Can I Rest For A While Quotes

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They send a person who can never stay," she whispered. "Who can never accept my offer of companionship for more than a little while. They send me a hero I can't help ... just the sort of person I can't help falling in love with." ... As I sailed into the lake I realized the Fates really were cruel. They sent Calypso someone she couldn't help but love. But it worked both ways. For the rest of my life I would be thinking about her. She would always be my biggest what if.
Rick Riordan (The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4))
i think the idea of a 'mental health day' is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it's like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying 'i don't want to deal with things today' and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.
David Levithan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
Jace set what he was holding down on the windowsill and reached out to her. She came to lean against him, and his hand slid up under her t-shirt and rested caressingly, possessively, on the small of her back. He bent to kiss her, gently at first, but the gentleness went quickly and soon she was pressed up against the glass of the window, his hands at the hem of her shirt — his shirt — “Jace.” She moved a little bit away. “I’m pretty sure people down there in the street can see us.” “We could …” He gestured toward the bed. “Move…over there.” She grinned. “You said that like it took you a while to come up with the idea.” When he spoke, his voice was muffled against her neck. “What can I say, you make my thought processes slow down. Now I know what it’s like to be a normal person.” “How … is it?” The things he was doing with his hands under the t-shirt were distracting. “Terrible. I’m already way behind on my quota of witty comments for the day.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
I love you,' Buttercup said. 'I know this must come as something of a surprise to you, since all I've ever done is scorn you and degrade you and taunt you, but I have loved you for several hours now, and every second, more. I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm. Your eyes are like that, did you know? Well they are. How many minutes ago was I? Twenty? Had I brought my feelings up to then? It doesn't matter.' Buttercup still could not look at him. The sun was rising behind her now; she could feel the heat on her back, and it gave her courage. 'I love you so much more now than twenty minutes ago that there cannot be comparison. I love you so much more now then when you opened your hovel door, there cannot be comparison. There is no room in my body for anything but you. My arms love you, my ears adore you, my knees shake with blind affection. My mind begs you to ask it something so it can obey. Do you want me to follow you for the rest of your days? I will do that. Do you want me to crawl? I will crawl. I will be quiet for you or sing for you, or if you are hungry, let me bring you food, or if you have thirst and nothing will quench it but Arabian wine, I will go to Araby, even though it is across the world, and bring a bottle back for your lunch. Anything there is that I can do for you, I will do for you; anything there is that I cannot do, I will learn to do. I know I cannot compete with the Countess in skills or wisdom or appeal, and I saw the way she looked at you. And I saw the way you looked at her. But remember, please, that she is old and has other interests, while I am seventeen and for me there is only you. Dearest Westley--I've never called you that before, have I?--Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley, Westley,--darling Westley, adored Westley, sweet perfect Westley, whisper that I have a chance to win your love.' And with that, she dared the bravest thing she'd ever done; she looked right into his eyes.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
‎"Was that your plan all along? Show me where to go, then convince me there's nothing I can do to save my sister?" "Actually, my plan all along was to become a rockstar, travel the world collecting fan girls, and then getting really fat and spending the rest of my life playing video games while the girls kept comin', thinking I look good as I did in my music videos." He shrugs as if to say, 'who knew the world would turn out so different?
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
All right. Are you going to come back? Do you want any soup?" "No," said Jace. "Do you think Hodge will want any soup?" "No one wants any soup." "I want some soup," Simon said. "No, you don't," said Jace. "You just want to sleep with Isabelle." Simon was appalled. "That is not true." "How flattering," Isabelle murmured into the soup, but she was smirking. "Oh, yes it is," said Jace. "Go ahead and ask her—then she can turn you down and the rest of us can get on with our lives while you fester in miserable humiliation." He snapped his fingers. "Hurry up, mundie boy, we've got work to do.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
You can be a pawn, be someone’s reward, and spend the rest of your immortal life bowing and scraping and pretending you’re less than him, than Ianthe, than any of us. If you want to pick that road, then fine. A shame, but it’s your choice.” The shadow of wings rippled again. “But I know you—more than you realize, I think—and I don’t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years, then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart—” “Stop it—” “Or,” he plowed ahead, “you’ve got another choice. You can master whatever powers we gave to you, and make it count. You can play a role in this war. Because war is coming one way or another, and do not try to delude yourself that any of the Fae will give a shit about your family across the wall when our whole territory is likely to become a charnel house.” I stared
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
Those who cannot conceive Friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a Friend. The rest of us know that though we can have erotic love and friendship for the same person yet in some ways nothing is less like a Friendship than a love-affair. Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest. Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for this is important. ... In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets... Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, 'Here comes one who will augment our loves.' For in this love 'to divide is not to take away.
C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)
You look at me, you look at me closely, each time closer and then we play cyclops, we look at each other closer each time and our eyes grow, they grow closer, they overlap and the cyclops look at each other, breathing confusion, their mouths find each other and fight warmly, biting with their lips, resting their tongues lightly on their teeth, playing in their caverns where the heavy air comes and goes with the scent of an old perfume and silence. Then my hands want to hide in your hair, slowly stroke the depth of your hair while we kiss with mouths full of flowers or fish, of living movements, of dark fragrance. And if we bite each other, the pain is sweet, and if we drown in a short and terrible surge of breath, that instant death is beauty. And there is a single saliva and a single flavour of ripe fruit, and I can feel you shiver against me like a moon on the water.
Julio Cortázar
Mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying 'I don't want to deal with things today' and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless...
David Levithan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
My mind, I know, I can prove, hovers on hummingbird wings. It hovers and it churns. And when it's operating at full thrust, the churning does not stop. The machines do not rest, the systems rarely cool. And while I can forget anything of any importance--this is why people tell me secrets--my mind has an uncanny knack for organization when it comes to pain. Nothing tormenting is ever lost, never even diminished in color or intensity or quality of sound.
Dave Eggers (You Shall Know Our Velocity!)
While this is all very amusing, the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires,” she said. “Only that and nothing more.” Jace’s heart started to pound. He met the Queen’s eyes with his own. “Why are you doing this?” … “Desire is not always lessened by disgust…And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn’t desire your kiss, she won’t be free.” “You don’t have to do this, Clary, it’s a trick—” (Simon) ...Isabelle sounded exasperated. ‘Who cares, anyway? It’s just a kiss.” “That’s right,” Jace said. Clary looked up, then finally, and her wide green eyes rested on him. He moved toward her... and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him… He could feel the tension in his own body, the effort of holding back, of not pulling her against him and taking this one chance, however dangerous and stupid and unwise, and kissing her the way he had thought he would never, in his life, be able to kiss her again. “It’s just a kiss,” he said, and heard the roughness in his own voice, and wondered if she heard it, too. Not that it mattered—there was no way to hide it. It was too much. He had never wanted like this before... She understood him, laughed when he laughed, saw through the defenses he put up to what was underneath. There was no Jace Wayland more real than the one he saw in her eyes when she looked at him… All he knew was that whatever he had to owe to Hell or Heaven for this chance, he was going to make it count. He...whispered in her ear. “You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like,” he said. Her eyes fluttered shut, her lashes coppery lines against her pale, fragile skin. “I’ve never even been to England,” she said, and the softness, the anxiety in her voice almost undid him. He had never kissed a girl without knowing she wanted it too, usually more than he did, and this was Clary, and he didn’t know what she wanted. Her eyes were still closed, but she shivered, and leaned into him — barely, but it was permission enough. His mouth came down on hers. And that was it. All the self-control he’d exerted over the past weeks went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Her arms came up around his neck and he pulled her against him… His hands flattened against her back... and she was up on the tips of her toes, kissing him as fiercely as he was kissing her... He clung to her more tightly, knotting his hands in her hair, trying to tell her, with the press of his mouth on hers, all the things he could never say out loud... His hands slid down to her waist... he had no idea what he would have done or said next, if it would have been something he could never have pretended away or taken back, but he heard a soft hiss of laughter — the Faerie Queen — in his ears, and it jolted him back to reality. He pulled away from Clary before he it was too late, unlocking her hands from around his neck and stepping back... Clary was staring at him. Her lips were parted, her hands still open. Her eyes were wide. Behind her, Alec and Isabelle were gaping at them; Simon looked as if he was about to throw up. ...If there had ever been any hope that he could have come to think of Clary as just his sister, this — what had just happened between them — had exploded it into a thousand pieces... He tried to read Clary’s face — did she feel the same? … I know you felt it, he said to her with his eyes, and it was half bitter triumph and half pleading. I know you felt it, too…She glanced away from him... He whirled on the Queen. “Was that good enough?” he demanded. “Did that entertain you?” The Queen gave him a look: special and secretive and shared between the two of them. “We are quite entertained," she said. “But not, I think, so much as the both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
I fear a Man of frugal speech - I fear a Silent Man - Haranguer - I can overtake - Or Babbler - entertain - But He who weigheth - While the Rest - Expend their furthest pound - Of this Man - I am wary - I fear that He is Grand -
Emily Dickinson
I believe my life has value, and I don't want to waste it thinking about clothing . . . I don't want to think about what I will wear in the morning. Truly, can you imagine anything more boring than fashion? Professional sports, perhaps. Grown men swatting little balls, while the rest of the world pays money to applaud. But, on the whole, I find fashion even more tedious than sports
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Jurassic Park, #1))
CUSTOMER: Which was the first Harry Potter book? BOOKSELLER: The Philosopher’s Stone. CUSTOMER: And the second? BOOKSELLER: The Chamber of Secrets. CUSTOMER: I’l take The Chamber of Secrets. I don’t want The Philosopher’s Stone. BOOKSELLER: Have you already read that one? CUSTOMER: No, but with series of books I always find they take a while to really get going. I don’t want to waste my time with the useless introductory stuff at the beginning. BOOKSELLER: The story in Harry Potter actually starts right away. Personally, I do recommend that you start with the first book – and it’s very good. CUSTOMER: Are you working on commission? BOOKSELLER: No. CUSTOMER: Right. How many books are there in total? BOOKSELLER: Seven. CUSTOMER: Exactly. I’m not going to waste my money on the first book when there are so many others to buy. I’l take the second one. BOOKSELLER: . . . If you’re sure. (One week later, the customer returns) BOOKSELLER: Hi, did you want to buy a copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban? CUSTOMER: What’s that? BOOKSELLER: It’s the book after The Chamber of Secrets. CUSTOMER: Oh, no, definitely not. I found that book far too confusing. I ask you, how on earth are children supposed to understand it if I can’t? I mean, who the heck is that Voldemort guy anyway? No. I’m not going to bother with the rest. BOOKSELLER: . . .
Jen Campbell (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)
Then the best thing I can do is—" He froze. The brown eyes that had been narrowed with aggravation suddenly went wide with...what? Amazement? Awe? Or perhaps that stunned feeling I kept having when I saw him? Because suddenly, I was pretty sure he was experiencing the same thing I had earlier. He'd seen me plenty of times in Siberia. He'd seen me just the other night at the warehouse. But now...now he was truly viewing me with his own eyes. Now that he was no longer Strigoi, his whole world was different. His outlook and feelings were different. Even his soul was different. It was like one of those moments when people talked about their lives flashing before their eyes. Because as we stared at one another, every part of our relationship replayed in my mind's eye. I remembered how strong and invincible he'd been when we first met, when he'd come to bring Lissa and me back to the folds of Moroi society. I remembered the gentleness of his touch when he's bandaged my bloodies and bettered hands. I remembered him carrying me in his arms after Victor's daughter Natalie had attacked me. Most of all, I remembered the night we'd been together in the cabin, just before the Strigoi had taken him. A year. We'd known each other only a year but we'd lived a lifetime in it. And he was realizing that too, I knew as he studied me. His gaze was all-powerful, taking in every single one of my features and filing them away. Dimly, I tried to recall what I looked like today. I still wore the dress from the secret meeting and knew it looked good on me. My eyes were probably bloodshot from crying earlier, and I'd only had time for a quick brushing of my hair before heading off with Adrian. Somehow, I doubted any of it mattered. The way Dimitri was looking at me...it confirmed everything I'd suspected. The feelings he'd had for me before he'd been turned-the feelings that had become twisted while a Strigoi—were all still there. They had to be. Maybe Lissa was his savior. Maybe the rest of the Court thought she was a goddess. I knew, right then, that no matter how bedraggled I looked or how blank he tried to keep his face, I was a goddess to him.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
I read the title from the cover. ' 'The joy of... crap.' ' I read the rest of the full title of the thick, nondescript volume to myself and felt myself redden. Noah turned over on to his side and said with mock seriousness, 'I have never read 'The Joy Of Crap'. Sounds disgusting.' I blushed deeper. 'I have, however, read 'The Joy Of Sex.' ' He continued, a smile transforming his face. 'Not in a while, but I think it's one of those classics you can come back to again... and again.
Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1))
Let me inform you of something," he says in a low voice. "The moment my lips touch yours, it will be your first kiss. Because if you've never felt anything when someone's kissed you, then no one's ever really kissed you. Not the way I plan on kissing you." He drops his hands and keeps his eyes locked on mine while he backs up to the stove. He turns around to tend to the pasta like he didn't just ruin me for any other guy for the rest of my life. I can't feel my legs, so I do the only thing I can. I slide down the refrigerator until my butt meets the floor and I inhale.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Heart lesson #3: post-heartbreak survival. The heart is resilient, I mean literally. When a body is burned, the heart is the last organ to oxidize. While the rest of the body can catch flame like a polyester sheet on campfire, it takes hours to burn the heart to ash. My dear sister, a near-perfect organ! Solid, inflammable.
Ibi Kaslik (Skinny)
Peeta and I sit on the damp sand, facing away from each other, my right shoulder and hip pressed against his. ... After a while I rest my head against his shoulder. Feel his hand caress my hair. "Katniss... If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life", he says. "I would never be happy again." I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips. "It's different for you. I'm not sayin it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living." ... "Your family needs you, Katniss", Peeta says. My family. My mother. My sister. And my pretend cousin Gale. But Peeta's intension is clear. That Gale really is my family, or will be one day, if I live. That I'll marry him. So Peeta's giving me his life and Gale at the same time. To let me know I shouldn't ever have doubts about it. Everithing. That's what Peeta wants me to take from him. ... "No one really needs me", he says, and there's no self-pity in his voice. It's true his family doesen't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me. "I do", I say. "I need you." He looks upset, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and that's no good, no good at all, because he'll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I'll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss. I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food. I kissed Peeta about a thousand times during those Games and after. But there was only one kiss that made me feel something stir deep inside. Only one that made me want more. But my head wound started bleeding and he made me lie down. This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
I don't give a shit, Dad!" "Well I do! I absolutely give a shit! This will completely exhaust you." "It's my body. I can do what I like!" "So you don't care about your body now?" "No, I'm sick of it! I'm sick of doctors and needles and blood tests and transfusions. I'm sick of being stuck in a bed day after day while the rest of you get on with your lives. I hate it! I hate all of you! Adam's gone for a university interview, did you know that? He's going to be here for years doing whatever he likes and I'm going to be under the ground in a couple of weeks!
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
The inciting incident is how you get (characters) to do something. It's the doorway through which they can't return, you know. The story takes care of the rest.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
When it's new and important, you have to rest in between times. And anyway, even when I like a person there is a weariness that comes. I can be with someone and everything is fine and then all of a sudden it can wash over me like a sickness, that I need the quiet of my own self. I need to unload my head and look at what I've got in there so far. See it. Think what it means. I always need to come back to being alone for a while.
Elizabeth Berg (Joy School (Katie Nash, #2))
Dear Max - You looked so beautiful today. I'm going to remember what you looked like forever. ... And I hope you remember me the same way - clean, ha-ha. I'm glad our last time together was happy. But I'm leaving tonight, leaving the flock, and this time it's for good. I don't know if I'll ever see any of you again. The thing is, Max, that everyone is a little bit right. Added up all together, it makes this one big right. Dylan's a little bit right about how my being here might be putting the rest of you in danger. The threat might have been just about Dr. Hans, but we don't know that for sure. Angel is a little bit right about how splitting up the flock will help all of us survive. And the rest of the flock is a little bit right about how when you and I are together, we're focused on each other - we can't help it. The thing is, Maximum, I love you. I can't help but be focused on you when we're together. If you're in the room, I want to be next to you. If you're gone, I think about you. You're the one who I want to talk to. In a fight, I want you at my back. When we're together, the sun is shining. When we're apart, everything is in shades of gray. I hope you'll forgive me someday for turning our worlds into shades of gray - at least for a while. ... You're not at your best when you're focused on me. I mean, you're at your best Maxness, but not your best leaderness. I mostly need Maxness. The flock mostly needs leaderness. And Angel, if you're listening to this, it ain't you, sweetie. Not yet. ... At least for a couple more years, the flock needs a leader to survive, no matter how capable everyone thinks he or she is. The truth is that they do need a leader, and the truth is that you are the best leader. It's one of the things I love about you. But the more I thought about it, the more sure I got that this is the right thing to do. Maybe not for you, or for me, but for all of us together, our flock. Please don't try to find me. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, besides wearing that suit today, and seeing you again will only make it harder. You'd ask me to come back, and I would, because I can't say no to you. But all the same problems would still be there, and I'd end up leaving again, and then we'd have to go through this all over again. Please make us only go through this once. ... I love you. I love your smile, your snarl, your grin, your face when you're sleeping. I love your hair streaming out behind you as we fly, with the sunlight making it shine, if it doesn't have too much mud or blood in it. I love seeing your wings spreading out, white and brown and tan and speckled, and the tiny, downy feathers right at the top of your shoulders. I love your eyes, whether they're cold or calculating or suspicious or laughing or warm, like when you look at me. ... You're the best warrior I know, the best leader. You're the most comforting mom we've ever had. You're the biggest goofball, the worst driver, and a truly lousy cook. You've kept us safe and provided for us, in good times and bad. You're my best friend, my first and only love, and the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, with wings or without. ... Tell you what, sweetie: If in twenty years we haven't expired yet, and the world is still more or less in one piece, I'll meet you at the top of that cliff where we first met the hawks and learned to fly with them. You know the one. Twenty years from today, if I'm alive, I'll be there, waiting for you. You can bet on it. Good-bye, my love. Fang P.S. Tell everyone I sure will miss them
James Patterson
For Jenn At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts. I fought with my knuckles white as stars, and left bruises the shape of Salem. There are things we know by heart, and things we don't. At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke. I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos, but I could never make dying beautiful. The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself veins are kite strings you can only cut free. I suppose I love this life, in spite of my clenched fist. I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree, and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers, and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath the first time his fingers touched the keys the same way a soldier holds his breath the first time his finger clicks the trigger. We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe. But my lungs remember the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat. And I knew life would tremble like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek, like a prayer on a dying man's lips, like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone… just take me just take me Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much, the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood. We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday. You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess and hope she knows you can hit a baseball further than any boy in the whole third grade and I've been running for home through the windpipe of a man who sings while his hands playing washboard with a spoon on a street corner in New Orleans where every boarded up window is still painted with the words We're Coming Back like a promise to the ocean that we will always keep moving towards the music, the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain. Beauty, catch me on your tongue. Thunder, clap us open. The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks. Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert, then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun. I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun. I know the heartbeat of his mother. Don't cover your ears, Love. Don't cover your ears, Life. There is a boy writing poems in Central Park and as he writes he moves and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart, and there are men playing chess in the December cold who can't tell if the breath rising from the board is their opponents or their own, and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn, and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun with strip malls and traffic and vendors and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it. Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect. I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon. I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic. But every ocean has a shoreline and every shoreline has a tide that is constantly returning to wake the songbirds in our hands, to wake the music in our bones, to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river that has to run through the center of our hearts to find its way home.
Andrea Gibson
Tamlin isn’t your keeper, and you know it.” “I’m his subject, and he is my High Lord—“ “You are no one’s subject.” “I will say this once—and only once. You can be a pawn, be someone’s reward, and spend the rest of your immortal life bowing and scraping and pretending you’re less than him, than Ianthe, than any of us. If you want to pick that road, then fine. A shame, but it’s your choice. But I know you – more than you realize, I think – and I don’t believe for one damn minute that you’re remotely fine with being a pretty trophy for someone who sat on his ass for nearly fifty years then sat on his ass while you were shredded apart.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
Amanda: This weekend was wonderful, but it isn't real life. It was more like a honeymoon, and after a while the excitement will wear off. We can tell ourselves it won't happen, we can make all the promises we want, but it's inevitable, and after that you'll never look at me the way you do now. I won't be the woman you dream about, or the girl you used to love. And you won't be my long-lost love, my one true thing anymore, either. You'll be someone my kids despise because you ruined the family, and you'll see me for who I really am. In a few years, I'll simply be a woman pushing fifty with three kids who might or might not hate her, and who might end up hating herself because of all this. And in the end, you'll end up hating her, too. Dawson: That's not true. Amanda: But it is. Honeymoons always come to an end. Dawson: Being together isn't about a honeymoon. It's about the real you and me. I want to wake up with you beside me in the mornings, I want to spend my evenings looking at you across the dinner table. I want to share every mundane detail of my day with you and hear every detail of yours. I want to laugh with you and fall asleep with you in my arms. Because you aren't just someone I loved back then. You were my best friend, my best self, and I can't imagine giving that up again. You might not understand, but I gave you the best of me, and after you left, nothing was ever the same. I know you're afraid, and I'm afraid, too. But if we let this go, if we pretend none of this ever happened, then I'm not sure we'll ever get another chance. We're still young. We still have time to make this right. Amanda: We're not that young anymore- Dawson: But we are. We still have the rest of our lives. Amanda: I know. That's why I need you to do something for me. Dawson: Anything. Amanda: Please...don't ask me to go with you, because if you do, I'll go. Please don't ask me to tell Frank about us, because I'll do that, too. Please don't ask me to give up my responsibilities or break up my family. I love you, and if you love me, too, then you just can't ask me to do these things. Because I don't trust myself enough to say no.
Nicholas Sparks (The Best of Me)
I'm just saying that I don't want to go through any of this anymore. With anyone. I want to buy a cat, or lease one, or do whatever it is that lonely people do these days. Call it quits. And that's what I don't get, because no matter how much I tell myself it's all useless and it's all a waste of time and energy, there just doesn't seem to be a way to stop myself from looking for the right person. You know? From looking at every face on every escalator that's going up while I'm going down and wondering whether the right guy for me just went by... Why isn't there a fuse box somewhere that I can go peer at with a flashlight until I find the fuse with 'Heart' written underneath it and then throw that switch and let the rest of them keep humming merrily along and just, I don't know, opt out of the whole thing?
Paul Schmidtberger (Design Flaws of the Human Condition)
I hold another creed, which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention, but in which I delight, and to which I cling, for it extends hope to all; it makes eternity a rest - a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last; with this creed, revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low. I live in calm, looking to the end.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Grief is like a deep, dark hole. It calls like a siren: Come to me, lose yourself here. And you fight it and you fight it and you fight it, but when you finally do succumb and jump down into it, you can’t quite believe how deep it is. It feels as if this is how you will live for the rest of your life, falling. Terrified and devastated, until you yourself die. But that is the mirage. That is grief’s dizzying spell. The fall isn’t never-ending. It does have a ground floor. Today, I cry for so long that I finally feel the floor under my feet. I find the bottom. And while I know the hole will be there forever, at least for now, I feel as if I can live inside it. I have learned its boundaries and its edges.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (Carrie Soto Is Back)
If I can’t be your love, then let me be a simple brooch so I may rest a while against your chest. If I can’t be your love, then let me be a forgotten coin so I may rest a while against your thigh. If I can’t be your love, then let me be an unlit cigarette so I may rest a while in between your lips. If I can’t be your love, then let me at least remain in these words so I may rest a while in your thoughts.
Kamand Kojouri
She can sense things . . . Things the rest of us can't.She only knew there was a strange feel to you, and she'd only ever felt that around one other person. So she brought you to me." "Seems like she could have done that without me having to carry a household's worth of stuff." This made him laugh. "Don't take it personally. She was testing you. She wanted to see if you're a worthy match for her grandson." "What's the point? He's dead now." I nearly choked on the words. "True, but for her, it's still important. And, by the way, she does think you're worthy." "She has a funny way of showing it." [..] Paul stuck his head out the back door. "Grandmother wants to leave now," he told me. "She wants to know why you're taking so long and said to ask why you'd make someone as old as her keep waiting and suffering with her back." I recalled how fast Yeva had been walking while I struggled to keep up with my load. Her back hadn't seemed all that bad to me. "Okay. I'll be right there." When he was gone, I shook my head. "It's hard being worthy.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
If a society permits one portion of its citizenry to be menaced or destroyed, then, very soon, no one in that society is safe. The forces thus released in the people can never be held in check, but run their devouring course, destroying the very foundations which it was imagined they would save. But we are unbelievably ignorant concerning what goes on in our country--to say nothing of what goes on in the rest of the world--and appear to have become too timid to question what we are told. Our failure to trust one another deeply enough to be able to talk to one another has become so great that people with these questions in their hearts do not speak them; our opulence is so pervasive that people who are afraid to lose whatever they think they have persuade themselves of the truth of a lie, and help disseminate it; and God help the innocent here, that man or womn who simply wants to love, and be loved. Unless this would-be lover is able to replace his or her backbone with a steel rod, he or she is doomed. This is no place for love. I know that I am now expected to make a bow in the direction of those millions of unremarked, happy marriages all over America, but I am unable honestly to do so because I find nothing whatever in our moral and social climate--and I am now thinking particularly of the state of our children--to bear witness to their existence. I suspect that when we refer to these happy and so marvelously invisible people, we are simply being nostalgic concerning the happy, simple, God-fearing life which we imagine ourselves once to have lived. In any case, wherever love is found, it unfailingly makes itself felt in the individual, the personal authority of the individual. Judged by this standard, we are a loveless nation. The best that can be said is that some of us are struggling. And what we are struggling against is that death in the heart which leads not only to the shedding of blood, but which reduces human beings to corpses while they live.
James Baldwin (nothing personal)
My mouth is full of Oreo, ice cream, fudge, and Cool Whip, so I just nod. This is heaven. I'm moving into one of their guest rooms. So, Laur, do you want to come with us tomorrow? You can help me plan out furniture while Nick and Ryan dig for grubs,' she says, licking her fork. Can we keep the rest of this dessert?" She grins. 'Sure.' Then I'll come.' She watches me put another bite in my mouth and close my eyes.'You're pitiful.' No, just a chocoholic.' She shakes her head. 'Same thing.
Erynn Mangum (Rematch (Lauren Holbrook, #2))
He said, “I know somebody you could kiss.” “Who?” She realized his eyes were amused. “Oh, wait.” He shrugged. He was maybe the only person Blue knew who could preserve the integrity of a shrug while lying down. “It’s not like you’re going to kill me. I mean, if you were curious.” She hadn’t thought she was curious. It hadn’t been an option, after all. Not being able to kiss someone was a lot like being poor. She tried not to dwell on the things she couldn’t have. But now— “Okay,” she said. “What?” “I said okay.” He blushed. Or rather, because he was dead, he became normal colored. “Uh.” He propped himself on an elbow. “Well.” She unburied her face from the pillow. “Just, like—” He leaned toward her. Blue felt a thrill for a half a second. No, more like a quarter second. Because after that she felt the too-firm pucker of his tense lips. His mouth mashed her lips until it met teeth. The entire thing was at once slimy and ticklish and hilarious. They both gasped an embarrassed laugh. Noah said, “Bah!” Blue considered wiping her mouth, but felt that would be rude. It was all fairly underwhelming. She said, “Well.” “Wait,” Noah replied, “waitwaitwait.” He pulled one of Blue’s hairs out of his mouth. “I wasn’t ready.” He shook out his hands as if Blue’s lips were a sporting event and cramping was a very real possibility. “Go,” Blue said. This time they only got within a breath of each other’s lips when they both began to laugh. She closed the distance and was rewarded with another kiss that felt a lot like kissing a dishwasher. “I’m doing something wrong?” she suggested. “Sometimes it’s better with tongue,” he replied dubiously. They regarded each other. Blue squinted, “Are you sure you’ve done this before?” “Hey!” he protested. “It’s weird for me, ‘cause it’s you.” “Well, it’s weird for me because it’s you.” “We can stop.” “Maybe we should.” Noah pushed himself up farther on his elbow and gazed at the ceiling vaguely. Finally, he dropped his eyes back to her. “You’ve seen, like, movies. Of kisses, right? Your lips need to be, like, wanting to be kissed.” Blue touched her mouth. “What are they doing now?” “Like, bracing themselves.” She pursed and unpursed her lips. She saw his point. “So imagine one of those,” Noah suggested. She sighed and sifted through her memories until she found one that would do. It wasn’t a movie kiss, however. It was the kiss the dreaming tree had showed her in Cabeswater. Her first and only kiss with Gansey, right before he died. She thought about his nice mouth when he smiled. About his pleasant eyes when he laughed. She closed her eyes. Placing an elbow on the other side of her head, Noah leaned close and kissed her once more. This time, it was more of a thought than a feeling, a soft heat that began at her mouth and unfurled through the rest of her. One of his cold hands slid behind her neck and he kissed her again, lips parted. It was not just a touch, an action. It was a simplification of both of them: They were no longer Noah Czerny and Blue Sargent. They were now just him and her. Not even that. They were only the time that they held between them.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
Ellie said, "Isn't it a little warm for black?" You're extremely pretty, Dr. Sattler," he said. "I could look at your legs all day. But no, as a matter of fact, black is an excellent color for heat. If you remember your black-body radiation, black is actually best in heat. Efficient radiation. In any case, I wear only two colors, black and gray." Ellie was staring at him, her mouth open. "These colors are appropriate for any occasion," Malcolm continued, and they go well together, should I mistakenly put on a pair of gray socks with my black trousers." But don't you find it boring to wear only two colors?" Not at all. I find it liberating. I believe my life has value, and I don't want to waste it thinking about clothing," Malcolm said. "I don't want to think about what I will wear in the morning. Truly, can you imagine anything more boring than fashion? Professional sports, perhaps. Grown men swatting little balls, while the rest of the world pays money to applaud. But, on the whole, I find fashion even more tedious than sports." Dr. Malcolm," Hammond explained, "is a man of strong opinions." And mad as a hatter," Malcolm said cheerfully. "But you must admit, these are nontrivial issues. We live in a world of frightful givens. It is given that you will behave like this, given that you will care about that. No one thinks about the givens. Isn't it amazing? In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park (Parque Jurásico, #1))
Listen up, Mount High-Hair," Gustav barked. "Say what you want about me, but lay off the rest of the team. I've been through a lot of stuff with these people. Nobody can tell me that Fancy Dancer and Lady Slick-Pants aren't heroes. Captain Gloom-Cape over there, too. And even Shrimp Charming has his moments." Briar leaned back in her chair. "I admire your ability to insult your friends *while* you defend them. It's a rare talent.
