Daughter Like Mother Quotes

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My mother... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.
Jodi Picoult
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living—one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying. Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel—a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.
Laini Taylor (Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2))
All I know is that I carried you for nine months. I fed you, I clothed you, I paid for your college education. Friending me on Facebook seems like a small thing to ask in return.
Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home)
The older lady harrumphed. "I warned you, daughter. This scoundrel Hades is no good. You could've married the god of doctors or the god of lawyers, but noooo. You had to eat the pomegranate." "Mother-" "And get stuck in the Underworld!" "Mother, please-" "And here it is August, and do you come home like you're supposed to? Do you ever think about your poor lonely mother?" "DEMETER!" Hades shouted. "That is enough. You are a guest in my house." "Oh, a house is it?" she said. "You call this dump a house? Make my daughter live in this dark, damp-" "I told you," Hades said, grinding his teeth, "there's a war in the world above. You and Persephone are better off here with me." "Excuse me," I broke in. "But if you're going to kill me, could you just get on with it?
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. “Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
Sarah Kay
You grew up too fast, baby." Didn't always feel that way, especially this morning when I couldn't find my other flip-flop and I'd been, like, two seconds from kicking a fit.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opal (Lux, #3))
Mother was comfort. Mother was home. A girl who lost her mother was suddenly a tiny boat on an angry ocean. Some boats eventually floated ashore. And some boats, like me, seemed to float farther and farther from land
Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
Abe held my gaze a bit longer and then broke into an easy smile. ʺOf course, of course. This is a family gathering. A celebration. And look: hereʹs our newest member.ʺ Dimitri had joined us and wore black and white like my mother and me. He stood beside me, conspicuously not touching. ʺMr. Mazur,ʺ he said formally, nodding a greeting to both of them. ʺGuardian Hathaway.ʺ Dimitri was seven years older than me, but right then, facing my parents, he looked like he was sixteen and about to pick me up for a date. ʺAh, Belikov,ʺ said Abe, shaking Dimitriʹs hand. ʺIʹd been hoping weʹd run into each other. Iʹd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. Thatʹs what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. Iʹve certainly got a lot of questions Iʹd like to ask you. A lot of things Iʹd like to tell you too.ʺ I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. ʺActually,ʺ said my mom casually. ʺIʹd like to come along. I also have a number of questions—especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimirʹs.ʺ ʺDonʹt you guys have somewhere to be?ʺ I asked hastily. ʺWeʹre about to start.ʺ That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. ʺOf course,ʺ said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. ʺIʹm glad youʹre back.ʺ Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri: ʺLooking forward to our chat.ʺ ʺRun,ʺ I said when they were gone. ʺIf you slip out now, maybe they wonʹt notice. Go back to Siberia." "Actually," said Dimitri, "I'm pretty sure Abe would notice. Don't worry, Roza. I'm not afraid. I'll take whatever heat they give me over being with you. It's worth it.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
A wedding is for daughters and fathers. The mothers all dress up, trying to look like young women. But a wedding is for a father and daughter. They stop being married to each other on that day.
Sarah Ruhl (Eurydice)
Thermodynamic miracles... events with odds against so astronomical they're effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter... Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold... that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermodynamic miracle. But...if me, my birth, if that's a thermodynamic miracle... I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world!. Yes. Anybody in the world. ..But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget... I forget. We gaze continually at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from the another's vantage point. As if new, it may still take our breath away. Come...dry your eyes. For you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
Your daughter is ugly. She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her belly. As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her. She was splintered wood and sea water. They said she reminded them of the war. On her fifteenth birthday you taught her how to tie her hair like rope and smoke it over burning frankincense. You made her gargle rosewater and while she coughed, said macaanto girls like you shouldn’t smell of lonely or empty. You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lay down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things but God, doesn’t she wear the world well.
Warsan Shire
There are three questions every woman should be able to answer yes to before they commit to a man. If you answer no to any of this question, run like hell.
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
There will be other lives. There will be other lives for nervous boys with sweaty palms, for bittersweet fumblings in the backseats of cars, for caps and gowns in royal blue and crimson, for mothers clasping pretty pearl necklaces around daughters' unlined necks, for your full name read aloud in an auditorium, for brand-new suitcases transporting you to strange new people in strange new lands. And there will be other lives for unpaid debts, for one-night stands, for Prague and Paris, for painful shoes with pointy toes, for indecision and revisions. And there will be other lives for fathers walking daughters down aisles. And there will be other lives for sweet babies with skin like milk. And there will be other lives for a man you don't recognize, for a face in a mirror that is no longer yours, for the funerals of intimates, for shrinking, for teeth that fall out, for hair on your chin, for forgetting everything. Everything. Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that's not how it works. A human's life is a beautiful mess.
Gabrielle Zevin (Elsewhere)
You are doing God's work. You are doing it wonderfully well. He is blessing you, and He will bless you, --even--no, -especially--when your days and your nights may be most challenging. Like the woman who anonymously, meekly, perhaps even with hesitation and some embarrassment, fought her way through the crowd just to touch the hem of the Master's garment, so Christ will say to the women who worry and wonder and weep over their responsibility as mothers, `Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.' And it will make your children whole as well.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Having a little girl has been like following an old treasure map with the important paths torn away.
Heather Gudenkauf (The Weight of Silence)
Karen was radiant in a beautiful blue gown. Even her mother, for once, had said so. “Not just pretty, honey—you reek of class. Like Princess Grace from Morocco,” she’d said, beaming at her daughter.
J.K. Franko (Killing Johnny Miracle)
Over time, we would learn each other and I would learn to love her like a mother loves a daughter, imperfectly and without roots.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers)
A daughter grows older and draws nearer to her mother, until she gradually overlaps her like a sewing pattern. But a son becomes some irreparably separate thing.
Brit Bennett (The Mothers)
wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.
Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club)
To be a woman is like becoming a prey, her every move watched by hungry predators. Every glance of man is a violation. No one is spared. No one. Not mother, not sister, not daughter. It is only fear of Dharma that keeps men in check.
Devdutt Pattanaik (The Pregnant King)
You will like her," he persisted. "Egad, she's after your own heart, maman! She shot me in the arm." "Voyons, do you think that is what I like?
Georgette Heyer (Devil's Cub (Alastair-Audley, #2))
They wanted the real mother, the blood mother, the great womb, mother of fierce compassion, a woman large enough to hold all the pain, to carry it away. What we needed was someone who bled, someone deep and rich as a field, a wide-hipped mother, awesome, immense, women like huge soft couches, mothers coursing with blood, mother's big enough, wide enough for us to hide in, to sink down to the bottom of of, mother's who would breathe for us when we could not breathe anymore, who would fight for us, who would kill for us, die for us.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
It turns out that Molly wasn't her mother's daughter in that respect. Charity was like the MacGuyver of the kitchen. She could whip up a five-course meal for twelve from an egg, two spaghetti noodles, some household chemicals, and a stick of chewing gum. Molly ... Molly once burned my egg. My boiled egg. I don't know how.
Jim Butcher (Small Favor (The Dresden Files, #10))
Father has a strengthening character like the sun and mother has a soothing temper like the moon.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PAGE: To my daughter, if you ever date anyone like the men I write, I will kick your *ss up between your ears and you will walk sideways for a month, but I’ll still love you.
Amelia Hutchins (Playing with Monsters (Playing with Monsters, #1))
Our world has created a false unrealistic image of what women are supposed to look like and act like. But the truth is that every woman was not created by God to be skinny, with a flawless complexion and long flowing hair. Not every woman was intended to juggle a career as well as all of the other duties of being a wife, mother, citizen, and daughter. Single women should not be made to feel they are missing somenthing because they are not married. Married women should not be made to feel they must have a career to be complete. We must have the freedom to be our individual selves.
Joyce Meyer (The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations)
Where are you going to put the other one?” asked Daniella. “Wherever you like,” said Ms. Terwilliger. “I can’t take him with me. The guards saw me come in with one cat. They’ll see me leave with one.” “What?” My mother-in-law’s voice came out extra shrill to my ears. “That creature’s staying?” It figured. Her daughter-in-law transforming into an animal? No problem. Having to take care of a cat? Crisis.
Richelle Mead (The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6))
Sometimes parents don't find what they're looking for it their child, so they plant seeds for what they'd like to grow there instead. I've witnessed this with the former hockey player who takes his son out to skate before he can even walk. Or in the mother who gave up her ballet dreams when she married, but now scrapes her daughter's hair into a bun and watched from the wings of the stage. We are not, as you'd expect, orchestrating their lives; we are not even trying for a second chance. We are hoping that if this one thing takes root, it might take up enough light and space to keep something else from developing in our children: the disappointment we've already lived.
