Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw Jace shoot her a look of white rage - but when she glanced at him, he looked as he always did: easy, confident, slightly bored.
"In future, Clarissa," he said, "it might be wise to mention that you already have a man in your bed, to avoid such tedious situations."
"You invited him into bed?" Simon demanded, looking shaken.
"Ridiculous, isn't it?" said Jace. "We would never have all fit."
"I didn't invite him into bed," Clary snapped. "We were just kissing."
"Just kissing?" Jace's tone mocked her with its false hurt. "How swiftly you dismiss our love.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
I heard the man and woman cry a warning as I frantically racked my brain for some sort of throat-repairing spell, which I was clearly about to need. Of course the only words that I actually managed to yell at the werewolf as he ran at me were, 'BAD DOG!'
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a flash of blue light on my left. Suddenly, the werewolf seemed to smack into an invisible wall just inches in front of me....
"You know," someone said off to my left, "I usually find a blocking spell to be a lot more effective than yelling 'Bad dog,' but maybe that's just me.
Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1))
Some seek the comfort of their therapist's office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy.
Dean Karnazes (Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner)
At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.
I could not become anything; neither good nor bad; neither a scoundrel nor an honest man; neither a hero nor an insect. And now I am eking out my days in my corner, taunting myself with the bitter and entirely useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot seriously become anything, that only a fool can become something.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
He paused, then tapped a finger against the box. “This is a wish,” he said quietly, “that even after four hundred years of existence, a man can be strong enough to accept the gifts he’s given.”
“Ethan—,” I began, but he shook his head.
“I’m prepared to wait for a positive response.”
“That’s going to take a while.”
Ethan lifted a single eyebrow, a grin lifting one corner of his mouth. “Sentinel, I am immortal.
Chloe Neill (Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3))
Don't push me
I've got a corner at my back
I've nowhere to go except over you.
Henry Rollins (See A Grown Man Cry/Now Watch Him Die)
Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely. God is love, they once said, but we reversed that, and love, like heaven, was always just around the corner. The more difficult it was to love the particular man beside us, the more we believed in Love, abstract and total. We were waiting, always, for the incarnation. That word, made flesh.
And sometimes it happened, for a time. That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain. You would look at the man one day and you would think, I loved you, and the tense would be past, and you would be filled with a sense of wonder, because it was such an amazing and precarious and dumb thing to have done; and you would know too why your friends had been evasive about it, at the time.
There is a good deal of comfort, now, in remembering this.
Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale)
Was it necessary to tell me that you wanted nothing in the world but me?'
The corners of his mouth drooped peevishly.
Oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he's in love with you.'
Didn't you mean them?'
At the moment.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
patience, prayer and turmeric; the foundation, the corner stones of my journey out of the darkness. Each one of these elements has played a critical role in the process. Since October, in addition to a diet replete in anti-oxidant rich foods, I’ve been ingesting cayenne pepper and turmeric four times a day. The cayenne I mix in a glass of water; the turmeric is hidden in lemon or blueberry yogurt.
Traci Medford-Rosow (Unblinded: One Man’s Courageous Journey Through Darkness to Sight)
But Neve, you can’t start a book and leave it halfway through,’ he’d said implacably. ‘It’s almost as bad as turning down the corner of the page, instead of using a bookmark.
Sarra Manning (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me)
You're the man who stands on the street corner with a roll of toilet paper, and written on each square are the words, 'I love you.' And each passer-by, no matter who, gets a square all his or her own. I don't want my square of toilet paper.'
I didn't realize it was toilet paper.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater)
What was that?" Belgarath asked, coming back around the corner.
"Brill," Silk replied blandly, pulling his Murgo robe back on.
"Again?" Belgarath demanded with exasperation. "What was he doing this time?"
"Trying to fly, last time I saw him." Silk smirked.
The old man looked puzzled.
"He wasn't doing it very well," Silk added.
Belgarath shrugged. "Maybe it'll come to him in time."
"He doesn't really have all that much time." Silk glanced out over the edge.
"From far below - terribly far below - there came a faint, muffled crash; then, after several seconds, another. "Does bouncing count?" Silk asked.
Belgarath made a wry face. "Not really."
"Then I'd say he didn't learn in time." Silk said blithely.
David Eddings (Magician's Gambit (The Belgariad, #3))
Oh, man there's a marathon of Beaches running tomorrow night. Can we go after ten so I can see it once all the way through?"
Everyone in the room turned to the blond-and-black haired guy, who was propped in the corner, massive arms over his chest.
What," he said. "Look, it's not Mary Tyler Moore, 'kay? So you can 't give me shit."
Vishous, the one with the black glove on his hand, glared across the room. "It's worse than Mary Tyler Moore. And to call you and idiot would be an insult to half-wits around the world."
Are you kidding me? Bette Midler rocks. And I love the ocean. Sue me."
Vishous glanced at the king. "You told me I could beat him. You promised."
As soon as you come home," Wrath said as he got to his feet, "we'll hang him up by his armpits in the gym and you can use him as a punching bag."
Thank you, baby Jesus."
Blond-and-Black shook his head. "I swear, one of these days I'm going to leave."
As one, the Brothers all pointed to the open door and let silence speak for itself.
You guys suck.
J.R. Ward (Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7))
We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist. So, for a time, if such a passion come to fruition, the man will get what he wants. He will get the moral support, the encouragement, the relief from the sense of loneliness, the assurance of his own worth. But these things pass away; inevitably they pass away as the shadows pass across sundials. It is sad, but it is so. The pages of the book will become familiar; the beautiful corner of the road will have been turned too many times. Well, this is the saddest story.
Ford Madox Ford
Say it,” he orders. “Say what?” I use the corner of his blanket to wipe the moisture staining my cheeks. “Say Garrett Graham, you are a sex god. You have achieved what no other man ever has. You—” I punch him in the shoulder. “Oh my God, you’re such a jerk. I will never, ever say those words.” “Sure you will.” He smirks at me. “Once I’m through with you, you’ll be shouting those words out from the rooftops.
Elle Kennedy (The Deal (Off-Campus, #1))
Your man Jesus seems to me a bit of a son of a bitch when it comes to women,´Roland said. ´Was He ever married?´
The corners of Callahan's mouth quirked. ´No´ he said, ´but His girlfriend was a whore.´
´Well,´ Roland said, ´that's a start.´
Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5))
Indians are the Italians of Asia and vice versa. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is the music inside the body and music is the food inside the heart. Amore or Pyar makes every man a poet, a princess of peasant girl if only for second eyes of man and woman meets.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
A weak man in a corner is more dangerous than a strong man. (Inspector Miller)
Agatha Christie (The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (Hercule Poirot, #35))
When you visualized a man or a woman carefully, you could always begin to feel pity . . . that was a quality God's image carried with it . . . when you saw the lines at the corners of the eyes, the shape of the mouth, how the hair grew, it was impossible to hate. Hate was just a failure of imagination.
Graham Greene (The Power and the Glory)
I glare at my sister with enough force to make her wince. “Not one word out of you,” I snap. “And don’t think I didn’t feel you kick me right before I passed out. Who does that, Summer? Who kicks a man when he’s down?” From the corner of my eye, I see Tucker sink to the floor. He buries his face in his hands, shaking with laughter.
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
The full moon rises. The fog clings to the lowest branches of the spruce trees. The man steps out of the darkest corner of the forest and finds himself transformed into...
I think not.
Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain)
When I see the blind and wretched state of men, when I survey the whole universe in its deadness, and man left to himself with no light, as though lost in this corner of the universe without knowing who put him there, what he has to do, or what will become of him when he dies, incapable of knowing anything, I am moved to terror, like a man transported in his sleep to some terrifying desert island, who wakes up quite lost, with no means of escape. Then I marvel that so wretched a state does not drive people to despair.
There was a girl, and her uncle sold her. Put like that it seems so simple.
No man, proclaimed Donne, is an island, and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other's tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from the tragedy of others, by our island nature and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived and then by some means or other, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes- forming patterns we have seen before, as like one another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them? There's not a chance you'll mistake one for another, after a minute's close inspection) but still unique.
Without individuals we see only numbers, a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, "casualties may rise to a million." With individual stories, the statistics become people- but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless. Look, see the child's swollen, swollen belly and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, this skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fears? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies' own myriad squirming children?
We draw our lines around these moments of pain, remain upon our islands, and they cannot hurt us. They are covered with a smooth, safe, nacreous layer to let them slip, pearllike, from our souls without real pain.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
A life that is, like any other, unlike any other.
And the simple truth is this: There was a girl, and her uncle sold her.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
His smile pulled up one corner of his mouth and he looked completely destructive. My heart and lady bits would not survive a night with this man.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3))
Daemon had written: "What do you do when she asks a question no man would give a child an answer to?"
Saetan had replied: "Hope you're obliging enough to answer it for me. However, if you're backed into a corner, refer her to me. I've become accustomed to being shocked.
Anne Bishop (Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels, #1))
I firmly believe that the moment our hearts are emptied of selfishness and ambition and self-seeking and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Spirit will come and fill every corner of our hearts; but if we are full of pride and conceit, ambition and self-seeking, pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. I also believe that many a man is praying to God to fill him, when he is full already with something else. Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray that He would empty us. There must be a n emptying before there can be a filling; and when the heart is turned upside down, and everything that is contrary to God is turned out, then the Spirit will come...
Dwight L. Moody
There is not much to be got anywhere in the world. It is filled with misery and pain; if a man escapes these, boredeom lies in wait for him at every corner. Nay more; it is evil which generally has the upper hand, and folly that makes the most noise. Fate is cruel and mankind pitiable.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Wisdom of Life)
She’s like a light, unwittingly brightening up the darkest corners of a man’s soul.
Colleen Hoover (Confess)
Lately I've become so damned distracted that I can't make a decision about anything. I can't think clearly. I've got knots in my stomach, and constant pains in my chest, and whenever I see you talking to any man, or smiling at anyone, I go insane with jealousy. I can't live this way. I—" He broke off and stared at her incredulously. "Damn it, Evie, what is there for you to smile about?"
"Nothing," she said, hastily tucking the sudden smile back into the corners of her mouth. "It's just… it sounds as if you're trying to say that you love me.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
It seems that a profound, impartial, and absolutely just opinion of our fellow-creatures is utterly unknown. Either we are men, or we are women. Either we are cold, or we are sentimental. Either we are young, or growing old. In any case life is but a procession of shadows, and God knows why it is that we embrace them so eagerly, and see them depart with such anguish, being shadows. And why, if this -- and much more than this is true -- why are we yet surprised in the window corner by a sudden vision that the young man in the chair is of all things in the world the most real, the most solid, the best known to us--why indeed? For the moment after we know nothing about him.
Such is the manner of our seeing. Such the conditions of our love.
Virginia Woolf (Jacob's Room)
For all that I have kissed before, I have never felt anything like this. It is as if I have swallowed a tiny piece of the sun, its warmth and light reaching into every corner of my soul and chasing away the shadows.
I surrender to that kiss - surrender to the strength and the courage and the sheer goodness of the man.
R.L. LaFevers (Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin, #2))
Even now, sometimes on street corners... when I meet someone, I see your shadow. I'm sure that even now, you're still wearing that man's cologne... so you can sleep, even alone...
Before this war is over,' [Walter] said - or something said through his lips - 'every man and woman and child in Canada will feel it - you, Mary, will feel it - feel it to your heart's core. You will weep tears of blood over it. The Piper has come - and he will pipe until every corner of the world has heard his awful and irresistible music. It will be years before the dance of death is over - years, Mary. And in those years millions of hearts will break.
L.M. Montgomery (Rilla of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #8))
It's the truth. I'm sorry to be blunt about it, but girls don't like guys who are doormats. Especially pretty girls, because there's no novelty in it. Guys are hitting on them all of the time. They can't walk down the street or order a coffee or stand on a corner without some idiot making a comment about how attractive they are. And the women smile because it's easier than telling them to go fuck themselves. And less dangerous, because if a man rejects a woman, she goes home and cries for a few days. If a woman rejects a man, he can rape and kill her.
Karin Slaughter (Pretty Girls)
Back when I was five, I thought my mom was being mean to me, so I decided to run away. Carried my slingshot with me because I was a big strong man, you see. Could take care of myself. I believe I also took a flashlight and a package of Oreos."
Despite my embarrassement, I couldn't help smiling. "I think you packed better than I did."
I swaggered out of the house where we were staying and took myself all the way to...the far corner of the backyard. There I made my stand. Stayed out there all day, until it started to reain. I hadn't thought about taking an umbrella."
The best laid plans." I sighed.
I know. It's tragic. I cam back in, all wet and my stomach aching from eating about twenty Oreo, and my mom--who is a smart lady even is she drives me nuts--well, she acted like nothing happened." Lucas shrugged.
Claudia Gray (Evernight (Evernight, #1))
One time I was standing on a corner in Chicago & a man stopped his car & asked for directions to a place I knew & I said that's too easy, ask me something harder & he yelled & said he wasn't playing games kid & then he drove off & I think about him sometimes & wonder if he ever got there.
Brian Andreas (Story People: Selected Stories & Drawings of Brian Andreas)
If you keep doing that, you’ll be turning in another wrecked PT Cruiser.”
“You said you wanted to drive,” Taylor whispered teasingly as she nibbled at his neck.
“Because I’m the man.”
“Fine. I’ll stop then, if that’s really what you want . . .”
The car careened wildly as it took the next corner.
“Fuck it,” Jason groaned. “I’ll buy you a new car.
Julie James (Just the Sexiest Man Alive)
Fear, after all, is our real enemy. Fear is taking over our world. Fear is being used as a tool of manipulation in our society. Itʼs how politicians peddle policy and how Madison Avenue sells us things that we donʼt need. Think about it. Fear that weʼre going to be attacked, fear that there are communists lurking around every corner, fear that some little Caribbean country that doesnʼt believe in our way of life poses a threat to us. Fear that black culture may take over the world. Fear of Elvis Presleyʼs hips. Well, maybe that one is a real fear. Fear that our bad breath might ruin our friendships… Fear of growing old and being alone.
Christopher Isherwood (A Single Man)
A woman shaking in fear from demons in her mind, and the old man who loves her more deeply than life itself, crying softly in the corner, his face in his hands.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
That's all I've ever dreamed of, Mr. Bones. To make the world a better place. To bring some beauty to the drab humdrum corners of the soul. You can do it with a toaster, you can do it with a poem, you can do it by reaching out your hand to a stranger. It doesn't matter what form it takes. To leave the world a little better than you found it. That's the best a man can ever do.
Paul Auster (Timbuktu)
Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the bum or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, that there aren’t any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner’s assistant leans almost amorously toward him. “Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way.” And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man’s humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises out standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away the one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for while, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, and by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the war we don’t want yet do everything we can to bring about.
Aldous Huxley (Ape and Essence)
Sunshine, I... Starla's voice broke off as she entered the room and caught sight of him standing naked in the corner. She eyed him in an odd, detached way, as if he were an interesting piece of furniture.
Talon and modesty were strangers, but the way she stared at him made him damned uncomfortable. In spite of the sunlight, Talon grabbed the pink blanket off the bed and clutched it to his middle.
You know, Sunshine, you need to find a man like that to marry. Someone so well hung that even after three or four kids, he'd still be wall to wall.
Sunshine laughed. "Starla, you're embarrassing him.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter #2))
When the farthest corner of the globe has been conquered
technologically and can be exploited economically; when any incident you like, in any place you like, at any time you like, becomes
accessible as fast as you like; when you can simultaneously "experience" an assassination attempt against a king in France and a symphony concert in Tokyo; when time is nothing but speed, instantaneity, and simultaneity, and time as history has vanished from all
Being of all peoples; when a boxer counts as the great man of a
people; when the tallies of millions at mass meetings are a triumph;
then, yes then, there still looms like a specter over all this uproar the
question: what for? — where to? — and what then?
Martin Heidegger (Introduction to Metaphysics)
Warmth slid through my veins as my body tensed in a welcomed, delicious way.
My eyes fluttered shut as his lips brushed mine once and then twice, as if he was getting reacquainted with the feel of them. The slight, barely there touch was nerve racking.
Cam shifted his weight onto his left arm and with his other hand, he spread his fingers along my cheek. He placed a kiss to the corner of my lips and the other side before sliding his hand back around the nape of my neck. His lips moved along my jaw, trailing a fiery path to my ear. A shiver danced along my skin, eliciting a deep, husky chuckle from him. His lips pressed against the sensitive spot under my ear, and a moan crawled up my throat.
And then he kissed me—kissed me like he’d had right before he’d left the night of our date. Kissed me like he was a man starving for oxygen and I was the only air he needed to breathe. The hand around my neck held me there, raised up on my elbows as his mouth devoured mine. And that was the only word I could use to accurately explained how he kissed me.
Cam devoured me.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wait for You (Wait for You, #1))
To every man, in his acquaintance with a new art, there comes a moment when that which before was meaningless first lifts, as it were, one corner of the curtain that hides its mystery, and reveals, in a burst of delight which later and fuller understanding can hardly ever equal, one glimpse of the indefinite possibilities within.
C.S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet (The Space Trilogy, #1))
We don’t have to do anything at all to die.
We can hide in a cupboard under the stairs our whole life and it’ll still find us. Death will show up wearing an invisible cloak and it will wave a magic wand and whisk us away when we least expect it. It will erase every trace of our existence on this earth and it will do all this work for free. It will ask for nothing in return. It will take a bow at our funeral and accept the accolades for a job well done and then it will disappear.
Living is a little more complex. There’s one thing we always have to do.
In and out, every single day in every hour minute and moment we must inhale whether we like it or not. Even as we plan to asphyxiate our hopes and dreams still we breathe. Even as we wither away and sell our dignity to the man on the corner we breathe. We breathe when we’re wrong, we breathe when we’re right, we breathe even as we slip off the ledge toward an early grave. It cannot be undone.
So I breathe.
I count all the steps I’ve climbed toward the noose hanging from the ceiling of my existence and I count out the number of times I’ve been stupid and I run out of numbers.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
All right, then,” she snapped, “do as you please! Perhaps afterward we could manage a coherent discussion.” Twisting beneath him, she flopped onto her stomach.
Christopher went still. After a long hesitation, she heard him ask in a far more normal voice, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making it easier for you,” came her defiant reply. “Go on, start ravishing.”
Another silence. Then, “Why are you facing downward?”
“Because that’s how it’s done.” Beatrix twisted to look at him over her shoulder. A twinge of uncertainty caused her to ask, “Isn’t it?”
His face was blank. “Has no one ever told you?”
“No, but I’ve read about it.”
Christopher rolled off her, relieving her of his weight. He wore an odd expression as he asked, “From what books?”
“Veterinary manuals. And of course, I’ve observed the squirrels in springtime, and farm animals and-”
She was interrupted as Christopher cleared his throat loudly, and again. Darting a confused glance at him, she realized that he was trying to choke back amusement.
Beatrix began to feel indignant. Her first time in a bed with a man, and he was laughing.
“Look here,” she said in a businesslike manner, “I’ve read about the mating habits of over two dozen species, and with the exception of snails, whose genitalia is on their necks, they all—” She broke off and frowned. “Why are you laughing at me?
Christopher had collapsed, overcome with hilarity. As he lifted his head and saw her affronted expression, he struggled manfully with another outburst. “Beatrix. I’m . . . I’m not laughing at you.”
“No I’m not. It’s just . . .” He swiped a tear from the corner of his eye, and a few more chuckles escaped. “Squirrels . . .”
“Well, it may be humorous to you, but it’s a very serious matter to the squirrels.
