why? Are you still worried about Australian pox?"
Slowly it registered that they were no longer standing. Gabriel was sitting on the ground with his back against the grass-covered mound, and- heaven help her- she was in his lap. She glanced around them in bewilderment. How had this happened?
"No," she said, bewildered and perturbed, "but I just remembered that you said I kissed like a pirate."
Gabriel looked blank for a moment. "Oh, that. That was a compliment."
Pandora scowled. "It would only be a compliment if I had a beard and a peg leg."
Setting his mouth sternly against a faint quiver, Gabriel smoothed her hair tenderly. "Forgive my poor choice of words. What I meant to convey was that I found your enthusiasm charming."
"Did you?" Pandora turned crimson. Dropping her head to his shoulder, she said in a muffled voice, "Because I've worried for the past three days that I did it wrong."
"No, never, darling." Gabriel sat up a little and cradled her more closely to him. Nuzzling her cheek, he whispered, "Isn't it obvious that everything about you gives me pleasure?"
"Even when I plunder and pillage like a Viking?" she asked darkly.
"Pirate. Yes, especially then." His lips moved softly along the rim of her right ear. "My sweet, there are altogether too many respectable ladies in the world. The supply has far exceeded the demand. But there's an appalling shortage of attractive pirates, and you do seem to have a gift for plundering and ravishing. I think we've found you're true calling."
"You're mocking me," Pandora said in resignation, and jumped a little as she felt his teeth gently nip her earlobe.
Smiling, Gabriel took her head between his hands and looked into her eyes. "Your kiss thrilled me beyond imagining," he whispered. "Every night for the rest of my life, I'll dream of the afternoon in the holloway, when I was waylaid by a dark-haired beauty who devastated me with the heat of a thousand troubled stars, and left my soul in cinders. Even when I'm an old man, and my brain has fallen to wrack and ruin, I'll remember the sweet fire of your lips under mine, and I'll say to myself, 'Now, that was a kiss.'"
Silver-tongued devil, Pandora thought, unable to hold back a crooked grin. Only yesterday, she'd heard Gabriel affectionately mock his father, who was fond of expressing himself with elaborate, almost labyrinthine turns of phrase. Clearly the gift had been passed down to his son.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
Lachlan frowned as he misjudged the distance and his forehead hit Cormag's head with a bump. He wrapped his arms around his neck to steady himself, two big hands reaching up to hold onto his arms as if to offer extra support. “You,” he began, talking quietly into his ear, “are so beautiful,” he confessed, resting his heavy skull against Cormag's for a moment.
He meant it as well. Cormag was stunning. He was taller and broader than he was, very much the fine figure of hotness. His dark hair was well kept, but a little messy, he had amazing bone structure; the type that made him look more like a model than a museum manager. A chiselled jaw, nicely defined cheekbones and a rugged quality that
made him so appealing. He had never noticed how handsome a male face could be until those eyes drew him in.
“And so are you,” his companion chuckled, “but we discussed this…I've ruined every relationship I've ever had. I get needy, possessive and my baggage gets in the way.
Besides,” he lowered his voice to a whisper and brushed his hand over his upper arm, “You're not gay,” he protested, reminding him yet again that they were different.
“Nope. Not gay,” he agreed with that, nodding his head as he pulled back a little to see him better. “But that doesn't make you any less beautiful. Why is it wrong that I can see how special you are?” he asked, having difficulty understanding why part of his brain
was telling him he was being a drunken idiot and that the man before him wasn't
attractive. But the rest of his brain – about ninety-eight percent of it – was telling him that he was the most attractive person he'd ever seen.
“It's not, Lachlan. It really isn't.”
“But it's somehow wrong for me to tell you?” Lachlan wondered, glancing across the bar to see Matteo smiling at him. He didn't know what it meant.
Cormag cupped his face, capturing his undivided attention again. “No. Not that
either. But it makes it hard for me to keep my distance. You're stunning. Inside and out,” he claimed, with chocolatey eyes that said he meant every word.
Elaine White (Decadent (Decadent, #1))
On the bus, I pull out my book.
It's the best book I've ever read, even if I'm only halfway through. It's called Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, with two dots over the e.
Jane Eyre lives in England in Queen Victoria's time. She's an orphan who's taken in by a horrid rich aunt who locks her in a haunted room to punish her for lying, even though she didn't lie.
Then Jane is sent to a charity school, where all she gets to eat is burnt porridge and brown stew for many years. But she grows up to be clever, slender, and wise anyway.
Then she finds work as a governess in a huge manor called Thornfield, because in England houses have names. At Thornfield, the stew is less brown and the people less simple.
That's as far as I've gotten...
Diving back into Jane Eyre...
Because she grew up to be clever, slender and wise, no one calls Jane Eyre a liar, a thief or an ugly duckling again. She tutors a young girl, Adèle, who loves her, even though all she has to her name are three plain dresses. Adèle thinks Jane Eyre's smart and always tells her so.
Even Mr. Rochester agrees. He's the master of the house, slightly older and mysterious with his feverish eyebrows. He's always asking Jane to come and talk to him in the evenings, by the fire. Because she grew up to be clever, slender, and wise, Jane Eyre isn't even all that taken aback to find out she isn't a monster after all...
Jane Eyre soon realizes that she's in love with Mr. Rochester, the master of Thornfield. To stop loving him so much, she first forces herself to draw a self-portrait, then a portrait of Miss Ingram, a haughty young woman with loads of money who has set her sights on marrying Mr. Rochester.
Miss Ingram's portrait is soft and pink and silky.
Jane draws herself: no beauty, no money, no relatives, no future. She show no mercy. All in brown.
Then, on purpose, she spends all night studying both portraits to burn the images into her brain for all time.
Everyone needs a strategy, even Jane Eyre...
Mr. Rochester loves Jane Eyre and asks her to marry him.
Strange and serious, brown dress and all, he loves her.
How wonderful, how impossible.
Any boy who'd love a sailboat-patterned, swimsuited sausage who tames rabid foxes would be wonderful. And impossible.
Just like in Jane Eyre, the story would end badly.
Just like in Jane Eyre, she'd learn the boy already has a wife as crazy as a kite, shut up in the manor tower, and that even if he loves the swimsuited sausage, he can't marry her.
Then the sausage would have to leave the manor in shame and travel to the ends of the earth, her heart in a thousand pieces...
Oh right, I forgot.
Jane Eyre returns to Thornfield one day and discovers the crazy-as-a-kite wife set the manor on fire and did Mr. Rochester some serious harm before dying herself.
When Jane shows up at the manor, she discovers Mr. Rochester in the dark, surrounded by the ruins of his castle.
He is maimed, blind, unkempt.
And she still loves him.
He can't believe it.
Neither can I.
Something like that would never happen in real life.
... You'll see, the story ends well.
Fanny Britt (Jane, the Fox & Me)
Oh, there had been divorced Presidents, even, late in the twentieth century, one who had survived a White House divorce to the extent of being re-elected. Of course old Gus Time hadn't made any mistake in the marital department. Sixty years of wedded bliss. The grin came and went. Old fox! They said when he was in his early twenties and so new in Washington he still smacked of the boondocks, he had cast his eyes around all the Washington wives: he picked Senator Black's wife Olive for her beauty, her brains, her organizational genius and her relish of public life, then simply stole her from the Senator. It worked, though she was thirteen years older than he. She was the greatest First Lady the country had ever known. But behind the scenes - Oh man, what a tartar! Not that he had ever heard old Gus complain. The public lion was perfectly content to be a private mouse. Gus do this, Gus don't do that - and he was so lost when she died that he abandoned Washington the moment her funeral was over, went to live in his home state of Iowa and died himself not two months later.
Colleen McCullough (A Creed for the Third Millennium)
In 1976, a doctoral student at the University of Nottingham in England demonstrated that randomizing letters in the middle of words had no effect on the ability of readers to understand sentences. In tihs setncene, for emalxpe, ervey scarbelmd wrod rmenias bcilasaly leibgle. Why? Because we are deeply accustomed to seeing letters arranged in certain patterns. Because the eye is in a rush, and the brain, eager to locate meaning, makes assumptions. This is true of phrases, too. An author writes “crack of dawn” or “sidelong glance” or “crystal clear” and the reader’s eye continues on, at ease with combinations of words it has encountered innumerable times before. But does the reader, or the writer, actually expend the energy to see what is cracking at dawn or what is clear about a crystal? The mind craves ease; it encourages the senses to recognize symbols, to gloss. It makes maps of our kitchen drawers and neighborhood streets; it fashions a sort of algebra out of life. And this is useful, even essential—X is the route to work, Y is the heft and feel of a nickel between your fingers. Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We’d pass out every time we saw—actually saw—a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there’d be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs. We need habit to get through a day, to get to work, to feed our children. But habit is dangerous, too. The act of seeing can quickly become unconscious and automatic. The eye sees something—gray-brown bark, say, fissured into broad, vertical plates—and the brain spits out tree trunk and the eye moves on. But did I really take the time to see the tree? I glimpse hazel hair, high cheekbones, a field of freckles, and I think Shauna. But did I take the time to see my wife? “Habitualization,” a Russian army-commissar-turned-literary-critic named Viktor Shklovsky wrote in 1917, “devours works, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war.” What he argued is that, over time, we stop perceiving familiar things—words, friends, apartments—as they truly are. To eat a banana for the thousandth time is nothing like eating a banana for the first time. To have sex with somebody for the thousandth time is nothing like having sex with that person for the first time. The easier an experience, or the more entrenched, or the more familiar, the fainter our sensation of it becomes. This is true of chocolate and marriages and hometowns and narrative structures. Complexities wane, miracles become unremarkable, and if we’re not careful, pretty soon we’re gazing out at our lives as if through a burlap sack. In the Tom Andrews Studio I open my journal and stare out at the trunk of the umbrella pine and do my best to fight off the atrophy that comes from seeing things too frequently. I try to shape a few sentences around this tiny corner of Rome; I try to force my eye to slow down. A good journal entry—like a good song, or sketch, or photograph—ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye, the finger, the tongue, the heart. A good journal entry ought be a love letter to the world. Leave home, leave the country, leave the familiar. Only then can routine experience—buying bread, eating vegetables, even saying hello—become new all over again.
Anthony Doerr (Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World)
In ninety seconds they were naked and he was nibbling at her ear while his hand rubbed her pubic mat; but a saboteur was at work at his brain. 'I love you,' he thought, and it was not untrue because he loved all women now, knowing partially what sex was really all about, but he couldn't bring himself to say it because it was not totally true, either, since he loved Mavis more, much more. 'I'm awfully fond of you,' he almost said, but the absurdity of it stopped him. Her hand cupped his cock and found it limp; her eyes opened and looked into his enquiringly. He kissed her lips quickly and moved his hand lower, inserting a ringer until he found the clitoris. But even when her breathing got deeper, he did not respond as usual, and her hand began massaging his cock more desperately. He slid down, kissing nipples and bellybutton on the way, and began licking her clitoris. As soon as she came, he cupped her buttocks, lifted her pelvis, got his tongue into her vagina and forced another quick orgasm, immediately lowering her slightly again and beginning a very gentle and slow return in spiral fashion back to the clitoris. But still he was flaccid.
'Stop,' Stella breathed. 'Let me do you, baby.'
George moved upward on the bed and hugged her. 'I love you,' he said, and suddenly it did not sound like a lie.
Stella giggled and kissed his mouth briefly. 'It takes a lot to get those words out of you, doesn't it?' she said bemusedly.
'Honesty is the worst policy,' George said grimly. 'I was a child prodigy, you know? A freak. It was rugged. I had to have some defense, and somehow I picked honesty. I was always with older boys so I never won a fight. The only way I could feel superior, or escape total inferiority, was to be the most honest bastard on the planet earth.'