Jodi Picoult (Vanishing Acts)
The words were unexpected, but so incisively true. So much of prayer is like that - an encounter with a truth that has sunk to the bottom of the heart, that wants to be found, wants to be spoken, wants to be elevated into the realm of sacredness.
Sue Monk Kidd (Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story)
Mother and daughter like spoons in a drawer.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
emptying out of my mother's belly was my first act of disappearance learning to shrink for a family who likes their daughters invisible was the second the art of being empty is simple believe them when they say you are nothing repeat it to yourself like a wish i am nothing i am nothing i am nothing so often the only reason you know you're still alive is from the heaving of your chest
Rupi Kaur (milk and honey)
Girls should be strong together. Strong like steel, merry like the tinkling of chimes dancing in the wind.
Kristin Halbrook (Nobody But Us)
This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn't turn out to be like Literature. Look at our parents--were they the stuff of Literature? At best, they might aspire to the condition of onlookers and bystanders, part of a social backdrop against which real, true, important things could happen. Like what? The things Literature was about: Love, sex, morality, friendship, happiness, suffering, betrayal, adultery, good and evil, heroes and villains, guilt and innocence, ambition, power, justice, revolution, war, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the individual against society, success and failure, murder, suicide, death, God.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
She was like a mother to me...and I betrayed as a daughter will betray her mother and yet, never stop loving her.
Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #9))
Miranda rolls her eyes. "Passing over," she says. "That's nice. Is that anything like kicking the bucket? Keeling over, taking a dirt nap, biting the big one?
Kelly Braffet (Last Seen Leaving)
Ego Tripping I was born in the congo I walked to the fertile crescent and built the sphinx I designed a pyramid so tough that a star that only glows every one hundred years falls into the center giving divine perfect light I am bad I sat on the throne drinking nectar with allah I got hot and sent an ice age to europe to cool my thirst My oldest daughter is nefertiti the tears from my birth pains created the nile I am a beautiful woman I gazed on the forest and burned out the sahara desert with a packet of goat's meat and a change of clothes I crossed it in two hours I am a gazelle so swift so swift you can't catch me For a birthday present when he was three I gave my son hannibal an elephant He gave me rome for mother's day My strength flows ever on My son noah built new/ark and I stood proudly at the helm as we sailed on a soft summer day I turned myself into myself and was jesus men intone my loving name All praises All praises I am the one who would save I sowed diamonds in my back yard My bowels deliver uranium the filings from my fingernails are semi-precious jewels On a trip north I caught a cold and blew My nose giving oil to the arab world I am so hip even my errors are correct I sailed west to reach east and had to round off the earth as I went The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid across three continents I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal I cannot be comprehended except by my permission I mean...I...can fly like a bird in the sky...
Nikki Giovanni
My mother was very strong about my doing well in school and living up to my potential. Two things were important to her and she repeated them endlessly. One was to ‘be a lady,’ and that meant conduct yourself civilly, don’t let emotions like anger or envy get in your way. And the other was to be independent, which was an unusual message for mothers of that time to be giving their daughters.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (My Own Words: Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
I shove the horrible, screaming images in my head into the dark, silent place in my mind that is getting deeper and more crowded each day. One day soon, the things I stuff in there will burst out and infect the rest of me. Maybe that will be the day the daughter becomes like the mother. Until then, I am still in control.
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
love. she liberated me to life, she continued to do that. and when she was in her final sickness i went out to san francisco and the doctor said she had 3 weeks to live, i asked her "would you come to north carolina?" she said yes. she had emphysema and lung cancer, i brought her to my home. she lived for a year and a half ..and when she was finally in extemis, she was on oxygen and fighting cancer for her life and i remembered her liberating me, and i said i hoped i would be able to liberate her, she deserved that from me. she deserved a great daughter and she got one. so in her last days, i said "i understand some people need permission to go… as i understand it you may have done what god put you here to do. you were a great worker, you must've been a great lover cause a lot of men and if I'm not wrong maybe a couple of woman risked their lives to love you. you were a piss poor mother of small children but a you were great mother of young adults, and if you need permission to go, i liberate you". and i went back to my house, and something said go back- i was in my pajamas, i jumped in my car and ran and the nurse said "she just gone". you see love liberates. it doesn't bind, love says i love you. i love you if you're in china, i love you if you're across town, i love you if you're in harlem, i love you. i would like to be near you, i would like to have your arms around me i would like to have your voice in my ear but thats not possible now, i love you so go. love liberates it doesn't hold. thats ego. love liberates.
Maya Angelou
And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiply those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter… Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged. To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood. The thermo-dynamic miracle.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
If it weren't for me, she wouldn't have to take jobs like this. She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar. I felt my guilt like a brand.... I had seen girls clamor for new clothes and complain about what their mothers made for dinner. I was always mortified. Didn't they know they were tying their mothers to the ground? Weren't chains ashamed of their prisoners?
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Mama said it's probably because of Suzanne, and that you are never the same after a child dies. That made me wonder what she was like before Clover died, because I don't think I really knew my own mother until I had children, and if she was different before, I don't remember.
Nancy E. Turner (These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901)
I wanted my mom, in a way you maybe can’t ever want anyone else. It was primal and sharp and it made me feel like a needle in the haystack of a cold and terrible world. I wanted my mom.
Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood, #1))
A mother’s love is like an everlasting bed of roses, that continues to blossom. A mother’s love bears strength, comfort, healing and warmth. Her beauty is compared to a sunny day that shines upon each rose petal and inspires hope.
Ellen J. Barrier
When a mother loses a daughter, she grieves over the future that her daughter will never have, but she can take solace in memories of close-knit days. But when your daughter runs away, it is the fond memories that have been laid to rest; and your daughter's future, alive and well, recedes from you like a wave drawing out to sea.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
Pain Waves are the sea's white daughters, And raindrops the children of rain, But why for my shimmering body Have I a mother like Pain? Night is the mother of stars, And wind the mother of foam— The world is brimming with beauty, But I must stay at home.
Sara Teasdale (Flame and Shadow)
You are her mother. Why did you not warn her, hold her like a rotting boat and tell her that men will not love her if she is covered in continents, if her teeth are small colonies, if her stomach is an island if her thighs are borders? What man wants to lie down and watch the world burn in his bedroom? Your daughter ’s face is a small riot, her hands are a civil war, a refugee camp behind each ear, a body littered with ugly things. But God, doesn’t she wear the world well?
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
"Mom, Arnie Welsh keeps calling me a geek. He says it like it's a bad thing. Is being a geek a bad thing?" "Of course not, Soda Pop. And don't listen to labels. They don't matter." "What are labels?" "It's an imaginery sticker people slap on you with the word they think you are written on it. It doesn't matter who they think you are. It matters who you think you are." "I think I might be a geek." She laughed. "Then you be a geek. Just be whatever makes you happy, Soda Pop, and I'll be happy too.
Samantha Young (Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3))
From her thighs, she gives you life And how you treat she who gives you life Shows how much you value the life given to you by the Creator. And from seed to dust There is ONE soul above all others -- That you must always show patience, respect, and trust And this woman is your mother. And when your soul departs your body And your deeds are weighed against the feather There is only one soul who can save yours And this woman is your mother. And when the heart of the universe Asks her hair and mind, Whether you were gentle and kind to her Her heart will be forced to remain silent And her hair will speak freely as a separate entity, Very much like the seaweed in the sea -- It will reveal all that it has heard and seen. This woman whose heart has seen yours, First before anybody else in the world, And whose womb had opened the door For your eyes to experience light and more -- Is your very own MOTHER. So, no matter whether your mother has been cruel, Manipulative, abusive, mentally sick, or simply childish How you treat her is the ultimate test. If she misguides you, forgive her and show her the right way With simple wisdom, gentleness, and kindness. And always remember, That the queen in the Creator's kingdom, Who sits on the throne of all existence, Is exactly the same as in yours. And her name is, THE DIVINE MOTHER.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
It had been June, the bright hot summer of 1937, and with the curtains thrown back the bedroom had been full of sunlight, sunlight and her and Will's children, their grandchildren, their nieces and nephews- Cecy's blue eyed boys, tall and handsome, and Gideon and Sophie's two girls- and those who were as close as family: Charlotte, white- haired and upright, and the Fairchild sons and daughters with their curling red hair like Henry's had once been. The children had spoken fondly of the way he had always loved their mother, fiercely and devotedly, the way he had never had eyes for anyone else, and how their parents had set the model for the sort of love they hoped to find in their own lives. They spoke of his regard for books, and how he had taught them all to love them too, to respect the printed page and cherish the stories that those pages held. They spoke of the way he still cursed in Welsh when he dropped something, though he rarely used the language otherwise, and of the fact that though his prose was excellent- he had written several histories of the Shadowhunters when he's retired that had been very well respected- his poetry had always been awful, though that never stopped him from reciting it. Their oldest child, James, had spoken laughingly about Will's unrelenting fear of ducks and his continual battle to keep them out of the pond at the family home in Yorkshire. Their grandchildren had reminded him of the song about demon pox he had taught them- when they were much too young, Tessa had always thought- and that they had all memorized. They sang it all together and out of tune, scandalizing Sophie. With tears running down her face, Cecily had reminded him of the moment at her wedding to Gabriel when he had delivered a beautiful speech praising the groom, at the end of which he had announced, "Dear God, I thought she was marrying Gideon. I take it all back," thus vexing not only Cecily and Gabriel but Sophie as well- and Will, though too tired to laugh, had smiled at his sister and squeezed her hand. They had all laughed about his habit of taking Tessa on romantic "holidays" to places from Gothic novels, including the hideous moor where someone had died, a drafty castle with a ghost in it, and of course the square in Paris in which he had decided Sydney Carton had been guillotined, where Will had horrified passerby by shouting "I can see the blood on the cobblestones!" in French.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Sometimes my grief feels as though I’ve been left alone in a room with no doors. Every time I remember that my mother is dead, it feels like I’m colliding into a wall that won’t give. There’s no escape, just a hard wall that I keep ramming into over and over, a reminder of the immutable reality that I will never see her again.
