Composing Quotes

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Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson
A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.
Caroline Gordon
Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
Robert Frost
Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.
Samuel Butler
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr.
As far as I am concerned, poetry is a statement concerning the human condition, composed in verse.
N. Scott Momaday
After all, what is happiness? Love, they tell me. But love doesn't bring and never has brought happiness. On the contrary, it's a constant state of anxiety, a battlefield; it's sleepless nights, asking ourselves all the time if we're doing the right thing. Real love is composed of ecstasy and agony.
Paulo Coelho (The Witch of Portobello)
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
Graham Greene (Ways of Escape)
Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Back, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.
Charles Bukowski (Women)
I hadn’t realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn’t predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went.
Jojo Moyes (Me Before You (Me Before You, #1))
Would you like me to [kill you] now?" asked Snape, his voice heavy with irony. "Or would you like a few moments to compose an epitaph?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.
Anaïs Nin
Hell may have all the best composers, but heaven has all the best choreographers.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
Good writers are monotonous, like good composers. They keep trying to perfect the one problem they were born to understand.
Alberto Moravia
According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking.
Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus, #3))
There is divine beauty in learning... To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. The books I have read were composed by generations of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, teachers and disciples. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.
Elie Wiesel
Actors are by nature volatile—alchemic creatures composed of incendiary elements, emotion and ego and envy. Heat them up, stir them together, and sometimes you get gold. Sometimes disaster.
M.L. Rio (If We Were Villains)
Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds' eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on the air, composed of sounds and ideas-abstract, invisible, gone once they've been spoken-and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.
Maya Angelou
You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves. A whole society composed of men afraid of the unknown within them!
Hermann Hesse
What about the rest of your life?" She shrugged. "What about it?" "Aren't you worried about, like, forever?" "Forever is composed of nows," she says.
John Green (Paper Towns)
To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
Stop staring at my dick," he growled. Oh, yes it was definitely an illusion. "Barrons loved me staring at his dick,"I informed it. "he would have been happy if I'd stared at his dick all day long, composing odes to its perfection.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
Music is much like fucking, but some composers can't climax and others climax too often, leaving themselves and the listener jaded and spent.
Charles Bukowski
Here's a haiku/palindrome I wrote called, "Obsession." Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob
Jarod Kintz (A Letter to Andre Breton, Originally Composed on a Leaf of Lettuce With an Ink-dipped Carrot)
Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together.
Søren Kierkegaard
The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.
Ray Bradbury
Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.
Walt Disney Company
Atoms are mainly empty space. Matter is composed chiefly of nothing.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
How vulgar, this hankering after immortality, how vain, how false. Composers are merely scribblers of cave paintings. One writes music because winter is eternal and because, if one didn't, the wolves and blizzards would be at one's throat all the sooner.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book.
Vladimir Nabokov
You are lyricist, me a composer - you and I make a complete song.
Alexandra Monir (Timeless (Timeless, #1))
The power of the dead is that we think they see us all the time. The dead have a presence. Is there a level of energy composed solely of the dead? They are also in the ground, of course, asleep and crumbling. Perhaps we are what they dream.
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
Work on a good piece of writing proceeds on three levels: a musical one, where it is composed; an architectural one, where it is constructed; and finally, a textile one, where it is woven.
Walter Benjamin (One Way Street And Other Writings)
To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.
Michel de Montaigne
No matter how old you are now. You are never too young or too old for success or going after what you want. Here’s a short list of people who accomplished great things at different ages 1) Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. 2) Mozart was already competent on keyboard and violin; he composed from the age of 5. 3) Shirley Temple was 6 when she became a movie star on “Bright Eyes.” 4) Anne Frank was 12 when she wrote the diary of Anne Frank. 5) Magnus Carlsen became a chess Grandmaster at the age of 13. 6) Nadia Comăneci was a gymnast from Romania that scored seven perfect 10.0 and won three gold medals at the Olympics at age 14. 7) Tenzin Gyatso was formally recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama in November 1950, at the age of 15. 8) Pele, a soccer superstar, was 17 years old when he won the world cup in 1958 with Brazil. 9) Elvis was a superstar by age 19. 10) John Lennon was 20 years and Paul Mcartney was 18 when the Beatles had their first concert in 1961. 11) Jesse Owens was 22 when he won 4 gold medals in Berlin 1936. 12) Beethoven was a piano virtuoso by age 23 13) Issac Newton wrote Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica at age 24 14) Roger Bannister was 25 when he broke the 4 minute mile record 15) Albert Einstein was 26 when he wrote the theory of relativity 16) Lance E. Armstrong was 27 when he won the tour de France 17) Michelangelo created two of the greatest sculptures “David” and “Pieta” by age 28 18) Alexander the Great, by age 29, had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world 19) J.K. Rowling was 30 years old when she finished the first manuscript of Harry Potter 20) Amelia Earhart was 31 years old when she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean 21) Oprah was 32 when she started her talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind 22) Edmund Hillary was 33 when he became the first man to reach Mount Everest 23) Martin Luther King Jr. was 34 when he wrote the speech “I Have a Dream." 24) Marie Curie was 35 years old when she got nominated for a Nobel Prize in Physics 25) The Wright brothers, Orville (32) and Wilbur (36) invented and built the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight 26) Vincent Van Gogh was 37 when he died virtually unknown, yet his paintings today are worth millions. 27) Neil Armstrong was 38 when he became the first man to set foot on the moon. 28) Mark Twain was 40 when he wrote "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", and 49 years old when he wrote "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" 29) Christopher Columbus was 41 when he discovered the Americas 30) Rosa Parks was 42 when she refused to obey the bus driver’s order to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger 31) John F. Kennedy was 43 years old when he became President of the United States 32) Henry Ford Was 45 when the Ford T came out. 33) Suzanne Collins was 46 when she wrote "The Hunger Games" 34) Charles Darwin was 50 years old when his book On the Origin of Species came out. 35) Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa. 36) Abraham Lincoln was 52 when he became president. 37) Ray Kroc Was 53 when he bought the McDonalds Franchise and took it to unprecedented levels. 38) Dr. Seuss was 54 when he wrote "The Cat in the Hat". 40) Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III was 57 years old when he successfully ditched US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009. All of the 155 passengers aboard the aircraft survived 41) Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 when he started the KFC Franchise 42) J.R.R Tolkien was 62 when the Lord of the Ring books came out 43) Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became President of the US 44) Jack Lalane at age 70 handcuffed, shackled, towed 70 rowboats 45) Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President
Pablo
Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.
Daniel C. Dennett (Sweet Dreams: Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness)
The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
Richard Dawkins (River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life)
Unhappiness. There are all kinds of unhappy people in the world. I suppose it would be no exaggeration to say that the world is composed entirely of unhappy people. But those people can fight their unhappiness with society fairly and squarly, and society for its part easily understands and sympathizes with such struggles. My unhappiness stemmed entirely from my own vices, and I had no way of fighting anybody.
Osamu Dazai (No Longer Human)
Composer” is a word which here means “a person who sits in a room, muttering and humming and figuring out what notes the orchestra is going to play.” This is called composing. But last night, the Composer was not muttering. He was not humming. He was not moving, or even breathing. This is called decomposing.
Lemony Snicket (The Composer Is Dead)
The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort towards wholeness.
Madeleine L'Engle (Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art)
You will find meaning in life only if you create it.It is a poetry to be composed. It is a song to be sung.It is a dance to be danced...
Osho
every healthy marriage is composed of walls and windows. The windows are the aspects of your relationship that are open to the world—that is, the necessary gaps through which you interact with family and friends; the walls are the barriers of trust behind which you guard the most intimatesecrets of your marriage.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
I am not a believer in love at first sight. For love, in its truest form, is not the thing of starry-eyed or star-crossed lovers, it is far more organic, requiring nurturing and time to fully bloom, and, as such, seen best not in its callow youth but in its wrinkled maturity. Like all living things, love, too, struggles against hardship, and in the process sheds its fatuous skin to expose one composed of more than just a storm of emotion–one of loyalty and divine friendship. Agape. And though it may be temporarily blinded by adversity, it never gives in or up, holding tight to lofty ideals that transcend this earth and time–while its counterfeit simply concludes it was mistaken and quickly runs off to find the next real thing.
Richard Paul Evans (The Letter (The Christmas Box, #3))
He's probably out there in the hallway right now, composing bad poetry in his head." Michi cleared her throat, her voice taking on a breathless lilt: "Pale Fox's Daughter, Her cherry lips haunt my dreams. Something, something, breasts...