'So you can't say 'I love you' unless you mean it?' Stella laughed. 'You're probably the only man in America with that problem. If you could only be a woman for a while, baby! You can't imagine what liars most men are.'
'Oh, I've said it at times. When it was at least half true. But it always sounded like play-acting to me, and I felt it sounded that way to the woman, too. This time it just came out, perfectly natural, no effort.'
'That is something,' Stella grinned. 'And I can't let it go unrewarded.' Her black body slid downward and he enjoyed the esthetic effect as his eyes followed her— black on white, like the yinyang or the Sacred Chao—what was the psychoses of the white race that made this beauty seem ugly to most of them? Then her lips closed over his penis and he found that the words had loosened the knot: he was erect in a second. He closed his eyes to savor the sensation, then opened them to look down at her Afro hairdo, her serious dark face, his cock slipping back and forth between her lips. 'I love you,' he repeated, with even more conviction. 'Oh, Christ, Oh, Eris, oh baby baby, I love you!' He closed his eyes again, and let the Robot move his pelvis in response to her. 'Oh, stop,' he said, 'stop,' drawing her upward and turning her over, 'together,' he said, mounting her, 'together,' as her eyes closed when he entered her and then opened again for a moment meeting his in total tenderness, 'I love you, Stella, I love,' and he knew it was so far along that the weight wouldn't bother her, collapsing, using his arms to hug her, not supporting himself, belly to belly and breast to breast, her arms hugging him also and her voice saying, 'I love you, too, oh, I love you,' and moving with it, saying 'angel' and 'darling' and then saying nothing, the explosion and the light again permeating his whole body not just the penis, a passing through the mandala to the other side and a long sleep.
Robert Anton Wilson (The Illuminatus! Trilogy)
There was a rabbit, a bird, a squirrel, a fish and an eel, and they formed a Board of Education. The rabbit insisted that running be in the curriculum. The bird insisted that flying be in the curriculum. The fish insisted that swimming be in the curriculum, and the squirrel insisted that perpendicular tree climbing be in the curriculum. They put all of these things together and wrote a Curriculum Guide. Then they insisted that all of the animals take all of the subjects. Although the rabbit was getting an A in running, perpendicular tree climbing was a real problem for him; he kept falling over backwards. Pretty soon he got to be sort of brain damaged, and he couldn’t run any more. He found that instead of making an A in running, he was making a C and, of course, he always made an F in perpendicular climbing. The bird was really beautiful at flying, but when it came to burrowing in the ground, he couldn’t do so well. He kept breaking his beak and wings. Pretty soon he was making a C in flying as well as an F in burrowing, and he had a hellava time with perpendicular tree climbing. The moral of the story is that the person who was valedictorian of the class was a mentally retarded eel who did everything in a half-way fashion.
Leo F. Buscaglia (Love: What Love Is - And What It Isn't)
How was my day? It was a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. I was both lonely and never alone. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed. I was saturated with touch—desperate to get the baby off of me and the second I put her down I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. This day required more than I’m physically and emotionally capable of, while requiring nothing from my brain. I had thoughts today, ideas, real things to say and no one to hear them. I felt manic all day, alternating between love and fury. At least once an hour I looked at their faces and thought I might not survive the tenderness of my love for them. The next moment I was furious. I felt like a dormant volcano, steady on the outside but ready to explode and spew hot lava at any moment. And then I noticed that Amma’s foot doesn’t fit into her Onesie anymore, and I started to panic at the reminder that this will be over soon, that it’s fleeting—that this hardest time of my life is supposed to be the best time of my life. That this brutal time is also the most beautiful time. Am I enjoying it enough? Am I missing the best time of my life? Am I too tired to be properly in love? That fear and shame felt like adding a heavy, itchy blanket on top of all the hard. But I’m not complaining, so please don’t try to fix it. I wouldn’t have my day or my life any other way. I’m just saying—it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain—an entire day with lots of babies. It’s far too much and not even close to enough.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
It was his fault.She could put the blame for this entirely on Brian Donnelly's shoudlers.If he hadn't been so insufferable,if he hadn't been there being insufferable when Chad had called, she wouldn't have agreed to go out to dinner.And she wouldn't have spent nearly four hours being bored brainless when she could've been doing something more useful.
Like watching paint dry.
There was nothing wrong with Chad, really.If you only had,say,half a brain, no real interest outside of the cut of this year's designer jacket and were thrilled by a rip-roaring debate over the proper way to serve a triple latte,he was the perfect companion.
Unfortunately,she didn't gualify on any of those levels.
Right now he was droning on about the painting he'd bought at a recent art show. No,not the painting,Keeley thought wearily. A discussion of the painting,of art,might have been the medical miracle that prevented her from slipping into a coma.But Chad was discoursing-no other word for it-on The Investment.
He had the windows up and the air conditioning clasting as they drove. It was a perfectly beautiful night, she mused, but putting the windows down meant Chad's hair would be mussed. Couldn't have that.
At least she didn't have to attempt conversation. Chad preferred monologues.
What he wanted was an attractive companion of the right family and tax bracket who dressed well and would sit quietly while he pontificated on the narrow areas of his interest.
Keeley was fully aware he'd decided she fit the bill,and now she'd only encouraged him by agreeing to this endlessly tedious date.
Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))
Which of you’s real?” Nick asked.
“The one limping, silly.” Simi flashed in beside Nick and leaned against his shoulder. “Can’t you tell the difference between the cute Malphas and the fugly fake one?”
Not really. If Caleb wasn’t limping and bleeding, he’d have no clue.
Nick frowned at her. “What’s going on?”
With her bright purple hair, which matched the color of her lipstick, pulled into pigtails, Simi let out an adorable sound that defied description. “Them nasty demons done found you. Kind of. See, there’s a big bounty on your head—” She brushed her hand over his hair to emphasize her words. “—and if some mean nasty can find you and bring you in to have your brains eaten by their overlord, they get freed. So win–win. Well, not for you ’cause it would probably hurt to have your brains eaten. Though the Simi is pretty sure they’d kill you first.” She paused to think about that with a strangely cute expression. “Then again, some don’t, ’cause they like the sound of screams on the way down. I wonder if brains scream on their own.… Hmm. The Simi sees an expulsion coming on. Not ex…”
“That’s the word.” Smiling, she touched him on the tip of his nose. “Experiment. Thank you, akri-Nicky. Good of you to use your brains while you still have some. The Simi’s so proud for you.”
“You’re not helping my panic, Simi.”
“Oh.” She grinned at him. “Sorry. The Simi will be silent. Until it’s not time to be silent anymore. Silent. I likes that word. Ever notice some words are just pretty to say?” She beamed like a beautiful doll. “Silent Simi.” Her face fell as she touched her forefinger to her lower lip and pouted. “Oh, wait, no. The Simi don’t like the way that sounds at all. Blah! A silent Simi is not a good thing.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Invincible (Chronicles of Nick, #2))
Sophie thinks you were offering her a less than honorable proposition before we came to collect her, and modified your proposal only when her station became apparent.” Windham took a casual sip of his drink while Vim’s brain fumbled for a coherent thought. “She thinks what ?” “She thinks you offered to set her up as your mistress and changed your tune, so to speak, when it became apparent you were both titled. I know she is in error in this regard.” Vim cocked his head. “How could you know such a thing?” “Because if you propositioned my sister with such an arrangement, it’s your skull I’d be using that splitting ax on.” “If Sophie thinks this, then she is mistaken.” Windham remained silent, reinforcing Vim’s sense the man was shrewd in the extreme. “You will please disabuse her of her error.” Windham shook his head slowly, right to left, left to right. “It isn’t my error, and it isn’t Sophie’s error. She’s nothing if not bright, and you were probably nothing if not cautious in offering your suit. The situation calls for derring-do, old sport. Bended knee, flowers, tremolo in the strings, that sort of thing.” He gestured as if stroking a bow over a violin, a lyrical, dramatic rendering that ought to have looked foolish but was instead casually beautiful. “Tremolo in the strings?” “To match the trembling of her heart. A fellow learns to listen for these things.” Windham set his mug down with a thump and speared Vim with a look. “I’m off to do battle with the treble register. Wish me luck, because failure on my part will be apparent every Sunday between now and Judgment Day.” “Windham, for God’s sake, you don’t just accuse a man of such a miscalculation and then saunter off to twist piano wires.” Much less make references to failure being eternally apparent. “Rather thought I was twisting your heart strings. Must be losing my touch.” Vim
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
When the bullhorn signaled that he'd met the qualifying time,he struggled to gather his wits,waiting until Devil was right alongside the gate before he freed his hand,cutting himself loose. He flew through the air and over the corral fence,landing in the dirt at Marilee Trainor's feet.
"My God! Don't move." She was beside him in the blink of an eye,kneeling in the dirt,probing for broken bones.
Wyatt lay perfectly still,enjoying the feel of those clever, practiced hands moving over him.When she moved from his legs to his torso and arms,he opened his eyes to narrow slits and watched her from beneath lowered lids.
She was the perfect combination of beauty and brains.He could see the wheels turning as she did a thorough exam.Even her brow,furrowed in concentration,couldn't mar that flawless complexion. Her eyes, the color of the palest milk chocolate, were narrowed in thought.Strands of red hair dipped over one cheek, giving her a sultry look.
Satisfied that nothing was broken, she sat back on her heels,feeling a moment of giddy relief. That was when she realized that he was staring.
She waved a hand before his eyes. "How many fingers can you see?"
"Four fingers and a thumb. Or should I say four beautiful,long,slender fingers and one perfect thumb,connected to one perfect arm of one perfectly gorgeous female? And,I'm happy to add,there's no ring on the third finger of that hand."
She caught the smug little grin on his lips. Her tone hardened. "I get it. A showboat.I should have known.I don't have time to waste on some silver-tongued actor."
"Why,thank you.I had no idea you'd examined my tongue.Mind if I examine yours?"
She started to stand,but his hand shot out,catching her by the wrist. "Sorry.That was really cheesy, but I couldn't resist teasing you."
His tone altered,deepened,just enough to have her glancing over to see if he was still teasing.
He met her look. "Are you always this serious?"
Despite his apology,she wasn't about to let him off the hook,or change her mind about him.
R.C. Ryan (Montana Destiny)
I wondered why nobody realized what a crazy experience we all were having. I'd be lying in bed, or walking down a hallway in college, and the realization that I was alive would startle me, as though it had come up from behind and slammed two books together. I suddenly realized I was breathing air and stuck to the planet and temporary. And that realization felt as though I had come from some other existence and was experiencing this magical life for the first time.
If you think about it, we get robbed of the mystery of being alive. It's a fairly amazing thing, you know. Even if you believe life is an accident, that we are all here by accident, it's still an amazing thing. It might even be a more amazing thing if we are really here by accident. What are the chances, honestly? Still, I think we get robbed of the glory of it, because we don't remember how we got here. When you get born, you wake up slowly to everything. Your brain doesn't stop growing until you turn 26, you know. So from birth to 26, God is slowly turning on the lights, and you are groggy and pointing at things and saying ‘circle’ and ‘blue’ and ‘car,’ and then ‘sex’ and ‘job’ and ‘healthcare.’ The experience is so slow, you can easily come to believe life isn't that big a deal, that life isn't staggering. What I'm saying is, I think life IS staggering, and we are just too used to it. We are all of us like spoiled children, no longer impressed with the gifts we are being given. It’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving over the mountains, just another child being born, just another funeral.