Lisa Kleypas (Love in the Afternoon (The Hathaways, #5))
When I was a boy, I passed a homeless man, drunk and begging on a street corner. My father, sensing my disgust, said something I never forgot, that I think of every time I see your face on the news or in the paper- "That man was once someone's little boy.
Blake Crouch (Unconditional)
Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder.
His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something—an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago. For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air. But they made no sound, and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
This isn’t about romance. A proper kiss, a proper courtship. There’s a way these things should be done.”
“For proper thieves?” The corners of her beautiful mouth curled and for a moment he was afraid she would laugh at him, but she simply shook her head and drew even nearer. Her body was the barest breath from his now. The need to close that scrap of distance was maddening.
“The first day you showed up at my house for this proper courtship, I would have cornered you in the pantry,” she said. “But please, tell me more about Fjerdan girls.”
“They speak quietly. They don’t engage in flirtations with every single man they meet.”
“I flirt with the women too.”
“I think you’d flirt with a date palm if it would pay you any attention.”
“If I flirted with a plant, you can bet it would stand up and take notice. Are you jealous?”
“All the time.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
There is a foolish corner in the brain of the wisest man.
In a corner of my soul there hides a tiny frightened child, who is frightened by a corner where there lingers something wild.
Shaun Hick (The Army of Five Men)
At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon
and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts.
I fought with my knuckles white as stars,
and left bruises the shape of Salem.
There are things we know by heart,
and things we don't.
At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke.
I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos,
but I could never make dying beautiful.
The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself
veins are kite strings you can only cut free.
I suppose I love this life,
in spite of my clenched fist.
I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree,
and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers,
and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath
the first time his fingers touched the keys
the same way a soldier holds his breath
the first time his finger clicks the trigger.
We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe.
But my lungs remember
the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly
and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat.
And I knew life would tremble
like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek,
like a prayer on a dying man's lips,
like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone…
just take me just take me
Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much,
the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood.
We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways,
but you still have to call it a birthday.
You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess
and hope she knows you can hit a baseball
further than any boy in the whole third grade
and I've been running for home
through the windpipe of a man who sings
while his hands playing washboard with a spoon
on a street corner in New Orleans
where every boarded up window is still painted with the words
We're Coming Back
like a promise to the ocean
that we will always keep moving towards the music,
the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain.
Beauty, catch me on your tongue.
Thunder, clap us open.
The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks.
Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert,
then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women
who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun.
I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun.
I know the heartbeat of his mother.
Don't cover your ears, Love.
Don't cover your ears, Life.
There is a boy writing poems in Central Park
and as he writes he moves
and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart,
and there are men playing chess in the December cold
who can't tell if the breath rising from the board
is their opponents or their own,
and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway
swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn,
and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun
with strip malls and traffic and vendors
and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it.
Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.
If a man were to look over the fence on one side of his garden and observe that the neighbor on his left had laid his garden path round a central lawn; and were to look over the fence on the other side of his garden and observe that the neighbor on his right had laid his path down the middle of the lawn, and were then to lay his own garden path diagonally from one corner to the other, that man's soul would be lost. Originality is only to be praised when not prefaced by the look to right and left.
Quentin Crisp (The Naked Civil Servant)
He took the hand that wasn’t holding the bouquet of wildflowers and stared at it, holding it so tightly that she thought he might crack her bones. Then his hold gentled. He slipped a gold ring onto her finger and lifted his gaze to hers.
“I’m not a brave man; I’ll never be a hero, but I love you more than life itself, and I will until the day I die. With you by my side, I’m a better man than I’ve ever been alone. I’m scared to death that I’ll let you down, but I won’t run this time. I’ll stand firm and face the challenge and work hard to see that you never have any regrets. You told me once that you wanted to share a corner of my dream. Without you, Amelia, I have no dream. With you, I have everything I could ever dream of wanting.”
Tears burned her eyes as he glanced back at the preacher. “I’m done.”
-Houston to Amelia as his wedding vow.
Lorraine Heath (Texas Destiny (Texas Trilogy, #1))
Daylight...In my mind, the night faded. It was daytime and the neighborhood was busy. Miss Stephenie Crawford crossed the street to tell the latest to Miss Rachel. Miss Maudie bent over the azaleas.
It was summertime, and two children scampered down the sidewalk toward a man approaching in the distance. The man waved, and the children raced each other to him. It was still summertime, and the children came closer. A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishingpole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yeard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention.
It was fall and his children fought ont he sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. The boy helped his sister to her feet and they made their way home. Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woe's and triymph's on their face. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled apprehensive.
Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and show a dog.
Summer, and he watched his children's heart break.
Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
We’ll meet you on some corner. I’ll be the man smoking two cigarettes.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
So,” I said. “Not ready to settle down, then?” “Definitely not.” His smile pulled up one corner of his mouth and he looked completely destructive. My heart and lady bits would not survive a night with this man. Good thing that’s not even an option, vagina. Stand down.
Christina Lauren (Beautiful Player (Beautiful Bastard, #3))
Only a fool would underestimate a man with nothing to lose.
Lance Conrad (The Price of Nobility (The Historian Tales, #2))
She thought that heartbreak might just give his character the shadows and corners and angles it needed to make it truly interesting. To deepen and shape it. She was sorry she would be the one to help make him truly interesting. But she’d never apologize for falling in love with a man who already was.
Julie Anne Long (What I Did for a Duke (Pennyroyal Green, #5))
What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly.
“The slavemasters say one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning.
“And what do you say?”
“A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father.
Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
Knock a man down, and you saw what he was made of. That man might run. If he didn’t—if he stood back up with blood at the corner of his mouth and determination in his eyes—then you knew. That man was about to become truly dangerous.
Robert Jordan (A Memory of Light (Wheel of Time, #14))
Now I'm living out my life in a corner, trying to console myself with the stupid, useless excuse that an intelligent man cannot turn himself into anything, that only a fool can make anything he wants out of himself.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
He opened the door wider. "He's waiting." He gave me what was probably meant to be a significant wink, but a corner of his mouth moved more than his eye did and the result was a fairly startling face.
Dashiell Hammett (The Thin Man)
Blunt turned to the man in question with a helpless grin, "You have always proven yourself a mystery to me, good fellow!"
Falconer lifted one corner of his mouth, "Then I have succeeded, Blunt.
Nicole Sager (The Isle of Arcrea (The Arcrean Conquest, #3))
Q.Do you have any positive message, in your opinion?
A.Indeed I do think that I do.
Q.Such as what?
A.The crying, almost screaming, need of a great worldwide human effort to know ourselves and each other a great deal better, well enough to concede that no man has a monopoly on right or virtue any more than any man has a corner on duplicity and evil and so forth. If people, and races and nations, would start with that self-manifest truth, then I think that the world could sidestep the sort of corruption which I have involuntarily chosen as the basic, allegorical theme of my plays as a whole.
I didn’t want to see you but you invaded my world
Every dark corner you found a way in
Bringing color to the lifeless and lost.
I didn’t want to touch you but you reached inside me
Every lost memory you found a way to melt the frost
Until the small closed world inside opened up into the sea
You made me love you by the smile on your face, the kindness in your eyes and the heat of your skin. One kiss makes all that’s been hurt fade away.
You made me love you for the man inside. The one no one sees but me. The man who listens to what my heart has to say.
I didn’t want to love you but you’re impossible not to love. Every perfect moment I spend in your arms draws me closer Showing me that life isn’t over because its path takes a sudden turn
I didn’t see you coming when you arrived
Nothing prepared me for the gift of a second chance.
I’ve been loved in life but all that matters now is that I’m loved by you
You made me love you by the smile on your face, the kindness in your eyes and the heat of your skin. One kiss makes all that’s been hurt fade away.
You made me love you for the man inside. The one no one sees but me. The man who listens to what my heart has to say.
I’ll spend eternity in your arms if you’ll trust me when I say that
I love you.
Abbi Glines (While It Lasts (Sea Breeze, #3))
Only one person in the room didn't cry that day and it was the man hunched on a chair, singing passionately from the darkest corners of his soul.
The trouble with words is that you can really talk yourself into a corner. You can't fuck yourself into a corner.
"That's a man talking," muttered Hana.
Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient)
In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world. . . .
This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud. . . . I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed. . . . But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.
Thomas Merton (Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander)
When cornered, desperate, or isolated, man reverts to those instincts that aim straight at survival. Quick and just. They will always be the trump cards because they are passed on more frequently from one generation to the next than the gentler genes. It is not a morality, but simple math. Among themselves, doves fight as often as hawks.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Yeah, equal pay for equal work and our bodies ourselves and Gloria Steinem and all that jazz...but in that dusty dark little corner of every woman's heart where we keep our maps of Tierra del Fuego lives the hunger to fetch a powerful man his slippers on her hands and knees.
Tiffany Reisz (The Gift (The Original Sinners, #0.15))
-You know how to call me
although such a noise now
would only confuse the air
Neither of us can forget
the steps we danced
the words you stretched
to call me out of dust
Yes I long for you
not just as a leaf for weather
or vase for hands
but with a narrow human longing
that makes a man refuse
any fields but his own
I wait for you at an
unexpected place in your journey
like the rusted key
or the feather you do not pick up.-
-I WILL NEVER FIND THE FACES
FOR ALL GOODBYES I'VE MADE.-
For Anyone Dressed in Marble
The miracle we all are waiting for
is waiting till the Parthenon falls down
and House of Birthdays is a house no more
and fathers are unpoisoned by renown.
The medals and the records of abuse
can't help us on our pilgrimage to lust,
but like whips certain perverts never use,
compel our flesh in paralysing trust.
I see an orphan, lawless and serene,
standing in a corner of the sky,
body something like bodies that have been,
but not the scar of naming in his eye.
Bred close to the ovens, he's burnt inside.
Light, wind, cold, dark -- they use him like a bride.
I Had It for a Moment
I had it for a moment
I knew why I must thank you
I saw powerful governing men in black suits
I saw them undressed
in the arms of young mistresses
the men more naked than the naked women
the men crying quietly
No that is not it
I'm losing why I must thank you
which means I'm left with pure longing
How old are you
Do you like your thighs
I had it for a moment
I had a reason for letting the picture
of your mouth destroy my conversation
Something on the radio
the end of a Mexican song
I saw the musicians getting paid
they are not even surprised
they knew it was only a job
Now I've lost it completely
A lot of people think you are beautiful
How do I feel about that
I have no feeling about that
I had a wonderful reason for not merely
It was tied up with the newspapers
I saw secret arrangements in high offices
I saw men who loved their worldliness
even though they had looked through
big electric telescopes
they still thought their worldliness was serious
not just a hobby a taste a harmless affectation
they thought the cosmos listened
I was suddenly fearful
one of their obscure regulations
could separate us
I was ready to beg for mercy
Now I'm getting into humiliation
I've lost why I began this
I wanted to talk about your eyes
I know nothing about your eyes
and you've noticed how little I know
I want you somewhere safe
far from high offices
I'll study you later
So many people want to cry quietly beside you
Leonard Cohen (Flowers for Hitler)
Mr. Constant," he said, "right now you’re as easy for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to watch as a man on a street corner selling apples and pears. But just imagine how hard you would be to watch if you had a whole office building jammed to the rafters with industrial bureaucrats—men who lose things and use the wrong forms and create new forms and demand everything in quintuplicate, and who understand perhaps a third of what is said to them; who habitually give misleading answers in order to gain time in which to think, who make decisions only when forced to, and who then cover their tracks; who make perfectly honest mistakes in addition and subtraction, who call meetings whenever they feel lonely, who write memos whenever they feel unloved; men who never throw anything away unless they think it could get them fired. A single industrial bureaucrat, if he is sufficiently vital and nervous, should be able to create a ton of meaningless papers a year for the Bureau of Internal Revenue to examine.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (The Sirens of Titan)
There's a moment when you realise all your worst fears have come true. When the fat girl stuffing her face in the corner finally recognises food gives her the comfort she can't find in anyone else. When the gorgeous man with the body of a god realises he changes women like shoes because he's scared one won't find enough reason to stay. When you see the world for what it really is, see it for all the horrors the news can't or won't report. There's a moment when you realise and accept that you are the worthless piece of shit your father always said you were, because even a diseased crack-head wouldn't kill their own sister. It was a moment Kerestyan, a defining moment...an epiphany of imperfection.
Jennifer Turner (Eternal Seduction (A Darkness Within, #1))
Sahara knew she should be worried about the fact that she’d been in bed with a man who’d caused that kind of damage with a momentary and, according to him, minor loss of telekinetic control during intimacy, but she felt her lips kick up at the corners. So we literally made the earth move?
A slight pause, before Kaleb said, I suggest we don’t engage in sex in populated areas.
The cool comment made her burst into laughter.
Nalini Singh (Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, #12))
From the cab stepped a tall old man. Black raincoat and hat and a battered valise. He paid the driver, then turned and stood motionless, staring at the house. The cab pulled away and rounded the corner of Thirty-sixty Street. Kinderman quickly pulled out to follow. As he turned the corner, he noticed that the tall old man hadn't moved but was standing under the streetlight glow, in mist, like a melancholy traveler frozen in time.
William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist)
From the baking aisle to the post office line to the wrapping paper bin in the attic, women populate every dark corner of Christmas. Who got up at 4 a.m. to put the ham in the oven? A woman. . . . Who sent the Christmas card describing her eighteen-year-old son's incarceration as 'a short break before college?' A woman. Who remembered to include batteries at the bottom of each stocking? A woman. And who gets credit for pulling it all off?
That's right. A man.
Rachel Held Evans (A Year of Biblical Womanhood)
. . .what does the computer know of the comforting weight of a book in one's lap? Or of the excitement that comes from finding a set of books, dusty and tucked away in the back corner of some store? The computer can only reproduce the information in a book, and never the joyful experience of reading it.
Ammon Shea (Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages)
You can never rouse Harris. There is no poetry about Harris- no wild yearning for the unattainable. Harris never "weeps, he knows not why." If Harris's eyes fill with tears, you can bet it is because Harris has been eating raw onions, or has put too much Worcester over his chop.
If you were to stand at night by the sea-shore with Harris, and say:
"Hark! do you not hear? Is it but the mermaids singing deep below the waving waters; or sad spirits, chanting dirges for white corpses held by seaweed?" Harris would take you by the arm, and say:
"I know what it is, old man; you've got a chill. Now you come along with me. I know a place round the corner here, where you can get a drop of the finest Scotch whisky you ever tasted- put you right in less than no time."
Harris always does know a place round the corner where you can get something brilliant in the drinking line. I believe that if you met Harris up in Paradise (supposing such a thing likely), he would immediately greet you with:
"So glad you've come, old fellow; I've found a nice place round the corner here, where you can get some really first-class nectar.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
I don't quite know what we're doing on this insignificant cinder spinning away in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fibre of my being. A man must live by his lights and do what little he can and do it as best as he can. In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.
Walker Percy (The Moviegoer)
Lord Peter's library was one of the most delightful bachelor rooms in London. Its scheme was black and primrose; its walls were lined with rare editions, and its chairs and Chesterfield sofa suggested the embraces of the houris. In one corner stood a black baby grand, a wood fire leaped on a wide old-fashioned hearth, and the Sèvres vases on the chimneypiece were filled with ruddy and gold chrysanthemums. To the eyes of the young man who was ushered in from the raw November fog it seemed not only rare and unattainable, but friendly and familiar, like a colourful and gilded paradise in a mediæval painting
Dorothy L. Sayers (Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey, #1))
So Henry found himself stepping off the bus three stops early and wandering over to the Panama Hotel, a place between worlds when he was a child, a place between times now that he was a grown man.
Jamie Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet)
Man, what is your problem?” Leo grumbled. Percy blinked. “So...I guess we’re not cool?” “Of course we’re not cool! You’re as bad as Jason! I’m trying to resent you for being all perfect and hero-y and whatnot. Then you go and act like a standup guy. How am I supposed to hate you if you apologize and promise to help and stuff?” A smile tugged at the corner of Percy’s mouth. “Sorry about that.
Rick Riordan (The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5))
I had the feeling that all over America such stupid arguments were taking place on street corners and in bars and restaurants. All over America, people were pulling credentials out of their pockets and sticking them under someone else's nose to prove they had been somewhere or done something. And I thought someday everyone in America will suddenly jump up and say "I don't take any shit!" and start pushing and cursing and clawing at the man next to him.
William S. Burroughs (And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks)
I can't be impressed by anything, O son of man.
But you surely draw my attention when cornered.
Toba Beta (Master of Stupidity)
In a clutch or a corner, I tend to make a weapon out of what is near at hand. That can be anything from a crowbar to a cat, though if I had a choice, I would prefer an angry cat, which I have found to be more effective than a crowbar.
Although weaponless, I left the house by the back door, with two chocolate-pumpkin cookies. It's a tough world out there, and a man has to armor himself against it however he can. ~Odd Thomas
Dean Koontz (Odd Hours (Odd Thomas, #4))
We reach the corner, and I begin to head back in the direction of the apartment complex, but I notice he’s stopped walking. I turn around, and he’s pulling something out of the bag he’s holding. He tears away a tag, and a blanket unfolds. No, he didn’t. He holds the blanket out to the old man still there bundled up on the sidewalk. The man looks up at him and takes the blanket. Neither of them says a word. Miles walks to a nearby trash can and tosses the empty bag into it, then heads back toward me while staring down at the ground. He doesn’t even make eye contact with me when we both begin walking in the direction of the apartment complex. I want to tell him thank you, but I don’t. If I tell him thank you, it would seem like I assume he did that for me. I know he didn’t do it for me. He did it for the man who was cold.
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
Later, when we've found this mysterious ship of Hector's and are safely away, when I have time to rest and worry and a quiet corner to hide in, I will coldly remember that being a queen means being strategic. And I will imagine sending off the man I love to marry my sister. I'll rehearse it in my head, maybe. Get used to the feeling.
Rae Carson (The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2))
God promised men that obedient women would be found on all corners of the Earth. I've been all over the Earth, and I call bullshit on that!" Alec snapped as he glared directly at me.
I snorted. "I hate to burst your bubble, but God also made the Earth round, he's got jokes."
Alec paused and glanced and me then to the sky. "Well played man, well played.
L.A. Casey (Alec (Slater Brothers, #2))
It is love. I will have to run or hide.
The walls of its prison rise up, as in a twisted dream. The beautiful mask has changed, but as always it is the one. Of what use are my talismans: the literary exercises, the vague erudition, the knowledge of words used by the harsh North to sing its seas and swords, the temperate friendship, the galleries of the Library, the common things, the habits, the young love of my mother, the militant shadow of my dead, the timeless night, the taste of dreams?
Being with you or being without you is the measure of my time.
Now the pitcher breaks about the spring, now the man arises to the sound of birds, now those that watch at the windows have gone dark, but the darkness has brought no peace.
It, I know, is love: the anxiety and the relief at hearing your voice, the expectation and the memory, the horror of living in succession.
It is love with its mythologies, with its tiny useless magics.
There exists a corner that I dare not cross.
Now the armies confine me, the hordes.
(This room is unreal; she has not seen it.)
The name of a woman gives me away.
A woman hurts me in all of my body.
Jorge Luis Borges
I think it's vital that we do not sleep together. You know, for the safety of the world." His eyes sparkled and there was just a hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth.
"Okay," I said, and smiled back at him. "But kissing is allowed, right?"
"Oh, definitely," he said, pulling me close. "After all, the warrior always wins the heart of the fair young...man.
Diana Peterfreund (Rampant (Killer Unicorns, #1))
What to go out with me tonight after work, Vaughan?”