Christopher Healy (The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes, #2))
This was our house. Mine and hers. I know she’d sneak over to the rectory every once in a while and let you wail on her for a night. But I got her the rest of the time. I cooked her breakfast. I answered her fan mail. I put her to bed when she fell asleep at her desk writing. I rubbed her back when she was sore from overworking herself. And when she got all wrought up over you, it was me she cried on. No, she and I never had sex. That’s true. But we had love, real love that didn’t take anything out of us, that didn’t bruise us or break us. I loved her without hurting her. You asked me if I, a virgin, could teach her what sex should be? No, course not. Hell no. But at least I can teach her what love should be like. And she knows it too.
Tiffany Reisz (The Angel (The Original Sinners, #2))
The Chair I’m writing to you, who made the archaic wooden chair look like a throne while you sat on it. Amidst your absence, I choose to sit on the floor, which is dusty as a dry Kansas day. I am stoic as a statue of Buddha, not wanting to bother the old wooden chair, which has been silent now for months. In this sunlit moment I think of you. I can still picture you sitting there-- your forehead wrinkled like an un-ironed shirt, the light splashed on your face, like holy water from St. Joseph’s. The chair, with rounded curves like that of a full-figured woman, seems as mellow as a monk in prayer. The breeze blows from beyond the curtains, as if your spirit has come back to rest. Now a cloud passes overhead, and I hush, waiting to hear what rests so heavily on the chair’s lumbering mind. Do not interrupt, even if the wind offers to carry your raspy voice like a wispy cloud.
Jarod Kintz (A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot)
That's because May takes in things differently than the rest of us do." August reached over and laid her hand on my arm. "See, Lily, when you and I hear about some misery out there, it might make us feel bad for a while, but it doesn't wreck our whole world. It's like we have a built-in protection around our hearts that keeps the pain from overwhelming us. But May - she doesn't have that. Everything just comes into her - all the suffering out there - and she feels as if it's happening to her. She can't tell the difference.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees)
Forgetfulness is not just a vis inertiae, as superficial people believe, but is rather an active ability to suppress, positive in the strongest sense of the word, to which we owe the fact that what we simply live through, experience, take in, no more enters our consciousness during digestion (one could call it spiritual ingestion) than does the thousand-fold process which takes place with our physical consumption of food, our so-called ingestion. To shut the doors and windows of consciousness for a while; not to be bothered by the noise and battle which our underworld of serviceable organs work with and against each other;a little peace, a little tabula rasa of consciousness to make room for something new, above all for the nobler functions and functionaries, for ruling, predicting, predetermining (our organism runs along oligarchic lines, you see) - that, as I said, is the benefit of active forgetfulness, like a doorkeeper or guardian of mental order, rest and etiquette: from which can immediately see how there could be no happiness, cheerfulness, hope, pride, immediacy, without forgetfulness.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo)
How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives! Why doesn't someone want to talk about it! We've started and won two atomic wars since 2022! Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? I've heard rumors; the world is starving, but we're well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much? I've heard the rumors about hate too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don't, that's sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
For anyone who wonders what it's like to have a tragedy shatter your existence, this is what I would tell them: it's like going through the motions of everyday life in a zombified state. It's having outbursts of anger for what seems like no apparent reason, for even the smallest of offenses. It's forgetting how to be your once cheerful, perky self, and having to relearn basic social skills when mingling with new people (especially if those people are ignorant, or just plain terrible at showing sympathy). It takes a while to re-learn all those basic skills. Maybe...it's possible. Maybe you have to want your life back first, before it can start repairing itself But then you also have to accept that the mending process may take the rest of your life. I don't think there's a set time limit for it.
Sarahbeth Caplin (Someone You Already Know)
What shall I give? and which are my miracles? 2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely, Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. 3. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, Or behold children at their sports, Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. 4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
October O love, turn from the changing sea and gaze, Down these grey slopes, upon the year grown old, A-dying 'mid the autumn-scented haze That hangeth o'er the hollow in the wold, Where the wind-bitten ancient elms infold Grey church, long barn, orchard, and red-roofed stead, Wrought in dead days for men a long while dead. Come down, O love; may not our hands still meet, Since still we live today, forgetting June, Forgetting May, deeming October sweet? - - Oh, hearken! hearken! through the afternoon The grey tower sings a strange old tinkling tune! Sweet, sweet, and sad, the toiling year's last breath, To satiate of life, to strive with death. And we too -will it not be soft and kind, That rest from life, from patience, and from pain, That rest from bliss we know not when we find, That rest from love which ne'er the end can gain? - Hark! how the tune swells, that erewhile did wane! Look up, love! -Ah! cling close, and never move! How can I have enough of life and love?
William Morris
Sometimes you go a long time having fooled yourself into thinking that you're as grown-up as you'll ever be, or that you're more mature than the rest of the world thinks you are, and you live in this state of constant self-assurance, and for a while nothing can upset you from this pedestal you've built for yourself, because you imagine yourself to be so capable. And then somebody does something that takes a golf club to your ego, and suddenly you're nine years old again, pieced together from humiliation and gawky youthfulness and childlike ideas like, Somebody please tell me what to do, nobody taught me how to handle this, God, just look at all the things I still don't understand, and you can't muster up the presence of mind to do anything but stand there, stare, silent, sorry.
Riley Redgate (Seven Ways We Lie)
I tramp the perpetual journey My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods, No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair, I have no chair, no philosophy, I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange, But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll, My left hand hooking you round the waist, My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach, Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know, Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land. Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth, Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip, And in due time you shall repay the same service to me, For after we start we never lie by again. This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven, And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond. You are also asking me questions and I hear you, I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself. Sit a while dear son, Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink, But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence. Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams, Now I wash the gum from your eyes, You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore, Now I will you to be a bold swimmer, To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
How funny you are today New York like Ginger Rogers in Swingtime and St. Bridget’s steeple leaning a little to the left here I have just jumped out of a bed full of V-days (I got tired of D-days) and blue you there still accepts me foolish and free all I want is a room up there and you in it and even the traffic halt so thick is a way for people to rub up against each other and when their surgical appliances lock they stay together for the rest of the day (what a day) I go by to check a slide and I say that painting’s not so blue where’s Lana Turner she’s out eating and Garbo’s backstage at the Met everyone’s taking their coat off so they can show a rib-cage to the rib-watchers and the park’s full of dancers with their tights and shoes in little bags who are often mistaken for worker-outers at the West Side Y why not the Pittsburgh Pirates shout because they won and in a sense we’re all winning we’re alive the apartment was vacated by a gay couple who moved to the country for fun they moved a day too soon even the stabbings are helping the population explosion though in the wrong country and all those liars have left the UN the Seagram Building’s no longer rivalled in interest not that we need liquor (we just like it) and the little box is out on the sidewalk next to the delicatessen so the old man can sit on it and drink beer and get knocked off it by his wife later in the day while the sun is still shining oh god it’s wonderful to get out of bed and drink too much coffee and smoke too many cigarettes and love you so much
Frank O'Hara
There is an old Eastern fable about a traveler who is taken unawares on the steppes by a ferocious wild animal. In order to escape the beast the traveler hides in an empty well, but at the bottom of the well he sees a dragon with its jaws open, ready to devour him. The poor fellow does not dare to climb out because he is afraid of being eaten by the rapacious beast, neither does he dare drop to the bottom of the well for fear of being eaten by the dragon. So he seizes hold of a branch of a bush that is growing in the crevices of the well and clings on to it. His arms grow weak and he knows that he will soon have to resign himself to the death that awaits him on either side. Yet he still clings on, and while he is holding on to the branch he looks around and sees that two mice, one black and one white, are steadily working their way round the bush he is hanging from, gnawing away at it. Sooner or later they will eat through it and the branch will snap, and he will fall into the jaws of the dragon. The traveler sees this and knows that he will inevitably perish. But while he is still hanging there he sees some drops of honey on the leaves of the bush, stretches out his tongue and licks them. In the same way I am clinging to the tree of life, knowing full well that the dragon of death inevitably awaits me, ready to tear me to pieces, and I cannot understand how I have fallen into this torment. And I try licking the honey that once consoled me, but it no longer gives me pleasure. The white mouse and the black mouse – day and night – are gnawing at the branch from which I am hanging. I can see the dragon clearly and the honey no longer tastes sweet. I can see only one thing; the inescapable dragon and the mice, and I cannot tear my eyes away from them. And this is no fable but the truth, the truth that is irrefutable and intelligible to everyone. The delusion of the joys of life that had formerly stifled my fear of the dragon no longer deceived me. No matter how many times I am told: you cannot understand the meaning of life, do not thinking about it but live, I cannot do so because I have already done it for too long. Now I cannot help seeing day and night chasing me and leading me to my death. This is all I can see because it is the only truth. All the rest is a lie. Those two drops of honey, which more than all else had diverted my eyes from the cruel truth, my love for my family and for my writing, which I called art – I no longer found sweet.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession and Other Religious Writings)
I love the inconvenience the same way that I sneakingly love a bad cold: the irresistible disruption to mundane life, forcing you to stop for a while and step outside your normal habits. I love the visual transformation it brings about, that recolouring of the world into sparkling white, the way that the rules change so that everybody says hello as they pass. I love what it does to the light, the purplish clouds that loom before it descends, and the way it announces itself from behind your curtains in the morning, glowing a diffuse whiteness that can only mean snow. Heading out in a snowstorm to catch the flakes on my gloves, I love the feeling of it fresh underfoot. I am rarely childlike and playful except in snow. It swings me into reverse gear.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
Winter is when I reorganise my bookshelves and read all the books I acquired in the previous year and failed to actually read. It is also the time when I reread beloved novels, for the pleasure of reacquainting myself with old friends. In summer, I want big, splashy ideas and trashy page-turners, devoured while lounging in a garden chair or perching on one of the breakwaters on the beach. In winter, I want concepts to chew over in a pool of lamplight—slow, spiritual reading, a reinforcement of the soul. Winter is a time for libraries, the muffled quiet of bookstacks and the scent of old pages and dust. In winter, I can spend hours in silent pursuit of a half-understood concept or a detail of history. There is nowhere else to be, after all.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
We both want this so badly. I can feel it resonating between us like the hot pull of our first attraction, tangible and intense. We want our marriage to be a haven of warmth and pleasure again. We want our pure lustiness back, untainted by fear and mistrust. We want the unending spirals of bliss we can create only with each other. We want to shut the rest of the world out while locking ourselves in together. We want to be united in this pregnancy and impending parenthood.
Nina Lane (Allure (Spiral of Bliss, #2))
A dog creates, transcribes, a new landscape for you. A dog like Colter sharpens your joy of all the seasons, and for a while, sometimes a long while, such a dog seems capable, by himself alone, of holding time in place--of pinning it, and holding it taught. And then when he is gone, it is as if the world is taken away. Dogs like that are young for what seems like a very long time.... One you have lost a dog--especially the first you trained from a pup, the one you first set sail into the world with--you can never fully give of yourself to another dog. You can never again look at a dog you love without hedging a tiny bit, if only subconsciously, against the day when that dog, too, must leave. You can never again hunt or enter the future so recklessly, so joyously, with that weight of forethought.... As I sleep restlessly, night after night, or more often, as I lie there awake, I can see him running and I feel guilty that I am not there to honor the birds he is finding... One way or the other, he is still out there running. He will never rest.... I will always want him to know a moment's rest, and peace, and he will always know in his hot heart that the only peace to be gotten is by never resting, by always pushing on. He is my Colter.... I am still his, and he is still mine.
Rick Bass (Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had)
Maybe I was just flattering myself, thinking I'd be worth some sort of risk. Not that I'd wish that on anyone!" he clarified. "I don't mean that. It just...I don't know. Don't you all see everything I'm risking?" "Umm, no. You're here with your family to give you advice, and we all live around your schedule. Everything about your life stays the same, and ours changed overnight. What in the world could you possibly be risking?" Maxon looked shocked. "America, I might have my family, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have your parents watch as you attempt to date for the first time. And not just your parents-the whole country! Worse than that, it's not even a normal style of dating. "And living around my schedule? When I'm not with you all, I'm organizing troops, making laws, perfecting budgets...and all on my own these days, while my father watches me stumble in my own stupidity because I have none of his experience. And then, when I inevitably do things in a way he wouldn't, he goes and corrects my mistakes. And while I'm trying to do all this work, you-the girls, I mean-are all I can think about. I'm excited and terrified by the lot of you!" He was using his hands more than I'd ever seen, whipping them in the air and running them through his hair. "And you think my life isn't changing? What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?" His speech had started out angered and impassioned, but by the end his questions weren't rhetorical anymore. He really wanted to know: What was he going to do if no one here was even close to being someone he could love? Though that didn't even seem to be his main concern; he was more worried that no one would love him. "Actually, Maxon, I think you will find your soul mate here. Honestly." "Really?" His voice charged with hope at my prediction. "Absolutely." I put a hand on his shoulder. He seemed to be comforted by that touch alone. I wondered how often people simply touched him. "If your life is as upside down as you say it is, then she has to be here somewhere. In my experience, true love is usually the most inconvenient kind.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
The problem with “everything” is that it ends up looking an awful lot like nothing: just one long haze of frantic activity, with all the meaning sheared away. Time has passed so quickly while I have been raising a child and writing books, and working a full-time job that often sprawls into my weekends, that I can’t quite account for it. The preceding years are not a blank exactly, but they’re certainly a blur, and one that’s strangely devoid of meaning, except for a clawing sense of survival.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
Breakfast! My favorite meal- and you can be so creative. I think of bowls of sparkling berries and fresh cream, baskets of Popovers and freshly squeezed orange juice, thick country bacon, hot maple syrup, panckes and French toast - even the nutty flavor of Irish oatmeal with brown sugar and cream. Breaksfast is the place I splurge with calories, then I spend the rest of the day getting them off! I love to use my prettiest table settings - crocheted placemats with lace-edged napkins and old hammered silver. And whether you are inside in front of a fire, candles burning brightly on a wintery day - or outside on a patio enjoying the morning sun - whether you are having a group of friends and family, a quiet little brunch for two, or an even quieter little brunch just for yourself, breakfast can set the mood and pace of the whole day. And Sunday is my day. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the hectic happenings of the weeks and months and we forget to take time out to relax. So one Sunday morning I decided to do things differently - now it's gotten to be a sort of ritual! This is what I do: at around 8:30 am I pull myself from my warm cocoon, fluff up the pillows and blankets and put some classical music on the stereo. Then I'm off to the kitchen, where I very calmly (so as not to wake myself up too much!) prepare my breakfast, seomthing extra nice - last week I had fresh pineapple slices wrapped in bacon and broiled, a warm croissant, hot chocolate with marshmallows and orange juice. I put it all on a tray with a cloth napkin, my book-of-the-moment and the "Travel" section of the Boston Globe and take it back to bed with me. There I spend the next two hours reading, eating and dreaming while the snowflakes swirl through the treetops outside my bedroom window. The inspiring music of Back or Vivaldi adds an exquisite elegance to the otherwise unruly scene, and I am in heaven. I found time to get in touch with myself and my life and i think this just might be a necessity! Please try it for yourself, and someone you love.
Susan Branch (Days from the Heart of the Home)
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical. I would not, of course, seek to deny that we gradually grow older, but while doing so, we pass through phases of good health and ill, of optimism and deep doubt, of freedom and constraint. There are times when everything seems easy, and times when it all seems impossibly hard. To make that manageable, we just have to remember that our present will one day become a past, and our future will be our present. We know that because it’s happened before. The things we put behind us will often come around again. The things that trouble us now will often come around again. Each time we endure the cycle, we ratchet up a notch. We learn from the last time around, and we do a few things better this time; we develop tricks of the mind to see us through. This is how progress is made. In the meantime, we can deal only with what’s in front of us at this moment in time. We take the next necessary action, and the next. At some point along the line, that next action will feel joyful again.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
I get caught up in outcomes. I convince myself they're truths. No one will notice how wrong you are if everything you do ends up right. The rest becomes incidental. So incidental that, after a while, you forget. Maybe you are perfect. Good. It must be true. Who can argue with results? You're not so wrong after all. So you buy into it and you go crazy maintaining it. Except it creeps up on you sometimes, that you're not right. Imperfect. Bad. So you snap your fingers and it goes away. Until something you can't ignore happens and you see it all over yourself. And there's only one thing left to do.
Courtney Summers (Cracked Up to Be)
The purpose was, that I would go to Biddy, that I would show her how humbled and repentant I came back, that I would tell her how I had lost all I once hoped for, that I would remind her of our old confidences in my first unhappy time. Then, I would say to her, "Biddy, I think you once liked me very well, when my errant heart, even while it strayed away from you, was quieter and better with you than it ever has been since. If you can like me only half as well once more, if you can take me with all my faults and disappointments on my head, if you can receive me like a forgiven child (and indeed I am so sorry, Biddy, and have as much need of a hushing voice and a soothing hand), I hope I am a little worthier of you than I was --not much, but a little. And Biddy, it shall rest with you to say whether I shall work at the forge with Joe, or whether I shall try for any different occupation down in this country, or whether we shall go away to a distant place where an opportunity awaits me, which I set aside when it was offered, until I knew your answer. And now, dear Biddy, if you can tell me that you will go through the world with me, you will surely make it a better world for me, and me a better man for it, and I will try hard to make it a better world for you.
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
It's been a while and God, you're so sexy I can't even breathe." His voice shook to match the rest of him. "If I f#ck this up, I'll get it right, Ror. I promise. Just bear with me, okay?
Cari Quinn (Heart Signs)
Sweet Grace amazes me The way that she can see Beyond the man I am To the man that I could be She's bringing out my best While she covers all the rest Some say her love is blind But I say her love forgets She don't like it when I try so hard to impress her ‘Cause when I do that, it's a lie that makes her love look the lesser The truth is I know I'll never be, I'll never be good enough I'll never deserve her love I'll never be, I'll never be good enough for Grace But she takes me anyway I am the cheatin' kind But she's changing my mind The way she takes me back Though I fail her every time She's got friends who tell her that she Is much too good for me Well, I've told her that myself But she refuses to leave I'd like to think my strength won her affection But the truth is it was my weakness that caught her attention I'm grateful to know When my tears fall down like rain She wipes them from my face She tells me that I'm lovely And if I am, it's all because of Grace This love turns my inside out And my world upside down Grace is changing me
Jason Gray
Hey, comrade,” Dima said, tone, choice of words, everything exactly as it would have been in the eighties, in that forsaken country. Vadim peered at him in the mirror. “Yes?” “Are you guys in trouble?” Dima moved closer, stood within touching distance. “I don’t mean your little crusade a while back. I mean the rest.” Vadim inhaled and lowered his gaze for a few moments. “Life isn’t easy, Dima. That’s our set of rules.” “You know you can change them. If he’s fucking around….” “So am I.” “But you’re not happy with it?” “It’s just sex, Dima.” Dima looked at him for a long time. “It’s never just sex for you, though. Am I wrong?” “No. You’re right.” Vadim shook his head. “Rules, Dima. We’re a different case.” Dima reached out and took him by the shoulders, pulling him up and back against him, which made Vadim look at himself in the mirror. “It’s not easy. I wish it was.
Aleksandr Voinov (Special Forces - Mercenaries Part II (Special Forces, #2 part 2))
So rest a while, we can talk in the cool of the evening. Or the cool of the morning. There 's seldom as much hurry as I used to think there was." -Hawk Who had been Archmage The Other Wind
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ultimately, we will lose each other to something. I would hope for grand circumstance—death or disaster. But it might not be that way at all. It might be that you walk out one morning after making love to buy cigarettes, and never return, or I fall in love with another … It might be a slow drift into indifference. Either way, we’ll have to learn to bear the weight of the eventuality that we will lose each other to something. So why not begin now, while your head rests like a perfect moon in my lap …? Why not reach for the seam in this … night and tear it, just a little, so the falling can begin? Because later, when we cross each other on the streets, and are forced to look away, when we’ve thrown the disregarded pieces of our togetherness into bedroom drawers and the smell of our bodies is disappearing like the sweet decay of lilies—what will we call it, when it’s no longer love?
Tishani Doshi
Something else gets under your skin, keeps you working days and nights at the sacrifice of your sleeping and eating and attention to your family and friends, something beyond the love of puzzle solving. And that other force is the anticipation of understanding something about the world that no one has ever understood before you. Einstein wrote that when he first realized that gravity was equivalent to acceleration -- an idea that would underlie his new theory of gravity -- it was the "happiest thought of my life." On projects of far smaller weight, I have experienced that pleasure of discovering something new. It is an exquisite sensation, a feeling of power, a rush of the blood, a sense of living forever. To be the first vessel to hold this new thing. All of the scientists I've known have at least one more quality in common: they do what they do because they love it, and because they cannot imagine doing anything else. In a sense, this is the real reason a scientist does science. Because the scientist must. Such a compulsion is both blessing and burden. A blessing because the creative life, in any endeavor, is a gift filled with beauty and not given to everyone, a burden because the call is unrelenting and can drown out the rest of life. This mixed blessing and burden must be why the astrophysicist Chandrasekhar continued working until his mid-80's, why a visitor to Einstein's apartment in Bern found the young physicist rocking his infant with one hand while doing mathematical calculations with the other. This mixed blessing and burden must have been the "sweet hell" that Walt Whitman referred to when he realized at a young age that he was destined to be a poet. "Never more," he wrote, "shall I escape.
Alan Lightman
Now that’s the sort of thing I wish the nobles said more often,” Dafiro whispered to Ratho. “While they resolve all their disputes this way, the rest of us can go back to planting our harvests and enjoying our lives. Let the kings and dukes get in an arena and fight all their wars with their own two hands. We’ll watch and cheer them on.
Ken Liu (The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty #1))
At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time; He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession. He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme A long while before Queen Victoria's accession. Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives And more – I am tempted to say, ninety-nine; And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives And the village is proud of him in his decline. At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy, When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall, The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well, of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My mind may be wandering, but I confess I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!" Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on market day; The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsman will turn them away. The cars and the lorries run over the kerb, And the villagers put up a notice: ROAD CLOSED — So that nothing untoward may chance to disturb Deuteronomy's rest when he feels so disposed Or when he's engaged in domestic economy: And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My sight's unreliable, but I can guess That the cause of the trouble is Old Deuteronomy!
T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
We've been chatting about our men and wedding stuff. Terah says, "God, sometimes I look at Jon and think 'how the Hell did I manage to get you?' We're so lucky." Mom adds, "They are very handsome." Terah and I scoff. Shaking my head, I say, "Handsome is something. And Nox is handsome most times. But, by God, he is hot. Hotter than Hell, Mom. I never thought I could love someone so much. I can hardly keep my hands off him." Mom chastises on a gasp, "Lily! That's inappropriate! You're a lady and ladies do not speak that way." Terah chuckles, "Screw being a lady. I love my special cuddle time with Jon." Mom covers her ears, but barks out an embarrassed laugh, "I cannot hear this! You girls can clean the rest up while I powder my nose." Terah and I chuckle, watching her leave.
Belle Aurora (Willing Captive)
By dread things I am compelled. I know that. I see the trap closing. I know what I am. But while life is in me I will not stop this violence. No. Oh my friends who is there to comfort me? Who understands? Leave me be, let me go, do not soothe me. This is a knot no one can untie. There will be no rest, there is no retrieval. No number exists for griefs like these.
Sophocles (Electra)
For a long time, I did not move from the dark, wood-panelled hall. I wanted company, and I had none, lights and warmth and a strong drink inside me, I needed reassurance. But, more than anything else, I needed an explanation. It is remarkable how powerful a force simple curiosity can be. I had never realized that before now. In spite of my intense fear and sense of shock, I was consumed with the desire to find out exactly who it was that I had seen, and how, I could not rest until I had settled the business, for all that, while out there, I had not dared to stay and make any investigations.
Susan Hill (The Woman in Black)
I still think that being forced to leave your home out of fear is one of the worst injustices a human being can face. Everything you love is stolen, and you risk your life to live in a place that means nothing to you and where, because you come from a country now known for war and terrorism, you are not really wanted. So you spend the rest of your years longing for what you left behind while praying not to be deported. Hezni’s story made me think that the path of the Iraqi refugee always leads backward, to prison or to where you came from.
Nadia Murad (The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State)
And there I was at night, chasing after the full moon behind the clouds like a mad man in search of the reflection of the light of love in another person, without daring to light up the spark of light that I had left within myself. It was nowhere to be seen, but I felt it was out there somewhere. I've surely seen it a couple of days ago up in the sky and my eyes couldn't have lied to me, it was so beautiful, or so it appeared to be. I guess I have to stop stalking what can't be seen for awhile and let the light of the full moon find its way through my messed up soul. Maybe it's time to go to sleep and trust that another sunrise will renew what the full moon couldn't clear away tonight. During all that time, I might've not found the light of the moon, but I rested deeply with the sound of the raindrops, while gazing at the quiet river flowing slowly. What a crucial moment to be alive!
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
Is it fair to call The Princess Bride a classic? The storybook story about pirates and princesses, giants and wizards, Cliffs of Insanity and Rodents of Unusual Size? It's certainly one of the most often quoted films in cinema history, with lines like: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." "Inconceivable?" "Anybody want a peanut?" "Have fun storming the castle." "Never get involved in a land war in Asia." "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." "Rest well, and dream of large women." "I hate for people to die embarrassed." "Please consider me as an alternative to suicide." "This is true love. You think this happens every day?" "Get used to disappointment." "I'm not a witch. I'm your wife." "Mawidege. That bwessed awangement." "You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."... You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die." "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while." "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!" "There's a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours." And of course... "As you wish.
Cary Elwes (As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride)
What is a fanatic? One who believes passionately and acts desperately upon what he believes. I was always believing in something and so getting into trouble. The more my hands were slapped the more firmly I believed. I believed- and the rest of the world did not! If it were only a question of enduring punishment one could go on believing till the end; but the way of the world is more insidious than that. Instead of being punished you are undermined, hollowed out, the ground taken from under your feet. It isn't even treachery, what I have in mind. Treachery is understandable and combatable. No, it is something worse, something less than treachery. It's a negativism that causes you to overreach yourself. you are perpetually spending your energy in the act of balancing yourself. You are seized with a sort of spiritual vertigo, you totter on the brink, your hair stands on end, you can't believe that beneath your feet lies an immeasurable abyss. It comes about through excess of enthusiasm, through a passionate desire to embrace people, to show them your love. The more you reach out toward the world the more the world retreats. Nobody wants real love, real hatred. Nobody wants you to put your hand in his sacred entrails- that's only for the priest in the hour of sacrifice. While you live, while the blood's still warm, you are to pretend that there is no such thing as blood and no such thing as a skeleton beneath the covering of flesh. "Keep off the grass!" That's the motto by which people live.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Capricorn (Tropic, #2))
I can imagine no greater catastrophe than if I were mistaken, and the theory were correct that what I consider secondary instincts or drives are actually primary instincts! Because in that case the emotional plague would rest upon the support of a natural law while its archenemies, truth and sociality, would be relying upon unfounded ethics. Until now both lies and truth have taken recourse to ethics. But only lies have profited because they were able to appear under the guise of truth. Under these circumstances, egoism, theft, petty selfishness, slander, etc., would be the natural rule. (26.july.1943)
Wilhelm Reich (American Odyssey: Letters & Journals, 1940-1947)
And while reason may be found within His love, no reason would be able to contain his love. […] It is possible that the evidence of His divinity lies in that love – that in light of love, miracles seem sort of unremarkable. If God can love me, the rest will follow.