When I was writing myself into a movie, I felt the way God feels as he writes the world, sitting over the planets, placing tiny people in tiny wombs. If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me specifically into the story. And He put us in with the sunsets and the rainstorms as though to say, ‘Enjoy your place in My story. The very beauty of it means it’s not about you, and in time, that will give you comfort.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
Railways, by days and by night. The flowers in the cuttings with their sooty blossoms, the birds on the wires with their sooty voices, they are their friends and long remember them.
And we also stand still, with astonished eyes, when-already from the far distant distance- there's the cry of promise. And we stand, with hair streaming, when it's there like thunder and as though it had rolled round heaven knows what worlds. And we're still standing, with sooty cheeks, when-already from the far distant distance-it cries. Cries, far, far away. Cries.
Really it was nothing. Or everything. Like us.
And they beat, beyond the windows of prisons, sweet dangerous, promising rhythms. You are all ears then, poor prisoner, all hearing, for the clattering, oncoming trains in the night and their cry and their whistle shiver the soft dark of your cell with pain and desire.
Or they crash bellowing over the bed, when at night you're harboring fever. And your veins, the moon-blue, vibrate and take up the song, the song of the freight trains: Under way-under way-under way- And your ear's an abyss, that swallows the world.
Under way. But ever and again you are spat out at stations, abandoned to farewell and departure.
And the stations raise up their pale signboards like brows beside your dark road. And they have names, those furrowed-brown signs, names, which are the world: bed, they mean, hunger and women. Ulla or Carola. And frozen feet and tears. And they mean tobacco, the stations, or lipstick or schnapps. Or God or bread. And the pale brows of the stations, the signboards, have names, that mean: women.
You are yourself a railway track, rusty, stained, silver, shiny, beautiful and uncertain. And you are divided into sections and bound between stations. And they have signboards whereon is written women, or murder, or moon. And then that is the world.
You are a railway- rumbled over, cried over- you are the track- on you everything happens and makes you rust blind and silver bright.
You are human, your brain giraffe-lonely somewhere above on your endless neck. And no one quite knows your heart.
Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body—it is heritage. Enslavement was not merely the antiseptic borrowing of labor—it is not so easy to get a human being to commit their body against its own elemental interest. And so enslavement must be casual wrath and random manglings, the gashing of heads and brains blown out over the river as the body seeks to escape. It must be rape so regular as to be industrial. There is no uplifting way to say this. I have no praise anthems, nor old Negro spirituals. The spirit and soul are the body and brain, which are destructible—that is precisely why they are so precious. And the soul did not escape. The spirit did not steal away on gospel wings. The soul was the body that fed the tobacco, and the spirit was the blood that watered the cotton, and these created the first fruits of the American garden. And the fruits were secured through the bashing of children with stovewood, through hot iron peeling skin away like husk from corn. It had to be blood. It had to be nails driven through tongue and ears pruned away. “Some disobedience,” wrote a Southern mistress. “Much idleness, sullenness, slovenliness…. Used the rod.” It had to be the thrashing of kitchen hands for the crime of churning butter at a leisurely clip. It had to be some woman “chear’d… with thirty lashes a Saturday last and as many more a Tuesday again.” It could only be the employment of carriage whips, tongs, iron pokers, handsaws, stones, paperweights, or whatever might be handy to break the black body, the black family, the black community, the black nation. The bodies were pulverized into stock and marked with insurance. And the bodies were an aspiration, lucrative as Indian land, a veranda, a beautiful wife, or a summer home in the mountains. For the men who needed to believe themselves white, the bodies were the key to a social club, and the right to break the bodies was the mark of civilization. “The two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black,” said the great South Carolina senator John C. Calhoun. “And all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” And there it is—the right to break the black body as the meaning of their sacred equality. And that right has always given them meaning, has always meant that there was someone down in the valley because a mountain is not a mountain if there is nothing below.*
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)
Only a small part of Tom's brain functioned normally. The rest of it was busy gathering details: the whiff of perfumed dusting powder, the intense blueness of her eyes. He'd never seen a complexion like hers, fresh and faintly opalescent, like milk glass with pink light shining through it. Was her skin like that all over? He thought of the limbs and curves beneath the ruffles of her dress, and he was suffused with a sensation that recalled the way icy water could sometimes feel hot, or a burn could feel like a chill.
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
Give me your mouth.
Your grace is as beautiful as sleep.
You move against me like a wave
That moves in sleep.
Your body spreads across my brain
Like a bird filled summer;
Not like a body, not like a separate thing.
But like a nimbus that hovers
Over every other thing in all the world
— Kenneth Rexroth, from “ When We with Sappho,” The Phoenix and the Tortoise (New Directions, 1944)
Kenneth Rexroth (The Phoenix and the Tortoise)
Nancy went to the front door, opened it, and walked outside. She breathed deeply of the lovely morning air and headed for the rose garden. She let the full beauty of the estate sink into her consciousness, before permitting herself to think further about the knotty problem before her. Long ago Mr. Drew had taught Nancy that the best way to clear one’s brain is to commune with Nature for a time. Nancy went up one walk and down another, listening to the twittering of the birds and now and then the song of the meadow lark. Again she smelled deeply of the roses and the sweet wisteria which hung over a sagging arbor.
Carolyn Keene (The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew, #2))
the conscious brain is resistant to wide-open idea generation and far-reaching connective inquiry. The mind is inclined to try to solve problems by doing the same things over and over, following familiar and well-worn neural paths. The idea, then, is to force your brain off those predictable paths by purposely “thinking wrong”—coming up with ideas that seem to make no sense, mixing and matching things that don’t normally go together. Proponents of this approach say it has a jarring effect on creative thinking; in neurological terms, when you force yourself to confront contrary thoughts or upside-down ideas, you “jiggle the synapses” in the brain,51 in the words of author and adult learning expert Kathleen Taylor. In so doing, you may loosen some of the old, stale neural connections and make it easier to form new ones.
Warren Berger (A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas)
So it is not that these texts have maintained their integrity over time (they haven't); it is just that they have been effectively edited by our neglect of certain of their passages. Most of what remains—the "good parts"—has been spared the same winnowing because we do not yet have a truly modern understanding of our ethical institutions and our capacity for spiritual experience. If we better understood the workings of the human brain, we would undoubtedly discover lawful connections between our states of consciousness, our modes of conduct, and the various ways we use our attention. What makes one person happier than another? Why is love more conducive to happiness than hate? Why do we generally prefer beauty to ugliness and order to chaos? Why does it feel so good to smile and laugh, and why do these shared experiences generally bring people closer together? Is the ego an illusion, and, if so, what implications does this have for human life? Is there life after death? These are ultimately questions for a mature science of the mind. If we ever develop such a science, most of our religious texts will be no more useful to mystics than they now are to astronomers.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
The bathroom door opened. He turned as Lisa stepped out.
Leaving the light on, she pulled the door almost closed so a little light would illuminate the room for them.
Taelon turned off the overhead light and crossed to the bed.
Lisa faced him on the other side of it and fiddled with the edge of her towel. “My clothes are still wet.”
“Mine are, too.”
“I’m thinking there’s no way this towel is going to stay around me while I sleep.”
“Do you wish to sleep without it?” he asked, willing his body not to respond to just the idea of it.
“Um . . .”
“I can sleep on the floor.”
“Hell no. Not with those wounds. You’ll sleep in the bed with me. I’m just . . . not exactly an exhibitionist.”
He hesitated. “I don’t think my translator is giving me an accurate definition of that word.”
Her eyebrows rose. “You have a translator?”
“Yes. All members of the Aldebarian Alliance do.”
She studied him curiously. “Where is it?”
He pointed to his head, just behind his ear. “Embedded in my brain.”
“I’m surprised the doctors at the base didn’t remove it.”
“Their scans failed to detect it because it isn’t metal and appears to be part of my skull when viewed with your more primitive scanning devices.”
“That word isn’t translating at all.”
She tilted her head to one side. “What did it tell you an exhibitionist is?”
“A street performer.”
She laughed. “When I said I’m not an exhibitionist, I meant I’m not comfortable flaunting my naked body.” She glanced down and wrinkled her nose. “Especially when it looks like this.”
“More self-conscious than shy,” she admitted. “I don’t know. I guess, despite my actions earlier, I just don’t want you to see me naked.”
Surprise coursed through him. “You don’t want ME to see YOU naked?”
Her brow furrowed. “Yeah.”
Taelon shook his head. “Lisa, you’re beautiful.” When she started to speak, he held up a hand. “I’m not saying that to put you at ease. I think you’re lovely. So much so that I’ve honestly been having a hard time keeping myself from staring at you too long.”
Her lips parted in surprise. “Really?”
“Yes.” He motioned to the towel at his hips. “This doesn’t exactly hide my body’s response to you, so I’ve been trying to keep my focus from drifting lower than your pretty face. You’re beautiful, Lisa. If anyone should wish to hide his body, it’s me. I’m quite a bit thinner than I used to be.”
Her eyes widened. “Seriously?” She motioned to his form. “You have all that muscle.”
“I used to have more. And I’m covered with all these ghastly wounds and scars because I’m too weak to regenerate. I don’t know how you can stand to look at me or manage not to grimace when you touch me. So again, I will offer to sleep on the floor.”
She stared at him, unspeaking.
“I won’t be offended if you don’t wish to sleep with me,” he assured her. Assuming an exaggeratedly somber expression, he rested a hand over his heart and spoke in dejected tones. “I will just be deeply, deeply hurt.”
Her lips twitched, then she laughed. “You are so freaking likable.”
He smiled. “I feel the same about you.”
“Okay then. We’re both adults. And neither one of us is physically up to engaging in anything amorous anyway, so—”
“Well,” he said with a grin, “that isn’t precisely true.”
Her cheeks pinkened. “Stop making me blush!”
Dianne Duvall (The Lasaran (Aldebarian Alliance, #1))
My stutter started soon after, and the doctors said it was from the head injury. My mom said that when I stuttered it looked like my brain and I were trying to say ten things at once. My voice just wouldn’t work. “You can’t focus on the one idea you need to talk about,” she told me. “Just say the one thing, Jess.” She is the youngest of three—the Drew girls of McGregor, Texas—and her middle sister Connie was a speech therapist. Aunt Connie advised her to get me to calm down. “Take a breath,” my mother would say, getting down to my level to look me in the eye. That only worked so well. If you want someone to calm down, try telling them “calm down” and see where it gets you. But Connie had another idea, something that worked with other people who stuttered. Singing. “What you’re trying to say,” Mom said to me one day, “sing it to me.” I turned the phrase over in my mind, smoothing the edges of its consonants and vowels until the words became the breaths of a song. A lyric I could control. “I want Cheeeeeeri-ohhhhs,” I sang. I can’t describe that release. The rush of simply being understood. “Yes, you can have Cheerios,” my mother yelled. “You can have whatever you want! You sound so beautiful.” For the next two years, singing was the only time I didn’t stutter. I sang for everything I wanted, like some Disney princess making a wish. Around four, the stutter became more pronounced and my parents took me to a therapist. He used art therapy and asked me to draw myself in the family. I drew my parents standing in front of our house, then put myself inside looking out from a window. He told my parents I had a fear of abandonment. Looking back, I know my parents never left me alone, and maybe I was even around them too much. But somehow, I still had a fear that they would leave me.