… “You asking me out on a date, Lydia?”
“Yes,” I said. “I am.”
“Babe, I’d love to.” His hand rose to the back of my neck, stroking, drawing me closer. Hot damn, did he have the moves. The man turned my mind to mush.
“Something you need to know,” he said. “Before tonight.”
“I put out on the first date,” he told me with a perfectly straight face. “That okay with you?”
“Oh, I’m counting on it” … “I mean…it would have been so awkward if you expected me to respect you for your mind or something. Yikes, how embarrassing. Between you and me, I’m really only interested in getting into your pants.”
The corner of his mouth twitched.
“I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but, priorities, you know?”
“I know.” The man’s smile would have made a nun think twice. I never stood a chance.
Kylie Scott (Dirty (Dive Bar, #1))
A magnificient life is waiting just around the corner, and far, far away. It is waiting like the cake is waiting when there's butter, milk, flour and sugar. This is the realm of freedom. It is an empty realm. Here man's maginificent power over nature has left him alone with himself, powerless. It is the boredom of youth without a future.
The sad rocking chair in the corner was actually a joke of a chair: if one started laughing at it, one could die laughing. It was too low for a grown man, and besides, it was so tight, one needed a shoehorn to get back out of it. In short, this room was simply not furnished in a way appropriate to intellectual effort, and I did not intend to keep it any longer.
Knut Hamsun (Hunger)
Books are gems. Books which leaves your spine aching from sitting up all night reading them;
Books whose characters live in the bright corners of your mind.
Books which hold the limits of space and time within them;
Books which teach you all that man knows and all that man wants.
Books are power
Okay, sincerity was not what I had come to expect from this man.
I shook it off. “It’s easier for me to get information if you’re alive.”
The corner of his mouth twitched as he sat up. Jesus, abs like that should be illegal.
He caught his breath and shook his head. “Either way, I’m grateful.” He glanced my way, his dark eyes full of secrets. “And for me, that doesn’t happen very often.”
I raised a brow. “You’re usually an ungrateful bastard?”
“No.” He chuckled, sucking in a pained breath before lifting his gaze to meet mine. “I rarely have anything to be thankful for.
Lisa Kessler (New Moon (Moon #8))
Turning the corner, she saw the dark figure of a man, John, pushed up against the side of his bed cast in the light of another stained glass lamp. She fought the simultaneous instinct to jump away and move closer.
“You shouldn’t have come,” he said through gritted teeth.
“I had to,” she insisted, taking a step forward. “It sounded like you were in trouble.”
He laughed without humor. “Damn right I’m in trouble.
Shawn Maravel (Know Thy Neighbor)
For every man there are certain words that are as if closer and more intimate to him than any others. And often, unexpectedly, in some remote, forsaken backwater, some deserted desert, one meets a man whose warming conversation makes you forget the pathlessness of your paths, the homelessness of your nights, and the contemporary world full of people's stupidity, of deceptions for deceiving man. Forever and always an evening spent in this way will vividly remain with you, and all that was and that took place then will be retained by the faithful memory: who was there, and who stood where, and what he was holding--the walls, the corners, and every trifle.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
On the Left side of the blackboard I print a capital F on the right side another capital F. I draw an arrow from left to right, from FEAR to FREEDOM.
I don’t think anyone achieves complete freedom, but what I am trying to do with you is drive fear into a corner
Frank McCourt (Teacher Man (Frank McCourt, #3))
It is true that the subliminal in man is the largest part of his nature and has in it the secret of the unseeen dynamisms which explain his surface activities. But the lower vital subconscious which is all that this psycho-analysis of Freud seems to know, - and of that it knows only a few ill-lit corners, - is no more than a restricted and very inferior portion of the subliminal whole... to begin by opening up the lower subconscious, risking to raise up all that is foul or obscure in it, is to go out of one's way to invite trouble.
Sri Aurobindo (Integral Yoga: Teaching and Method of Practice)
The Indians are the Italians of Asia", Didier pronounced with a sage and mischievous grin. "It can be said, certainly, with equal justice, that the Italians are the Indians of Europe, but you do understand me, I think. There is so much Italian in the Indians, and so much Indians in the Italians. They are both people of the Madonna - they demand a goddess, even if the religion does not provide one. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is music inside the body, and music is food inside the heart. The Language of India and the language of Italy, they make every man a poet, and make something beautiful from every banalite. They are nations where love - amore, pyaar - makes a cavalier of a Borsalino on a street corner, and makes a princess of a peasant girl, if only for the second that her eyes meet yours.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
A man does not need to be a wizard to know truth from falsehood, not if he has eyes. You need only learn to read a face. Look at the eyes. The mouth. The muscles here, at the corners of the jaw, and here, where the neck joins the shoulders." He touched her lightly with two fingers. "Some liars blink. Some stare. Some look away. Some lick their lips. Many coer their mouths just before they tell a lie, as if to hide their deceit. Other signs may be more subtle, but they are always there. A false smile and a true one may look alike, but they are as different as dusk from dawn.
George R.R. Martin (A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4))
Where does a man go when there are no more corners to turn, when he's running out of hope, out of luck, out of time?
Doug Stanton (In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors)
God is the comic shepherd who gets more of a kick out of that one lost sheep once he finds it again than out of the ninety and nine who had the good sense not to get lost in the first place. God is the eccentric host who, when the country-club crowd all turned out to have other things more important to do than come live it up with him, goes out into the skid rows and soup kitchens and charity wards and brings home a freak show. The man with no legs who sells shoelaces at the corner. The old woman in the moth-eaten fur coat who makes her daily rounds of the garbage cans. The old wino with his pint in a brown paper bag. The pusher, the whore, the village idiot who stands at the blinker light waving his hand as the cars go by. They are seated at the damask-laid table in the great hall. The candles are all lit and the champagne glasses filled. At a sign from the host, the musicians in their gallery strike up "Amazing Grace.
Frederick Buechner (Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale)
Happy the writer who, passing by characters that are boring, disgusting, shocking in their mournful reality, approaches characters that manifest the lofty dignity of man, who from the great pool of daily whirling images has chosen only the rare exceptions, who has never once betrayed the exalted turning of his lyre, nor descended from his height to his poor, insignificant brethren, and, without touching the ground, has given the whole of himself to his elevated images so far removed from it. Twice enviable is his beautiful lot: he is among them as in his own family; and meanwhile his fame spreads loud and far. With entrancing smoke he has clouded people's eyes; he has flattered them wondrously, concealing what is mournful in life, showing them a beautiful man. Everything rushes after him, applauding, and flies off following his triumphal chariot. Great world poet they name him, soaring high above all other geniuses in the world, as the eagle soars above the other high fliers. At the mere mention of his name, young ardent hearts are filled with trembling, responsive tears shine in all eyes...No one equals him in power--he is God! But such is not the lot, and other is the destiny of the writer who has dared to call forth all that is before our eyes every moment and which our indifferent eyes do not see--all the stupendous mire of trivia in which our life in entangled, the whole depth of cold, fragmented, everyday characters that swarm over our often bitter and boring earthly path, and with the firm strength of his implacable chisel dares to present them roundly and vividly before the eyes of all people! It is not for him to win people's applause, not for him to behold the grateful tears and unanimous rapture of the souls he has stirred; no sixteen-year-old girl will come flying to meet him with her head in a whirl and heroic enthusiasm; it is not for him to forget himself in the sweet enchantment of sounds he himself has evoked; it is not for him, finally, to escape contemporary judgment, hypocritically callous contemporary judgment, which will call insignificant and mean the creations he has fostered, will allot him a contemptible corner in the ranks of writers who insult mankind, will ascribe to him the quality of the heroes he has portrayed, will deny him heart, and soul, and the divine flame of talent. For contemporary judgment does not recognize that equally wondrous are the glasses that observe the sun and those that look at the movement of inconspicuous insect; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that much depth of soul is needed to light up the picture drawn from contemptible life and elevate it into a pearl of creation; for contemporary judgment does not recognize that lofty ecstatic laughter is worthy to stand beside the lofty lyrical impulse, and that a whole abyss separates it from the antics of the street-fair clown! This contemporary judgment does not recognize; and will turn it all into a reproach and abuse of the unrecognized writer; with no sharing, no response, no sympathy, like a familyless wayfarer, he will be left alone in the middle of the road. Grim is his path, and bitterly he will feel his solitude.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
by travelling to all the corners of the globe it allows me to further define the ever changing world we live in, which in turn helps me to redefine myself, therefore it is an important process towards becoming a complete person.
Andrew James Pritchard (The Man in Seat 11B)
The potential for loss of soul--to one degree or another--is the affliction of a society that as a collective has lost its sense of the holy, of a culture that values everything else above the spiritual. We live in such a spiritually impoverished culture--and in such a time. Loss of soul, to one degree or another, is a constant teasing possibility. We are invited at every corner to hedge on the truth, indulge outselves, act as if our words and actions have no ultimate consequence, make an absolute of the material world, and treat the spiritual world as if it were some kind of frothy, angelic fantasy. In such a world the soul struggles for survival; in such a world a man can lose his own soul and have the whole culture support him, and in such a world, conversely, the light of a single, great soul that lives in integrity can truly illumine the world.
Daphne Rose Kingma
...I know how she must have felt. Pressure to be in charge of the world. So much responsibility. The whole world on her...to let go and just give herself to you, to give up to you..."
"I'm glad you understand...few women do."
"Oh, they do. They're just afraid to admit it... in the dusty dark little corner of every woman's heart... lives the hunger to fetch a powerful man his slippers on her hands and knees.
Tiffany Reisz (Seven Day Loan (The Original Sinners, #0.15))
First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.
But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
They may look grown-up,” she continued, “but it’s a disguise. It’s just the clay of time. Men and women are still children deep in their hearts. They still would like to jump and play, but that heavy clay won’t let them. They’d like to shake off every chain the world’s put on them, take off their watches and neckties and Sunday shoes and return naked to the swimming hole, if just for one day. They’d like to feel free, and know that there’s a momma and daddy at home who’ll take care of things and love them no matter what. Even behind the face of the meanest man in the world is a scared little boy trying to wedge himself into a corner where he can’t be hurt.
Robert R. McCammon (Boy's Life)
I would miss the horse. I’ve never liked walking. If God had meant man to walk he wouldn’t have given us horses. Wonderful animals. I think of them as the word escape, covered in hair and with a leg at each corner.
Mark Lawrence (Prince of Fools (The Red Queen's War, #1))
All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street-corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door. So it is with absurdity. The absurd world more than others derives its nobility from that abject birth. In certain situations, replying “nothing” when asked what one is thinking about may be pretense in a man. Those who are loved are well aware of this. But if that reply is sincere, if it symbolizes that odd state of soul in which the void becomes eloquent, in which the chain of daily gestures is broken, in which the heart vainly seeks the link that will connect it again, then it is as it were the first sign of absurdity.
It provides the police with something to do, and as junkies and potheads are relatively easy to apprehend because they have to take so many chances to get hold of their drugs, a heroic police can make spectacular arrests, lawyers can do a brisk business, judges can make speeches, the big pedlars can make a fortune, the tabloids can sell millions of copies. John Citizen can sit back feeling exonerated and watch evil get its deserts. That's the junk scene, man. Everyone gets something out of it except the junkie. If he's lucky he can creep round the corner and get a fix. But it wasn't the junk that made him creep.
Alexander Trocchi (Cain's Book)
--you have too good a mind to throw away. I don't quite know what we're doing on this insignificant cinder spinning aay in a dark corner of the universe. That is a secret which the high gods have not confided in me. Yet one thing I believe and I believe it with every fibre of my being. A man must live by his light and do what little he can and do it as best he can. In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.'
She is right. I will say yes. I will say yes even though I do not really know what she is talking about.
Do not think of him with Blay. Do not think of him with Blay. Do not think of him—
“I didn’t know you were a sherry man.”
“Huh?" Qhuinn glanced down at what he’d poured himself. Fuck. In the midst of the self-lecture, he’d picked up the wrong bottle. “Oh, you know… I’m good with it.”
To prove the point, he tossed back the hooch—and nearly choked as the sweetness hit his throat.
He served himself another only so he didn’t look like the kind of idiot who wouldn’t know what he was dishing out into his own glass.
Okay, gag. The second was worse than the first.
From out of the corner of his eye, he watched Saxton settle in at the table, the brass lamp in front of him casting the most perfect glow over his face. Shiiiiiit, he looked like something out of a Ralph Lauren ad, with his buff-colored tweed jacket and his pointed pocket square and that button-down/sweater vest combo keeping his fucking liver cozy.
Meanwhile, Qhuinn was sporting hospital scrubs, bare feet. And sherry.
J.R. Ward (Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10))
I had no power of how and when to remember her. You think you can put up a kind of shield. But remembering don't come to a man face forward—it corners around sideways. I was at the mercy of everything I saw and heard. Suddenly instead of me combing the countryside to find her, she begun to chase me around in my very soul. She chasing me mind you! And in my soul.
Carson McCullers (A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud)
I continue to stare, my eyes missing nothing, remembering the moments we just shared together. But in all that time she does not look back, and I am haunted by the visions of her struggling with unseen enemies.
I sit by the bedside with an aching back and start to cry as I pick up the notebook. Allie does not notice. I understand, for her mind is gone.
A couple pages fall to the floor, and I bend over to pick them up. I am tired now, so I sit, alone and apart from my wife. And when the nurses come in they see two people they must comfort. A woman shaking in fear from demons in her mind, and the old man who loves her more deeply than life itself, crying softly in the corner, his face in his hands.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
We sat there, not talking, for a few minutes. He ate the Moon Pie; only skinny people can scarf down junk food like that. Finally, I said, "Norman?"
"Are you ever going to show me the painting?"
"Man," he said. "You are, like, so impatient."
"I am not," I said. "I've been waiting forever."
"Okay, okay." He stood up and went over to the corner, picking up the painting and bringing it over to rest against the bright pink belly of one of the mannequins. Then, he handed me a bandana. "Tie that on.
Sarah Dessen (Keeping the Moon)
The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.
The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed trough the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumn leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with coversation and laughter, the clatter and clamour one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of the night. If there had been music…but no, of curse there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.
Inside the Waystone a pair of men huddled at one corner of the bar. they drank with quiet determination, avoiding serious discussions of troubling news. In doing these they added a small, sullen silenceto the lager, hollow one. it made an alloy of sorts, a counterpoint.
The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the wooden floor underfoot and in the rough, splintering barrels behind the bar. It was in the weight of the black stone heart that held the heat of a long-dead fire. It was in the slow back and forth of a white linen cloth rubbing along the grain of the bar. and it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a strech of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight.
The man had true-red hair, red as flame. his eyes was dark and distant, and he moved with the subtle certainty that comes from knowing many things.
The Waystone was is, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wapping the other inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
How about we go to my
place? It’s just around the corner.”
Ah, thanks—but no thanks. Redhead has quickly become a fading memory. My sights are set on
better, more intriguing prospects. I’m about to tell her so when another redhead appears beside her.
“This is my sister, Mandy. I told her all about you. She thought the three of us could…you
know…have a good time.”
I turn my gaze on Redhead’s sister—her twin, actually. And just like that, my plans change. I
know, I know…I said I don’t ride the same coaster twice. But twin coasters?
Let me tell you, no man would pass up a ride like that.
Emma Chase (Tangled (Tangled, #1))
My Aunt Dahlia, who runs a woman's paper called Milady's Boudoir, had recently backed me into a corner and made me promise to write her a few words for her "Husbands and Brothers" page on "What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing". I believe in encouraging aunts, when deserving; and, as there are many worse eggs than her knocking about the metrop, I had consented blithely. But I give you my honest word that if I had had the foggiest notion of what I was letting myself in for, not even a nephew's devotion would have kept me from giving her the raspberry. A deuce of a job it had been, taxing the physique to the utmost. I don't wonder now that all these author blokes have bald heads and faces like birds who have suffered.
Sanya told you about his beliefs.' I felt the corners of my mouth start to twinge as another smile threatened. 'Yeah.'
Shiro let out a pleased snort. 'Sanya is a good man.'
'I just don't get why he'd be recruited as a Knight of the Cross.'
Shiro looked at me over the glasses, chewing. After a while, he sad, 'Man sees faces. Sees skin. Flags. Membership lists. Files.' He took another large bite, ate it, and said, 'God sees hearts.
Jim Butcher (Death Masks (The Dresden Files, #5))
Magic is just magic!” Jackaby threw up his hands. “It’s not inherently special or strange or dangerous! It’s everywhere! It’s already all around you! If just being magical meant that something was dangerous, you’d have long since been killed by a butterfly, or a bubble, or an apple turnover.” “Those things aren’t magical.” “Of course they’re magical! Argh! You infuriating man! If a unicorn came and sat in the corner of your office every day, then by the end of the year you’d be hanging your coat on its horn. There is magic in your life! Not appreciating it does not make it any less magical. Yes, some of that magic is dangerous, but so are scissors and electricity and politics—and plenty of other completely human inventions!
William Ritter (The Dire King (Jackaby #4))
Look, I get it. I’m a white, heterosexual man. It’s really easy for me to say, ‘Oh, wow, wasn’t the nineteenth century terrific?’ But try this. Imagine the scene: It’s pouring rain against a thick window. Outside, on Baker Street, the light from the gas lamps is so weak that it barely reaches the pavement. A fog swirls in the air, and the gas gives it a pale yellow glow. Mystery brews in every darkened corner, in every darkened room. And a man steps out into that dim, foggy world, and he can tell you the story of your life by the cut of your shirtsleeves. He can shine a light into the dimness, with only his intellect and his tobacco smoke to help him. Now. Tell me that’s not awfully romantic?
Graham Moore (The Sherlockian)
Winter’s head snapped around, away from Scarlet. Scarlet’s pace slowed, dread pulsing through her as she, too, heard the footsteps. Pounding footsteps, like someone was running at full speed toward them. She reached for the knife Jacin had given her. A man barrelled around the corner, heading straight for the princess. Winter tensed half a second before he reached her. Grabbing Winter’s elbow, he yanked back the red hood.
Scarlet gasped. Her knees weakened. The man stared at Winter with a mixture of confusion and disappointment and maybe even anger, all locked up in eyes so vividly green that Scarlet could see them glowing from here. She was the one hallucinating now.
She took a stumbling, uncertain step forward. Wanting to run toward him, but terrified it was a trick. Her hand tightened around the knife handle as Wolf, ignoring how Winter was trying to pull away, grabbed her arm and smelled the filthy red sleeve of Scarlet’s hoodie, streaked with dirt and blood. He growled, ready to tear the princess apart. “Where did you get this?” So desperate, so determined, so him. The knife slipped out of Scarlet’s hand. Wolf’s attention snapped to her. “Wolf?” she whispered.
His eyes brightened, wild and hopeful. Releasing Winter, he strode forward. His tumultuous eyes scooped over her. Devoured her.
When he was in arm’s reach, Scarlet almost collapsed into him, but at the last moment she had the presence of mind to step back. She planted a hand on his chest. Wolf froze, hurt flickering across his face.
“I’m sorry,” said Scarlet, her voice teetering with exhaustion. “It’s just…I smell so awful, I can hardly stand to be around myself right now, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for you with your sense of sm-“
Batting her hand away, Wolf dug his fingers into Scarlet’s hair and crushed his mouth against hers. Her protests died with a muffled gasp. This time, she did collapse, her legs unable to hold her a second longer. Wolf fell with her, dropping his knees to break Scarlet’s fall and cradling her body against his. He was here. He was here.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
Srinivasa Ramanujan was the strangest man in all of mathematics, probably in the entire history of science. He has been compared to a bursting supernova, illuminating the darkest, most profound corners of mathematics, before being tragically struck down by tuberculosis at the age of 33... Working in total isolation from the main currents of his field, he was able to rederive 100 years’ worth of Western mathematics on his own. The tragedy of his life is that much of his work was wasted rediscovering known mathematics.