Rich Mullins (The World as I Remember It: Through the Eyes of a Ragamuffin)
While I'm in the water, I’m laughing and laughing. All my automatic thoughts switch off. I always dip my head under to make sure the cold gets to my brain. And afterwards, I can’t remember what was even worrying me. A switch has been flicked. It’s a physical thing.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
I put down my pencil and sigh. “Could you go eat that somewhere else? I swear, you must be the noisiest apple eater in the history of time.” One shoulder goes up in a shrug. “I like it here. And I love eating apples.” The way his voice lowers on the second sentence gives off the hint of an innuendo. It riles me up enough to respond harshly, “I’m sure you do, Jason. I’m sure you love eating all different sorts of apples.” Jesus Christ, did I just say that? Kill me now. “Actually, I’m loyal to just the one apple,” he counters. The way his eyes dance and shine makes me want to laugh. I hate how he does this to me. Our conversation right now is verging on the ridiculous. Still, I don’t let it drop. “You can’t be loyal to only one apple. Once it’s eaten it’s gone, and you need to go find a new one.” “Oh, I could eat my apple over and over again without ever feeling the need to find a new one.” “Maybe your apple doesn’t want to be eaten. Maybe your apple is tired of your apple-eating ways.” He leans forward, one elbow resting on the table, his gaze growing even darker. “On the contrary, my apple loves to be eaten. In fact, my apple is a little cranky right now because she hasn’t been eaten in a while.” The bloody cheek of him!
L.H. Cosway (Six of Hearts (Hearts, #1))
Every hour so many damn things in the sky! How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives! Why doesn't someone want to talk about it! We've started and won two atomic wars since 2022! Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? I've heard rumors; the world is starving, but we're well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much? I've heard the rumors about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years...Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
nothing finite will ever satisfy us. We can go to the moon; it is a great achievement, but after a while our eyes turn beyond to Neptune. Wherever we go in space, wherever we go in time, we find limitations. Our need is for infinite joy, infinite love, infinite wisdom and infinite capacity for service, and until this need is met, we can never, never rest peacefully.
Eknath Easwaran (The End of Sorrow: The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, Volume I: 001)
I think the idea of a 'mental heath day' is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it's like to have bad mental health. The idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kinds of like saying heart diseases can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. Mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying 'I don't want to deal with things today' and they can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.
John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
There is an Eastern fable, told long ago, of a traveller overtaken on a plain by an enraged beast. Escaping from the beast he gets into a dry well, but sees at the bottom of the well a dragon that has opened its jaws to swallow him. And the unfortunate man, not daring to climb out lest he should be destroyed by the enraged beast, and not daring to leap to the bottom of the well lest he should be eaten by the dragon, seizes s twig growing in a crack in the well and clings to it. His hands are growing weaker and he feels he will soon have to resign himself to the destruction that awaits him above or below, but still he clings on. Then he sees that two mice, a black one and a white one, go regularly round and round the stem of the twig to which he is clinging and gnaw at it. And soon the twig itself will snap and he will fall into the dragon's jaws. The traveller sees this and knows that he will inevitably perish; but while still hanging he looks around, sees some drops of honey on the leaves of the twig, reaches them with his tongue and licks them. So I too clung to the twig of life, knowing that the dragon of death was inevitably awaiting me, ready to tear me to pieces; and I could not understand why I had fallen into such torment. I tried to lick the honey which formerly consoled me, but the honey no longer gave me pleasure, and the white and black mice of day and night gnawed at the branch by which I hung. I saw the dragon clearly and the honey no longer tasted sweet. I only saw the unescapable dragon and mice, and I could not tear my gaze from them. and this is not a fable but the real unanswerable truth intelligible to all. The deception of the joys of life which formerly allayed my terror of the dragon now no longer deceived me. No matter how often I may be told, "You cannot understand the meaning of life so do not think about it, but live," I can no longer do it: I have already done it too long. I cannot now help seeing day and night going round and bringing me to death. That is all I see, for that alone is true. All else is false. The two drops of honey which diverted my eyes from the cruel truth longer than the rest: my love of family, and of writing -- art as I called it -- were no longer sweet to me. "Family"... said I to myself. But my family -- wife and children -- are also human. They are placed just as I am: they must either live in a lie or see the terrible truth. Why should they live? Why should I love them, guard them, bring them up, or watch them? That they may come to the despair that I feel, or else be stupid? Loving them, I cannot hide the truth from them: each step in knowledge leads them to the truth. And the truth is death.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)
Can I ask you something?" asks Will, after a while. The man sips his whisky instead of answering. Will asks the question anyway. "Have you ever been in love?" The man places his glass down and stares at Will, steel-eyed. The expected reaction, "Once," he responds , the word just a croak from the back of his throat. Will nods. "It's always just once, isn't it? The rest..they're just echoes
Matt Haig (The Radleys)
Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home, and must look far and wide to find one. Home is the center of my being, where I can hear the voice that says, “You are my beloved. On you my favor rests,” the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam. The same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love wherever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the beloved I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge.” As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life. Jesus has made it clear to me that the same voice that he heard at the river Jordan and on Mount Tabor can also be heard by me.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
I’m so fucking tired of this,” I whisper. Ruby’s crouching on the floor in front of me, her hands on my shoulders, the first time she’s ever touched me. “What are you tired of?” she asks. “Hearing him, seeing him, everything I do being laced with him.” We’re quiet. My breathing steadies and she stands, her hands dropping away from me. Gently, she says, “If you think back to the first incident—” “No, I can’t.” I throw my head against the back of the chair, press myself into the cushion. “I can’t go back there.” “You don’t have to go back,” she says. “You can stay in the room. Just think of one moment, the first one between the two of you that could be considered intimate. When you look back on that first memory, who was the initiator, you or him?” She waits, but I can’t say it. Him. He called me up to his desk and touched me while the rest of the class did their homework. I sat beside him, stared out the window, and let him do what he wanted. And I didn’t understand it, didn’t ask for it. I exhale, hang my head. “I can’t.” “That’s fine,” she says. “Take it slow.” “I just feel . . .” I press the heels of my hands into my thighs. “I can’t lose the thing I’ve held on to for so long. You know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story. You know? I really, really need it to be that.” “I know,” she says. “Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?” I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide-open empathy. “It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.” She stands over me as I say I’m sad, I’m so sad, small, simple words, the only ones that make sense as I clutch my chest like a child and point to where it hurts.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
Lisa, if I could take that hurt from you and carry it for the rest of my life, I would. I know that’s not how life works, but know I’d do it in an instant. If I could take all that guilt and shame? There would be no hesitation, but because I can’t, at least let me hold your hand while you walk through it.
Rachel Van Dyken (Shame (Ruin, #3))
He pulled me toward him so that I was resting on my side. I coughed up some more water. He took off his wet shirt and folded it. Then he gently lifted me and placed it under my sore head, which hurt too much to appreciate his…bronzed…sculpted…muscular…bare chest. Well I guess I must be okay if I can appreciate the view, I thought. Sheesh, I’d have to be dead not to appreciate it. I winced as Ren’s hand brushed against my head, shaking me from my reverie. “You’ve got a major bump here.” I reached up to feel the giant lump on the back of my skull. I gingerly touched it and recalled the source of my headache. I must have lost consciousness when the rock hit me. Ren saved my life. Again. I looked up at him. He was kneeling next to me with a look of desperation on his face, and his body was shaking. I realized that he must have changed to a man, dragged me out of the pool, and then remained by my side until I woke up. Who knows how long I’ve been laying here unconscious. “Ren, you’re in pain. You’ve been in this form too long today.” He shook his head in denial, but I saw him grit his teeth. I pressed my hand on his arm. “I’ll be okay. It’s just a bump on the head. Don’t worry about me. I’m sure Mr. Kadam has some aspirin tucked away in the backpack. I’ll just take that and lie down to rest for a while. I’ll be alright.” He trailed his finger slowly from my temple to my cheek and smiled softly. When he pulled back, his whole arm shook and tremors rippled under the surface of his skin. “Kells, I-“ His face tightened. He threw his head to the side, snarled angrily, and morphed to a tiger again. He softly growled, then quieted, and drew close beside me. He lay down next to me and watched me carefully with his alert blue eyes. I stroked his back, partly to reassure him and partly because it soothed me too.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
The skeleton key unlocks the mind and swings open the door of imagination. A far better place than here A much safer place than there The quintessential somewhere The mystical nowhere The enigmatic anywhere My gift to you - the key to everywhere. The mortal will find itself lost while the soul always knows the way it is grateful for the darkness and celebrates the day I can give you peace my peace I give you... but I cannot be your savior or your god - I cannot be the light along your path - I can only give you the lamp and point the way. The blind will see... the deaf will hear... but those who choose reason will never understand. Woe to the ones who think they know the answers they will cease to ask the questions that may be their own salvation. We possess the knowledge of the Universe from conception. Once born we are taught to forget. If we cannot look out at our world and see our children's vision then we are truly blind we are unable to lead them to paradise. "Even people who are in the dark search for their shadows. Shadows exist only if there is light. We will never find total darkness - not even in death... ...and we always cast a shadow no matter how overcast our skies become. You are never alone." Do not listen to the voice that shouts to you from behind desks behind podiums behind altars. Do not pay attention to the orators and the opportunists. Do not be distracted by the promises made behind masks. Listen to the quiet. Listen to the whispers as they gently guide you through the assaults of man's absurdities. Listen to the gentle breathing of your mother and lay your head to rest in her peace and in her warm embrace and understand that truth and power lie within you. Breathe silence. The free bird will always return to the cage sooner or later to seek food and water and the loving hand of it's caretaker.
M. Teresa Clayton
Russkie, promise me a simple thing?" Out of the blue when they had finished, after a mouthful from the mug. Dan seemed relaxed, leaning on his side. Resting back, savoring the taste, Vadim turned his head to look at Dan. Oh, that body. The effect it had on him, all the time, even when Dan wasn't there. Twelve months. "Promise what?" Sometimes, that kind of thing was about letters. Tell my girl I love her. Tell my mother I didn't suffer. Almost painful. Letters. Words that would hurt worse than the killing bullet. "Simple." Dan nodded, "if I'm unlucky, and if you find my body, will you bury it? Some rocks would do, I can't stand the thought of carrion's. As if that mattered, eh? I'd be fucking dead." Dan shrugged, tossed a grin towards the other, made light of an entirely far too heavy situation. He took the bottle once more, washing down the taste of death and decay, chasing away unbidden images. Vadim felt a shudder race over his skin. The thought of death chilled him to the bone, like a premonition. For a moment he saw himself stagger through enemy territory, looking for something that had been Dan. Minefields, snipers, fucking Hind hellfire. He might be able to track him. He might be able to guess where he had gone, where he had fallen. He had found the occasional pilot. But he had had help. Finding a dead man in a country full of dead people was more of a challenge. "I'll send you home," he murmured. Stay alive, he thought. Stay alive like you are now. I don't want to carry your rotting body to fucking Kabul and hand myself in to whatever bastard is your superior or handler there, but it must be Kabul. I can't hand myself over. But I will. Fuck you. He felt his face twitch, and turned away, breathing. "No, I have no home anymore." Dan's hand stopped Vadim from turning over fully. Fingers digging into the muscular thigh. "Not my brother's family. Nowhere to send the body to. Forget it." Grip tightening while he moved closer. Ignored the heat, the damned fan and its monotonous creaking, pressed his body behind the other. "You're as close to a fucking home as I get.
Marquesate (Special Forces - Soldiers (Special Forces, #1))
And one day she said to me, 'For the rest of my life, it's the first thing they'll say about me when I leave the room.' And I remember thinking: Yes that's true, it will be. But we can't really do anything about what they say when we leave the room. We'll never be able to control that. And we shouldn't try. Our job is just to...well, be in the room while we're there, and try not to think too much about where we're not. Whatever room we happen to be in, just, be there.
Jean Hanff Korelitz (You Should Have Known)
Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us--simpatico dudes that we are--while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time--while the other dudes hold onto the wire. Which is not to say that no one has tried to dispense with wires. Many have, and sometimes it works--but it doesn't feel like jazz when it does. The music simply drifts away into the stratosphere of formal dialectic, beyond our social concerns. Rock-and-roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us--as damaged and anti-social as we are--might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can't. The song's too simple, and we're too complicated and too excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, against our formal expectations, whetehr we want it to or not. Just because we're breathing, man. Thus, in the process of trying to play this very simple song together, we create this hurricane of noise, this infinitely complicated, fractal filigree of delicate distinctions. And you can thank the wanking eighties, if you wish, and digital sequencers, too, for proving to everyone that technologically "perfect" rock--like "free" jazz--sucks rockets. Because order sucks. I mean, look at the Stones. Keith Richards is always on top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering, too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock-and-roll, the bodily rhetoric of tiny increments, necessary imperfections, and contingent community. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we're trying to be free and are, in fact, together. Rock-and-roll works because we're all a bunch of flakes. That's something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the twentieth century, that's all there is: jazz and rock-and-roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.
Dave Hickey (Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy)
I have often plotted my great escape to the beach. To live seaside and to be able to stare possibility and tranquility in the face every day ... I wanted it bad enough to taste. All the while forgetting, I can lap underneath an open sky at any moment and feel awe rush over me. I can bring it close to me like a blanket—if I only remember He is my rest and refuge.
Erica Goros (The Daisy Chain)
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
Why are Muslims being “preserved” in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it okay for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can’t you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. . . . What you did by screaming “racist!” was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day. In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies.” . . . In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah?7
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
Sweet for a little even to fear, and sweet, O love, to lay down fear at love’s fair feet; Shall not some fiery memory of his breath Lie sweet on lips that touch the lips of death? Yet leave me not; yet, if thou wilt, be free; Love me no more, but love my love of thee. Love where thou wilt, and live thy life; and I, One thing I can, and one love cannot—die. Pass from me; yet thine arms, thine eyes, thine hair, Feed my desire and deaden my despair. Yet once more ere time change us, ere my cheek Whiten, ere hope be dumb or sorrow speak, Yet once more ere thou hate me, one full kiss; Keep other hours for others, save me this. Yea, and I will not (if it please thee) weep, Lest thou be sad; I will but sigh, and sleep. Sweet, does death hurt? thou canst not do me wrong: I shall not lack thee, as I loved thee, long. Hast thou not given me above all that live Joy, and a little sorrow shalt not give? What even though fairer fingers of strange girls Pass nestling through thy beautiful boy’s curls As mine did, or those curled lithe lips of thine Meet theirs as these, all theirs come after mine; And though I were not, though I be not, best, I have loved and love thee more than all the rest. O love, O lover, loose or hold me fast, I had thee first, whoever have thee last; Fairer or not, what need I know, what care? To thy fair bud my blossom once seemed fair. Why am I fair at all before thee, why At all desired? seeing thou art fair, not I. I shall be glad of thee, O fairest head, Alive, alone, without thee, with thee, dead; I shall remember while the light lives yet, And in the night-time I shall not forget. Though (as thou wilt) thou leave me ere life leave, I will not, for thy love I will not, grieve; Not as they use who love not more than I, Who love not as I love thee though I die; And though thy lips, once mine, be oftener prest To many another brow and balmier breast, And sweeter arms, or sweeter to thy mind, Lull thee or lure, more fond thou wilt not find.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (Poems and Ballads)
I made it three days before the text messages started one afternoon while I was trying to finish warming up before our afternoon session. I had gotten to the LC later than usual and had gone straight to the training room, praising Jesus that I’d decided to change my clothes before leaving the diner once I’d seen what time it was and had remembered lunchtime traffic was a real thing. I was in the middle of stretching my hips when my phone beeped from where I’d left it on top of my bag. I took it out and snickered immediately at the message after taking my time with it. Jojo: WHAT THE FUCK JASMINE I didn’t need to ask what my brother was what-the-fucking over. It had only been a matter of time. It was really hard to keep a secret in my family, and the only reason why my mom and Ben—who was the only person other than her who knew—had kept their mouths closed was because they had both agreed it would be more fun to piss off my siblings by not saying anything and letting them find out the hard way I was going to be competing again. Life was all about the little things. So, I’d slipped my phone back into my bag and kept stretching, not bothering to respond because it would just make him more mad. Twenty minutes later, while I was still busy stretching, I pulled my phone out and wasn’t surprised more messages appeared. Jojo: WHY WOULD YOU NOT TELL ME Jojo: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME Jojo: DID THE REST OF YOU KEEP THIS FROM ME Tali: What happened? What did she not tell you? Tali: OH MY GOD, Jasmine, did you get knocked up? Tali: I swear, if you got knocked up, I’m going to beat the hell out of you. We talked about contraception when you hit puberty. Sebastian: Jasmine’s pregnant? Rubes: She’s not pregnant. Rubes: What happened, Jojo? Jojo: MOM DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS Tali: Would you just tell us what you’re talking about? Jojo: JASMINE IS SKATING WITH IVAN LUKOV Jojo: And I found out by going on Picturegram. Someone at the rink posted a picture of them in one of the training rooms. They were doing lifts. Jojo: JASMINE I SWEAR TO GOD YOU BETTER EXPLAIN EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW Tali: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS THIS TRUE? Tali: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Jojo: I’m going on Lukov’s website right now to confirm this Rubes: I just called Mom but she isn’t answering the phone Tali: She knew about this. WHO ELSE KNEW? Sebastian: I didn’t. And quit texting Jas’s name over and over again. It’s annoying. She’s skating again. Good job, Jas. Happy for you. Jojo: ^^ You’re such a vibe kill Sebastian: No, I’m just not flipping my shit because she got a new partner. Jojo: SHE DIDN’T TELL US FIRST THO. What is the point of being related if we didn’t get the scoop before everybody else? Jojo: I FOUND OUT ON PICTUREGRAM Sebastian: She doesn’t like you. I wouldn’t tell you either. Tali: I can’t find anything about it online. Jojo: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Jojo: JASMINE Tali: JASMINE Tali: Tell us everything or I’m coming over to Mom’s today. Sebastian: You’re annoying. Muting this until I get out of work. Jojo: Party pooper Tali: Party pooper Jojo: Jinx Tali: Jinx Sebastian: Annoying ... I typed out a reply, because knowing them, if I didn’t, the next time I looked at my phone, I’d have an endless column of JASMINE on there until they heard from me. That didn’t mean my response had to be what they wanted. Me: Who is Ivan Lukov?
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
Harry took a deep, steadying breath and then said, “Okay, I can’t see the World Cup. Can I go now, then? Only I’ve got a letter to Sirius I want to finish. You know — my godfather.” He had done it. He had said the magic words. Now he watched the purple recede blotchily from Uncle Vernon’s face, making it look like badly mixed black currant ice cream. “You’re — you’re writing to him, are you?” said Uncle Vernon, in a would-be calm voice — but Harry had seen the pupils of his tiny eyes contract with sudden fear. “Well — yeah,” said Harry, casually. “It’s been a while since he heard from me, and, you know, if he doesn’t, he might start thinking something’s wrong.” He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon’s thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius would think Harry was being mistreated. If he told Harry he couldn’t go to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry would write and tell Sirius, who would know Harry was being mistreated. There was only one thing for Uncle Vernon to do. Harry could see the conclusion forming in his uncle’s mind as though the great mustached face were transparent. Harry tried not to smile, to keep his own face as blank as possible. And then — “Well, all right then. You can go to this ruddy … this stupid … this World Cup thing. You write and tell these — these Weasleys they’re to pick you up, mind. I haven’t got time to go dropping you off all over the country. And you can spend the rest of the summer there. And you can tell your — your godfather … tell him … tell him you’re going.” “Okay then,” said Harry brightly.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
Sir Bird preens next to me, tucking feathers into place with a low noise in his throat almost like he’s talking to himself. A slow smile spreads across Finn’s face as he rubs his knuckles—black and blue with several bruises from Sir Bird’s beak. “Let’s see,” he says, flipping through his father’s book. “Here! I’ll need some water in a shallow bowl . . . ink . . . yes, I think this is everything.” He gathers the items, then reads over the entry several times, eyebrows knit in concentration. Dipping his pen in the ink, he whispers strange words while writing on the surface of the water. The ink drips down, elongating the form of the symbols that still hover where he wrote them. I recognize one—change. But the rest I haven’t learned yet. Then, without warning, he lifts up the bowl and dumps the whole thing onto Sir Bird. Only instead of getting wet, as the water washes over his body, Sir Bird’s feathers turn . . . blue. Bright, brilliant, shimmering blue. Squawking in outrage, Sir Bird hops and flies around the room, frantically shaking his feathers. He lands on the desk with a scrabble of clawed feet, then begins trying to bite off the color. “Ha!” Finn says, pointing at his knuckles. “Now you’re black and blue, too!” I can’t help but laugh at my poor, panicking bird. Not to mention the ridiculous pettiness of Finn’s magic show. Picking up Sir Bird, I stroke his feathers and speak softly to him. “Hush now. I’ll make him fix you. You’re still very handsome, but blue isn’t your color, is it?” He caws mournfully, still pulling at his own feathers. “Finn.” He puts his hands behind his back, trying to look innocent. “What? He deserved it.” “He’s a bird. You can’t really find this much satisfaction in revenge against a bird, can you?” His voice comes out just a tad petulant. “He started it.
Kiersten White (Illusions of Fate)
In times of old when I was new And Hogwarts barely started The founders of our noble school Thought never to be parted: United by a common goal, They had the selfsame yearning, To make the world’s best magic school And pass along their learning. “Together we will build and teach!” The four good friends decided And never did they dream that they Might someday be divided, For were there such friends anywhere As Slytherin and Gryffindor? Unless it was the second pair Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw? So how could it have gone so wrong? How could such friendships fail? Why, I was there and so can tell The whole sad, sorry tale. Said Slytherin, “We’ll teach just those Whose ancestry is purest.” Said Ravenclaw, “We’ll teach those whose Intelligence is surest.” Said Gryffindor, “We’ll teach all those With brave deeds to their name.” Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot, And treat them just the same.” These differences caused little strife When first they came to light, For each of the four founders had A House in which they might Take only those they wanted, so, For instance, Slytherin Took only pure-blood wizards Of great cunning, just like him, And only those of sharpest mind Were taught by Ravenclaw While the bravest and the boldest Went to daring Gryffindor. Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, And taught them all she knew, Thus the Houses and their founders Retained friendships firm and true. So Hogwarts worked in harmony For several happy years, But then discord crept among us Feeding on our faults and fears. The Houses that, like pillars four, Had once held up our school, Now turned upon each other and, Divided, sought to rule. And for a while it seemed the school Must meet an early end, What with dueling and with fighting And the clash of friend on friend And at last there came a morning When old Slytherin departed And though the fighting then died out He left us quite downhearted. And never since the founders four Were whittled down to three Have the Houses been united As they once were meant to be. And now the Sorting Hat is here And you all know the score: I sort you into Houses Because that is what I’m for, But this year I’ll go further, Listen closely to my song: Though condemned I am to split you Still I worry that it’s wrong, Though I must fulfill my duty And must quarter every year Still I wonder whether Sorting May not bring the end I fear. Oh, know the perils, read the signs, The warning history shows, For our Hogwarts is in danger From external, deadly foes And we must unite inside her Or we’ll crumble from within. I have told you, I have warned you. . . . Let the Sorting now begin. The hat became motionless once more;
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
They don’t get to stop you from finding your peace.” “What peace?” I waved my hand around the waiting room, now teeming with officers. “There is none.” He gripped my face more firmly, making me meet his gaze. “You have to fight for it. I let my head tip forward to rest on his. “I’m too tired to fight.” “Then you rest for a little while and pick up the sword again when you’re ready. There are other people who can hold it for you in the meantime.
Catherine Cowles (Tattered Stars (Tattered & Torn, #1))
I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, always. One moment you are feeling calm, self-possessed, happy. Then fear, disguised in the garb of mild-mannered doubt, slips into your mind like a spy. Doubt meets disbelief and disbelief tries to push it out. But disbelief is a poorly armed foot soldier. Doubt does away with it with little trouble. You become anxious. Reason comes to do battle for you. You are reassured. Reason is fully equipped with the latest weapons technology. But, to your amazement, despite superior tactics and a number of undeniable victories, reason is laid low. You feel yourself weakening, wavering. Your anxiety becomes dread. Fear next turns fully to your body, which is already aware that something terribly wrong is going on. Already your lungs have flown away like a bird and your guts have slithered away like a snake. Now your tongue drops dead like an opossum, while your jaw begins to gallop on the spot. Your ears go deaf. Your muscles begin to shiver as if they had malaria and your knees to shake as though they were dancing. Your heart strains too hard, while your sphincter relaxes too much. And so with the rest of your body. Every part of you, in the manner most suited to it, falls apart. Only your eyes work well. They always pay proper attention to fear. Quickly you make rash decisions. You dismiss your last allies: hope and trust. There, you've defeated yourself. Fear, which is but an impression, has triumphed over you. The matter is difficult to put into words. For fear, real fear, such as shakes you to your foundation, such as you feel when you are brought face to face with your mortal end, nestles in your memory like a gangrene: it seeks to rot everything, even the words with which to speak of it. So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
Eunice Goddard," he said, all pretense of sleepiness gone from his eyes, "will you marry me? I have no flowery speech prepared and would feel remarkably idiotic delivering it even if I had. Will you just simply marry me, my love? Because I love you? Will you take the risk? I am fully aware that there is a risk. I can only urge you to take a chance on me while I promise to do my very best to love and cherish you for the rest of my days and even perhaps beyond them.
Mary Balogh (The Secret Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #3))
Best not to look back. Best to believe there will be happily ever afters all the way around- and so there may be; who is to say there will to be such endings? Not all boats which sail away into darkness never find the sun again, or the hand of another child; if life teaches anything at all, it teaches that there are so many happy endings that the man who believes there is no God needs his rationality called into serious question… And if you spare a last though, maybe it’s ghosts you wonder about… the ghosts of children standing in the water at sunset, standing in a circle, standing with their hands joined together, their faces young, sure, but tough… tough enough, anyway, to give birth to the people they will become, tough enough understand, maybe, that the people they will become must necessarily birth the people they were before they can get on with trying to understand simple morality. The circle closes, the wheel rolls, and that’s all there is. You don’t have to look back to see those children; part of you mind wills them forever, live with them forever, love with them forever. They are not necessarily the best part of you, but were once the repository of all you could become. Children I love you. I love you so much. So drive away quick, drive away while the last of the light slips away,drive away from Derry, from memory… but not from desire. That stays, the bright cameo of all we were and all we believed as children, all that shone in our eyes even when we were lost and the wind blew in the night. Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.
Stephen King (It)
Diner Customer 1 (Kyle): …I’ll give you one piece of advice, on account of I like you and I don’t want to see you get hurt. First time I went to Vegas, I thought It was the most beautiful place in the world. All lights and neon. And the women --- well, the WOMEN… Anyway, didn’t take me long to figure out the whole place was on the hustle, that none of it was what it looked like, and if you’re not real careful, a place like that can kill you. Bill: Asgard ain’t Vegas, Kyle. Diner Customer 1 (Kyle): No, sir. You’re absolutely right. It isn’t Vegas. ‘Cause in Vegas, even guys like you and me can win once in a while. (Kyle leaves the diner) Diner Customer 2: Pay no attention to him, Bill. A man loses two hundred-fifty dollars on the slots, and he thinks it gives him wisdom. Biggest mistakes I ever made were in listening to guys like that, instead of listening to my own heart… what my granddad used to call “The Tyranny of Reasonable Voices.” Mistakes you make can always be worked out. The mistakes you don’t make because you do nothing, because you don’t try, you don’t risk, those are the ones that haunt you when you get old. Regret, that’s the real killer. Go where your heart leads you, Bill. Life’ll take care of the rest. It always does. - Thor #10 (2007)
J. Michael Straczynski
If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.” Or, “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.” Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.” The masculine error is to think that eventually things will be different in some fundamental way. They won’t. It never ends. As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift.