Jessica Simpson (Open Book)
She does not always agree with us, but she's always straight." Over and over Bill sticks the landing, as they say in gymnastics, every applause line hits via a potent combination of elder-statesman gravitas and gleeful good fun; he is a granddaddy lion romping with the cubs. We get the full treatment tonight, the twinkly eyes, the coyly bit lip, the curl of devilment in the grin, and so we're reminded that seduction is his basic unit of being, every transaction a form of charming the pants off someone. One has to say it worked out pretty well for him, a large life by any measure though not without its lumps and bumps, an impeachment here, humiliated wife there, not to mention the histrionic "values" backlash that brought us George W. Bush. But Bill Clinton's so smooth you might forget all that, for an evening at least. Whoever said the man's lost it has rocks for brains. Perhaps he just needed a few days to strike the proper frame of mind, a trick of the Method actor's craft—he has to walk onstage pretending he's the candidate here.
Ben Fountain (Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution)
‘This land is beautiful, but the people are horrible.’ The people took this beautiful land and raped it, and put up a bunch of ugly boxes, however, my home is in the Victorian-style and it is old and has a handcrafted personality. There is an ancient oak tree outside my window, sometimes I step out my window then onto the roof of the porch, and sit in the tree branch that hangs over, and watches all the stars as they appear to turn on and off. Yes, I have wished upon a shooting star, that things will change, and that the towers will be no more. Looking straight ahead, I can see all the lights that go on the horizon, some days the sunsets are blazing before the lights turn on. Then there are some days that the window is shut because it is cold windy while everything is chilled with the color of blue.
(Frame of mind)
My mood can change just like this and that it seems. Yes, just like all the summer turns into winter, and the winters turn into spring, and all of these thoughts running in my mind fall like the leaves through my brain, and they most likely do not mean a thing. I guess you could blame it on my ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, or OCD. I do not have any of these… I do not have anything wrong with me. But, if you are like one of the sisters or someone from my school, you would say my mood changes are because of my- STD’s, HIV, or being as they say GAY or BI, and LEZ-BO. They have also said, I am a pedophile and a child stocker, and I get moody if I do not get some from them. That is why I am so sober at times, or so they say.
Whatever…! They also have said that I am a schizophrenic- psycho and that I could not even buy love. I would not try that anyways. I think that having money does not give you happiness; I am okay being a humble farm- girl, the guy that finds me… needs to be happy with that also. I am sure there are more things they say.
However, those are just some of them that I can dredge up as of now, off the top of my head. They have murdered me and my life, in so many ways. So now, do you wonder as to why I am afraid of talking to people or even looking at them? You know you and they can try to destroy me, and my life. However, I do not have any of those listed either; none of these random arrangements of letters defines me as the person I truly am.
Looking out the windows, I can see the golden hayfields of ecstasy, I see the windmills that twist and tumble. I can see the abandoned railroad track that lies not far from my home. I can hear the cries of the swing as the wind gusts in spurts. But yet I am still in my room, but that is just okay with me. Because I know that there will someday soon be someone there for me.
My room is a land of peace and tranquility without all the gloom, with a bed and a canopy overhead but still, I am not truly happy? There is nothing- like the sounds of the crickets speaking up often in the cool August night breeze. It is relaxing to me, however; it is a reminder to me of how the last glimmers of summer are ending. Besides the sounds slowly fade away, yes- I can hear this music from my bedroom window. It is just like in the spring the birds sing in the morning and leave in the cool gusts to come. It is just like the hummingbirds that flutter by, and then before I know it, all has changed; so, it seems by the time I walk out my bedroom door, to start my day. ‘Life goes in cycles of tunes it seems, and nature is its synchronization in its symphony you just have to listen.
Marcel Ray Duriez (Nevaeh The Lusting Sapphire Blue Eyes)
I had to travel, to distract the enchantments gathered in my brain. Over the sea, that I loved as if she’d wash me clean of stain, I saw the cross of consolation rise. I had been damned by the rainbow. Happiness was my fatality, my remorse, my worm: my life would be forever too immense to be devoted to strength and beauty. O Happiness! its tooth, killing sweetly, warned me at cock-crow,
Dennis J. Carlile (Rimbaud: the Works: A Season in Hell; Poems & Prose; Illuminations)
Talent can be a nice thing to have sometimes. You look good, attract attention, and if you’re lucky, you make some money. Women flock to you. In that sense, having talent’s preferable to having none. But talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding physical and mental focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and your concentration vanishes, like the dew at dawn. A simple toothache, or stiff shoulders, and you can’t play the piano well. It’s true. I’ve actually experienced it. A single cavity, one aching shoulder, and the beautiful vision and sound I hoped to convey goes out the window. The human body’s that fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something very trivial, and in most cases once it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent’s the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it the next minute, what meaning does it have?
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
Erica seemed slightly confused by this line of thought, as it concerned human emotions, but she nodded agreement anyhow. “Exactly.” “It might not work out so easily for you,” Chip warned. “Jessica Shang has a lot going for her. She’s pretty, she’s nice, she’s fun—and she’s rich.” “Yes,” Erica agreed. “But I’m me.” Chip laughed dismissively. “I’m just saying, given the choice between two girls, if one of them’s a billionaire, that’s gonna mean something. This Mike character’s gonna show up to the hotel, find out Daddy Shang rented the whole darn thing, and be gobsmacked. And once Jessica starts batting her eyes at him, he’s gonna think he hit the mother lode.” “Mike’s not that shallow,” I argued. “We’re all that shallow,” Chip retorted. “Whether we want to believe it or not. Mike’s on a weeklong vacation. He’s not looking to fall in love. He’s looking to have fun! And who’s he gonna have more fun with? The girl he can only afford to take to McDonald’s—or the girl who has an entire hotel and a private jet and all the free food they can eat?” “Good point,” I conceded. “I can compete with that,” Erica said confidently. “How?” Jawa asked. “No offense, but you’re not exactly the warmest person in the world. Your own family doesn’t even think you can make friends with Jessica. So what do you know about winning over a boy’s affection?” “I know it’s easy,” Erica replied. “Much easier than making friends with someone. To make friends with another girl is work. You have to be nice and pretend to like the same things and have all these excruciatingly dull conversations about your feelings. To get a guy to fall for you, you barely even need to use your brain.” “That is not true,” Jawa argued, offended. “Really?” Erica came around the table to Jawa, kneeled close to him, batted her eyelashes, and purred, “Would you like to go somewhere quiet and explain why you’re right to me?” Jawa looked as though his brain had shorted out. Face-to-face with Erica, his fourteen-year-old mind was completely overwhelmed by her beauty. “Sure!” he said eagerly. “Let’s go right now!
Stuart Gibbs (Spy Ski School (Spy School Book 4))
Each of us hides our own private Delaware lost in the gray jungle-tangle of our brains. No one else can know its depths and byways. No one else can know the height of its towers, the secrets of its tides and pools. There will always be lost lagoons to find there, and ruins almost hidden by the sand. There will always be monsters of great beauty and good men with ugly frowns. The forests are dark but lights bob among the branches. You are at home there, more at home than anyplace else, and yet you will never go there in your life. Their legends are yours. The pirates sale around the cape, a crew of skeletons in the rigging. Milkmaids run down mountain passes, dragging kites behind them. Wizards crack their backs after long days of chalk and incantation while above the crowded bazaars, over the golden temples, against the setting sun, around the ruddy minarets, the pterodactyls call out a long farewell.
I’d take you home with me, see, but two of us in the same Behold? Just wouldn’t work, ends up in all sorts of squabbles over interior design; and the human, well, one faery in the Behold of the Eye, that just gives them a little twinkle of imagination, but more than one and it’s like a bloody fireworks display. They get all unstable and artistic, blinded by the glamour of everything, real or imagined, concrete or abstract. They get confused between beauty and truth and meaning, you see, start thinking every butterfly-brained idea must be true; before you know it they’ve gone schizo on you and you’re in a three-way firefight with all the angels and the demons, them and their bloody ideologies.
Hal Duncan (Scruffians! Stories of Better Sodomites)
That was when the top of my head lifted off and half a god backfired somewhere in the middle of my brain. I was the monkey, hitting a bone. I was the obelisk, making them more. I was the antelope, fleeing the cheetah. I was the caterpillar, grabbing the fly. I was a slime mold, both one and many and dual natured, following its instinctual chemical cues, spreading over the rocks of a dying world beneath the cooling corpse of a star so cold it no longer shone in the visible spectrum. But it shone in a warm, lazy light that nourished and encouraged the simple, hardy life on the world below it, and it was welcoming and beautiful in the way only the horrifically ugly can be. Like a mother pit bull, scarred, damaged, maltreated, starving, her body consuming itself to make milk for the squirming pups she licks with tenderness she’s never experienced herself. All things, even stars, eventually die. All life ultimately feeds on death. Life strives in the face of inevitability. We are the anti-entropy. The slime mold has no anger, does not want, is not afraid, has no drive, has no aspirations, no empathy, and no affection. It’s far below all of that. It is life, but with all but the most basic aspect burned away.
Pippas,” he nearly whispers. “I tell you something that you do not know.”
My heart picks up speed and I nestle deeper into the chair, waiting for his revelation. I know it’s not right to get hung up on appearance, but he’s so freaking hot. It’s hard not to get excited that he wants to spend time with me. I have no clue what it all means, but I’m going to soak it up while it lasts. Because it’s very likely it won’t ever happen again. According to Chiara, it isn’t even really happening now.
Bruno strokes my cheek close to my ear with a couple of fingers, back and forth, back and forth. I’m tempted to think he might lean over and kiss me. I’d probably even let him. My body tingles at the thought. The anticipation.
You know what he is, do you not?
Nothing happens. His palm rests flat against my cheek, prompting me to look at him.
Shut up, Chiara.
“Everything about you is lovely,” he says.
My heart leaps, bounds, springs. Floats.
Chiara has to be wrong about him. He’s kind and sweet and achingly romantic.
And he thinks I’m lovely. He could have his pick of any Italian beauty he wants, and he thinks I’m lovely.
Overwhelmed with the need to touch him, I reach out and trace along his sharp jawline, stopping just before his lips. I swallow hard. So does he.
He clasps my hand in his and lightly kisses the tip of each finger, his eyes never breaking their gaze on mine.
There’s something I’m supposed to say to him. Something in Italian.
One word. My brain remembers one word.
Kristin Rae (Wish You Were Italian (If Only . . ., #2))
FIRE’S HORSE WAS named Small, and he was another of Cansrel’s gifts. She had chosen him over all the other horses because his coat was dun and drab and because of the quiet way he’d followed her back and forth, the pasture fence between them, the day she’d gone to one of Cutter’s shows to choose. The other horses had either ignored her or become jumpy and agitated around her, pushing against each other and snapping. Small had kept on the outside of the bunch of them, where he was safe from their jostling. He’d trotted along beside Fire, stopping when she stopped, blinking at her hopefully; and whenever she’d walked away from the fence he had stood waiting for her until she came back. “Small, his name is,” Cutter had said, “because his brain’s the size of a pea. Can’t teach him anything. He’s no beauty, either.
Kristin Cashore (Fire)
Holding her in my arms makes me feel young and makes me feel old. Here there is no question as to how strong our love is and always will be. Reaching for her face, both my hands now caress her above the eyes before drawing a single finger down the side of her face in close examination of her perfect beauty. She now takes each breath in congruence to my every touch. Holding her close to me I follow the main artery reaching up into her brain cavity, ever so gently grabbing a hold of her shape with each amalgamating crimp of my lip’s kiss. Her honeyed lips now overlap in a mesmerizing sequence of twists and turns defining all of nature within this gravitating romance. Beautifully naked in a sciatic squirm of innate belonging her igneous hourglass-like figure curls up against mine in a deliquescent manner formulating the equilibrium of our edifying.