Michio Kaku (Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension)
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?'
Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?'
'It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?'
'What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...'
'No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.'
Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks:
'There was Manicheanism...'
'Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...'
Snow pondered for a while:
'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.'
I kept on:
'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...'
'We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.'
'If you're going to take what I say literally...'
...Snow asked abruptly:
'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?'
'I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?
The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success.
Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business.
When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic.
Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward.
Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.
Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside.
Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?
Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem.
Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living.
Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward.
Everything in life brings risk. It's true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don't try anything new.
The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure — and actually fail — the greater your chances of success.
If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. And that means you're not taking enough risks. You risk because you have something of value you want to achieve.
The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.
Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to your benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Don't let your learning lead to knowledge; let your learning lead to action.
The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?
Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline.
Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally. Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence.
Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might.
If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail.
The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface.
Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.
John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
How ... how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that's why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on. That's why most writing now, if you read it they go on one two three four and tell you what happened like newspaper accounts, no adjectives, no long sentences, no tricks they pretend, and they finally believe that they really believe that the way they saw it is the way it is ... it never takes your breath away, telling you things you already know, laying everything out flat, as though the terms and the time, and the nature and the movement of everything were secrets of the same magnitude. They write for people who read with the surface of their minds, people with reading habits that make the smallest demands on them, people brought up reading for facts, who know what's going to come next and want to know what's coming next, and get angry at surprises. Clarity's essential, and detail, no fake mysticism, the facts are bad enough. But we're embarrassed for people who tell too much, and tell it without surprise. How does he know what happened? unless it's one unshaven man alone in a boat, changing I to he, and how often do you get a man alone in a boat, in all this ... all this ... Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you'll see. Like a man going into a dark room, holding his hands down guarding his parts for fear of a table corner, and ... Why, all this around us is for people who can keep their balance only in the light, where they move as though nothing were fragile, nothing tempered by possibility, and all of a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things, and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you've broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. But the discipline, the detail, it's just ... sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.
William Gaddis (The Recognitions)
The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.
They could see how love might control you, from your head to your toes, not to mention every single part of you in between.
A woman could want a man so much she might vomit in the kitchen sink or cry so fiercly blood would form in the corners of her eyes.
She put her hand to her throat as though someone were strangling her, but really she was choking on all that love she thought she’d needed so badly.
What had she thought, that love was a toy, something easy and sweet, just to play with? Real love was dangerous, it got you from inside and held on tight, and if you didn’t let go fast enough you might be willing to do anything for it’s sake.
She refused to believe in superstition, she wouldn’t; yet it was claiming her.
Some fates are guaranteed, no matter who tries to intervene.
After all I’ve done for you is lodged somewhere in her brain, and far worse, it’s in her heart as well.
She was bad luck, ill-fated and unfortunate as the plague.
She is not worth his devotion. She wishes he would evaporate into thin air. Maybe then she wouldn’t have this feeling deep inside, a feeling she can deny all she wants, but that won’t stop it from being desire.
Love is worth the sum of itself and nothing more.
But that’s what happens when you’re a liar, especially when you’re telling the worst of these lies to yourself.
He has stumbled into love, and now he’s stuck there. He’s fairly used to not getting what he wants, and he’s dealt with it, yet he can’t help but wonder if that’s only because he didn’t want anything so badly.
It’s music, it’s a sound that is absurdly beautiful in his mouth, but she won’t pay attention. She knows from the time she spent on the back stairs of the aunts’ house that most things men say are lies. Don’t listen, she tells herself. None if it’s true and none of it matters, because he’s whispering that he’s been looking for her forever. She can’t believe it. She can’t listen to anything he tells her and she certainly can’t think, because if she did she might just think she’d better stop.
What good would it do her to get involved with someone like him? She’d have to feel so much, and she’s not that kind.
The greatest portion of grief is the one you dish out for yourself.
She preferred cats to human beings and turned down every offer from the men who fell in love with her.
They told her how sticks and stones could break bones, but taunting and name-calling were only for fools.
— & now here she is, all used up.
Although she’d never believe it, those lines in *’s face are the most beautiful part about her. They reveal what she’s gone through and what she’s survived and who exactly she is, deep inside.
She’s gotten back some of what she’s lost. Attraction, she now understands, is a state of mind.
If there’s one thing * is now certain of, it’s house you can amaze yourself by the things you’re willing to do.
You really don’t know? That heart-attack thing you’ve been having? It’s love, that’s what it feels like.
She knows now that when you don’t lose yourself in the bargain, you find you have double the love you started with, and that’s one recipe that can’t be tampered with.
Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
A year here and he still dreamed of cyberspace, hope fading nightly. All the speed he took, all the turns he'd taken and the corners he cut in Night City, and he'd still see the matrix in his dreams, bright lattices of logic unfolding across that colourless void... The Sprawl was a long, strange way home now over the Pacific, and he was no Console Man, no cyberspace cowboy. Just another hustler, trying to make it through. But the dreams came on in the Japanese night like livewire voodoo, and he'd cry for it, cry in his sleep, and wake alone in the dark, curled in his capsule in some coffin hotel, hands clawed into the bedslab, temper foam bunched between his fingers, trying to reach the console that wasn't there.
William Gibson (Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1))
The clamor of traffic intensified as the coach's door swung open. Nathaniel clambered inside amid a swirl of emerald silk. He flashed Elisabeth a grin, pulling the door shut as he took a seat in the opposite corner.
"Best if I don't show myself," he explained. "I don't want to inflame the public. They go absolutely mad in the presence of celebrity, you see, and I'd prefer them not to storm the carriage. There are only so many propositions of marriage a man can bear.
Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns)
Large portraits of Mao on wooden boards several feet high stood at main street corners. Painted to make the old man look extremely youthful, healthy, and fat (a sign of well-being in China), these pictures provided a mocking contrast to the thin, pale-faced pedestrians walking listlessly below them.
Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)
You can't stand clutter, and you have an obsession with orderliness. The furniture in here is centered exactly on the walls; the files on your desk are arranged in precise corners. If I had to guess, I would say you are probably a control freak, and that is usually symptomatic of a man who feels powerless to control his own life, so he tries to control every facet of his surroundings.
Judith McNaught (Someone to Watch Over Me)
Hutte, for instance, used to quote the case of a fellow he called "the beach man." This man had spent forty years of his life on beaches or by the sides of swimming pools, chatting pleasantly with summer visitors and rich idlers. He is to be seen, in his bathing costume, in the corners and backgrounds of thousands of holiday snaps, among groups of happy people, but no one knew his name and why he was there. And no one noticed when one day he vanished from the photographs. I did not dare tell Hutte, but I felt that "the beach man" was myself. Though it would not have surprised him if I had confessed it. Hutte was always saying that, in the end, we were all "beach men" and that "the sand" - I am quoting his own words - "keeps the traces of our footsteps only a few moments.
Patrick Modiano (Rue des Boutiques Obscures)
For remember, that it is altogether your world now. You and all the rest. We have delivered you from evil, but the evil that is inside men is at the last a matter for men to control. The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands-your hands and the hands of all men on this earth. The future can not blame the present, just as the present can not blame the past. The hope is always here, always alive, but only your fierce caring can fan it into a fire to warm the world.
For Drake is no longer in his hammock, children, nor is Arthur somewhere sleeping, and you may not lie idly expecting the second coming of anybody now, because the world is yours and it is up to you. Now especially since man has the strength to destroy the world, it is the responsibility of man to keep it alive, in all its beauty and marvelous joy.
And the world will still be imperfect, because men are imperfect. Good men will still be killed by bad, or sometimes by other good men, and there will still be pain and disease and famine, anger and hate. But if you work and care and are watchful, as we have tried to be for you, then in the long run the worse will never, ever, triumph over the better. And the gifts put into some men, that shine as bright as Eirias the sword, shall light the dark corners of life for all the rest, in so brave a world.
Susan Cooper (Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5))
His last election night was on the wide-open stretch of Zilker Park, against the backdrop of the Austin skyline. He remembers everything.
He was eighteen years old in his first custom-made suit, corralled into a hotel around the corner with his family to watch the results while the crowd swelled outside, running with his arms open down the hallway when they called 270. He remembers it felt like his moment, because it was his mom and his family, but also realizing it was, in a way, not his moment at all, when he turned around and saw Zahra's mascara running down her face.
He stood next to the stage set into the hillside of Zilker and looked into eyes upon eyes upon eyes of women who were old enough to have marched on Congress for the VRA in '65 and girls young enough never to have known a president who was a white man. All of them looking at their first Madam President.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
It was then that he felt someone silently tap him on the shoulder. He froze as he felt the breath on his ear through his matted hair. “Mi asavo! Non faccio niente!”he yelled [I give up, I didn’t do anything!] But his captor said nothing, only continued his breathing and had even begun making some unknown soft growling noise. In the dark, he could see nothing from the corner of his eye. But his captor could see all.
Wondering why this man was suddenly stiff as a board when he had been so entertaining only a few moments before, Kitty decided to ask him in her usual way. Leaning closer to the man’s ear, with her paw on his shoulder, she said very loudly, “Meow!”
It was as if a bomb had exploded in his ear. The man jumped in the air, causing Kitty to streak backward, unintentionally marking him with two relatively deep scratches. He shot from the pantry, running straight into a wall, and knocked himself out.
Cece Whittaker (Glorious Christmas (The Serve, #7))
That's the myth of it, the required lie that allows us to render our judgments. Parasites, criminals, dope fiends, dope peddlers, whores--when we can ride past them at Fayette and Monroe, car doors locked, our field of vision cautiously restricted to the road ahead, then the long journey into darkness is underway. Pale-skinned hillbillies and hard-faced yos, toothless white trash and gold-front gangsters--when we can glide on and feel only fear, we're well on the way. And if, after a time, we can glimpse the spectacle of the corner and manage nothing beyond loathing and contempt, then we've arrived at last at that naked place where a man finally sees the sense in stretching razor wire and building barracks and directing cattle cars into the compound.
It's a reckoning of another kind, perhaps, and one that becomes a possibility only through the arrogance and certainty that so easily accompanies a well-planned and well-tended life. We know ourselves, we believe in ourselves; from what we value most, we grant ourselves the illusion that it's not chance in circumstance, that opportunity itself isn't the defining issue. We want the high ground; we want our own worth to be acknowledged. Morality, intelligence, values--we want those things measured and counted. We want it to be about Us.
Yes, if we were down there, if we were the damned of the American cities, we would not fail. We would rise above the corner. And when we tell ourselves such things, we unthinkably assume that we would be consigned to places like Fayette Street fully equipped, with all the graces and disciplines, talents and training that we now posses. Our parents would still be our parents, our teachers still our teachers, our broker still our broker. Amid the stench of so much defeat and despair, we would kick fate in the teeth and claim our deserved victory. We would escape to live the life we were supposed to live, the life we are living now. We would be saved, and as it always is in matters of salvation, we know this as a matter of perfect, pristine faith.
Why? The truth is plain:
We were not born to be niggers.
David Simon (The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood)
As a journalist, I have seen things that have scarred me. I have interacted with people who have haunted me. I have heard things that have pained me. As a result, I have long struggled with the notion of faith. I have said more times than I can count, "If there is a God, how can he allow this to happen? How can he let so many people suffer?"
Several years ago, I married a man of strong faith. One day he sent an email to me that said this: "On a street corner I saw a cold, shivering girl in a thin dress, with no hope of a decent meal. I got angry and said to God, 'Why did you permit this? Why don't you do something about it?' God replied, 'I certainly did something about it. I made you."
Whenever I start to blame God for what I encounter in the world, I stop and remind myself that maybe it is I who should be doing more. We get so hung up on the notion of success that we can easily forget about being of service to others. I have actually found that giving of oneself is far more fulfilling than gifting oneself.
Stephen had been put to sleep in his usual room, far from children and noise, away in that corner of the house which looked down to the orchard and the bowling-green, and in spite of his long absence it was so familiar to him that when he woke at about three he made his way to the window almost as quickly as if dawn had already broken, opened it and walked out onto the balcony. The moon had set: there was barely a star to be seen. The still air was delightfully fresh with falling dew, and a late nightingale, in an indifferent voice, was uttering a routine jug-jug far down in Jack's plantations; closer at hand and more agreeable by far, nightjars churred in the orchard, two of them, or perhaps three, the sound rising and falling, intertwining so that the source could not be made out for sure. There were few birds that he preferred to nightjars, but it was not they that had brought him out of bed: he stood leaning on the balcony rail and presently Jack Aubrey, in a summer-house by the bowling-green, began again, playing very gently in the darkness, improvising wholly for himself, dreaming away on his violin with a mastery that Stephen had never heard equalled, though they had played together for years and years.
Like many other sailors Jack Aubrey had long dreamed of lying in his warm bed all night long; yet although he could now do so with a clear conscience he often rose at unChristian hours, particularly if he were moved by strong emotion, and crept from his bedroom in a watch-coat, to walk about the house or into the stables or to pace the bowling-green. Sometimes he took his fiddle with him. He was in fact a better player than Stephen, and now that he was using his precious Guarnieri rather than a robust sea-going fiddle the difference was still more evident: but the Guarnieri did not account for the whole of it, nor anything like. Jack certainly concealed his excellence when they were playing together, keeping to Stephen's mediocre level: this had become perfectly clear when Stephen's hands were at last recovered from the thumb-screws and other implements applied by French counter-intelligence officers in Minorca; but on reflexion Stephen thought it had been the case much earlier, since quite apart from his delicacy at that period, Jack hated showing away.
Now, in the warm night, there was no one to be comforted, kept in countenance, no one could scorn him for virtuosity, and he could let himself go entirely; and as the grave and subtle music wound on and on, Stephen once more contemplated on the apparent contradiction between the big, cheerful, florid sea-officer whom most people liked on sight but who would have never been described as subtle or capable of subtlety by any one of them (except perhaps his surviving opponents in battle) and the intricate, reflective music he was now creating. So utterly unlike his limited vocabulary in words, at times verging upon the inarticulate.
'My hands have now regained the moderate ability they possessed before I was captured,' observed Maturin, 'but his have gone on to a point I never thought he could reach: his hands and his mind. I am amazed. In his own way he is the secret man of the world.
Patrick O'Brian (The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, #17))
You frequently state, and in your letter you imply, that I have developed a completely one-sided outlook and look at everything in terms of science. Obviously my method of thought and reasoning is influenced by a scientific training – if that were not so my scientific training will have been a waste and a failure. But you look at science (or at least talk of it) as some sort of demoralizing invention of man, something apart from real life, and which must be cautiously guarded and kept separate from everyday existence. But science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated. Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience and experiment. Your theories are those which you and many other people find easiest and pleasantest to believe, but so far as I can see, they have no foundation other than they leaf to a pleasanter view of life (and an exaggerated idea of our own importance)...
I agree that faith is essential to success in life (success of any sort) but I do not accept your definition of faith, i.e. belief in life after death. In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall come nearer to success and that success in our aims (the improvement of the lot of mankind, present and future) is worth attaining. Anyone able to believe in all that religion implies obviously must have such faith, but I maintain that faith in this world is perfectly possible without faith in another world…
It has just occurred to me that you may raise the question of the creator. A creator of what? ... I see no reason to believe that a creator of protoplasm or primeval matter, if such there be, has any reason to be interested in our significant race in a tiny corner of the universe, and still less in us, as still more significant individuals. Again, I see no reason why the belief that we are insignificant or fortuitous should lessen our faith – as I have defined it.
If you really wanted to court me, you'd have to do it by my family's laws, and you'd have to marry me the same way." I said, and folded my arms, knowing that would be the end of it, of course. And I wasn't sorry; I wouldn't be. I wouldn't regret any man who wouldn't do that, no matter what else he was or offered me; that much had lived in my heart all my life, a promise between me and my people, that my children would still be Israel no matter where they lived. Even if in some sneaking corner of my mind I might have thought, once or twice, for only a moment, that it would be worth something to have a husband who'd sooner slit his own throat than ever lie to you or cheat you. But not if he didn't value you at least as high as his pride. I wouldn't hold myself that cheap, to marry a man who'd love me less than everything else he had, even if what he had was a winter kingdom.
Naomi Novik (Spinning Silver)
His dark eyes met mine, just the same. A lean, saturnine face, his cheekbones balanced, his mouth a straight unforgiving line. The demon Tierce Japhrimel touched my cheek, his knuckles brushing my skin. The contact sent a shudder through me, my body recognizing him before the rest of me could dare to. "You burned," I managed, before another fit of retching and gagging shook me. "You burned—you were
"While you live, I live." The corners of his mouth turned down, an expressive movement that managed to give the impression of a grim smile. "I suppose nobody told you." I shook my head weakly.
Lilith Saintcrow (Dead Man Rising (Dante Valentine, #2))
I don't think of love in terms of relationships. It happens in terms of seconds, but it goes away like that, too. I pass a nurse, I love her, it ends when I go around a corner; at a restaurant I see a forlorn man at the table next to me, and I love him, and the conversation pulls me back, and it's ended. A patient comes in, and she is sick, and I love her, and then she dies, and I never see her again. This is what I live for. Don't think that it's sad.
Patrick Somerville (The Universe in Miniature in Miniature)
Just as I never wondered what it was like for my mother to be a full-time, at-home mother, I never wondered then what it meant to be married. I took my parents’ union for granted. It was the simple solid fact upon which all four of our lives were built. Much later, my mother would tell me that every year when spring came and the air warmed up in Chicago, she entertained thoughts about leaving my father. I don’t know if these thoughts were actually serious or not. I don’t know if she considered the idea for an hour, or for a day, or for most of the season, but for her it was an active fantasy, something that felt healthy and maybe even energizing to ponder, almost as ritual. I understand now that even a happy marriage can be a vexation, that it’s a contract best renewed and renewed again, even quietly and privately—even alone. I don’t think my mother announced whatever her doubts and discontents were to my father directly, and I don’t think she let him in on whatever alternative life she might have been dreaming about during those times. Was she picturing herself on a tropical island somewhere? With a different kind of man, or in a different kind of house, or with a corner office instead of kids? I don’t know, and I suppose I could ask my mother, who is now in her eighties, but I don’t think it matters.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
you're Shane, right?'
He inched away from her and managed a quick nod as he twisted the rag he held in his fingers.
'Heidi sad you were willing to teach me how to ride.' Her expression shifted from entertained to confused, as if she was wondering why no one had mentioned he was a can or two shy of a six-pack.
'A horse,' he clarified, then wanted to kick himself. What else but a horse? Did he think she was here to learn to ride his mother's elephant?
One corner of Annabelle's perfect, full mouth twitched. 'A horse would be good. You seem to have several.'
He wanted to remind himself that he was usually fine around women. Smooth even. He was intelligent, funny and could, on occasion, be charming. Just not now, with his blood pumping and his brain doing nothing more than shouting "it's her, it's her" over and over again.
Chemistry, he thought grimly. It could turn the smartest man into a drooling idiot. Here he was, proving the theory true.