Jay Kristoff (Stormdancer (The Lotus Wars, #1))
In our country we call this type of mother love teng ai. My son has told me that in men's writing it is composed of two characters. The first means pain; the second means love. That is a mother's love.
Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)
You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meanings of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.
Alan W. Watts (Wisdom Of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety)
He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a verb in the past tense.
James Joyce (Dubliners)
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
Aristotle
It is also then that I wish I believed in some sort of life after life, that in another universe, maybe on a small red planet where we have not legs but tails, where we paddle through the atmosphere like seals, where the air itself is sustenance, composed of trillions of molecules of protein and sugar and all one has to do is open one's mouth and inhale in order to remain alive and healthy, maybe you two are there together, floating through the climate. Or maybe he is closer still: maybe he is that gray cat that has begun to sit outside our neighbor's house, purring when I reach out my hand to it; maybe he is that new puppy I see tugging at the end of my other neighbor's leash; maybe he is that toddler I saw running through the square a few months ago, shrieking with joy, his parents huffing after him; maybe he is that flower that suddenly bloomed on the rhododendron bush I thought had died long ago; maybe he is that cloud, that wave, that rain, that mist. It isn't only that he died, or how he died; it is what he died believing. And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Nature composes some of her loveliest poems for the microscope and the telescope.
Theodore Roszak (Where the Wasteland Ends)
The artist must forget the audience, forget the critics, forget the technique, forget everything but love for the music. Then, the music speaks through the performance, and the performer and the listener will walk together with the soul of the composer, and with God.
Mstislav Rostropovich
i would like to remind the management that the drinks are watered and the hat-check girl has syphilis and the band is composed of former ss monsters However since it is new year's eve and i have lip cancer i will place my paper hat on my concussion and dance
Leonard Cohen
If a composer suffers from loss of sleep and his sleeplessness induces him to turn out masterpieces, what a profitable loss it is!
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Night Flight)
A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.
Frank Zappa
They're betting on how long I'll live!" I burst out. "They're not my friends!" "Well, try and pretend!" snaps Effie. Then she composes herself and beams at me. "See, like this. I'm smiling at you even though you're aggravating me.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
I wait. I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale (The Handmaid's Tale, #1))
Ravens are the birds I'll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.
Louise Erdrich (The Painted Drum)
You can only fight one man at a time with a sword, but, with a pen, you can compose a lecture to bore legions of enemy troops to death.
Lindsay Buroker (Blood and Betrayal (The Emperor's Edge, #5))
Pray, pray be composed, and do not betray what you feel to every body present
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
A lot of the people who read a bestselling novel, for example, do not read much other fiction. By contrast, the audience for an obscure novel is largely composed of people who read a lot. That means the least popular books are judged by people who have the highest standards, while the most popular are judged by people who literally do not know any better. An American who read just one book this year was disproportionately likely to have read ‘The Lost Symbol’, by Dan Brown. He almost certainly liked it.
The Economist
I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader's mind. [...] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them. Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to. Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us. We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him. Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical. We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Writers do not have the privilege of sleep. There is always a story coming alive in their heads, constantly composing. Whether they choose it or not.
Coco J. Ginger
When composing a verse let there not be a hair's breath separating your mind from what you write; composition of a poem must be done in an instant, like a woodcutter felling a huge tree or a swordsman leaping at a dangerous enemy.
Matsuo Bashō
In the night, I am kept awake by the endless chatter of my inner self. I hear it speak softly of old hurts and fondly of past loves, while its demands and anxieties resound throughout me in multitudes. I could be calm and composed all day long, but the moment it is dark, my mind riots.
Beau Taplin
It was evident to him that the world composed and recomposed itself constantly in an endless process of dissatisfaction.
E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime)
We cannot indefinitely avoid depressing subject matter, particularly it it is true, and in the subsequent quarter century the world has had to hear a story it would have preferred not to hear - the story of how a cultured people turned to genocide, and how the rest of the world, also composed of cultured people, remained silent in the face of genocide. (v)
Elie Wiesel (Night (The Night Trilogy, #1))
Romantics might like to think of themselves as being composed of stardust. Cynics might prefer to think of themselves as nuclear waste.
Simon Singh
Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
E.L. Doctorow
There is a point when grief exceeds the human capacity to emote, and as a result one is strangely composed-
Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone)
A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars - billions upon billions of stars. Every star may be a sun to someone.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
I've got this." Apollo stepped forward. His fiery armor was so bright it was hard to look at, and his matching Ray-Bans and perfect smile made him look like a male model for battle gear. "God of medicine, at your service." He passed his hand over Annabeth's face and spoke an incantation. Immediately the bruises faded. Her cuts and scars disappeared. Her arm straightened, and she sighed in her sleep. Apollo grinned. "She'll be fine in a few minutes. Just enough time for me to compose a poem about our victory: 'Apollo and his friends save Olympus.' Good, eh?" Thanks, Apollo," I said. "I'll, um, let you handle the poetry.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
Over and over, we start our own tales, compose our own stories, whether our lives are short or long. Until at last all our beginnings come down to just one end, and the tale of who we are is done.
Cameron Dokey (Before Midnight - A Retelling of Cinderella)
When we settle down in the homeland of love, let us not forget to choose an uplifting horizon, where humor and joyfulness are along the way, and our heartbeat guides the rhythm of our day and composes the song of our passion. ("Crystallization under an umbrella" )
Erik Pevernagie
I hated waiting. If I had one particular complaint, it was that my life seemed composed entirely of expectation. I expected — an arrival, an explanation, an apology. There had never been one, a fact I could have accepted, were it not true that, just when I had got used to the limits and dimensions of one moment, I was expelled into the next and made to wonder again if any shapes hid in its shadows.
Marilynne Robinson (Housekeeping)
If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.
Gustav Mahler
For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.
William Wordsworth (Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey)
I used to measure the skies, now I measure the shadows of Earth. Although my mind was sky-bound, the shadow of my body lies here. [Epitaph he composed for himself a few months before he died]
Johannes Kepler
The same substance composes us--the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star--we are all one, all moving to the same end.
P.L. Travers (Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, #1))
I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this —But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken down my defences. And I don’t really resent it.
Vita Sackville-West (The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf)
Forever is composed of nows..
Emily Dickinson
Forever – is composed of Nows – (690) Forever – is composed of Nows – ‘Tis not a different time – Except for Infiniteness – And Latitude of Home – From this – experienced Here – Remove the Dates – to These – Let Months dissolve in further Months – And Years – exhale in Years – Without Debate – or Pause – Or Celebrated Days – No different Our Years would be From Anno Dominies –
Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson)
Everything we do is music." (Classical Composer)(From: 4'33")
John Cage
I am composed of contradictions, which is why poetry is a better form for me than philosophy
Czesław Miłosz
Our DNA is coded to harmonise the frequency of the atoms we use to build ourselves. The frequencies of the subatomic particles making up the atoms are changed subtly enough to do this but not enough to change their structure. You could say throughout our development, from birth to death, our genes are composing a harmonic symphony that makes us what we are. It's what makes us individual; it's our life force, our soul.
D.S. Smith (Unparalleled)
You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box abd cover it with wet weeds to die? Or one might take the tip of the pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become league, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity.
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
This, in fact, is the power of the imagination, which, combining the memory of gold with that of the mountain, can compose the idea of a golden mountain.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
You try every trick in the book to keep her. You write her letters. You drive her to work. You quote Neruda. You compose a mass e-mail disowning all your sucias. You block their e-mails. You change your phone number. You stop drinking. You stop smoking. You claim you’re a sex addict and start attending meetings. You blame your father. You blame your mother. You blame the patriarchy. You blame Santo Domingo. You find a therapist. You cancel your Facebook. You give her the passwords to all your e-mail accounts. You start taking salsa classes like you always swore you would so that the two of you could dance together. You claim that you were sick, you claim that you were weak—It was the book! It was the pressure!—and every hour like clockwork you say that you’re so so sorry. You try it all, but one day she will simply sit up in bed and say, No more, and, Ya, and you will have to move from the Harlem apartment that you two have shared. You consider not going. You consider a squat protest. In fact, you say won’t go. But in the end you do.
Junot Díaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
Dreams are composed of many things, my son. Of images and hopes, of fears and memories. Memories of the past, and memories of the future...