She woos me with her altruism and her childlike glow. Gliding over the emollient ewer of her extricating kiss our hearts conjoin in this luminescent rectitude of irrepressible euphoria. Sketching down her solar plexus by my touch abreast we bask in the bounteous espy of everlasting jubilance. When we kiss it’s as if we are dancing in the serene existence of Mother Nature’s melody. Her slender arms and hands revolve around my face and shoulders with an enchanting gentleness like gracious fireflies gleaming against the starry dusk of a fervid fantasia. Intertwined within the gradient of our love’s desiderated gavotte her second nature becomes aware of herself in me–and I in her.
This ability is partly why artistically naive viewers prefer representational paintings over abstract ones: they can latch onto a piece of the meaning of the painting.
Anjan Chatterjee (The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art)
All of the combined sounds of the various instruments knitted together into beautiful strains that washed over me and made my brain and body hum with a gentle peacefulness. This was why I loved playing in the orchestra. Making music on my own was wonderful, but working together with so many others to create something with so much depth and so many layers, that was something else altogether.
Sarah Fox (Dead Ringer (Music Lover's Mystery, #1))
Sean winced inwardly. “I don’t think that’s anyone’s business, Hal. Not even yours,” he added defensively. A colossal mistake.
Hal’s temper exploded. “What do you mean, not my business? Okay, McDermott, we’ll skip over the political repercussions for you as mayor if someone other than me caught you and Lily. I guess the phrase conflict of interest doesn’t ring a bell. To tell you the truth, I don’t give a rat’s ass about politics. I’ll go straight to what I do care about: you breaking Lily’s heart.”
“What?!” Sean exclaimed.
“Yeah, I know. You’re gonna tell me that what I interrupted just a few minutes ago was just a casual romp in the pool. That’s a load of crap, McDermott. You know as well as I that Lily’s never been casual about anything in her life. Especially not you. ’Sides, what I witnessed back there was not casual. Shit, I’m surprised the water wasn’t boiling with the heat you two were making.”
“Christ, Hal.” Sean spread his hands, his palms up. “Things kind of exploded between us. But Lily’s not a girl anymore—”
“If you’re stupid enough to believe that, then you don’t understand dick about Lily—no matter how hard you were trying back in my pool!”
Sean opened his mouth, but Hal was in full rant. “I’ve known Lily since she was a lonely, awkward kid. Of all people, you, Sean, should remember what she was like, how it was for her.”
“She ended up fine—”
“Yeah, she did. Because of her brains and her heart, she’s accomplished everything she’s dreamed of. But accomplished as she is, with all that beauty, she’s as lonely, as vulnerable as she was at thirteen. She needs a home, McDermott. She needs to know she belongs. That there’s a place for her to care about above sea level.”
“I’m warning you, Sean. I’ll have your ass if you go and hurt Lily and make her run away. Now, get out of here before I get really pissed.”
Hal was wrong, and his protective impulse was way overblown. Thoroughly misguided, too, Sean thought, as he slammed the office door behind him. It was he—not Lily—who was in need of protection. Sean had an awful feeling he’d lost his heart back there in the pool, and that when Lily discovered she had it, she’d toss it away.
Laura Moore (Night Swimming: A Novel)
Having a good feel up there, Gareth? Sure are taking a damned long time about it!" "Can't blame him. Tisn't every day that a man gets to grope a stone horse!" "Wish I was hung half so well!" "You mean you aren't, Chilcot?" "Lord Gareth is!" cried Tess. "Why, 'e's built foiner than any stallion Oi've ever seen, stone or not!" Drunken laughter rang out, both male and female, and yet another bottle of Irish whiskey made its way among the shadowy figures who stood, or rather swayed, beneath poor Henry on his about-to-be-disgraced charger. "Hey Gareth! Didn't know yer pref'rences ran to — hic! — bestiality! What else haven't you tol' us about yershelf, eh?" "Shut up down there, you bacon-brains," Gareth said. "D'you want to wake up the whole damned village?" But he was as foxed as the rest of them, and no one took him seriously. "Hic! — c'mon, Gareth, it can't take you more than five minutes to — hic! — paint its bollocks blue!" "This is not blue, it's purple. Royal purple. As befits its royal rider." Chilcot gave a credible imitation of a neighing stallion. Cokeham snorted, horselike, and clutched his stomach as he tried to contain his laughter. But the Irish whiskey was too much for him, and, losing his balance, he fell face‑first into the damp grass, still guffawing and holding his side. "Oh! Oh, I fear I shall cast up my accounts if this keeps up ... oh, dear God...." Without missing a beat, Gareth dipped his brush in the paint and flicked it over the bewigged and powdered heads of his friends below. Howls pierced the night as he calmly went back to his task. "A plague on you, Gareth! — hic — you've jesht ruined my best wig!" "To hell with your damned wig, Hugh, look what he just did to my coat!" Chilcot gave another equine whicker, tucked his chin, and with his beautifully turned out leg began pawing the ground. "Shhhh‑h‑h‑h‑h‑h‑h!" "Oh ... oh, I do feel sick...." "Keep it up, you pillocks, and I shall dump the entire bucket on your heads," Gareth called down from above.
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
Good-bye," he muttered harshly. "Good-bye! Good-bye, mamma!" A wild, strange cry, like that of a beast in pain, was torn from his throat. His eyes were blind with tears; he tried to speak, to get into a word, a phrase, all the pain, the beauty, and the wonder of their lives—every step of that terrible voyage which his incredible memory and intuition took back to the dwelling of her womb. But no word came, no word could come; he kept crying hoarsely again and again, "Good-bye, good-bye." She understood, she knew all he felt and wanted to say, her small weak eyes were wet as his with tears, her face was twisted in the painful grimace of sorrow, and she kept saying:
"Poor child! Poor child! Poor child!" Then she whispered huskily, faintly: "We must try to love one another." The terrible and beautiful sentence, the last, the final wisdom that the earth can give, is remembered at the end, is spoken too late, wearily. It stands there, awful and untraduced, above the dusty racket of our lives. No forgetting, no forgiving, no denying, no explaining, no hating. O mortal and perishing love, born with this flesh and dying with this brain, your memory will haunt the earth forever. And now the voyage out. Where? XL The Square lay under blazing moonlight. The fountain pulsed with a steady breezeless jet: the water fell upon the pool with a punctual slap. No one came into the Square.
The chimes of the bank's clock struck the quarter after three as Eugene entered from the northern edge, by Academy Street.
He came slowly over past the fire department and the City Hall. On Gant's corner, the Square dipped sharply down toward Niggertown, as if it had been bent at the edge.
Eugene saw his father's name, faded, on the old brick in moonlight. On the stone porch of the shop, the angels held their marble posture. They seemed to have frozen, in the moonlight.
Thomas Wolfe (Look Homeward, Angel)
Vic gazed up at Kellan. His mate’s breathing was slow, but steady, and somewhere deep inside Vic believed that Kellan was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing. The gods would watch over his beautiful swan and keep their egg safe.
Soon, Vic’s eyes grew heavy, but he fought against the sleep trying to take him. No, not yet. Just a little longer. He didn’t want Kellan to go through the egg-laying all by himself, not when Vic could be there and offer encouragement, to share in the moment and reassure him if he became scared.
The wool blanket was doing its job and Vic had warmed up nicely. His eyelids fluttered, so he tried to keep his focus on Kellan, tried to keep from drifting off.
Kellan. My precious mate, my love…
The song of a cardinal invaded Vic’s dream and he tried to ignore it in favor of the imaginary outing he was enjoying with Kellan on the lake during some future summer. We can bring the baby. I bet it will be a water baby, same as its daddy. The slow trill of the winter bird cut through Vic’s peaceful world and his eyes flew open, his brain registering it was morning right as his eyes adjusted to the light.
He yelped, his arms flailing for a second before he tumbled off the bed and landed with a thump onto the braided rug. Vic lay there for a moment, his heart pounding, trying to work out whether he was still in a dream or truly awake. He sucked in a deep breath, then pushed up from the floor. He peered over the edge of the bed, his eyes widening at the scene before him.
A majestic swan, pure white and breathtakingly beautiful, was perched on the blanket nest, its beak tucked under one wing. Vic smiled, relief flooding him as he realized what had happened.
His mate had shifted. Whatever had been wrong was right again
M.M. Wilde (A Swan for Christmas (Vale Valley Season One, #4))
Saasz hän ku andam szabadon--take what I freely offer. My life is your life, my blood your blood. Together we are strong.” He used the formal words, meaning every one of them. He would have given his life for their leader. The others began the ritual healing chant. They spoke in a hypnotic rhythm, and the ancient tongue was beautiful.
Behind him, Jacques heard the murmur of voices, smelled the sweet aroma of soothing, healing herbs. Carpathian soil, so rich in healing properties, was mixed with herbs and saliva from their mouths and placed over the wounds. Jacques held his brother in his arms, felt his strength, his life, flow into Mikhail, and he thanked God for his ability to help him. Mikhail was a good man, a great man, and his people could not lose him.
Mikhail felt strength pouring into him, into his depleted muscles, into his brain and heart. Jacques’s strong body trembled, and he sat abruptly on the edge of the bed, still cradling Mikhail in his arms, still holding his brother’s head to make it easier for him to replenish what he had lost.
Mikhail resisted, surprised at how strong Jacques still was, how weak he remained despite the transfer. Stop, Jacques, I endanger you. He said the words sharply in his mind because Jacques refused to release him.
“It is not enough, my brother. Take what is freely offered with no thought but to heal.” Jacques continued the chant as long as he was able, signaling Eric when he was growing too weak to continue.
Eric slashed his wrist without thought, without wincing at the gaping, painful wound, offering his wrist to Jacques, who continued to supply Mikhail with his life’s blood. Eric and Byron provided the soft rhythmic words of ritual while Jacques replenished himself and Mikhail.
The room itself seemed filled with warmth and love, and smelled clean and fresh. The ritual healing signaled a new beginning. It was Eric who called a halt when he could see Mikhail’s color had returned, when he could hear the steady beat of his heart and feel the blood flowing freely, safely, in his veins.
Byron put a supporting arm around Jacques, and helped him to a chair. Without a word he took Eric’s place, supplying life-giving fluid to Jacques.
Mikhail stirred, accepted the pain of his injury as part of the healing process, as part of the mechanics of living. He turned his head. His dark gaze sought and found Jacques, rested on him like a touch.
“Is he all right?” His voice was very soft, but commanding all the same. Mikhail was authoritative no matter the circumstances.
Jacques looked up, pale and wan, flashed a grin, and winked. “I spend a lot of time pulling your butt out of trouble, big brother. You would think a man a good two hundred years older than me would have the sense to watch his own backside.”
Mikhail smiled tiredly. “You get pretty cocky when I am lying on my backside.
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Dark, #1))
It was good to see her. She filled me up. Even when she was giving me shit and bossing me around, it was like taking a deep breath just being near her. She charged my batteries, dragged me back to myself.
She looked beautiful—but she didn’t look good. Pale. Thin. She’d lost weight—a lot of it. She wasn’t taking care of herself.
I couldn’t do shit for myself at the moment, but I could do anything for her. I would take care of her if she let me. But this was the first time she’d even spoken to me in weeks.
I hadn’t given up. I could never give up on her. But I’d gotten tired. She was so stubborn, so implacable, and my heart was worn. Without Kristen and Brandon, I couldn’t move anymore. I wanted to talk to him about her and talk to her about him. And both of them were gone.
The enormity of it was too big to wrap my brain around.
I was never going to see him again. Never sit with him in a duck blind and bullshit. Never talk to him again about Kristen, or Sloan, or anything.
I wasn’t going to be his best man. He’d never be mine. Our kids wouldn’t play together.
Eleven years. We’d been friends for eleven years. And he was just gone. His life was over. He’d gotten all he was going to get. And I didn’t know how to move on from that.