Susan Mallery (Summer Nights (Fool's Gold, #8))
But as the sun rose I crested the mountain of my self-pity and remembered I was always going to die at the end of this life anyway. What did it really matter if I spent it like this—caring for this boy—as opposed to some other way? I would always be earthbound; he hadn’t robbed me of my ability to fly or to live forever. I appreciated nuns now, not the conscripted kind, but modern women who chose it. If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have? These exotic revelations bubbled up involuntarily and I began to understand that the sleeplessness and vigilance and constant feedings were a form of brainwashing, a process by which my old self was being molded, slowly but with a steady force, into a new shape: a mother. It hurt. I tried to be conscious while it happened, like watching my own surgery. I hoped to retain a tiny corner of the old me, just enough to warn other women with. But I knew this was unlikely; when the process was complete I wouldn’t have anything left to complain with, it wouldn’t hurt anymore, I wouldn’t remember.
Miranda July (The First Bad Man)
Four guys are standing on a street corner… an American, a Russian, a Chinese man, and an Israeli…. A reporter comes up to the group and says to them: “Excuse me…. What’s your opinion on the meat shortage?” The American says: What’s a shortage? The Russian says: What’s meat? The Chinese man says: What’s an opinion? The Israeli says: What’s “Excuse me”? —MIKE LEIGH, Two Thousand Years
Dan Senor (Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle)
Believe me, a highly strung brain such as yours demands occasional relaxation from the strain of domestic surroundings. Forget for a little while that children want music lessons, and boots, and bicycles, with tincture of rhubarb three times a day; forget there are such things in life as cooks, and house decorators, and next-door dogs, and butchers’ bills. Go away to some green corner of the earth, where all is new and strange to you, where your over-wrought mind will gather peace and fresh ideas. Go away for a space and give me time to miss you, and to reflect upon your goodness and virtue, which, continually present with me, I may, human-like, be apt to forget, as one, through use, grows indifferent to the blessing of the sun and the beauty of the moon. Go away, and come back refreshed in mind and body, a brighter, better man—if that be possible—than when you went away.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men on the Bummel (Three Men #2))
Be the man who has the spirit of a ruthless tiger, ravaging every dusty corner of my soul.
Be the man for whom I will tame myself voluntarily..
Be the man who can make me forget my birth date in moments of utter dellusion.
Be the man whose arms are my harbor, whose lips are my shore, and whose name is my only salvation.
Be the man who erases my past and draws my future with trails of roses and kisses.
Be the man who makes me sigh behind the windows of Poetry, longing to be written.
Be the man whose cigarette's ashes are confounded with mine.
Be the man whose voice moves mountains inside me.
Be the man whose eyes devour the innocence within me with every piercing glance.
Be the man for whom I will transform exceptions into rules.
Be the man who will dare to tear this poem from my hands.
The man who will rewrite with the uncertainty of the futur every single one of my verses.
Malak El Halabi
Even now, so many years later, all this is somehow a very evil memory. I have many evil memories now, but ... hadn't I better end my "Notes" here? I believe I made a mistake in beginning to write them, anyway I have felt ashamed all the time I've been writing this story; so it's hardly literature so much as a corrective punishment. Why, to tell long stories, showing how I have spoiled my life through morally rotting in my corner, through lack of fitting environment, through divorce from real life, and rankling spite in my underground world, would certainly not be interesting; a novel needs a hero, and all the traits for an anti-hero are expressly gathered together here, and what matters most, it all produces an unpleasant impression, for we are all divorced from life, we are all cripples, every one of us, more or less. We are so divorced from it that we feel at once a sort of loathing for real life, and so cannot bear to be reminded of it. Why, we have come almost to looking upon real life as an effort, almost as hard work, and we are all privately agreed that it is better in books. And why do we fuss and fume sometimes? Why are we perverse and ask for something else? We don't know what ourselves. It would be the worse for us if our petulant prayers were answered. Come, try, give any one of us, for instance, a little more independence, untie our hands, widen the spheres of our activity, relax the control and we ... yes, I assure you ... we should be begging to be under control again at once. I know that you will very likely be angry with me for that, and will begin shouting and stamping. Speak for yourself, you will say, and for your miseries in your underground holes, and don't dare to say all of us-- excuse me, gentlemen, I am not justifying myself with that "all of us." As for what concerns me in particular I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway, and what's more, you have taken your cowardice for good sense, and have found comfort in deceiving yourselves. So that perhaps, after all, there is more life in me than in you. Look into it more carefully! Why, we don't even know what living means now, what it is, and what it is called? Leave us alone without books and we shall be lost and in confusion at once. We shall not know what to join on to, what to cling to, what to love and what to hate, what to respect and what to despise. We are oppressed at being men--men with a real individual body and blood, we are ashamed of it, we think it a disgrace and try to contrive to be some sort of impossible generalised man. We are stillborn, and for generations past have been begotten, not by living fathers, and that suits us better and better. We are developing a taste for it. Soon we shall contrive to be born somehow from an idea. But enough; I don't want to write more from "Underground."
[The notes of this paradoxalist do not end here, however. He could not
refrain from going on with them, but it seems to us that we may stop
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
After slipping on a negligee and making herself comfortable on the lounge, she became conscious that she was miserable and that the tears were rolling down her cheeks. She wondered if they were the tears of self-pity, and tried resolutely not to cry, but this existence without hope, without happiness, oppressed her, and she kept shaking her head from side to side, her mouth drawn down tremulously in the corners, as though she were denying the assertion made by some one, somewhere. She did not know that this gesture of hers was years older than history, that, for a hundred generations of men, intolerable and persistent grief has offered that gesture, of denial, of protest, of bewilderment, to something more profound, more powerful than the God made in the image of man, and before which that God, did he exist, would be equally impotent. It is a truth set at the heart of tragedy that this force never explains, never answers - this force intangible as air, more definite than death.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
It was she made me acquainted with love. She went by the peaceful name of Ruth I think, but I can't say for certain. Perhaps the name was Edith. She had a hole between her legs, oh not the bunghole I had always imagined, but a slit, and in this I put, or rather she put, my so-called virile member, not without difficulty, and I toiled and moiled until I discharged or gave up trying or was begged by her to stop. A mug's game in my opinion and tiring on top of that, in the long run. But I lent myself to it with a good enough grace, knowing it was love, for she had told me so. She bent over the couch, because of her rheumatism, and in I went from behind. It was the only position she could bear, because of her lumbago. It seemed all right to me, for I had seen dogs, and I was astonished when she confided that you could go about it differently. I wonder what she meant exactly. Perhaps after all she put me in her rectum. A matter of complete indifference to me, I needn't tell you. But is it true love, in the rectum? That's what bothers me sometimes. Have I never known true love, after all? She too was an eminently flat woman and she moved with short stiff steps, leaning on an ebony stick. Perhaps she too was a man, yet another of them. But in that case surely our testicles would have collided, while we writhed. Perhaps she held hers tight in her hand, on purpose to avoid it. She favoured voluminous tempestuous shifts and petticoats and other undergarments whose names I forget. They welled up all frothing and swishing and then, congress achieved, broke over us in slow cascades. And all I could see was her taut yellow nape which every now and then I set my teeth in, forgetting I had none, such is the power of instinct. We met in a rubbish dump, unlike any other, and yet they are all alike, rubbish dumps. I don't know what she was doing there. I was limply poking about in the garbage saying probably, for at that age I must still have been capable of general ideas, This is life. She had no time to lose, I had nothing to lose, I would have made love with a goat, to know what love was. She had a dainty flat, no, not dainty, it made you want to lie down in a corner and never get up again. I liked it. It was full of dainty furniture, under our desperate strokes the couch moved forward on its castors, the whole place fell about our ears, it was pandemonium. Our commerce was not without tenderness, with trembling hands she cut my toe-nails and I rubbed her rump with winter cream. This idyll was of short duration. Poor Edith, I hastened her end perhaps. Anyway it was she who started it, in the rubbish dump, when she laid her hand upon my fly. More precisely, I was bent double over a heap of muck, in the hope of finding something to disgust me for ever with eating, when she, undertaking me from behind, thrust her stick between my legs and began to titillate my privates. She gave me money after each session, to me who would have consented to know love, and probe it to the bottom, without charge. But she was an idealist. I would have preferred it seems to me an orifice less arid and roomy, that would have given me a higher opinion of love it seems to me. However. Twixt finger and thumb tis heaven in comparison. But love is no doubt above such contingencies. And not when you are comfortable, but when your frantic member casts about for a rubbing-place, and the unction of a little mucous membrane, and meeting with none does not beat in retreat, but retains its tumefaction, it is then no doubt that true love comes to pass, and wings away, high above the tight fit and the loose.
Samuel Beckett (Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable (The Trilogy, #1-3))
Your scorn for mediocrity blinds you to its vast primitive power. You stand in the glare of your own brilliance, unable to see into the dim corners of the room, to dilate your eyes and see the potential dangers of the mass, the wad of humanity. Even as I tell you this, dear student, you cannot quite believe that lesser men, in whatever numbers, can really defeat you. But we are in the age of the mediocre man. He is dull, colorless, boring — but inevitably victorious. The amoeba outlives the tiger because it divides and continues in its immortal monotony. The masses are the final tyrants. See how, in the arts, Kabuki wanes and withers while popular novels of violence and mindless action swamp the mind of the mass reader. And even in that timid genre, no author dares to produce a genuinely superior man as his hero, for in his rage of shame the mass man will send his yojimbo, the critic, to defend him. The roar of the plodders is inarticulate, but deafening. They have no brain, but they have a thousand arms to grasp and clutch at you, drag you down.
Did your dad say anything about Nick and Daisy?"
"He-" I started. Then I caught a blur out of the corner of my eye, and something landed in the fountain with a resounding splash, drenching me and Jenna in a wave of pink water.
Nick surfaced, tossing his head back and sending dropets flying. If a demon and a vampire both staring at him with identical looks of "WTF,dude?" bothered him, he didn't show it.
Instead,he gave his usualy creepy grin and asked, "Did one of you lovely ladies say my name?"
"Yeah," I said,glaring at him as I wrung water out of my braid. "We were just saying, 'Man,I wish Nick would fling himself into the fountain like a nut job and totally ruin our clothes.' So thanks for that."
"Sophie's right," Daisy said, coming to stand next to the fountain. Apparently, wherever Nick was, she was right behind. "Tell them you're sorry." Her words might have sounded sterner if she hadn't been looking at Nick like he was something tasty to eat. God,they were weird.
Nick sloshed through the water until he was right in front of me and Jenna. "That's actually why I came out here, my darling," he said to Daisy. "Sophie, I was a jerk to you yesterday."
He didn't actually say 'jerk," but another word that was way more accurate. I just raised my eyebrows and waited for him to continue.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Go on," Kell told him without taking his eyes from Lila. " Get some rest."
Hastra shifted. "I can't, sir," he said. "I'm to escort Miss Bard--"
"I'll take that charge," cut in Kell. Hastra bit his lip and retreated several steps.
Lila let her forehead come to rest against his, her face so close the features blurred. And yet, that fractured eye shone with frightening clarity.
"You never told me," he whispered.
"You never noticed," she answered. And then, "Alucard did."
The blow landed, and Kell started to pull away when Lila's eyelids fluttered and she swayed dangerously.
He braced her. "Come on," he said gently. "I have a room upstairs. Why don't we--"
A sleepy flicker of amusement. "Trying to get me into bed?"
Kell mustered a smile. "It's only fair. I've spent enough time in yours."
"If I remember correctly," she said, her voice dreamy with fatigue, "you were on top of the bed the entire time."
"And tied to it," observed Kell.
Her words were soft at the edges. "Those were the days..." she said, right before she fell forward. It happened so fast Kell could do nothing but throw his arms around her.
"Lila?" he asked, first gently, and then more urgently. "Lila?"
She murmured against his front, something about sharp knives and soft corners, but didn't rouse, and Kell shot a glance at Hastra, who was still standing there, looking thoroughly embarrassed.
"What have you done?" demanded Kell.
"It was just a tonic, sir," he fumbled, "something for sleep."
"You drugged her?"
"It was Tieren's order," said Hastra, chastised. "He said she was mad and stubborn and no use to us dead." Hastra lowered his voice when he said this, mimicking Tieren's tone with startling accuracy.
"And what do you plan to do when she wakes back up?"
Hastra shrank back. "Apologize?"
Kell made an exasperated sound as Lila nuzzled-- actually nuzzled-- his shoulder.
"I suggest," he snapped at the young man, "you think of something better. Like an escape route."
Hastra paled, and Kell swept Lila up into his arms, amazed at her lightness... Kell swept through the halls until he reached his room and lowered Lila onto the couch.
Hastra handed him a blanket. "Shouldn't you take off her knives?"
"There's not enough tonic in the world to risk it," said Kell.
V.E. Schwab (A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3))
In many interviews he had identified himself as a man outraged by death, but that was pretty much the same old big-balls crap he'd been selling throughout his career. He was terrified of death, that was the truth, and as a result of spending his life honing his imagination, he could see it coming from at least four dozen different directions... and late at night when he couldn't sleep, he was apt to see it coming from four dozen different directions at once. Refusing to see the doctor, to have a checkup and let them peek under the hood, would not cause any of those diseases to pause in their approach or their feeding upon him--if, indeed, the feeding had already begun--but if he stayed away from the doctors and their devilish machines, he wouldn't have to know. You didn't have to deal with the monster under the bed or lurking in the corner if you never actually turned on the bedroom lights, that was the thing. And what no doctor in the world seemed to know was that, for men like Johnny Marinville, fearing was sometimes better than finding. Especially when you'd put out the welcome mat for every disease going.
Stephen King (Desperation)
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known.
After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine.
I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that.
I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull.
“What are you doing?”
“Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me.
He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?”
“Is that what it is?” I feign innocence.
He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites.
It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him.
But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going.
I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies.
It’s easy to walk away from lies.
Power is another thing.
Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it.
He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?”
I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it.
I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
Their arrogance protected them against any liking for their fellow-man, against the slightest interest in the strangers sitting all about them, amidst whom M. de Stermaria adopted the manner one has in the buffet-car of a train, grim, hurried, stand-offish, brusque, fastidious and spiteful, surrounded by other passengers whom one has never seen before, whom one will never see again and towards whom the only conceivable way of behaving is to make sure that they keep away from one's cold chicken and stay out of one's chosen corner-seat.
Marcel Proust (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)
I still love...
Though you pushed me to the evil edge, Sabotaged my feelings
And trashed them into the bin,
You taught me to hate,
Hatred lives somewhere
through the corners of my heart.
I believed we existed,
But you gunned down all we had.
Selfishness ruled you,
Because of you,
I was a man enough,
But you knew it was all just an act,
You blinded my vision with a dark cloud,
I don't know what I'm doing,
You destroyed my way of loving,
It's so full of portholes,
Wherever I go,
I see your thirsty images,
They held a grudge,
On an innocent soul,
It's hard, but...
I still love...
You know," Cecily said, "you really didn't have to throw that man through the window."
"He wasn't a man," Gabriel said, scowling. "He was an Unseelie Court faerie. One of the nasty ones."
"Is that why you chased him down the street?"
"He had no business showing images like that to a lady," Gabriel muttered, though it had to be admitted that the lady in question had hardly turned a hair, and seemed more annoyed with Gabriel for his reaction than impressed by his chivalry.
"And I do think it was excessive to hurl him into the canal."
The corners of Cecily's mouth twitched. "It was very wrong.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
A pale, bored woman in white ankle-socks and a white tasselled beret was sitting on a bentwood chair at the corner entrance to the verandah of the writer's club, where there was an opening in the creeper-grown trellis. In front of her on a plain kitchen table lay a large book like a ledger, in which for no known reason the woman wrote the names of the people entering the restaurant. She stopped Koroviev and Behemoth.
'Your membership cards?' she said, staring in surprise at Koroviev's pince-nez, at Behemoth's Primus and grazed elbow.
'A thousand apologies, madam, but what membership cards?' asked Koroviev in astonishment.
'Are you writers?' asked the woman in return.
'Indubitably,' replied Koroviev with dignity.
'Where are your membership cards?' the woman repeated.
'Dear lady...' Koroviev began tenderly.
'I'm not a dear lady,' interrupted the woman.
'Oh, what a shame,' said Koroviev in a disappointed voice and went on: 'Well, if you don't want to be a dear lady, which would have been delightful, you have every right not to be. But look here - if you wanted to make sure that Dostoyevsky was a writer, would you really ask him for his membership card? Why, you only have to take any five pages of one of his novels and you won't need a membership card to convince you that the man's a writer. I don't suppose he ever had a membership card, anyway! What do you think?' said Koroviev, turning to Behemoth.
'I'll bet he never had one,' replied the cat, putting the Primus on the table and wiping the sweat from its brow with its paw.
'You're not Dostoyevsky,' said the woman to Koroviev.
'How do you know?'
'Dostoyevsky's dead,' said the woman, though not very confidently.
'I protest!' exclaimed Behemoth warmly. 'Dostoyevsky is immortal!'
'Your membership cards, please,' said the woman.
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
Suddenly the door opened and in stomped a giant reeking of the river, and before anyone knew what was happening, he had grabbed a chair, smashed it in two, and chased the terrified customers into a corner. The three youngsters pressed against the wall like periwinkles in the rain, but at the very last moment, when the man had picked up half a chair in each hand and seemed ready for the kill, he burst into song, and after conducting himself in "Gray Dove Where Have You Been?" he flung aside the halves of the chair, paid the waiter for the damage, and, turning to the still-shaking customers, said, "Gentlemen I am the hangman's assistant," whereupon he left, pensive and miserable. Perhaps he was the one who, last year at the Holesovice slaughterhouse, put a knife to my neck, shoved me into a corner, took out a slip of paper, and read me a poem celebrating the beauties of the countryside at Ricany, then apologized saying he hadn't found any other way of getting people to listen to his verse.
Bohumil Hrabal (Too Loud a Solitude)
A great empire cannot bring freedom by its own decay to those corners in it where a subject people are prevented from discussing the fundamentals of life. The people feel like children turned adrift to fend for themselves when the imperial routine breaks down; and they wander to and fro, given up to instinctive fears and antagonisms and exaltation until reason dares to take control. I had come to Yugoslavia to see what history meant in flesh and blood. I learned now that it might follow, because an empire passed, that a world full of strong men and women and rich food and heady wine might nevertheless seem like a shadow-show: that a man of every excellence might sit by a fire warming his hands in the vain hope of casting out a chill that lived not in the flesh.
Rebecca West (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)
Tenways showed his rotten teeth. ‘Fucking make me.’
‘I’ll give it a try.’ A man came strolling out of the dark, just his sharp jaw showing in the shadows of his hood, boots crunching heedless through the corner of the fire and sending a flurry of sparks up around his legs. Very tall, very lean and he looked like he was carved out of wood. He was chewing meat from a chicken bone in one greasy hand and in the other, held loose under the crosspiece, he had the biggest sword Beck had ever seen, shoulder-high maybe from point to pommel, its sheath scuffed as a beggar’s boot but the wire on its hilt glinting with the colours of the fire-pit. He sucked the last shred of meat off his bone with a noisy slurp, and he poked at all the drawn steel with the pommel of his sword, long grip clattering against all those blades. ‘Tell me you lot weren’t working up to a fight without me. You know how much I love killing folk. I shouldn’t, but a man has to stick to what he’s good at. So how’s this for a recipe…’ He worked the bone around between finger and thumb, then flicked it at Tenways so it bounced off his chain mail coat. ‘You go back to fucking sheep and I’ll fill the graves.’
Tenways licked his bloody top lip. ‘My fight ain’t with you, Whirrun.’