Neil Gaiman (Fables & Reflections (The Sandman, #6))
Whenever he composes a critical review, I have been told, he gets an enormous erection.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (The Waste Books)
It smells terrible in here.' Well, what do you expect? The human body, when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions. Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I, too, have my needs. You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate.
John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces)
The song we’re composing already exists in potential. Our work is to find it.
Steven Pressfield (Do the Work)
Note: 'family' does NOT only mean a biological unit composed of people who share genetic markers or legal bonds, headed by a heterosexual-mated pair. Family is much, much more than that.
Laurie Halse Anderson (The Impossible Knife of Memory)
The only reason I am successful is because I have stayed true to myself.
Lindsey Stirling
There is, then, a world immune from change. But I am not composed enough, standing on tiptoe on the verge of fire, still scorched by the hot breath, afraid of the door opening and the leap of the tiger, to make even one sentence. What I say is perpetually contradicted. Each time the door opens I am interrupted. I am not yet twenty-one. I am to be broken. I am to be derided all my life. I am to be cast up and down among these men and women, with their twitching faces, with their lying tongues, like a cork on a rough sea. Like a ribbon of weed I am flung far every time the door opens. I am the foam that sweeps and fills the uttermost rims of the rocks with whiteness; I am also a girl, here in this room.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
DEAFNESS DOESN'T PREVENT COMPOSERS HEARING THE MUSIC. IT PREVENTS THEM HEARING THE DISTRACTIONS.
Terry Pratchett (Soul Music (Discworld, #16; Death, #3))
Da Vinci painted one Mona Lisa. Beethoven composed one Fifth Symphony. And God made one version of you.
Max Lucado
Human beings suffer agonies, and their sad fates become legends; poets write verses about them and playwrights compose dramas, and the remembrance of past grief becomes a source of present pleasure - such is the strange alchemy of the spirit.
Upton Sinclair (Dragon's Teeth)
Damn everything but the circus!. . .The average 'painter' 'sculptor' 'poet' 'composer' 'playwright' is a person who cannot leap through a hoop from the back of a galloping horse, make people laugh with a clown's mouth, orchestrate twenty lions.
E.E. Cummings
The beauty of traveling is understood along the way rather than at the end of the journey, just as the purpose of marriage isn’t about becoming Mr. and Mrs.’s, but is about the love that is expressed on a daily basis between two lovers. A journey is not made up of the destinations that we arrive at, but is composed within every step and each breath we make.
Forrest Curran
A State can be no better than the citizens of which it is composed. Our labour now is not to mould States but make citizens.
Voltaire (Candide)
Outlaws, like lovers, poets, and tubercular composers who cough blood onto piano keys, do their finest work in the slippery rays of the moon.
Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
I mentally began composing a list of words that began with F: Frey. Father. False. Friend. Frick. Frack. And some others.
Rick Riordan (The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3))
People like it when you tell them things, in suitable portions, in a modest, intimate tone, and they think they know you, but they do not, they know _about_ you, for what they are let in on are facts, not feelings, not what your opinion is about anything at all, not how what has happened to you and how all the decisions you have made have turned you into who you are. What they do is they fill in with their own feelings and opinions and assumptions, and they compose a new life which has precious little to do with yours, and that lets you off the hook. No-one can touch you unless you yourself want them to.
Per Petterson (Out Stealing Horses)
The manner in which Epictetus, Montaigne, and Salomon de Tultie wrote, is the most usual, the most suggestive, the most remembered, and the oftener quoted; because it is entirely composed of thoughts born from the common talk of life.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
Having solved all the major mathematical, physical, chemical, biological, sociological, philosophical, etymological, meteorological and psychological problems of the Universe except for his own, three times over, [Marvin] was severely stuck for something to do, and had taken up composing short dolorous ditties of no tone, or indeed tune. The latest one was a lullaby. Marvin droned, Now the world has gone to bed, Darkness won't engulf my head, I can see in infrared, How I hate the night. He paused to gather the artistic and emotional strength to tackle the next verse. Now I lay me down to sleep, Try to count electric sheep, Sweet dream wishes you can keep, How I hate the night.
Douglas Adams (Life, the Universe and Everything (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #3))
If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music ... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.
Martin Luther King Jr.
See, the ‘small stuff’ is what makes up the larger picture of our lives. Many people are like you, young man. But their perspective is distorted. They ignore ‘small stuff,’ claiming to have an eye on the bigger picture, never understanding that the bigger picture is composed of nothing more than-are you ready?- ‘small stuff’.
Andy Andrews (The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective)
Sit here, so I may write you into a poem and make you eternal.
Kamand Kojouri
The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close political cohesion.
Albert Einstein
All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the "elect" have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so "slow," so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle — keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate.
Mark Twain
You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends, And how, how rare and strange it is, to find In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends, (For indeed I do not love it ... you knew? you are not blind! How keen you are!) To find a friend who has these qualities, Who has, and gives Those qualities upon which friendship lives. How much it means that I say this to you- Without these friendships-life, what cauchemar!
T.S. Eliot (Collected Poems, 1909-1962)
Education develops the intellect; and the intellect distinguishes man from other creatures. It is education that enables man to harness nature and utilize her resources for the well-being and improvement of his life. The key for the betterment and completeness of modern living is education. But, ' Man cannot live by bread alone '. Man, after all, is also composed of intellect and soul. Therefore, education in general, and higher education in particular, must aim to provide, beyond the physical, food for the intellect and soul. That education which ignores man's intrinsic nature, and neglects his intellect and reasoning power can not be considered true education.
Haile Selassie I
Intelligence is composed mostly of imagination, insight, things that have nothing to do with reason.
Vivienne Westwood
Wherever there’s a conductor, you’re sure to find a dead composer!
Lemony Snicket (The Composer Is Dead)
A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.
Ogden Nash
The longer you live, the harder it becomes. To grab them. Each little moment as it arrives. To be living in something other than the past or the future. To be actually here. Forever, Emily Dickinson said, is composed of nows. But how do you inhabit the now you are in? How do you stop the ghosts of all the other nows from getting in? How, in short, do you live?
Matt Haig (How to Stop Time)
Life is a symphony composed by God, played by us with preludes, themes, movements, passages...and wrong notes, so many wrong notes. Heaven is where we get to hear the music played perfectly for the first time.
Tiffany Reisz (The Saint (The Original Sinners: White Years #1))
The new kind of music seems to create not from the heart but from the head. Its composers think rather than feel. They have not the capacity to make their works exalt - they meditate, protest, analyze, reason, calculate and brood, but they do not exalt.
Sergei Rachmaninoff
She tried to compose herself then, with several deep breaths. I gave her as long as she needed, all the while mentally designing my tombstone. R.I.P, Captain Abraham R. Griswold. He was completely useless and made girls cry.
Lia Habel (Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1))
You are hard at work madam ," said the man near her. Yes," Answered Madam Defarge ; " I have a good deal to do." What do you make, Madam ?" Many things." For instance ---" For instance," returned Madam Defarge , composedly , Shrouds." The man moved a little further away, as soon as he could, feeling it mightily close and oppressive .
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work ... the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp ... The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.
Muriel Spark (A Far Cry from Kensington)
You want me to list characteristics of a … ?” “Potential mate, yes, that would be helpful..." Without meaning to, I looked sideways at Patch. He was eased back in his seat, one notch above a slouch, studying me with satisfaction. He flashed his pirate smile and mouthed, We’re waiting. I stacked my hands on the table, hoping I lookedmore composed than I felt. “I’ve never thought about it before.” “Well, think fast.” “Could you call on someone else first?” Coach gestured impatiently to my left. “You’re up, Patch.” Unlike me, Patch spoke with confidence. He had himself positioned so his body was angled slightly toward mine, our knees mere inches apart. “Intelligent. Attractive. Vulnerable
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
As the rose-tree is composed of the sweetest flowers and the sharpest thorns, as the heavens are sometimes overcast—alternately tempestuous and serene—so is the life of man intermingled with hopes and fears, with joys and sorrows, with pleasure and pain.
Edmund Burke
Imagine for a moment that we are nothing but the product of billions of years of molecules coming together and ratcheting up through natural selection, that we are composed only of highways of fluids and chemicals sliding along roadways within billions of dancing cells, that trillions of synaptic conversations hum in parallel, that this vast egglike fabric of micron-thin circuitry runs algorithms undreamt of in modern science, and that these neural programs give rise to our decision making, loves, desires, fears, and aspirations. To me, that understanding would be a numinous experience, better than anything ever proposed in anyone's holy text.