So I didn’t move at all.
When I’m at work in an office building, I know the hill is still beautiful: the colors, the brilliant purples, oranges, blues, and pinks. In my mind I can see the squirrels running over the mossy rocks. It’s like my little sanctuary at work, to know that the flowers are there while I sit in meetings.
Rick Hanson (Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence)
I am Gregori, Jacques.” Gregori’s voice was power itself, yet soft and soothing. “A healer for our people.”
Shea was lying across Jacques, her head on his shoulder, her eyes closed. She groaned— a low, husky sound that added fuel to Jacques’ rage. His fingers brushed the dark smudges along her swollen throat, and he turned a murderous gaze on Mikhail.
“Leave us alone.” Her voice was barely a whisper, hoarse and raw. She did not open her eyes or try to move.
“I can help him,” Gregori persisted, using his same compelling tone. The woman was so obviously the key to reaching Jacques. It was in the way he held her, the protective posture of his body, the way his eyes moved possessively, even tenderly, over her face. His hands were continually caressing her, stroking her hair, her skin.
At the underlying command in Gregori’s beautiful voice, her long eyelashes lifted, and she studied his face. He was savagely beautiful, a blend of elegance and untamed beast. He looked more dangerous than the other two strangers did. Shea made an effort to swallow, but it hurt. “You look like an ax murderer to me.”
This one has brains. Mikhail’s soft laughter echoed in Gregori’s head. She sees beyond that handsome face of yours.
You are so funny, ancient one. Gregori deliberately reminded him of the quarter of a century difference in their ages.
Christine Feehan (Dark Desire (Dark, #2))
Wiggling my breasts against his back, I waited for the groan.
Cooper glanced back at me and frowned. “I need to start wearing sweatpants or else you’ll kill me.”
“I don’t understand,” I said, batting my eyes innocently. “Are you talking about this?” Wiggling my breasts against him again, I jumped when his hands went to my bare thighs.
Stroking from my hips to knees, Cooper gave me a grin. “I’m getting you naked this weekend. Even if I have to lie, cheat, and steal, I’m hitting a homerun with you, baby.”
“Sure, whatever. Can we leave now?”
“A stud that needs sweatpants.”
“If it’s such a hassle, maybe we shouldn’t fool around at my place?”
Cooper just laughed while pulling away from school. He was laughing again when he parked at the curb next to my apartment building.
“What’s so funny?”
“Nothing. When I don’t get enough oxygen to my brain, it gives me the giggles.”
Now, I was laughing as we walked to the front door. “My mom might be home.”
“I’ll be sure to feel you up silently then.”
Grinning, I unlocked the door and pushed it open to find the air conditioner running high.
“My mom sometimes gets overheated.”
“Lady issues. Check. No more info is necessary or desired.”
Shutting the door, I turned down the air conditioner before finding two sodas in the refrigerator.
“I need a shower.”
Cooper stared at me with a pained expression. “Sweatpants.”
Laughing, I left him to my crappy cable. After a quick shower, I changed into a loose tank top and shorts. Feeling daring, I chose to wear panties, but no bra.
Returning to the living room, I found Cooper stretched out with his legs over the coffee table and his arms spread out along the back of the couch. He looked large and menacing then he glanced at me and grinned.
“Would now be a bad time to mention I’m horny?” he asked as I opened my soda and joined him on the couch.
“If I never again heard a single thing about you being horny, I’d still be well informed.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Beast (Damaged, #1))
I’d ask why you don’t want to be whipped, but I sense there’s a long heartfelt story behind it and I’ll feel sorry for you and I’m not really in the mood to feel pity. Maybe after a few more orgasms, I can fake sympathy. We’re just not there yet, champ.”
“I like that nickname,” I said, taking her hand between mine. “Stud works too. King Cock is another favorite.”
“How about Cock-A-Doodle-Doo?"
“Too cartoony. I need something manlier. Cockinator.”
Laughing, Raven yanked her hand away. “How about Robo Cock or White Cock Down? Ooh, Cockageddon.”
“Independence Cock,” I suggested, laughing as I drank my juice. “Cock Hard or Cocky. You know the third one where Cocky goes to Russia.”
Raven snorted. “Cocks on a Plane. No, Planet of the Cocks.”
“Kindergarten Cock,” I said and Raven balked. “Did I take that too far?”
“Perv. Oh, how about World War C?”
“Iron Cock or Cock of Steel. You know, if you’re interested in the superhero route.”
“Star Trek and superheroes. I sense the nerd is strong in this one.”
“Fuck off. I saw the videogames at your stag shack.”
“Wanna come over and play sometime?” I asked, giving her a wink. “Then, after we’re done playing, we can do that videogame thing you mentioned.”
“Hang out time like you shared with Judd?”
Expression hardening, I glared at her. “I never fucked Judd.”
“Why? He’s hot.”
Unable to keep up the façade, I laughed. “He’s a pretty fucker, ain’t he?”
“Oh, yeah,” she sighed and I stopped laughing. Raven noticed and it was her turn to laugh. “He’s got those beautiful eyes.”
“They’re beady rat eyes.”
“He’s so strong.”
“Puny girly man.”
Raven licked her lips. “I bet he hung too.”
I showed her my pinkie finger. “He’s barely this big when hard.”
“And how do you know that if you two never fucked?”
“Fine, we fucked, but we were pretty drunk and he is really pretty.”
Raven nearly fell off her chair laughing. I felt intensely proud to make her lose her cool so thoroughly.
After calming down, Raven threw up her hand and I high fived her. “You win,” she said, catching her breath. “I’ll play videogames at your place after fucking your brains out. Make you forget all about sexy Judd.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Outlaw (Damaged, #4))
Some reputable scientists, even today, are not wholly satisfied with the notion that the song of birds is strictly and solely a territorial claim. It’s an important point. We’ve been on earth all these years and we still don’t know for certain why birds sing. We need someone to unlock the code to the foreign language and give us the key; we need a new Rosetta stone.
Today I watched and heard a wren, a sparrow, and the mockingbird sing. My brain started to trill, why why why, what is the meaning meaning meaning? It’s not that they know something we don’t; we know much more than they do, and surely they don’t even know why they sing. No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question. It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing. If the mockingbird were chirping to give us the long-sought formulae for a unified field theory, the point would be only slightly less irrelevant. The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful? The question is there since I take it as given as I have said, that beauty is something objectively performed- the tree that falls in the forest- having being externally, stumbled across, or missed, as real and present as both sides of the moon…If the lyric is simply, mine mine mine, then why the extravagance of the score? It has the liquid, intricate sound of every creek’s tumble over every configuration of rock creek-bottom in the country. Beauty itself is the language to which we have no key; it is the mute cipher, the cryptogram, the uncracked, unbroken code. And it could be that for beauty there is no key, that it will never make sense in our language but only in its own, and that we need to start all over again, on a new continent, learning the strange syllables one by one.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Notice something pleasant that’s already present in your experience. Perhaps a relaxed sense of breathing, comfort, or curiosity. • Find something good in your immediate situation. Perhaps something sturdy, well made, protective, useful, or beautiful, such as a cozy chair, a tree out the window, or a picture on the wall. • Think of something you are glad about, in your life these days or in your past. It could be as simple as having a roof over your head. • Bring to mind someone who makes you feel cared about. It need not be a perfect relationship, but the caring—the warmth for you, the wishing you well—is genuine. • Bring to mind someone you like. • Think of some things that help you feel strong … peaceful … grateful … happy … loved … loving.
Rick Hanson (Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence)
I must have fallen asleep on a rock. It’s digging into my shoulder blade. I scrunch up and start to roll over, but then freeze.
It’s not just a single rock. It’s a giant one. Like concrete.
I go numb as I realize what this means. It can’t be…I ease open my eye, and then in an instant I’m sitting upright and looking around. And all I see are cars. And people in blue jeans. And street signs. And I smell smog and I hear radios crackling in the passing cabs.
I close my eyes for at least ten seconds and then open them again, but it’s all still there.
The twenty-first century.
I can’t stop my face from falling. I’m back. Just when I’d realized I don’t want this at all, I’m back. My shopping bags are strewn around me. I’m wearing jeans. A T-shirt. My heels.
I glance back to realize the Prada shop is still a few yards behind me, just where I’d left it. I’m sitting in the exact spot I’d fallen down.
I never left at all.
I stay put for a few moments as a pounding headache fades.
Alex. Emily. Even Victoria.
They were all make-believe. Some figment of my banged-up brain. That means the kiss…God, I made it all up! Every single thing!
I want to lie back down, close my eyes, and go back. I want horrible soup and stiff corsets and lump mattresses. I’ll trade it all to see Alex again. To go to Emily’s wedding.
A man trips on my foot and then has the nerve to glare at me, even though he basically kicked me in the shin.
Yes, I’m definitely in the twenty-first century.
I scramble to my feet and wipe the dirt off my jeans and lean over to pick up my bags. And then I notice them.
My heels. My beautiful, damaged heels. I glance over my shoulder. Yes, the Prada shop is definitely still behind me. I’ve gone maybe four steps from the door. Nowhere near enough to ruin the heels like this. They’re scuffed, dented, and scratched.
I gather up the rest of my bags, my grin in full-force. It wasn’t fake. It wasn’t make-believe or a dream or anything.
It happened. As sure as the mud on the heels, it happened. There’s even a dent where the front door of Harksbury bounced off the toe.
I don’t know how or why or anything, but somehow, I was there. I danced with Alex and helped Emily. I played a piano for a duke and a countess, and I ate more exotic animals than I ever wanted to.
But it happened. I don’t understand it; I only know that the last month was real, and it was the best of my life.
I sling the bags over my shoulder and practically skip down the block. No matter what happens next, no matter what happens for the rest of my life, I have something no one else will ever have. An adventure to rival Indiana Jones. A crazy month that can never be replicated.
Mandy Hubbard (Prada & Prejudice)
And so I played, and they held their breath, as they heard the beauty of the music, so like a human voice, yet so beyond it. I drew the bow across the strings. The first notes of the Bach Sarabande sounded in the room and I felt the sound waves travel through me, through the body and guts of my cello, through the endpin and into the wood of the floorboards and through the feet of the audience and up through their skeletons to their hearts and into their brains and the music reached their brains and their hearts at the same time - for sound travels according to the laws of physics, and I saw the light behind their eyes catch fire and heard them intake breath as they felt the rush of the music take over their bodies, aethereal and corporeal combined.
I haven’t been drunk in over a year—not since my mother fell seriously ill—and I’ve missed the way it comes with its own perfect glove of fog, settling snugly and beautifully over my brain. I don’t want to think and I don’t want to feel,
Paula McLain (The Paris Wife)
I know I should never have taken your blood--it was wrong--but it was wrong because I did not tell you what could happen. I knew you were my true lifemate, and my existence could not continue without you. I should have had more control. For that I will pay through all eternity, but it is done. We cannot undo what has already been wrought.”
Mikhail finished new poultices, placed them precisely over the wounds to seal them. Her fear, her revulsion, her sense of betrayal, beat at his insides, making him want to weep for her, for both of them.
“What I did with you was not the same thing as using a human woman for sex. We did not just have sex; my body recognized you as my lifemate. There was no way I could ignore the call. I would have had to choose to end my life. The ritual demands the exchange of blood. It is not feeding hunger, it is purely a sensual exchange, a beautiful, erotic affirmation of love and trust. The first time I took your blood, I inadvertently took too much because I felt such ecstasy. I was out of control. I was wrong to tie you to me without your understanding of exactly what it all meant. But I allowed you to make the choice. You cannot deny it.”