David Deida (The Way of the Superior Man)
You're innocent, Casaubon. You ran away instead of throwing stones, you got your degree, you didn't shoot anybody. Yet a few years ago I felt you, too, were blackmailing me. Nothing personal, just generational cycles. And then last year, when I saw the Pendulum, I understood everything." "Everything?" "Almost everything. You see, Casaubon, even the Pendulum is a false prophet. You look at it, you think it's the only fixed point in the cosmos. but if you detach it from the ceiling of the Conservatoire and hang it in a brothel, it works just the same. And there are other pendulums: there's one in New York, in the UN building, there's one in the science museum in San Francisco, and God knows how many others. Wherever you put it, Foucault's Pendulum swings from a motionless point while the earth rotates beneath it. Every point of the universe is a fixed point: all you have to do is hang the Pendulum from it." "God is everywhere." "In a sense, yes. That's why the Pendulum disturbs me. It promises the infinite, but where to put the infinite is left to me. So it isn't enough to worship the Pendulum; you still have to make a decision, you have to find the best point for it. And yet..." "And yet?" "And yet... You're not taking me seriously by any chance, are you, Casaubon? No, I can rest easy; we're not the type to take things seriously.... Well, as I was saying, the feeling you have is that you've spent a lifetime hanging the Pendulum in many paces, and it's never worked, but there, in the Conservatoire, it works.... Do you think there are special places in the universe? On the ceiling of this room, for example? No, nobody would believe that. You need atmosphere. I don't know, maybe we're always looking for the right place, maybe it's within reach, but we don't recognize it. Maybe, to recognize it, we have to believe in it. Well, let's go see Signor Garamond." "To hang the Pendulum?" "Ah, human folly! Now we have to be serious. If you are going to be paid, the boss must see you, touch you, sniff you, and say you'll do. Come, let the boss touch you; the boss's touch heals scrofula.
Umberto Eco (Foucault's Pendulum)
Freud was fascinated with depression and focused on the issue that we began with—why is it that most of us can have occasional terrible experiences, feel depressed, and then recover, while a few of us collapse into major depression (melancholia)? In his classic essay “Mourning and Melancholia” (1917), Freud began with what the two have in common. In both cases, he felt, there is the loss of a love object. (In Freudian terms, such an “object” is usually a person, but can also be a goal or an ideal.) In Freud’s formulation, in every loving relationship there is ambivalence, mixed feelings—elements of hatred as well as love. In the case of a small, reactive depression—mourning—you are able to deal with those mixed feelings in a healthy manner: you lose, you grieve, and then you recover. In the case of a major melancholic depression, you have become obsessed with the ambivalence—the simultaneity, the irreconcilable nature of the intense love alongside the intense hatred. Melancholia—a major depression—Freud theorized, is the internal conflict generated by this ambivalence. This can begin to explain the intensity of grief experienced in a major depression. If you are obsessed with the intensely mixed feelings, you grieve doubly after a loss—for your loss of the loved individual and for the loss of any chance now to ever resolve the difficulties. “If only I had said the things I needed to, if only we could have worked things out”—for all of time, you have lost the chance to purge yourself of the ambivalence. For the rest of your life, you will be reaching for the door to let you into a place of pure, unsullied love, and you can never reach that door. It also explains the intensity of the guilt often experienced in major depression. If you truly harbored intense anger toward the person along with love, in the aftermath of your loss there must be some facet of you that is celebrating, alongside the grieving. “He’s gone; that’s terrible but…thank god, I can finally live, I can finally grow up, no more of this or that.” Inevitably, a metaphorical instant later, there must come a paralyzing belief that you have become a horrible monster to feel any sense of relief or pleasure at a time like this. Incapacitating guilt. This theory also explains the tendency of major depressives in such circumstances to, oddly, begin to take on some of the traits of the lost loved/hated one—and not just any traits, but invariably the ones that the survivor found most irritating. Psychodynamically, this is wonderfully logical. By taking on a trait, you are being loyal to your lost, beloved opponent. By picking an irritating trait, you are still trying to convince the world you were right to be irritated—you see how you hate it when I do it; can you imagine what it was like to have to put up with that for years? And by picking a trait that, most of all, you find irritating, you are not only still trying to score points in your argument with the departed, but you are punishing yourself for arguing as well. Out of the Freudian school of thought has come one of the more apt descriptions of depression—“aggression turned inward.” Suddenly the loss of pleasure, the psychomotor retardation, the impulse to suicide all make sense. As do the elevated glucocorticoid levels. This does not describe someone too lethargic to function; it is more like the actual state of a patient in depression, exhausted from the most draining emotional conflict of his or her life—one going on entirely within. If that doesn’t count as psychologically stressful, I don’t know what does.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain,—the impalpable principle of light and thought, pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature: whence it came it will return; perhaps again to be communicated to some being higher than man—perhaps to pass through gradations of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the seraph! Surely it will never, on the contrary, be suffered to degenerate from man to fiend? No; I cannot believe that: I hold another creed: which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention; but in which I delight, and to which I cling: for it extends hope to all: it makes Eternity a rest—a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last: with this creed revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low: I live in calm, looking to the end.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
...And don’t tell me you don’t wish to fight; for the moment you tell me that, you are already fighting; nor that you don’t know which side to join, for while you are saying that, you have already joined a side; nor that you wish to remain neutral; for while you are thinking to be so, you are so no longer; nor that you want to be indifferent; for I will laugh at you, because on pronouncing that word you have chosen your party. Don’t tire yourself in seeking a place of security against the chances of war, for you tire yourself in vain; that war is extended as far as space, and prolonged through all time. In eternity alone, the country of the just, can you find rest, because there alone there is no combat. But do not imagine, however, that the gates of eternity shall be opened for you, unless you first show the wounds you bear; those gates are only opened for those who gloriously fought here the battles of the Lord, and were, like the Lord, crucified. Essays on Catholicism, Liberalism, and Socialism, 1879.
Juan Donoso Cortés
They are demanding equal rights with us,’ says Mrs. Fiedke. ‘That’s why I never vote with the Liberals. Perfume, jewellery, hair down to their shoulders, and I’m not talking about the ones who were born like that. I mean, the ones that can’t help it should be put on an island. It’s the others I’m talking about. There was a time they would stand up and open the door for you. They would take their hat off. But they want their equality today. All I say is that if God had intended them to be as good as us he wouldn’t have made them different from us to the naked eye. They don’t want to be all dressed alike any more. Which is only a move against us. You couldn’t run an army like that, let alone the male sex. With all due respects to Mr. Fiedke, may he rest in peace, the male sex is getting out of hand. Of course, Mr. Fiedke knew his place as a man, give him his due.’ ….. ‘If we don’t look lively,’ she says, ‘they will be taking over the homes and the children, and sitting about having chats while we go and fight to defend them and work to keep them. They won’t be content with equal rights only. Next thing they’ll want the upper hand, mark my words. Diamond earrings, I’ve read in the paper.
Muriel Spark (The Driver's Seat)
You know, sleeping outdoors isn’t all bad. You get to stare up at the stars and cool breezes ruffle your fur after a hot day. The grass smells sweet and,” he made eye contact with me, “so does your hair.” I blushed and grumbled, “Well, I’m glad someone enjoyed it.” He smiled smugly and said, “I did.” I had a quick flash of him as a man snuggled up next to me in the forest, imagined him resting his head on my lap while I stroked his hair, and decided to focus on the matter at hand. “Well, listen, Ren, you’re changing the subject. I don’t appreciate the way you manipulated me into being here. Mr. Kadam should’ve told me at the circus.” He shook his head. “We didn’t think you’d believe his story. He made up the trip to the tiger reserve to get you to India. We figured once you were here, I could change into a man and clarify everything.” I admitted, “You’re probably right. If you had changed to a man there, I don’t think I would have come” “Why did you come?” “I wanted to spend more time with…you. You know, the tiger. I would have missed him. I mean you.” I blushed. He grinned lopsidedly. “I would have missed you too.” I wrung the hem of my shirt between my hands. Misreading my thoughts, he said, “Kelsey. I’m truly sorry for the deception. If there’d been any other way-“ I looked up. He hung his head in a way that reminded me of the tiger. The frustration and awkwardness I felt about him dissipated. My instincts told me that I should believe him and help him. The strong emotional connection that drew me to the tiger tugged at my heart even more powerfully with the man. I felt pity for him and his situation. Softly, I asked, “When will you change into a tiger?” “Soon.” “Does it hurt?” “Not as much as it used to.” “Do you understand me when you are a tiger? Can I still speak to you?” “Yes, I’ll still be able to hear and understand you.” I took a deep breath. “Okay. I’ll stay here with you until the shaman comes back. I still have a lot of questions for you though.” “I know. I’ll try to answer them as best I can, but you’ll have to save them for tomorrow when I’ll be able to speak with you again. We can stay here for the night. The shaman should be back around dusk.” “Ren?” “Yes?” “The jungle frightens me, and this situation frightens me.” He let go of the apron string and looked into my eyes. “I know.” “Ren?” “Yes?” “Don’t…leave me, okay?” His face softened into a tender expression, and his mouth turned up in a sincere smile. “Asambhava. I won’t.” I felt myself responding to his smile with one of my own when a shadow fell across his face. He clenched his fists and tightened his jaw. I saw a tremor pass through his body, and the chair fell forward as he collapsed to the ground on his hands and knees. I stood to reach out to him and was amazed to see his body morph back into the tiger form I knew so well. Ren the tiger shook himself, then approached my outstretched hand and rubbed his head against it.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Umm, Ren? We have something important we need to discuss. Meet me on the veranda at sundown, okay?” He froze with his sandwich halfway to his mouth. “A secret rendezvous? On the veranda? At sundown?” He arched an eyebrow at me. “Why, Kelsey, are you trying to seduce me?” “Hardly,” I dryly muttered. He laughed. “Well, I’m all yours. But be gentle with me tonight, fair maiden. I’m new at this whole being human business.” Exasperated, I threw out, “I am not your fair maiden.” He ignored my comment and went back to devouring his lunch. He also took the other half of my discarded peanut butter sandwich and ate that too, commenting, “Hey! This stuff’s pretty good.” Finished, I walked over to the kitchen island and began clearing away Ren’s mess. When he was done eating, he stood to help me. We worked well together. It was almost like we knew what the other person was going to do before he or she did it. The kitchen was spotless in no time. Ren took off his apron and threw it into the laundry basket. Then, he came up behind me while I was putting away some glasses and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me up against him. He smelled my hair, kissed my neck, and murmured softly in my ear, “Mmm, definitely peaches and cream, but with a hint of spice. I’ll go be a tiger for a while and take a nap, and then I can save all my hours for you this evening.” I grimaced He was probably expecting a make-out session, and I was planning to break up with him. He wanted to spend time with a girlfriend, and my intention was to explain to him how we weren’t meant to be together. Not that we were ever officially together. Still, it felt like a break-up. Why does this have to be so hard? Ren rocked me and whispered, “’How silver-sweet sound lovers’ tongues by night, Like soft music to attending ears.’” I turned around in his arms, shocked. “How did you remember that? That’s Romeo and Juliet!” He shrugged. “I paid attention when you were reading it to me. I liked it.” He gently kissed my cheek. “See you tonight, iadala,” and left me standing there. The rest of the afternoon, I couldn’t focus on anything. Nothing held my attention for more than a few minutes. I rehearsed some sentences in front of the mirror, but they all sounded pretty lame to me: “It’s not you, it’s me,” “There are plenty of other fish in the sea,” “I need to find myself,” “Our differences are too big,” “I’m not the one,” “There’s someone else.” Heck, I even tried “I’m allergic to cats.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Tell me what to do." His warm breath tickled my ear. "Relax." "Please, Noah, I don't want to do this wrong. Tell me how to make you feel good." He shifted so that his body rested beside mine, his leg and arm still draped over me. I felt small under his warmth and strength. His chocolate-brown eyes softened. "Being with you feels good. Touching you-"he tucked a curl behind my ear"-feels good. I have never wanted anyone like I want you. There's nothing you can do wrong when just breathing makes everything right." His hand framed my face and his tone was edget with husky authority. "I want you, but only if you want me." I kissed him back, allowing my arms to wrap around him. His fingers gently massaged my neck, releasing the tension, erasing my unease. The kiss became a drug and i craved more with every touch. Our bodies twined so tightly to one another, i had no idea where i began and he ended. Noah felt strong and warm and muscular and safe and he smelled, oh, God, delicious. I couldn't stop kissing him if my life depend it upon it: his lips, his neck, his chest, and Noah seemed as hungry as me. We rolled and we touched and we shed unwanted clothes. I moaned and he moaned and my mind and soul and body stood on the edge of pure ecstasy. And i waited. I waited for that moment of pausing for protection and the burning pain my friends described, but Noah never stopped and the pain never came, not even when i whispered his name and praise God several times in a row. Both of us gasped for air while kissing each other softly and i struggled to comprehend i was still a virgin. He shifted off of me and tugged me close to him. My entire body became lazily warm, happy and sated. I listened to his heartbeat and closed my eyes, enjoying the relaxing pull of his hand in my hair. "Noah," i whispered. "I thought..." we were going to make love. He tipped my chin, forcing me to look at him. "We have forever to work up to that, Echo. Let's enjoy every step of the way." My mind drifted this way and that. Mostly between focusing on his heart, his touch and the sweetest word i had ever heard: forever. One clear thought forced my eyes open. "You 're putting me to sleep." "So?" he asked a little too innocently. I swallowed. "I'll have nightmares." "Then we 'll have an excuse to do this again.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
In speaking thus I have one fear; it is that I may convince the mind before God can win the heart. For this God-above-all position is one not easy to take. The mind may approve it while not having the consent of the will to put it into effect. While the imagination races ahead to honor God, the will may lag behind and the man never guess how divided his heart is. The whole man must make the decision before the heart can know any real satisfaction. God wants us all, and He will not rest till He gets us all. No part of the man will do.
A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)
For a time they sat there on the stairs, not speaking, or speaking absently about things that had happened a long time ago, silly arguments they’d had, people they used to know, things they had laughed about together. Old conversations, repeated many times before. Then quiet again for a little while. I just want everything to be like it was, Eileen said. And for us to be young again and live near each other, and nothing to be different. Alice was smiling sadly. But if things are different, can we still be friends? she asked. Eileen put her arm around Alice’s shoulders. If you weren’t my friend I wouldn’t know who I was, she said. Alice rested her face in Eileen’s arm, closing her eyes. No, she agreed. I wouldn’t know who I was either. And actually for a while I didn’t. Eileen looked down at Alice’s small blonde head, nestled on the sleeve of her dressing gown. Neither did I, she said. Half past two in the morning. Outside, astronomical twilight. Crescent moon hanging low over the dark water. Tide returning now with a faint repeating rush over the sand. Another place, another time.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
dear samantha i’m sorry we have to get a divorce i know that seems like an odd way to start a love letter but let me explain: it’s not you it sure as hell isn’t me it’s just human beings don’t love as well as insects do i love you.. far too much to let what we have be ruined by the failings of our species i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night i know you would never DO anything, you never do but.. i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night did you know that when a female fly accepts the pheromones put off by a male fly, it re-writes her brain, destroys the receptors that receive pheromones, sensing the change, the male fly does the same. when two flies love each other they do it so hard, they will never love anything else ever again. if either one of them dies before procreation can happen both sets of genetic code are lost forever. now that… is dedication. after Elizabeth and i broke up we spent three days dividing everything we had bought together like if i knew what pots were mine like if i knew which drapes were mine somehow the pain would go away this is not true after two praying mantises mate, the nervous system of the male begins to shut down while he still has control over his motor functions he flops onto his back, exposing his soft underbelly up to his lover like a gift she then proceeds to lovingly dice him into tiny cubes spooning every morsel into her mouth she wastes nothing even the exoskeleton goes she does this so that once their children are born she has something to regurgitate to feed them now that.. is selflessness i could never do that for you so i have a new plan i’m gonna leave you now i’m gonna spend the rest of my life committing petty injustices i hope you do the same i will jay walk at every opportunity i will steal things i could easily afford i will be rude to strangers i hope you do the same i hope reincarnation is real i hope our petty crimes are enough to cause us to be reborn as lesser creatures i hope we are reborn as flies so that we can love each other as hard as we were meant to.
Jared Singer
dear samantha i’m sorry we have to get a divorce i know that seems like an odd way to start a love letter but let me explain: it’s not you it sure as hell isn’t me it’s just human beings don’t love as well as insects do i love you.. far too much to let what we have be ruined by the failings of our species i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night i know you would never DO anything, you never do but.. i saw the way you looked at the waiter last night did you know that when a female fly accepts the pheromones put off by a male fly, it re-writes her brain, destroys the receptors that receive pheromones, sensing the change, the male fly does the same. when two flies love each other they do it so hard, they will never love anything else ever again. if either one of them dies before procreation can happen both sets of genetic code are lost forever. now that… is dedication. after Elizabeth and i broke up we spent three days dividing everything we had bought together like if i knew what pots were mine like if i knew which drapes were mine somehow the pain would go away this is not true after two praying mantises mate, the nervous system of the male begins to shut down while he still has control over his motor functions he flops onto his back, exposing his soft underbelly up to his lover like a gift she then proceeds to lovingly dice him into tiny cubes spooning every morsel into her mouth she wastes nothing even the exoskeleton goes she does this so that once their children are born she has something to regurgitate to feed them now that.. is selflessness i could never do that for you so i have a new plan i’m gonna leave you now i’m gonna spend the rest of my life committing petty injustices i hope you do the same i will jay walk at every opportunity i will steal things i could easily afford i will be rude to strangers i hope you do the same i hope reincarnation is real i hope our petty crimes are enough to cause us to be reborn as lesser creatures i hope we are reborn as flies so that we can love each other as hard as we were meant to
Jared Singer
Humility teaches us that God is actively redeeming the world. And because He is, we can experience the relief of confessing our brokenness—whether it is intentional sin, our natural limitations, or simply the weight of living under the curse. Humility teaches us to find rest in confession. Rest from the need to hide, the need to be perfect. We rest by saying, both to God and others, “I am not enough. I need help.” And ultimately, the humility that leads us to confess our brokenness, both within and without, also frees us to grieve it and throw ourselves on the mercy of God. And this, more than anything, leads to rest. When humility expresses itself in godly sorrow, we can finally break down; we can finally let it all out; we can finally have that “good” cry. Good, both because it is a weeping, breath-sucking catharsis, but also because it is legitimate. Good, because it honestly faces the brokenness of the world while resting in something—Someone—greater. Good, because it leads to surrender. To cry like Jesus as He looks over Jerusalem. To cry like Jesus as He stands at Lazarus’s tomb. To cry like Jesus as He endures the cross and entrusts Himself to the Father.
Hannah Anderson (Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul)
i think the idea of a 'mental health day' is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it's like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying 'i don't want to deal with things today' and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.
David Levithan (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
What kind of soldier are you that you’re going to just sit in a cell while the world is thrown into chaos? Do you not understand what could happen if those weapons fall into the wrong hands? How could you be so selfish? (Syd) I’m selfish? Look, Agent Westbrook, your daddy’s a Boston stockbroker. I’m a death broker. I’m sure you don’t lecture Daddy on finance, so don’t even try to lecture me on assassination politics. I know all about them. Some bureaucratic ass-wipe sitting in a pristine office that’s totally isolated from the rest of the world decides the son of King Oomp-Loomp is a threat. He then hands down orders to people like me to go off King Oomp-Loompa’s son. Like an idiot, I do what he says without question. I hunt my target down, using information that is mostly bullshit and unreliable, gathered by someone like you who assured me it was correct as the time. But hey, if it changes minute by minute, and God forbid we pass that along to you. So me and my spotter lie in the grass, sand, or snow for days on end, cramped and hungry, never able to move more than a millimeter an hour until I have that one perfect shot I’ve been waiting for days. I take it, and then we lie there like pieces of dirt until we can inch our way back to safety, where hopefully the helicopter team will remember that they were supposed to retrieve us. Have you any idea of the nerves it takes to do what I do? To lie there on the ground while other armed men search for you? Have them step on you and not be able to even breathe or wince because if you do, it’s not only your life, but the life of your spotter? Do you know what it’s like to have the brains of your best friend spayed into your face and not be able to render aid to him because you know he’s dead and if you do, you’ll be killed too? I have been into the bowels of hell and back, Miz Westbrook. I have stared down the devil and made him sweat. So don’t tell me I don’t take this seriously. (Steele)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Bad Attitude (B.A.D. Agency #1))
Twins. Out for their first Season this year. It seems that your idiot son was caught in flagrante delicto with one of them." He takes after his father," Evie said. Looking highly insulted, Sebastian rose to his feet in a graceful motion and pulled her up with him. "His father was never caught." "Except by me," Evie said smugly. Sebastian laughed. "True." "What does in flagrante delicto mean, exactly?" "The literal translation? 'While the crime is blazing.'" Picking her up easily, he said, "I believe a demonstration is in order." "But what about the s-scandal? What about Gabriel, and the Ravenel girl, and-" "The rest of the world can wait," Sebastian said firmly. "I'm going to debauch you for the ten thousandth time, Evie- and for once, I want you to pay attention." "Yes, sir," she said demurely, and looped her arms around her husband's neck as he carried her to their bedroom.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
I wonder if he knows that all I do is apologize. That’s all I do. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry for being me. My whole life is an apology, and that hasn’t made a damn thing better. Mary had known. She had understood: A woman doesn’t need to be told, yet again, that she’s bad. She needs to be told that she’s good. Mary didn’t ask me to repent. She asked me to rest. But sitting in the priest’s office, I see how the system works here. I have to repent to him so I can go rest with her. I do what I’m told. I apologize. “I’m so sorry,” I say. “I want to be better.” He nods again and then offers some magic words I’m to repeat twenty times. After I say them, I will be forgiven. I nod and flash back twenty years. I’m at the neighborhood pool waiting in line to buy ice cream. The ice cream man is selling Popsicles for a dollar each, while a high school kid who has broken into the truck is passing out free Popsicles from the back. The ice cream man hasn’t a clue what’s going on behind him. I wonder if the priest knows that while he’s up here charging for forgiveness, Mary’s back there handing it out for free. He must not know, which is why he is insisting that God’s forgiveness has a price. I am pretending to believe this and promising to pay so I can get back to Mary, who is at the back of the truck hosting a free-for-all.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior)
By the way, what is a dream?” I asked after some hesitation. YoonGi answered in his drawling voice. “I told you I don't have one.” “No, I mean... .” I hesitated and continued. “I was wondering what a dream is. What do people mean by a dream?” He looked at me and then turned his gaze towards the sky, frowning. “Something you want to achieve? I guess.” HoSeok took over, waving his mobile phone at us. “The dictionary definitions are first, ‘an imaginary series of events you experience while you are asleep’; second, ‘a situation or an ideal you hope to realize’; and third, ‘false expectations or thoughts that are almost unlikely or completely unlikely to turn into reality’.” “Isn't the third definition odd? How can something that is unlikely to turn into reality be called a dream?” HoSeok responded. “People sometimes tell you to wake up from your dream. So, if you're dreaming of turning back and going home before we get to the rock, wake up from your dream!” Some of us laughed out loud, but the rest showed no reaction, probably because they had no more energy left. “That's weird. How can something that you want to achieve most in your life and something that is unlikely to come true both be called a dream?” YoonGi said, giggling. “Maybe it means that people are that desperate. They just can't give up on their dreams even though they know they won't come true. Don't ever try to have a dream.” I looked at him in surprise.“How come?” YoonGi had started biting his nails and, feeling conscious of my glance, he put his hands in his pockets. “Because it's tough having one.
Big Hit Entertainment (花樣年華 HYYH The Notes 1 (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, #1))
My kids, you, and I can have good things happen as a result of our Total Money Makeover only if we have the spiritual character to recognize that wealth is not the answer to life’s questions. We further must recognize that while wealth is very fun, it comes with great responsibility. Another paradox is that wealth will make you more of what you are. Let that one soak in for a minute. If you are a jerk and you become wealthy, you will be king of the jerks. If you are generous and you become wealthy, you will be most generous. If you are kind, wealth will allow you to show kindness in immeasurable ways. If you feel guilty, wealth will ensure that you feel guilty for the rest of your life.
Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness)
Ren followed along behind me somewhere quietly. I couldn’t hear him, but I knew he was there. I was acutely aware of his presence. I had an intangible connection with him, the man. It was almost as if he were walking next to me. Almost as if he were touching me. I must have started walking down the wrong path because he trotted ahead, pointedly moving in a different direction. I muttered, “Show-off. I’ll walk the wrong way if I want to.” But, I still followed after him. After a while, I made out the Jeep parked on the hill and saw Mr. Kadam waving at us. I walked up to his camp, and he grabbed me in a brief hug. “Miss Kelsey! You’re back. Tell me what happened.” I sighed, set down my backpack, and sat on the back bumper of the Keep. “Well, I have to tell you, these past few days have been some of the worst of my life. There were monkeys, and Kappa, and rotted kissing corpses, and snakebites, and trees covered with needles, and-“ He held up a hand. “What do you mean a few days? You just left last night.” Confused, I said, “No. We’ve been gone at least,” I counted on my fingers, “at least four or five days.” “I’m sorry, Miss Kelsey, but you and Ren left me last night. In fact, I was going to say you should get some rest and then try again tomorrow night. You were really gone almost a week?” “Well, I was asleep for two of the days. At least that’s what tiger boy over there told me.” I glared at Ren who stared back at me with an innocuous tiger expression while listening to our conversation. Ren appeared to be sweet and attentive, as harmless as a little kitten. He was about as harmless as a Kappa. I, on the other hand, was like a porcupine. I was bristling. All of my quills were standing on end so I could defend my soft belly from being devoured by the predator who had taken an interest. “Two days? My, my. Why don’t we return to the hotel and rest? We can try to get the fruit again tomorrow night.” “But, Mr. Kadam,” I said an unzipped the backpack, “we don’t have to come back. We got Durga’s first gift, the Golden Fruit.” I pulled out my quilt and unfolded it, revealing the Golden Fruit nestled within. He gently picked it up out of its cocoon. “Amazing!” he exclaimed. “It’s a mango.” With a smirk, I added, “It only makes sense. After all, mangoes are very important to Indian culture and trade.” Ren huffed at me and rolled onto his side in the grass.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
I love London. I love everything about it. I love its palaces and its museums and its galleries, sure. But also, I love its filth, and damp, and stink. Okay, well, I don’t mean love, exactly. But I don’t mind it. Not any more. Not now I’m used to it. You don’t mind anything once you’re used to it. Not the graffiti you find on your door the week after you painted over it, or the chicken bones and cider cans you have to move before you can sit down for your damp and muddy picnic. Not the everchanging fast food joints – AbraKebabra to Pizza the Action to Really Fried Chicken – and all on a high street that despite its three new names a week never seems to look any different. Its tawdriness can be comforting, its wilfulness inspiring. It’s the London I see every day. I mean, tourists: they see the Dorchester. They see Harrods, and they see men in bearskins and Carnaby Street. They very rarely see the Happy Shopper on the Mile End Road, or a drab Peckham disco. They head for Buckingham Palace, and see waving above it the red, white and blue, while the rest of us order dansak from the Tandoori Palace, and see Simply Red, White Lightning, and Duncan from Blue. But we should be proud of that, too. Or, at least, get used to it.
Danny Wallace (Charlotte Street)
Culturally, though not theologically, I’m a Christian. I was born a Protestant of the white Anglo-Saxon persuasion. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who was called Jesus, and while I do reserve the right to ask myself in certain trying situations what indeed He would do, I can’t swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God. Strictly speaking, then, I cannot call myself a Christian. Most of the Christians I know accept my feelings on this with grace and open-mindedness. Then again, most of the Christians I know don’t speak very strictly. To those who do speak (and think) strictly, all I can do here is offer my regrets for any hurt feelings and now excuse myself from their business. “Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed—much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts. I respond with gratitude to anyone who has ever voyaged to the center of that heart, and who has then returned to the world with a report for the rest of us that God is an experience of supreme love. In every religious tradition on earth, there have always been mystical saints and transcendents who report exactly this experience. Unfortunately many of them have ended up arrested and killed. Still, I think very highly of them. “In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple. It’s like this—I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about ten different breeds, but seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me, “What kind of dog is that?” I would always give the same answer: “She’s a brown dog.” Similarly, when the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
What about me?” Karigan asked. “Hmm?” “What part do I play?” “You have already done more than your share,” he said. “You will rest here with the day’s other wounded and the remainder of Marshal Martel’s troops. Should we fail . . . well, I can depend on you to move these people out of harm’s way.” “No,” Karigan said. The king raised a brow. “No?” Karigan shoved the blanket off and raised herself to her feet. “I’m going with you. King or not, you can’t stop me. My father is being held in the throne room.” “You are wounded and exhausted,” Zachary said. “I don’t want you to slow us down.” “You have a broken arm,” Karigan retorted. “Who will be slowing who?” The king’s eyebrows shot up, and his mouth was quirked in a half smile he couldn’t quite hide. It was as if he wanted to laugh, but he knew better than to do so. “I see,” he said. Horse Marshal Martel appeared at the king’s side, his face impassive. “I told you, my lord, we should have left her while she was asleep.” “I should have listened more closely,” he said.