Michelle Zauner
North is a powerful man, and you're still connected to him." Flo frowned. "Probably sexual memory, those Capricorns are insatiable. Well, you know. Sea Goat. And of course, you're a Fish. You'll end up back in bed with him." Andie slammed the car door. "You know what I'd like for Christmas, Flo? Boundaries. You can gift me early if you'd like.
Jennifer Crusie (Maybe This Time)
She cried, 'No choice! No choice!' She doesn't know. If she doesn't speak, she is making a choice. If she doesn't try, she can lose her chance forever. I know this, because I was raised the Chinese way: I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people's misery, to eat my own bitterness. and even though I taught my daughter the opposite, she still came out the same way! Maybe it is because she was born to me and she was born a girl. And I was born to my mother and I was born a girl. All of us are like stairs, one step after another, going up and down, but all going the same way. I know how it is to be quiet, to listen and watch, as if your life were a dream. You can close your eyes when you no longer want to watch. But when you no longer want to listen, what can you do? I can still hear what happened more than sixty years ago.
Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club)
My dad once told me that Winstone Churchill said that Russia was riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. According to my dad, Churchill had been talking about my mother. This was before the divorce, and he said it half-bitterly, half-respectfully. Because even when he hated her, he admired her. I think he would have stayed with her forever, trying to figure out the mystery. He was a puzzle solver, the kind of person who likes theorems, theories. X always had to equal something. It couldn't just be X. To me, my mother wasn't that mysterious. She was my mother. Always reasonable, always sure of herself. To me, she was about as mysterious as a glass fo water. She knew what she wanted; she knew what she didn't want. And that was to be married to my father. I wasn't sure if it was that she fell our of love or if it was that she just never was. in love, I mean.
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
Coming back last time to the house she grew up in, Isabel had been reminded of the darkness that had descended with her brothers' deaths, how loss had leaked all over her mother's life like a stain. As a fourteen-year-old, Isabel had searched the dictionary. She knew that if a wife lost a husband, there was a whole new word to describe who she was: she was now a widow. A husband became a widower. But if a parent loss a child, there was no special label for their grief. They were still just a mother or a father, even if they no longer had a son or daughter. That seemed odd. As to her own status, she wondered whether she was still technically a sister, now that her adored brothers had died.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
Ah, Belikov," said Abe, shaking Dimitri's hand. "I'd been hoping we'd run into each other. I'd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetera. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. That's what we should do sometime. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. I've certainly got a lot of question to ask you. A lot of things I'd like to tell you." I shot a panicked look at my mother, silently begging her to stop this. Abe had spent a good deal of time talking to Adrian when we dated, explaining in vivid and gruesome detail exactly how Abe expected his daughter to be treated. I did not want Abe taking Dimitri off alone into the wilderness, especially if firearms were involved. "Actually," said my mum casually."I'd like to come along. I also have a number of questions-especially about when you two were back at St. Vladimir's." "Don't you guys have somewhere to be?" I asked hastily. "We're about to start." That, at least, was true. Nearly everyone was in formation, and the crowd was quieting. "of course," said Abe. To my astonishment, he brushed a kiss over my forehead before stepping away. "I'm glad you're back." Then, with a wink, he said to Dimitri:"Looking forward to our chat." "Run," I said when they were gone. "If you slip out now, maybe they won't notice. Go back to Siberia.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
this is how you smile to someone you don't like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don't like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely; this is how you set a table for tea; this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; this is how to behave in the presence of men who don't know you very well, and this way they won't recognize immediately the slut I have warned you against becoming;
Jamaica Kincaid (At the Bottom of the River)
He slumped down into the pen, and the puppies immediately leapt on him. "Perhaps I'll see you later tonight." "If you're lucky," Celaena purred, and walked away. She smiled to herself as they strode through the castle. Eventully Nehemia turned to her. "Do you like him?" Celaena made a face. "Of course not. Why would I?" You converse easily. It seems as if you have...a connection." "A connection?" Celaena choked on the word. "I just enjoy teasing him." "It's not a crime if you consider him handsome. I'll admit I judged him wrong; I thought him to be a pompous, selfish idiot, but he's not so bad." "He's a Havilliard." "My mother was the daughter of a chief who sought to overthrow my grandfather." "We're both silly. It's nothing." "He seems to take great interest in you." Celaena's head whipped around, her eyes full of long-forgotten fury that made her belly ache and twist. "I would sooner cut out my own heart than love a Havilliard," she snarled. They completed their walk in silence, and when they parted ways, Celaena quickly wished Nehemia a pleasant evening before striding to her part of the castle.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1))
MY MOTHER GETS DRESSED It is impossible for my mother to do even the simplest things for herself anymore so we do it together, get her dressed. I choose the clothes without zippers or buckles or straps, clothes that are simple but elegant, and easy to get into. Otherwise, it's just like every other day. After bathing, getting dressed. The stockings go on first. This time, it's the new ones, the special ones with opaque black triangles that she's never worn before, bought just two weeks ago at her favorite department store. We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toes into the stocking tip then a smooth yank past the knob of her ankle and over her cool, smooth calf then the other toe cool ankle, smooth calf up the legs and the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist. You're doing great, Mom, I tell her as we ease her body against mine, rest her whole weight against me to slide her black dress with the black empire collar over her head struggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve. I reach from the outside deep into the dark for her hand, grasp where I can't see for her touch. You've got to help me a little here, Mom I tell her then her fingertips touch mine and we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouth together, then we rest, her weight against me before threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep and now over the head. I gentle the black dress over her breasts, thighs, bring her makeup to her, put some color on her skin. Green for her eyes. Coral for her lips. I get her black hat. She's ready for her company. I tell the two women in simple, elegant suits waiting outside the bedroom, come in. They tell me, She's beautiful. Yes, she is, I tell them. I leave as they carefully zip her into the black body bag. Three days later, I dream a large, green suitcase arrives. When I unzip it, my mother is inside. Her dress matches her eyeshadow, which matches the suitcase perfectly. She's wearing coral lipstick. "I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, waving and I wake up. Four days later, she comes home in a plastic black box that is heavier than it looks. In the middle of a meadow, I learn a naked more than naked. I learn a new way to hug as I tighten my fist around her body, my hand filled with her ashes and the small stones of bones. I squeeze her tight then open my hand and release her into the smallest, hottest sun, a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.
Daphne Gottlieb (Final Girl)
Do you know what my daughter's nurse told her today? "In a girl's voice lies temptation - a known fact. Eloquence in a woman means promiscuity. Promiscuity of the mind leads to promiscuity of the body." She doesn't believe it yet, but she will. She'll grow up just like her mother. Marry, raise children and honor her family. Spend her youth in needlepoint and rue the day she was born a girl. And when she dies, she'll wonder why she obeyed all the rules of God and Country for no biblical hell could ever be worse than a state of perpetual inconsequence.
Margaret F. Rosenthal (The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in Sixteenth-Century Venice (Women in Culture and Society))
As Miriam released my hand I felt that she and Midwife Bell had returned to a more primitive world, where men never intruded and even their role in conception was unknown. Here the chain of life was mother to daughter, daughter to mother. Fathers and sons belonged in the shadows with the dogs and livestock, like the retriever growling at Midwife Bell's unfamiliar car from the window of my neighbours' living room.