Raven stared up at his face, reading the sorrow in his dark eyes, the fear for her. She wanted to touch him, to ease those lines of strain, to reassure him that she could handle what he was asking of her, but her brain could not accept what he was saying. “I would have chosen death, if you had allowed me to go with you.”
He pushed the hair from her face with gentle, caressing fingers. “The only way I could save you was to make you one of us. You chose life.
Christine Feehan (Dark Prince (Dark, #1))
fascism is more plausibly linked to a set of “mobilizing passions" that shape fascist action than to a consistent and fully articulated philosophy. At bottom is a passionate nationalism. Allied to it is a conspiratorial and Manichean view of history as a battle between the good and evil camps, between the pure and the corrupt, in which one’s own community or nation has been the victim. In this Darwinian narrative, the chosen people have been weakened by political parties, social classes, unassimilable minorities, spoiled rentiers, and rationalist thinkers who lack the necessary sense of community. These “mobilizing passions," mostly taken for granted and not always overtly argued as intellectual propositions, form the emotional lava that set fascism’s foundations: • a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond the reach of any traditional solutions; • the primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether individual or universal, and the subordination of the individual to it; • the belief that one’s group is a victim, a sentiment that justifies any action, without legal or moral limits, against its enemies, both internal and external;60 • dread of the group’s decline under the corrosive effects of individualistic liberalism, class conflict, and alien influences; • the need for closer integration of a purer community, by consent if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary; • the need for authority by natural leaders (always male), culminating in a national chief who alone is capable of incarnating the group’s destiny; • the superiority of the leader’s instincts over abstract and universal reason; • the beauty of violence and the efficacy of will, when they are devoted to the group’s success; • the right of the chosen people to dominate others without restraint from any kind of human or divine law, right being decided by the sole criterion of the group’s prowess within a Darwinian struggle. The “mobilizing passions" of fascism are hard to treat historically, for many of them are as old as Cain. It seems incontestable, however, that the fevers of increased nationalism before World War I and the passions aroused by that war sharpened them. Fascism was an affair of the gut more than of the brain, and a study of the roots of fascism that treats only the thinkers and the writers misses the most powerful impulses of all.
Robert O. Paxton (The Anatomy of Fascism)
She was upside-down, clinging to a horizontal stem of wild rose by her feet which pointed to heaven. Her head was deep in dried grass. Her abdomen was swollen like a smashed finger; it tapered to a fleshy tip out of which bubbled a wet, whipped froth. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I lay on the hill this way and that, my knees in thorns and my cheeks in clay, trying to see as well as I could. I poked near the female’s head with a grass; she was clearly undisturbed, so I settled my nose an inch from that pulsing abdomen. It puffed like a concertina, it throbbed like a bellows; it roved, pumping, over the glistening, clabbered surface of the egg case testing and patting, thrusting and smoothing. It seemed to act so independently that I forgot the panting brown stick at the other end. The bubble creature seemed to have two eyes, a frantic little brain, and two busy, soft hands. It looked like a hideous, harried mother slicking up a fat daughter for a beauty pageant, touching her up, slobbering over her, patting and hemming and brushing and stroking.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
On what he loves most about writing: "Everything. Every single thing. I love that first blank page, finding that perfect first line, the moment your character says something unexpected and you realize they're a proper character. I love when it takes over a part of your brain and sits there, like a puzzle you're always working on, even while you're talking with friends or eating dinner with your wife. I love talking to people who've read my book and hearing their theories. I love beautiful writing, lines so good they bug you a week later. I love the collaborative spirit of editing and the joy of a good metaphor. Everything. Every moment. Wouldn't change a thing.
We must recognize that the apologetic force of our preaching isn’t always that our message is more believable than another, but that it’s more desirable. In evangelism, we don’t simply make a logical case, but a doxological one. We aren’t just talking to brains. We’re speaking to hearts that have desires and eyes that look for beauty. We’re not merely trying to convince people that our gospel is true, but that our God is good. Over the years I’ve tried to move away from cold, structured arguments into exultations of praise. From giving evidence for the resurrection to reveling in its glory. From merely explaining why Jesus is needed to showing why he should be wanted. From defending the Bible’s truthfulness to rejoicing in its sweetness. Preaching the gospel requires propositional truths. Believing the gospel requires historical facts. But when we preach, others should see how those facts have changed our lives. They should hear us singing with the Negro slaves, “I’ve found a Savior, and he’s sweet, I know.” They need to feel the weight of glory. That’s because believing the gospel—like preaching it—is worship. Which makes praise integral to our preaching and turns our priestly ministry into delight!
Elliot Clark (Evangelism as Exiles: Life on Mission As Strangers In Our Own Land)
You listen to me! Marshell, fucking look at me! Now, or so help me, I’ll show you pain.”
I knew that scent. Over the pain and the need consuming me, that scent reached out to me. Beckoning me. I knew that scent. Home. Safety. Love. I… I needed to… to do something, but the blistering pain refused to let me go. Kill, kill, kill, it chanted.
“Look at me!”
I’d look at them, all right. Then rip their throat out and—
“You must try. Please, you have to try. Please. You…. Marshell? Your mate needs you.”
Mate? My mate?
The monster that consumed my control eased back. A mate. That’s right, I had a mate. A beautiful, sexy cat who… needed me? He needed me? I fought the pain back further. It couldn’t have me. I refused to let it have me. My mate needed me. I couldn’t let him down, couldn’t escape into the ether that fogged my brain and promised escape from the torment. My mate needed me. He was my everything.
“Come on, that’s it. Come on. There you go. Come back to us, please. Fight it. I know you can. Come on, talk to me. Let me know you’re in your right mind.
M.A. Church (It Takes Two to Tango (Fur, Fangs, and Felines #3))
My father had a sister, Mady, who had married badly and ‘ruined her life.’ Her story was a classic. She had fallen in love before the war with an American adventurer, married him against her family’s wishes, and been disinherited by my grandfather. Mady followed her husband romantically across the sea. In America he promptly abandoned her. By the time my parents arrived in America Mady was already a broken woman, sick and prematurely old, living a life two steps removed from destitution. My father, of course, immediately put her on an allowance and made her welcome in his home. But the iron laws of Victorian transgression had been set in motion and it was really all over for Mady. You know what it meant for a woman to have been so disgraced and disinherited in those years? She had the mark of Cain on her. She would live, barely tolerated, on the edge of respectable society for the rest of her life.
A year after we arrived in America, I was eleven years old, a cousin of mine was married out of our house. We lived then in a lovely brownstone on New York’s Upper West Side. The entire house had been cleaned and decorated for the wedding. Everything sparkled and shone, from the basement kitchen to the third-floor bedrooms. In a small room on the second floor the women gathered around the bride, preening, fixing their dresses, distributing bouquets of flowers. I was allowed to be there because I was only a child. There was a bunch of long-stemmed roses lying on the bed, blood-red and beautiful, each rose perfection. Mady walked over to them. I remember the other women were wearing magnificent dresses, embroidered and bejeweled. Mady was wearing only a simple white satin blouse and a long black skirt with no ornamentation whatever. She picked up one of the roses, sniffed deeply at it, held it against her face. Then she walked over to a mirror and held the rose against her white blouse. Immediately, the entire look of her plain costume was altered; the rose transferred its color to Mady’s face, brightening her eyes. Suddenly, she looked lovely, and young again. She found a long needle-like pin and began to pin the rose to her blouse. My mother noticed what Mady was doing and walked over to her. Imperiously, she took the rose out of Mady’s hand and said, ‘No, Mady, those flowers are for the bride.’ Mady hastily said, ‘Oh, of course, I’m sorry, how stupid of me not to have realized that,’ and her face instantly assumed its usual mask of patient obligation. “I experienced in that moment an intensity of pain against which I have measured every subsequent pain of life. My heart ached so for Mady I thought I would perish on the spot. Loneliness broke, wave after wave, over my young head and one word burned in my brain. Over and over again, through my tears, I murmured, ‘Unjust! Unjust!’ I knew that if Mady had been one of the ‘ladies’ of the house my mother would never have taken the rose out of her hand in that manner.
The memory of what had happened in the bedroom pierced me repeatedly throughout that whole long day, making me feel ill and wounded each time it returned. Mady’s loneliness became mine. I felt connected, as though by an invisible thread, to her alone of all the people in the house. But the odd thing was I never actually went near her all that day. I wanted to comfort her, let her know that I at least loved her and felt for her. But I couldn’t. In fact, I avoided her. In spite of everything, I felt her to be a pariah, and that my attachment to her made me a pariah, also. It was as though we were floating, two pariahs, through the house, among all those relations, related to no one, not even to each other. It was an extraordinary experience, one I can still taste to this day. I was never again able to address myself directly to Mady’s loneliness until I joined the Communist Party. When I joined the Party the stifled memory of that strange wedding day came back to me. . .
Vivian Gornick (The Romance of American Communism)
She knew the effort it took to keep one’s exterior self together, upright, when everything inside was in pieces, broken beyond repair. One touch, one warm, compassionate hand, could shatter that hard-won perfect exterior. And then it would take years and years to restore it.
This tiny, effeminate creature dressed in velvet suits, red socks, an absurdly long scarf usually wrapped around his throat, trailing after him like a coronation robe.
He who pronounced, after dinner, “I’m going to go sit over here with the rest of the girls and gossip!” This pixie who might suddenly leap into the air, kicking one foot out behind him, exclaiming, “Oh, what fun, fun, fun it is to be me! I’m beside myself!”
“Truman, you could charm the rattle off a snake,” Diana Vreeland pronounced.
Hemingway - He was so muskily, powerfully masculine. More than any other man she’d met, and that was saying something when Clark Gable was a notch in your belt. So it was that, and his brain, his heart—poetic, sad, boyish, angry—that drew her. And he wanted her. Slim could see it in his hungry eyes, voraciously taking her in, no matter how many times a day he saw her; each time was like the first time after a wrenching separation.
How to soothe and flatter and caress and purr and then ignore, just when the flattering and caressing got to be a bit too much.
Modesty bores me. I hate people who act coy. Just come right out and say it, if you believe it—I’m the greatest. I’m the cat’s pajamas. I’m it!
He couldn’t humiliate her vulnerability, her despair.
Old habits die hard. Particularly among the wealthy. And the storytellers, gossips, and snakes.
Is it truly a scandal? A divine, delicious literary scandal, just like in the good old days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald?
The loss of trust, the loss of joy; the loss of herself. The loss of her true heart.
An amusing, brief little time. A time before it was fashionable to tell the truth, and the world grew sordid from too much honesty.
In the end as in the beginning, all they had were the stories. The stories they told about one another, and the stories they told to themselves.
Beauty. Beauty in all its glory, in all its iterations; the exquisite moment of perfect understanding between two lonely, damaged souls, sitting silently by a pool, or in the twilight, or lying in bed, vulnerable and naked in every way that mattered. The haunting glance of a woman who knew she was beautiful because of how she saw herself reflected in her friend’s eyes. The splendor of belonging, being included, prized, coveted.
What happened to Truman Capote. What happened to his swans. What happened to elegance. What truly was the price they paid, for the lives they lived. For there is always a price. Especially in fairy tales.
Melanie Benjamin (The Swans of Fifth Avenue)
Beautiful!' she would murmur, nudging Septimus, that he might see. But beauty was behind a pane of glass. Even taste (Rezia liked ices, chocolates, sweet things) had no relish to him. He put down his cup on the little marble table. He looked at people outside; happy they seemed, collecting in the middle of the street, shouting, laughing, squabbling over nothing. But he could not taste, he could not feel. In the tea-shop among the tables and the chattering waiters the appalling fear came over him—he could not feel. He could reason; he could read, Dante for example, quite easily (“Septimus, do put down your book,” said Rezia, gently shutting the Inferno), he could add up his bill; his brain was perfect; it must be the fault of the world then—that he could not feel.