David Eagleman (Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain)
I wish I were a poet. I've never confessed that to anyone, and I'm confessing it to you, because you've given me reason to feel that I can trust you. I've spent my life observing the universe, mostly in my mind's eye. It's been a tremendously rewarding life, a wonderful life. I've been able to explore the origins of time and space with some of the great living thinkers. But I wish I were a poet. Albert Einstein, a hero of mine, once wrote, 'Our situation is the following. We are standing in front of a closed box which we cannot open.' I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the vast majority of the universe is composed of dark matter. The fragile balance depends on things we'll never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Life itself depends on them. What's real? What isn't real? Maybe those aren't the right questions to be asking. What does life depend on? I wish I had made things for life to depend on.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Why kid ourselves, people have nothing to say to one another, they all talk about their own troubles and nothing else. Each man for himself, the earth for us all. They try to unload their unhappiness on someone else when making love, they do their damnedest, but it doesn't work, they keep it all, and then they start all over again, trying to find a place for it. "Your pretty, Mademoiselle," they say. And life takes hold of them again until the next time, and then they try the same little gimmick. "You're very pretty, Mademoiselle..." And in between they boast that they've succeeded in getting rid of their unhappiness, but everyone knows it's not true and they've simply kept it all to themselves. Since at the little game you get uglier and more repulsive as you grow older, you can't hope to hide your unhappiness, your bankruptcy, any longer. In the end your features are marked with that hideous grimace that takes twenty, thrity years or more to climb form your belly to your face. That's all a man is good for, that and no more, a grimace that he takes a whole lifetime to compose. The grimace a man would need to express his true soul without losing any of it is so heavy and complicated that he doesn't always succeed in completing it.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return. Exiled Thucydides knew All that a speech can say About Democracy, And what dictators do, The elderly rubbish they talk To an apathetic grave; Analysed all in his book, The enlightenment driven away, The habit-forming pain, Mismanagement and grief: We must suffer them all again. Into this neutral air Where blind skyscrapers use Their full height to proclaim The strength of Collective Man, Each language pours its vain Competitive excuse: But who can live for long In an euphoric dream; Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism's face And the international wrong. Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not so crude as our wish: What mad Nijinsky wrote About Diaghilev Is true of the normal heart; For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone. From the conservative dark Into the ethical life The dense commuters come, Repeating their morning vow; 'I will be true to the wife, I'll concentrate more on my work,' And helpless governors wake To resume their compulsory game: Who can release them now, Who can reach the dead, Who can speak for the dumb? All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden (Another Time)
Regardless, you ask why I did not greet you. Well, let us assume that I had acted as you suggest I should. Upon your approach, you would have had me gush over you?” “Naturally.” “You would have me point out how stunning you appear in that gown?” “I wouldn’t complain.” “Mention how your dazzling eyes glisten in the fireworks like burning embers?” “That would be nice.” “Expound on how your lips are so perfectly red that they could leave any man breathless with wonder, yet drive him compose the most brilliant of poetry each time he recalled the moment?” “I’d be flattered for certain.” “And you claim you want these reactions from me?” “I do.” “Well blast it, woman,” Lightsong said, picking up his cup. “If I’m stunned, dazzled, and breathless, then how the hell am I supposed to greet you? By definition, won’t I be struck dumb?” She laughed. “Well, then, you’ve obviously found your tongue now.” “Surprisingly, it was in my mouth,” he said. “I always forget to check there.
Brandon Sanderson (Warbreaker (Warbreaker, #1))
One thing I've learnt through writing is this: with everything in life, you have to look down deep into your heart! That fact is true with all things! If you have Jesus inside, He will give you all you need to say, and all the actions you need to do! It's not mere imagination the things I write; they are composed from the words lit up inside of me, from my Creator, who made all things bright!
Mary Kate
It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books - setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them." (From the Introduction of 1941's The Garden of Forking Paths)
Jorge Luis Borges (Fictions)
I touched my lips to hers again, and this time, it was a very different sort of kiss. It was six years’ worth of kissing, her lips coming to life under mine, tasting of orange and of desire. Her fingers ran through my sideburns and into my hair before linking around my neck, alive and cool on my warm skin. I was wild and tame and pulled into shreds and crushed into being all at once. For once in my human life, my mind didn’t wander to compose a song lyric or store the moment for later reflection. For once in my life, I was here and nowhere else. -Sam
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
The tragedy of Tupac is that his untimely passing is representative of too many young black men in this country....If we had lost Oprah Winfrey at 25, we would have lost a relatively unknown, local market TV anchorwoman. If we had lost Malcolm X at 25, we would have lost a hustler named Detroit Red. And if I had left the world at 25, we would have lost a big-band trumpet player and aspiring composer--just a sliver of my eventual life potential.
Quincy Jones
The genius of a composer is found in the notes of his music; but analyzing the notes will not reveal his genius. The poet's greatness is contained in his words; yet the study of his words will not disclose his inspiration. God reveals himself in creation; but scrutinize creation as minutely as you wish, you will not find God, any more than you will find the soul through careful examination of your body.
Anthony de Mello (Awakening: Conversations with the Masters)
I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean, and the living air, and the blue sky, and in the mind of man...
William Wordsworth (Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey)
For what we suppose to be our love or our jealousy is never a single, continuous and indivisible passion. It is composed of an infinity of successive loves, of different jealousies, each of which is ephemeral, although by their uninterrupted multiplicity they give us the impression of continuity, the illusion of unity.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
ART Art is that thing having to do only with itself—the product of a successful attempt to make a work of art. Unfortunately, there are no expamples of art, nor good reasons to think that it will ever exist. (Everything that has been made has been made with a purpose, teverything with an end exists outside of that thing, i.e., "I want to sell this", or "I want this to make me famous and loved", or "I want this to make me whole", or worse, "I want this to make others whole.") And yet we continue to write, paint, sculpt and compose. Is this foolish of us?
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
There is nothing for it but for all of us to invent our own ideal libraries of classics. I would say that such a library ought to be composed half of books we have read and that have really counted for us, and half of books we propose to read and presume will come to count—leaving a section of empty shelves for surprises and occasional discoveries
Italo Calvino (Why Read the Classics?)
His Majesty, may he live forever and prosper greatly... His Majesty, may sun finches warble sweet melodies in his ear... His Majesty, may orchids bloom in the wake of his passing... His Majesty, may minstrels compose epics at the sound of his glorious name... His Majesty, may his magnificent sword shatter the breasts of his enemies...
Rae Carson (The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1))
Life is a lot like pizza… But in fact, Hank, the fundamental thing that all critical reading does is reveal to us there are not easy definitions that distinguish us from them. Reading with an eye toward metaphor allows us to become the person we’re reading about while reading about them. That’s why there are symbols in books and why your English teacher deserves your attention. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the author intended a symbol to be there because the job of reading is not to understand the author’s intent. The job of reading is to use stories as a way into other people as we see ourselves, and when we do that we can look out at the world and see a giant endless set of beautiful variations of pizzas; the whole world composed of billions of beautiful, delicious pizzas.
John Green
Edward spoke in a voice so peaceful and gentle that it made the words strangely more threatening. "I'm not going to kill you now, because it would upset Bella." "Hmph," I grumbled. Edward turned slightly to throw me a quick smile. His face was still calm. "It would bother you in the morning," he said, brushing his fingers across my cheek. The he turned back to Jacob. "But if you ever bring her back damaged again--and I don't care whose fault it is; I don't care if she merely trips, or if a meteor falls out of the sky and hits her in the head--if you return her to me in less than the perfect condition that I left her in, you will be running with three legs. Do you understand that, mongrel?" Jacob rolled his eyes. "who's going back?" I muttered Edward continued as if he hadn't heard me. "And if you ever kiss her again, I wiil break your jaw for her," he promised, his voice still gentle and velvet deadly. "What if she wants me to?" Jacob drawled, arrogant. "Hah!" I snorted. "If that's what she wants, then I won't object." Edward shrugged, untroubled. "You might want to wait for her to say it, rather than trust your interpretation of body language-but it's your face." Jacob grinned. "You wish," I grumbled. "Yes, he does," Edward murmured. "Well, if you're done rummaging through my head," Jacob said with a think edge of annoyance, "why don't you go take care of her hand?" "One more thing," Edward said slowly. "I'll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'll be fighting twice as hard as you will." "Good," Jacob growled. "it's no fun beating someone who forfeits." She is mine." Edward's low voice was suddenly dark, not as composed as before, "i did't say I would fight fair." "Neither did I." "Best of luck." Jacob nodded. "Yes, may the best man win." "That sounds about right...pup.