J.G. Ballard (The Kindness of Women)
My sister was just another girl doomed by politics and ancestral texts that say a girl’s destiny is to be wholesome, obedient, and quietly attractive, but invisible when need be. Nailed to the cross of her own gender, a girl finds herself between the mother and the prehistoric rib, where there’s little space to be anything other than a daughter who lives alongside sons but is not equal to them. These boys who can howl like tomcats in heat, pawing their way through a feast of flesh, never to be called a slut or a whore like my sister was.
Tiffany McDaniel (Betty)
{Calpurnia)"My mother…she’s desperate for a daughter she can dress like a porcelain doll. Sadly, I shall never be such a child. How I long for my sister to come out and distract the countess from my person." He joined her on the bench, asking, "How old is your sister?" "Eight," she said, mournfully. "Ah. Not ideal." "An understatement." She looked up at the star-filled sky. "No, I shall be long on the shelf by the time she makes her debut." "What makes you so certain you’re shelf-bound?" She cast him a sidelong glance. "While I appreciate your chivalry, my lord, your feigned ignorance insults us both." When he failed to reply, she stared down at her hands, and replied, "My choices are rather limited." "How so?" "I seem able to have my pick of the impoverished, the aged, and the deadly dull.
Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1))
Live or die, but don't poison everything... Well, death's been here for a long time -- it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart's doodle. The chief ingredient is mutilation. And mud, day after day, mud like a ritual, and the baby on the platter, cooked but still human, cooked also with little maggots, sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother, the damn bitch! Even so, I kept right on going on, a sort of human statement, lugging myself as if I were a sawed-off body in the trunk, the steamer trunk. This became perjury of the soul. It became an outright lie and even though I dressed the body it was still naked, still killed. It was caught in the first place at birth, like a fish. But I play it, dressed it up, dressed it up like somebody's doll. Is life something you play? And all the time wanting to get rid of it? And further, everyone yelling at you to shut up. And no wonder! People don't like to be told that you're sick and then be forced to watch you come down with the hammer. Today life opened inside me like an egg and there inside after considerable digging I found the answer. What a bargain! There was the sun, her yolk moving feverishly, tumbling her prize -- and you realize she does this daily! I'd known she was a purifier but I hadn't thought she was solid, hadn't known she was an answer. God! It's a dream, lovers sprouting in the yard like celery stalks and better, a husband straight as a redwood, two daughters, two sea urchings, picking roses off my hackles. If I'm on fire they dance around it and cook marshmallows. And if I'm ice they simply skate on me in little ballet costumes. Here, all along, thinking I was a killer, anointing myself daily with my little poisons. But no. I'm an empress. I wear an apron. My typewriter writes. It didn't break the way it warned. Even crazy, I'm as nice as a chocolate bar. Even with the witches' gymnastics they trust my incalculable city, my corruptible bed. O dearest three, I make a soft reply. The witch comes on and you paint her pink. I come with kisses in my hood and the sun, the smart one, rolling in my arms. So I say Live and turn my shadow three times round to feed our puppies as they come, the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown, despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy! Despite the pails of water that waited, to drown them, to pull them down like stones, they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue and fumbling for the tiny tits. Just last week, eight Dalmatians, 3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood each like a birch tree. I promise to love more if they come, because in spite of cruelty and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens, I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann. The poison just didn't take. So I won't hang around in my hospital shift, repeating The Black Mass and all of it. I say Live, Live because of the sun, the dream, the excitable gift.
Anne Sexton (The Complete Poems)
I like how you call homosexuality an abomination." "I don't say homosexuality's an abomination, Mr. President, the bible does." "Yes it does. Leviticus-" "18:22" "Chapter in verse. I wanted to ask you a couple questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo Mcgary,insists on working on the sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it ok to call the police? Here's one that's really important, cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Red Skins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?
Aaron Sorkin
At times I think of human relationships as something soft like sand or water, and by pouring them into particular vessels we give them shape. So a mother’s relationship with her daughter is poured into a vessel marked ‘mother and child’, and the relationship takes the contours of its container and is held inside there, for better or worse. Maybe some unhappy friends would have been perfectly contented as sisters, or married couples as parents and children, who knows. But what would it be like to form a relationship with no preordained shape of any kind? Just to pour the water out and let it fall. I suppose it would take no shape, and run off in all directions.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
I'm just a candy corn farmer. My only part in this play was loving your mother and raising you, and I did both of them as well as I could, but that didn't make me worldly, and it didn't make me wise. It made me a man with a hero for a wife and a daughter who was going to do something great someday, and that was all I wanted to be. I never saved the day. I never challenged the gods. I was the person you could come home to when the quest was over, and I'd greet you with a warm fudge pie and a how was your day, and I'd never feel like I was being left out just because I was forever left behind.
Seanan McGuire (Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3))
How do we know we're not people in a movie?' she asked. I looked at her not knowing how to reply. Mama, [...] how do we know that things are real?' Great. Now we have a junior existentialist in the house. Well, we don't know. We just have to hope that what we think is real is real.' But how do we know?' she asked, insistently. Ah, a scientist, who wants empirical evidence. We don't know. We just have to hope.' Mama, how do we know things aren't a dream? You know, how sometimes life feels like a dream? Do you ever feel that way?' Yes, sweetie, I feel that way all the time.
Julie Metz
Nondefensive phrases: • Really? • I see. • I understand. • That’s interesting. • That’s your choice. • I’m sure you see it that way. • You’re entitled to your opinion. • I’m sorry you’re upset. • Let’s talk about this when you’re calmer. • Yelling and threatening aren’t going to solve anything. • This subject is off-limits. • I don’t choose to have this conversation. • Guilt peddling and playing the pity card are not going to work anymore. • I know you’re upset. • This is nonnegotiable. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, these phrases will act like a referee coming in to stop a fight. They nip conflict in the bud. You won’t need them when someone is pleasant, but they’re essential when you’re being blamed, bullied, attacked, or criticized.
Susan Forward (Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters)
I wish I could explain how I feel, but nothing can explain this moment. Not a vase of stars. Not a book. Not a song. Not even a poem. Nothing can explain the moment when the woman you would give your life for sees her daughter for the very first time. Tears are streaming down her face. She’s stroking our baby girl’s cheek, smiling. Crying. Laughing. “I don’t want to count her fingers or toes,” Lake whispers. “I don’t care if she has two toes or three fingers or fifty feet. I love her so much, Will. She’s perfect.” She is perfect. So perfect. “Just like her mom,” I say. I lean my head against Lake’s and we just stare. We stare at the daughter who is so much more than I could have asked for. The daughter who is so much more than I dreamt of. So much more than I ever thought I would have. This girl. This baby girl is my life. Her mother is my life. These girls are both my life. I reach down and pick up her hand. Her tiny fingers reflexively wrap around my pinky and I can’t choke back my tears any longer. “Hey, Julia. It’s me. It’s your daddy.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
I know how it feels, dear one. As if your heart were torn in two. I feel your pain.” I took a deep breath. Another. “Finbar?” “I know how it feels. As if you will never be whole again.” I reached inside my dress, where I wore two cords about my neck. One held my wedding ring; the other the amulet that had once been my mother’s. I left the one, and took off the other. “This is yours. Take it back. Take it back, it was to you she gave it.” I slipped the cord over his head, and the little carven stone with its ash tree sign lay on his breast. He had grown painfully thin. “Show me the other. The other talisman you wear.” Slowly I took out the carven ring, and lifted it on my palm for my brother to see. “He made this for you? Him with the golden hair, and the eyes that devour”? “Not him. Another.” Images were strong in my mind; Red with his arm around me like a shield; Red cutting up and apple; Red kicking a sword from a man’s hand, and catching it in his own; Red barefoot on the sand with the sea around his ankles. “You risked much, to give your love to such a one.” I stared at him. “Love?” “Did you not know, until now, when you must say goodbye?
Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1))
...be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don't squat down to play marbles—you are not a boy, you know; don't pick people's flowers—you might catch something; don't throw stones at blackbirds, because it might not be a blackbird at all; this is how to make a bread pudding; this is how to make doukona; this is how to make pepper pot; this is how to make a good medicine for a cold; this is how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it even becomes a child; this is how to catch a fish; this is how to throw back a fish you don't like, and that way something bad won't fall on you; this is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you; this is how to love a man; and if this doesn't work there are other ways, and if they don't work don't feel too bad about giving up; this is how to spit up in the air if you feel like it, and this is how to move quick so that it doesn't fall on you; this is how to make ends meet; always squeeze bread to make sure it's fresh; but what if the baker won't let me feel the bread?; you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won't let near the bread?