Kristen Britain (Green Rider (Green Rider, #1))
21.  If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. 22.  If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. [Wang Tzu, quoted by Tu Yu, says that the good tactician plays with his adversary as a cat plays with a mouse, first feigning weakness and immobility, and then suddenly pouncing upon him.] 23.  If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. [This is probably the meaning though Mei Yao-ch’en has the note: “while we are taking our ease, wait for the enemy to tire himself out.” The YU LAN has “Lure him on and tire him out.”] If his forces are united, separate them. [Less plausible is the interpretation favored by most of the commentators: “If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them.”] 24.  Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. 25.  These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand. 26.  Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. [Chang Yu tells us that in ancient times it was customary for a temple to be set apart for the use of a general who was about to take the field, in order that he might there elaborate his plan of campaign.] The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
Sun Tzu (The Art of War)
No one, not even a ‘friend,’ can make us better. But it is a great happiness in life to meet a person of quite different construction, different bent, completely dissimilar views who, while always remaining himself and in no wise echoing us nor currying favor with us (as sometimes happens) and not trying to insinuate his soul (and an insincere soul at that!) into our psyche, into our muddle, into our tangle, would stand as a firm wall, as a check to our follies and our irrationalities, which every human being has. Friendship lies in contradiction and not in agreement! Verily, God granted me Strakhov as a teacher and my friendship with him, my feelings for him were ever a kind of firm wall on which I felt I could always lean, or rather rest. And it won’t let you fall, and it gives warmth
Vasily Rozanov
We which were Ovids five books, now are three, For these before the rest preferreth he: If reading five thou plainst of tediousnesse, Two tane away, thy labor will be lesse: With Muse upreard I meant to sing of armes, Choosing a subject fit for feirse alarmes: Both verses were alike till Love (men say) Began to smile and tooke one foote away. Rash boy, who gave thee power to change a line? We are the Muses prophets, none of thine. What if thy Mother take Dianas bowe, Shall Dian fanne when love begins to glowe? In wooddie groves ist meete that Ceres Raigne, And quiver bearing Dian till the plaine: Who'le set the faire treste sunne in battell ray, While Mars doth take the Aonian harpe to play? Great are thy kingdomes, over strong and large, Ambitious Imp, why seekst thou further charge? Are all things thine? the Muses Tempe thine? Then scarse can Phoebus say, this harpe is mine. When in this workes first verse I trod aloft, Love slackt my Muse, and made my numbers soft. I have no mistris, nor no favorit, Being fittest matter for a wanton wit, Thus I complaind, but Love unlockt his quiver, Tooke out the shaft, ordaind my hart to shiver: And bent his sinewy bow upon his knee, Saying, Poet heers a worke beseeming thee. Oh woe is me, he never shootes but hits, I burne, love in my idle bosome sits. Let my first verse be sixe, my last five feete, Fare well sterne warre, for blunter Poets meete. Elegian Muse, that warblest amorous laies, Girt my shine browe with sea banke mirtle praise. -- P. Ovidii Nasonis Amorum Liber Primus ELEGIA 1 (Quemadmodum a Cupidine, pro bellis amores scribere coactus sit)
Christopher Marlowe (The Complete Poems and Translations (English Poets))
Were the situation not so completely to her disadvantage, she might have enjoyed the prospect of Simon Hunt rendered absolutely speechless. At first his face was blank, as if he was having tremendous difficulty absorbing the fact that she was standing before him dressed only in a chemise, corset, and drawers. His gaze slid over her, slowly coming to rest on her flushed face. Another moment or two of suffocated silence, and Hunt swallowed hard before speaking in a rusty-sounding voice. “I probably shouldn’t ask. But what the hell are you doing?” The words unlocked Annabelle from her paralysis. She certainly could not stand there and converse with him while she was clad in her undergarments. But her dignity—or the threads that remained of it—demanded that she not screech idiotically and dash for her clothes the way Evie and Daisy were doing. Settling for a compromise, she strode briskly to her discarded gown and clasped it to her front as she turned to face Simon Hunt once more. “We’re playing Rounders,” she said, her voice far higher-pitched than usual. Hunt glanced around the scene before settling on her again. “Why did you—” “One can’t run properly in skirts,” Annabelle interrupted. “I should think that would be obvious.” Absorbing that, Hunt averted his face swiftly, but not before she saw the sudden flash of his grin. “Never having tried it, I’ll have to take your word on that.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
Why do we complain of Nature? She has shown herself kindly; life, if you know how to use it, is long. But one man is possessed by an avarice that is insatiable, another by a toilsome devotion to tasks that are useless; one man is besotted with wine, another is paralyzed by sloth; one man is exhausted by an ambition that always hangs upon the decision of others, another, driven on by the greed of the trader, is led over all lands and all seas by the hope of gain; some are tormented by a passion for war and are always either bent upon inflicting danger upon others or concerned about their own; some there are who are worn out by voluntary servitude in a thankless attendance upon the great; many are kept busy either in the pursuit of other men's fortune or in complaining of their own; many, following no fixed aim, shifting and inconstant and dissatisfied, are plunged by their fickleness into plans that are ever new; some have no fixed principle by which to direct their course, but Fate takes them unawares while they loll and yawn—so surely does it happen that I cannot doubt the truth of that utterance which the greatest of poets delivered with all the seeming of an oracle: "The part of life we really live is small."5 For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time. Vices beset us and surround us on every side, and they do not permit us to rise anew and lift up our eyes for the discernment of truth, but they keep us down when once they have overwhelmed us and we are chained to lust. Their victims are never allowed to return to their true selves; if ever they chance to find some release, like the waters of the deep sea which continue to heave even after the storm is past, they are tossed about, and no rest from their lusts abides. Think you that I am speaking of the wretches whose evils are admitted? Look at those whose prosperity men flock to behold; they are smothered by their blessings. To how many are riches a burden! From how many do eloquence and the daily straining to display their powers draw forth blood! How many are pale from constant pleasures! To how many does the throng of clients that crowd about them leave no freedom! In short, run through the list of all these men from the lowest to the highest—this man desires an advocate,6 this one answers the call, that one is on trial, that one defends him, that one gives sentence; no one asserts his claim to himself, everyone is wasted for the sake of another. Ask about the men whose names are known by heart, and you will see that these are the marks that distinguish them: A cultivates B and B cultivates C; no one is his own master. And then certain men show the most senseless indignation—they complain of the insolence of their superiors, because they were too busy to see them when they wished an audience! But can anyone have the hardihood to complain of the pride of another when he himself has no time to attend to himself? After all, no matter who you are, the great man does sometimes look toward you even if his face is insolent, he does sometimes condescend to listen to your words, he permits you to appear at his side; but you never deign to look upon yourself, to give ear to yourself. There is no reason, therefore, to count anyone in debt for such services, seeing that, when you performed them, you had no wish for another's company, but could not endure your own.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
Maddox. I have grown up my entire life being put down. Hearing that I'm not good enough and that I'm nothing. After twenty years of hearing those words you start to believe them. That all changed the day I met you. I never thought I would be the lucky girl who you would fall in love with. I never even believed that this type of love would happen for me. Or that it even existed. The bonus is that it's with you. You have shown me that I am worth it, that it's okay to just be me. And for that I can't thank you enough. You have opened my heart and my mind to new possibilities and I will spend the rest of my life being eternally grateful to you. It has taken us a while to get to where we are today, but I wouldn't change anything because it's our story; our beautiful story. And it all started with an idea; a beautiful idea. I love you Maddox Mitchell.
Emily McKee (A Beautiful Idea (Beautiful, #1))
Sparks come from the very source of light and are made of the purest brightness—so say the oldest legends. When a human Being is to be born, a spark begins to fall. First it flies through the darkness of outer space, then through galaxies, and finally, before it falls here, to Earth, the poor thing bumps into the orbits of planets. Each of them contaminates the spark with some Properties, while it darkens and fades. First Pluto draws the frame for this cosmic experiment and reveals its basic principles—life is a fleeting incident, followed by death, which will one day let the spark escape from the trap; there’s no other way out. Life is like an extremely demanding testing ground. From now on everything you do will count, every thought and every deed, but not for you to be punished or rewarded afterward, but because it is they that build your world. This is how the machine works. As it continues to fall, the spark crosses Neptune’s belt and is lost in its foggy vapors. As consolation Neptune gives it all sorts of illusions, a sleepy memory of its exodus, dreams about flying, fantasy, narcotics and books. Uranus equips it with the capacity for rebellion; from now on that will be proof of the memory of where the spark is from. As the spark passes the rings of Saturn, it becomes clear that waiting for it at the bottom is a prison. A labor camp, a hospital, rules and forms, a sickly body, fatal illness, the death of a loved one. But Jupiter gives it consolation, dignity and optimism, a splendid gift: things-will-work-out. Mars adds strength and aggression, which are sure to be of use. As it flies past the Sun, it is blinded, and all that it has left of its former, far-reaching consciousness is a small, stunted Self, separated from the rest, and so it will remain. I imagine it like this: a small torso, a crippled being with its wings torn off, a Fly tormented by cruel children; who knows how it will survive in the Gloom. Praise the Goddesses, now Venus stands in the way of its Fall. From her the spark gains the gift of love, the purest sympathy, the only thing that can save it and other sparks; thanks to the gifts of Venus they will be able to unite and support each other. Just before the Fall it catches on a small, strange planet that resembles a hypnotized Rabbit, and doesn’t turn on its own axis, but moves rapidly, staring at the Sun. This is Mercury, who gives it language, the capacity to communicate. As it passes the Moon, it gains something as intangible as the soul. Only then does it fall to Earth, and is immediately clothed in a body. Human, animal or vegetable. That’s the way it is. —
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
They call this love, she said to herself. I know what it is now. I never thought I would know, but I do now. But she failed to add: if you can step back and identify it, is it really there? Shouldn't you be unable to know what the whole thing's about? Just blindly clutch and hold and fear that it will get away. But unable to stop, to think, to give it any name. Just two more people sharing a common human experience. Infinite in its complexity, tricky at times, but almost always successfully surmounted in one of two ways: either blandly content with the results as they are, or else vaguely discontent but chained by habit. Most women don't marry a man, they marry a habit. Even when a habit is good, it can become monotonous; most do. When it is bad in just the average degree it usually becomes no more than a nuisance and an irritant; and most do. But when it is darkly, starkly evil in the deepest sense of the word, then it can truly become a hell on earth. Theirs seemed to fall midway between the first two, for just a little while. Then it started veering over slowly toward the last. Very slowly, at the start, but very steadily... ("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
Dear Jessa, I’ve started this letter so many times and I’ve never been able to finish it. So here goes again . . . I’m sorry. I’m sorry that Riley is dead. I’m sorry for ignoring your emails and for not being there for you. I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish it had been me that died and not Riley. If I could go back in time and change everything I would. I’m sorry I left without a word. There’s no excuse for my behaviour but please know that it had nothing to do with you. I was a mess. I haven’t been able to talk to anyone for months. And I felt too guilty and didn’t know how to tell you the truth about what happened. I couldn’t bear the thought of you knowing. I got all your emails but I didn’t read them until last week. I couldn’t face it and I guess that makes me the biggest coward you’ll ever meet. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I never replied. You needed me and I wasn’t there for you. I don’t even know how to ask your forgiveness because I don’t deserve it. I’m just glad you’re doing better. I’m better too. I’ve started seeing a therapist – twice a week – you’d like her. She reminds me of Didi. I never thought I’d be the kind of guy who needed therapy, but they made it a condition of me keeping my job. She’s helped me a lot with getting the panic attacks under control. Working in a room the size of a janitor’s closet helps too – there aren’t too many surprises, only the occasional rogue paperclip. I asked for the posting. I have to thank your dad ironically. The demotion worked out. Kind of funny that I totally get where your father was coming from all those years. Looks like I’ll be spending the remainder of my marine career behind a desk, but I’m OK with that. I don’t know what else to say, Jessa. My therapist says I should just write down whatever comes into my head. So here goes. Here’s what’s in my head . . . I miss you. I love you. Even though I long ago gave up the right to any sort of claim over you, I can’t stop loving you. I won’t ever stop. You’re in my blood. You’re the only thing that got me through this, Jessa. Because even during the bad times, the worst times, the times I’d wake up in a cold sweat, my heart thumping, the times I’d think the only way out was by killing myself and just having it all go away, I’d think of you and it would pull me back out of whatever dark place I’d fallen into. You’re my light, Jessa. My north star. You asked me once to come back to you and I told you I always would. I’m working on it. It might take me a little while, and I know I have no right to ask you to wait for me after everything I’ve done, but I’m going to anyway because the truth is I don’t know how to live without you. I’ve tried and I can’t do it. So please, I’m asking you to wait for me. I’m going to come back to you. I promise. And I’m going to make things right. I’ll do whatever it takes. I’ll never stop trying for the rest of my life to make things right between us. I love you. Always. Kit
Mila Gray (Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me, #1))
Was I trying too hard to make this mean something? I asked Leah. Was that just buying into the industry's own narratives about itself? I tried to summarize the frantic, self-important work culture in Silicon Valley, how everyone was optimizing their bodies for longer lives, which would then be spent productively; how it was frowned upon to acknowledge that a tech job was a transaction rather than a noble mission or a seat on a rocket ship. In this respect, it was not unlike book publishing: talking about doing work for money felt like screaming the safe word. While perhaps not unique to tech--it may even have been endemic to a generation--the expectation was overbearing. Why did it feel so taboo, I asked, to approach work the way most people did, as a trade of my time and labor for money? Why did we have to pretend it was all so fun? Leah nodded, curls bobbing. "That's real," she said. "but I wonder if you're forcing things. Your job can be in service of the rest of your life." She reached out to squeeze my wrist, then leaned her head against the window. "You're allowed to enjoy your life," she said. The city streaked past, the bridge cables flickering like a delay, or a glitch.
Anna Wiener (Uncanny Valley: A Memoir)
GUYS! Would you give it a rest?" Kevin shouted at them, "You're standing there feeding off each other! Dad – you're trying to prove to Ted why me and Dani are a Bad Thing – because you just can't bring yourself to admit that it isn't, even though you can SEE that it isn't! You know it! And Ted – you're pushing my dad's buttons on purpose because you're not so sure yourself how you really feel about us - her, me, any of it! So both of ya just SHUT THE HELL UP!" He turned back towards Dani, "Dani – you're beautiful and I love you – but this wasn't one of your best ideas. Now everyone just be quiet while I hit the stupid little white ball and make it go into the stupid little round hole! GAWD!" All three of them stared at Kevin while he swung. The stupid little white ball flew straight and high, and landed on the green. Apparently a little focus – no matter what it was directed towards – was just what Kevin needed.
Failte (The Girl For Me)
I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. That is, my feet are in it; the rest of me is on the draining-board, which I have padded with our dog's blanket and the tea-cosy. I can't say that I am really comfortable, and there is a depressing smell of carbolic soap, but this is the only part of the kitchen where there is any daylight left. And I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring - I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house. Though even that isn't a very good poem. I have decided my best poetry is so bad that I mustn't write any more of it. Drips from the roof are plopping into the water-butt by the back door. The view through the windows above the sink is excessively drear. Beyond the dank garden in the courtyard are the ruined walls on the edge of the moat. Beyond the moat, the boggy ploughed fields stretch to the leaden sky. I tell myself that all the rain we have had lately is good for nature, and that at any moment spring will surge on us. I try to see leaves on the trees and the courtyard filled with sunlight. Unfortunately, the more my mind's eye sees green and gold, the more drained of all colour does the twilight seem. It is comforting to look away from the windows and towards the kitchen fire, near which my sister Rose is ironing - though she obviously can't see properly, and it will be a pity if she scorches her only nightgown. (I have two, but one is minus its behind.) Rose looks particularly fetching by firelight because she is a pinkish person; her skin has a pink glow and her hair is pinkish gold, very light and feathery. Although I am rather used to her I know she is a beauty. She is nearly twenty-one and very bitter with life. I am seventeen, look younger, feel older. I am no beauty but I have a neatish face. I have just remarked to Rose that our situation is really rather romantic - two girls in this strange and lonely house. She replied that she saw nothing romantic about being shut up in a crumbling ruin surrounded by a sea of mud. I must admit that our home is an unreasonable place to live in. Yet I love it. The house itself was built in the time of Charles II, but it was grafted on to a fourteenth-century castle that had been damaged by Cromwell. The whole of our east wall was part of the castle; there are two round towers in it. The gatehouse is intact and a stretch of the old walls at their full height joins it to the house. And Belmotte Tower, all that remains of an even older castle, still stands on its mound close by. But I won't attempt to describe our peculiar home fully until I can see more time ahead of me than I do now. I am writing this journal partly to practise my newly acquired speed-writing and partly to teach myself how to write a novel - I intend to capture all our characters and put in conversations. It ought to be good for my style to dash along without much thought, as up to now my stories have been very stiff and self-conscious. The only time father obliged me by reading one of them, he said I combined stateliness with a desperate effort to be funny. He told me to relax and let the words flow out of me.
Dodie Smith (I Capture the Castle)
She's probably just tired of seeing you miserable.Like we all are," I add. "I'm sure...I'm sure she's as crazy about you as ever." "Hmm." He watches me put away my own shoes and empty the contents of my pockets. "What about you?" he asks, after a minute. "What about me?" St. Clair examines his watch. "Sideburns. You'll be seeing him next month." He's reestablishing...what? The boundary line? That he's taken, and I'm spoken for? Except I'm not. Not really. But I can't bear to say this now that he's mentioned Ellie. "Yeah,I can't wait to see him again. He's a funny guy, you'd like him.I'm gonna see his band play at Christmas. Toph's a great guy, you'd really like him. Oh. I already said that,didn't I? But you would. He's really...funny." Shut up,Anna. Shut.Up. St. Clair unbuckles and rebuckles and unbuckles his watchband. "I'm beat," I say. And it's the truth. As always, our conversation has exhausted me. I crawl into bed and wonder what he'll do.Lie on my floor? Go back to his room? But he places his watch on my desk and climbs onto my bed. He slides up next to me. He's on top of the covers, and I'm underneath. We're still fully dressed,minus our shoes, and the whole situation is beyond awkward. He hops up.I'm sure he's about to leave,and I don't know whether to be relieved or disappointed,but...he flips off my light.My room is pitch-black. He shuffles back toward my bed and smacks into it. "Oof," he says. "Hey,there's a bed there." "Thanks for the warning." "No problem." "It's freezing in here.Do you have a fan on or something?" "It's the wind.My window won't shut all the way.I have a towel stuffed under it, but it doesn't really help." He pats his way around the bed and slides back in. "Ow," he says. "Yes?" "My belt.Would it be weird..." I'm thankful he can't see my blush. "Of course not." And I listen to the slap of leather as he pulls it out of his belt loops.He lays it gently on my hardwood floor. "Um," he says. "Would it be weird-" "Yes." "Oh,piss off.I'm not talking trousers. I only want under the blankets. That breeze is horrible." He slides underneath,and now we're lying side by side. In my narrow bed. Funny,but I never imagined my first sleepover with a guy being,well,a sleepover. "All we need now are Sixteen Candles and a game of Truth or Dare." He coughs. "Wh-what?" "The movie,pervert.I was just thinking it's been a while since I've had a sleepover." A pause. "Oh." "..." "..." "St. Clair?" "Yeah?" "Your elbow is murdering my back." "Bollocks.Sorry." He shifts,and then shifts again,and then again,until we're comfortable.One of his legs rests against mine.Despite the two layers of pants between us,I feel naked and vulnerable. He shifts again and now my entire leg, from calf to thigh, rests against his. I smell his hair. Mmm. NO! I swallow,and it's so loud.He coughs again. I'm trying not to squirm. After what feels like hours but is surely only minutes,his breath slows and his body relaxes.I finally begin to relax, too. I want to memorize his scent and the touch of his skin-one of his arms, now against mine-and the solidness os his body.No matter what happens,I'll remember this for the rest of my life. I study his profile.His lips,his nose, his eyelashes.He's so beautiful.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I realized a few days ago I didn't know what love was. To me love was helpless, suffocating, painful. It wasn't until [she] came that I realized that love was strong, that it meant standing up for yourself, saying things nobody wanted to hear. I also know it means giving of yourself because it makes somebody else happy. I don't know if I love [her]. For a while I was sure I didn't, but now I'm not sure. I know I need her, that I can't imagine living the rest of my life without her. Is that love? I think it's part of it. I know I want her. She comforts my spirit and body as nothing ever has. That's a part of love, too. I also know I'm never as happy as I am when I'm with her." "You sound like you're obsessed." "Maybe that's also part of love. I don't know, but I'm going to learn. It's embarrassing sometimes. I feel like a child. But I learn a little somethign every day. It's like a whole new way of living. It's a willingness to give up control. To make a commitment and have faith it'll work out." "It sounds like you've gone crazy" [. . .] "Maybe that's part of it, too. Whatever it is, it's something I want more than I ever thought possible. And [she] is the only one who can teach me. I'm not giving her up, no matter what it costs me." "Hell [. . .] You are in love with her.
Leigh Greenwood (Rose (Seven Brides, #1))
She had no criticism of his dress, which was bagged at the knees, dropping at the lapels, rucked around the buttons, while she-although she wore a flowing white cotton-appeared (she knew it and wished it was not so) as starched and pressed as a Baptist in a riding habit. They were different, and yet not ill matched. They had both grown used to the attentions that are the eccentric’s lot-the covert glances, smiles, whispers, worse. Lucinda was accustomed to looking at no one in the street. It was an out-of-focus town of men with seas of bobbing hats. But on this night she felt the streets accept them. She thought: When we are two, they do not notice us. They think us a match. What wisdom does a mob have? It is a hydra, an organism, stupid or dangerous in much of its behaviour, but could it have, in spite of this, a proper judgement about which of its component parts fit best together? They pushed past bold-eyed young women with too many ribbons and jewels, past tight-laced maidens and complacent merchants with their bellies pushing so forcefully against their waistcoats that their shirts showed above their trousers. Lucinda was happy. Her arm rested on Oscar’s arm. She thought: Anyone can see I have been crying. She thought: I have pink eyes like a dormouse. But she did not really care.
Peter Carey (Oscar and Lucinda)
We can take things as slowly as you want, but you know it’s too late now to change your mind, Pierce,” he said, in a warning tone. “Of course,” I said. I could see I had approached this all wrong. Where, when you actually needed one, was one of those annoying women’s magazines with advice on how to handle your man? Although that advice probably didn’t apply to death deities. “Because the Furies are after me. And I promised you that I wouldn’t try to escape. That isn’t what I was-“ “No,” he said, with an abrupt shake of his head. “The Furies have no part in this. It doesn’t matter anymore whether or not you try to escape.” He was pacing the length of the room. A muscle had begun to twitch wildly in the side of his jaw. “I thought you knew. I thought you understood. Haven’t you read Homer?” Not again. Mr. Smith was obsessed with this Homer person, too. “No, John,” I said, with forced patience. “I’m afraid we don’t have time to study the ancient Greek poets in school anymore because we have so much stuff to learn that happened since you died, such as the Civil War and the Holocaust and making files in Excel-“ “Well, considering what they had to say about the Fates,” John interrupted, impatiently, “Homer might possibly have been of more use to you.” “The Fates?” The Fates were something I dimly remembered having been mentioned in the section we’d studied on Greek mythology. They were busybodies who presided over everyone’s destiny. “What did Homer have to say about them?” John dragged a hand through his hair. For some reason, he wouldn’t meet my gaze. “The Fates decreed that anyone who ate or drank in the realm of the dead had to remain there for all eternity.” I stared at him. “Right,” I said. “Only if they are pomegranate seeds, like Persephone. The fruit of the dead.” He stopped pacing suddenly and lifted his gaze to mine. His eyes seemed to burn through to my soul. “Pomegranate seeds are what Persephone happened to eat while she was in the Underworld,” he said. “That’s why they call them the fruit of the dead. But the rule is any food or drink.” A strange feeling of numbness had begun to spread across my body. My mouth became too dry for me to speak. “However you feel about me, Pierce,” he went on, relentlessly, “you’re stuck here with me for the rest of eternity.
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
One time during Indoc while we were out on night run, one of the instructors actually climbed up the outside of a building, came through an open window, and absolutely trashed a guy’s room, threw everything everywhere, emptied detergent over his bed gear. He went back out the way he’d come in, waited for everyone to return, and then tapped on the poor guy’s door and demanded a room inspection. The guy couldn’t work out whether to be furious or heartbroken, but he spent most of the night cleaning up and still had to be in the showers at 0430 with the rest of us. I asked Reno about this weeks later, and he told me, “Marcus, the body can take damn near anything. It’s the mind that needs training. The question that guy was being asked involved mental strength. Can you handle such injustice? Can you cope with that kind of unfairness, that much of a setback? And still come back with your jaw set, still determined, swearing to God you will never quit? That’s what we’re looking for.
Marcus Luttrell (Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10)
If only humankind would soon succeed in destroying itself; true, I'm afraid : it will take a long time yet, but they'll manage it for sure. They'll have to learn to fly too, so that it will be easier to toss firebrands into cities (a pretty sight : a portly, bronze boat perhaps, from which a couple of mail-clad warriors contemptuously hurl a few flaming armored logs, while from below they shoot at the scaly beasts with howling arrows. They could also easily pour burning oil out of steel pitchers. Or poison. In the wells. By night). Well, they'll manage it all right (if I can come up with that much !). For they pervert all things to evil. The alphabet : it was intended to record timeless poetry or wisdom or memories - but they scrawl myriads of trashy novels and inflammatory pamphlets. What do they deftly make of metals ? Swords and arrow tips. - Fire ? Cities are already smoldering. And in the agora throng the pickpockets and swashbucklers, cutpurses, bawds, quacks and whores. And at best, the rest are simpletons, dandies, and brainless yowlers. And every one of them self-complacent, pretending respectability, bows politely, puffs out coarse cheeks, waves his hands, ogles, jabbers, crows. (They have many words : Experienced : someone who knows plenty of the little underhanded tricks. - Mature : has finally unlearned every ideal. Sophisticated : impertinent and ought to have been hanged long ago.) Those are the small fry; and the : every statesman, politician, orator; prince, general, officer should be throttled on the spot before he has time or opportunity to earn the title at humankind's expense. - Who alone can be great ? Artists and scientists ! And no one else ! And the least of them, if an honest man, is a thousand times greater than the great Xerxes. - If the gods would grant me 3 wishes, one of them would be immediately to free the earth of humankind. And of animals, too (they're too wicked for me as well). Plants are better (except for the insectavores) - The wind has picked up.
Arno Schmidt
I adore these words, worship them actually, and yet I do not buy that part about ‘the last time in history.’ Because the narrator himself is having such a wondrous moment; because every American who comes to love this lovable, hateful place knows this wonder, too. Because screeching the brakes on my rental bike and watching a turtle that is who knows how old creep across the wilderness of palm fronds that juts against such a painfully cute subset of civilization, I know exactly why the painfully cute civilization wants to be here, build here, make their homes and babies at such a place. So what if they got it wrong? Is there anything more American than constructing some squeaky-clean city on a hill looking out across the terrible beauty of this land? While most of the rest of us have internalized these impulses, turned them into metaphors, at Celebration, Disney is attempting the real deal; like the Puritans and the pioneers, they’re carving out a new community. An eerie, xenophobic, nostalgic community I can’t wait to leave, but still.
Sarah Vowell
She found Jamie standing on that corner, probably one of the most civilized street corners in the whole world, consulting a compass and announcing that when they turned left, they would be heading 'due northwest.' Claudia was tired and cold at the tips; her fingers, her toes, her nose were all cold while the rest of her was perspiring under the weight of her winter clothes. She never liked feeling either very hot or very cold, and she hated feeling both at the same time. 'Head due northwest. Head due northwest,' she mimicked. 'Can't you simply say turn right or turn left as everyone else does? Who do you think you are? Daniel Boone? I'll bet no one's used a compass in Manhattan since Henry Hudson.
E.L. Konigsburg (From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)
Herman Melville came to see me at the Consulate, looking much as he used to do (a little paler, and perhaps a little sadder), in a rough outside coat, and with his characteristic gravity and reserve of manner.... [W]e soon found ourselves on pretty much our former terms of sociability and confidence. Melville has not been well, of late; ... and no doubt has suffered from too constant literary occupation, pursued without much success, latterly; and his writings, for a long while past, have indicated a morbid state of mind.... Melville, as he always does, began to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond human ken, and informed me that he had "pretty much made up his mind to be annihilated"; but still he does not seem to rest in that anticipation; and, I think, will never rest until he gets hold of a definite belief. It is strange how he persists -- and has persisted ever since I knew him, and probably long before -- in wondering to-and-fro over these deserts, as dismal and monotonous as the sand hills amid which we were sitting. He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other. If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us. [after what would be their last meeting]
Nathaniel Hawthorne
I suppose that’s a valid point. The four of us can hang around a little longer before we leave.” “Five,” said Greta. “If you think I’m going to sit around up here while the rest of you go off to battle, you are dead wrong, Varney; I’ve had enough of that, and I know my way around the lair.” “She does,” Grisaille confirmed. “Bits of it anyway.” “Greta,” said Varney, ignoring this, “under no circumstances are you to go back under the city. We only just got you out of there again—” “No you didn’t,” she said. “I did. Remember? And if you want to murder Corvin, then imagine how I feel. I had to put up with him and his body glitter and his skull goblet and tiresome insinuations for several nights in a row. I get a say in this, okay?