And it all came together. Beck had heard songs enough about Whirrun of Bligh, and even hummed a few himself as he fought his way through the logpile. Cracknut Whirrun. How he’d been given the Father of Swords. How he’d killed his five brothers. How he’d hunted the Shimbul Wolf in the endless winter of the utmost North, held a pass against the countless Shanka with only two boys and a woman for company, bested the sorcerer Daroum-ap-Yaught in a battle of wits and bound him to a rock for the eagles. How he’d done all the tasks worthy of a hero in the valleys, and so come south to seek his destiny on the battlefield. Songs to make the blood run hot, and cold too. Might be his was the hardest name in the whole North these days, and standing right there in front of Beck, close enough to lay a hand on. Though that probably weren’t a good idea.
‘Your fight ain’t with me?’ Whirrun glanced about like he was looking for who it might be with. ‘You sure? Fights are twisty little bastards, you draw steel it’s always hard to say where they’ll lead you. You drew on Calder, but when you drew on Calder you drew on Curnden Craw, and when you drew on Craw you drew on me, and Jolly Yon Cumber, and Wonderful there, and Flood – though he’s gone for a wee, I think, and also this lad here whose name I’ve forgotten.’ Sticking his thumb over his shoulder at Beck. ‘You should’ve seen it coming. No excuse for it, a proper War Chief fumbling about in the dark like you’ve nothing in your head but shit. So my fight ain’t with you either, Brodd Tenways, but I’ll still kill you if it’s called for, and add your name to my songs, and I’ll still laugh afterwards. So?’
‘So shall I draw?
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over the dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
Relegated, as he was, to one corner, and sheltered behind the billiard-table, the soldiers whose eyes were fixed on Enjolras, had not even noticed Grantaire, and the sergeant was preparing to repeat his order: "Take aim!" when all at once, they heard a strong voice shout beside them:
"Long live the Republic! I'm one of them."
Grantaire had risen. The immense gleam of the whole combat which he had missed, and in which he had had no part, appeared in the brilliant glance of the transfigured drunken man.
He repeated: "Long live the Republic!" crossed the room with a firm stride and placed himself in front of the guns beside Enjolras.
"Finish both of us at one blow," said he.
And turning gently to Enjolras, he said to him:
"Do you permit it?"
Enjolras pressed his hand with a smile.
This smile was not ended when the report resounded.
Enjolras, pierced by eight bullets, remained leaning against the wall, as though the balls had nailed him there. Only, his head was bowed.
Grantaire fell at his feet, as though struck by a thunderbolt.
I'll be right here. Good luck, or break a leg, or something.”
As Jay and Gregory turned and headed into the crowd, my traitorous eyes returned to the corner and found another pair or eyes staring darkly back.
I dropped my gaze for three full seconds, and then lifted my eyes again, hesitant. The drummer was still staring at me, oblivious to the three girls trying to win back his attention. He put up one finger at the girls and said something that looked like, “Excuse me.”
Oh, my goodness. Was he...? Oh, no. Yes, he was walking this way.
My nerves shot into high alert. I looked around, but nobody else was near. When I looked back up, there he was, standing right in front of me. Good gracious, he was sexy-a word that had not existed in my personal vocabulary until that moment. This guy was sexy like it was his job or something.
He looked straight into my eyes, which threw me off guard, because nobody ever looked me in the eye like that. Maybe Patti and Jay, but they didn't hold my stare like he was doing now. He didn't look away, and I found that I couldn't take my gaze off those blue eyes.
“Who are you?” he asked in a blunt, almost confrontational way.
I blinked. It was the strangest greeting I'd ever received.
“Right. Anna. How very nice.” I tried to focus on his words and not his luxuriously accented voice, which made everything sound lovely. He leaned in closer. “But who are you?”
What did that mean? Did I need to have some sort of title or social standing to enter his presence?
“I just came with my friend Jay?” Oh, I hated when I got nervous and started talking in questions. I pointed in the general direction of the guys, but he didn't take his eyes off me. I began rambling. “They just wrote some songs. Jay and Gregory. That they wanted you to hear. Your band, I mean. They're really...good?”
His eyes roamed all around my body, stopping to evaluate my sad, meager chest. I crossed my arms. When his gaze landed on that stupid freckle above my lip, I was hit by the scent of oranges and limes and something earthy, like the forest floor. It was pleasant in a masculine way.
“Uh-huh.” He was closer to my face now, growling in that deep voice, but looking into my eyes again. “Very cute. And where is your angel?”
My what? Was that some kind of British slang for boyfriend? I didn't know how to answer without continuing to sound pitiful. He lifted his dark eyebrows, waiting.
“If you mean Jay, he's over there talking to some man in a suit. But he's not my boyfriend or my angel or whatever.”
My face flushed with heat and I tightened my arms over my chest. I'd never met anyone with an accent like his, and I was ashamed of the effect it had on me. He was obviously rude, and yet I wanted him to keep talking to me. It didn't make any sense.
His stance softened and he took a step back, seeming confused, although I still couldn't read his emotions. Why didn't he show any colors? He didn't seem drunk or high. And that red thing...what was that? It was hard not to stare at it.
He finally looked over at Jay, who was deep in conversation with the manager-type man.
“Not your boyfriend, eh?” He was smirking at me now. I looked away, refusing to answer.
“Are you certain he doesn't fancy you?” Kaidan asked. I looked at him again. His smirk was now a naughty smile.
“Yes,” I assured him with confidence. “I am.”
“How do you know?”
I couldn't very well tell him that the only time Jay's color had shown mild attraction to me was when I accidentally flashed him one day as I was taking off my sweatshirt, and my undershirt got pulled up too high. And even then it lasted only a few seconds before our embarrassment set in.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
A boy trudged down the sidewalk dragging a fishing pole behind him. A man stood waiting with his hands on his hips. Summertime, and his children played in the front yard with their friend, enacting a strange little drama of their own invention. It was fall, and his children fought on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Dubose's. . . . Fall, and his children trotted to and fro around the corner, the day's woes and triumphs on their faces. They stopped at an oak tree, delighted, puzzled, apprehensive. Winter, and his children shivered at the front gate, silhouetted against a blazing house. Winter, and a man walked into the street, dropped his glasses, and shot a dog. Summer, and he watched his children's heart break. Autumn again, and Boo's children needed him. Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them. Just standing on the Radley porch was enough.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
A man runs into an old friend who had somehow never been able to make it in life. "I should give him some money", he thinks. But instead he learns that his old friend has grown rich and is actually seeking him out to repay the debts he had run up over the years.
They go to a bar they used to frequent together and the friend buys drinks for everyone there, When they ask him how he became so successful, he answers that until only a few days ago, he had been living the role of the Other.
"What is the Other?", they ask.
"The 'Other' is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is out obligations to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money as possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover that we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it's too late."
"And you? Who are you?"
"I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It's just that the Other, afraid of disappointment, kept me from taking actions".
"But there is suffering in life", one of the listeners said.
"And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without ever even knowing what you're fighting for."
"That's it?", another listener asked.
"Yes, that's it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner of my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again - even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it's risky not to think about the future."
"From the moment that I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles".
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
There's no being out too late in Whileaway, or up too early, or in the wrong part of town, or unescorted. You cannot fall out of the kinship web and become sexual prey for strangers, for there is no prey and there are no strangers -- the web is world-wide. In all of Whileaway there is no one who can keep you from going where you please (though you may risk your life, if that sort of thing appeals to you), no one who will follow you and try to embarrass you by whispering obscenities in your ear, no one who will attempt to rape you, no one who will warn you of the dangers of the street, no one who will stand on street corners, hot-eyed and vicious, jingling loose change in his pants pocket, bitterly bitterly sure that you're a cheap floozy, hot and wild, who likes it, who can't say no, who's making a mint off it, who inspires him with nothing but disgust, and who wants to drive him crazy.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
Oh, by the way," Coop announces as he weaves his DeathBot ship through a barrage of space debris on his laptop screen. "In case you didn't know. It's national 'That's What She Said' Day."
I give him a thumbs-up. "I like it."
We're camping out in Sean's backyard tonight. It's another one of our traditions. One night, every summer, we buy a ton of junk food and energy drinks and set up Sean's six-person tent in the far corner of his yard.
We've got an extension cord running from the garage so that we can rough it in style, with computers and a TV and DVD player. There's a citronella candle burning in the middle of the tent to ward off mosquitoes and to mask the thick stink of mildew. Everyone's brought sleeping bags and pillows, but we aren't planning on logging too many Zs.
Sean enters the tent carrying his Xbox. "I don't think there are enough sockets for all of these."
I waggle my eyebrows at Coop. "That's what she said."
Coop busts up.
Sean stands there, looking confused. "I don't get it."
"That's what she says," Coop says, sending him and me into hysterics.
Sean sighs and puts the Xbox down. "I can see this is going to be a long night."
"That's what she said," me and Coop howl in chorus.
"Are you guys done yet?"
Coop is practically in tears. "That's what she said."
"Okay. I'll just keep my mouth shut," Sean grumbles.
"That's what she said." I can barely talk I'm laughing so hard.
"Enough. No more. My cheeks hurt," Coop says, rubbing his face.
I point at him. "That's what she said."
And with that, the three of us fall over in fits.
"Oh, man, now look what you made me do."
Coop motions to his computer. "That was my last DeathBot ship."
"That's what she said," Sean blurts out, laughing at his nonsensical joke.
Coop and I stare at him, and then silmultaniously, we hit Sean in the face with our pillows.
Don Calame (Swim the Fly (Swim the Fly, #1))
But you sent off that Flounder fellow," Loki said, and I rolled my eyes.
"His name is Finn, and I know you know that," I said as I left the room. Loki grabbed the vacuum and followed me. "You called him by his name this morning."
"Fine, I know his name," Loki admitted. We went into the next room, and he set down the vacuum as I started peeling the dusty blankets off the bed. "But you were okay with Finn going off to Oslinna, but not Duncan?"
"Finn can handle himself," I said tersely. The bedding got stuck on a corner, and Loki came over to help me free it. Once he had, I smiled thinly at him. "Thank you."
"But I know you had a soft spot for Finn," Loki continued.
"My feelings for him have no bearing on his ability to do his job."
I tossed the dirty blankets at Loki. He caught them easily before setting them down by the door, presumably for Duncan to take to the laundry chute again.
"I've never understood exactly what your relationship with him was, anyway," Loki said. I'd started putting new sheets on the bed, and he went around to the other side to help me. "Were you two dating?"
"No." I shook my head. "We never dated. We were never anything."
I continued to pull on the sheets, but Loki stopped, watching me. "I don't know if that's a lie or not, but I do know that he was never good enough for you."
"But I suppose you think you are?" I asked with a sarcastic laugh.
"No, of course I'm not good enough for you," Loki said, and I lifted my head to look up at him, surprised by his response. "But I at least try to be good enough."
"You think Finn doesn't?" I asked, standing up straight.
"Every time I've seen him around you, he's telling you what to do, pushing you around." He shook his head and went back to making the bed. "He wants to love you, I think, but he can't. He won't let himself, or he's incapable. And he never will."
The truth of his words stung harder than I'd thought they would, and I swallowed hard.
"And obviously, you need someone that loves you," Loki continued. "You love fiercely, with all your being. And you need someone that loves you the same. More than duty or the monarchy or the kingdom. More than himself even."
He looked up at me then, his eyes meeting mine, darkly serious. My heart pounded in my chest, the fresh heartache replaced with something new, something warmer that made it hard for me to breathe.
"But you're wrong." I shook my head. "I don't deserve that much."
"On the contrary, Wendy." Loki smiled honestly, and it stirred something inside me. "You deserve all the love a man has to give."
I wanted to laugh or blush or look away, but I couldn't. I was frozen in a moment with Loki, finding myself feeling things for him I didn't think I could ever feel for anyone else.
"I don't know how much more laundry we can fit down the chute," Duncan said as he came back in the room, interrupting the moment.
I looked away from Loki quickly and grabbed the vacuum cleaner.
"Just get as much down there as you can," I told Duncan.
"I'll try." He scooped up another load of bedding to send downstairs.
Once he'd gone, I glanced back at Loki, but, based on the grin on his face, I'd say his earlier seriousness was gone.
"You know, Princess, instead of making that bed, we could close the door and have a roll around in it." Loki wagged his eyebrows. "What do you say?"
Rolling my eyes, I turned on the vacuum cleaner to drown out the conversation.
"I'll take that as a maybe later!" Loki shouted over it.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
I watched him as he lined up the ships in bottles on his deck, bringing them over from the shelves where they usually sat. He used an old shirt of my mother's that had been ripped into rags and began dusting the shelves. Under his desk there were empty bottles- rows and rows of them we had collected for our future shipbuilding. In the closet were more ships- the ships he had built with his own father, ships he had built alone, and then those we had made together. Some were perfect, but their sails browned; some had sagged or toppled over the years. Then there was the one that had burst into flames in the week before my death.
He smashed that one first.
My heart seized up. He turned and saw all the others, all the years they marked and the hands that had held them. His dead father's, his dead child's. I watched his as he smashed the rest. He christened the walls and wooden chair with the news of my death, and afterward he stood in the guest room/den surrounded by green glass. The bottle, all of them, lay broken on the floor, the sails and boat bodies strewn among them. He stood in the wreckage. It was then that, without knowing how, I revealed myself. In every piece of glass, in every shard and sliver, I cast my face. My father glanced down and around him, his eyes roving across the room. Wild. It was just for a second, and then I was gone. He was quiet for a moment, and then he laughed- a howl coming up from the bottom of his stomach. He laughed so loud and deep, I shook with it in my heaven.
He left the room and went down two doors to my beadroom. The hallway was tiny, my door like all the others, hollow enough to easily punch a fist through. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands.
'Daddy?' Buckley said. My brother held the doorknob with his hand.
My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He slid to the floor with his fists, and then he opened up his arms. He had to ask my brother twice, which he had never to do do before, but Buckley came to him.
My father wrapped my brother inside the sheets that smelled of me. He remembered the day I'd begged him to paint and paper my room purple. Remembered moving in the old National Geographics to the bottom shelves of my bookcases. (I had wanted to steep myself in wildlife photography.) Remembered when there was just one child in the house for the briefest of time until Lindsey arrived.
'You are so special to me, little man,' my father said, clinging to him.
Buckley drew back and stared at my father's creased face, the fine bright spots of tears at the corners of his eyes. He nodded seriously and kissed my father's cheek. Something so divine that no one up in heaven could have made it up; the care a child took with an adult.
'Hold still,' my father would say, while I held the ship in the bottle and he burned away the strings he'd raised the mast with and set the clipper ship free on its blue putty sea. And I would wait for him, recognizing the tension of that moment when the world in the bottle depended, solely, on me.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
I believe...that to be very poor and very beautiful is most probably a moral failure more than an artistic success. Shakespeare would have done well in any generation because he would have refused to die in a corner; he would have taken the false gods and made them over; he would have taken the current formulae and forced them into something lesser men thought them incapable of. Alive today he would undoubtedly have written and directed motion pictures, plays, and God knows what. Instead of saying, "This medium is not good," he would have used it and made it good. If some people called some his work cheap (which some of it was), he wouldn't have cared a rap, because he would know that without some vulgarity there is no complete man. He would have hated refinement, as such, because it is always a withdrawal, and he was too tough to shrink from anything.
Raymond Chandler (Raymond Chandler Speaking)
Until one morning, one of the coldest mornings of the year, when I came in with the book cart and found Jean Hollis Clark, a fellow librarian, standing dead still in the middle of the staff room.
"I heard a noise from the drop box," Jean said.
"What kind of noise?"
"I think it's an animal."
"An animal," Jean said. "I think there's an animal in the drop box."
That was when I heard it, a low rumble from under the metal cover. It didn't sound like an animal. It sounded like an old man clearing his throat.
But the opening at the top of the chute was only a few inches wide, so that would be quite a squeeze for an old man. It had to be an animal. But what kind? I got down on my knees, reached over the lid, and hoped for a chipmunk.
What I got instead was a blast of freezing air. The night before, the temperature had reached minus fifteen degrees, and that didn't take into account the wind, which cut under your coat and squeezed your bones. And on that night, of all nights, someone had jammed a book into return slot, wedging it open. It was as cold in the box as it was outside, maybe colder, since the box was lined with metal. It was the kind of cold that made it almost painful to breathe.
I was still catching my breath, in fact, when I saw the kitten huddled in the front left corner of the box. It was tucked up in a little space underneath a book, so all I could see at first was its head. It looked grey in the shadows, almost like a little rock, and I could tell its fur was dirty and tangled. Carefully, I lifted the book. The kitten looked up at me, slowly and sadly, and for a second I looked straight into its huge golden eyes. The it lowered its head and sank back down into its hole.
At that moment, I lost every bone in my body and just melted.
Vicki Myron (Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story)
It ended by my almost believing (perhaps actually believing) that this was perhaps my normal condition. But at first, in the beginning, what agonies I endured in that struggle! I did not believe it was the same with other people, and all my life I hid this fact about myself as a secret. I was ashamed (even now, perhaps, I am ashamed): I got to the point of feeling a sort of secret abnormal, despicable enjoyment in returning home to my corner on some disgusting Petersburg night, acutely conscious that that day I had committed a loathsome action again, that what was done could never be undone, and secretly, inwardly gnawing, gnawing at myself for it, tearing and consuming myself till at last the bitterness turned into a sort of shameful accursed sweetness, and at last—into positive real enjoyment! Yes, into enjoyment, into enjoyment! I insist upon that. I have spoken of this because I keep wanting to know for a fact whether other people feel such enjoyment? I will explain; the enjoyment was just from the too intense consciousness of one’s own degradation; it was from feeling oneself that one had reached the last barrier, that it was horrible, but that it could not be otherwise; that there was no escape for you; that you never could become a different man; that even if time and faith were still left you to change into something different you would most likely not wish to change; or if you did wish to, even then you would do nothing; because perhaps in reality there was nothing for you to change into.
And the worst of it was, and the root of it all, that it was all in accord with the normal fundamental laws of over-acute consciousness, and with the inertia that was the direct result of those laws, and that consequently one was not only unable to change but could do absolutely nothing. Thus it would follow, as the result of acute consciousness, that one is not to blame in being a scoundrel; as though that were any consolation to the scoundrel once he has come to realise that he actually is a scoundrel.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I hear another man cry, “Oh, sir my want of strength lies mainly in this, that I cannot repent sufficiently!” A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so many tears are to be shed, and so many groans are to be heaved, and so much despair is to be endured. Whence comes this unreasonable notion? Unbelief and despair are sins, and therefore I do not see how they can be constituent elements of acceptable repentance; yet there are many who regard them as necessary parts of true Christian experience. They are in great error. Still, I know what they mean, for in the days of my darkness I used to feel in the same way. I desired to repent, but I thought that I could not do it, and yet all the while I was repenting. Odd as it may sound, I felt that I could not feel. I used to get into a corner and weep, because I could not weep; and I fell into bitter sorrow because I could not sorrow for sin. What a jumble it all is when in our unbelieving state we begin to judge our own condition! It is like a blind man looking at his own eyes. My heart was melted within me for fear, because I thought that my heart was as hard as an adamant stone. My heart was broken to think that it would not break. Now I can see that I was exhibiting the very thing which I thought I did not possess; but then I knew not where I was. Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (All of Grace)
Every time I glanced at Ren, I saw that he was watching me.
When we finally reached the end of the tunnel and saw the stone steps that led to the surface, Ren stopped.
“Kelsey, I have one final request of you before we head up.”
“And what would that be? Want to talk about tiger senses or monkey bites in strange places maybe?”
“No. I want you to kiss me.”
I sputtered, “What? Kiss you? What for? Don’t you think you got to kiss me enough on this trip?”
“Humor me, Kells. This is the end of the line for me. We’re leaving the place where I get to be a man all the time, and I have only my tiger’s life to look forward to. So, yes, I want you to kiss me one more time.”