Jamaica Kincaid
We are all women you assure me? Then I may tell you that the very next words I read were these – ‘Chloe liked Olivia …’ Do not start. Do not blush. Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women. ‘Chloe liked Olivia,’ I read. And then it struck me how immense a change was there. Chloe liked Olivia perhaps for the first time in literature. Cleopatra did not like Octavia. And how completely Antony and Cleopatra would have been altered had she done so! As it is, I thought, letting my mind, I am afraid, wander a little from Life’s Adventure, the whole thing is simplified, conventionalized, if one dared say it, absurdly. Cleopatra’s only feeling about Octavia is one of jealousy. Is she taller than I am? How does she do her hair? The play, perhaps, required no more. But how interesting it would have been if the relationship between the two women had been more complicated. All these relationships between women, I thought, rapidly recalling the splendid gallery of fictitious women, are too simple. So much has been left out, unattempted. And I tried to remember any case in the course of my reading where two women are represented as friends. There is an attempt at it in Diana of the Crossways. They are confidantes, of course, in Racine and the Greek tragedies. They are now and then mothers and daughters. But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One’s Own)
Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, "son might turn out to be a killer" would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this: 1. Hassle. 2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.) 3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid's insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.) 4. Turning into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn't say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.) 5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I'm a pig.) 6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.) 7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.) 8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend's five-year-old in the room.) 9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew--every woman, too, which is depressing--would take me less seriously.) 10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother would feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at last her daughter's life is hideous, too.)
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
The only dream I ever had was the dream of New York itself, and for me, from the minute I touched down in this city, that was enough. It became the best teacher I ever had. If your mother is anything like mine, after all, there are a lot of important things she probably didn't teach you: how to use a vibrator; how to go to a loan shark and pull a loan at 17 percent that's due in thirty days; how to hire your first divorce attorney; what to look for in a doula (a birth coach) should you find yourself alone and pregnant. My mother never taught me how to date three people at the same time or how to interview a nanny or what to wear in an ashram in India or how to meditate. She also failed to mention crotchless underwear, how to make my first down payment on an apartment, the benefits of renting verses owning, and the difference between a slant-6 engine and a V-8 (in case I wanted to get a muscle car), not to mention how to employ a team of people to help me with my life, from trainers to hair colorists to nutritionists to shrinks. (Luckily, New York became one of many other moms I am to have in my lifetime.) So many mothers say they want their daughters to be independent, but what they really hope is that they'll find a well-compensated banker or lawyer and settle down between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight in Greenwich, Darien, or That Town, USA, to raise babies, do the grocery shopping, and work out in relative comfort for the rest of their lives. I know this because I employ their daughters. They raise us to think they want us to have careers, and they send us to college, but even they don't really believe women can be autonomous and take care of themselves.
Kelly Cutrone (If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)
Those who are close to us, when they die, divide our world. There is the world of the living, which we finally, in one way or another, succumb to, and then there is the domain of the dead that, like an imaginary friend (or foe) or a secret concubine, constantly beckons, reminding us of our loss. What is memory but a ghost that lurks at the corners of the mind, interrupting our normal course of life, disrupting our sleep in order to remind us of some acute pain or pleasure, something silenced or ignored? We miss not only their presence, or how they felt about us, but ultimately how they allowed us to feel about ourselves or them. (prologue)
Azar Nafisi (Things I've Been Silent About)
I returned from the village. The house seemed unbearably dull. But I bore it. "There is no escape from loneliness and separation...." I told myself often. "Wife, child, brothers, parents, friends.... We come together only to go apart again. It is one continuous movement. They move away from us as we move away from them. The law of life can't be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mother's womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by it. The fact must be recognized. A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life. All else is false. My mother got away from her parents, my sisters from our house, I and my brother away from each other, my wife was torn away from me, my daughter is going away with my mother, my father has gone away from his father, my earliest friends - where are they? They scatter apart like the droplets of a waterspray. The law of life. No sense in battling against it...." Thus I reconciled myself to this separation with less struggle than before.
R.K. Narayan (The English Teacher)
Sorry I overheard that, but I'm glad he's staying," Luke's sister said. "Not just because he'll be near me but because it gives him a chance to get over you." Jocelyn sounded defensive. "Amatis-" "It's been a long time, Jocelyn," Amatis said. "If you don't love him, you ought to let him go." Jocelyn was silent. Clary wished she could see her mother's expression- did she looked sad? Angry? Resigned? Amatis gave a little gasp. "Unless- you do love him?" "Amatis, I can't-" "You do! you do!" There was a sharp sound, as if Amatis had clapped her hands together. "I knew you did! I always knew it!" "It doesn't matter." Jocelyn sounded tired. "It wouldn't be fair to Luke." "I don't want to hear it." There was a rustling noise, and Jocelyn made a sound of protest. Clary wondered if Amatis had actually grabbed hold of her mother. "If you love him, you go right now and tell him. Right now, before he goes to the Council." "But they want him to be their Council member! And he wants to-" "All Lucian wants," said Amatis firmly, "is you. You and Clary. That's all he ever wanted. Now go." Before Clary had a chance to move, Jocelyn dashed out into the hallway. She headed toward the door- and saw Clary, flattened against the wall. Halting, she opened her mouth in surprise. "Clary!" She sounded as if she were trying to make her voice bright and cheerful, and failed miserably. "I didn't realize you were here." Clary stepped away from the wall, grabbed hold of the doorknob, and threw the door wide open. Bright sunlight poured into the hall. Jocelyn stood blinking in the harsh illumination, her eyes on her daughter. "If you don't go after Luke," Clary said, enunciating very clearly, "I, personally, will kill you." For a moment Jocelyn looked astonished. Then she smiled. "Well," she said, "if you put it like that." A moment later she was out of the house, hurrying down the canal path toward the Accords Hall. Clary shut the door behind her and leaned against it. Amatis, emerging from the living room, darted past her to lean on the window sill, glancing aniously out through the pane. "Do you think she'll catch him before he gets to the Hall?" "My mom's spent her whole life chasing me around," Clary said. "She moves fast.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
I wanted a settled life and a shocking one. Think of Van Gogh, cypress trees and church spires under a sky of writhing snakes. I was my father's daughter. I wanted to be loved by someone like my tough judicious mother and I wanted to run screaming through the headlights with a bottle in my hand. That was the family curse. We tended to nurse flocks of undisciplined wishes that collided and canceled each other out. The curse implied that if we didn't learn to train our desires in one direction or another we were likely to end up with nothing. Look at my father and mother today. I married in my early twenties. When that went to pieces I loved a woman. At both of those times and at other times, too, I believed I had focused my impulses and embarked on a long victory over my own confusion. Now, in my late thirties, I knew less than ever about what I wanted. In place of youth's belief in change I had begun to feel a nervous embarrassment that ticked inside me like a clock. I'd never meant to get this far in such an unfastened condition. (p.142)
Michael Cunningham (A Home at the End of the World)
Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism. Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief. You know that people who live above a certain latitude and experience very long winter nights can become depressed and even suicidal, because something in our bodies requires whole spectrum light for a certain number of hours a day. Our spiritual requirement for light is just as desperate and as deep as our physical need for light. Jesus is the light of the world. We know that this world is a dark place sometimes, but we need not walk in darkness. The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the people who walk in darkness can have a bright companion. We need him, and He is ready to come to us, if we'll open the door and let him.
Chieko N. Okazaki
Dr. Bone Specialist came in, made me stand up and hobble across the room, checked my reflexes, and then made me lie down on the table. He bent my right knee this way and that, up and down, all the way out to the side and in. Then he did the same with my left leg. He ordered X rays then started to leave the room. I panicked. I MUST GET DRUGS. "What can I take for the pain?" I asked him before he got out the door. "You can take some over the counter ibuprofen," he suggested. "But I wouldn't take more than nine a day." I choked. Nine a day? I'd been popping forty. Nine a day? Like hell. I couldn't even go to the bathroom on my own, I hadn't slept in three weeks, and my normally sunny cheery disposition had turned into that of a very rabid dog. If I didn't get good drugs and get them now, it was straight to Shooter's World and then Walgreens pharmacy for me. "I don't think you understand," I explained. "I can't go to work. I have spent the last four days with my mother who is addicted to QVC, watching jewelry shows, doll shows and make-up shows. I almost ordered a beef-jerky maker! Give me something, or I'm going to use your calf muscles to make the first batch!" Without further ado, he hastily scribbled out a prescription for some codeine and was gone. I was happy. My mother, however, had lost the ability to speak.