Stephenie Meyer (Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, #3))
Our character is composed of our ideas and our feelings: and, since it has been proved that we give ourselves neither feelings nor ideas, our character does not depend on us. If it did depend on us, there is nobody who would not be perfect. If one does not reflect, one thinks oneself master of everything; but when one does reflect, one realizes that one is master of nothing
Voltaire
Every song has a composer, every book has an author, every car has a maker, every painting has a painter, and every building has a builder. So it isn't irrational to take this simple logic a little further and say that nature must have had a Maker. It would be irrational to believe that it made itself.
Ray Comfort (Hell's Best Kept Secret)
Humans have a saying that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", which basically means that if you think it's beautiful, then it is beautiful. The elfin version of this saying was composed by the great poet B.O Selecta, who said "Even the plainest of the plain shall deign to reign", which critics have always thought was a bit rhymey. The dwarf version of this maxim is "If it don't stink, marry it", which is slightly less romantic, but the general gist is the same.
Eoin Colfer (The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl #8))
They were lovebirds. They entertained each other endlessly with little gifts: sights worth seeing out the plane window, amusing or instructive bits from things they read, random recollections of times gone by. They were, I think, a flawless example of what Bokonon calls a duprass, which is a karass composed of only two persons.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
The Violins waltzed. The Cellos and Basses provided accompaniment. The Violas mourned their fate, while the Concertmaster showed off. The Flutes did bird imitations…repeatedly, and the reed instruments had the good taste to admire my jacket. The Trumpets held a parade in honor of our great nation, while the French Horns waxed nostalgic about something or other. The Trombones had too much to drink. The Percussion beat the band, and the Tuba stayed home playing cards with his landlady, the Harp, taking sips of warm milk a blue little cup. “But the Composer is still dead.
Lemony Snicket (The Composer Is Dead)
I never thought Greek philosophy could make a damn bit of sense to me. And most of it didn't, but those words just seemed right. 'Love is composed of a single soul, inhabiting two bodies.'" He took her by the shoulders drawing her close. "It rang true for me, in a way nothing else did. Whatever soul I had, Katie, I think I placed it in your keeping twenty years ago. And now, it's as if...every time we kiss, you give a little piece of it back.
Tessa Dare (A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3))
For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulse and precariously stacked carbon code memory. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.
Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs, #1))
And you rage and scream and reach through the Force to crush the shadow who has destroyed you, but you are so far less now than what you were, you are more than half machine, you are like a painter gone blind, a composer gone deaf, you can remember where the power was but the power you can touch is only a memory, and so with all your world-destroying fury it is only droids around you that implode, and equipment, and the table on which you were strapped shatters, and in the end, you cannot touch the shadow. In the end you don't even want to. In the end, you do not even want to. In the end, the shadow is all you have left. Because the shadow understands you, the shadow forgives you, the shadow gathers you unto itself—And within your furnace heart, you burn in your own flame.
Matthew Woodring Stover (Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars: Novelizations, #3))
Even the simple act which we describe as 'seeing someone we know' is, to some extent, an intellectual process. We pack the physical outline of the creature we see with all the ideas we already formed about him, and in the complete picture of him which we compose in our minds those ideas have certainly the principal place. In the end they come to fill out so completely the curve of his cheeks, to follow so exactly the line of his nose, they blend so harmoniously in the sound of his voice that these seem to be no more than a transparent envelope, so that each time we see the face or hear the voice it is our own ideas of him which we recognize and to which we listen.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
Oh, stick a cork in it, B," Jen snarled at Decebel. Vasile cocked his head to the side as he looked at Jen. "B?" "Yeah. Ya know, for Beta. Although, I like it because I could also be calling him the technical term for a female dog and he wouldn't know it. So really, calling him B totally works to my advantage," Jen explained in all seriousness. Everyone turned when a quick burst of laughter came from the right side of the room. When Sorin saw everyone turn their eyes on him, he quickly began coughing. Holding up his hands, he finally composed himself. "Pardon me, Alpha. I seemed to have swallowed wrong." "You have to be careful while swallowing smart ass comments, Sorin," Jen teased. "They tend to have a choking effect.
Quinn Loftis (Just One Drop (The Grey Wolves, #3))
When we lose certain people, or when we are dispossessed from a place, or a community, we may simply feel that we are undergoing something temporary, that mourning will be over and some restoration of prior order will be achieved. But maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are, ties or bonds that compose us. It is not as if an “I” exists independently over here and then simply loses a “you” over there, especially if the attachment to “you” is part of what composes who “I” am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become inscrutable to myself. Who “am” I, without you? When we lose some of these ties by which we are constituted, we do not know who we are or what to do. On one level, I think I have lost “you” only to discover that “I” have gone missing as well.
Judith Butler (Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence)
All our language is composed of brief little dreams; and the wonderful thing is that we sometimes make of them strangely accurate and marvelously reasonable thoughts. What should we be without the help of that which does not exist? Very little. And our unoccupied minds would languish if fables, mistaken notions, abstractions, beliefs, and monsters, hypotheses, and the so-called problems of metaphysics did not people with beings and objectless images our natural depths and darkness. Myths are the souls of our actions and our loves. We cannot act without moving towards a phantom. We can love only what we create.
Paul Valéry
It seemed my whole life was composed of these disjointed fractions of time, hanging around in one public place and then another, as if I were waiting for trains that never came. And, like one of those ghosts who are said to linger around depots late at night, asking passersby for the timetable of the Midnight Express that derailed twenty years before, I wandered from light to light until that dreaded hour when all the doors closed and, stepping from the world of warmth and people and conversation overheard, I felt the old familiar cold twist through my bones again and then it was all forgotten, the warmth, the lights; I had never been warm in my life, ever.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
One day Dostoevsky threw out the enigmatic remark: "Beauty will save the world". What sort of a statement is that? For a long time I considered it mere words. How could that be possible? When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything? Ennobled, uplifted, yes - but whom has it saved? There is, however, a certain peculiarity in the essence of beauty, a peculiarity in the status of art: namely, the convincingness of a true work of art is completely irrefutable and it forces even an opposing heart to surrender. It is possible to compose an outwardly smooth and elegant political speech, a headstrong article, a social program, or a philosophical system on the basis of both a mistake and a lie. What is hidden, what distorted, will not immediately become obvious. Then a contradictory speech, article, program, a differently constructed philosophy rallies in opposition - and all just as elegant and smooth, and once again it works. Which is why such things are both trusted and mistrusted. In vain to reiterate what does not reach the heart. But a work of art bears within itself its own verification: conceptions which are devised or stretched do not stand being portrayed in images, they all come crashing down, appear sickly and pale, convince no one. But those works of art which have scooped up the truth and presented it to us as a living force - they take hold of us, compel us, and nobody ever, not even in ages to come, will appear to refute them. So perhaps that ancient trinity of Truth, Goodness and Beauty is not simply an empty, faded formula as we thought in the days of our self-confident, materialistic youth? If the tops of these three trees converge, as the scholars maintained, but the too blatant, too direct stems of Truth and Goodness are crushed, cut down, not allowed through - then perhaps the fantastic, unpredictable, unexpected stems of Beauty will push through and soar to that very same place, and in so doing will fulfil the work of all three? In that case Dostoevsky's remark, "Beauty will save the world", was not a careless phrase but a prophecy? After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Nobel Lecture)
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. ... Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. ...
A.W. Tozer
The reality that I had known no longer existed. The places that we have known belong now only to the little world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; remembrance of a particular form is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
Within the hierarchy of fabrications that compose our lives—families, countries, gods—the self incontestably ranks highest. Just below the self is the family, which has proven itself more durable than national or ethnic affiliations, with these in turn outranking god-figures for their staying power. So any progress toward the salvation of humankind will probably begin from the bottom—when our gods have been devalued to the status of refrigerator magnets or lawn ornaments. Following the death rattle of deities, it would appear that nations or ethnic communities are next in line for the boneyard. Only after fealty to countries, gods, and families has been shucked off can we even think about coming to grips with the least endangered of fabrications—the self.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
With so much reading ahead of you, the temptation might be to speed up. But in fact it’s essential to slow down and read every word. Because one important thing that can be learned by reading slowly is the seemingly obvious but oddly underappreciated fact that language is the medium we use in much the same way a composer uses notes, the way a painter uses paint. I realize it may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how easily we lose sight of the fact that words are the raw material out of which literature is crafted.