"The English are so silent," Rezia said. She liked it, she said. She respected these Englishmen, and wanted to see London, and the English horses, and the tailor-made suits, and could remember hearing how wonderful the shops were, from an Aunt who had married and lived in Soho.
It might be possible, Septimus thought, looking at England from the train window, as they left Newhaven; it might be possible that the world itself is without meaning.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Then we carefully fitted a hairnet with electrodes sewn in place over each volunteer’s scalp, first soaking each sensor’s sponge tip in salt water so it would conduct electrical impulses better. From the control room next door, another assistant monitored the electrical contacts, yelling over the intercom when one needed to be fixed: “Eighty-seven in the right frontal region; thirty-six in the right parietal region!” (In that case, we would use a syringe to drip a little more salt solution onto the electrode’s sponge.) Each participant got a plastic cape to keep the drips off his or her clothes, so between the electrode-studded hairnets and the capes it looked like we were running a futuristic beauty salon.
Richard J. Davidson (The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live--and How You Can Change Them)
Good looks, for example, are denoted by symmetrical features—a sign that early life development was not disrupted by infection—and skin that shows no trace of pockmarks, sores, or other blemishes. With that in mind, you’d expect beauty to be more valued by those more susceptible to germs—a theory that evolutionary biologists put to the test in a survey of over seventy-one hundred people on six continents. In keeping with their prediction, those who lived in countries where parasites were leading causes of death and disability—in Nigeria and Brazil, for example—deemed good looks much more important in a mate than did inhabitants of nations like Finland and the Netherlands, which have among the lowest incidences of infection. In a British study, merely prompting people to think of germs—by, for example, showing them photos of a festering skin sore or a white cloth with a dark stain resembling a fecal smear—boosted how much they preferred symmetrical faces in the opposite sex.
Kathleen McAuliffe (This Is Your Brain On Parasites: How Tiny Creatures Manipulate Our Behavior and Shape Society)
Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you throw in the towel. If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort. I’ll run through walls to get a catamaran trip through the Greek islands, but I might not change my brand of cereal for a weekend trip through Columbus, Ohio. If I choose the latter because it is “realistic,” I won’t have the enthusiasm to jump even the smallest hurdle to accomplish it. With beautiful, crystal-clear Greek waters and delicious wine on the brain, I’m prepared to do battle for a dream that is worth dreaming. Even though their difficulty of achievement on a scale of 1–10 appears to be a 10 and a 2 respectively, Columbus is more likely to fall through.
Timothy Ferriss (The 4 Hour Workweek, Expanded And Updated: Expanded And Updated, With Over 100 New Pages Of Cutting Edge Content)
I am that vile worm of Satan
Sent to kill the beautiful.
I have destroyed everything that is good.
I have drawn over my head death’s hood.
In the dark of my brain
Was a primeval stain.
I destroyed what is sacred
Out of primitive hatred.
Grace fell from my face.
Of love I had not a trace.
I was able to kill
By my malevolent will.
Thoughtless, abstract, evil,
I was agent of the devil
Who overwhelmed my humanity
And totally blinded me.
Now whatever gods there are
See in history from afar,
The repetition of the stroke of Cain
Come to the world again.
Richard Eberhart (Collected Poems, 1930-1976: Including 43 New Poems)
Green leaned his head back, wanting everything Ruxs was going to do to him. “Upstairs. Get the fuck upstairs, Mark. We can’t do it right here. What if Curtis comes downstairs?” Green panted. Thank god some portion of his brain was still working. “Oh shit. You’re right.” Ruxs chuckled softly, rubbing his hand up and down Green’s body. “You’re so goddamn beautiful, I can’t think straight when I see you. You can’t be walking around in a fuckin’ silk robe, nothing but this soft material between me and your naked body.” He squeezed Green’s ass, thrust against him a couple more times before he dropped Green’s robe back down and pulled his pajama pants back over his ass. “Go
A.E. Via (Here Comes Trouble (Nothing Special #3))
What you today perceive as beautiful and special, over time, becomes not so special. That’s how the human brain works.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
All about Yoga Beauty Health.Yoga is a gathering of physical, mental, and otherworldly practices or teaches which started in antiquated India. There is a wide assortment of Yoga schools, practices, and objectives in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Among the most surely understood sorts of yoga are Hatha yoga and Rāja yoga. The birthplaces of yoga have been theorized to go back to pre-Vedic Indian conventions; it is said in the Rigveda however in all probability created around the 6th and fifth hundreds of years BCE,in antiquated India's parsimonious and śramaṇa developments. The order of most punctual writings depicting yoga-practices is indistinct, varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the main portion of the first thousand years CE, however just picked up noticeable quality in the West in the twentieth century. Hatha yoga writings risen around the eleventh century with sources in tantra
Yoga masters from India later acquainted yoga with the west after the accomplishment of Swami Vivekananda in the late nineteenth and mid twentieth century. In the 1980s, yoga wound up noticeably well known as an arrangement of physical exercise over the Western world.Yoga in Indian conventions, be that as it may, is more than physical exercise; it has a reflective and otherworldly center. One of the six noteworthy standard schools of Hinduism is likewise called Yoga, which has its own epistemology and transcendentalism, and is firmly identified with Hindu Samkhya reasoning.
Beauty is a normal for a creature, thought, protest, individual or place that gives a perceptual ordeal of delight or fulfillment. Magnificence is examined as a major aspect of style, culture, social brain research, theory and human science. A "perfect delight" is an element which is respected, or has includes broadly ascribed to excellence in a specific culture, for flawlessness. Grotesqueness is thought to be the inverse of excellence. The experience of "magnificence" regularly includes a translation of some substance as being in adjust and amicability with nature, which may prompt sentiments of fascination and passionate prosperity. Since this can be a subjective ordeal, it is frequently said that "excellence is entirely subjective.
Health is the level of practical and metabolic proficiency of a living being. In people it is the capacity of people or groups to adjust and self-oversee when confronting physical, mental, mental and social changes with condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) characterized wellbeing in its more extensive sense in its 1948 constitution as "a condition of finish physical, mental, and social prosperity and not simply the nonappearance of sickness or ailment. This definition has been liable to contention, specifically as lacking operational esteem, the uncertainty in creating durable wellbeing procedures, and on account of the issue made by utilization of "finish". Different definitions have been proposed, among which a current definition that associates wellbeing and individual fulfillment. Order frameworks, for example, the WHO Family of International Classifications, including the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), are usually used to characterize and measure the parts of wellbeing.
The memory made me realize my left wrist was aching. In fact, that might have been what woke me up in the first place. I was lying on my right side so I brought my left wrist up in front of me and squinted in the dim room, trying to see the problem. Nothing seemed to be broken but it throbbed painfully. Great—so I wasn’t going to be getting much work done today—good thing it was the weekend. But something told me that my injury might have been much worse. If it wasn’t for her… Her, whispered a voice in my brain, the voice of the wolf. Pale girl. A picture formed in my head. A girl with long, dark hair and deep blue eyes. She was beautiful and very kind, the wolf informed me, through more picture messages. She took away the pain. She gave delicious food. She smelled right—like a wolf, not a dead one. She was pack. I shook my head in disbelief. Was I seriously understanding the other side of my nature correctly? I had been certain that the wolf inside me would hate Taylor—she was a fucking vampire, for God’s sake—the ancient enemy of our kind. I had been afraid to change around her—afraid the wolf would hurt her. Instead, it seemed my furry self wanted to adopt her, to claim her as part of the family. She is pack, the wolf affirmed in my head. What the hell? How had Taylor won over my inner wolf so completely and quickly? A flood of images was my answer—Taylor leading the wolf inside the house, taking away the silver pain thing that had been biting his/ my paw/ arm. Then feeding him-me bacon (delicious man-food! the Wolf sent excitedly) and curling up close to him/ me in bed, sharing rest and comfort the way pack members do.
Evangeline Anderson (Scarlet Heat (Born to Darkness, #2; Scarlet Heat, #0))
But talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding physical and mental focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and your concentration vanishes, like the dew at dawn. A simple toothache, or stiff shoulders, and you can’t play the piano well. It’s true. I’ve actually experienced it. A single cavity, one aching shoulder, and the beautiful vision and sound I hoped to convey goes out the window. The human body’s that fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something very trivial, and in most cases once it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent’s the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it the next minute, what meaning does it have?
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
Steve was home for a visit. He was showing visitors how they fed the crocs.
John was amazed. When the show was over, John and Steve talked for a long time. John asked what it was like catching crocs. Steve gave him some of the films he’d shot in the bush.
John put the films away and made his commercial. When he took them out again, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The croc was terrifying to John. But Steve didn’t seem at all afraid.
Crikey, Steve was saying, this little beauty sure is hungry. John couldn’t believe how excited Steve was about the croc. This guy really thought a croc was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen! He was waving his arms around and making all kinds of strange animal sounds.
Gorgeous was one of Steve’s favorite words. Everything seemed gorgeous to him. The croc’s razor-sharp, glistening teeth were gorgeous. Its lashing tail was gorgeous.
Steve Irwin’s life seemed to be one great big gorgeous adventure.
John watched the raw videos over and over. An idea was bubbling in his brain. He called Steve. Would Steve mind if he showed the films to Australia’s Channel Ten network?
Crikey! Steve said.
Dina Anastasio (Who Was Steve Irwin?)
When she opened her eyes, she saw nothing but a strange lovely blue over and beneath and all about her. The lady and the beautiful room had vanished from her sight, and she seemed utterly alone. But instead of being afraid, she felt more than happy - perfectly blissful. And from somewhere came the voice of the lady, singing a strange sweet song, of which she could distinguish every word; but of the sense she had only a feeling - no understanding. Nor could she remember a single line after it was gone. It vanished, like the poetry in a dream, as fast as it came. In after years, however, she would sometimes fancy that snatches of melody suddenly rising in her brain must be little phrases and fragments of the air of that song; and the very fancy would make her happier, and abler to do her duty.
IVANOFF. [Alone] I am a worthless, miserable, useless man. Good God! How I loathe myself! How bitterly I hate my voice, my hands, my thoughts, these clothes, each step I take! How ridiculous it is, how disgusting! Less than a year ago I was healthy and strong, full of pride and energy and enthusiasm. I worked with these hands here, and my words could move the dullest man to tears. I could weep with sorrow,
and grow indignant at the sight of wrong. I could feel the glow of inspiration, and understand the beauty and romance of the silent nights which I used to watch through from evening until dawn, sitting at my worktable, and giving up my soul to dreams. I believed in a bright future then, and looked into it as trustfully as a child looks into its mother's eyes. And now, oh, it is terrible! I am tired and without hope; I spend my days and nights in idleness; I have no control over my feet
or brain. My estate is ruined, my woods are falling under the blows of the axe. [He weeps] My neglected land looks up at me as reproachfully as an orphan. I expect nothing, am sorry for nothing; my whole soul trembles at the thought of each new day.
Anton Chekhov (Ivanov)
And after some months, the exposure to beauty and wealth took a toll on his mind. He could not pinpoint it at first. Andrei thought human change came from decisions, but actually it came from observation. The brain was a special piano whose song history was never forgotten; one wrong key could destroy the instrument and necessitate years of healing. For Andrei, the multitude of wealthy guests, their walks, accommodation requests, secrets, women, and jewels had achieved his natural lust for luxury ten times over and turned him into a complete ghost.
Karl Kristian Flores (A Happy Ghost)