Laurie Notaro (The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life)
Once to swim I sought the sea-side, There to sport among the billows; With the stone of many colors Sank poor Aino to the bottom Of the deep and boundless blue-sea, Like a pretty son-bird, perished. Never come a-fishing, father, To the borders of these waters, Never during all thy life-time, As thou lovest daughter Aino. Mother dear, I sought the sea-side, There to sport among the billows; With the stone of many colors, Sank poor Aino to the bottom Of the deep and boundless blue-sea, Like a pretty song-bird perished. Never mix thy bread, dear mother, With the blue-sea's foam and waters, Never during all thy life-time, As thou lovest daughter Aino. Brother dear, I sought the sea-side, There to sport among the billows; With the stone of many colors Sank poor Aino to the bottom Of the deep and boundless blue-sea, Like a pretty song-bird perished. Never bring thy prancing war-horse, Never bring thy royal racer, Never bring thy steeds to water, To the borders of the blue-sea, Never during all thy life-time, As thou lovest sister Aino. Sister dear, I sought the sea-side, There to sport among the billows; With the stone of many colors Sank poor Aino to the bottom Of the deep and boundless blue-sea, Like a pretty song-bird perished. Never come to lave thine eyelids In this rolling wave and sea-foam, Never during all thy life-time, As thou lovest sister Aino. All the waters in the blue-sea Shall be blood of Aino's body; All the fish that swim these waters Shall be Aino's flesh forever; All the willows on the sea-side Shall be Aino's ribs hereafter; All the sea-grass on the margin Will have grown from Aino's tresses.
Elias Lönnrot (The Kalevala)
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses. While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
How could I forget. I was her ghost daughter, sitting at empty tables with crayons and pens while she worked on a poem, a girl malleable as white clay. Someone to shape, instruct in the ways of being her. She was always shaping me. She showed me an orange, a cluster of pine needles, a faceted quartz, and made me describe them to her. I couldn’t have been more than three or four. My words, that’s what she wanted. ”What’s this?” she kept asking. ”What’s this?” But how could I tell her? She’d taken all the words. The smell of tuberoses saturated the night air, and the wind clicked through the palms like thoughts through my sleepless mind. Who am I? I am a girl you don’t know, mother. The silent girl in the back row of the classroom, drawing in notebooks. Remember how they didn’t know if I even spoke English when we came back to the country? They tested me to find out if I was retarded or deaf. But you never asked why. You never thought, maybe I should have left Astrid some words. I thought of Yvonne in our room, asleep, thumb in mouth, wrapped around her baby like a top. ”I can see her,” you said. You could never see her, Mother. Not if you stood in that room all night. You could only see her plucked eyebrows, her bad teeth, the books that she read with the fainting women on the covers. You could never recognize the kindness in that girl, the depth of her needs, how desperately she wanted to belong, that’s why she was pregnant again. You could judge her as you judged everything else, inferior, but you could never see her. Things weren’t real to you. They were just raw material for you to reshape to tell a story you liked better. You could never just listen to a boy playing guitar, you’d have to turn it into a poem, make it all about you.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
He is a demon, Clarissa,” said Valentine, still in the same soft voice. “A demon with a man’s face. I know how deceptive such monsters can be. Remember, I spared him once myself.” “Monster?” echoed Clary. She thought of Luke, Luke pushing her on the swings when she was five years old, higher, always higher; Luke at her graduation from middle school, camera clicking away like a proud father’s; Luke sorting through each box of books as it arrived at his store, looking for anything she might like and putting it aside. Luke lifting her up to pull apples down from the trees near his farmhouse. Luke, whose place as her father this man was trying to take. “Luke isn’t a monster,” she said in a voice that matched Valentine’s, steel for steel. “Or a murderer. You are.” “Clary!” It was Jace. Clary ignored him. Her eyes were fixed on her father’s cold black ones. “You murdered your wife’s parents, not in battle but in cold blood,” she said. “And I bet you murdered Michael Wayland and his little boy, too. Threw their bones in with my grandparents’ so that my mother would think you and Jace were dead. Put your necklace around Michael Wayland’s neck before you burned him so everyone would think those bones were yours. After all your talk about the untainted blood of the Clave — you didn’t care at all about their blood or their innocence when you killed them, did you? Slaughtering old people and children in cold blood, that’s monstrous.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
You’re very impatient,” Violet said, facing the door. “You always have been.” “I know,” Eloise said, wondering if this was a scolding, and if so, why was her mother choosing to do it now? “I always loved that about you,” Violet said. “I always loved everything about you, of course, but for some reason I always found your impatience especially charming. It was never because you wanted more, it was because you wanted everything.” Eloise wasn’t so sure that sounded like such a good trait. “You wanted everything for everyone, and you wanted to know it all and learn it all, and . . .” For a moment Eloise thought her mother might be done, but then Violet turned around and added, “You’ve never been satisfied with second-best, and that’s good, Eloise. I’m glad you never married any of those men who proposed in London. None of them would have made you happy. Content, maybe, but not happy.” Eloise felt her eyes widen with surprise. “But don’t let your impatience become all that you are,” Violet said softly. “Because it isn’t, you know. There’s a great deal more to you, but I think sometimes you forget that.” She smiled, the gentle, wise smile of a mother saying goodbye to her daughter.
Julia Quinn (To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgertons, #5))
There was a scrape and crunch of shoes, then a small, smooth hand slid toward her. But it was not Chaol or Sam or Nehemia who lay across from her, watching her with those sad turquoise eyes. Her cheek against the moss, the young princess she had been—Aelin Galathynius—reached a hand for her. “Get up,” she said softly. Celaena shook her head. Aelin strained for her, bridging that rift in the foundation of the world. “Get up.” A promise—a promise for a better life, a better world. The Valg princes paused. She had wasted her life, wasted Marion’s sacrifice. Those slaves had been butchered because she had failed—because she had not been there in time. “Get up,” someone said beyond the young princess. Sam. Sam, standing just beyond where she could see, smiling faintly. “Get up,” said another voice—a woman’s. Nehemia. “Get up.” Two voices together—her mother and father, faces grave but eyes bright. Her uncle was beside them, the crown of Terrasen on his silver hair. “Get up,” he told her gently. One by one, like shadows emerging from the mist, they appeared. The faces of the people she had loved with her heart of wildfire. And then there was Lady Marion, smiling beside her husband. “Get up,” she whispered, her voice full of that hope for the world, and for the daughter she would never seen again.
Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3))
Dear Deborah, Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say: When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle. When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs. When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her. When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen. When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her. When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away. Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words. If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong. These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole. Without it, there are tatters. It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending. These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could. A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste. I love you, Dad
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
her mother in order to win her love and approval. The daughter doesn’t realize that the behaviors that will please her mother are entirely arbitrary, determined only by her mother’s self-seeking concern. Most damaging is that a narcissistic mother never approves of her daughter simply for being herself, which the daughter desperately needs in order to grow into a confident woman. A daughter who doesn’t receive validation from her earliest relationship with her mother learns that she has no significance in the world and her efforts have no effect. She tries her hardest to make a genuine connection with Mom, but fails, and thinks that the problem of rarely being able to please her mother lies within herself. This teaches the daughter that she is unworthy of love. The daughter’s notion of mother-daughter love is warped; she feels she must “earn” a close connection by seeing to Mom’s needs and constantly doing what it takes to please her. Clearly, this isn’t the same as feeling loved. Daughters of narcissistic mothers sense that their picture of love is distorted, but they don’t know what the real picture would look like. This early, learned equation of love—pleasing another with no return for herself—has far-reaching, negative effects on a daughter’s future romantic relationships,
Karyl McBride (Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers)
Hi there, cutie." Ash turned his head to find an extremely attractive college student by his side. With black curly hair, she was dressed in jeans and a tight green top that displayed her curves to perfection. "Hi." "You want to go inside for a drink? It's on me." Ash paused as he saw her past, present, and future simultaneously in his mind. Her name was Tracy Phillips. A political science major, she was going to end up at Harvard Med School and then be one of the leading researchers to help isolate a mutated genome that the human race didn't even know existed yet. The discovery of that genome would save the life of her youngest daughter and cause her daughter to go on to medical school herself. That daughter, with the help and guidance of her mother, would one day lobby for medical reforms that would change the way the medical world and governments treated health care. The two of them would shape generations of doctors and save thousands of lives by allowing people to have groundbreaking medical treatments that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford. And right now, all Tracy could think about was how cute his ass was in leather pants, and how much she'd like to peel them off him. In a few seconds, she'd head into the coffee shop and meet a waitress named Gina Torres. Gina's dream was to go to college herself to be a doctor and save the lives of the working poor who couldn't afford health care, but because of family problems she wasn't able to take classes this year. Still Gina would tell Tracy how she planned to go next year on a scholarship. Late tonight, after most of the college students were headed off, the two of them would be chatting about Gina's plans and dreams. And a month from now, Gina would be dead from a freak car accident that Tracy would see on the news. That one tragic event combined with the happenstance meeting tonight would lead Tracy to her destiny. In one instant, she'd realize how shallow her life had been, and she'd seek to change that and be more aware of the people around her and of their needs. Her youngest daughter would be named Gina Tory in honor of the Gina who was currently busy wiping down tables while she imagined a better life for everyone. So in effect, Gina would achieve her dream. By dying she'd save thousands of lives and she'd bring health care to those who couldn't afford it... The human race was an amazing thing. So few people ever realized just how many lives they inadvertently touched. How the right or wrong word spoken casually could empower or destroy another's life. If Ash were to accept Tracy's invitation for coffee, her destiny would be changed and she would end up working as a well-paid bank officer. She'd decide that marriage wasn't for her and go on to live her life with a partner and never have children. Everything would change. All the lives that would have been saved would be lost. And knowing the nuance of every word spoken and every gesture made was the heaviest of all the burdens Ash carried. Smiling gently, he shook his head. "Thanks for asking, but I have to head off. You have a good night." She gave him a hot once-over. "Okay, but if you change your mind, I'll be in here studying for the next few hours." Ash watched as she left him and entered the shop. She set her backpack down at a table and started unpacking her books. Sighing from exhaustion, Gina grabbed a glass of water and made her way over to her... And as he observed them through the painted glass, the two women struck up a conversation and set their destined futures into motion. His heart heavy, he glanced in the direction Cael had vanished and hated the future that awaited his friend. But it was Cael's destiny. His fate... "Imora thea mi savur," Ash whispered under his breath in Atlantean. God save me from love.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dark Side of the Moon (Dark-Hunter, #9; Were-Hunter, #3))
President Josiah Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination. Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does. President Josiah Bartlet: Yes, it does. Leviticus. Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22. President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important 'cause we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.
Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing Script Book)
The thing about being barren is that you’re not allowed to get away from it. Not when you’re in your thirties. My friends were having children, friends of friends were having children, pregnancy and birth and first birthday parties were everywhere. I was asked about it all the time. My mother, our friends, colleagues at work. When was it going to be my turn? At some point our childlessness became an acceptable topic of Sunday-lunch conversation, not just between Tom and me, but more generally. What we were trying, what we should be doing, do you really think you should be having a second glass of wine? I was still young, there was still plenty of time, but failure cloaked me like a mantle, it overwhelmed me, dragged me under, and I gave up hope. At the time, I resented the fact that it was always seen as my fault, that I was the one letting the side down. But as the speed with which he managed to impregnate Anna demonstrates, there was never any problem with Tom’s virility. I was wrong to suggest that we should share the blame; it was all down to me. Lara, my best friend since university, had two children in two years: a boy first and then a girl. I didn’t like them. I didn’t want to hear anything about them. I didn’t want to be near them. Lara stopped speaking to me after a while. There was a girl at work who told me—casually, as though she were talking about an appendectomy or a wisdom-tooth extraction—that she’d recently had an abortion, a medical one, and it was so much less traumatic than the surgical one she’d had when she was at university. I couldn’t speak to her after that, I could barely look at her. Things became awkward in the office; people noticed. Tom didn’t feel the way I did. It wasn’t his failure, for starters, and in any case, he didn’t need a child like I did. He wanted to be a dad, he really did—I’m sure he daydreamed about kicking a football around in the garden with his son, or carrying his daughter on his shoulders in the park. But he thought our lives could be great without children, too. “We’re happy,” he used to say to me. “Why can’t we just go on being happy?” He became frustrated with me. He never understood that it’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.
Paula Hawkins (The Girl on the Train)
Because I questioned myself and my sanity and what I was doing wrong in this situation. Because of course I feared that I might be overreacting, overemotional, oversensitive, weak, playing victim, crying wolf, blowing things out of proportion, making things up. Because generations of women have heard that they’re irrational, melodramatic, neurotic, hysterical, hormonal, psycho, fragile, and bossy. Because girls are coached out of the womb to be nonconfrontational, solicitous, deferential, demure, nurturing, to be tuned in to others, and to shrink and shut up. Because speaking up for myself was not how I learned English. Because I’m fluent in Apology, in Question Mark, in Giggle, in Bowing Down, in Self-Sacrifice. Because slightly more than half of the population is regularly told that what happens doesn’t or that it isn’t the big deal we’re making it into. Because your mothers, sisters, and daughters are routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied, harassed, threatened, punished, propositioned, and groped, and challenged on what they say. Because when a woman challenges a man, then the facts are automatically in dispute, as is the speaker, and the speaker’s license to speak. Because as women we are told to view and value ourselves in terms of how men view and value us, which is to say, for our sexuality and agreeability. Because it was drilled in until it turned subconscious and became unbearable need: don’t make it about you; put yourself second or last; disregard your feelings but not another’s; disbelieve your perceptions whenever the opportunity presents itself; run and rerun everything by yourself before verbalizing it—put it in perspective, interrogate it: Do you sound nuts? Does this make you look bad? Are you holding his interest? Are you being considerate? Fair? Sweet? Because stifling trauma is just good manners. Because when others serially talk down to you, assume authority over you, try to talk you out of your own feelings and tell you who you are; when you’re not taken seriously or listened to in countless daily interactions—then you may learn to accept it, to expect it, to agree with the critics and the haters and the beloveds, and to sign off on it with total silence. Because they’re coming from a good place. Because everywhere from late-night TV talk shows to thought-leading periodicals to Hollywood to Silicon Valley to Wall Street to Congress and the current administration, women are drastically underrepresented or absent, missing from the popular imagination and public heart. Because although I questioned myself, I didn’t question who controls the narrative, the show, the engineering, or the fantasy, nor to whom it’s catered. Because to mention certain things, like “patriarchy,” is to be dubbed a “feminazi,” which discourages its mention, and whatever goes unmentioned gets a pass, a pass that condones what it isn’t nice to mention, lest we come off as reactionary or shrill.