Vivian Shaw (Dreadful Company (Dr. Greta Helsing, #2))
Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry, -- determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d'appui, below freshet and frost and fire, a place where you might found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer, but a Realometer, that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore-paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
My love, why did you leave me on Lexington Avenue in the Ford that had no brakes? It stalled in the traffic and broke down outside her window. She was writing a letter: I love you very much: Careful Now in capitals. That was a different letter. Yes, but I get confused. One day she saw a golden oriel in the orchard. One day she said, Then have your orgy with Blondie, work out your passion on her. I see it all, the poop of burnished gold. If I got angry and made a scene? But No. No. No, I believe you, of course, I believe you for didn't you say I was the one? Yes, you said, Take care of this girl for she is what makes my blood circulate and all the stars revolve and the seasons return. This was my dream, and why I had circles under my eyes this morning at breakfast. Everyone noticed it, and I think one of them sniggered. You don't take much interest in politics, do you? You never read the newspapers? I drank my coffee, but I had a slight feeling of nausea. It's to be expected, I don't mind it at all, it's nothing. My love, are you feeling better? He can't talk, he can only mutter. O my dear, O my dear, drink a little milk, lie down and rest a little. I will comfort you. I can carry love like Saint Christopher. It is heavy, but I can carry it. It's the stones of suspicion I stumble on. Did I say suspicion? No. No. No. It's nothing. I love you. A slight feeling of nausea, that's all. After a while I got out into the open air, and his face was the moon hanging in the snowy branches.
Elizabeth Smart (By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept)
The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. We have been misled in this matter by two causes. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. The other is the new pleasure in mechanism, which makes us delight in the astonishingly clever changes that we can produce on the earth's surface. Neither of these motives makes any great appeal to the actual worker. If you ask him what he thinks the best part of his life, he is not likely to say: "I enjoy manual work because it makes me feel that I am fulfilling man's noblest task, and because I like to think how much man can transform his planet. It is true that my body demands periods of rest, which I have to fill in as best I may, but I am never so happy as when the morning comes and I can return to the toil from which my contentment springs.
Bertrand Russell (In Praise of Idleness)
Cam paused, staring down at her with dilated eyes, the irises bright gold rims around circles of fathomless midnight. “Amelia, love…” His kiss tasted of salt and intimacy. “Can you take a little more of me?” She fought to think above the confusion of pleasure, and shook her head jerkily. The corners of his lips deepened with a smile. He whispered, “I think you can.” His hands played over her, solicitous fingertips sliding to the place they were joined. He pressed inside her, a low rhythmic movement, and his fingers were astonishingly gentle, almost delicate, as they stroked in time to the patient thrusts. Gasping, she arched to take him deeper, and deeper still. Every time he pushed, his body rubbed hers in exactly the right way. She began to lift eagerly, anticipating each invasion, panting for it, sensation building on sensation until it culminated in a blinding swell of delight … and another … another … she felt him begin to withdraw and she moaned and twined her legs around his hips. “Amelia,” he gasped, “no, let me … I’ve got to…” Shuddering, he spent helplessly inside her, while her body gripped and stroked the hard length of him. Still locked together, Cam rolled Amelia to her side. He muttered something in Romany. Although she didn’t understand a word, it sounded highly complimentary. Limp with pleasure and exhaustion, Amelia rested her head on the solid curve of his biceps, her breath catching as she felt the occasional twitch and pulse of him in the depths of her body.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
Then I saw the keyboard of an organ which filled one whole side of the walls. On the desk was a music-book covered with red notes. I asked leave to look at it and read, ‘Don Juan Triumphant.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, 'I compose sometimes.’ I began that work twenty years ago. When I have finished, I shall take it away with me in that coffin and never wake up again.’ 'You must work at it as seldom as you can,’ I said. He replied, 'I sometimes work at it for fourteen days and nights together, during which I live on music only, and then I rest for years at a time.’ 'Will you play me something out of your Don Juan Triumphant?’ I asked, thinking to please him. 'You must never ask me that,’ he said, in a gloomy voice. 'I will play you Mozart, if you like, which will only make you weep; but my Don Juan, Christine, burns; and yet he is not struck by fire from Heaven.’ Thereupon we returned to the drawing-room. I noticed that there was no mirror in the whole apartment. I was going to remark upon this, but Erik had already sat down to the piano. He said, 'You see, Christine, there is some music that is so terrible that it consumes all those who approach it. Fortunately, you have not come to that music yet, for you would lose all your pretty coloring and nobody would know you when you returned to Paris. Let us sing something from the Opera, Christine Daae.’ He spoke these last words as though he were flinging an insult at me.” “What did you do?” “I had no time to think about the meaning he put into his words. We at once began the duet in Othello and already the catastrophe was upon us. I sang Desdemona with a despair, a terror which I had never displayed before. As for him, his voice thundered forth his revengeful soul at every note. Love, jealousy, hatred, burst out around us in harrowing cries. Erik’s black mask made me think of the natural mask of the Moor of Venice. He was Othello himself. Suddenly, I felt a need to see beneath the mask. I wanted to know the FACE of the voice, and, with a movement which I was utterly unable to control, swiftly my fingers tore away the mask. Oh, horror, horror, horror!” Christine stopped, at the thought of the vision that had scared her, while the echoes of the night, which had repeated the name of Erik, now thrice moaned the cry: “Horror! … Horror! … Horror!
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
Adam wet his dry lips and tried to ask and failed and tried again. "Why do they have to do it?" he said. "Why is it?" Cyrus was deeply moved and he spoke as he had never spoken before. "I don't know," he said. "I've studied and maybe learned how things are, but I"m not even close to why they are. And you must not expect to find that people understand what they do. So many things are done instinctively, the way a bee makes honey or a fox dips his paws into a stream to fool dogs. A fox can't say why he does it, and what bee remembers winter or expects it to come again? When I knew you had to go I thought to leave the future open so you could dig out your own findings, and then it seemed better if I could protect you with the little I know. You'll go in soon now--you've come to the age." "I don't want to," said Adam quickly. "You'll go in soon," his father went on, not hearing. "And I want to tell you so you won't be surprised. They'll first strip off your clothes, but they'll go deeper than that. They'll shuck off any little dignity you have--you'll lose what you think of as your decent right to live and be let alone to live. They'll make you live and eat and sleep and shit close to other men. And when they dress you up again you'll not be able to tell yourself from the others. You can't even wear a scrap or pin a note on your breast to say, 'This is me--separate from the rest.'" "I don't want to do it," said Adam. "After a while," said Cyrus, "you'll think no thought the others do not think. You'll know no word the others can't say. And you'll do things because the others do them. You'll feel the danger in any difference whatever-- a danger to the whole crowd of like-thinking, like-acting men." "What if I don't?" Adam demanded. "Yes," said Cyrus, "sometimes that happens. Once in a while there is a man who won't do what is demanded of him, and do you know what happens? The whole machine devotes itself coldly to the destruction of his difference. They'll beat your spirit and your nerves, your body and your mind, with iron rods until the dangerous difference goes out of you. And if you can't finally give in, they'll vomit you up and leave you stinking outside--neither part of themselves nor yet free. It's better to fall in with them. They only do it to protect themselves [...]
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Sheila and Hugh Resting in arms Testing your charms Repeating a ritualized “I love you” Sharing a fight Or a kiss in the night Shrugging when friends ask “What’s new?” After the wedding Her hips started spreading His hair line began to recede They remained together Out of habit now And not out of any great need He’ll show up from work Showing signs of strain While her day was spent cleaning Letting the soap operas wash her brain . . . He reads the evening paper She calls him in to eat They share their meal silently She’s bored, he’s just beat Then they climb the stairs Multiplying the monotony With each step they take The hours spent sleeping They find more satisfying Than those spent awake He removes his work clothes She puts on her curlers and cream Hoping the sheets will protect them From the demon of daily routine Then he clicks off the lamp And the darkness holds no noise For in the dark you can be anyone Housewives will be girls And businessmen boys . . . “I love you, Sheila” I love you, Hugh” But she’s deciding on dishes And his thoughts are all askew And the sheets supply refuge For this perpetual pair Neither really knowing anymore Why the other one is there
Carrie Fisher (The Princess Diarist)
Because no one of us lives for himself and no one dies for himself. For if we live, then we live for the Lord; and if we die, then we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.' Pastor Jón Prímus to himself: That's rather good. With that he thrust the manual into his cassock pocket, turned towards the coffin, and said: That was the formula, Mundi. I was trying to get you to understand it, but it didn't work out; actually it did not matter. We cannot get round this formula anyway. It's easy to prove that the formula is wrong, but it is at least so right that the world came into existence. But it is a waste of words to try to impute to the Creator democratic ideas or social virtues; or to think that one can move Him with weeping and wailing, and persuade Him with logic and legal quibbles. Nothing is so pointless as words. The late pastor Jens of Setberg knew all this and more besides. But he also knew that the formula is kept in a locker. The rest comes by itself. The Creation, which includes you and me, we are in the formula, this very formula I have just been reading; and there is no way out of it. Because no one lives for himself and so on; and whether we live or die, we and so on. You are annoyed that demons should govern the world and that consequently there is only one virtue that is taken seriously by the newspapers: killings. You said they had discovered a machine to destroy everything that draws breath on earth; they were now trying to agree on a method of accomplishing this task quickly and cleanly; preferably while having a cocktail. They are trying to break out of the formula, poor wretches. Who can blame them for that? Who has never wanted to do that? Many consider the human being to be the most useless animal on earth or even the lowest stage of evolution in all the universe put together, and that it is more than high time to wipe this creature out, like the mammoth in the tundras. We once knew a war maiden, you and I. There was only one word ever found for her: Úa. So wonderful was this creation that it's no exaggeration to say that she was completely unbearable; indeed I think that we two helped one another to destroy her, and yet perhaps she is still alive. There was never anything like her. ... In conclusion I, as the local pastor, thank you for having participated in carrying the Creation on your shoulders alongside me.
Halldór Laxness (Under the Glacier)
This is where we are now, endlessly cheerleading ourselves into positivity while erasing the dirty underside of real life. I always read brutality in those messages: they offer next to nothing. There are days when I can say with great certainty that I am not strong enough to manage. And what if I can’t hang on in there? What then? These people might as well be leaning into my face, shouting, Cope! Cope! Cope! while spraying perfume into the air to make it all seem nice. The subtext of these messages is clear: Misery is not an option. We must carry on looking jolly for the sake of the crowd. While we may no longer see depression as a failure, we expect you to spin it into something meaningful pretty quick. And if you can’t pull that off, then you’d better disappear from view for a while. You’re dragging down the vibe.
Katherine May (Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
Four billion people on this earth, but my imagination is the way it's always been: bad with large numbers. It is still moved by particularity. It flits about the darkness like a flashlight beam, disclosing only random faces, while the rest go blindly by, unthought of, unpitied. Not even a Dante could have stopped that. So what do you do when you're not, even with all the muses on your side? Non omnis moriar—a premature worry. Yet am I fully alive, and is that enough? It never has been, and even less so now. I select by rejecting, for there's no other way, but what I reject, is more numerous, more dense, more intrusive than ever. At the cost of untold losses—a poem, a sigh. I reply with a whisper to a thunderous calling. How much I am silent about I can't say. A mouse at the foot of mother mountain. Life lasts as long as a few lines of claws in the sand. My dreams—even they are not as populous as they should be. There is more solitude in them than crowds or clamor. Sometimes someone long dead will drop by for a bit. A single hand turns a knob. Annexes of echo overgrow the empty house. I run from the threshold down into the quiet valley seemingly no one's—an anachronism by now. Where does all this space still in me come from— that I don't know.
Wisława Szymborska (View with a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems)
When she dies, you are not at first surprised. Part of love is preparing for death. You feel confirmed in your love when she dies. You got it right. This is part of it all. Afterward comes the madness. And then the loneliness: not the spectacular solitude you had anticipated, not the interesting martyrdom of widowhood, but just loneliness. You expect something almost geological-- vertigo in a shelving canyon -- but it's not like that; it's just misery as regular as a job. What do we doctors say? I'm deeply sorry, Mrs Blank; there will of course be a period of mourning but rest assured you will come out of it; two of these each evening, I would suggest; perhaps a new interst, Mrs Blank; can maintenance, formation dancing?; don't worry, six months will see you back on the roundabout; come and see me again any time; oh nurse, when she calls, just give her this repeat will you, no I don't need to see her, well it's not her that's dead is it, look on the bright side. What did she say her name was? And then it happens to you. There's no glory in it. Mourning is full of time; nothing but time.... you should eat stuffed sow's heart. I might yet have to fall back on this remedy. I've tried drink, but what does that do? Drink makes you drunk, that's all it's ever been able to do. Work, they say, cures everything. It doesn't; often, it doesn't even induce tiredness: the nearest you get to it is a neurotic lethargy. And there is always time. Have some more time. Take your time. Extra time. Time on your hands. Other people think you want to talk. 'Do you want to talk about Ellen?' they ask, hinting that they won't be embarrassed if you break down. Sometimes you talk, sometimes you don't; it makes little difference. The word aren't the right ones; or rather, the right words don't exist. 'Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.' You talk, and you find the language of bereavement foolishly inadequate. You seem to be talking about other people's griefs. I loved her; we were happy; I miss her. She didn't love me; we were unhappy; I miss her. There is a limited choice of prayers on offer: gabble the syllables. And you do come out of it, that's true. After a year, after five. But your don't come out of it like a train coming out of a tunnel, bursting through the Downs into sunshine and that swift, rattling descent to the Channel; you come out of it as a gull comes out of an oil-slick. You are tarred and feathered for life.
Julian Barnes (Flaubert's Parrot)
In the stillest hour of the night, as I lay half asleep, my seven selves sat together and thus conversed in whispers: First Self: Here, in this madman, I have dwelt all these years, with naught to do but renew his pain by day and recreate his sorrow by night. I can bear my fate no longer, and now I rebel. Second Self: Yours is a better lot than mine, brother, for it is given to me to be this madman's joyous self. I laugh his laughter and sing his happy hours, and with thrice winged feet I dance his brighter thoughts. It is I that would rebel against my weary existence. Third Self: And what of me, the love-ridden self, the flaming brand of wild passion and fantastic desires? It is I the love-sick self who would rebel against this madman. Fourth Self: I, amongst you all, am the most miserable, for naught was given me but odious hatred and destructive loathing. It is I, the tempest-like self, the one born in the black caves of Hell, who would protest against serving this madman. Fifth Self: Nay, it is I, the thinking self, the fanciful self, the self of hunger and thirst, the one doomed to wander without rest in search of unknown things and things not yet created; it is I, not you, who would rebel. Sixth Self: And I, the working self, the pitiful labourer, who, with patient hands, and longing eyes, fashion the days into images and give the formless elements new and eternal forms- it is I, the solitary one, who would rebel against this restless madman. Seventh Self: How strange that you all would rebel against this man, because each and every one of you has a preordained fate to fulfil. Ah! could I but be like one of you, a self with a determined lot! But I have none, I am the do-nothing self, the one who sits in the dumb, empty nowhere and nowhen, while you are busy re-creating life. Is it you or I, neighbours, who should rebel? When the seventh self thus spake the other six selves looked with pity upon him but said nothing more; and as the night grew deeper one after the other went to sleep enfolded with a new and happy submission. But the seventh self remained watching and gazing at nothingness, which is behind all things.
Kahlil Gibran
The back of my neck breaks out in a sweat, and I’m getting nervous. Why is he just standing there, staring at me? “What do you want?” I press, my tone curt. He opens his mouth but then closes it swallowing. “Pike, Jesus—” “The day you left,” he blurts out, and I stop. I wait, listening as a look of fear crosses his eyes. “The house was so empty,” he continues. “Like a quiet that was never there before. I couldn’t hear your footsteps upstairs or your hairdryer or anticipate you walking into a room. You were gone. Everything was…” he drops his eyes, “gone.” A ball lodges in my throat, and I feel tears threaten, but I tense my jaw, refusing to let it out. “But I could still feel you,” he whispers. “You were still everywhere. The container of cookies in the fridge, the backsplash you picked out, the way you put all my pictures back in the wrong spot after you dusted my bookshelves.” He smiles to himself. “But I couldn’t rearrange them, because you were the last to touch them, and I wanted everything the way you had it.” My chin trembles, and I fold my arms over my chest, hiding my balled fists under my arms. He pauses and then goes on. “Nothing would ever go back to the way it was before you came into my house. I didn’t want it to.” He shakes his head. “I went to work, and I came home, and I stayed there every night and all weekend, every weekend, because that’s where we were together. That’s where I could still feel you.” He steps closer, dropping his voice. “That’s where I could wrap myself up in you and hang on to every last thread in that house that proved you were mine for just a little while.” His tone grows thick, and I see his eyes water. “I really thought I was doing what was best,” he says, knitting his brow. “I thought I was taking advantage of you, because you’re young and beautiful and so happy and hopeful despite everything you’d been through. You made me feel like the world was a big place again.” My breathing shakes, and I don’t know what to do. I hate that he’s here. I hate that I love that he’s here. I hate him. “I couldn’t steal your life from you and keep you to myself, you know?” he explains. “But then I realized that you’re not happy or hopeful or making me feel good because you’re young. You are those things and you’re capable of those things, because you’re a good person. It’s who you are.” A tear spills over, gliding down my cheek. “Baby,” he whispers, his hands shaking. “I hope you love me, because I love you like crazy, and I’m going to want you the rest of my life. I tried to stay away, because I thought it was the right thing, but I fucking can’t. I need you, and I love you. This doesn’t happen twice, and I’m not going to be stupid again. I promise.” My chin trembles, and something lodges in my throat, and I try to hold it in, but I can’t. My face cracks, and I break down, turning away from him. The tears come like a goddamn waterfall, and I hate him. I fucking hate him. His arms are around me in a second, and he hugs me from behind, burying his face in my neck. “I’m sorry I took so long,” he whispers in my ear.
Penelope Douglas (Birthday Girl)
Perfect Joy (excerpts) Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? . . . What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to. What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death. What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labour, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy. . . . I cannot tell if what the world considers "happiness" is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while they claim to be just on the point of attaining happiness. . . . My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course. I will hold to the saying that:"Perfect Joy is to be without joy. Perfect praise is to be without praise." If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right" and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being. Here is how I sum it up: Heaven does nothing: its non-doing is its serenity. Earth does nothing: its non-doing is its rest. From the union of these two non-doings All actions proceed, All things are made. How vast, how invisible This coming-to-be! All things come from nowhere! How vast, how invisible - No way to explain it! All beings in their perfection Are born of non-doing. Hence it is said: "Heaven and earth do nothing Yet there is nothing they do not do." Where is the man who can attain To this non-doing?
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
Kate?” Anthony yelled again. He couldn’t see anyone; a dislodged bench was blocking the opening. “Can you hear me?” Still no response. “Try the other side,” came Edwina’s frantic voice. “The opening isn’t as crushed.” Anthony jumped to his feet and ran around the back of the carriage to the other side. The door had already come off its hinges, leaving a hole just large enough for him to stuff his upper body into. “Kate?” he called out, trying not to notice the sharp sound of panic in his voice. Every breath from his lips seemed overloud, reverberating in the tight space, reminding him that he wasn’t hearing the same sounds from Kate. And then, as he carefully moved a seat cushion that had turned sideways, he saw her. She was terrifyingly still, but her head didn’t appear to be stuck in an unnatural position, and he didn’t see any blood. That had to be a good sign. He didn’t know much of medicine, but he held on to that thought like a miracle. “You can’t die, Kate,” he said as his terrified fingers yanked away at the wreckage, desperate to open the hole until it was wide enough to pull her through. “Do you hear me? You can’t die!” A jagged piece of wood sliced open the back of his hand, but Anthony didn’t notice the blood running over his skin as he pulled on another broken beam. “You had better be breathing,” he warned, his voice shaking and precariously close to a sob. “This wasn’t supposed to be you. It was never supposed to be you. It isn’t your time. Do you understand me?” He tore away another broken piece of wood and reached through the newly widened hole to grasp her hand. His fingers found her pulse, which seemed steady enough to him, but it was still impossible to tell if she was bleeding, or had broken her back, or had hit her head, or had . . . His heart shuddered. There were so many ways to die. If a bee could bring down a man in his prime, surely a carriage accident could steal the life of one small woman. Anthony grabbed the last piece of wood that stood in his way and heaved, but it didn’t budge. “Don’t do this to me,” he muttered. “Not now. It isn’t her time. Do you hear me? It isn’t her time!” He felt something wet on his cheeks and dimly realized that it was tears. “It was supposed to be me,” he said, choking on the words. “It was always supposed to be me.” And then, just as he was preparing to give that last piece of wood another desperate yank, Kate’s fingers tightened like a claw around his wrist. His eyes flew to her face, just in time to see her eyes open wide and clear, with nary a blink. “What the devil,” she asked, sounding quite lucid and utterly awake, “are you talking about?” Relief flooded his chest so quickly it was almost painful. “Are you all right?” he asked, his voice wobbling on every syllable. She grimaced, then said, “I’ll be fine.” Anthony paused for the barest of seconds as he considered her choice of words. “But are you fine right now?” She let out a little cough, and he fancied he could hear her wince with pain. “I did something to my leg,” she admitted. “But I don’t think I’m bleeding.” “Are you faint? Dizzy? Weak?” She shook her head. “Just in pain. What are you doing here?” He smiled through his tears. “I came to find you.” “You did?” she whispered. He nodded. “I came to— That is to say, I realized . . .” He swallowed convulsively. He’d never dreamed that the day would come when he’d say these words to a woman, and they’d grown so big in his heart he could barely squeeze them out. “I love you, Kate,” he said chokingly. “It took me a while to figure it out, but I do, and I had to tell you. Today.” Her lips wobbled into a shaky smile as she motioned to the rest of her body with her chin. “You’ve bloody good timing.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart. Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air. "Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures." Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go." She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go." "I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually. "Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go." Their eyes locked in silent communion. "God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him." Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall." Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him." "Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back." "I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it. "Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me." Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept. Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go? Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips. They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go. They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door. Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever." He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.
Robin Jones Gunn (Sweet Dreams (Christy Miller, #11))
At the time, I paid no heed to the emblem above the door of a compass crossed with a square; the library had been founded by Masons. There, in the quiet shadows, I read for hours from the books that the kind librarian allowed me to take from the shelves: fairy tales, adventure stories, adaptations of classics for children, and dictionaries of symbols. One day while browsing among the shelves I ran across a yellowed volume: Les Tarots by Eteilla. All my efforts to read it were in vain. The letters looked strange and the words were incomprehensible. I began to worry that I had forgotten how to read. When I communicated my anguish to the librarian, he began to laugh. “But how could you understand it; it’s written in French, my young friend! I can’t understand it either!” Oh, how I felt drawn to those mysterious pages! I flipped through them, seeing many numbers, sums, the frequent occurrence of the word Thot, some geometric shapes . . . but what fascinated me most was a rectangle inside which a princess, wearing a three-pointed crown and seated on a throne, was caressing a lion that was resting its head on her knees. The animal had an expression of profound intelligence combined with an extreme gentleness. Such a placid creature! I liked the image so much that I committed a transgression that I still have not repented: I tore out the page and brought it home to my room. Concealed beneath a floorboard, the card “STRENGTH” became my secret treasure. In the strength of my innocence, I fell in love with the princess.
Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Dance of Reality: A Psychomagical Autobiography)
His breath fell in a warm, even rhythm on the curve of her cheek. “Some people think of the bee as a sacred insect,” he said. “It’s a symbol of reincarnation.” “I don’t believe in reincarnation,” she muttered. There was a smile in his voice. “What a surprise. At the very least, the bees’ presence in your home is a sign of good things to come.” Her voice was buried in the fine wool of his coat. “Wh-what does it mean if there are thousands of bees in one’s home?” He shifted her higher in his arms, his lips curving gently against the cold rim of her ear. “Probably that we’ll have plenty of honey for teatime. We’re going through the doorway now. In a moment I’m going to set you on your feet.” Amelia kept her face against him, her fingertips digging into the layers of his clothes. “Are they following?” “No. They want to stay near the hive. Their main concern is to protect the queen from predators.” “She has nothing to fear from me!” Laughter rustled in his throat. With extreme care, he lowered Amelia’s feet to the floor. Keeping one arm around her, he reached with the other to close the door. “There. We’re out of the room. You’re safe.” His hand passed over her hair. “You can open your eyes now.” Clutching the lapels of his coat, Amelia stood and waited for a feeling of relief that didn’t come. Her heart was racing too hard, too fast. Her chest ached from the strain of her breathing. Her lashes lifted, but all she could see was a shower of sparks. “Amelia … easy. You’re all right.” His hands chased the shivers that ran up and down her back. “Slow down, sweetheart.” She couldn’t. Her lungs were about to burst. No matter how hard she worked, she couldn’t get enough air. Bees … the sound of buzzing was still in her ears. She heard his voice as if from a great distance, and she felt his arms go around her again as she sank into layers of gray softness. After what could have been a minute or an hour, pleasant sensations filtered through the haze. A tender pressure moved over her forehead. The gentle brushes touched her eyelids, slid to her cheeks. Strong arms held her against a comfortingly hard surface, while a clean, salt-edged scent filled her nostrils. Her lashes fluttered, and she turned into the warmth with confused pleasure. “There you are,” came a low murmur. Opening her eyes, Amelia saw Cam Rohan’s face above her. They were on the hallway floor—he was holding her in his lap. As if the situation weren’t mortifying enough, the front of her bodice was gaping, and her corset was unhooked. Only her crumpled chemise was left to cover her chest. Amelia stiffened. Until that moment she had never known there was a feeling beyond embarrassment, that made one wish one could crumble into a pile of ashes. “My … my dress…” “You weren’t breathing well. I thought it best to loosen your corset.” “I’ve never fainted before,” she said groggily, struggling to sit up. “You were frightened.” His hand came to the center of her chest, gently pressing her back down. “Rest another minute.” His gaze moved over her wan features. “I think we can conclude you’re not fond of bees.
Lisa Kleypas (Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1))
Don't misunderstand, but how dare you risk your life? What the devil did you think, to leap over like that? You could have stayed safe on this side and just helped me over." Even to her ears, her tone bordered on the hysterical. Beneath her fingers, the white lawn started to redden. She sucked in a shaky breath. "How could you risk your life-your life, you idiot!" She leaned harder on the pad, dragged in another breath. He coughed weakly, shifted his head. "Don't you dare die on me!" His lips twisted, but his eyes remained closed. "But if I die"-his words were a whisper-"you won't have to marry, me or anyone else. Even the most censorious in the ton will consider my death to be the end of the matter. You'll be free." "Free?" Then his earlier words registered. "If you die? I told you-don't you dare! I won't let you-I forbid you to. How can I marry you if you die? And how the hell will I live if you aren't alive, too?" As the words left her mouth, half hysterical, all emotion, she realized they were the literal truth. Her life wouldn't be worth living if he wasn't there to share it. "What will I do with my life if you die?" He softly snorted, apparently unimpressed by-or was it not registering?-her panic. "Marry some other poor sod, like you were planning to." The words cut. "You are the only poor sod I'm planning to marry." Her waspish response came on a rush of rising fear. She glanced around, but there was no one in sight. Help had yet to come running. She looked back at him, readjusted the pressure on the slowly reddening pad. "I intend not only to marry you but to lead you by the nose for the rest of your days. It's the least I can do to repay you for this-for the shock to my nerves. I'll have you know I'd decided even before this little incident to reverse my decision and become your viscountess, and lead you such a merry dance through the ballrooms and drawing rooms that you'll be gray within two years." He humphed softly, dismissively, but he was listening. Studying his face, she realized her nonsense was distracting him from the pain. She engaged her imagination and let her tongue run free. "I've decided I'll redecorate Baraclough in the French Imperial style-all that white and gilt and spindly legs, with all the chairs so delicate you won't dare sit down. And while we're on the subject of your-our-country home, I've had an idea about my carriage, the one you'll buy me as a wedding gift..." She rambled on, paying scant attention to her words, simply let them and all the images she'd dreamed of come tumbling out, painting a vibrant, fanciful, yet in many ways-all the ways that counted-accurate word pictures of her hopes, her aspirations. Her vision of their life together. When the well started to run dry, when her voice started to thicken with tears at the fear that they might no longer have a chance to enjoy all she'd described, she concluded with, "So you absolutely can't die now." Fear prodded; almost incensed, she blurted, "Not when I was about to back down and agree to return to London with you." He moistened his lips. Whispered, "You were?" "Yes! I was!" His fading voice tipped her toward panic. Her voice rose in reaction. "I can't believe you were so foolish as to risk your life like this! You didn't need to put yourself in danger to save me." "Yes, I did." The words were firmer, bitten off through clenched teeth. She caught his anger. Was anger good. Would temper hold him to the world? A frown drew down his black brows. "You can't be so damned foolish as to think I wouldn't-after protecting you through all this, seeing you safely all this way, watching over you all this time, what else was I going to do?