I hesitated. “Well, if this works, you can go around kissing all the girls you want to. So why bother with me right now?”
He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. “Because! I don’t want to run around kissing all the other girls! I want to kiss you!”
“Fine! If it will shut you up!” I leaned over and pecked him on the cheek. “There!”
“No. Not good enough. On the lips, my prema.”
I leaned over and pecked him on the lips. “There. Can we go now?”
I marched up the first two steps, and he slipped his hand under my elbow and spun me around, twisting me so that I fell forward into his arms. He caught me tightly around the waist. His smirk suddenly turned into a sober expression.
“A kiss. A real one. One that I’ll remember.”
I was about to say something brilliantly sarcastic, probably about him not having permission, when he captured my mouth with his. I was determined to remain stiff and unaffected, but he was extremely patient. He nibbled on the corners of my mouth and pressed soft, slow kisses against my unyielding lips. It was so hard not to respond to him.
I made a valiant struggle, but sometimes the body betrays the mind. He slowly, methodically swept aside my resistance. And, feeling he was winning, he pressed ahead and began seducing me even more skillfully. He held me tightly against his body and ran a hand up to my neck where he began to massage it gently, teasing my flesh with his fingertips.
I felt the little love plant inside me stretch, swell, and unfurl its leaves, like he was pouring Love Potion # 9 over the thing. I gave up at that point and decided what the heck. I could always use a rototiller on it. And I rationalized that when he breaks my heart, at least I will have been thoroughly kissed.
If nothing else, I’ll have a really good memory to look back on in my multi-cat spinsterhood. Or multi-dog. I think I will have had my fill of cats. I groaned softly. Yep. Dogs for sure.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
It was getting late, but sleep was the furthest thing from my racing mind. Apparently that was not the case for Mr. Sugar Buns. He lay back, closed his eyes, and threw an arm over his forehead, his favorite sleeping position.
I could hardly have that. So, I crawled on top of him and started chest compressions. It seemed like the right thing to do.
"What are you doing?" he asked without removing his arm.
"Giving you CPR." I pressed into his chest, trying not to lose count. Wearing a red-and-black football jersey and boxers that read, DRIVERS WANTED. SEE INSIDE FOR DETAILS, I'd straddled him and now worked furiously to save his life, my focus like that of a seasoned trauma nurse. Or a seasoned pot roast. It was hard to say.
"I'm not sure I'm in the market," he said, his voice smooth and filled with a humor I found appalling. He clearly didn't appreciate my dedication.
"Damn it, man! I'm trying to save your life! Don't interrupt."
A sensuous grin slid across his face. He tucked his arms behind his head while I worked. I finished my count, leaned down, put my lips on his, and blew. He laughed softly, the sound rumbling from his chest, deep and sexy, as he took my breath into his lungs. That part down, I went back to counting chest compressions.
"Don't you die on me!"
After another round, he asked, "Am I going to make it?"
"It's touch-and-go. I'm going to have to bring out the defibrillator."
"We have a defibrillator?" he asked, quirking a brow, clearly impressed.
I reached for my phone. "I have an app. Hold on." As I punched buttons, I realized a major flaw in my plan. I needed a second phone. I could hardly shock him with only one paddle. I reached over and grabbed his phone as well. Started punching buttons. Rolled my eyes. "You don't have the app," I said from between clenched teeth.
"I had no idea smartphones were so versatile."
"I'll just have to download it. It'll just take a sec."
"Do I have that long?"
Humor sparkled in his eyes as he waited for me to find the app. I'd forgotten the name of it, so I had to go back to my phone, then back to his, then do a search, then download, then install it, all while my patient lay dying. Did no one understand that seconds counted?
"Got it!" I said at last. I pressed one phone to his chest and one to the side of his rib cage like they did in the movies, and yelled, "Clear!"
Granted, I didn't get off him or anything as the electrical charge riddled his body, slammed his heart into action, and probably scorched his skin. Or that was my hope, anyway.
He handled it well. One corner of his mouth twitched, but that was about it. He was such a trouper.
After two more jolts of electricity--it had to be done--I leaned forward and pressed my fingertips to his throat.
"Well?" he asked after a tense moment.
I released a ragged sigh of relief,and my shoulders fell forward in exhaustion. "You're going to be okay, Mr. Farrow."
Without warning, my patient pulled me into his arms and rolled me over, pinning me to the bed with his considerable weight and burying his face in my hair.
It was a miracle!
Darynda Jones (The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson, #10))
I still stared at Daemon, completely aware that everyone else except him was watching me. Closely. But why wouldn’t he look at me? A razor-sharp panic clawed at my insides. No. This couldn’t be happening. No way.
My body was moving before I even knew what I was doing.
From the corner of my eye, I saw Dee shake her head and one of the Luxen males step forward, but I was propelled by an inherent need to prove that my worst fears were not coming true.
After all, he’d healed me, but then I thought of what Dee had said, of how Dee had behaved with me. What if Daemon was like her? Turned into something so foreign and cold? He would’ve healed me just to make sure he was okay.
I still didn’t stop.
Please, I thought over and over again. Please. Please. Please. On shaky legs, I crossed the long room, and even though Daemon hadn’t seemed to even acknowledge my existence, I walked right up to him, my hands trembling as I placed them on his chest.
“Daemon?” I whispered, voice thick.
His head whipped around, and he was suddenly staring down at me. Our gazes collided once more, and for a second I saw something so raw, so painful in those beautiful eyes. And then his large hands wrapped around my upper arms. The contact seared through the shirt I wore, branding my skin, and I thought—I expected—that he would pull me against him, that he would embrace me, and even though nothing would be all right, it would be better.
Daemon’s hands spasmed around my arms, and I sucked in an unsteady breath.
His eyes flashed an intense green as he physically lifted me away from him, setting me back down a good foot back.
I stared at him, something deep in my chest cracking. “Daemon?”
He said nothing as he let go, one finger at a time, it seemed, and his hands slid off my arms. He stepped back, returning his attention to the man behind the desk.
“So . . . awkward,” murmured the redhead, smirking.
I was rooted to the spot in which I stood, the sting of rejection burning through my skin, shredding my insides like I was nothing more than papier-mâché.
“I think someone was expecting more of a reunion,” the Luxen male behind the desk said, his voice ringing with amusement. “What do you think, Daemon?”
One shoulder rose in a negligent shrug. “I don’t think anything.”
My mouth opened, but there were no words. His voice, his tone, wasn’t like his sister’s, but like it had been when we first met. He used to speak to me with barely leashed annoyance, where a thin veil of tolerance dripped from every word.
The rift in my chest deepened.
For the hundredth time since the Luxen arrived, Sergeant Dasher’s warning came back to me. What side would Daemon and his family stand on? A shudder worked its way down my spine. I wrapped my arms around myself, unable to truly process what had just happened.
“And you?" the man asked. When no one answered, he tried again. “Katy?”
I was forced to look at him, and I wanted to shrink back from his stare. “What?” I was beyond caring that my voice broke on that one word.
The man smiled as he walked around the desk. My gaze flickered over to Daemon as he shifted, drawing the attention of the beautiful redhead. “Were you expecting a more personal greeting?” he asked. “Perhaps something more intimate?”
I had no idea how to answer. I felt like I’d fallen into the rabbit hole, and warnings were firing off left and right. Something primal inside me recognized that I was surrounded by predators.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
I understand, intellectually, that the death of a parent is a natural, acceptable part of life. Nobody would call the death of a very sick eighty-year-old woman a tragedy. There was soft weeping at her funeral and red watery eyes. No wrenching sobs. Now I think that I should have let myself sob. I should have wailed and beaten my chest and thrown myself over her coffin. I read a poem. A pretty, touching poem I thought she would have liked. I should have used my own words. I should have said: No one will ever love me as fiercely as my mother did. I should have said: You all think you’re at the funeral of a sweet little old lady, but you’re at the funeral of a girl called Clara, who had long blond hair in a heavy thick plait down to her waist, who fell in love with a shy man who worked on the railways, and they spent years and years trying to have a baby, and when Clara finally got pregnant, they danced around the living room but very slowly, so as not to hurt the baby, and the first two years of her little girl’s life were the happiest of Clara’s life, except then her husband died, and she had to bring up the little girl on her own, before there was a single mother’s pension, before the words “single mother” even existed. I should have told them about how when I was at school, if the day became unexpectedly cold, Mum would turn up in the school yard with a jacket for me. I should have told them that she hated broccoli with such a passion she couldn’t even look at it, and that she was in love with the main character on the English television series Judge John Deed. I should have told them that she loved to read and she was a terrible cook, because she’d try to cook and read her latest library book at the same time, and the dinner always got burned and the library book always got food spatters on it, and then she’d spend ages trying to dab them away with the wet corner of a tea towel. I should have told them that my mum thought of Jack as her own grandchild, and how she made him a special racing car quilt he adored. I should have talked and talked and grabbed both sides of the lectern and said: She was not just a little old lady. She was Clara. She was my mother. She was wonderful.
Liane Moriarty (The Hypnotist's Love Story)
And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes”
says the man with a cart of empty bottles at the corner of church
and lincoln while I stare into my phone and I say
I know oh I know while trying to find the specific
filter that will make the sun’s near-flawless descent look
the way I might describe it in a poem and the man
says the moment is already right in front of you and I
say I know but everyone I love is not here and I mean
here like on this street corner with me while I turn
the sky a darker shade of red on my phone and I mean
here like everyone I love who I can still touch and not
pass my fingers through like the wind in a dream
but I look up at the man and he is a kaleidoscope
of shadows I mean his shadows have shadows
and they are small and trailing behind him and I know
then that everyone he loves is also not here and the man doesn’t ask
but I still say hey man I’ve got nothing I’ve got nothing even though I have plenty
to go home to and the sun is still hot even in its
endless flirt with submission and the man’s palm has a small
river inside I mean he has taken my hand now and here we are
tethered and unmoving and the man says what color are you making
the sky and I say what I might say in a poem I say all surrender
ends in blood and he says what color are you making the sky and
I say something bright enough to make people wish they were here
and he squints towards the dancing shrapnel of dying
light along a rooftop and he says I love things only as they are
and I’m sure I did once too but I can’t prove it to anyone these days
and he says the end isn’t always about what dies and I know I know
or I knew once and now I write about beautiful things
like I will never touch a beautiful thing again and the man
looks me in the eyes and he points to the blue-orange vault
over heaven’s gates and he says the face of everyone you miss
is up there and I know I know I can’t see them but I know
and he turns my face to the horizon and he says
we don’t have much time left and I get that he means the time
before the sun is finally through with its daily work or I
think I get that but I still can’t stop trembling and I close
my eyes and I am sobbing on the corner of church and
lincoln and when I open my eyes the sun is plucking everyone
who has chosen to love me from the clouds and carrying them
into the light-drunk horizon and I am seeing this and I know
I am seeing this the girl who kissed me as a boy in the dairy aisle
of meijer while our parents shopped and the older boy on the
basketball team who taught me how to make a good fist and swing
it into the jaw of a bully and the friends who crawled to my porch
in the summer of any year I have been alive they were all there
I saw their faces and it was like I was given the eyes of a newborn
again and once you know what it is to be lonely it is hard to
unsee that which serves as a reminder that you were not always
empty and I am gasping into the now-dark air and I pull my shirt
up to wipe whatever tears are left and I see the man walking in the
other direction and I chase him down and tap his arm and I say did
you see it did you see it like I did and he turns and leans into the
glow of a streetlamp and he is anchored by a single shadow now
and he sneers and he says have we met and he scoffs and pushes
his cart off into the night and I can hear the glass rattling even
as I watch him become small and vanish and I look down at my
phone and the sky on the screen is still blood red.
Nevertheless a certain class of dishonesty, dishonesty magnificent in its proportions, and climbing into high places, has become at the same time so rampant and so splendid that there seems to be reason for fearing that men and women will be taught to feel that dishonesty, if it can become splendid, will cease to be abominable. If dishonesty can live in a gorgeous palace with pictures on all its walls, and gems in all its cupboards, with marble and ivory in all its corners, and can give Apician dinners, and get into Parliament, and deal in millions, then dishonesty is not disgraceful, and the man dishonest after such a fashion is not a low scoundrel. Instigated, I say, by some such reflections as these, I sat down in my new house to write The Way We Live Now. And as I had ventured to take the whip of the satirist into my hand, I went beyond the iniquities of the great speculator who robs everybody, and made an onslaught also on other vices;--on the intrigues of girls who want to get married, on the luxury of young men who prefer to remain single, and on the puffing propensities of authors who desire to cheat the public into buying their volumes.
Anthony Trollope (Autobiography of Anthony Trollope)
Hamish Alexander-Harrington knew his wife as only two humans who had both been adopted by a pair
of mated treecats ever could. He'd seen her deal with joy and with sorrow, with happiness and with fury,
with fear, and even with despair. Yet in all the years since their very first meeting at Yeltsin's Star, he
suddenly realized, he had never actually met the woman the newsies called "the Salamander." It wasn't his
fault, a corner of his brain told him, because he'd never been in the right place to meet her. Never at the
right time. He'd never had the chance to stand by her side as she took a wounded heavy cruiser on an
unflinching deathride into the broadside of the battlecruiser waiting to kill it, sailing to her own death, and
her crew's, to protect a planet full of strangers while the rich beauty of Hammerwell's "Salute to Spring"
spilled from her ship's com system. He hadn't stood beside her on the dew-soaked grass of the Landing
City duelling grounds, with a pistol in her hand and vengeance in her heart as she faced the man who'd
bought the murder of her first great love. Just as he hadn't stood on the floor of Steadholders' Hall when
she faced a man with thirty times her fencing experience across the razor-edged steel of their swords,
with the ghosts of Reverend Julius Hanks, the butchered children of Mueller Steading, and her own
murdered steaders at her back.
But now, as he looked into the unyielding flint of his wife's beloved, almond eyes, he knew he'd met the
Salamander at last. And he recognized her as only another warrior could. Yet he also knew in that
moment that for all his own imposing record of victory in battle, he was not and never had been her
equal. As a tactician and a strategist, yes. Even as a fleet commander. But not as the very embodiment of
devastation. Not as the Salamander. Because for all the compassion and gentleness which were so much
a part of her, there was something else inside Honor Alexander-Harrington, as well. Something he himself
had never had. She'd told him, once, that her own temper frightened her. That she sometimes thought she
could have been a monster under the wrong set of circumstances.
And now, as he realized he'd finally met the monster, his heart twisted with sympathy and love, for at last
he understood what she'd been trying to tell him. Understood why she'd bound it with the chains of duty,
and love, of compassion and honor, of pity, because, in a way, she'd been right. Under the wrong
circumstances, she could have been the most terrifying person he had ever met.
In fact, at this moment, she was .
It was a merciless something, her "monster"—something that went far beyond military talent, or skills, or
even courage. Those things, he knew without conceit, he, too, possessed in plenty. But not that deeply
personal something at the core of her, as unstoppable as Juggernaut, merciless and colder than space
itself, that no sane human being would ever willingly rouse. In that instant her husband knew, with an icy
shiver which somehow, perversely, only made him love her even more deeply, that as he gazed into those
agate-hard eyes, he looked into the gates of Hell itself. And whatever anyone else might think, he knew
now that there was no fire in Hell. There was only the handmaiden of death, and ice, and purpose, and a
determination which would not— couldnot—relent or rest.
"I'll miss them," she told him again, still with that dreadful softness, "but I won't forget. I'll never forget,
and one day— oneday, Hamish—we're going to find the people who did this, you and I. And when we
do, the only thing I'll ask of God is that He let them live long enough to know who's killing them.
David Weber (Mission of Honor (Honor Harrington, #12))
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
You must be the Italian cow now sharing my last name." He looked her up and down with disgust. As I stood, Mel glared, telling me to back the fuck down or else.
She moved from behind the desk and stood directly in front of his face, causing his bodyguards to step forward as well.
"Old man, you're in my house. That makes you a fucking guest. I don't owe you shit and you will respect me if you want my respect. My name is Melody. Mrs. Callahan if it suits you, but..." She leaned in until their noses were almost touching. She was shorter, but the black heels helped. "If you even call me a cow again I will kill you painfully slow. I don't care how many motherfucking body guards you have."
Two of his bodyguards drew their guns and the last had a knife hidden in his sleeve.
Shit. I thought as she pulled her gun. Declan and Neal were already backing her up. My father just rolled his eyes and took my mother into the corner, all while drinking his brandy. This was ridiculous.
"Lower your weapons," Grandfather said as he glared into her eyes. "The Italian cow..."
The moment he said it, three bullets went flying into them. One in the chest, one in the wrist and the other the knee; they all went down like cards. You don't out gun Mel.
"What the fuck? Where did she pull the gun out from?" Neal whispered. "I swear, she's a motherfucking ninja.
J.J. McAvoy (The Untouchables (Ruthless People, #2))
GO BACK TO DALLAS!” the man sitting somewhere behind us yelled again, and the hold Aiden still had on the back of my neck tightened imperceptibly.
“Don’t bother, Van,” he demanded, pokerfaced.
“I’m not going to say anything,” I said, even as I reached up with the hand furthest away from him and put it behind my head, extending my middle finger in hopes that the idiot yelling would see it.
Those brown eyes blinked. “You just flipped him off, didn’t you?”
Yeah, my mouth dropped open. “How do you know when I do that?” My tone was just as astonished as it should be.
“I know everything.” He said it like he really believed it.
I groaned and cast him a long look. “You really want to play this game?”
“I play games for a living, Van.”
I couldn’t stand him sometimes. My eyes crossed in annoyance. “When is my birthday?”
He stared at me.
“March third, Muffin.”
What in the hell?
“See?” he mocked me.
Who was this man and where was the Aiden I knew?
“How old am I?” I kept going hesitantly.
“How do you know this?” I asked him slowly.
“I pay attention,” The Wall of Winnipeg stated.
I was starting to think he was right.
Then, as if to really seal the deal I didn’t know was resting between us, he said, “You like waffles, root beer, and Dr. Pepper. You only drink light beer. You put cinnamon in your coffee. You eat too much cheese. Your left knee always aches. You have three sisters I hope I never meet and one brother. You were born in El Paso. You’re obsessed with your work. You start picking at the corner of your eye when you feel uncomfortable or fool around with your glasses. You can’t see things up close, and you’re terrified of the dark.” He raised those thick eyebrows. “Anything else?”
Yeah, I only managed to say one word. “No.” How did he know all this stuff? How? Unsure of how I was feeling, I coughed and started to reach up to mess with my glasses before I realized what I was doing and snuck my hand under my thigh, ignoring the knowing look on Aiden’s dumb face. “I know a lot about you too. Don’t think you’re cool or special.”
“I know, Van.” His thumb massaged me again for all of about three seconds. “You know more about me than anyone else does.”
A sudden memory of the night in my bed where he’d admitted his fear as a kid pecked at my brain, relaxing me, making me smile. “I really do, don’t I?”
The expression on his face was like he was torn between being okay with the idea and being completely against it.
Leaning in close to him again, I winked. “I’m taking your love of MILF porn to the grave with me, don’t worry.”
He stared at me, unblinking, unflinching. And then: “I’ll cut the power at the house when you’re in the shower,” he said so evenly, so crisply, it took me a second to realize he was threatening me…
And when it finally did hit me, I burst out laughing, smacking his inner thigh without thinking twice about it. “Who does that?”
Aiden Graves, husband of mine, said it, “Me.”
Then the words were out of my mouth before I could control them. “And you know what I’ll do? I’ll go sneak into bed with you, so ha.”