Roxane Gay (Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture)
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
How yet resolves the governor of the town? This is the latest parle we will admit; Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves; Or like to men proud of destruction Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier, A name that in my thoughts becomes me best, If I begin the battery once again, I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur Till in her ashes she lie buried. The gates of mercy shall be all shut up, And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart, In liberty of bloody hand shall range With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants. What is it then to me, if impious war, Array'd in flames like to the prince of fiends, Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats Enlink'd to waste and desolation? What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause, If your pure maidens fall into the hand Of hot and forcing violation? What rein can hold licentious wickedness When down the hill he holds his fierce career? We may as bootless spend our vain command Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil As send precepts to the leviathan To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur, Take pity of your town and of your people, Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command; Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds Of heady murder, spoil and villany. If not, why, in a moment look to see The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters; Your fathers taken by the silver beards, And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls, Your naked infants spitted upon pikes, Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen. What say you? will you yield, and this avoid, Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills--when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It’s only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes--bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses’ virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety--you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade. We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off. And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one’s name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente
Touching the copper of the ankh reminded me of another necklace, a necklace long since lost under the dust of time. That necklace had been simpler: only a string of beads etched with tiny ankhs. But my husband had brought it to me the morning of our wedding, sneaking up to our house just after dawn in a gesture uncharacteristically bold for him. I had chastised him for the indiscretion. "What are you doing? You're going to see me this afternoon... and then every day after that!" "I had to give you these before the wedding." He held up the string of beads. "They were my mother's. I want you to have them, to wear them today.” He leaned forward, placing the beads around my neck. As his fingers brushed my skin, I felt something warm and tingly run through my body. At the tender age of fifteen, I hadn't exactly understood such sensations, though I was eager to explore them. My wiser self today recognized them as the early stirrings of lust, and . . . well, there had been something else there too. Something else that I still didn't quite comprehend. An electric connection, a feeling that we were bound into something bigger than ourselves. That our being together was inevitable. "There," he'd said, once the beads were secure and my hair brushed back into place. "Perfect.” He said nothing else after that. He didn't need to. His eyes told me all I needed to know, and I shivered. Until Kyriakos, no man had ever given me a second glance. I was Marthanes' too-tall daughter after all, the one with the sharp tongue who didn't think before speaking. (Shape-shifting would eventually take care of one of those problems but not the other.) But Kyriakos had always listened to me and watched me like I was someone more, someone tempting and desirable, like the beautiful priestesses of Aphrodite who still carried on their rituals away from the Christian priests. I wanted him to touch me then, not realizing just how much until I caught his hand suddenly and unexpectedly. Taking it, I placed it around my waist and pulled him to me. His eyes widened in surprise, but he didn't pull back. We were almost the same height, making it easy for his mouth to seek mine out in a crushing kiss. I leaned against the warm stone wall behind me so that I was pressed between it and him. I could feel every part of his body against mine, but we still weren't close enough. Not nearly enough. Our kissing grew more ardent, as though our lips alone might close whatever aching distance lay between us. I moved his hand again, this time to push up my skirt along the side of one leg. His hand stroked the smooth flesh there and, without further urging, slid over to my inner thigh. I arched my lower body toward his, nearly writhing against him now, needing him to touch me everywhere. "Letha? Where are you at?” My sister's voice carried over the wind; she wasn't nearby but was close enough to be here soon. Kyriakos and I broke apart, both gasping, pulses racing. He was looking at me like he'd never seen me before. Heat burned in his gaze. "Have you ever been with anyone before?" he asked wonderingly. I shook my head. "How did you ... I never imagined you doing that...” "I learn fast.” He grinned and pressed my hand to his lips. "Tonight," he breathed. "Tonight we ...” "Tonight," I agreed. He backed away then, eyes still smoldering. "I love you. You are my life.” "I love you too." I smiled and watched him go.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1))
You’re not gonna believe what just happened to me,” Jase says the minute I flip my cell open, taking advantage of break at the B&T. I turn away from the picture window just in case Mr. Lennox, disregarding the break sign, will come dashing out to slap me with my first-ever demerit. “Try me.” His voice lowers. “You know how I put that lock on the door of my room? Well, Dad noticed it. Apparently. So today, I’m stocking the lawn section and he comes up and asks why it’s there.” “Uh-oh.” I catch the attention of a kid sneaking into the hot tub (there’s a strict no-one-under-sixteen policy) and shake my head sternly. He slinks away. Must be my impressive uniform. “So I say I need privacy sometimes and sometimes you and I are hanging out and we don’t want to be interrupted ten million times.” “Good answer.” “Right. I think this is going to be the end of it. But then he tells me he needs me in the back room to have a ‘talk.’” “Uh-oh again.” Jase starts to laugh. “I follow him back and he sits me down and asks if I’m being responsible. Um. With you.” Moving back into the shade of the bushes, I turn even further away from the possible gaze of Mr. Lennox. “Oh God.” “I say yeah, we’ve got it handled, it’s fine. But, seriously? I can’t believe he’s asking me this. I mean, Samantha. Jesus. My parents? Hard not to know the facts of life and all in this house. So I tell him that we’re moving slowly and—” “You told him that?” God, Jase! How am I ever going to look Mr. Garret in the eye again? Help. “He’s my dad, Samantha. Yeah. Not that I didn’t want to exit the conversation right away, but still . . .” “So what happened then?” “Well, I reminded him they’d covered that really thoroughly in school, not to mention at home, and we weren’t irresponsible people.” I close my eyes, trying to imagine having this conversation with my mother. Inconceivable. No pun intended. “So then . . . he goes on about”—Jase’s voice drops even lower—“um . . . being considerate and um . . . mutual pleasure.” “Oh my god! I would’ve died. What did you say?” I ask, wanting to know even while I’m completely distracted by the thought. Mutual pleasure, huh? What do I know about giving that? What if Shoplifting Lindy had tricks up her sleeve I know nothing about? It’s not like I can ask Mom. “State senator suffers heart attack during conversation with daughter.” “I said ‘Yes sir’ a lot. And he went on and on and on and all I could think was that any minute Tim was gonna come in and hear my dad saying things like, ‘Your mom and I find that . . . blah blah blah.’” I can’t stop laughing. “He didn’t. He did not mention your mother.” “I know!” Jase is laughing too. “I mean . . . you know how close I am to my parents, but . . . Jesus.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
What is the age of the soul of man? As she hath the virtue of the chameleon to change her hue at every new approach, to be gay with the merry and mournful with the downcast, so too is her age changeable as her mood. No longer is Leopold, as he sits there, ruminating, chewing the cud of reminiscence, that staid agent of publicity and holder of a modest substance in the funds. He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precociously manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil street to the high school, his booksatchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought. Or it is the same figure, a year or so gone over, in his first hard hat (ah, that was a day!), already on the road, a fullfledged traveller for the family firm, equipped with an orderbook, a scented handkerchief (not for show only), his case of bright trinketware (alas, a thing now of the past!), and a quiverful of compliant smiles for this or that halfwon housewife reckoning it out upon her fingertips or for a budding virgin shyly acknowledging (but the heart? tell me!) his studied baisemoins. The scent, the smile but more than these, the dark eyes and oleaginous address brought home at duskfall many a commission to the head of the firm seated with Jacob's pipe after like labours in the paternal ingle (a meal of noodles, you may be sure, is aheating), reading through round horned spectacles some paper from the Europe of a month before. But hey, presto, the mirror is breathed on and the young knighterrant recedes, shrivels, to a tiny speck within the mist. Now he is himself paternal and these about him might be his sons. Who can say? The wise father knows his own child. He thinks of a drizzling night in Hatch street, hard by the bonded stores there, the first. Together (she is a poor waif, a child of shame, yours and mine and of all for a bare shilling and her luckpenny), together they hear the heavy tread of the watch as two raincaped shadows pass the new royal university. Bridie! Bridie Kelly! He will never forget the name, ever remember the night, first night, the bridenight. They are entwined in nethermost darkness, the willer and the willed, and in an instant (fiat!) light shall flood the world. Did heart leap to heart? Nay, fair reader. In a breath 'twas done but - hold! Back! It must not be! In terror the poor girl flees away through the murk. She is the bride of darkness, a daughter of night. She dare not bear the sunnygolden babe of day. No, Leopold! Name and memory solace thee not. That youthful illusion of thy strength was taken from thee and in vain. No son of thy loins is by thee. There is none to be for Leopold, what Leopold was for Rudolph.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
Consider the genesis of a single-celled embryo produced by the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. The genetic material of this embryo comes from two sources: paternal genes (from sperm) and maternal genes (from eggs). But the cellular material of the embryo comes exclusively from the egg; the sperm is no more than a glorified delivery vehicle for male DNA—a genome equipped with a hyperactive tail. Aside from proteins, ribosomes, nutrients, and membranes, the egg also supplies the embryo with specialized structures called mitochondria. These mitochondria are the energy-producing factories of the cell; they are so anatomically discrete and so specialized in their function that cell biologists call them “organelles”—i.e., mini-organs resident within cells. Mitochondria, recall, carry a small, independent genome that resides within the mitochondrion itself—not in the cell’s nucleus, where the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes (and the 21,000-odd human genes) can be found. The exclusively female origin of all the mitochondria in an embryo has an important consequence. All humans—male or female—must have inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, who inherited their mitochondria from their mothers, and so forth, in an unbroken line of female ancestry stretching indefinitely into the past. (A woman also carries the mitochondrial genomes of all her future descendants in her cells; ironically, if there is such a thing as a “homunculus,” then it is exclusively female in origin—technically, a “femunculus”?) Now imagine an ancient tribe of two hundred women, each of whom bears one child. If the child happens to be a daughter, the woman dutifully passes her mitochondria to the next generation, and, through her daughter’s daughter, to a third generation. But if she has only a son and no daughter, the woman’s mitochondrial lineage wanders into a genetic blind alley and becomes extinct (since sperm do not pass their mitochondria to the embryo, sons cannot pass their mitochondrial genomes to their children). Over the course of the tribe’s evolution, tens of thousands of such mitochondrial lineages will land on lineal dead ends by chance, and be snuffed out. And here is the crux: if the founding population of a species is small enough, and if enough time has passed, the number of surviving maternal lineages will keep shrinking, and shrinking further, until only a few are left. If half of the two hundred women in our tribe have sons, and only sons, then one hundred mitochondrial lineages will dash against the glass pane of male-only heredity and vanish in the next generation. Another half will dead-end into male children in the second generation, and so forth. By the end of several generations, all the descendants of the tribe, male or female, might track their mitochondrial ancestry to just a few women. For modern humans, that number has reached one: each of us can trace our mitochondrial lineage to a single human female who existed in Africa about two hundred thousand years ago. She is the common mother of our species. We do not know what she looked like, although her closest modern-day relatives are women of the San tribe from Botswana or Namibia. I find the idea of such a founding mother endlessly mesmerizing. In human genetics, she is known by a beautiful name—Mitochondrial Eve.
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Gene: An Intimate History)