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
After they buy their tickets, Emma pulls him to the concession line. "Galen, do you mind?" she says, drawing a distracting circle on his arm with her finger, sending fire pretty much everywhere inside him. He recognizes the mischief in her eyes but not the particular game she's playing. "Get whatever you want, Emma," he tells her. With a coy smile, she orders seventy-five dollars worth of candy, soda, and popcorn. By the cashier's expression, seventy-five dollars must be a lot. If the game is to spend all his money, she'll be disappointed. He brought enough cash for five more armfuls of this junk. He helps Emma carry two large fountain drinks, two buckets of popcorn and four boxes of candy to the top row of the half-full theater. When she's situated in her seat, she tears into a box and dumps the contents in her hand. "Look, sweet lips, I got your favorite, Lemonheads!" Sweet lips? What the- Before he can turn away, she forces three of them into his mouth. His instant pucker elicits an evil snicker from her. She pops a straw into one of the cups and hands it to him. "Better drink this," she whispers. "To take the bite out of the candy." He should have known better. The drink is so full of bubbles it turns clear up to his nostrils. Pride keeps him from coughing. Pride, and the Lemonhead lodged in his throat. Several more heaping gulps and he gets it down. After a few minutes, a sample of greasy popcorn, and the rest of the soda, the lights finally dim, giving Galen a reprieve. While Emma is engrossed in what she calls "stupid previews," Galen excuses himself to vomit in the bathroom. Emma wins this round.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
like a black tide. With the sound of a thousand skittering spiders, the specter fled through the main entrance of the school and then disappeared completely. “Holy shit. That was seriously gross,” Aphrodite said. I was going to agree with Aphrodite when I heard the first, terrible cough. I felt the circle break before I saw her fall to her knees. She looked up at me and coughed again. Blood sprayed from her lips. “Didn’t think it would end like this,” she rasped. “I’m getting Thanatos!” Aphrodite called as she sprinted away. “No! This can’t be happening,” Shaunee said, dropping to her knees beside the already blood-soaked Erin. “Twin! Please. You’ll be fine!” Erin fell into her arms. Damien, Stevie Rae, and I shared a look, and then as one, we joined Shaunee while she held her friend. “I’m so sorry,” Shaunee sobbed. “I didn’t mean anything bad that I said to you.” “It’s—it’s okay, Twin.” Erin spoke slowly between wracking coughs as the blood bubbled in her throat and streamed crimson from her eyes and ears and nose. “It was my fault. I—I forgot how to feel.” “We’re here with you,” I said, touching Erin’s hair. “Spirit, calm her.” “Earth, soothe her,” Stevie Rae said. “Air, envelop her,” Damien said. “Fire, warm her,” Shaunee spoke through her tears. Erin smiled and touched Shaunee’s face. “It already has warmed me. I—I don’t feel cold and alone anymore. Don’t feel anything except tired…” “Just rest,” Shaunee said. “I’ll stay with you while you sleep.” “We all will,” I said, wiping tears from my face with the back of my sleeve. Erin smiled one more time at Shaunee, and then she closed her eyes and died in her Twin’s arms.
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))
Rayna does not get sick on planes. Also, Rayna does not stop talking on planes. By the time we land at Okaloosa Regional Airport, I’m wondering if I’ve spoken as many words in my entire life as she did on the plane. With no layovers, it was the longest forty-five minutes of my whole freaking existence. I can tell Rachel’s nerves are also fringed. She orders an SUV limo-Rachel never does anything small-to pick us up and insists that Rayna try the complimentary champagne. I’m fairly certain it’s the first alcoholic beverage Rayna’s ever had, and by the time we reach the hotel on the beach, I’m all the way certain. As Rayna snores in the seat across from me, Rachel checks us into the hotel and has our bags taken to our room. “Do you want to head over to the Gulfarium now?” she asks. “Or, uh, rest up a bit and wait for Rayna to wake up?” This is an important decision. Personally, I’m not tired at all and would love to see a liquored-up Rayna negotiate the stairs at the Gulfarium. But I’d feel a certain guilt if she hit her hard head on a wooden rail or something and then we’d have to pay the Gulfarium for the damages her thick skull would surely cause. Plus, I’d have to suffer a reproving look from Dr. Milligan, which might actually hurt my feelings because he reminds me a bit of my dad. So I decide to do the right thing. “Let’s rest for a while and let her snap out of it. I’ll call Dr. Milligan and let him know we’ve checked in.” Two hours later, Sleeping Beast wakes up and we head to see Dr. Milligan. Rayna is particularly grouchy when hungover-can you even get hungover from drinking champagne?-so she’s not terribly inclined to be nice to the security guard who lets us in. She mutters something under her breath-thank God she doesn’t have a real voice-and pushes past him like the spoiled Royalty she is. I’m just about aggravated beyond redemption-until we see Dr. Milligan in a new exhibit of stingrays. He coos and murmurs as if they’re a litter of puppies in the tank begging to play with him. When he notices our arrival he smiles, and it feels like a coconut slushy on a sweltering day and it almost makes up for the crap I’ve been put through these past few days.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
Thus engaged, with her right elbow supported by her left hand, Madame Defarge said nothing when her lord came in, but coughed just one grain of cough. This, in combination with the lifting of her darkly defined eyebrows over her toothpick by the breadth of a line, suggested to her husband that he would do well to look round the shop among the customers, for any new customer who had dropped in while he stepped over the way. The wine-shop keeper accordingly rolled his eyes about, until they rested upon an elderly gentleman and a young lady, who were seated in a corner. Other company were there: two playing cards, two playing dominoes, three standing by the counter lengthening out a short supply of wine. As he passed behind the counter, he took notice that the elderly gentleman said in a look to the young lady, "This is our man." "What the devil do you do in that galley there?" said Monsieur Defarge to himself; "I don't know you." But, he feigned not to notice the two strangers, and fell into discourse with the triumvirate of customers who were drinking at the counter. "How goes it, Jacques?" said one of these three to Monsieur Defarge. "Is all the spilt wine swallowed?" "Every drop, Jacques," answered Monsieur Defarge. When this interchange of Christian name was effected, Madame Defarge, picking her teeth with her toothpick, coughed another grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line. "It is not often," said the second of the three, addressing Monsieur Defarge, "that many of these miserable beasts know the taste of wine, or of anything but black bread and death. Is it not so, Jacques?" "It is so, Jacques," Monsieur Defarge returned. At this second interchange of the Christian name, Madame Defarge, still using her toothpick with profound composure, coughed another grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line. The last of the three now said his say, as he put down his empty drinking vessel and smacked his lips. "Ah! So much the worse! A bitter taste it is that such poor cattle always have in their mouths, and hard lives they live, Jacques. Am I right, Jacques?" "You are right, Jacques," was the response of Monsieur Defarge. This third interchange of the Christian name was completed at the moment when Madame Defarge put her toothpick by, kept her eyebrows up, and slightly rustled in her seat. "Hold then! True!" muttered her husband. "Gentlemen--my wife!" The three customers pulled off their hats to Madame Defarge, with three flourishes. She acknowledged their homage by bending her head, and giving them a quick look. Then she glanced in a casual manner round the wine-shop, took up her knitting with great apparent calmness and repose of spirit, and became absorbed in it. "Gentlemen," said her husband, who had kept his bright eye observantly upon her, "good day. The chamber, furnished bachelor- fashion, that you wished to see, and were inquiring for when I stepped out, is on the fifth floor. The doorway of the staircase gives on the little courtyard close to the left here," pointing with his hand, "near to the window of my establishment. But, now that I remember, one of you has already been there, and can show the way. Gentlemen, adieu!" They paid for their wine, and left the place. The eyes of Monsieur Defarge were studying his wife at her knitting when the elderly gentleman advanced from his corner, and begged the favour of a word. "Willingly, sir," said Monsieur Defarge, and quietly stepped with him to the door. Their conference was very short, but very decided. Almost at the first word, Monsieur Defarge started and became deeply attentive. It had not lasted a minute, when he nodded and went out. The gentleman then beckoned to the young lady, and they, too, went out. Madame Defarge knitted with nimble fingers and steady eyebrows, and saw nothing.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
I shall say that he is mistaken in supposing that I can regret the birth of my daughters, (who have been the pride of my life, and are likely to be the comfort of my old age), or the thirty years I have passed in the company of my best and dearest friend;–that, had our misfortunes been three times as great as they were, (unless they had been of my bringing on,) I should still the more rejoice to have shared them with your father, and administered what consolation I was able; and, had his sufferings in illness been ten times what they were, I could not regret having watched over and laboured to relieve them–that, if he had married a richer wife, misfortunes and trials would no doubt have come upon him still, while–I am egotist enough to imagine that no other woman could have cheered him through them so well–not that I am superior to the rest, but I was made for him, and he for me; and I can no more repent the hours–days–years of happiness we have spent together, and which neither could have had without the other, than I can the privilege of having been his nurse in sickness, and his comfort in affliction.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into writing, if you totally lack literary talent you can forget about being a novelist. This is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. If you don’t have any fuel, even the best car won’t run.The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can’t control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it. Of course, certain poets and rock singers whose genius went out in a blaze of glory—people like Schubert and Mozart, whose dramatic early deaths turned them into legends—have a certain appeal, but for the vast majority of us this isn’t the model we follow. If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, that’s easy too: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. I generally concentrate on work for three or four hours every morning. I sit at my desk and focus totally on what I’m writing. I don’t see anything else, I don’t think about anything else. … After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed of the writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years. … Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee results will come. In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated. I understand the purpose behind his doing this. This is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his willpower. This sort of daily training was indispensable to him. … Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? I know that if I hadn’t become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different. How different? Hard to say. But something would definitely have been different.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
But every single day after work Tatiana brushed her hair and ran outside, thinking, please be there, and every single day after work Alexander was. Though he never asked her to go to the Summer Garden anymore or to sit on the bench under the trees with him, his hat was always in his hands. Exhausted and slow, they meandered from tram to canal to tram, reluctantly parting at Grechesky Prospekt, three blocks away from her apartment building. During their walks sometimes they talked about Alexander’s America or his life in Moscow, and sometimes they talked about Tatiana’s Lake Ilmen and her summers in Luga, and sometimes they chatted about the war, though less and less because of the anxiety over Pasha, and sometimes Alexander taught Tatiana a little English. Sometimes they told jokes, and sometimes they barely spoke at all. A few times Alexander let Tatiana carry his rifle as a balancing stick while she walked a high ledge on the side of Obvodnoy Canal. “Don’t fall into the water, Tania,” he once said, “because I can’t swim.” “Is that true?” she asked incredulously, nearly toppling over. Grabbing the end of his rifle to steady her, Alexander said with a grin, “Let’s not find out, shall we? I don’t want to lose my weapon.” “That’s all right,” Tatiana said, precariously teetering on the ledge and laughing. “I can swim perfectly well. I’ll save your weapon for you. Want to see?” “No, thank you.” And sometimes, when Alexander talked, Tatiana found her lower jaw drifting down and was suddenly and awkwardly aware that she had been staring at him so long that her mouth had dropped open. She didn’t know what to look at when he talked—his caramel eyes that blinked and smiled and shined and were grim or his vibrant mouth that moved and opened and breathed and spoke. Her eyes darted from his eyes to his lips and circled from his hair to his jaw as if they were afraid she would miss something if she didn’t stare at everything all at once. There were some pieces of his fascinating life that Alexander did not wish to talk about—and didn’t. Not about the last time he saw his father, not about how he became Alexander Belov, not about how he received his medal of valor. Tatiana didn’t care and never did more than gently press him. She would take from him what he needed to give her and wait impatiently for the rest.
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
My reading has been lamentably desultory and immedthodical. Odd, out of the way, old English plays, and treatises, have supplied me with most of my notions, and ways of feeling. In everything that relates to science, I am a whole Encyclopaedia behind the rest of the world. I should have scarcely cut a figure among the franklins, or country gentlemen, in King John's days. I know less geography than a schoolboy of six weeks standing. To me a map of old Ortelius is as authentic as Arrowsmith. I do not know whereabout Africa merges into Asia, whether Ethiopia lie in one or other of those great divisions, nor can form the remotest, conjecture of the position of New South Wales, or Van Diemen's Land. Yet do I hold a correspondence with a very dear friend in the first named of these two Terrae Incognitae. I have no astronomy. I do not know where to look for the Bear or Charles' Wain, the place of any star, or the name of any of them at sight. I guess at Venus only by her brightness - and if the sun on some portentous morn were to make his first appearance in the west, I verily believe, that, while all the world were grasping in apprehension about me, I alone should stand unterrified, from sheer incuriosity and want of observation. Of history and chronology I possess some vague points, such as one cannot help picking up in the course of miscellaneous study, but I never deliberately sat down to a chronicle, even of my own country. I have most dim apprehensions of the four great monarchies, and sometimes the Assyrian, sometimes the Persian, floats as first in my fancy. I make the widest conjectures concerning Egypt, and her shepherd kings. My friend M., with great pains taking, got me to think I understood the first proposition in Euclid, but gave me over in despair at the second. I am entirely unacquainted with the modern languages, and, like a better man than myself, have 'small Latin and less Greek'. I am a stranger to the shapes and texture of the commonest trees, herbs, flowers - not from the circumstance of my being town-born - for I should have brought the same inobservant spirit into the world with me, had I first seen it, 'on Devon's leafy shores' - and am no less at a loss among purely town objects, tool, engines, mechanic processes. Not that I affect ignorance - but my head has not many mansions, nor spacious, and I have been obliged to fill it with such cabinet curiosities as it can hold without aching. I sometimes wonder how I have passed my probation with so little discredit in the world, as I have done, upon so meagre a stock. But the fact is, a man may do very well with a very little knowledge, and scarce be found out, in mixed company; everybody is so much more ready to produce his own, than to call for a display of your acquisitions. But in a tete-a-tete there is no shuffling. The truth will out. There is nothing which I dread so much, as the being left alone for a quarter of an hour with a sensible, well-informed man that does not know me.
Charles Lamb
Flying Home As this plane dragged its track of used ozone half the world long thrusts some four hundred of us toward places where actual known people live and may wait, we diminish down in our seats, disappeared into novels of lives clearer than ours, and yet we do not forget for a moment the life down there, the doorway each will soon enter: where I will meet her again and know her again, dark radiance with, and then mostly without, the stars. Very likely she has always understood what I have slowly learned, and which only now, after being away, almost as far away as one can get on this globe, almost as far as thoughts can carry - yet still in her presence, still surrounded not so much by reminders of her as by things she had already reminded me of, shadows of her cast forward and waiting - can I try to express: that love is hard, that while many good things are easy, true love is not, because love is first of all a power, its own power, which continually must make its way forward, from night into day, from transcending union always forward into difficult day. And as the plane descends, it comes to me in the space where tears stream down across the stars, tears fallen on the actual earth where their shining is what we call spirit, that once the lover recognizes the other, knows for the first time what is most to be valued in another, from then on, love is very much like courage, perhaps it is courage, and even perhaps only courage. Squashed out of old selves, smearing the darkness of expectation across experience, all of us little thinkers it brings home having similar thoughts of landing to the imponderable world, the transoceanic airliner, resting its huge weight down, comes in almost lightly, to where with sudden, tiny, white puffs and long, black, rubberish smears all its tires know the home ground.
Galway Kinnell
April 25 MORNING “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.” — Song of Solomon 2:10 LO, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and He would not have me spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter’s rest. He bids me “Rise up,” and well He may, for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. He is risen, I am risen in Him, why then should I cleave unto the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards Him. He calls me by the sweet title of “My love,” and counts me fair; this is a good argument for my rising. If He has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus comely, how can I linger in the tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the sons of men? He bids me “Come away.” Further and further from everything selfish, grovelling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, He calls me. “Come away” has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away, but I am taken among the thorns, and cannot escape from them as I would. I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin. Thou callest me to Thyself by saying “Come away,” and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me. Thy grace can do it. Send forth Thy Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
The same thing, notes Brynjolfsson, happened 120 years ago, in the Second Industrial Revolution, when electrification—the supernova of its day—was introduced. Old factories did not just have to be electrified to achieve the productivity boosts; they had to be redesigned, along with all business processes. It took thirty years for one generation of managers and workers to retire and for a new generation to emerge to get the full productivity benefits of that new power source. A December 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute on American industry found a “considerable gap between the most digitized sectors and the rest of the economy over time and [found] that despite a massive rush of adoption, most sectors have barely closed that gap over the past decade … Because the less digitized sectors are some of the largest in terms of GDP contribution and employment, we [found] that the US economy as a whole is only reaching 18 percent of its digital potential … The United States will need to adapt its institutions and training pathways to help workers acquire relevant skills and navigate this period of transition and churn.” The supernova is a new power source, and it will take some time for society to reconfigure itself to absorb its full potential. As that happens, I believe that Brynjolfsson will be proved right and we will start to see the benefits—a broad range of new discoveries around health, learning, urban planning, transportation, innovation, and commerce—that will drive growth. That debate is for economists, though, and beyond the scope of this book, but I will be eager to see how it plays out. What is absolutely clear right now is that while the supernova may not have made our economies measurably more productive yet, it is clearly making all forms of technology, and therefore individuals, companies, ideas, machines, and groups, more powerful—more able to shape the world around them in unprecedented ways with less effort than ever before. If you want to be a maker, a starter-upper, an inventor, or an innovator, this is your time. By leveraging the supernova you can do so much more now with so little. As Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, observed in a March 3, 2015, essay on TechCrunch.com: “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.
Thomas L. Friedman (Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations)
A Day Away We often think that our affairs, great or small, must be tended continuously and in detail, or our world will disintegrate, and we will lose our places in the universe. That is not true, or if it is true, then our situations were so temporary that they would have collapsed anyway. Once a year or so I give myself a day away. On the eve of my day of absence, I begin to unwrap the bonds which hold me in harness. I inform housemates, my family and close friends that I will not be reachable for twenty-four hours; then I disengage the telephone. I turn the radio dial to an all-music station, preferably one which plays the soothing golden oldies. I sit for at least an hour in a very hot tub; then I lay out my clothes in preparation for my morning escape, and knowing that nothing will disturb me, I sleep the sleep of the just. On the morning I wake naturally, for I will have set no clock, nor informed my body timepiece when it should alarm. I dress in comfortable shoes and casual clothes and leave my house going no place. If I am living in a city, I wander streets, window-shop, or gaze at buildings. I enter and leave public parks, libraries, the lobbies of skyscrapers, and movie houses. I stay in no place for very long. On the getaway day I try for amnesia. I do not want to know my name, where I live, or how many dire responsibilities rest on my shoulders. I detest encountering even the closest friend, for then I am reminded of who I am, and the circumstances of my life, which I want to forget for a while. Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, lovers, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us. We need hours of aimless wandering or spates of time sitting on park benches, observing the mysterious world of ants and the canopy of treetops. If we step away for a time, we are not, as many may think and some will accuse, being irresponsible, but rather we are preparing ourselves to more ably perform our duties and discharge our obligations. When I return home, I am always surprised to find some questions I sought to evade had been answered and some entanglements I had hoped to flee had become unraveled in my absence. A day away acts as a spring tonic. It can dispel rancor, transform indecision, and renew the spirit.
Maya Angelou (Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now)
America was sleeping when I crept into the hospital wing that night. She was cleaner, but her face still seemed worried, even at rest. "Hey, Mer," I whispered, rounding her bed. She didn't stir. I didn't dare sit, not even with the excuse of checking on the girl I rescued. I stood in the freshly pressed uniform I would only wear for the few minutes it took to deliver this message. I reached out to touch her, but then pulled back. I looked into her sleeping face and spoke. "I - I came to tell you I'm sorry. About today, I mean," I sucked in a deep breath. "I should have run for you. I should have protected you. I didn't, and you could have died." Her lips pursed and unpursed as she dreamed. "Honestly, I'm sorry for a lot more than that," I admitted. "I'm sorry I got mad in the tree house. I'm sorry I ever said to send in that stupid form. It's just that I have this idea..." I swallowed. " I have this idea that maybe you were the only one I could made everything right for. " I couldn't save my dad. I couldn't protect Jemmy. I can barely keep my family afloat, and I just thought that maybe I could give you a shot at a life that would be better than the one that I would have been able to give you. And I convinced myself that was the right way to love you." I watched her, wishing I had the nerve to confess this while she could argue back with me and tell me how wrong I'd been. " I don't know if I can undo it, Mer. I don't know if we'll ever be the same as we used to be. But I won't stop trying. You're it for me," I said with a shrug. "You're the only thing I've ever wanted to fight for." There was so much more to say, but I heard the door to the hospital wing open. Even in the dark, Maxon's suit was impossible to miss. I started walking away, head down, trying to look like I was just on a round. He didn't acknowledge me, barely even noticed me as he moved to America's bed. I watched him pull up a chair and settle in beside her. I couldn't help but be jealous. From the first day in her brother's apartment - from the very moment I knew how I felt about America - I'd been forced to love her from afar. But Maxon could sit beside her, touch her hand, and the gap between their castes didn't matter. I paused by the door, watching. While the Selection had frayed the line between America and me, Maxon himself was a sharp edge, capable of cutting the string entirely if he got too close. But I couldn't get a clear idea of just how near America was letting him. All I could do was wait and give America the time she seem to need. Really, we all needed it. Time was the only thing that would settle this.
Kiera Cass (Happily Ever After (The Selection, #0.4, 0.5, 2.5, 2.6, 3.3))
The following is one of the oldest sermon illustrations used in the Christian church. It also tests one’s understanding of the Christian life. There once lived an ugly, hunchback dwarf. No one ever invited him to a party. No one showed him love or even attention. He became disillusioned with life and decided to climb a mountain and throw himself from its peak into the abyss. When he ascended the mountain, he met a beautiful girl. He talked to her and discovered that she was climbing the mountain for the same purpose. Her suffering was at the other extreme. She had everyone’s attention and love, but the one she loved had forsaken her for another girl, one with riches. She felt life had no meaning for her any longer, so they decided to make the ascent together. While they climbed, they met a man who introduced himself as a police officer in search of a very dangerous bandit who had robbed and murdered many people. The king had promised a large reward to the person who captured him. The police officer was very confident: “I will catch him because I know he has a feature by which he can be recognized. He has six fingers on his right hand. The police have been looking for him for years. For the last two or three, nothing has been heard from him, but he must pay for a multitude of past crimes.” The three climbed the mountain. Near its peak was a monastery. Its abbot, although he had become a monk only recently, had quickly attained great renown for saintliness. When they entered the monastery, he came to meet them. You could see the glory of God in his face. As the girl bowed to kiss his right hand, she saw he had six fingers. With this, the story ends. Those who hear this story are perplexed. It can’t finish like this! What happened to the dwarf, the girl, the policeman? Was the criminal caught? The story’s beauty is that it does finish here. Something beautiful has happened: A criminal hunted because of his many robberies and murders has become a great saint, renowned for his godly life. All the rest is of no further interest. The great miracle has been performed. Christ has been born in the heart of a man of very low character.
Richard Wurmbrand (The Midnight Bride)
And under the cicadas, deeper down that the longest taproot, between and beneath the rounded black rocks and slanting slabs of sandstone in the earth, ground water is creeping. Ground water seeps and slides, across and down, across and down, leaking from here to there, minutely at a rate of a mile a year. What a tug of waters goes on! There are flings and pulls in every direction at every moment. The world is a wild wrestle under the grass; earth shall be moved. What else is going on right this minute while ground water creeps under my feet? The galaxy is careening in a slow, muffled widening. If a million solar systems are born every hour, then surely hundreds burst into being as I shift my weight to the other elbow. The sun’s surface is now exploding; other stars implode and vanish, heavy and black, out of sight. Meteorites are arcing to earth invisibly all day long. On the planet, the winds are blowing: the polar easterlies, the westerlies, the northeast and southeast trades. Somewhere, someone under full sail is becalmed, in the horse latitudes, in the doldrums; in the northland, a trapper is maddened, crazed, by the eerie scent of the chinook, the sweater, a wind that can melt two feet of snow in a day. The pampero blows, and the tramontane, and the Boro, sirocco, levanter, mistral. Lick a finger; feel the now. Spring is seeping north, towards me and away from me, at sixteen miles a day. Along estuary banks of tidal rivers all over the world, snails in black clusters like currants are gliding up and down the stems of reed and sedge, migrating every moment with the dip and swing of tides. Behind me, Tinker Mountain is eroding one thousandth of an inch a year. The sharks I saw are roving up and down the coast. If the sharks cease roving, if they still their twist and rest for a moment, they die. They need new water pushed into their gills; they need dance. Somewhere east of me, on another continent, it is sunset, and starlings in breathtaking bands are winding high in the sky to their evening roost. The mantis egg cases are tied to the mock-orange hedge; within each case, within each egg, cells elongate, narrow, and split; cells bubble and curve inward, align, harden or hollow or stretch. And where are you now?
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
How clear she shines ! How quietly I lie beneath her guardian light; While heaven and earth are whispering me, " To morrow, wake, but, dream to-night." Yes, Fancy, come, my Fairy love ! These throbbing temples softly kiss; And bend my lonely couch above And bring me rest, and bring me bliss. The world is going; dark world, adieu ! Grim world, conceal thee till the day; The heart, thou canst not all subdue, Must still resist, if thou delay ! Thy love I will not, will not share; Thy hatred only wakes a smile; Thy griefs may wound–thy wrongs may tear, But, oh, thy lies shall ne'er beguile ! While gazing on the stars that glow Above me, in that stormless sea, I long to hope that all the woe Creation knows, is held in thee ! And, this shall be my dream to-night; I'll think the heaven of glorious spheres [Page 104] Is rolling on its course of light In endless bliss, through endless years; I'll think, there's not one world above, Far as these straining eyes can see, Where Wisdom ever laughed at Love, Or Virtue crouched to Infamy; Where, writhing 'neath the strokes of Fate, The mangled wretch was forced to smile; To match his patience 'gainst her hate, His heart rebellious all the while. Where Pleasure still will lead to wrong, And helpless Reason warn in vain; And Truth is weak, and Treachery strong; And Joy the surest path to Pain; And Peace, the lethargy of Grief; And Hope, a phantom of the soul; And Life, a labour, void and brief; And Death, the despot of the whole !
Emily Brontë (The Complete Poems)
There was still some time before the train opened its doors for boarding, yet passengers were hurriedly buying boxed dinners, snacks, cans of beer, and magazines at the kiosk. Some had white iPod headphones in their ears, already off in their own little worlds. Others palmed smartphones, thumbing out texts, some talking so loudly into their phones that their voices rose above the blaring PA announcements. Tsukuru spotted a young couple, seated close together on a bench, happily sharing secrets. A pair of sleepy-looking five- or six-year-old twin boys, with their mother and father dragging them along by their hands, were whisked past where Tsukuru sat. The boys clutched small game devices. Two young foreign men hefted heavy-looking backpacks, while a young woman was lugging a cello case. A woman with a stunning profile passed by. Everyone was boarding a night train, heading to a far-off destination. Tsukuru envied them. At least they had a place they needed to go to. Tsukuru Tazaki had no place he needed to go. He realized that he had never actually been to Matsumoto, or Kofu. Or Shiojiri. Not even to the much closer town of Hachioji. He had watched countless express trains for Matsumoto depart from this platform, but it had never occurred to him that there was a possibility he could board one. Until now he had never thought of it. Why is that? he wondered. Tsukuru imagined himself boarding this train and heading for Matsumoto. It wasn’t exactly impossible. And it didn’t seem like such a terrible idea. He’d suddenly gotten it into his head, after all, to take off for Finland, so why not Matsumoto? What sort of town was it? he wondered. What kind of lives did people lead there? But he shook his head and erased these thoughts. Tomorrow morning it would be impossible to get back to Tokyo in time for work. He knew that much without consulting the timetable. And he was meeting Sara tomorrow night. It was a very important day for him. He couldn’t just take off for Matsumoto on a whim. He drank the rest of his now-lukewarm coffee and tossed the paper cup into a nearby garbage bin. Tsukuru Tazaki had nowhere he had to go. This was like a running theme of his life. He had no place he had to go to, no place to come back to. He never did, and he didn’t now.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
A LITTLE while, a little while, The weary task is put away, And I can sing and I can smile, Alike, while I have holiday. Where wilt thou go, my harassed heart-- What thought, what scene invites thee now What spot, or near or far apart, Has rest for thee, my weary brow? There is a spot, 'mid barren hills, Where winter howls, and driving rain; But, if the dreary tempest chills, There is a light that warms again. The house is old, the trees are bare, Moonless above bends twilight's dome; But what on earth is half so dear-- So longed for--as the hearth of home? The mute bird sitting on the stone, The dank moss dripping from the wall, The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o'ergrown, I love them--how I love them all! Still, as I mused, the naked room, The alien firelight died away; And from the midst of cheerless gloom, I passed to bright, unclouded day. A little and a lone green lane That opened on a common wide; A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain Of mountains circling every side. A heaven so clear, an earth so calm, So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air; And, deepening still the dream-like charm, Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere. THAT was the scene, I knew it well; I knew the turfy pathway's sweep, That, winding o'er each billowy swell, Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep. Could I have lingered but an hour, It well had paid a week of toil; But Truth has banished Fancy's power: Restraint and heavy task recoil. Even as I stood with raptured eye, Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear, My hour of rest had fleeted by, And back came labour, bondage, care.
Emily Brontë
I have this special license burning a hole in my pocket, so I was thinking we might go find a vicar and use it. Pinter and Freddy can be witnesses.” He looked anxiously at her. “What do you think?” “Don’t you want your family present when we marry? I thought you lordly sorts had to have grand weddings.” “Is that what you want?” In truth, she’d never been one to dream of her wedding day as a brilliant spectacle. Clandestine weddings were always what captured her imagination, complete with a dangerous, brooding fellow and mysterious goings-on. In this instance, she had both. He said, “Let me put it this way: we can spend an untold number of days sneaking around just to steal a kiss, being chaperoned every minute while my sisters and Gran plan the wedding of the century. Or we can marry today and share a bed at the inn tonight like a respectable husband and wife. I’m not keep on waiting, but then, I never am when it comes to you. So what is your opinion in the matter?” She couldn’t resist teasing him a little. “I think you just want to punish your grandmother for her sly tactics by depriving her of the weddings.” He smiled. “Perhaps a little. And God knows my friends are never going to let me live this down. I’m not looking forward to hours of their torment at a wedding breakfast.” He stopped in a little copse where they would be hidden from the street. “But if you want a big wedding, I can endure it.” His expression was solemn as he took her hands in his. “I can endure anything, as long as you marry me. And keep loving me for the rest of your life.” Staring into his earnest face, she felt something flip over in her chest. She stretched up to brush his mouth with hers, and he pulled her in for a long, ardent kiss. “Well?” he said huskily when he was done. “If I had any sense of decency, I would give you a chance to consult with a lawyer about settlements and such, especially since you’ll be coming into some money. But-“ “-you have no sense of decency, I know,” she teased. She tapped her finger against her chin. “Or was that morals you claimed not to have? I can’t remember.” “Watch it, minx,” he warned with a lift of his brow. “If you intend to taunt me for every foolish statement I’ve made in my life, you’ll force me to play Rockton and lock you up in my dark, forbidding manor while I have my wicked way with you.” “That sounds perfectly awful,” she said, gazing at the man she loved. “How soon can we start?
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
My, my,” Chloe murmured, studying the chocolate she held. “I do believe this one’s gone off. It stinks like a cesspit.” Her eyes lifted. “Oh, wait. It’s only the guttersnipe.” “Or perhaps it’s your perfume,” I said cordially. “You always smell like a whore.” “It’s French,” retorted Runny-Nose, before Chloe could speak. “Then she smells like a French whore.” “Aren’t you the eloquent young miss.” Chloe’s gaze cut to Sophia, standing close behind me. “Slumming, little sister? I can’t confess I’m surprised.” “I’m merely here for the show,” Sophia said breezily. “Something tells me it’s going to be good.” I took the brooch from my pocket and let it slide down my index finger, giving it a playful twirl. “A fine try. But, alas, no winner’s prize for you, Chloe. I’m sure you’ve been waiting here for Westcliffe to raise the alarm about her missing ring, ready with some well-rehearsed story about how you saw me sneaking into her office and sneaking out again, and oh, look isn’t that Eleanore’s brooch there on the floor? But I’ve news for you, dearie. You’re sloppy. You’re stupid. And the next time you go into my room and steal from me, I’ll make certain you regret it for the rest of your days.” “How dare you threaten me, you little tart!” “I’m not threatening. You have no idea how easy it would be to, say, pour glue on your hair while you sleep. Cut up all your pretty dresses into ribbons.” Chloe dropped her half-eaten chocolate back into its box, turning to her toadies. “You heard her! You all head her! When Westcliffe finds out about this-“ “I didn’t hear a thing,” piped up Sophia. “In fact, I do believe that Eleanore and I aren’t even here right now. We’re both off in my room, diligently studying.” She sauntered to my side, smiling. “And I’ll swear to that, sister. Without hesitation. I have no misgivings about calling you all liars right to Westcliffe’s face.” “What fun,” I said softly, into the hush. “Shall we give it a go? What d’you say, girls? Up for a bit of blood sport?” Chloe pushed to her feet, kicking the chocolates out of her way. All the toadies cringed. “You,” she sneered, her gaze scouring me. “You with your ridiculous clothing and that preposterous bracelet, acting as if you actually belong here! Really, Eleanore, I wonder that you’ve learned nothing of real use yet. Allow me to explain matters to you. You may have duped Sophia into vouching for you, but your word means nothing. You’re no one. No matter what you do here or who you may somehow manage to impress, you’ll always be no one. How perfectly sad that you’re allowed to pretend otherwise.” “I’m the one he wants,” I said evenly. “No one’s pretending that.” I didn’t have to say who. She stared at me, silent, her color high. I saw with interest that real tears began to well in her eyes. “That’s right.” I gave the barest smile. “Me, not you. Think about that tomorrow, when I’m with him on the yacht. Think about how he watches me. How he listens to me. Another stunt like this”-I held up the circlet-“and you’ll be shocked at what I’m able to convince him about you.” “As if you could,” she scoffed, but there was apprehension behind those tears. “Try me.” I brought my foot down on one of the chocolates, grinding it into a deep, greasy smear along the rug. “Cheerio,” I said to them all, and turned around and left.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
Each of our actions, our words, our attitudes is cut off from the ‘world,’ from the people who have not directly perceived it, by a medium the permeability of which is of infinite variation and remains unknown to ourselves; having learned by experience that some important utterance which we eagerly hoped would be disseminated … has found itself, often simply on account of our anxiety, immediately hidden under a bushel, how immeasurably less do we suppose that some tiny word, which we ourselves have forgotten, or else a word never uttered by us but formed on its course by the imperfect refraction of a different word, can be transported without ever halting for any obstacle to infinite distances … and succeed in diverting at our expense the banquet of the gods. What we actually recall of our conduct remains unknown to our nearest neighbor; what we have forgotten that we ever said, or indeed what we never did say, flies to provoke hilarity even in another planet, and the image that other people form of our actions and behavior is no more like that which we form of them ourselves, than is like an original drawing a spoiled copy in which, at one point, for a black line, we find an empty gap, and for a blank space an unaccountable contour. It may be, all the same, that what has not been transcribed is some non-existent feature, which we behold, merely in our purblind self-esteem, and that what seems to us added is indeed a part of ourselves, but so essential a part as to have escaped our notice. So that this strange print which seems to us to have so little resemblance to ourselves bears sometimes the same stamp of truth, scarcely flattering, indeed, but profound and useful, as a photograph taken by X-rays. Not that that is any reason why we should recognize ourselves in it. A man who is in the habit of smiling in the glass at his handsome face and stalwart figure, if you show him their radiograph, will have, face to face with that rosary of bones, labeled as being the image of himself, the same suspicion of error as the visitor to an art gallery who, on coming to the portrait of a girl, reads in his catalogue: “Dromedary resting.” Later on, this discrepancy between our portraits, according as it was our own hand that drew them or another, I was to register in the case of others than myself, living placidly in the midst of a collection of photographs which they themselves had taken while round about them grinned frightful faces, invisible to them as a rule, but plunging them in stupor if an accident were to reveal them with the warning: “This is you.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way)
1. Choose to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other. Love is a commitment, not a feeling. 2. Always answer the phone when your husband/wife is calling and, when possible, try to keep your phone off when you’re together with your spouse. 3. Make time together a priority. Budget for a consistent date night. Time is the currency of relationships, so consistently invest time in your marriage. 4. Surround yourself with friends who will strengthen your marriage, and remove yourself from people who may tempt you to compromise your character. 5. Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage. Share moments of joy, and even in the hard times find reasons to laugh. 6. In every argument, remember that there won’t be a winner and a loser. You are partners in everything, so you’ll either win together or lose together. Work together to find a solution. 7. Remember that a strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time. It’s usually a husband and wife taking turns being strong for each other in the moments when the other feels weak. 8. Prioritize what happens in the bedroom. It takes more than sex to build a strong marriage, but it’s nearly impossible to build a strong marriage without it. 9. Remember that marriage isn’t 50–50; divorce is 50–50. Marriage has to be 100–100. It’s not splitting everything in half but both partners giving everything they’ve got. 10. Give your best to each other, not your leftovers after you’ve given your best to everyone else. 11. Learn from other people, but don’t feel the need to compare your life or your marriage to anyone else’s. God’s plan for your life is masterfully unique. 12. Don’t put your marriage on hold while you’re raising your kids, or else you’ll end up with an empty nest and an empty marriage. 13. Never keep secrets from each other. Secrecy is the enemy of intimacy. 14. Never lie to each other. Lies break trust, and trust is the foundation of a strong marriage. 15. When you’ve made a mistake, admit it and humbly seek forgiveness. You should be quick to say, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” 16. When your husband/wife breaks your trust, give them your forgiveness instantly, which will promote healing and create the opportunity for trust to be rebuilt. You should be quick to say, “I love you. I forgive you. Let’s move forward.” 17. Be patient with each other. Your spouse is always more important than your schedule. 18. Model the kind of marriage that will make your sons want to grow up to be good husbands and your daughters want to grow up to be good wives. 19. Be your spouse’s biggest encourager, not his/her biggest critic. Be the one who wipes away your spouse’s tears, not the one who causes them. 20. Never talk badly about your spouse to other people or vent about them online. Protect your spouse at all times and in all places. 21. Always wear your wedding ring. It will remind you that you’re always connected to your spouse, and it will remind the rest of the world that you’re off limits. 22. Connect with a community of faith. A good church can make a world of difference in your marriage and family. 23. Pray together. Every marriage is stronger with God in the middle of it. 24. When you have to choose between saying nothing or saying something mean to your spouse, say nothing every time. 25. Never consider divorce as an option. Remember that a perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other. FINAL
Dave Willis (The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships)
Diana” was the first thing out of her mouth. “I’m dying,” the too familiar voice on the other end moaned. I snorted, locking the front door behind me as I held the phone up to my face with my shoulder. “You’re pregnant. You’re not dying.” “But it feels like I am,” the person who rarely ever complained whined. We’d been best friends our entire lives, and I could only count on one hand the number of times I’d heard her grumble about something that wasn’t her family. I’d had the title of being the whiner in our epic love affair that had survived more shit than I was willing to remember right then. I held up a finger when Louie tipped his head toward the kitchen as if asking if I was going to get started on dinner or not. “Well, nobody told you to get pregnant with the Hulk’s baby. What did you expect? He’s probably going to come out the size of a toddler.” The laugh that burst out of her made me laugh too. This fierce feeling of missing her reminded me it had been months since we’d last seen each other. “Shut up.” “You can’t avoid the truth forever.” Her husband was huge. I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t expect her unborn baby to be a giant too. “Ugh.” A long sigh came through the receiver in resignation. “I don’t know what I was thinking—” “You weren’t thinking.” She ignored me. “We’re never having another one. I can’t sleep. I have to pee every two minutes. I’m the size of Mars—” “The last time I saw you”—which had been two months ago—“you were the size of Mars. The baby is probably the size of Mars now. I’d probably say you’re about the size of Uranus.” She ignored me again. “Everything makes me cry and I itch. I itch so bad.” “Do I… want to know where you’re itching?” “Nasty. My stomach. Aiden’s been rubbing coconut oil on me every hour he’s here.” I tried to imagine her six-foot-five-inch, Hercules-sized husband doing that to Van, but my imagination wasn’t that great. “Is he doing okay?” I asked, knowing off our past conversations that while he’d been over the moon with her pregnancy, he’d also turned into mother hen supreme. It made me feel better knowing that she wasn’t living in a different state all by herself with no one else for support. Some people in life got lucky and found someone great, the rest of us either took a long time… or not ever. “He’s worried I’m going to fall down the stairs when he isn’t around, and he’s talking about getting a one-story house so that I can put him out of his misery.” “You know you can come stay with us if you want.” She made a noise. “I’m just offering, bitch. If you don’t want to be alone when he starts traveling more for games, you can stay here as long as you need. Louie doesn’t sleep in his room half the time anyway, and we have a one-story house. You could sleep with me if you really wanted to. It’ll be like we’re fourteen all over again.” She sighed. “I would. I really would, but I couldn’t leave Aiden.” And I couldn’t leave the boys for longer than a couple of weeks, but she knew that. Well, she also knew I couldn’t not work for that long, too. “Maybe you can get one of those I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up—” Vanessa let out another loud laugh. “You jerk.” “What? You could.” There was a pause. “I don’t even know why I bother with you half the time.” “Because you love me?” “I don’t know why.” “Tia,” Louie hissed, rubbing his belly like he was seriously starving. “Hey, Lou and Josh are making it seem like they haven’t eaten all day. I’m scared they might start nibbling on my hand soon. Let me feed them, and I’ll call you back, okay?” Van didn’t miss a beat. “Sure, Di. Give them a hug from me and call me back whenever. I’m on the couch, and I’m not going anywhere except the bathroom.” “Okay. I won’t call Parks and Wildlife to let them know there’s a beached whale—” “Goddammit, Diana—” I laughed. “Love you. I’ll call you back. Bye!” “Vanny has a whale?” Lou asked.
Mariana Zapata (Wait for It)
Okay,” I finally said. “Can we all agree that this is maybe the most screwed-up situation we’ve ever found ourselves in?” “Agreed,” they said in unison. “Awesome.” I gave a little nod. “And do either of you have any idea what we should do about it?” “Well, we can’t use magic,” Archer said. “And if we try to leave, we get eaten by Monster Fog,” Jenna added. “Right. So no plans at all, then?” Jenna frowned. “Other than rocking in the fetal position for a while?” “Yeah, I was thinking about taking one of those showers where you huddle in the corner fully clothed and cry,” Archer offered. I couldn’t help but snort with laughter. “Great. So we’ll all go have our mental breakdowns, and then we’ll somehow get ourselves out of this mess.” “I think our best bet is to lie low for a while,” Archer said. “Let Mrs. Casnoff think we’re all too shocked and awed to do anything. Maybe this assembly tonight will give us some answers.” “Answers,” I practically sighed. “About freaking time.” Jenna gave me a funny look. “Soph, are you…grinning?” I could feel my cheeks aching, so I knew that I was. “Look, you two have to admit: if we want to figure out just what the Casnoffs are plotting, this is pretty much the perfect place.” “My girl has a point,” Archer said, smiling at me. Now my cheeks didn’t just ache, they burned. Clearing her throat, Jenna said, “Okay, so we all go up to our rooms, then after the assembly tonight we can regroup and decide what to do next.” “Deal,” I said as Archer nodded. “Are we all going to high-five now?” Jenna asked after a pause. “No, but I can make up some kind of secret handshake if you want,” Archer said, and for a second, they smiled at each other. But just as quickly, the smile disappeared from Jenna’s face, and she said to me, “Let’s go. I want to see if our room is as freakified as the rest of this place.” “Good idea,” I said. Archer reached out and brushed his fingers over mine. “See you later, then?” he asked. His voice was casual, but my skin was hot where he touched me. “Definitely,” I answered, figuring that even a girl who has to stop evil witches from taking over the world could make time for kissage in there somewhere. He turned and walked away. As I watched him go, I could feel Jenna starting at me. “Fine,” she acknowledged with a dramatic roll of her eyes. “He’s a little dreamy.” I elbowed her gently in the side. “Thanks.” Jenna started to walk to the stairs. “You coming?” “Yeah,” I said. “I’ll be right up. I just want to take a quick look around down here.” “Why, so you can be even more depressed?” Actually, I wanted to stay downstairs just a little longer to see if anyone else showed up. So far, I’d seen nearly everyone I remembered from last year at Hex Hall. Had Cal been dragged here, too? Technically he hadn’t been a student, but Mrs. Casnoff had used his powers a lot last year. Would she still want him here? To Jenna, I just said, “Yeah, you know me. I like poking bruises.” “Okay. Get your Nancy Drew on.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
After wandering the world and living on the Continent I had long tired of well-behaved, fart-free gentlemen who opened the door and paid the bills but never had a story to tell and were either completely asexual or demanded skin-burning action until the morning light. Swiss watch salesmen who only knew of “sechs” as their wake-up hour, or hairy French apes who always required their twelve rounds of screwing after the six-course meal. I suppose I liked German men the best. They were a suitable mixture of belching northerner and cultivated southerner, of orderly westerner and crazy easterner, but in the post-war years they were of course broken men. There was little you could do with them except try to put them right first. And who had the time for that? Londoners are positive and jolly, but their famous irony struck me as mechanical and wearisome in the long run. As if that irony machine had eaten away their real essence. The French machine, on the other hand, is fuelled by seriousness alone, and the Frogs can drive you beyond the limit when they get going with their philosophical noun-dropping. The Italian worships every woman like a queen until he gets her home, when she suddenly turns into a slut. The Yank is one hell of a guy who thinks big: he always wants to take you the moon. At the same time, however, he is as smug and petty as the meanest seamstress, and has a fit if someone eats his peanut butter sandwich aboard the space shuttle. I found Russians interesting. In fact they were the most Icelandic of all: drank every glass to the bottom and threw themselves into any jollity, knew countless stories and never talked seriously unless at the bottom of the bottle, when they began to wail for their mother who lived a thousand miles away but came on foot to bring them their clean laundry once a month. They were completely crazy and were better athletes in bed than my dear countrymen, but in the end I had enough of all their pommel-horse routines. Nordic men are all as tactless as Icelanders. They get drunk over dinner, laugh loudly and fart, eventually start “singing” even in public restaurants where people have paid to escape the tumult of the world. But their wallets always waited cold sober in the cloakroom while the Icelandic purse lay open for all in the middle of the table. Our men were the greater Vikings in this regard. “Reputation is king, the rest is crap!” my Bæring from Bolungarvík used to say. Every evening had to be legendary, anything else was a defeat. But the morning after they turned into weak-willed doughboys. But all the same I did succeed in loving them, those Icelandic clodhoppers, at least down as far as their knees. Below there, things did not go as well. And when the feet of Jón Pre-Jón popped out of me in the maternity ward, it was enough. The resemblances were small and exact: Jón’s feet in bonsai form. I instantly acquired a physical intolerance for the father, and forbade him to come in and see the baby. All I heard was the note of surprise in the bass voice out in the corridor when the midwife told him she had ordered him a taxi. From that day on I made it a rule: I sacked my men by calling a car. ‘The taxi is here,’ became my favourite sentence.
Hallgrímur Helgason
Lucinda and Mr. Wiley were returning at last, and she ran to Lucinda, hastily stepping around the black horse, who laid his ears back evilly in warning. “Lucy!” she burst out while Lucinda waited calmly for Mr. Wiley to help her down. “Lucy! Disaster has struck.” “A moment, if you please, Elizabeth,” said the unflappable woman. “Whatever it is, it will surely wait until we’re inside and can be comfortable. I declare, I feel as if I were born atop this horse. You cannot imagine the time we had finding suitable servants…” Elizabeth scarcely heard the rest of what she was saying. In a torment of frantic helplessness she had to wait while Lucinda dismounted, limped into the house, and sat down upon the sofa. “Now then,” said Lucinda, flicking a speck of dust off her skirts, “what has happened?” Oblivious to the vicar, who was standing by the fireplace looking mystified and alarmed on her behalf, Elizabeth handed Lucinda the note. “Read this. It-it sounds as if he’s already accepted him.” As she read the brief missive Lucinda’s face turned an awful gray with two bright splotches of angry color standing out on her hollow cheeks. “He’d accept an offer from the devil,” Lucinda gritted wrathfully, “so long as he had a noble title and money. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.” “I was so certain I’d persuaded Belhaven that we couldn’t possibly suit!” Elizabeth almost wailed, twisting her blue skirt in her hands in her agitation. “I did everything, Lucy, everything I told you about, and more.” Agitation drove Elizabeth to her feet. “If we make haste, we can be home by the allotted time, and perhaps I can find a way to dissuade Uncle Julius.” Lucinda did not leap to her feet as Elizabeth did; she did not race for the stairs, dash into her room, and vent her helpless rage by slamming a door, as Elizabeth did. Her body rigid, Lucinda stood up very slowly and turned to the vicar. “Where is he?” she snapped. “Ian?” the vicar said distractedly, alarmed by her pallid color. “He’s gone hunting.” Deprived of her real prey, Lucinda unleashed her fury upon the hapless vicar instead. When she finished her tirade she hurled the crumpled note into the cold fireplace and said in a voice that shook with wrath, “When that spawn of Lucifer returns, you tell him that if he ever crosses my path, he’d better be wearing a suit of armor!” So saying, she marched upstairs.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
She broke off abruptly as she heard her name being called, and glanced over her shoulder, fearing that St. Vincent had discovered her escape. Her entire body stiffened in battle readiness. But there was no sign of St. Vincent, no betraying gleam of golden-amber hair. She heard the voice again, a deep sound that penetrated to her soul. “Lillian.” Her legs quivered beneath her as she saw a lean, dark-haired man coming from the front entryway. It can’t be, she thought, blinking hard to clear her vision, which must surely have been playing tricks on her. She stumbled a little as she turned to face him. “Westcliff,” she whispered, and took a few hesitant steps forward. The rest of the room seemed to vanish. Marcus’s face was pale beneath its tan, and he stared at her with searing intensity, as if he feared she might disappear. His stride quickened, and as he reached her, she was seized and caught in a biting grip. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her hard against him. “My God,” he muttered, and buried his face in her hair. “You came,” Lillian gasped, trembling all over. “You found me.” She couldn’t conceive how it was possible. He smelled of horses and sweat, and his clothes were chilled from the outside air. Feeling her shiver, Marcus drew her tightly inside his coat, murmuring endearments against her hair. “Marcus,” Lillian said thickly. “Have I gone mad? Oh, please be real. Please don’t go away—” “I’m here.” His voice was low and shaken. “I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere.” He drew back slightly, his midnight gaze scouring her from head to toe, his hands searching urgently over her body. “My love, my own… have you been hurt?” As his fingers slid along her arm, he encountered the locked manacle. Lifting her wrist, he stared at the handcuffs blankly. He inhaled sharply, and his body began to shake with primitive fury. “G**damn it, I’ll send him to hell—” “I’m fine,” Lillian said hastily. “I haven’t been hurt.” Bringing her hand to his mouth, Marcus kissed it roughly, and kept her fingers against his cheek while his breath struck her wrist in swift repetitions. “Lillian, did he…” Reading the question in his haunted gaze, the words he couldn’t yet bring himself to voice, Lillian whispered scratchily, “No, nothing happened. There wasn’t time.” “I’m still going to kill him.” There was a deadly note in his voice that made the back of her neck crawl. Seeing the open bodice of her gown, Marcus released her long enough to pull off his coat and place it over her shoulders. He suddenly went still. “That smell… what is it?” Realizing that her skin and clothes still retained the noxious scent, Lillian hesitated before replying. “Ether,” she finally said, trying to form her trembling lips into a reassuring smile as she saw his eyes dilate into pools of black. “It wasn’t bad, actually. I’ve slept through most of the day. Other than a touch of queasiness, I’m—” An animal growl came from his throat, and he pulled her against him once more. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Lillian, my sweet love… you’re safe now. I’ll never let anything happen to you again. I swear it on my life. You’re safe.” He took her head in his hands, and his mouth slid over hers in a kiss that was brief, soft, and yet so shockingly intense that she swayed dizzily. Closing her eyes, she let herself rest against him, still fearing that none of this was real, that she would awaken to find herself with St. Vincent once more. Marcus whispered comforting words against her parted lips and cheeks, and held her with a grip that seemed gentle but could not have been broken by the combined efforts of ten men.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
III. They seek for themselves private retiring places, as country villages, the sea-shore, mountains; yea thou thyself art wont to long much after such places. But all this thou must know proceeds from simplicity in the highest degree. At what time soever thou wilt, it is in thy power to retire into thyself, and to be at rest, and free from all businesses. A man cannot any whither retire better than to his own soul; he especially who is beforehand provided of such things within, which whensoever he doth withdraw himself to look in, may presently afford unto him perfect ease and tranquillity. By tranquillity I understand a decent orderly disposition and carriage, free from all confusion and tumultuousness. Afford then thyself this retiring continually, and thereby refresh and renew thyself. Let these precepts be brief and fundamental, which as soon as thou dost call them to mind, may suffice thee to purge thy soul throughly, and to send thee away well pleased with those things whatsoever they be, which now again after this short withdrawing of thy soul into herself thou dost return unto. For what is it that thou art offended at? Can it be at the wickedness of men, when thou dost call to mind this conclusion, that all reasonable creatures are made one for another? and that it is part of justice to bear with them? and that it is against their wills that they offend? and how many already, who once likewise prosecuted their enmities, suspected, hated, and fiercely contended, are now long ago stretched out, and reduced unto ashes? It is time for thee to make an end. As for those things which among the common chances of the world happen unto thee as thy particular lot and portion, canst thou be displeased with any of them, when thou dost call that our ordinary dilemma to mind, either a providence, or Democritus his atoms; and with it, whatsoever we brought to prove that the whole world is as it were one city? And as for thy body, what canst thou fear, if thou dost consider that thy mind and understanding, when once it hath recollected itself, and knows its own power, hath in this life and breath (whether it run smoothly and gently, or whether harshly and rudely), no interest at all, but is altogether indifferent: and whatsoever else thou hast heard and assented unto concerning either pain or pleasure? But the care of thine honour and reputation will perchance distract thee? How can that be, if thou dost look back, and consider both how quickly all things that are, are forgotten, and what an immense chaos of eternity was before, and will follow after all things: and the vanity of praise, and the inconstancy and variableness of human judgments and opinions, and the narrowness of the place, wherein it is limited and circumscribed? For the whole earth is but as one point; and of it, this inhabited part of it, is but a very little part; and of this part, how many in number, and what manner of men are they, that will commend thee? What remains then, but that thou often put in practice this kind of retiring of thyself, to this little part of thyself; and above all things, keep thyself from distraction, and intend not anything vehemently, but be free and consider all things, as a man whose proper object is Virtue, as a man whose true nature is to be kind and sociable, as a citizen, as a mortal creature. Among other things, which to consider, and look into thou must use to withdraw thyself, let those two be among the most obvious and at hand. One, that the things or objects themselves reach not unto the soul, but stand without still and quiet, and that it is from the opinion only which is within, that all the tumult and all the trouble doth proceed. The next, that all these things, which now thou seest, shall within a very little while be changed, and be no more: and ever call to mind, how many changes and alterations in the world thou thyself hast already been an eyewitness of in thy time. This world is mere change, and this life, opinion.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
I’m going to sleep now,” she said in a strangled voice. “Alone,” she added, and his face whitened as if she had slapped him. During his entire adult life Ian had relied almost as much on his intuition as on his intellect, and at that moment he didn’t want to believe in the explanation they were both offering. His wife did not want him in her bed; she recoiled from his touch; she had been away for two consecutive nights; and-more alarming than any of that-guilt and fear were written all over her pale face. “Do you know what a man thinks,” he said in a calm voice that belied the pain streaking through him, “when his wife stays away at night and doesn’t want him in her bed when she does return?” Elizabeth shook her head. “He thinks,” Ian said dispassionately, “that perhaps someone else has been taking his place in it.” Fury sent bright flags of color to her pale cheeks. “You’re blushing, my dear,” Ian said in an awful voice. “I am furious!” she countered, momentarily forgetting that she was confronting a madman. His stunned look was replaced almost instantly by an expression of relief and then bafflement. “I apologize, Elizabeth.” “Would you p-lease get out of here!” Elizabeth burst out in a final explosion of strength. “Just go away and let me rest. I told you I was tired. And I don’t see what right you have to be so upset! We had a bargain before we married-I was to be allowed to live my life without interference, and quizzing me like this is interference!” Her voice broke, and after another narrowed look he strode out of the room. Numb with relief and pain, Elizabeth crawled back into bed and pulled the covers up under her chin, but not even their luxurious warmth could still the alternating chills and fever that quaked through her. Several minutes later a shadow crossed her bed, and she almost screamed with terror before she realized it was Ian, who had entered silently though the connecting door of their suite. Since she’d gasped aloud when she saw him, it was useless to pretend she was sleeping. In silent dread she watched him walking toward her bed. Wordlessly he sat down beside her, and she realized there was a glass in his hand. He put it on the bedside table, then he reached behind her to prop up her pillows, leaving Elizabeth no choice but to sit up and lean back against them. “Drink this,” he instructed in a calm tone. “What is it?” she asked suspiciously. “It’s brandy. It will help you sleep.” He watched while she sipped it, and when he spoke again there was a tender smile in his voice. “Since we’ve ruled out another man as the explanation for all this, I can only assume something has gone wrong at Havenhurst. Is that it?” Elizabeth seized on that excuse as if it were manna from heaven. “Yes,” she whispered, nodding vigorously. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss on her forehead and said teasingly, “Let me guess-you discovered the mill overcharged you?” Elizabeth thought she would die of the sweet torment when he continued tenderly teasing her about being thrifty. “Not the mill? Then it was the baker, and he refused to give you a better price for buying two loaves instead of one.” Tears swelled behind her eyes, treacherously close to the surface, and Ian saw them. “That bad?” he joked.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))