Francine Prose (Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them)
I'd been making desicions for days. I picked out the dress Bailey would wear forever- a black slinky one- innapropriate- that she loved. I chose a sweater to go over it, earrings, bracelet, necklace, her most beloved strappy sandals. I collected her makeup to give to the funeral director with a recent photo- I thought it would be me that would dress her; I didn't think a strange man should see her naked touch her body shave her legs apply her lipstick but that's what happened all the same. I helped Gram pick out the casket, the plot at the cemetery. I changed a few lines in the obituary that Big composed. I wrote on a piece of paper what I thought should go on the headstone. I did all this without uttering a word. Not one word, for days, until I saw Bailey before the funeral and lost my mind. I hadn't realized that when people say so-and-so snapped that's what actually happens- I started shaking her- I thought I could wake her up and get her the hell out of that box. When she didn't wake, I screamed: Talk to me. Big swooped me up in his arms, carried me out of the room, the church, into the slamming rain, and down to the creek where we sobbed together under the black coat he held over our heads to protect us from the weather.
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
How anybody can compose a story by word of mouth face to face with a bored-looking secretary with a notebook is more than I can imagine. Yet many authors think nothing of saying, 'Ready, Miss Spelvin? Take dictation. Quote no comma Sir Jasper Murgatroyd comma close quotes comma said no better make it hissed Evangeline comma quote I would not marry you if you were the last person on earth period close quotes Quote well comma I'm not so the point does not arise comma close quotes replied Sir Jasper twirling his moustache cynically period And so the long day wore on period End of chapter.' If I had to do that sort of thing I should be feeling all the time that the girl was saying to herself as she took it down, 'Well comma this beats me period How comma with homes for the feebleminded touting for custom on every side comma has a man like this succeeded in remaining at large mark of interrogation.
P.G. Wodehouse
In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshiped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.
Milton Friedman (Capitalism and Freedom)
I have been studying for forty years, which is to say forty wasted years; I teach others yet am ignorant of everything; this state of affairs fills my soul with so much humiliation and disgust that my life is intolerable. I was born in Time, I live in Time, and do not know what Time is. I find myself at a point between two eternities, as our wise men say, yet I have no conception of eternity. I am composed of matter, I think, but have never been able to discover what produces thought. I do not know whether or not I think with my head the same way that I hold things with my hands. Not only is the origin of my thought unknown to me, but the origin of my movements is equally hidden: I do not know why I exist. Yet every day people ask me questions on all these issues. I must give answers, yet have nothing worth saying, so I talk a great deal, and am confused and ashamed of myself afterwards for having spoken.
Voltaire (Micromegas and Other Short Fictions)
People marvel at the genius of Mozart because he supposedly wrote "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" at the age of three and composed his first symphony at the age of twelve. And yes, of course he was a genius, but another way to look at it is that he just discovered early what it was God made him to do. That's all. For some reason, God gave him a little extra, or a little something different, and Mozart found out what that was and then got a head start on using it. Of course he was brilliant, but that's not the point. The point is he knew, and then he got to work.
Charles Martin (When Crickets Cry)
Supposing there is no life everlasting. Think what it means if death is really the end of all things. They've given up all for nothing. They've been cheated. They're dupes." Waddington reflected for a little while. "I wonder if it matters what they have aimed at is illusion. Their lives are in themselves beautiful. I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books the write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
Naturally, society has an indisputable right to protect itself against arrant subjectivisms, but, in so far as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally short-sighted age thinks only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hand of a single madman.
C.G. Jung (The Undiscovered Self)
He was out there alone with himself, composed, tranquil, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart to the serenity of the skies, moved in the darkness by the visible splendors of the constellations and the invisible splendor of God, opening his soul to the thoughts that fall from the Unknown. In such moments, offering up his heart as the flowers of night emit their perfume, lit like a lamp in the center of the starry night, expanding in ecstasy the midst of creation’s universal radiance, perhaps he could not have told what was happening in his own mind; he felt something floating away from him, and something descending upon him, mysterious exchanges of the soul with the universe.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
To reiterate: not all things need to be finished, and free reading is a prime example of this. Writing – or the composition of words which are intended to be read – just like painting, sculpting, or composing music, is a form of art. Typically, not all art is able to resonate with each and every viewer – or, in this case, reader. If we walk through a museum and see a boring painting, or listen to an album we don’t enjoy, we won’t keep staring at said painting, nor will we listen to the album. So, if we don’t like a book, if we aren’t learning from it, dreaming about it, enjoying its descriptions, pondering its messages, or whatever else may be redeeming about a specific book, why would we waste our time to “just finish it?” Sure, we may add another book to the list of books read, but is more always better?
Colin Phelan (The Local School)
There is something strikingly different about the quality of photographs of that time. It has nothing to do with age or colour, or the feel of paper. . . . In modern family photographs the camera pretends to circulate like a friend, clicking its shutters at those moments when its subjects have disarranged themselves to present to it those postures which they would like to think of as informal. But in pictures of that time, the camera is still a public and alien eye, faced with which people feel bound either to challenge the intrusion by striking postures of defiant hilarity, or else to compose their faces, and straighten their shoulders, not always formally, but usually with just that hint of stiffness which suggests a public face.
Amitav Ghosh (The Shadow Lines)
A truly brave man is ever serene; he is never taken by surprise; nothing ruffles the equanimity of his spirit. In the heat of battle he remains cool; in the midst of catastrophes he keeps level his mind. Earthquakes do not shake him, he laughs at storms. We admire him as truly great, who, in the menacing presence of danger or death, retains his self-possession; who, for instance, can compose a poem under impending peril or hum a strain in the face of death. Such indulgence betraying no tremor in the writing or in the voice, is taken as an infallible index of a large nature—of what we call a capacious mind (Yoyū), which, far from being pressed or crowded, has always room for something more.
Inazō Nitobe (Bushido, The Soul Of Japan)
A deaf composer's like a cook who's lost his sense of taste. A frog that's lost its webbed feet. A truck driver with his license revoked. That would throw anybody for a loop, don't you think? But Beethoven didn't let it get to him. Sure, he must have been a little depressed at first, but he didn't let misfortune get him down. It was like, Problem? What problem? He composed more than ever and came up with better music than anything he'd ever written. I really admire the guy. Like this Archduke Trio--he was nearly deaf when he wrote it, can you believe it? What I'm trying to say is, it must be tough on you not being able to read, but it's not the end of the world. You might not be able to read, but there are things only you can do. That's what you gotta focus on--your strengths. Like being able to talk with the stone.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
So they were pen pals now, Emma composing long, intense letters crammed with jokes and underlining, forced banter and barely concealed longing; two-thousand-word acts of love on air-mail paper. Letters, like compilation tapes, were really vehicles for unexpressed emotions and she was clearly putting far too much time and energy into them. In return, Dexter sent her postcards with insufficient postage: ‘Amsterdam is MAD’, ‘Barcelona INSANE’, ‘Dublin ROCKS. Sick as DOG this morning.’ As a travel writer, he was no Bruce Chatwin, but still she would slip the postcards in the pocket of a heavy coat on long soulful walks on Ilkley Moor, searching for some hidden meaning in ‘VENICE COMPLETELY FLOODED!!!!
David Nicholls
They [human lives] are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven’s music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life. Anna could have chosen another way to take her life. But the motif of death and the railway station, unforgettably bound to the birth of love, enticed her in her hour of despair with its dark beauty. Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress. It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences (like the meeting of Anna, Vronsky, the railway station, and death or the meeting of Beethoven, Tomas, Tereza, and the cognac), but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life a dimension of beauty.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
He knew that the very memory of the piano falsified still further the perspective in which he saw the elements of music, that the field open to the musician is not a miserable stave of seven notes, but an immeasurable keyboard (still almost entirely unknown) on which, here and there only, separated by the thick darkness of its unexplored tracts, some few among the millions of keys of tenderness, of passion, of courage, of serenity, which compose it, each one differing from all the rest as one universe differs from another, have been discovered by a few great artists who do us the service, when they awaken in us the emotion corresponding to the theme they have discovered, of showing us what richness, what variety lies hidden, unknown to us, in that vast, unfathomed and forbidding night of our soul which we take to be an impenetrable void.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
In a sense, fear is the daughter of God, redeemed on Good Friday. She is not beautiful, mocked, cursed or disowned by all. But don’t be mistaken, she watches over all mortal agony, she intercedes for mankind; for there is a rule and an exception. Culture is the rule, and art is the exception. Everybody speaks the rule; cigarette, computer, t-shirt, television, tourism, war. Nobody speaks the exception. It isn’t spoken, it is written; Flaubert, Dostoyevsky. It is composed; Gershwin, Mozart. It is painted; Cézanne, Vermeer. It is filmed; Antonioni, Vigo. Or it is lived, then it is the art of living; Srebrenica, Mostar, Sarajevo. The rule is to want the death of the exception. So the rule for cultural Europe is to organise the death of the art of living, which still flourishes.