What the hell had I just said? What in the ever-loving hell had I just said?
“If you think I’m supposed to be scared…” He leaned forward so our faces were only a couple of inches away. The hand on my neck and the finger pads lining the back of my ear stayed where they were. “I’m not
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
I am leaving this tower and returning home. When I speak with family, and comments are always the same, 'Won't you be glad to get back to the real world?'
This is my question after two weeks of time, only two weeks, spent with prairie dogs, 'What is real?'
What is real? These prairie dogs and the lives they live and have adapted to in grassland communities over time, deep time?
What is real? A gravel pit adjacent to one of the last remaining protected prairie dog colonies in the world? A corral where cowboys in an honest day's work saddle up horses with prairie dogs under hoof for visitors to ride in Bryce Canyon National Park?
What is real? Two planes slamming into the World Trade Center and the wake of fear that has never stopped in this endless war of terror?
What is real? Forgiveness or revenge and the mounting deaths of thousands of human beings as America wages war in Afghanistan and Iraq?
What is real? Steve's recurrence of lymphoma? A closet full of shoes? Making love? Making money? Making right with the world with the smallest of unseen gestures?
How do we wish to live And with whom?
What is real to me are these prairie dogs facing the sun each morning and evening in the midst of man-made chaos.
What is real to me are the consequences of cruelty.
What is real to me are the concentric circles of compassion and its capacity to bring about change.
What is real to me is the power of our awareness when we are focused on something beyond ourselves. It is a shaft of light shining in a dark corner. Our ability to shift our perceptions and seek creative alternatives to the conundrums of modernity is in direct proportion to our empathy. Can we imagine, witness, and ultimately feel the suffering of another.
Terry Tempest Williams
It so happens I am sick of being a man.
And it happens that I walk into tailorshops and movie houses
dried up, waterproof, like a swan made of felt
steering my way in a water of wombs and ashes.
The smell of barbershops makes me break into hoarse sobs.
The only thing I want is to lie still like stones or wool.
The only thing I want is to see no more stores, no gardens,
no more goods, no spectacles, no elevators.
It so happens that I am sick of my feet and my nails
and my hair and my shadow.
It so happens I am sick of being a man.
Still it would be marvelous
to terrify a law clerk with a cut lily,
or kill a nun with a blow on the ear.
It would be great
to go through the streets with a green knife
letting out yells until I died of the cold.
I don't want to go on being a root in the dark,
insecure, stretched out, shivering with sleep,
going on down, into the moist guts of the earth,
taking in and thinking, eating every day.
I don't want so much misery.
I don't want to go on as a root and a tomb,
alone under the ground, a warehouse with corpses,
half frozen, dying of grief.
That's why Monday, when it sees me coming
with my convict face, blazes up like gasoline,
and it howls on its way like a wounded wheel,
and leaves tracks full of warm blood leading toward the night.
And it pushes me into certain corners, into some moist houses,
into hospitals where the bones fly out the window,
into shoeshops that smell like vinegar,
and certain streets hideous as cracks in the skin.
There are sulphur-colored birds, and hideous intestines
hanging over the doors of houses that I hate,
and there are false teeth forgotten in a coffeepot,
there are mirrors
that ought to have wept from shame and terror,
there are umbrellas everywhere, and venoms, and umbilical cords.
I stroll along serenely, with my eyes, my shoes,
my rage, forgetting everything,
I walk by, going through office buildings and orthopedic shops,
and courtyards with washing hanging from the line:
underwear, towels and shirts from which slow
dirty tears are falling
Those whom God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
A shiver raced down Daphne’s spine, causing her to sway. In just a moment, she would belong to this man forever.
Simon’s head turned slightly, his eyes darting to her face. Are you all right? his eyes asked.
She nodded, a tiny little jog of her chin that only he could see. Something blazed in his eyes— could it be relief?
I now pronounce you—
Gregory sneezed for a fourth time, then a fifth and sixth, completely obliterating the archbishop’s “man and wife.” Daphne felt a horrifying bubble of mirth pushing up her throat. She pressed her lips together, determined to maintain an appropriately serious facade.
Marriage, after all, was a solemn institution, and not one to be treating as a joke.
She shot a glance at Simon, only to find that he was looking at her with a queer expression. His pale eyes were focused on her mouth, and the corners of his lips began to twitch.
Daphne felt that bubble of mirth rising ever higher.
You may kiss the bride.
Simon grabbed her with almost desperate arms, his mouth crashing down on hers with a force that drew a collective gasp from the small assemblage of guests.
And then both sets of lips— bride and groom— burst into laughter, even as they remained entwined.
Violet Bridgerton later said it was the oddest kiss she’d ever been privileged to view.
Gregory Bridgerton— when he finished sneezing— said it was disgusting.
The archbishop, who was getting on in years, looked perplexed.
But Hyacinth Bridgerton, who at ten should have known the least about kisses of anyone, just blinked thoughtfully, and said, “I think it’s nice. If they’re laughing now, they’ll probably be laughing forever.” She turned to her mother. “Isn’t that a good thing?”
Violet took her youngest daughter’s hand and squeezed it. “Laughter is always a good thing, Hyacinth. And thank you for reminding us of that.
Julia Quinn (The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1))
One night he sits up. In cots around him are a few dozen sick or wounded. A warm September wind pours across the countryside and sets the walls of the tent rippling.
Werner’s head swivels lightly on his neck. The wind is strong and gusting stronger, and the corners of the tent strain against their guy ropes, and where the flaps at the two ends come up, he can see trees buck and sway. Everything rustles. Werner zips his old notebook and the little house into his duffel and the man beside him murmurs questions to himself and the rest of the ruined company sleeps. Even Werner’s thirst has faded. He feels only the raw, impassive surge of the moonlight as it strikes the tent above him and scatters. Out there, through the open flaps of the tent, clouds hurtle above treetops. Toward Germany, toward home.
Silver and blue, blue and silver.
Sheets of paper tumble down the rows of cots, and in Werner’s chest comes a quickening. He sees Frau Elena kneel beside the coal stove and bank up the fire. Children in their beds. Baby Jutta sleeps in her cradle. His father lights a lamp, steps into an elevator, and disappears.
The voice of Volkheimer: What you could be.
Werner’s body seems to have gone weightless under his blanket, and beyond the flapping tent doors, the trees dance and the clouds keep up their huge billowing march, and he swings first one leg and then the other off the edge of the bed.
“Ernst,” says the man beside him. “Ernst.” But there is no Ernst; the men in the cots do not reply; the American soldier at the door of the tent sleeps. Werner walks past him into the grass.
The wind moves through his undershirt. He is a kite, a balloon.
Once, he and Jutta built a little sailboat from scraps of wood and carried it to the river. Jutta painted the vessel in ecstatic purples and greens, and she set it on the water with great formality. But the boat sagged as soon as the current got hold of it. It floated downstream, out of reach, and the flat black water swallowed it. Jutta blinked at Werner with wet eyes, pulling at the battered loops of yarn in her sweater.
“It’s all right,” he told her. “Things hardly ever work on the first try. We’ll make another, a better one.”
Did they? He hopes they did. He seems to remember a little boat—a more seaworthy one—gliding down a river. It sailed around a bend and left them behind. Didn’t it?
The moonlight shines and billows; the broken clouds scud above the trees. Leaves fly everywhere. But the moonlight stays unmoved by the wind, passing through clouds, through air, in what seems to Werner like impossibly slow, imperturbable rays. They hang across the buckling grass.
Why doesn’t the wind move the light?
Across the field, an American watches a boy leave the sick tent and move against the background of the trees. He sits up. He raises his hand.
“Stop,” he calls.
“Halt,” he calls.
But Werner has crossed the edge of the field, where he steps on a trigger land mine set there by his own army three months before, and disappears in a fountain of earth.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
But what I would like to know," says Albert, "is whether there would not have
been a war if the Kaiser had said No."
"I'm sure there would," I interject, "he was against it from the ﬁrst."
"Well, if not him alone, then perhaps if twenty or thirty people in the world had
"That's probable," I agree, "but they damned well said Yes."
"It's queer, when one thinks about it," goes on Kropp, "we are here to protect
our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?"
"Perhaps both," say I without believing it.
"Yes, well now," pursues Albert, and I see that he means to drive me into a
corner, "but our professors and parsons and newspapers say that we are the only
ones that are right, and let's hope so;--but the French professors and parsons and newspapers say that the right is on their side, now what about that?"
"That I don't know," I say, "but whichever way it is there's war all the same and every month more countries coming in."
Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started.
"Mostly by one country badly offending another," answers Albert with a slight
air of superiority.
Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. "A country? I don't follow. A mountain in
Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a ﬁeld of wheat."
"Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?" growls Kropp, "I don't mean that at all. One people offends the other--"
"Then I haven't any business here at all," replies Tjaden, "I don't feel myself offended."
"Well, let me tell you," says Albert sourly, "it doesn't apply to tramps like you."
"Then I can be going home right away," retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, "Ach,
man! he means the people as a whole, the State--" exclaims Mller.
"State, State"--Tjaden snaps his ﬁngers contemptuously, "Gendarmes, police,
taxes, that's your State;--if that's what you are talking about, no, thank you."
"That's right," says Kat, "you've said something for once, Tjaden. State and
home-country, there's a big difference."
"But they go together," insists Kropp, "without the State there wouldn't be any
"True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France,
too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why
would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is
merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren't asked about it any more than we were."
"Then what exactly is the war for?" asks Tjaden.
Kat shrugs his shoulders. "There must be some people to whom the war is useful."
"Well, I'm not one of them," grins Tjaden.
"Not you, nor anybody else here."
"Who are they then?" persists Tjaden.
"It isn't any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already."
"I'm not so sure about that," contradicts Kat, "he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books."
"And generals too," adds Detering, "they become famous through war."
"Even more famous than emperors," adds Kat.
"There are other people back behind there who proﬁt by the war, that's
certain," growls Detering.
"I think it is more of a kind of fever," says Albert. "No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn't want the war, the others say the same thing--and yet half the world is in it all the same.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Dalinar took one step forward, then drove his Blade point-first into the middle of the blackened glyph on the stone. He took a step back. “For the bridgemen,” he said.
Sadeas blinked. Muttering voices fell silent, and the people on the field seemed too stunned, even, to breathe.
“The Blade,”Dalinar said, firm voice carrying in the air. “In exchange for your bridgemen. All of them. Every one you have in camp. They become mine, to do with as I please, never to be touched by you again. In exchange, you get the sword.”
Sadeas looked down at the Blade, incredulous. “This weapon is worth fortunes. Cities, palaces, kingdoms.”
“Do we have a deal?”Dalinar asked.
“Father, no!”Adolin Kholin said, his own Blade appearing in his hand. “You—”
Dalinar raised a hand, silencing the younger man. He kept his eyes on Sadeas. “Do we have a deal?” he asked, each word sharp.
Kaladin stared, unable to move, unable to think.
Sadeas looked at the Shardblade, eyes full of lust. He glanced at Kaladin, hesitated just briefly, then reached and grabbed the Blade by the hilt. “Take the storming creatures.”
Dalinar nodded curtly, turning away from Sadeas. “Let’s go,”he said to his entourage.
“They’re worthless, you know,”Sadeas said. “You’re of the ten fools, Dalinar Kholin! Don’t you see how mad you are? This will be remembered as the most ridiculous decision ever made by an Alethi highprince!”
Dalinar didn’t look back. He walked up to Kaladin and the other members of Bridge Four. “Go,” Dalinar said to them, voice kindly. “Gather your things and the men you left behind. I will send troops with you to act as guards. Leave the bridges and come swiftly to my camp. You will be safe there. You have my word of honor on it.”
He began to walk away.
Kaladin shook off his numbness. He scrambled after the highprince, grabbing his armored arm. “Wait. You—That—What just happened?”
Dalinar turned to him. Then, the highprince laid a hand on Kaladin’s shoulder, the gauntlet gleaming blue, mismatched with the rest of his slate-grey armor. “I don’t know what has been done to you. I can only guess what your life has been like. But know this. You will not be bridgemen in my camp, nor will you be slaves.”
“What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly.
“The slavemasters say one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning.
“And what do you say?”
“A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father.
Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.”
“You really think it was a good trade, don’t you?” Kaladin said, amazed.
Dalinar smiled in a way that seemed strikingly paternal.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
In the sky there is nobody asleep. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
The creatures of the moon sniff and prowl about their cabins.
The living iguanas will come and bite the men who do not dream,
and the man who rushes out with his spirit broken will meet on the
the unbelievable alligator quiet beneath the tender protest of the
Nobody is asleep on earth. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is asleep.
In a graveyard far off there is a corpse
who has moaned for three years
because of a dry countryside on his knee;
and that boy they buried this morning cried so much
it was necessary to call out the dogs to keep him quiet.
Life is not a dream. Careful! Careful! Careful!
We fall down the stairs in order to eat the moist earth
or we climb to the knife edge of the snow with the voices of the dead
But forgetfulness does not exist, dreams do not exist;
flesh exists. Kisses tie our mouths
in a thicket of new veins,
and whoever his pain pains will feel that pain forever
and whoever is afraid of death will carry it on his shoulders.
the horses will live in the saloons
and the enraged ants
will throw themselves on the yellow skies that take refuge in the
eyes of cows.
we will watch the preserved butterflies rise from the dead
and still walking through a country of gray sponges and silent boats
we will watch our ring flash and roses spring from our tongue.
Careful! Be careful! Be careful!
The men who still have marks of the claw and the thunderstorm,
and that boy who cries because he has never heard of the invention
of the bridge,
or that dead man who possesses now only his head and a shoe,
we must carry them to the wall where the iguanas and the snakes
where the bear’s teeth are waiting,
where the mummified hand of the boy is waiting,
and the hair of the camel stands on end with a violent blue shudder.
Nobody is sleeping in the sky. Nobody, nobody.
Nobody is sleeping.
If someone does close his eyes,
a whip, boys, a whip!
Let there be a landscape of open eyes
and bitter wounds on fire.
No one is sleeping in this world. No one, no one.
I have said it before.
No one is sleeping.
But if someone grows too much moss on his temples during the
open the stage trapdoors so he can see in the moonlight
the lying goblets, and the poison, and the skull of the theaters
- City That Does Not Sleep
Federico García Lorca
I think we must only a few of us go," Laurence said, low. "I will take a few volunteers - "
"Oh, the devil you will!" Granby exclaimed furiously. "No, this time I damned well put my foot down, Laurence. Send you off to go scrambling about in that warren with no notion where you are going, and nothing more likely than running into a dozen guards round every corner; I should like to see myself do it. I am not going back to England to tell them I sat about twiddling my thumbs whilst you got yourself cut to pieces. Temeraire, you are not to let him go, do you hear me? He is sure to be killed; I give you my word."
"If the party are sure to be killed, I am not going to let anyone go!" Temeraire said, in high alarm, and sat up sharp, quite prepared to physically hold anyone back who made an attempt to leave.
"Temeraire, this is plain exaggeration," Laurence said. "Mr. Granby, you overstate the case, and you overstep your bounds."
"Well, I don't," Granby said defiantly. "I have bit my tongue a dozen times over, because I know it is wretched hard to sit about watching and you haven't been trained up to it, but you are a captain, and you must be more careful of your neck. It isn't only your own but the Corps' affair if you snuff it, and mine too."
"If I may," Tharkay said quietly, interrupting when Laurence would have remonstrated further with Granby, "I will go; alone I am reasonably sure I can find a way to the eggs, without rousing any alarm, and then I can return and guide the rest of the party there."
"Tharkay," Laurence said, "this is no service you owe us; I would not order even a man under oath of arms to undertake it, without he were willing."
"But I am willing," Tharkay gave his faint half-smile, "and more likely to come back whole from it than anyone else here."
"At the cost of running thrice the risk, going and coming back and going again," Laurence said, "with a fresh chance of running into the guards every time through."
"So it is very dangerous, then," Temeraire said, overhearing to too much purpose, and pricking up his ruff further. "You are not to go, at all, Granby is quite right; and neither is anyone else."
"Oh, Hell," Laurence said, under his breath.
"It seems there is very little alternative to my going," Tharkay said.
"Not you either!" Temeraire contradicted, to Tharkay's startlement, and settled down as mulish as a dragon could look; and Granby had folded his arms and wore an expression very similar. Laurence had ordinarily very little inclination to profanity, but he was sorely tempted on this occasion. An appeal to Temeraire's reason might sway him to allow a party to make the attempt, if he could be persuaded to accept the risk as necessary for the gain, like a battle; but he would surely balk at seeing Laurence go, and Laurence had not the least intention of sending men on so deadly an enterprise if he were not going himself, Corps rules be damned.
Naomi Novik (Black Powder War (Temeraire, #3))
Then it was horn time. Time for the big solo.
Sonny lifted the trumpet - One! Two! - He got it into sight - Three!
We all stopped dead. I mean we stopped.
That wasn't Sonny's horn. This one was dented-in and beat-up and the tip-end was nicked. It didn't shine, not a bit.
Lux leaned over-you could have fit a coffee cup into his mouth. "Jesus God," he said. "Am I seeing right?"
I looked close and said: "Man, I hope not."
But why kid? We'd seen that trumpet a million times.
It was Spoof's.
Rose-Ann was trembling. Just like me, she remembered how we'd buried the horn with Spoof. And she remembered how quiet it had been in Sonny's room last night...
I started to think real hophead thoughts, like - where did Sonny get hold of a shovel that late? and how could he expect a horn to play that's been under the ground for two years? and -
That blast got into our ears like long knives.
Spoof's own trademark!
Sonny looked caught, like he didn't know what to do at first, like he was hypnotized, scared, almighty scared. But as the sound came out, rolling out, sharp and clean and clear - new-trumpet sound - his expression changed. His eyes changed: they danced a little and opened wide.
Then he closed them, and blew that horn. Lord God of the Fishes, how he blew it! How he loved it and caressed it and pushed it up, higher and higher and higher. High C? Bottom of the barrel. He took off, and he walked all over the rules and stamped them flat.
The melody got lost, first off. Everything got lost, then, while that horn flew. It wasn't only jazz; it was the heart of jazz, and the insides, pulled out with the roots and held up for everybody to see; it was blues that told the story of all the lonely cats and all the ugly whores who ever lived, blues that spoke up for the loser lamping sunshine out of iron-gray bars and every hop head hooked and gone, for the bindlestiffs and the city slicers, for the country boys in Georgia shacks and the High Yellow hipsters in Chicago slums and the bootblacks on the corners and the fruits in New Orleans, a blues that spoke for all the lonely, sad and anxious downers who could never speak themselves...
And then, when it had said all this, it stopped and there was a quiet so quiet that Sonny could have shouted:
'It's okay, Spoof. It's all right now. You get it said, all of it - I'll help you. God, Spoof, you showed me how, you planned it - I'll do my best!'
And he laid back his head and fastened the horn and pulled in air and blew some more. Not sad, now, not blues - but not anything else you could call by a name. Except... jazz. It was Jazz.
Hate blew out of that horn, then. Hate and fury and mad and fight, like screams and snarls, like little razors shooting at you, millions of them, cutting, cutting deep...
And Sonny only stopping to wipe his lip and whisper in the silent room full of people: 'You're saying it, Spoof! You are!'
God Almighty Himself must have heard that trumpet, then; slapping and hitting and hurting with notes that don't exist and never existed. Man! Life took a real beating! Life got groined and sliced and belly-punched and the horn, it didn't stop until everything had all spilled out, every bit of the hate and mad that's built up in a man's heart. ("Black Country")
Charles Beaumont (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940's Until Now)