Jean-Luc Godard
Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
Personality is composed of two fundamentally different types of traits: those of 'character;' and those of 'temperament.' Your character traits stem from your experiences. Your childhood games; your family's interests and values; how people in your community express love and hate; what relatives and friends regard as courteous or perilous; how those around you worship; what they sing; when they laugh; how they make a living and relax: innumerable cultural forces build your unique set of character traits. The balance of your personality is your temperament, all the biologically based tendencies that contribute to your consistent patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. As Spanish philosopher, Jose Ortega y Gasset, put it, 'I am, plus my circumstances.' Temperament is the 'I am,' the foundation of who you are.
Helen Fisher
…money and honour have no attraction for them; good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so to get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious they do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they cannot help — not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present…
Socrates
The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses size. The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows. You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die? Or one might take the tip of the pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become league, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity. If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through the shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be linked unto a system of gears where teeth have been filed off at random. Such snaggle-toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even by a substandard libido, whirls with the jerky, noisy, gaudy pointlessness of a cuckoo clock in Hell. The boss G-man concluded wrongly that there were no teeth on the gears in the mind of Jones. 'You're completely crazy,' he said. Jones wasn't completely crazy. The dismaying thing about classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, thought mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined. Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and twenty-three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year. The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases. The wilful filling off a gear teeth, the wilful doing without certain obvious pieces of information - That was how a household as contradictory as one composed of Jones, Father Keeley, Vice-Bundesfuehrer Krapptauer, and the Black Fuehrer could exist in relative harmony - That was how my father-in-law could contain in one mind an indifference toward slave women and love fora a blue vase - That was how Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse-carriers - That was how Nazi Germany sense no important difference between civilization and hydrophobia - That is the closest I can come to explaining the legions, the nations of lunatics I've seen in my time.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
I have reveled in my littleness and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifferent to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all flies, that nothing matters. It’s a great load off my life, for I don’t mind being such a micro-organism—to me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe—such a great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible—and eternal, so that come what may to my “Soul,” my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part—I shall still have some sort of a finger in the Pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me—but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.
W.N.P. Barbellion (The Journal of a Disappointed Man)
It is a well-known established fact throughout the many-dimensional worlds of the multiverse that most really great discoveries are owed to one brief moment of inspiration. There's a lot of spadework first, of course, but what clinches the whole thing is the sight of, say, a falling apple or a boiling kettle or the water slipping over the edge of the bath. Something goes click inside the observer's head and then everything falls into place. The shape of DNA, it is popularly said, owes its discovery to the chance sight of a spiral staircase when the scientist=s mind was just at the right receptive temperature. Had he used the elevator, the whole science of genetics might have been a good deal different. This is thought of as somehow wonderful. It isn't. It is tragic. Little particles of inspiration sleet through the universe all the time traveling through the densest matter in the same way that a neutrino passes through a candyfloss haystack, and most of them miss. Even worse, most of the ones that hit the exact cerebral target, hit the wrong one. For example, the weird dream about a lead doughnut on a mile-high gantry, which in the right mind would have been the catalyst for the invention of repressed-gravitational electricity generation (a cheap and inexhaustible and totally non-polluting form of power which the world in question had been seeking for centuries, and for the lack of which it was plunged into a terrible and pointless war) was in fact had by a small and bewildered duck. By another stroke of bad luck, the sight of a herd of wild horses galloping through a field of wild hyacinths would have led a struggling composer to write the famous Flying God Suite, bringing succor and balm to the souls of millions, had he not been at home in bed with shingles. The inspiration thereby fell to a nearby frog, who was not in much of a position to make a startling contributing to the field of tone poetry. Many civilizations have recognized this shocking waste and tried various methods to prevent it, most of them involving enjoyable but illegal attempts to tune the mind into the right wavelength by the use of exotic herbage or yeast products. It never works properly.
Terry Pratchett (Sourcery (Discworld, #5; Rincewind, #3))
The time of a man's life is as a point; the substance of it ever flowing, the sense obscure; and the whole composition of the body tending to corruption. His soul is restless, fortune uncertain, and fame doubtful; to be brief, as a stream so are all things belonging to the body; as a dream, or as a smoke, so are all that belong unto the soul. Our life is a warfare, and a mere pilgrimage. Fame after life is no better than oblivion. What is it then that will adhere and follow? Only one thing, philosophy. And philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and above all pains or pleasures; never to do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically: only to depend from himself, and his own proper actions: all things that happen unto him to embrace contentendly, as coming from Him from whom he himself also came; and above all things, with all meekness and a calm cheerfulness, to expect death, as being nothing else but the resolution of those elements, of which every creature is composed. And if the elements themselves suffer nothing by their perpetual conversion of one into another, that dissolution, and alteration, which is so common unto all, why should it be feared by any? Is not this according to nature? But nothing that is according to nature can be evil.
Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Throughout the month of May, every night, in that poor, wild garden, under that shrubbery, each day, more perfumed and dense, two human beings composed of every chastity and every innocence, every flowing with all the felicities of Heaven, closer to archangels than men, pure, honest, intoxicated, radiant, glowed for each other in the darkness. It seemed to Cosette that Marius had a crown, and to Marius that Cosette had a halo. They touched, they gazed at each other, they clasped hands, they pressed close together, but there was a distance they did not pass. Not that they respected it; they were ignorant of it. Marius felt a barrier, Cosette’s purity, and Cosette felt a support, Marius’ loyalty. The first kiss was also the last. Since then, Marius had not gone beyond touching Cosette’s hand, or her scarf, or her curls, with his lips. Cosette was to him a perfume, not a woman. He breathed her. She refused nothing, and he asked nothing. Cosette was happy, and Marius was satisfied. They were living in that ravishing condition that might be called the dazzling of one soul by another. It was that ineffable first embrace of two virginities within the ideal. Two swans meeting on the Jung Frau.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
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)
Just as the universal family of gifted writers transcends national barriers, so is the gifted reader a universal figure, not subject to spatial or temporal laws. It is he—the good, the excellent reader—who has saved the artists again and again from being destroyed by emperors, dictators, priests, puritans, philistines, political moralists, policemen, postmasters, and prigs. Let me define this admirable reader. He does not belong to any specific nation or class. No director of conscience and no book club can manage his soul. His approach to a work of fiction is not governed by those juvenile emotions that make the mediocre reader identify himself with this or that character and “skip descriptions.” The good, the admirable reader identifies himself not with the boy or the girl in the book, but with the mind that conceived and composed that book. The admirable reader does not seek information about Russia in a Russian novel, for he knows that the Russia of Tolstoy or Chekhov is not the average Russia of history but a specific world imagined and created by individual genius. The admirable reader is not concerned with general ideas; he is interested in the particular vision. He likes the novel not because it helps him to get along with the group (to use a diabolical progressive-school cliche); he likes the novel because he imbibes and understands every detail of the text, enjoys what the author meant to be injoyed, beams inwardly and all over, is thrilled by the magic imageries of the master-forger, the fancy-forger, the conjuror, the artist. Indeed of all the characters that a great artist creates, his readers are the best. (“Russian Writers, Censors, and Readers”)
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Russian Literature)
(Golden Globe acceptance speech in the style of Jane Austen's letters): "Four A.M. Having just returned from an evening at the Golden Spheres, which despite the inconveniences of heat, noise and overcrowding, was not without its pleasures. Thankfully, there were no dogs and no children. The gowns were middling. There was a good deal of shouting and behavior verging on the profligate, however, people were very free with their compliments and I made several new acquaintances. Miss Lindsay Doran, of Mirage, wherever that might be, who is largely responsible for my presence here, an enchanting companion about whom too much good cannot be said. Mr. Ang Lee, of foreign extraction, who most unexpectedly apppeared to understand me better than I undersand myself. Mr. James Schamus, a copiously erudite gentleman, and Miss Kate Winslet, beautiful in both countenance and spirit. Mr. Pat Doyle, a composer and a Scot, who displayed the kind of wild behavior one has lernt to expect from that race. Mr. Mark Canton, an energetic person with a ready smile who, as I understand it, owes me a vast deal of money. Miss Lisa Henson -- a lovely girl, and Mr. Gareth Wigan -- a lovely boy. I attempted to converse with Mr. Sydney Pollack, but his charms and wisdom are so generally pleasing that it proved impossible to get within ten feet of him. The room was full of interesting activitiy until eleven P.M. when it emptied rather suddenly. The lateness of the hour is due therefore not to the dance, but to the waiting, in a long line for horseless vehicles of unconscionable size. The modern world has clearly done nothing for transport. P.S. Managed to avoid the hoyden Emily Tomkins who has purloined my creation and added things of her own. Nefarious creature." "With gratitude and apologies to Miss Austen, thank you.
Emma Thompson (The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film)
We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecules at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe.
James Gleick (The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood)
Evil is not one large entity, but a collection of countless, small depravities brought up from the muck by petty men. Many have traded the enrichment of vision for a gray fog of mediocrity--the fertile inspiration of striving and growth, for mindless stagnation and slow decay--the brave new ground of the attempt, for the timid quagmire of apathy. Many of you have traded freedom not even for a bowl of soup, but worse, for the spoken empty feelings of others who say that you deserve to have a full bowl of soup provided by someone else. Happiness, joy, accomplishment, achievement . . . are not finite commodities, to be divided up. Is a child’s laughter to be divided and allotted? No! Simply make more laughter! Every person’s life is theirs by right. An individual’s life can and must belong only to himself, not to any society or community, or he is then but a slave. No one can deny another person their right to their life, nor seize by force what is produced by someone else, because that is stealing their means to sustain their life. It is treason against mankind to hold a knife to a man’s throat and dictate how he must live his life. No society can be more important than the individuals who compose it, or else you ascribe supreme importance, not to man, but to any notion that strikes the fancy of the society, at a never-ending cost of lives. Reason and reality are the only means to just laws; mindless wishes, if given sovereignty, become deadly masters. Surrendering reason to faith in unreasonable men sanctions their use of force to enslave you--to murder you. You have the power to decide how you will live your life. Those mean, unreasonable little men are but cockroaches, if you say they are. They have no power to control you but that which you grant them!
Terry Goodkind (Faith of the Fallen (Sword of Truth, #6))
It was the general opinion of ancient nations, that the divinity alone was adequate to the important office of giving laws to men... and modern nations, in the consecrations of kings, and in several superstitious chimeras of divine rights in princes and nobles, are nearly unanimous in preserving remnants of it... Is the jealousy of power, and the envy of superiority, so strong in all men, that no considerations of public or private utility are sufficient to engage their submission to rules for their own happiness? Or is the disposition to imposture so prevalent in men of experience, that their private views of ambition and avarice can be accomplished only by artifice? — … There is nothing in which mankind have been more unanimous; yet nothing can be inferred from it more than this, that the multitude have always been credulous, and the few artful. The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature: and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the inspiration of heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or labouring in merchandize or agriculture: it will for ever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. As Copley painted Chatham, West, Wolf, and Trumbull, Warren and Montgomery; as Dwight, Barlow, Trumbull, and Humphries composed their verse, and Belknap and Ramzay history; as Godfrey invented his quadrant, and Rittenhouse his planetarium; as Boylston practised inoculation, and Franklin electricity; as Paine exposed the mistakes of Raynal, and Jefferson those of Buffon, so unphilosophically borrowed from the Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains those despicable dreams of de Pauw — neither the people, nor their conventions, committees, or sub-committees, considered legislation in any other light than ordinary arts and sciences, only as of more importance. Called without expectation, and compelled without previous inclination, though undoubtedly at the best period of time both for England and America, to erect suddenly new systems of laws for their future government, they adopted the method of a wise architect, in erecting a new palace for the residence of his sovereign. They determined to consult Vitruvius, Palladio, and all other writers of reputation in the art; to examine the most celebrated buildings, whether they remain entire or in ruins; compare these with the principles of writers; and enquire how far both the theories and models were founded in nature, or created by fancy: and, when this should be done, as far as their circumstances would allow, to adopt the advantages, and reject the inconveniences, of all. Unembarrassed by attachments to noble families, hereditary lines and successions, or any considerations of royal blood, even the pious mystery of holy oil had no more influence than that other of holy water: the people universally were too enlightened to be imposed on by artifice; and their leaders, or more properly followers, were men of too much honour to attempt it. Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favour of the rights of mankind. [Preface to 'A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America', 1787]
John Adams (A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America: Akashic U.S. Presidents Series)
Music was a kind of penetration. Perhaps absorption is a less freighted word. The penetration or absorption of everything into itself. I don't know if you have ever taken LSD, but when you do so the doors of perception, as Aldous Huxley, Jim Morrison and their adherents ceaselessly remind us, swing wide open. That is actually the sort of phrase, unless you are William Blake, that only makes sense when there is some LSD actually swimming about inside you. In the cold light of the cup of coffee and banana sandwich that are beside me now it appears to be nonsense, but I expect you to know what it is taken to mean. LSD reveals the whatness of things, their quiddity, their essence. The wateriness of water is suddenly revealed to you, the carpetness of carpets, the woodness of wood, the yellowness of yellow, the fingernailness of fingernails, the allness of all, the nothingness of all, the allness of nothing. For me music gives access to everyone of these essences, but at a fraction of the social or financial cost of a drug and without the need to cry 'Wow!' all the time, which is LSD's most distressing and least endearing side effects. ...Music in the precision of its form and the mathematical tyranny of its laws, escapes into an eternity of abstraction and an absurd sublime that is everywhere and nowhere at once. The grunt of rosin-rubbed catgut, the saliva-bubble blast of a brass tube, the sweaty-fingered squeak on a guitar fret, all that physicality, all that clumsy 'music making', all that grain of human performance...transcends itself at the moment of its happening, that moment when music actually becomes, as it makes the journey from the vibrating instrument, the vibrating hi-fi speaker, as it sends those vibrations across to the human tympanum and through to the inner ear and into the brain, where the mind is set to vibrate to frequencies of its own making. The nothingness of music can be moulded by the mood of the listener into the most precise shapes or allowed to float as free as thought; music can follow the academic and theoretical pattern of its own modality or adhere to some narrative or dialectical programme imposed by a friend, a scholar or the composer himself. Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set to its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could ever devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog's bollocks. Nothing else comes close.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir #1))
The depressed person’s therapist was always extremely careful to avoid appearing to judge or blame the depressed person for clinging to her defenses, or to suggest that the depressed person had in any way consciously chosen or chosen to cling to a chronic depression whose agony made her (i.e., the depressed person’s) every waking hour feel like more than any person could possibly endure. This renunciation of judgment or imposed value was held by the therapeutic school in which the therapist’s philosophy of healing had evolved over almost fifteen years of clinical experience to be integral to the combination of unconditional support and complete honesty about feelings which composed the nurturing professionalism required for a productive therapeutic journey toward authenticity and intrapersonal wholeness. Defenses against intimacy, the depressed person’s therapist’s experiential theory held, were nearly always arrested or vestigial survival-mechanisms; i.e., they had, at one time, been environmentally appropriate and necessary and had very probably served to shield a defenseless childhood psyche against potentially unbearable trauma, but in nearly all cases they (i.e., the defense-mechanisms) had become inappropriately imprinted and arrested and were now, in adulthood, no longer environmentally appropriate and in fact now, paradoxically, actually caused a great deal more trauma and pain than they prevented. Nevertheless, the therapist had made it clear from the outset that she was in no way going to pressure, hector, cajole, argue, persuade, flummox, trick, harangue, shame, or manipulate the depressed person into letting go of her arrested or vestigial defenses before she (i.e., the depressed person) felt ready and able to risk taking the leap of faith in her own internal resources and self-esteem and personal growth and healing to do so (i.e., to leave the nest of her defenses and freely and joyfully fly).
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens