Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things..
Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience and Other Essays)
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl.
Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: “I like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because “I like strong women” is code for “I hate strong women.”)
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.
Why do I read?
I just can't help myself.
I read to learn and to grow, to laugh
and to be motivated.
I read to understand things I've never
been exposed to.
I read when I'm crabby, when I've just
said monumentally dumb things to the
people I love.
I read for strength to help me when I
feel broken, discouraged, and afraid.
I read when I'm angry at the whole
I read when everything is going right.
I read to find hope.
I read because I'm made up not just of
skin and bones, of sights, feelings,
and a deep need for chocolate, but I'm
also made up of words.
Words describe my thoughts and what's
hidden in my heart.
Words are alive--when I've found a
story that I love, I read it again and
again, like playing a favorite song
over and over.
Reading isn't passive--I enter the
story with the characters, breathe
their air, feel their frustrations,
scream at them to stop when they're
about to do something stupid, cry with
them, laugh with them.
Reading for me, is spending time with a
A book is a friend.
You can never have too many.
Gary Paulsen (Shelf Life: Stories by the Book)
You can never know about about your own destiny: are the people you meet there to play a part on your oun destiny, or do you exist just to play a role in theirs?
Libba Bray (Going Bovine)
Here's to the kids.
The kids who would rather spend their night with a bottle of coke & Patrick or Sonny playing on their headphones than go to some vomit-stained high school party.
Here's to the kids whose 11:11 wish was wasted on one person who will never be there for them.
Here's to the kids whose idea of a good night is sitting on the hood of a car, watching the stars.
Here's to the kids who never were too good at life, but still were wicked cool.
Here's to the kids who listened to Fall Out boy and Hawthorne Heights before they were on MTV...and blame MTV for ruining their life.
Here's to the kids who care more about the music than the haircuts.
Here's to the kids who have crushes on a stupid lush.
Here's to the kids who hum "A Little Less 16 Candles, A Little More Touch Me" when they're stuck home, dateless, on a Saturday night.
Here's to the kids who have ever had a broken heart from someone who didn't even know they existed.
Here's to the kids who have read The Perks of Being a Wallflower & didn't feel so alone after doing so.
Here's to the kids who spend their days in photobooths with their best friend(s).
Here's to the kids who are straight up smartasses & just don't care.
Here's to the kids who speak their mind.
Here's to the kids who consider screamo their lullaby for going to sleep.
Here's to the kids who second guess themselves on everything they do.
Here's to the kids who will never have 100 percent confidence in anything they do, and to the kids who are okay with that.
Here's to the kids.
This one's not for the kids,
who always get what they want,
But for the ones who never had it at all.
It's not for the ones who never got caught,
But for the ones who always try and fall.
This one's for the kids who didnt make it,
We were the kids who never made it.
The Overcast girls and the Underdog Boys.
Not for the kids who had all their joys.
This one's for the kids who never faked it.
We're the kids who didn't make it.
They say "Breaking hearts is what we do best,"
And, "We'll make your heart be ripped of your chest"
The only heart that I broke was mine,
When I got My Hopes up too too high.
We were the kids who didnt make it.
We are the kids who never made it.
These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don't hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don't take things that aren't yours.
7. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
11. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
12. Take a nap every afternoon.
13. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
14. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
15. Goldfish and hamster and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
16. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten)
Does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?” Holy shit. Did I just say that? His mouth drops open slightly, but he recovers quickly.
“No, Anastasia it doesn’t. Firstly, I don’t make love. I fuck… hard. Secondly, there’s a lot more paperwork to do, and thirdly, you don’t yet know what you’re in for. You could still run for the hills. Come, I want to show you my playroom.”
My mouth drops open. Fuck hard! Holy shit, that sounds so… hot. But why are we looking at a playroom? I am mystified.
“You want to play on your Xbox?” I ask. He laughs, loudly.
“No, Anastasia, no Xbox, no Playstation. Come.”… Producing a key from his pocket, he unlocks yet another door and takes a deep breath.
“You can leave anytime. The helicopter is on stand-by to take you whenever you want to go, you can stay the night and go home in the morning. It’s fine whatever you decide.”
“Just open the damn door, Christian.”
He opens the door and stands back to let me in. I gaze at him once more. I so want to know what’s in here. Taking a deep breath I walk in.
And it feels like I’ve time-traveled back to the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition.
E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1))
In the short term, it would make me happy to go play outside. In the long term, it would make me happier to do well at school and become successful. But in the VERY long term, I know which will make better memories.
Bill Watterson (It's a Magical World (Calvin and Hobbes, #11))
Do you love me?' I asked her. She smiled. 'Yes.' 'Do you want me to be happy?' as I asked her this I felt my heart beginning to race. 'Of course I do.' 'Will you do something for me then?' She looked away, sadness crossing her features. 'I don't know if I can anymore.' she said. 'but if you could, would you?' I cannot adequately describe the intensity of what I was feeling at that moment. Love, anger, sadness, hope, and fear, whirling together sharpened by the nervousness I was feeling. Jamie looked at me curiously and my breaths became shallower. Suddenly I knew that I'd never felt as strongly for another person as I did at that moment. As I returned her gaze, this simple realization made me wish for the millionth time that I could make all this go away. Had it been possible, I would have traded my life for hers. I wanted to tell her my thoughts, but the sound of her voice suddenly silenced the emotions inside me. 'yes' she finally said, her voice weak yet somehow still full of promise. 'I would.' Finally getting control of myself I kissed her again, then brought my hand to her face, gently running my fingers over her cheek. I marveled at the softness of her skin, the gentleness I saw in her eyes. even now she was perfect. My throat began to tighten again, but as I said, I knew what I had to do. Since I had to accept that it was not within my power to cure her, what I wanted to do was give her something that she'd wanted. It was what my heart had been telling me to do all along. Jamie, I understood then, had already given me the answer I'd been searching for, the answer my heart needed to find. She'd told me outside Mr. Jenkins office, the night we'd asked him about doing the play. I smiled softly, and she returned my affection with a slight squeeze of my hand, as if trusting me in what I was about to do. Encouraged, I leaned closer and took a deep breath. When I exhaled, these were the words that flowed with my breath. 'Will you marry me?
Nicholas Sparks (A Walk to Remember)
All I can think about is how fucked up it would be for your life to end here, now. I mean I know that your life if fucked up no matter what now, forever. And I'm not dumb enough to think that I can undo that, that anyone can. But I can't wrap my mind around the notion of you not getting old, having kids, going to Juilliard, getting to play that cello in front of a huge audience, so that they can get the chills the way I do every time I see you pick up your bow, every time I see you smile at me.
Gayle Forman (If I Stay (If I Stay, #1))
There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life, just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine. You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too! It's all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don't worry, just be happy. You are already free!
Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives)
What did they think I was going to do, steal a body? If I wanted to, I could empty the damn place and get every corpse to play follow the leader. Perhaps that was why I needed watching. Perhaps." --Anita Blake
Laurell K. Hamilton
"Was that your plan all along? Show me where to go, then convince me there's nothing I can do to save my sister?"
"Actually, my plan all along was to become a rockstar, travel the world collecting fan girls, and then getting really fat and spending the rest of my life playing video games while the girls kept comin', thinking I look good as I did in my music videos." He shrugs as if to say, 'who knew the world would turn out so different?
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
I imagined the lies the valedictorian was telling them right now. About the exciting future that lies ahead. I wish she'd tell them the truth: Half of you have gone as far in life as you're ever going to. Look around. It's all downhill from here. The rest of us will go a bit further, a steady job, a trip to Hawaii, or a move to Phoenix, Arizona, but out of fifteen hundred how many will do anything truly worthwhile, write a play, paint a painting that will hang in a gallery, find a cure for herpes? Two of us, maybe three? And how many will find true love? About the same. And enlightenment? Maybe one. The rest of us will make compromises, find excuses, someone or something to blame, and hold that over our hearts like a pendant on a chain.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Why aren't you in school? I see you every day wandering around."
"Oh, they don't miss me," she said. "I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." She rattled some chestnuts that had fallen off the tree in the front yard. "Or talking about how strange the world is. Being with people is nice. But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film-teacher. That's not social to me at all. It's a lot of funnels and lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not. They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can't do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lampposts, playing 'chicken' and 'knock hubcaps.' I guess I'm everything they say I am, all right. I haven't any friends. That's supposed to prove I'm abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Pumpkin, stop rubbing your ass against me. We gotta go! I don’t have time to do you now. Prioritize, woman.
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.
I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.
Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
It’s nice to have eye candy around for my enjoyment.” He looked Brad over. “It wouldn’t kill you to pretty yourself up if you’re going to be in my presence.”
“Yeah, I’ll get right on that,” Brad said wryly.
“See that you do.
R.L. Mathewson (Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell, #1))
The ones who are not soul-mated – the ones who have settled – are even more dismissive of my singleness: It’s not that hard to find someone to marry, they say. No relationship is perfect, they say – they, who make do with dutiful sex and gassy bedtime rituals, who settle for TV as conversation, who believe that husbandly capitulation – yes, honey, okay, honey – is the same as concord. He’s doing what you tell him to do because he doesn’t care enough to argue, I think. Your petty demands simply make him feel superior, or resentful, and someday he will fuck his pretty, young coworker who asks nothing of him, and you will actually be shocked.
Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.) And yet: Don’t land me in one of those relationships where we’re always pecking at each other, disguising insults as jokes, rolling our eyes and ‘playfully’ scrapping in front of our friends, hoping to lure them to our side of an argument they could not care less about. Those awful if only relationships: This marriage would be great if only… and you sense the if only list is a lot longer than either of them realizes.
So I know I am right not to settle, but it doesn’t make me feel better as my friends pair off and I stay home on Friday night with a bottle of wine and make myself an extravagant meal and tell myself, This is perfect, as if I’m the one dating me. As I go to endless rounds of parties and bar nights, perfumed and sprayed and hopeful, rotating myself around the room like some dubious dessert. I go on dates with men who are nice and good-looking and smart – perfect-on-paper men who make me feel like I’m in a foreign land, trying to explain myself, trying to make myself known. Because isn’t that the point of every relationship: to be known by someone else, to be understood? He gets me. She gets me. Isn’t that the simple magic phrase?
So you suffer through the night with the perfect-on-paper man – the stutter of jokes misunderstood, the witty remarks lobbed and missed. Or maybe he understands that you’ve made a witty remark but, unsure of what to do with it, he holds it in his hand like some bit of conversational phlegm he will wipe away later. You spend another hour trying to find each other, to recognise each other, and you drink a little too much and try a little too hard. And you go home to a cold bed and think, That was fine. And your life is a long line of fine.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
The second thing you have to do to be a writer is to keep on writing. Don't listen to people who tell you that very few people get published and you won't be one of them. Don't listen to your friend who says you are better that Tolkien and don't have to try any more. Keep writing, keep faith in the idea that you have unique stories to tell, and tell them. I meet far too many people who are going to be writers 'someday.' When they are out of high school, when they've finished college, after the wedding, when the kids are older, after I retire . . . That is such a trap You will never have any more free time than you do right now. So, whether you are 12 or 70, you should sit down today and start being a writer if that is what you want to do. You might have to write on a notebook while your kids are playing on the swings or write in your car on your coffee break. That's okay. I think we've all 'been there, done that.' It all starts with the writing.
Newsflash: it's not the guy who determines whether you're a sports fisher or a keeper-it's you. (Don't hate the player, hate the game.) When a man approaches you you're the one with total control over the situation-whether he can talk to you, buy you a drink, dance with you, get your number, take you home, see you again, all of that. We certainly want these things from you; that's why we talked to you in the first place. But it's you who decides if you're going to give us any of the things we want, and how, exactly, we're going to get them. Where you stand in our eyes is dictated by YOUR control over the situation. Every word you say, every move you make, every signal you give to a man will help him determine whether he should try to play you, be straight with you, or move on to the next woman to do a little more sport fishing.
Steve Harvey (Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment)
When my daughter was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I had intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.
Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less of my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.
God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. "Spit out the dirt, honey," our Father urges. "I've got something better for you." And so he cleanses us of filth; immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don't enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. "I can eat dirt if I want to!" we pout and proclaim. Which is true—we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer.
Max Lucado (Just Like Jesus)
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy's and talk about the day and type up your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don't listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you're sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the tv programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your
and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you're late and be amazed when you're early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I'm black and be sorry when I'm wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I'd known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you're angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you're gorgeous and hug you when you're anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I'm next to you and whimper when I'm not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don't and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I'm rejecting you when I'm not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I'd ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don't believe me and have a feeling so deep I can't find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I'd get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don't want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don't mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it's empty without you and want what you want and think I'm losing myself but know I'm safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don't deserve any less and answer your questions when I'd rather not and tell you the truth when I really don't want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it's all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it's beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.
Sarah Kane (Crave)
If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children when these are overdone, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!
Charlotte M. Mason
Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come.
Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.
What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?
What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?
What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?
Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
Melody Beattie (The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency (Hazelden Meditation Series))
Breeze strolled over to the table and chose a seat with his characteristic decorum. The portly man raised his dueling cane, pointing it at Ham. 'I see that my period of intellectual respite has come to an end.'
Ham smiled. 'I thought up a couple beastly questions while I was gone, and I've been saving them just for you, Breeze.'
'I'm dying of anticipation,' Breeze said. He turned his cane toward Lestibournes. 'Spook, drink.'
Spook rushed over and fetched Breeze a cup of wine.
'He's such a fine lad,' Breeze noted, accepting the drink. 'I barely even have to nudge him Allomantically. If only the rest of you ruffians were so accommodating.'
Spook frowned. 'Niceing the not on the playing without.'
'I have no idea what you just said, child,' Breeze said. 'So I'm simply going to pretend it was coherent, then move on.'
Kelsier rolled his eyes. 'Losing the stress on the nip,' he said. 'Notting without the needing of care.'
'Riding the rile of the rids to the right,' Spook said with a nod.
'What are you two babbling about?' Breeze said testily.
'Wasing the was of brightness,' Spook said. 'Nip the having of wishing of this.'
'Ever wasing the doing of this,' Kelsier agreed.
'Ever wasing the wish of having the have,' Ham added with a smile. 'Brighting the wish of wasing the not.'
Breeze turned to Dockson with exasperation. 'I believe our companions have finally lost their minds, dear friend.'
Dockson shrugged. Then, with a perfectly straight face, he said, 'Wasing not of wasing is.
Brandon Sanderson (The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1))
We may well value our minds and esteem our brainpower. But let us respect our feet as well. They might be down-to-earth for sure, but do allow us to go forward and steam ahead in life. On top, they can kick out anyone disrespectful and mind-numbing. ("If he doesn't play ball")
Let me tell you what you feel like when you know you are ready to die.
You sleep a lot, and when you wake up the very first thought in your head is that you wish you could go back to bed.
You go entire days without eating, because food is a commodity that keeps you here.
You read the same page a hundred times.
You rewind your life like a videocassette and see the things that make you weep, things that make you pause, but nothing that makes you want to play it forward.
You forget to comb your hair, to shower, to dress.
And then one day, when you make the decision that you have enough energy left in you to do this one, last, monumental thing, there comes a peace. Suddenly you are counting moments as you haven’t for months. Suddenly you have a secret that makes you smile, that makes people say you look wonderful, although you feel like a shell-brittle and capable of cracking into a thousand pieces.
Jodi Picoult (Keeping Faith)
This is a great idea,” said Trey. “You kids should totaly go see that play. Make a whole day of it. Grab some dinner and hang out at the library or whatever it is you do for fun.
Richelle Mead (The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2))
The end of the story of Batman is he's dead. Because, in the end, the Batman dies. What else am I going to do? Retire and play golf? It doesn't work that way. It can't. I fight until I drop. And one day, I will drop.
Neil Gaiman (Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?)
A leather jacket,” Kami said as he shrugged into it. “Aren’t you trying a little too hard to play into certain bad boy clichés?”
“Nah”, said Jared. “You’re thinking of black leather. Black leather’s for bad boys. It’s all in the color. You wouldn’t think I was a bad boy if I was wearing a pink leather jacket.”
“That’s true,” Kami said. “What I would think of you, I do not know. So what does brown leather mean, then?”
“I’m going for manly,” Jared said. “Maybe a little rugged.”
“It’s bits of dead cow; don’t ask it to perform miracles.
Sarah Rees Brennan (Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1))
I study her,” Patch said. “I figure out what she’s thinking and feeling. She’s not going to come right out and tell me, which is why I have to pay attention. Does she turn her body toward mine? Does she hold my eyes, then look away? Does she bite her lip and play with her hair, the way Nora is doing right now?” Laughter rose in the room. I dropped my hands to my lap. “She’s game,” said Patch, bumping my leg again.
Of all things, I blushed.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
The first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things -- praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts -- not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs.
15. WHENEVER I WENT OUT TO PLAY, MY MOTHER WANTED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHERE I WAS GOING TO BE
When I'd come in, she'd call me into her bedroom, take me in her arms, and cover me with kisses. She'd stroke my hair and say, 'I love you so much,' and when I sneezed she'd say, 'Bless you, you know how much I love you, don't you?' and when I got up for a tissue she'd say, 'Let me get that for you I love you so much,' and when I looked for a pen to do my homework she'd say, 'Use mine, anything for you,' and when I had an itch on my leg she'd say, 'Is this the spot, let me hug you,' and when I said I was going up to my room she'd call after me, 'What can I do for you I love you so much,' and I always wanted to say, but never said: Love me less.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
She gave his hand a small squeeze. "Jason, if we're going to try this then I'd like to
take things slow." He frowned. "What I mean is nothing beyond the level we were at
last night." She worried her lip between her teeth. "What I mean is no actual sex."
He narrowed his eyes on her. "But, you'll still sleep with me naked and let me do a
hundred other naughty things to you?" he asked in a serious tone.
He brushed his lips against hers again and moved back a few inches to look into her
eyes. "And you'll still cook for me and call me Master?"
Her lips twitched. "Yes to the cooking and not a chance in hell for the other."
He sighed wearily. "Fine, how about Lord and Master?"
He gave her one of his lopsided smiles. "I'll wear you down eventually.
R.L. Mathewson (Playing for Keeps (Neighbor from Hell, #1))
On the surface, I was calm: in secret, without really admitting it, I was waiting for something. Her return? How could I have been waiting for that? We all know that we are material creatures, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and not even the power of all our feelings combined can defeat those laws. All we can do is detest them. The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny. So must one be resigned to being a clock that measures the passage of time, now out of order, now repaired, and whose mechanism generates despair and love as soon as its maker sets it going? Are we to grow used to the idea that every man relives ancient torments, which are all the more profound because they grow comic with repetition? That human existence should repeat itself, well and good, but that it should repeat itself like a hackneyed tune, or a record a drunkard keeps playing as he feeds coins into the jukebox...
Must I go on living here then, among the objects we both had touched, in the air she had breathed? In the name of what? In the hope of her return? I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.
Stanisław Lem (Solaris)
... so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.
So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
I peered up at him. He was leaning against the table, arms crossed, the ghost of a smile playing over his lips.
'Mal, I put a hole in the ceiling.'
'A very dramatic hole.'
I let out a huff somewhere between a laugh and a sob. 'What are we going to do when it rains?'
'What we always do,' he said. 'Keep dry.
Leigh Bardugo (Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2))
She might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break rules. Not the people who play at rebellion but really only solidify their already dominant positions in society...but those who take some larger action that disrupts the social order. Who try to push through the doors that are usually closed to them. They do sometimes go crazy, these people, because the world is telling them not to want the things they want. It can seem saner to give up--but then one goes insane from giving up.
E. Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)
She put a hand on his hip and turned him to her. "But things could go wrong, so i want to tell you something while it's just the two of us, Eddie. I want to tell you how much I love you." She spoke simply, with no drama.
I know you do," he said, "but I'll be damned if I know why."
Because you made me feel whole," she said. "When I was younger, I used to vacillate between thinking love was this great and glorious mystery and thinking it was just something a bunch of Hollywood move producers made up to sell more tickets in the Depression, when Dish Night kind of played out."
Now I think that all of us are born with a hole in our hearts, and we go around looking for the person who can fill it. You...Eddie, you fill me up.
Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5))
APD is primarily defined as a lack of empathy,' I said. I'd looked it up too, a few months ago. Empathy is what allows people to interpret emotion, the same way ears interpret sounds; without it you become emotionally deaf.
'It means I don't connect emotionally with other people. I wondered if he was going to pick that one.'
'How do you even know that?' she said. 'You're fifteen years old, for goodness' sake. You should be ... I don't know, chasing girls or playing video games.'
'You're telling a sociopath to chase girls?
Dan Wells (I Am Not a Serial Killer (John Cleaver, #1))
Clinging to him desperately, Sara kept her mouth at his ear. "Listen to me." All she could do was play her last card. Her voice trembled with emotion. "You can't change the truth. You can act as though you're deaf and blind, you can walk away from me forever, but the truth will still be there, and you can't make it go away. I love you." She felt an involuntary tremor run through him. "I love you," she repeated. "Don't lie to either of us by pretending you're leaving for my good. All you'll do is deny us both a chance at happiness. I'll long for you every day and night, but at least my conscience will be clear. I haven't held anything back from you, out of fear or pride or stubbornness." She felt the incredible tautness of his muscles, as if he were carved from marble. "For once have the strength not to walk away,"she whispered. "Stay with me. Let me love you, Derek.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
I just wanted to say that it's okay if you dislike me. If you make Clary happy, I'm fine with you." He stuck his hand out, and Jace took his own hand out of Clary's and shook Simon's, a bemused look on his face.
"I don't dislike you," he said. "In fact, because I actually do like you, I'm going to offer you some advice."
"Advice?" Simon looked wary.
"I see that you are working this vampire angle with some success," Jace said, indicating Isabelle and Maia with a nod of his head. "And kudos. Lots of girls love that sensitive-undead thing. But I'd drop the whole musician angle if I were you. Vampire rock stars are played out, and besides, you can't possibly be very good."
Simon sighed. "I don't suppose there's any change you could reconsider the part where you didn't like me?"
"Enough, both of you," Clary said. "You can't be complete jerks to each other forever, you know."
"Technically," said Simon, "I can."
Jace made an inelegant noise; after a moment Clary realized that he was trying not to laugh, and only semi-succeeding.
Simon grinned. "Got you."
"Well," Clary said. "This is a beautiful moment.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
How about her?” Ben pointed to a sleek blonde who smiled and preened in response. “I bet she’d like to meet you.”
“Ooh, she’s shiny.”
“Why don’t you go ask her what her name is?” suggested Ben, patting him on the back.
“Do I need to know her name?”
“I’ve heard it helps.”
“Maybe for you,” Mal scoffed. “I just call out my own name during sex.
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
Love him,’ said Jacques, with vehemence, ‘love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters? And how long, at the best, can it last, since you are both men and still have everywhere to go? Only five minutes, I assure you, only five minutes, and most of that, helas! in the dark. And if you think of them as dirty, then they will be dirty— they will be dirty because you will be giving nothing, you will be despising your flesh and his. But you can make your time together anything but dirty, you can give each other something which will make both of you better—forever—if you will not be ashamed, if you will only not play it safe.’ He paused, watching me, and then looked down to his cognac. ‘You play it safe long enough,’ he said, in a different tone, ‘and you’ll end up trapped in your own dirty body, forever and forever and forever—like me.
James Baldwin (Giovanni's Room)
So, kiss the girl. Buy the dress. Take a vacation. Join the circus. Order the fried frog legs. Try out for the play. Learn to snowboard. Do something that scares the shit out of you. Or something that makes you happy. Or something that makes you cry. Whatever it is, do something that makes you feel. Because feeling nothing is no way to go through life.
Valerie Thomas (From What I Remember...)
You’re an idiot, half-breed,” she taunted, as I kicked snow at her. She dodged easily. “Rowan’s too good for you, and he’s experienced. Most everyone, fey and mortal boys included, would give their teeth to have him to themselves for a night. Try him. I guarantee you’ll like it.”
“Not interested,” I snapped, glaring at her with narrowed eyes. My butt still stung, making my words sharp. “I’m done playing games with faery princes. They can go to hell, for all I care. I’d rather strip naked for a group of redcaps.”
“Ooh, if you do, can I watch?
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2))
I guess I´m too used to sitting in a small room and making
words do a few things. I see enough of humanity at the
racetracks, the supermarkets, gas stations, freeways, cafes,
etc. This can´t be helped. But I feel like kicking myself in
the ass when I go to gatherings, even if the drinks are free.
It never works for me. I´ve got enough clay to play with.
People empty me. I have to get away to refill. I´m what´s best
for me, sitting here slouched, smoking a beedie and watching
this creen flash the words. Seldom do you meet a rare or
interesting person. It´s more than galling, it´s a fucking
constant shock. It´s making a god-damned grouch out of me.
Anybody can be a god-damned grouch and most are. Help!
Charles Bukowski (The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship)
SEASONS OF LIFE
Sometimes I fall
And feel myself slowly wilt and die,
But then I suddenly spring back on my feet
To go play in the sun outside.
I am no different than the weather,
The planets or the trees;
For there do not always have to be reasons
For the seasons turning inside of me.
The magnetism that swirls
In the sky, land, and sea
Are the exact same currents found twirling
In the electric ocean within me.
I am a moving vessel of energy.
And if my emotions do not
Flow up, down,
Within and around,
Then I am not alive.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
What I'm worrying about is what Tom is going to say when he starts talking."
"I wish there was something else you could call him except 'Uncle Tom,' " Aunt Dahlia said a little testily. "Every time you do it, I expect to see him turn black and start playing the banjo.
Emma this is not a joke. Look at your hands! They're... they're... wrinkled!"
"Yes that's because-"
"No way. I'm not going down for this. This isn't my fault."
"Galen will find some way to blame me though. He always does. 'You wouldn't have gotten caught if you didn't swim so close to that boat, tadpole.' No it couldn't be the humans fault for fishing in the first place-"
"Or how about. 'Maybe if you'd stop trying to kiss my sister, she'd stop bashing your head with a rock.' How does my kissing her have anything to do with her bashing my head with a rock? If you ask me, it's just a result of poor parenting-"
"Oh and my favorite: 'If you play with a lionfish, you're going to get pricked.' I wasn't playing with it! I was just helping it swim faster by grabbing its fins-"
He stops pacing along the water, even seems to remember that I exist. "Yes, Emma? What were you saying?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Where are you going?"
"Nowhere special. I just have some... things to do."
"Why did you pause?'
"You paused. You have 'some... things to do.'
"No reason, I just--"
"You're up to something."
"Then why'd you pause?"
"Get in the car."
She got in. He got in.
"Seat belt," he said.
Why'd you pause?"
His head drooped. "Because I'm up to somthing."
"And why can't I come with you?"
"Because it's something sneaky."
"Do you promise to tell me later?"
"Well all right then." She clicked her seat belt into place. "Let's go.
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
Shy, she’s yours, that’s what you say. Control your woman,” High demanded. “Get her ass out.”
My eyes went to Shy to see him looking at High, and he wasn’t looking pissed. He was looking reflective. Then he said, “Tab and I don’t play it that way. You wanna order your old lady around, do what you do, not for me to say. I asked her to go, she didn’t go. Not gonna make her. But you try, you’ll deal with me.”
God, I loved my guy.
Kristen Ashley (Own the Wind (Chaos, #1))
Really, Sage? A date?"
I sighed. "Yes, Adrian. A date."
A real date. Not, like, doing homework together," he added. "I mean like where you go out to a movie or something. And a movie that's not part of a school assignment. Or about something boring."
"A real date." I figured I wouldn't give him the specifics on the Shakespheare play.
"What's the lucky guy's name?"
There was a pause. "Brayden? That his real name?"
"Why are you asking if everything's real? You think I'd make any of this up?"
"No, no," Adrian assured me. "That what's so ynbelievable about it. Is he cute?"
I glanced at the clock. It was time for me to meet my study group. "Gee, maybe I should just send you a picture to review?"
"Yes, please. And a full background check and life history."
"I have to go. Why do you care so much anyway?" I finally asked in exasperation.
His answer took a long time, which was uncharacteristic.
Richelle Mead (The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2))
His attitude had always been that if a woman clearly indicated that she did not want anything more to do with him, he would go on his way. Not respecting such a message would in his eyes, show a lack of respect for her.
Stieg Larsson (The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2))
Closing The Cycle
One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.
Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?
You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.
None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.
Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.
Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.
Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
What are my options?"
"You could read obscure poetry while I play the triangle, I suppose. Or we can smother ourselves in peanut butter and howl at the moon. Use your imagination."
"Fine,"I said. "You take my hand and back up toward the bed."
"Excellent choice. What then?"
"You sit down, and pull me down with you."
"Where are you?" he asked.
"You pull me onto your lap."
"Where are your legs?"
"Around your waist."
"Well," Noah said, his voice slightly rough. "This is getting interesting. So I'm on the edge of your bed. I'm holding you on my lap as you straddle me. My arms are around you, bracing you there so you don't fall. What am I wearing?"...
"What do you usually wear to bed?" I asked.
Noah said nothing. I opened my eyes to an arched brow and a devious grin.
Oh my God.
"Close. Your. Eyes," he said. I did. "Now, where were we?"
"I was straddling you," I said.
"Right. And I'm wearing..."
"Those are quite thin, you know."
"Right," he said. "So what are you wearing?"
"I don't know. A space suit. Who cares?"
"I think this should be as vivid as possible," he said. "For you," he clarified, and I chuckled. "Eyes closed," he reminded me. "I'm going to have to institute a punishment for each time I have to tell you."
"What did you have in mind?"
"Don't tempt me. Now, what are you wearing?"
"A hoodie and drawstring pants too, I guess."
"I don't typically walk around without underwear."
"Only on special occasions."
"Christ. I meant under your hoodie."
"A tank top, I guess."
"White tank. Black hoodie. Gray pants. I'm ready to move on now."
I felt him nearer, his words close to my ear. "To the part where I lean back and pull you down with me?"
"Over me," he said.
"The part where I tell you that I want to feel the softness of the curls at the nape of your neck? To know what your hipbone would feel like against my mouth?" he murmured against my skin. "To memorize the slope of your navel and the arch of your neck and the swell of your-
Michelle Hodkin (The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2))
Lawyers are alright, I guess — but it doesn't appeal to me", I said. "I mean they're alright if they go around saving innocent guys' lives all the time, and like that, but you don't do that kind of stuff if you're a lawyer. All you do is make a lot of dough and play golf and play bridge and buy cars and drink Martinis and look like a hot-shot. And besides, even if you did go around saving guys' lives and all, how would you know if you did it because you really wanted to save guys' lives, or because you did it because what you really wanted to do was be a terrific lawyer, with everybody slapping you on the back and congratulating you in court when the goddam trial was over, the reporters and everybody, the way it is in the dirty movies? How would you know you weren't being a phony? The trouble is you wouldn't.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
Liam cleared his throat again and turned to fully face me. “So, it’s the summer and you’re in Salem, suffering through another boring, hot July, and working part-time at an ice cream parlor. Naturally, you’re completely oblivious to the fact that all of the boys from your high school who visit daily are more interested in you than the thirty-one flavors. You’re focused on school and all your dozens of clubs, because you want to go to a good college and save the world. And just when you think you’re going to die if you have to take another practice SAT, your dad asks if you want to go visit your grandmother in Virginia Beach.”
“Yeah?” I leaned my forehead against his chest. “What about you?”
“Me?” Liam said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “I’m in Wilmington, suffering through another boring, hot summer, working one last time in Harry’s repair shop before going off to some fancy university—where, I might add, my roommate will be a stuck-up-know-it-all-with-a-heart-of-gold named Charles Carrington Meriwether IV—but he’s not part of this story, not yet.” His fingers curled around my hip, and I could feel him trembling, even as his voice was steady. “To celebrate, Mom decides to take us up to Virginia Beach for a week. We’re only there for a day when I start catching glimpses of this girl with dark hair walking around town, her nose stuck in a book, earbuds in and blasting music. But no matter how hard I try, I never get to talk to her.
“Then, as our friend Fate would have it, on our very last day at the beach I spot her. You. I’m in the middle of playing a volleyball game with Harry, but it feels like everyone else disappears. You’re walking toward me, big sunglasses on, wearing this light green dress, and I somehow know that it matches your eyes. And then, because, let’s face it, I’m basically an Olympic god when it comes to sports, I manage to volley the ball right into your face.”
“Ouch,” I said with a light laugh. “Sounds painful.”
“Well, you can probably guess how I’d react to that situation. I offer to carry you to the lifeguard station, but you look like you want to murder me at just the suggestion. Eventually, thanks to my sparkling charm and wit—and because I’m so pathetic you take pity on me—you let me buy you ice cream. And then you start telling me how you work in an ice cream shop in Salem, and how frustrated you feel that you still have two years before college. And somehow, somehow, I get your e-mail or screen name or maybe, if I’m really lucky, your phone number. Then we talk. I go to college and you go back to Salem, but we talk all the time, about everything, and sometimes we do that stupid thing where we run out of things to say and just stop talking and listen to one another breathing until one of us falls asleep—”
“—and Chubs makes fun of you for it,” I added.
“Oh, ruthlessly,” he agreed. “And your dad hates me because he thinks I’m corrupting his beautiful, sweet daughter, but still lets me visit from time to time. That’s when you tell me about tutoring a girl named Suzume, who lives a few cities away—”
“—but who’s the coolest little girl on the planet,” I manage to squeeze out.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939
I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.
Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
And the international wrong.
Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.
From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
'I will be true to the wife,
I'll concentrate more on my work,'
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?
All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.
Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden (Another Time)
What do you care?" I barked, and his grip tightened enough on my wrists that I knew my bones would snap with a little more pressure.
"What do I care?" he breathed, wrath twisting his features. Wings - those membranous, glorious wings - flared from his back, crafted from the shadows behind him. "What do I care?"
But before he could go on, his head snapped to the door, then back to my face. The wings vanished as quickly as they had appeared, and then his lips were crushing into mine. His tongue pried my mouth open, forcing himself into me, into the space where I could still taste Tamlin. I pushed and trashed, but he held firm, his tongue sweeping over the roof of my mouth, against my teeth, claiming me -
The door was flung wide, and Amarantha's curved figure filled its space. Tamlin - Tamlin was beside her, his eyes slightly wide, shoulders tight as Rhys's lips still crushed mine.
Amarantha laughed, and a mask of stone slammed down on Tamlin's face. void of feeling, void of anything vaguely like the Tamlin I'd been tangled up with moments before.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Good,” said Gideon. “It means the effect of the alcohol is wearing off. One question, by the way: what did you want a hairbrush for?”
“I wanted it as a substitute for a mike,” I murmured through my fingers. “Oh, my God! I’m so horrible.”
“But you have a pretty voice,” said Gideon. “Even I liked it, and I told you I hate musicals.”
“Then how come you can play songs from them so well?” I put my hands in my lap and looked at him. “You were amazing! Is there anything you can’t do?” Good heavens, I heard myself sounding like a groupie.
“No. Go ahead, you’re welcome to think me some kind of god!” He was grinning now. “It’s rather sweet of you!
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masked and costumed figures go
Playing the lute and dancing and almost
Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.
All sing in a minor key
Of all-conquering love and careless fortune
They do not seem to believe in their happiness
And their song mingles with the moonlight.
The still moonlight, sad and beautiful,
Which gives the birds to dream in the trees
And makes the fountain sprays sob in ecstasy,
The tall, slender fountain sprays among the marble statues.
Paul Verlaine (Fêtes galantes)
That is why we were drawn to one another and why we are brother and sister. I am going to teach you to dance and play and smile, and still not be happy. And you are going to teach me to think and to know and yet not be happy. Do you know that we are both children of the Devil?
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you—may cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn’t that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy of you with your own life. Within it you watch [yourself] act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.
Anne Carson (Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides)
I know your character. I know you're going to be a great guardian.”
His confidence made that warm feeling return. "I'm glad someone does. Everyone else thinks I'm totally irresponsible.”
"With the way you worry more about Lissa than yourself…" He shook his head. "No. You understand your responsibilities better than guardians twice your age. You'll do what you have to do to succeed.”
I thought about that. "I don't know if I can do everything I have to do.”
He did that cool one-eyebrow thing.
"I don't want to cut my hair," I explained.
He looked puzzled. "You don't have to cut your hair. It's not required.”
"All the other guardian women do. They show off their tattoos.”
Unexpectedly, he released my hands and leaned forward. Slowly, he reached out and held a lock of my hair, twisting it around one finger thoughtfully. I froze, and for a moment, there was nothing going on in the world except him touching my hair. He let my hair go, looking a little surprised—and
embarrassed—at what he'd done.
"Don't cut it," he said gruffly.
Somehow, I remembered how to talk again. "But no one'll see my tattoos if I don't.”
He moved toward the doorway, a small smile playing over his lips. "Wear it up.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
[Calvin, who has the chicken pox, calls Susie on the telephone.]
Calvin: Hi, Susie! It's me, Calvin! I was wondering if you'd like to come over and play.
Susie: Why, sure! Boy, I don't think you've ever invited me to...
Calvin's Mom: Calvin, what are you doing?
Calvin: Nothing, Mom. Go away.
Calvin's Mom: You're contagious! You can't have anyone over to play!
Calvin: Shhhh! Shhhh! You'll spoil the whole thing! I was going to trick Susie into catching... HEY! OW! LET GO!
Susie: [Hanging up the phone] Any chance of getting transferred, Dad?
we were in her big oak
so much of the rest of the
that I memorized
each wrinkle in the
all the cracks in the
I used to play games with
her with that ceiling.
"see those cracks up
"look where I'm pointing..."
"now, see those cracks, see the
pattern? it forms and image. do you see
what it is?"
"umm, umm ..."
"go on, what is it?"
"I know! It's a man on top of a woman!"
"wrong. it's a flamingo standing
by a stream."
. . .
we finally got free of
it's sad but it's
standard operating procedure
(I am constantly confused by
the lack of durability in human
I suppose the parting was
maybe even ugly.
it's been 3 or 4
and I wonder if she
ever thinks of
me, of what I am doing?
Charles Bukowski (The People Look Like Flowers at Last)
I should have known what you would do,” Jem said in a low voice. “I always know what you will do. I should have known you would put your hands into the fire.”
“And I should have known you would throw that packet away,” said Will, without rancor. “It was—it was a madly noble thing to do. I understand why you did it.”
“I was thinking of Tessa.” Jem drew his knees up and rested his chin on them, then laughed softly. “Madly noble. Isn’t that meant to be your area of expertise? Suddenly I am the one who does ridiculous things and you tell me to stop?”
“God,” said Will. “When did we change places?”
The firelight played over Jem’s face and hair as he shook his head. “It is a very strange thing, to be in love,” he said. “It changes you.”
Will looked down at Jem, and what he felt, more than jealousy, more than anything else, was a wistful desire to commiserate with his best friend, to speak of the feelings he held in his heart. For were they not the same feelings? Did they not love the same way, the same person? But, “I wish you wouldn’t risk yourself,” was all he said.
Jem stood up. “I have always wished that about you.”
Will raised his eyes, so drowsy with sleep and the tiredness that came with healing runes that he could see Jem only as a haloed figure of light. “Are you going?”
“Yes, to sleep.” Jem touched his fingers lightly to Will’s healing hands. “Let yourself rest, Will.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Are you insane? I'm not going to change my mind."
"Yes you will." Braden sighed. "We're going to need each other through this. All of us. But if you can't do that, then I'm going to play hardball. I'm going to do whatever it takes. Some of it will frustrate you, some of it will turn on, and some of it will hopefully really piss you off."
"You are insane."
"No." We spun around to see Ellie standing in the kitchen doorway in her bathrobe, wearing a small, exhausted but determined smile. "He's fighting for what he wants.
Samantha Young (On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1))
What did she say?” asked Matthias.
Nina coughed and took his arm, leading him away. “She said you’re a very nice fellow, and a credit to the Fjerdan race. Ooh, look, blini! I haven’t had proper blini in forever.”
“That word she used: babink,” he said. “You’ve called me that before. What does it mean?”
Nina directed her attention to a stack of paper-thin buttered pancakes. “It means sweetie pie.”
“I was just asking, there’s no need to name-call.”
“No, babink means barbarian.” Matthias’ gaze snapped back to the old woman, his glower returning to full force. Nina grabbed his arm. It was like trying to hold on to a boulder. “She wasn’t insulting you! I swear!”
“Barbarian isn’t an insult?” he asked, voice rising.
“No. Well, yes. But not in this context. She wanted to know if you’d like to play Princess and Barbarian.”
“It’s a game?”
“Then what is it?”
Nina couldn’t believe she was actually going to attempt to explain this. As they continued up the street, she said, “In Ravka, there’s a popular series of stories about, um, a brave Fjerdan warrior—”
“Really?” Matthias asked. “He’s the hero?”
“In a manner of speaking. He kidnaps a Ravkan princess—”
“That would never happen.”
“In the story it does, and”—she cleared her throat—“they spend a long time getting to know each other. In his cave.”
“He lives in a cave?”
“It’s a very nice cave. Furs. Jeweled cups. Mead.”
“Ah,” he said approvingly. “A treasure hoard like Ansgar the Mighty. They become allies, then?”
Nina picked up a pair of embroidered gloves from another stand. “Do you like these? Maybe we could get Kaz to wear something with flowers. Liven up his look.”
“How does the story end? Do they fight battles?”
Nina tossed the gloves back on the pile in defeat. “They get to know each other intimately.”
Matthias’ jaw dropped. “In the cave?”
“You see, he’s very brooding, very manly,” Nina hurried on. “But he falls in love with the Ravkan princess and that allows her to civilize him—”
“To civilize him?”
“Yes, but that’s not until the third book.”
“There are three?”
“Matthias, do you need to sit down?”
“This culture is disgusting. The idea that a Ravkan could civilize a Fjerdan—”
“Calm down, Matthias.”
“Perhaps I’ll write a story about insatiable Ravkans who like to get drunk and take their clothes off and make unseemly advances toward hapless Fjerdans.”
“Now that sounds like a party.” Matthias shook his head, but she could see a smile tugging at his lips. She decided to push the advantage. “We could play,” she murmured, quietly enough so that no one around them could hear.
“We most certainly could not.”
“At one point he bathes her.”
Matthias’ steps faltered. “Why would he—”
“She’s tied up, so he has to.”
“Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.”
“How about I bite your lip?”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I thought that one was going to hit me,” I said, watching the disappointed girl stalk off into the crowd. “Being your girlfriend is dangerous.”
“What can I say? I’m a magnificent specimen of manhood. Of course they all want me. But I do appreciate you protecting my honor.
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
lf you’re going to deal with reality, you’re going to have to make one big discovery: Reality is something that belongs to you as an individual. If you wanna grow up, which most people don’t, the thing to do is take responsibility for your own reality and deal with it on your own terms. Don’t expect that because you pay some money to somebody else or take a pledge or join a club or run down the street or wear a special bunch of clothes or play a certain sport or even drink Perrier water, it’s going to take care of everything for you.
And then . . . we’re going to get in my car.”
I waited for him to elaborate on a destination. “And?”
He gently kissed the nape of my neck. “What do you think?”
I couldn’t help a small gasp of delight. “Oh, wow.”
“I know, right? I was racking my brain for the best present ever, and then I realized that nothing was going to rock your world more than you and me in your favorite place in the entire world.”
I swallowed. “I’m kind of embarrassed at how excited I am about that.” Never had I guessed my love of cars would play a role in my sex life. Eddie was right. Something had happened to me.
“It’s okay, Sage. We’ve all got our turn-ons.”
“You kind of ruined the surprise, though.”
“Nah. It’s part of the gift: you getting to think about it for the next three days.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
We cannot play ostrich. Democracy just cannot flourish amid fear. Liberty cannot bloom amid hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage. America must get to work. In the chill climate in which we live, we must go against the prevailing wind. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
There is going to come a time when we have to accept who we are without the assistance of religion. That will be the dawn of true faith. We leave the big decisions to invisible consultants and pray we get the answers we are looking for. The late great George Carlin once said he gave up praying to God and started praying to Joe Pesci because his prayers to Joe Pesci were answered with as much accuracy and frequency as those to God. [...] If we as people are still looking for answers, we should turn our eyes away from the heavens and look to each other. I know we do not play well together - hell, some of us do not even like being in the same room with each other - but the divine lies in all of us. We are miracles. We are "god." If we shared a little more, we would not be left feeling less. We hold the keys to our own destinies. It is time we started looking for the locks.
Corey Taylor (Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good)
Do vampyres play chess? Were there vampyre dorks? How about Barbie-like vampyre cheerleaders? Did any vampyres play in the band? Were there vampyre Emos with their guy-wearing-girl’s-pants weirdness and those awful bangs that cover half their faces? Or were they all those freaky Goth kids who didn’t like to bathe much? Was I going to turn into a Goth kid? Or worse, an Emo? I didn’t particularly like wearing black, at least not exclusively, and I wasn’t feeling a sudden and unfortunate aversion to soap and water, nor did I have an obsessive desire to change my hairstyle and wear too much eyeliner.
Kristin Cast (Marked (House of Night, #1))
The Director's Role: You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm.
When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry--and your clinical intervention to correct it--can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.
Frank Hauser (Notes on Directing)
Listen. You can be anything you want to be. Be careful. It's a spell. It's magic. Listen to the words. You can be anything, you can do anything, you can be anything, you can do anything. Listen to the magic.
You are anything . . . everyone, anyone. Whatever you want. I'm showing you. So long as you stay yourself inside, you can eat dirt and it'll taste good because it's you that's eating it. You can even lick their arses if you have to. You listen to them, teachers, parents, politicians. They're always saying, if you steal you're a thief, if you sleep around you're a slut, if you take drugs you're a junkie. They want to get inside your head and control you with their fear.
Maybe you think your mum and dad love you but if you do the wrong things they'll try and turn you into dirt. It's your punishment for being you. Don't play their game. Nothing can touch you; you stay beautiful.
I've done everything. All of it. You think it, I've done it.
All the things you never dared, all the things you dream about, all the things you were curious about and then forgot because you knew you never would. I did 'em, I did 'em yesterday while you were still in bed,
What about you? When's it going to be your turn?
Melvin Burgess (Smack)
Don’t you think we’re going to go to hell for this?” asked Lissa.
He reached out and touched her face, trailing his fingers along her cheek and neck and down to the top of her silky shirt. She breathed heavily at that touch, at the way it could be so gentle and small, yet evoke such a strong passion within her.
“For this?” He played with the shirt’s edge, letting his finger just barely brush inside of it.
“No,” she laughed. “For this.” She gestured around the attic. “This is a church. We shouldn’t be doing this kind of, um, thing up here.”
“Not true,” he argued. Gently, he pushed her onto her back and leaned over her. “The church is downstairs. This is just storage. God won’t mind.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
Lovers do things together! They rent videos, they ride Ferris wheels, they go out for pizza, they play Scrabble. They . . . they talk!'
'Talk?' He lifted his head and frowned, his eyes puzzled. 'We talk all the time, Raine. I've never had such talkative sex.'
'That's just it!' She wiggled, flailed, but couldn't budge him. 'Two minutes alone with you, and I'm flat on my back. Every single time!'
A slow, knowing grin spread over his face. 'Is this your way of telling me you want to be on top?
Shannon McKenna (Behind Closed Doors (McClouds & Friends #1))
Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hand, called out "Pooh!" "Yes?" said Pooh. "When I'm--when--Pooh!" "Yes, Christopher Robin?" "I'm not going to do Nothing any more." "Never again?" "Well, not so much. They don't let you." Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again. "Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully. "Pooh, when I'm--you know--when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?" "Just me?" "Yes, Pooh." "Will you be here too?" "Yes Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be Pooh." "That's good," said Pooh. "Pooh, promise you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred." Pooh thought for a little. "How old shall I be then?" "Ninety-nine." Pooh nodded. "I promise," he said. Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt Pooh's paw. "Pooh," said Christopher Robin earnestly, "if I--if I'm not quite--" he stopped and tried again-- "Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won't you?" "Understand what?" "Oh, nothing." He laughed and jumped to his feet. "Come on!" "Where?" said Pooh. "Anywhere." said Christopher Robin.
So, they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.
A.A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie-the-Pooh #2))
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
Yvon Chouinard (Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman)
Ah, hi. It’s Carter. I wonder if you might want to go out to dinner, or maybe the movies. Maybe you like plays better than movies. I should’ve looked up what might be available before I called. I didn’t think of it. Or we could just have coffee again if you want to do that. Or… I’m not articulate on these things. I can’t use a tape recorder either. And why would you care? If you’re at all interested in any of the above, please feel free to call me. Thanks. Um. Good-bye.”
“Damn you, Carter Maguire, for your insanely cute quotient. You should be annoying. Why aren’t I annoyed? Oh God, I’m going to call you back. I know I’m going to call you back. I’m in such trouble.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
You'll just do what you did before he was your boyfriend," Alicia says. "You'll go about your day, and you will miss him at first, but over time it will ease. It will lessen." She reaches out, touches her papery hand to my cheek. A smile plays at her lips. "All you need is time, and you, little one, have all the time in the world.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
Good dog," Nick said. "That's one of the tricks I've taught him, shaking water on girls so they back into my arms."
"Really! How smart of Rocky - and you, of course."
"That's another thing I've been wanting to tell you," he said, turning me to face him. "I'm tired of getting jealous of my dog. I mean, he has nice eyes, but so do I."
I looked from Rocky's golden eyes to Nick's laughing green ones.
"I didn't enjoy the way Rocky got to stick close to you while I played Holly's boyfriend. He's going to have some competition from now on."
"Oh, yeah? Are you good at retrieving sticks?"
"I'm good at stealing kisses," Nick said, then proved it.
Elizabeth Chandler (Dark Secrets 1 (Dark Secrets, #1-2))
The problem is, you can't tell people these things. They'll think you're crazy. And I say to myself: What can I do with this life inside me? I'd like to give it ... to make a present of it ... to go up to people and tell them: You need to be joyful! You know? You have to play at being pirates ... to build cities of marble ... to laugh ... to set off firecrackers
Roberto Arlt (El juguete rabioso)
How You Doing, Little Lucy?” His bright tone and mild expression indicates we’re playing a game we almost never play. It’s a game called How You Doing? and it basically starts off like we don’t hate each other. We act like normal colleagues who don’t want to swirl their hands in each other’s blood. It’s disturbing.
“Great, thanks, Big Josh. How You Doing?”
“Super. Gonna go get coffee. Can I get you some tea?” He has his heavy black mug in his hand. I hate his mug.
I look down; my hand is already holding my red polka-dot mug. He’d spit in anything he made me. Does he think I’m crazy? “I think I’ll join you.”
We march purposefully toward the kitchen with identical footfalls, left, right, left, right, like prosecutors walking toward the camera in the opening credits of Law & Order. It requires me to almost double my stride. Colleagues break off conversations and look at us with speculative expressions. Joshua and I look at each other and bare our teeth. Time to act civil. Like executives.
“Ah-ha-ha,” we say to each other genially at some pretend joke. “Ah-ha-ha.”
We sweep around a corner. Annabelle turns from the photocopier and almost drops her papers. “What’s happening?”
Joshua and I nod at her and continue striding, unified in our endless game of one-upmanship. My short striped dress flaps from the g-force.
“Mommy and Daddy love you very much, kids,” Joshua says quietly so only I can hear him. To the casual onlooker he is politely chatting. A few meerkat heads have popped up over cubicle walls. It seems we’re the stuff of legend. “Sometimes we get excited and argue. But don’t be scared. Even when we’re arguing, it’s not your fault.”
“It’s just grown-up stuff,” I softly explain to the apprehensive faces we pass. “Sometimes Daddy sleeps on the couch, but it’s okay. We still love you.
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
Do or die, you'll never make me
Because the world will never take my heart
Go and try, you'll never break me
We want it all, we wanna play this part
I won't explain or say I'm sorry
I'm unashamed, I'm gonna show my scar
Give a cheer for all the broken
Listen here, because it's who we are
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
Just a boy, who had to sing this song
I'm just a man, I'm not a hero
I! don't! care!
We'll carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're dead and gone believe me
Your memory will carry on
We'll carry on
And though you're broken and defeated
Your weary widow marches on
Out of evil, much good has come to me. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality - taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be - by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before.
I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume and attitude towards them.
So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me.
What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to way I thought it ought to.
an ex patient of C. G. Jung (Alchemical Studies, pg 47)
I'm playing 'chicken' with a kid called 'Robin.' I don't know why he's showing off. I don't know why I'm going along with it. I don't even know where we're going. It could be a robbery. Or prison break. A gang war. Or free donuts at Lenny's. He sees that Bat-signal in the sky and takes off. Like a bird out of Hell. And he just expects me to follow him. And I do.
Chuck Dixon (Batgirl: Year One)
Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men — friends, coworkers, strangers — giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
I studied Comparative Literature at Cornell. Structuralism was real big then. The idea of reading and writing as being this language game. There's a lot of appeal to that. It's nice to think of it as this playful kind of thing. But I think that another way to look at it is "Look, I just want to be sincere. I want to write something and make you feel something and maybe you will go out and do something." And it seems that the world is in such bad shape now that we don't have time to do nothing but language games. That's how it seems to me.
William T. Vollmann
Hello Ra," he said in a kindly voice. "It's been a long time."
A feeble voice from behind the chair said,"Can't play. Go away."
"would you like a treat?" Apophis asked. "we used to play so nicely together. Every night, trying to kill each other. Don't you remember?"
Ra poked his head above the throne. "Treat?"
"How about a stuffed date?" Apophis pulled one out of the air. "You used to love stuffed dates, didn't you? All you have to do is come out and let me devour— I mean entertain you."
" Want a cookie," Ra said.
I'm here to tell you, that comment about weasel cookies probably saved the known universe.
Rick Riordan (The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, #2))
I know I have a pretty good sense for music, but she was better than me. I used to think it was such a waste! I thought, ‘If only she had started out with a good teacher and gotten the proper training, she’d be so much further along!’ But I was wrong about that. She was not the kind of child who could stand proper training. There just happen to be people like that. They’re blessed with this marvelous talent, but they can’t make the effort to systematize it. They end up squandering it in little bits and pieces. I’ve seen my share of people like that. At first you think they’re amazing. Like, they can sight-read some terrifically difficult piece and do a damn good job playing it all the way through. You see them do it, and you’re overwhelmed. you think, ‘I could never do that in a million years.’ But that’s as far as they go. They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid to them. They’ll take some piece another kid has to work on for three weeks and polish it off in half the time, so the teacher figures they’ve put enough into it and lets them go to the next thing. And they do that in half the time and go on to the next piece. They never find out what it means to be hammered by the teacher; they lose out on a certain element required or character building. It’s a tragedy.
Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)
I started getting Mal's texts just before lunch.
Mal: Going for a run with Jim
Anne: Have fun!
Mal: Back from run having lunch
Mal:Your taste in music sucks
Mal: Seriously, we need to talk it's that bad. Everything apart from Stage Dive needs to go.
Anne: Wait. What are you doing?
Anne: Mal, WTH are you doing?
Mal: Making you new playlist wih decent shit. Relay
Anne: K Thanks
Mal: Bored again
Mal: Ben's coming over to play Halo
Anne: Great! But you don't have to tell me everything you do, Mal
Mal: Davie says communication's important
Mal: When are you on the rag? Davie said to find out if you want cupcakes or ice cream
Anne: I want to not talk about this ever
Mal: Bored. Ben's late
Mal: Let's get a dog
Anne: Apartment has no pets rule
Mal: Nice green lace bra
Anne: Get out of my drawers, Mal.
Mal: Matching panties?
Anne: GET OUT NOW.
Mal: sext me
Mal: Some on it'll be funny
Mal: High level of unhealthy codependency traits exhibited by both parties relationship possibly bordeing on toxic
Mal: Did magazine quiz. We need help- Especially you
Mal: Booking us couples counseling. Tues 4:15 alright?
Anne: We are not going to counseling.
Mal: What's wrong? Don't you love me anymore?
Anne: Turning phone off now.
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
Well, Mr. Frankel, who started this program, began to suffer from the computer disease that anybody who works with computers now knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is you *play* with them. They are so wonderful. You have these switches - if it's an even number you do this, if it's an odd number you do that - and pretty soon you can do more and more elaborate things if you are clever enough, on one machine.
After a while the whole system broke down. Frankel wasn't paying any attention; he wasn't supervising anybody. The system was going very, very slowly - while he was sitting in a room figuring out how to make one tabulator automatically print arc-tangent X, and then it would start and it would print columns and then bitsi, bitsi, bitsi, and calculate the arc-tangent automatically by integrating as it went along and make a whole table in one operation.
Absolutely useless. We *had* tables of arc-tangents. But if you've ever worked with computers, you understand the disease - the *delight* in being able to see how much you can do. But he got the disease for the first time, the poor fellow who invented the thing.
Richard P. Feynman (Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character)
I know girls who pine for it. They like to play dress-up and pretend being Vor ladies of old, rescued from menace by romantic Vor youths. For some reason they never play 'dying in childbirth', or 'vomiting your guts out from the red dysentery', or 'weaving till you go blind and crippled from arthritis and dye poisoning', or 'infanticide'. Well, they do die romantically of disease sometimes, but somehow it's always an illness that makes you interestingly pale and everyone sorry and doesn't involve losing bowel control.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Komarr (Vorkosigan Saga, #11))
You don’t know anyone at the party, so you don’t want to go. You don’t like cottage cheese, so you haven’t eaten it in years. This is your choice, of course, but don’t kid yourself: it’s also the flinch. Your personality is not set in stone. You may think a morning coffee is the most enjoyable thing in the world, but it’s really just a habit. Thirty days without it, and you would be fine. You think you have a soul mate, but in fact you could have had any number of spouses. You would have evolved differently, but been just as happy.
You can change what you want about yourself at any time. You see yourself as someone who can’t write or play an instrument, who gives in to temptation or makes bad decisions, but that’s really not you. It’s not ingrained. It’s not your personality. Your personality is something else, something deeper than just preferences, and these details on the surface, you can change anytime you like.
If it is useful to do so, you must abandon your identity and start again. Sometimes, it’s the only way.
Set fire to your old self. It’s not needed here. It’s too busy shopping, gossiping about others, and watching days go by and asking why you haven’t gotten as far as you’d like. This old self will die and be forgotten by all but family, and replaced by someone who makes a difference.
Your new self is not like that. Your new self is the Great Chicago Fire—overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything that isn’t necessary.
Julien Smith (The Flinch)
In early youth, as we contemplate our coming life, we are like children in a theatre before the curtain is raised, sitting there in high spirits and eagerly waiting for the play to begin. It is a blessing that we do not know what is really going to happen. Could we foresee it, there are times when children might seem like innocent prisoners, condemned, not to death, but to life, and as yet all unconscious of what their sentence means.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Studies in Pessimism: The Essays)
Women are born with pain built in. It's our physical destiny. Period pains, sore boobs, child birth, you know. We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives. Men don't. They have to seek it out. “Women are born with pain built in,” she says. “It’s our physical destiny: period pains, sore boobs, childbirth, you know. We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives, men don’t. They have to seek it out, they invent all these gods and demons and things just so they can feel guilty about things, which is something we do very well on our own. And then they create wars so they can feel things and touch each other and when there aren’t any wars they can play rugby.
We have it all going on in here inside.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag: The Scriptures)
We’ll have to figure out a way to spend our money,” said Kaz.
“What money?” said Jesper. “It all got poured into the Shu coffers. Like they needed it.”
Nina’s eyes narrowed and Jesper saw a bit of her spirit return. “Stop playing around, Brekker, or I’ll send my unholy army of the dead after you.”
Kaz shrugged. “I felt the Shu could manage with forty million.”
“The thirty million Van Eck owed us—” murmured Jesper.
“Four million kruge each. I’m giving Per Haskell’s share to Rotty and Specht. It will be laundered through one of the Dregs’ businesses before it passes back through the Gemensbank, but the funds should be in separate accounts for you by the end of the month.” He paused. “Matthias’ share will go to Nina. I know money doesn’t matter to—”
“It matters,” said Nina. “I’ll find a way to make it matter. What will you do with your shares?”
“Find a ship,” said Inej. “Put together a crew.”
“Help run an empire,” said Jesper.
“Try not to run it into the ground,” said Wylan.
“And you, Kaz?” Nina asked.
“Build something new,” he said with a shrug. “Watch it burn.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
The world is a wide place where we stumble like children learning to walk. The world is a bright mosaic where we learn like children to see, where our little blurry eyes strive greedily to take in as much light and love and colour and detail as they can.
The world is a coaxing whisper when the wind lips the trees, when the sea licks the shore, when animals burrow into earth and people look up at the sympathetic stars. The world is an admonishing roar when gales chase rainclouds over the plains and whip up ocean waves, when people crowd into cities or intrude into dazzling jungles.
What right have we to carry our desperate mouths up mountains or into deserts? Do we want to taste rock and sand or do we expect to make impossible poems from space and silence? The vastness at least reminds us how tiny we are, and how much we don't yet understand. We are mere babes in the universe, all brothers and sisters in the nursery together. We had better learn to play nicely before we're allowed out..... And we want to go out, don't we? ..... Into the distant humming welcoming darkness.
Jay Woodman (SPAN)
A floorboard cracked; knuckles tapped once on the open door. Adam looked up to see Niall Lynch standing in the doorway. No, it was Ronan, face lit bright on one side, in stark shadow on the other, looking powerful and at ease with his thumbs tucked in the pockets of his jeans, leather bracelets looped over his wrist, feet bare.
He wordlessly crossed the floor and sat beside Adam on the mattress. When he held out his hand, Adam put the model into it.
“This old thing,” Ronan said. He turned the front tyre, and again the music played out of it. They sat like that for a few minutes, as Ronan examined the car and turned each wheel to play a different tune. Adam watched how intently Ronan studied the seams, his eyelashes low over his light eyes. Ronan let out a breath, put the model down on the bed beside him, and kissed Adam.
Once, when Adam had still lived in the trailer park, he had been pushing the lawn mower around the scraggly side yard when he realized that it was raining a mile away. He could smell it, the earthy scent of rain on dirt, but also the electric, restless smell of ozone. And he could see it: a hazy gray sheet of water blocking his view of the mountains. He could track the line of rain travelling across the vast dry field towards him. It was heavy and dark, and he knew he would get drenched if he stayed outside. It was coming from so far away that he had plenty of time to put the mower away and get under cover. Instead, though, he just stood there and watched it approach. Even at the last minute, as he heard the rain pounding the grass flat, he just stood there. He closed his eyes and let the storm soak him.
That was this kiss.
They kissed again. Adam felt it in more than his lips.
Ronan sat back, his eyes closed, swallowing. Adam watched his chest rise and fall, his eyebrows furrow. He felt as bright and dreamy and imaginary as the light through the window.
He did not understand anything.
It was a long moment before Ronan opened his eyes, and when he did, his expression was complicated. He stood up. He was still looking at Adam, and Adam was looking back, but neither said anything. Probably Ronan wanted something from him, but Adam didn’t know what to say. He was a magician, Persephone had said, and his magic was making connections between disparate things. Only now he was too full of white, fuzzy light to make any sort of logical connections. He knew that of all the options in the world, Ronan Lynch was the most difficult version of any of them. He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm. He knew he had started his entire time at Aglionby certain that all he wanted to do was get as far away from this state and everything in it as possible.
He was pretty sure he had just been Ronan’s first kiss.
“I’m gonna go downstairs,” Ronan said.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
What are you doing here, Luce?" he asked, studying me.
"Watching you play," I answered, knowing it wasan't one he'd accept.
"Yeah," he said, making a face. "That's not going to work for me."
Of course it wasn't.
"You know why," I added with a whisper.
"I need to hear you say it," he said, swallowing. "I've gone too many days without hearing it."
Sighing, I closed my eyes. "I love you," I said, knowing it was the truth and that it didn't change anything. "And I missed you."
"Yeah," he said, "me too.
Nicole Williams (Clash (Crash, #2))
Once there was a boy who couldn't speak but owned a music box that held every song in all the world. One day he met a girl who had never heard a single melody in her entire life and so he played her his favorite song. He watched while her face lit up with wonder as the music filled the sky and the poetry of lyrics moved her in a way she had never felt before.
He would play his songs for her day after day and she would sit by him quietly—never seeming to mind that he could only speak to her through song. She loved everything he played for her, but of them all—she loved the sad songs best. So he began to play them more and more until eventually, sad songs were all she would hear.
One day, he noticed it had been a very long time since her last smile. When he asked her why, she took both his hands in hers and kissed them warmly. She thanked him for his gift of music and poetry but above all else—for showing her sadness because she had known neither of these things before him. But it was now time for her to go away—to find someone who could show her what happiness was.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Do you remember the song that was playing the night we met?
No, but I remember every song I have heard since you left.
Lang Leav (Love & Misadventure)
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And one of the games to which it is most attached is called "Keep to-morrow dark," and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no doubt) "Cheat the Prophet." The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun.
G.K. Chesterton (The Napoleon of Notting Hill)
I study her," Patch said. "I figure out what she's thinking and feeling. She's not going to come right out and tell me, which is why I have to pay attention. Does she turn her body toward mine? Does she hold my eyes, then look away. Does she bite her lip and play with her hair, the way Nora is doing right now?"
"The blood vessels in Nora's face are widening and her skin is warming," Patch said. "She knows she's being evaluated. She likes the attention, but she's not sure how to handle it."
"I am not blushing."
"She's nervous," Patch said. "She's stroking her arm to draw attention away from her face and down to her figure, or maybe her skin. Both are strong selling points.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
This state of affairs is known technically as the "double-bind." A
person is put in a double-bind by a command or request which contains
a concealed contradiction...
This is a damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't
situation which arises constantly in human (and especially family)
The social doublebind game can be phrased in several ways:The first rule of this game is that it is not a game.
Everyone must play.
You must love us.
You must go on living.
Be yourself, but play a consistent and acceptable role.
Control yourself and be natural.
Try to be sincere.
Essentially, this game is a demand for spontaneous behavior of certain
kinds. Living, loving, being natural or sincere—all these are
spontaneous forms of behavior: they happen "of themselves" like
digesting food or growing hair. As soon as they are forced they acquire
that unnatural, contrived, and phony atmosphere which everyone
deplores—weak and scentless like forced flowers and tasteless like
forced fruit. Life and love generate effort, but effort will not generate
them. Faith—in life, in other people, and in oneself—is the attitude of
allowing the spontaneous to be spontaneous, in its own way and in its
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Just consider a child who, absorbed in play, forgets himself—this is the moment to take a snapshot; when you wait until he notices that you are taking a picture, his face congeals and freezes, showing his unnatural self-consciousness rather than his natural graciousness. Why do most people have that stereotyped expression on their faces whenever they are photographed? This expression stems from their concern with the impression they are going to leave on the onlooker. It is "cheese" that makes them so ugly. Forgetting themselves, the photographer, and the future onlooker would make them beautiful.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning)
Fate determines your caste. You must accept it and live according to the rules."
You can't really believe that!"
I do believe it. That man's misfortune is that he cannot accept his caste, his fate."
I know that the Indians wear their caste as a mark upon their foreheads for all to see. I know that in England, we have our own unacknowledged caste system. A laborer will never hold a seat in Parliament. Neither will a woman. I don't think I've ever questioned such things until this moment.
But what about will and desire? What if someone wants to change things."
Kartik keeps his eyes on the room "You cannot change your caste. You cannot go against fate."
That means there is no hope of a better life. It is a trap."
That is how you see it," he says softly.
What do you mean?"
It can be a relief to follow the path that has been laid oud for you, to know your course and play your part in it."
But how can you be sure that you are following the right course? What if there is no such thing as destiny, only choice?"
Then I do not choose to live without destiny," he says with a slight smile.
Libba Bray (Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2))
Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn't. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don't want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit 'tasty'. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
Ladies, we are at a massive disadvantage in the workplace. Your male peers are flirting with their male bosses constantly. The average workplace is like f*cking Bromancing the Stone. That’s basically what male bonding is. Flirting. They’re flirting with each other playing golf, they’re flirting with each other going to the football, they’re flirting with each other chatting at the urinals – and, sadly, flirting with each other in after-hours visits to strip clubs and pubs. They are bonding with each other over their biological similarities. If the only way you can bond with them is over your biological differences, you go for it. Feel pressurised to actually f*ck them if you do? Then don’t flirt. Find it an easy way to just crack on? Then crack on – and don’t blame other women for doing it.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Don’t you think the stairs are a good place for reading letters? I do. One is somehow suspended. One is on neutral ground - not in one’s own world nor in a strange one. They are an almost perfect meeting place. Oh Heavens! How stairs do fascinate me when I think of it. Waiting for people - sitting on strange stairs - hearing steps far above, watching the light playing by itself - hearing - far below a door, looking down into a kind of dim brightness, watching someone come up. But I could go on forever. Must put them in a story though! People come out of themselves on stairs - they issue forth, unprotected.
Katherine Mansfield (Katherine Mansfield Letters And Journals: A Selection)
Do you play video games, Liv?’ he asked congenially.
‘Well, stop cleaning up the dishes and come play with us,’ he teased.
I chuckled. ‘Are you asking me on a playdate?’ As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them. I wasn’t being flirty. I didn’t know how to be flirty! That was just my sense of humor, and now this guy was going to think I was coming on –
Nate laughed, cutting me off. ‘Only because you got the Star Trek reference. Otherwise, girls aren’t allowed to play with us. They’re icky.’
Deadpan, I crossed my arms over my chest. ‘Well, boys are icky too.’
He grinned huge. ‘Ain’t that the truth.
Samantha Young (Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3))
Have you ever played chess, Kitty?”
I eyed her. What did a board game have to do with this? “Not really.”
“You and I should play sometime. I think you would like it,” she said. “It’s a game of strategy, mostly. The strong pieces are in the back row, while the weak pieces—the pawns—are all in the front, ready to take the brunt of the attack. Because of their limited movement and vulnerability, most people underestimate them and only use them to protect the more powerful pieces. But when I play, I protect my pawns.”
“Why?” I said, not entirely sure where this conversation was going. “If they’re weak, then what’s the point?”
“They may be weak when the game begins, but their potential is remarkable. Most of the time, they’ll be taken by the other side and held captive until the end of the game. But if you’re careful—if you keep your eyes open and pay attention to what your opponent is doing, if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then?”
I shook my head, and she smiled.
“Your pawn becomes a queen.” She touched my cheek, her fingers cold as ice. “Because they kept moving forward and triumphed against impossible odds, they become the most powerful piece in the game. Never forget that, all right? Never forget the potential one solitary pawn has to change the entire game.
Aimee Carter (Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1))
It bothers Musk a bit that his kids won’t suffer like he did. He feels that the suffering helped to make him who he is and gave him extra reserves of strength and will. “They might have a little adversity at school, but these days schools are so protective,” he said. “If you call someone a name, you get sent home. When I was going to school, if they punched you and there was no blood, it was like, ‘Whatever. Shake it off.’ Even if there was a little blood, but not a lot, it was fine. What do I do? Create artificial adversity? How do you do that? The biggest battle I have is restricting their video game time because they want to play all the time. The rule is they have to read more than they play video games. They also can’t play completely stupid video games. There’s one game they downloaded recently called Cookies or something. You literally tap a fucking cookie. It’s like a Psych 101 experiment. I made them delete the cookie game. They had to play Flappy Golf instead, which is like Flappy Bird, but at least there is some physics involved.
Ashlee Vance (Elon Musk: Inventing the Future)
That night we played truth or dare. You said that after a while you stopped trying to earn your mother's affection." I pause. "Why didn't you give up with me, too?"
"You know why," he says quietly. I close my eyes. I do know, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to hear it. But some part of me must be, because I wouldn't have asked the question otherwise, not of Bishop, the boy who never chooses to say something easy just because the truth is hard. Maybe I want to hear it so that i will know, once and for all, that there is no going back.
"Because I'm in love with you, Ivy," he whispers. "Giving up on you isn't an option." He lifts my hair away from the back of my neck and kisses the delicate skin there.
My breath shudders out of me. The silence spirals into the dark room, and maybe it was foolish to ask the question, but I'm not sorry. I uncurl his hand and kiss his palm, his skin cool and dry. I place his hand over my heart, cover it with my own.
We fall asleep that way. His lips on my neck. My heart in his hand.
Amy Engel (The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1))
Dru Anderson: Thanks.
Graves: No problem. First one’s free. Look, you really can’t go home? What happened.
Dru Anderson: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
Graves: Try me.
Dru Anderson: I just can’t go home, not until tomorrow.
Graves:Do you need a place to sleep?
Dru Anderson: I’ll find somewhere.
Graves: I know a place.
Dru Anderson: Why is it there’s always a guy who thinks he can get something out of the new girl? Every goddamn town, it’s the same thing. Some guy thinks he’s God’s gift to the displaced.
Graves: I just asked if you wanted a place to sleep, Jesus.
Dru Anderson: Sorry.
Graves: No problem. So, I’ll take you someplace you can sleep tonight. Someplace safe. Okay?
Dru Anderson: How much?
Graves: I keep telling you, first one’s free. You want to play some air hockey? Good way to get your mind off stuff.
Dru Anderson: Sure.
Graves: Cool. You finished?
Dru Anderson: Yeah, I guess. Graves?
Dru Anderson: Thanks. Nice gloves.
Graves: Hey, you know. Chicks dig guys in gloves.
Lilith Saintcrow (Strange Angels (Strange Angels, #1))
Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn't be falling out.
Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I'm a walking cliché.
I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There's something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I'm way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn't fat I would be happier. I wouldn't have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that's fooling anyone. Fat ass.
I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I'd be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool.
I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that?
Just be real. Confident. Isn't that what women are attracted to? Men don't have to be attractive. But that's not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days.
Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it's my brain chemistry. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that.
But I'll still be ugly though.
Nothing's gonna change that.
Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
When they had been deciding what to call their company all those years ago, Marx had argued for calling it Tomorrow Games, a name Sam and Sadie instantly rejected as "too soft." Marx explained that the name referenced his favorite speech in Shakespeare, and that it wasn't soft at all.
"Do you have any ideas that aren't from Shakespeare?" Sadie said.
To make his case, Marx jumped up on a kitchen chair and recited the "Tomorrow" speech for them, which he knew by heart:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
"That's bleak," Sadie said.
"Why start a game company? Let's go kill ourselves," Sam joked.
"Also," Sadie said, "What does any of that have to do with games?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Marx said.
It was not obvious to Sam or to Sadie.
"What is a game?" Marx said. "It's tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It's the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever."
"Nice try, handsome," Sadie said. "Next.
Gabrielle Zevin (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow)
It is only that people are far more different than is pretended. All over the world men and women are worrying because they cannot develop as they are supposed to develop. Here and there they have the matter out, and it comforts them. Don't fret yourself, Helen. Develop what you have; love your child. I do not love children. I am thankful to have none. I can play with their beauty and charm, but that is all - nothing real, not one scrap of what there ought to be. And others - others go farther still, and move outside humanity altogether. A place, as well as a person, may catch the glow. Don't you see that all this leads to comfort in the end? It is part of the battle against sameness. Differences - eternal differences, planted by God in a single family, so that there may always be colour; sorrow, perhaps, but colour in the daily grey.
E.M. Forster (Howards End)
Look, you're small-town. I've had over 50 jobs, maybe a hundred. I've never stayed anywhere long. What I am trying to say is, there is a certain game played in offices all over America. The people are bored, they don't know what to do, so they play the office-romance game. Most of the time it means nothing but the passing of time. Sometimes they do manage to work off a screw or two on the side. But even then, it is just an offhand pasttime, like bowling or t.v. or a New Year's Eve party. You've got to understand that it doesn't mean anything and then you won't get hurt. Do you understand what I mean?"
I think that Mr. Partisan is sincere."
You're going to get stuck with that pin, babe, don't forget what I told you. Watch those slicks. They are as phony as a lead dime.
Charles Bukowski (Post Office)
No duties. I don’t have to be profound.
I don’t have to be artistically perfect.
Or sublime. Or edifying.
I just wander. I say: ‘You were running,
That’s fine. It was the thing to do.’
And now the music of the worlds transforms me.
My planet enters a different house.
Trees and lawns become more distinct.
Philosophies one after another go out.
Everything is lighter yet not less odd.
Sauces, wine vintages, dishes of meat.
We talk a little of district fairs,
Of travels in a covered wagon with a cloud of dust behind,
Of how rivers once were, what the scent of calamus is.
That’s better than examining one’s private dreams.
And meanwhile it has arrived. It’s here, invisible.
Who can guess how it got here, everywhere.
Let others take care of it. Time for me to play hooky.
Buena notte. Ciao. Farewell.
I intercepted Chaol, and he informed me of your ‘condition.’ You’d think a man in his position wouldn’t be so squeamish, especially after examining all of those corpses.”
Calaena opened an eye and frowned as Dorian sat on her bed. “I’m in a state of absolute agony and I can’t be bothered.”
“It can’t be that bad,” he said, fishing a deck of cards from his jacket. “Want to play?”
“I already told you that I don’t feel well.”
“You look fine to me.” He skillfully shuffled the deck. “Just one game.”
“Don’t you pay people to entertain you?”
He glowered, breaking the deck. “You should be honored by my company.”
“I’d be honored if you would leave.”
“For someone who relies on my good graces, you’re very bold.”
“Bold? I’ve barely begun.” Lying on her side, she curled her knees to her chest.
He laughed, pocketing the deck of cards. “Your new canine companion is doing well, if you wish to know.”
She moaned into her pillow. “Go away. I feel like dying.”
“No fair maiden should die alone,” he said, putting a hand on hers. “Shall I read to you in your final moments? What story would you like?”
She snatched her hand back. “How about the story of the idiotic prince who won’t leave the assassin alone?”
“Oh! I love that story! It has such a happy ending, too—why, the assassin was really feigning her illness in order to get the prince’s attention! Who would have guessed it? Such a clever girl. And the bedroom scene is so lovely—it’s worth reading through all of their ceaseless banter!”
“Out! Out! Out! Leave me be and go womanize someone else!” She grabbed a book and chucked it at him.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1))
I've commented your blog with my questions for THREE YEARS. You answer other people's STUPID questions but not MINE. YOU REALLY ASKED FOR IT, BUDDY. I'm just gonna comment with this until you answer at least one of my questions.
DO YOU HAVE A JAMAICAN ACCENT? No, Mon
DO YOU MOLT? Gross.
WHAT'S YOUR STAR SIGN? Dont know. "Angel what's my star sign?" She says Scorpio.
HAVE YOU TOLD JEB I LOVE HIM YET? No.
DOES NOT HAVING A POWER MAKE YOU ANGRY? Well, that's not really true...
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THE SOULJA BOY? Can you see me doing the Soulja Boy?
DOES IGGY KNOW HOW TO DO THE SOULJA BOY? Gazzy does.
DO YOU USE HAIR PRODUCTS? No. Again,no.
DO YOU USE PRODUCTS ON YOUR FEATHERS? I don't know that they make bird kid feather products yet.
WHAT'S YOU FAVORITE MOVIE? There are a bunch
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG? I don't have favorites. They're too polarizing.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SMELL? Max, when she showers.
DO THESE QUESTIONS MAKE YOU ANGRY? Not really.
IF I CAME UP TO YOU IN A STREET AND HUGGED YOU, WOULD YOU KILL ME? You might get kicked. But I'm used to people wanting me dead, so.
DO YOU SECRETLY WANT TO BE HUGGED? Doesn't everybody?
ARE YOU GOING EMO 'CAUSE ANGEL IS STEALING EVERYONE'S POWERS (INCLUDING YOURS)? Not the emo thing again.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? Anything hot and delicious and brought to me by Iggy.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING? Three eggs, over easy. Bacon. More Bacon. Toast.
DID YOU EVEN HAVE BREAKFAST THIS MORNING? See above.
DID YOU DIE INSIDE WHEN MAX CHOSE ARI OVER YOU? Dudes don't die inside.
DO YOU LIKE MAX? Duh.
DO YOU LIKE ME? I think you're funny.
DOES IGGY LIKE ME? Sure
DO YOU WRITE DEPRESSING POETRY? No.
IS IT ABOUT MAX? Ahh. No.
IS IT ABOUT ARI? Why do you assume I write depressing poetry?
IS IT ABOUT JEB? Ahh.
ARE YOU GOING TO BLOCK THIS COMMENT? Clearly, no.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? A Dirty Projectors T-shirt. Jeans.
DO YOU WEAR BOXERS OR BRIEFS? No freaking comment.
DO YOU FIND THIS COMMENT PERSONAL? Could I not find that comment personal?
DO YOU WEAR SUNGLASSES? Yes, cheap ones.
DO YOU WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT? That would make it hard to see.
DO YOU SMOKE APPLES, LIKE US? Huh?
DO YOU PREFER BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Whatever.
DO YOU LIKE VAMPIRES OR WEREWOLVES? Fanged creatures rock.
ARE YOU GAY AND JUST PRETENDING TO BE STRAIGHT BY KISSING LISSA? Uhh...
WERE YOU EXPERIMENING WITH YOUR SEXUALITY? Uhh...
WOULD YOU TELL US IF YOU WERE GAY? Yes.
DO YOU SECRETLY LIKE IT WHEN PEOPLE CALL YOU EMO? No.
ARE YOU EMO? Whatever.
DO YOU LIKE EGGS? Yes. I had them for breakfast.
DO YOU LIKE EATING THINGS? I love eating. I list it as a hobby.
DO YOU SECRETLY THINK YOU'RE THE SEXIEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD? Do you secretly think I'm the sexiest person in the whole world?
DO YOU EVER HAVE DIRTY THOUGHTS ABOUT MAX? Eeek!
HAS ENGEL EVER READ YOUR MIND WHEN YOU WERE HAVING DIRTY THOUGHT ABOUT MAX AND GONE "OMG" AND YOU WERE LIKE "D:"? hahahahahahahahahahah
DO YOU LIKE SPONGEBOB? He's okay, I guess.
DO YOU EVER HAVE DIRTY THOUGHT ABOUT SPONGEBOB? Definitely
CAN YOU COOK? Iggy cooks.
DO YOU LIKE TO COOK? I like to eat.
ARE YOU, LIKE, A HOUSEWIFE? How on earth could I be like a housewife?
DO YOU SECRETLY HAVE INNER TURMOIL?
Isn't it obvious?
DO YOU WANT TO BE UNDA DA SEA? I'm unda da stars.
DO YOU THINK IT'S NOT TOO LATE, IT'S NEVER TOO LATE? Sure.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO PLAY POKER? TV.
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE? Totally.
OF COURSE YOU HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE. DOES IGGY HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE? Yes.
CAN HE EVEN PLAY POKER? Iggy beats me sometimes.
DO YOU LIKE POKING PEOPLE HARD? Not really.
ARE YOU FANGALICIOUS? I could never be as fangalicious as you'd want me to be.
James Patterson (Fang (Maximum Ride, #6))
Look, I owe you a kind of explanation. I know you probably think I’m a horrid bitch from the plant Schizophrenia, but I’m honestly not trying to mess with your head. I’m just messing with my own head and I seem to have dragged you along the ride. I think you’re nice to me and that scares the fuck out of me. Because when a guy’s a jerk or an asshole, it’s easier because you know exactly where you stand. Since trust isn’t an option, you don’t have to get all freaked out about maybe having to trust him. Right now I am thinking about ten things at the same time, and at least four of those things have to do with you. If you want to leave right now and drive home and forget my name and forget what I look like, I wouldn’t blame you in the least. But what I’m trying to say is that if you did that I would be sorry. And not just sorry in an I-apologize-I’m-so-sorry way, but sorry in a sad-that-something-that-could’ve-happened-didn’t way. That’s it. You can go now. Or we could stay for Where’s Fluffy when Toni’s set is over. I think they’re playing a surprise show here tonight.
Rachel Cohn (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
We don't come to the table to fight or to defend. We don't come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel.
Shauna Niequist (Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes)
I thought it was, "If a body catch a body," Anyway, i keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and no ones around - nobody big I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of this crazy cliff. What i have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they are going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know its crazy, but that the only thing I's really like to be. I know its crazy.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
It is a bit of a cliché to characterize life as a rambling journey on which we can alter our course at any given time--by the slightest turn of the wheel, the wisdom goes, we influence the chain of events and thus recast our destiny with new cohorts, circumstances, and discoveries. But for the most of us, life is nothing like that. Instead, we have a few brief periods when we are offered a handful of discrete options. Do I take this job or that job? In Chicago or New York? Do I join this circle of friends or that one, and with whom do I go home at the end of the night? And does one make time for children now? Or later? Or later still?
In that sense, life is less like a journey than it is a game of honeymoon bridge. In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions--we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made shape our lives for decades to come.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
I felt my hand curl into a fist. Felt my elbow draw back. Felt my arm dart forward, my knuckles crack into Cole's jaw. I couldn't stop myself. His head whipped to the side, and blood leaked from a cut in his lip. Behind me, gasps of shock abounded.
"I'm recovered," I said. "Believe me now?"
Those violet eyes slitted when they found me. "Assault and battery is illegal."
"So have me arrested."
He closed what little distance there was between us. Suddenly I could feel his warmth of his breath caressing my skin. "How about I put you over my lap and spank you instead?"
"How about I knee your balls into your throat?"
"If you're going to play with that particular area, I'd rather you use your hands."
"My hands aren't going near that area ever again."
A pause. Then, "I bet I could change your mind," he whispered huskily.
"I bet I could bash yours." I drew back another fist, but he was ready and caught me midswing. His pupils dilated, a sign of arousal. Another sign: he began to pant. He was acting like I'd tried to unbuckle his jeans rather than smack fire out of him.
"Hit me again," he said, still using the same whispered tone, "and I'll take it as an invitation."
I was just as bad. I trembled with longing I couldn't control and struggled to catch my breath. "An invitation to do what?"
His grip loosened, his fingers rubbing my skin. A caress, not a warning. "I guess we'll find out together.
Gena Showalter (Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles, #2))
I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do--then go ahead and do it with ease. Don't maul, don't suffer, don't groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.
Tennessee Williams (Notebooks)
Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?
We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.
Clarence Darrow (Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom)
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out.
So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:
Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
Here you sit on your high-backed chair
Wonder how the view is from there
I wouldn't know 'cause I like to sit
Upon the floor, yeah upon the floor
If you like we could play a game
Let's pretend that we are the same
But you will have to look much closer
Than you do, closer than you do
And I'm far too tired to stay here anymore
And I don't care what you think anyway
'Cause I think you were wrong about me
Yeah what if you were, what if you were
And what if I'm a snowstorm burning
What if I'm a world unturning
What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep
What if I'm the kindest demon
Something you may not believe in
What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep
I know you've got it figured out
Tell me what I am all about
And I just might learn a thing or two
Hundred about you, maybe about you
I'm the end of your telescope
I don't change just to suit your vision
'Cause I am bound by a fraying rope
Around my hands, tied around my hands
And you close your eyes when I say I'm breaking free
And put your hands over both your ears
Because you cannot stand to believe I'm not
The perfect girl you thought
Well what have I got to lose
And what if I'm a weeping willow
Laughing tears upon my pillow
What if I'm a socialite who wants to be alone
What if I'm a toothless leopard
What if I'm a sheepless shepherd
What if I'm an angel without wings to take me home
You don't know me
Never will, never will
I'm outside your picture frame
And the glass is breaking now
You can't see me
Never will, never will
If you're never gonna see
What if I'm a crowded desert
Too much pain with little pleasure
What if I'm the nicest place you never want to go
What if I don't know who I am
Will that keep us both from trying
To find out and when you have
Be sure to let me know
What if I'm a snowstorm burning
What if I'm a world unturning
What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep
What if I'm the kindest demon
Something you may not believe in
What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep
Wake up! Wake up! Soon the person you believe you are will die - so now, wake up and be content with this knowledge: there is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now! Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all ONE, you see. And the only laws are paradox, humor, and change. There is no problem, never was, and never will be. Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away your concerns, and relax into the world. No need to resist life; just do your best. Open your eyes and see that you are for more than you imagine. you are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else too! It's all the marvelous Play of God. Wake up, regain your humor. Don't worry, just be happy. You are already free!
Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives)
Nice piano," I said. "Do you play?"
"oh no, but Edwart does!" Eva Mullen said.
"A little," Edwart said sheepishly.
"Go ahead, play!" Eva said. She picked up the triangle that was lying on the piano and handed it to Edwart. He started banging on it. It sounded like construction work very early in the morning.
"Whoops. I messed up. Let me start over," he said.
He started banging again.
"Wait. Uh. I haven't practiced in a while. Let me start over."
Edwart continued to bang the triangle. Eva closed her eyes and raised her arms, swaying rhythmically to Edwart's music. Edwart held the triangle up high, in what appeared to be a grand finish, but then he brought it down hard, hitting the top of the piano. He continued to bang the piano, putting the entire force of his slim body into each smash. The piano shook. The room vibrated. When he finished I subtly removed my hands from my ears.
"I wrote that for you," Edwart murmured, drawing me close. "It's called Belle's Lullaby.
The Harvard Lampoon (Nightlight: A Parody)
A Kite is a Victim
A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.
A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won't give up,
or the wind die down.
A kite is the last poem you've written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don't let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.
A kite is a contract of glory
that must be made with the sun,
so you make friends with the field
the river and the wind,
then you pray the whole cold night before,
under the travelling cordless moon,
to make you worthy and lyric and pure.
You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me
There are some men
There are some men
who should have mountains
to bear their names through time
Grave markers are not high enough
and sons go far away to lose the fist
their father’s hand will always seem
I had a friend he lived and died
in mighty silence and with dignity
left no book son or lover to mourn.
Nor is this a mourning song
but only a naming of this mountain
on which I walk
fragrant, dark and softly white
under the pale of mist
I name this mountain after him.
-Believe nothing of me
Except that I felt your beauty
more closely than my own.
I did not see any cities burn,
I heard no promises of endless night,
I felt your beauty
more closely than my own.
Promise me that I will return.-
-When you call me close
to tell me
your body is not beautiful
I want to summon
the eyes and hidden mouths
of stone and light and water
to testify against you.-
I almost went to bed
the four white violets
I put in the button-hole
of your green sweater
and how i kissed you then
and you kissed me
shy as though I'd
never been your lover
-Reach into the vineyard of arteries for my heart.
Eat the fruit of ignorance and share with me the mist and
fragrance of dying.-
Leonard Cohen (The Spice-Box of Earth)
It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!" old Phoebe said. "It's a poem. By Robert Burns."
"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns."
She was right, though. It is "If a body meet a body coming through the rye." I didn't know it then, though.
"I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,'" I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
Buckley followed the three of them into the kitchen and asked, as he had at least once a day, “Where’s Susie?”
They were silent. Samuel looked at Lindsey.
“Buckley,” my father called from the adjoining room, “come play Monopoly with me.”
My brother had never been invited to play Monopoly. Everyone said he was too young, but this was the magic of Christmas. He rushed into the family room, and my father picked him up and sat him on his lap.
“See this shoe?” my father said.
Buckley nodded his head.
“I want you to listen to everything I say about it, okay?”
“Susie?” my brother asked, somehow connecting the two.
“Yes, I’m going to tell you where Susie is.”
I began to cry up in heaven. What else was there for me to do?
“This shoe was the piece Susie played Monopoly with,” he said. “I play with the car or sometimes the wheelbarrow. Lindsey plays with the iron, and when you mother plays, she likes the cannon.”
“Is that a dog?”
“Yes, that’s a Scottie.”
“Okay,” my father said. He was patient. He had found a way to explain it. He held his son in his lap, and as he spoke, he felt Buckley’s small body on his knee-the very human, very warm, very alive weight of it. It comforted him. “The Scottie will be your piece from now on. Which piece is Susie’s again?”
“The shoe?” Buckley asked.
“Right, and I’m the car, your sister’s the iron, and your mother is the cannon.”
My brother concentrated very hard.
“Now let’s put all the pieces on the board, okay? You go ahead and do it for me.”
Buckley grabbed a fist of pieces and then another, until all the pieces lay between the Chance and Community Chest cards.
“Let’s say the other pieces are our friends?”
“Right, we’ll make your friend Nate the hat. And the board is the world. Now if I were to tell you that when I rolled the dice, one of the pieces would be taken away, what would that mean?”
“They can’t play anymore?”
“Why?” Buckley asked.
He looked up at my father; my father flinched.
“Why?” my brother asked again.
My father did not want to say “because life is unfair” or “because that’s how it is”. He wanted something neat, something that could explain death to a four-year-old He placed his hand on the small of Buckley’s back.
“Susie is dead,” he said now, unable to make it fit in the rules of any game. “Do you know what that means?”
Buckley reached over with his hand and covered the shoe. He looked up to see if his answer was right.
My father nodded. "You won’t see Susie anymore, honey. None of us will.” My father cried. Buckley looked up into the eyes of our father and did not really understand.
Buckley kept the shoe on his dresser, until one day it wasn't there anymore and no amount of looking for it could turn up.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
From a very early time, I understood that I only learn from things I don’t like. If you do things you like, you just do the same shit. You always fall in love with the wrong guy. Because there’s no change. It’s so easy to do things you like. But then, the thing is, when you’re afraid of something, face it, go for it. You become a better human being.”
What’s the cost?
“Ah, a big one. Lots of loneliness, my dear. If you’re a woman, it’s almost impossible to establish a relationship. You’re too much for everybody. It’s too much. The woman always has to play this role of being fragile and dependent. And if you’re not, they’re fascinated by you, but only for a little while. And then they want to change you and crush you. And then they leave. So, lots of lonely hotel rooms, my dear.
Gansey despised raising his voice (in his head, his mother said, People shout when they don't have the vocabulary to whisper), but he heard it happening despite himself and so, with effort, he kept his voice even. "Not like this. At least you have a place to go. 'End of the world'... What is your problem, Adam? I mean, is there something about my place that's too repugnant for you to imagine living there? Why is it that everything kind I do is pity to you? Everything is charity. Well, here it is: I'm sick of tiptoeing around your principles."
"God, I'm sick of your condescension, Gansey," Adam said. "Don't try to make me feel stupid. Who whips out repugnant? Don't pretend you're not trying to make me feel stupid."
"This is the way I talk. I'm sorry your father never taught you the meaning of repugnant. He was too busy smashing your head against the wall of your trailer while you apologized for being alive."
Both of them stopped breathing.
Gansey knew he'd gone too far. It was too far, too late, too much.
Adam shoved open the door.
"Fuck you, Gansey. Fuck you," he said, voice low and furious.
Gansey close his eyes.
Adam slammed the door, and then he slammed it again when the latch didn't catch. Gansey didn't open his eyes. He didn't want to see if people were watching some kid fight with a boy in a bright orange Camaro and an Aglionby jumper. Just then he hated his raven-breasted uniform and his loud car and every three- and four-syllable word his parents had used in casual conversation at the dinner table and he hated Adam's hideous father and Adam's permissive mother and most of all, most of all, he hated the sound of Adam's last words, playing over and over.
He couldn't stand it, all of this inside him.
In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.
They were always walking away from him. But he never seemed able to walk away from them.
Gansey opened his eyes. The ambulance was still there, but Adam was gone.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
I have reveled in my littleness and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifferent to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all flies, that nothing matters. It’s a great load off my life, for I don’t mind being such a micro-organism—to me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe—such a great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time. And when I am dead, the matter which composes my body is indestructible—and eternal, so that come what may to my “Soul,” my dust will always be going on, each separate atom of me playing its separate part—I shall still have some sort of a finger in the Pie. When I am dead, you can boil me, burn me, drown me, scatter me—but you cannot destroy me: my little atoms would merely deride such heavy vengeance. Death can do no more than kill you.
W.N.P. Barbellion (The Journal of a Disappointed Man)
And at night you will look up at the stars. It's too small, where I live, for me to show you where my stars is. It's better that way. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. So you'll like looking at all of them. They'll all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present...' He laughed again.
'Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!'
'That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water...'
'What do you mean?'
'People have stars, but they aren't the same. For travelers, the stars are guides. For other people, they're nothing but tiny lights. And for still others, for scholars, they're problems. For my businessman, they were gold. But all those stars are silent stars. You, though, you'll have stars like nobody else.'
'What do you mean?'
'When you look up at the sky at night, since I'll be living on one of them, since I'll be laughing on one of them, for you it'll be as if all the stars are laughing. You'll have stars that can laugh!'
And he laughed again.
'And when you're consoled (everyone eventually is consoled), you'll be glad you've known me. You'll always be my friend. You'll feel like laughing with me. And you'll open your window sometimes just for the fun of it...And your friends will be amazed to see you laughing while you're looking up at the sky. Then you'll tell them, "Yes, it's the stars; they always make me laugh!" And they'll think you're crazy. It'll be a nasty trick I played on you...'
And he laughed again.
'And it'll be as if I had given you, instead of stars, a lot of tiny bells that know how to laugh...'
And he laughed again.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince)
The next suitable person you’re in light conversation with, you stop suddenly in the middle of the conversation and look at the person closely and say, “What’s wrong?” You say it in a concerned way. He’ll say, “What do you mean?” You say, “Something’s wrong. I can tell. What is it?” And he’ll look stunned and say, “How did you know?” He doesn’t realize something’s always wrong, with everybody. Often more than one thing. He doesn’t know everybody’s always going around all the time with something wrong and believing they’re exerting great willpower and control to keep other people, for whom they think nothing’s ever wrong, from seeing it. This is the way of people. Suddenly ask what’s wrong and whether they open up and spill their guts or deny it and pretend you’re off, they’ll think you’re perceptive and understanding. They’ll either be grateful, or they’ll be frightened and avoid you from then on. Both reactions have their uses, as we’ll get to. You can play it either way. This works over 90 percent of the time.
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
I want to talk about creating your life. There’s a quote I love, from the poet Mary Oliver, that goes:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
I so clearly remember what it was like, being young and always in the grip of some big fat daydream. I wanted to be a writer always, but more than that, I wanted to have an extraordinary life. I’m sure I dreamed it a million different ways, and that plenty of them were ridiculous, but I think the daydreams were training for writing, and I also think they spurred me to pursue my dreams for real.
Daydreaming, however awesome it is, is passive. It happens in your head. Learning to make dreams real is another matter, and I think it should be the work of your life. Everyone’s life, whatever their dream (unless their dream is to be an axe murderer or something.)
It took me a while to finish a book. Too long. And you know, it doesn’t matter how good a writer you are unless you finish what you start! I think this is the hardest part for most people who want to write. I was in my mid-30s before I figured it out. The brain plays tricks. You can be convinced you’re following your dream, or that you’re going to start tomorrow, and years can pass like that. Years.
The thing is, there will be pressure to adjust your expectations, always shrinking them, shrinking, shrinking, until they fit in your pocket like a folded slip of paper, and you know what happens to folded slips of paper in your pocket. They go through the wash and get ruined. Don’t ever put your dream in your pocket. If you have to put it somewhere, get one of those holsters for your belt, like my dad has for his phone, so you can whip it out at any moment.
Hello there, dream.
Also, don’t be realistic. The word “realistic” is poison. Who decides?
And “backup plan” is code for, “Give up on your dreams,” and everyone I know who put any energy into a backup plan is now living that backup plan instead of their dream. Put all your energy into your dream. That’s the only way it will ever become real.
The world at large has this attitude, “What makes you so special that you think you deserve an extraordinary life?”
Personally, I think the passion for an extraordinary life, and the courage to pursue it, is what makes us special. And I don’t even think of it as an “extraordinary life” anymore so much as simple happiness. It’s rarer than it should be, and I believe it comes from creating a life that fits you perfectly, not taking what’s already there, but making your own from scratch.
You can let life happen to you, or you can happen to life. It’s harder, but so much better.
Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
And finally, why doesn't "buick" rhyme with "quick"?
He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy.
They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back?
Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would?
Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal.
Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.
Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon)
The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. To women he is half vivisector, half vampire. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost secrets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. He persuades women that they may do this for their own purpose whilst he really means them to do it for his. He steals the mother’s milk and blackens it to make printer’s ink to scoff at her and glorify ideal women with. He pretends to spare her the pangs of child-bearing so that he may have for himself the tenderness and fostering that belong of right to her children. Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a blood-sucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy! For mark you, Tavy, the artist’s work is to shew us ourselves as we really are. Our minds are nothing but this knowledge of ourselves; and he who adds a jot to such knowledge creates new mind as surely as any woman creates new men. In the rage of that creation he is as ruthless as the woman, as dangerous to her as she to him, and as horribly fascinating. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? that is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.
George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman)
In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?
The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success.
Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business.
When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic.
Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward.
Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.
Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside.
Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?
Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem.
Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living.
Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward.
Everything in life brings risk. It's true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don't try anything new.
The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure — and actually fail — the greater your chances of success.
If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. And that means you're not taking enough risks. You risk because you have something of value you want to achieve.
The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.
Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to your benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Don't let your learning lead to knowledge; let your learning lead to action.
The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?
Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline.
Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally. Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence.
Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might.
If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail.
The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface.
Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.
John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
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
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!
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
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
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.
thinking I was a killer,
anointing myself daily
with my little poisons.
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
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)
Do you see that man in the black Porsche?" I asked the women.
They squinted out at Ranger. "Yes," they said."Your partner."
"He's homeless. He's looking for a place to stay and he might be interested in renting Singh's room."
Mrs.Apusenja's eyes widened. "We could use the income."She looked at Nonnie and then back at Ranger. "Is he married?"
"Nope. He's single. He's a real catch."
Connie did something between a gasp and a snort and buried her head back behind the computer. "Thank you for everything." Mrs.Apusenja said. "I suppose you are not such a bad slut. I will go talk to your partner.:
"Omigod," Connie said, when the door closed behind the Apusenja's. "Ranger's going to kill you." The Apusenjas stood beside the Porsche, talkig to Ranger for a few long minutes, giving him the big sales pitch. The pitch wound down, Ranger responded, and Mrs. Apusenja looked disappointed. The two women crossed the road and got into the burgundy Escort and quickly drove away. Ranger turned his head in my direction and our eyes met. His expression was still bemused, but this time it was the sort of bemused expression a kid has when he's pulling the wings off a fly.
"Uh-Oh,"Connie said. I whipped around and faced Connie. "Quick, give me an FTA. You're backed up, right? For God's sake, give me something fast. I need a reason to stand here until he calms down!" Connie shoved a pile of folders at me. "Pick one. Any one! Oh shit, he's getting out of his car."....
He leaned into me and his lips brushed the shell of my ear. "Feeling playful?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Watch your back babe. I will get even."
-Ranger and Stephanie
Janet Evanovich (To the Nines (Stephanie Plum, #9))
As a fact, we cannot give suffering precedence in either our individual or collective lives. We have to get on with things, and those who give precedence to suffering will be left behind. They fetter us with their sniveling. We have someplace to go and must believe we can get there, wherever that may be. And to conceive that there is a 'brotherhood of suffering between everything alive' would disable us from getting anywhere. We are preoccupied with the good life, and step by step are working toward a better life. What we do, as a conscious species, is set markers for ourselves. Once we reach one marker, we advance to the next — as if we were playing a board game we think will never end, despite the fact that it will, like it or not. And if you are too conscious of not liking it, then you may conceive of yourself as a biological paradox that cannot live with its consciousness and cannot live without it. And in so living and not living, you take your place with the undead and the human puppet.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
Your brain is involved in everything you do.
Your brain controls everything you do, feel, and think. When you look in the
mirror, you can thank your brain for what you see. Ultimately, it is your brain that
determines whether your belly bulges over your belt buckle or your waistline is trim and
toned. Your brain plays the central role in whether your skin looks fresh and dewy or is
etched with wrinkles. Whether you wake up feeling energetic or groggy depends on your
brain. When you head to the kitchen to make breakfast, it is your brain that determines
whether you go for the leftover pizza or the low-fat yogurt and fruit. Your brain controls
whether you hit the gym or sit at the computer to check your Facebook page. If you feel
the need to light up a cigarette or drink a couple cups of java, that's also your brain's
doing.ACTION STEP Remember that your brain is involved in everything you do, every
decision you make, every bite of food you take, every cigarette you smoke, every
worrisome thought you have, every workout you skip, every alcoholic beverage you
drink, and more.
Daniel G. Amen (Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted)
The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep.
They could see how love might control you, from your head to your toes, not to mention every single part of you in between.
A woman could want a man so much she might vomit in the kitchen sink or cry so fiercly blood would form in the corners of her eyes.
She put her hand to her throat as though someone were strangling her, but really she was choking on all that love she thought she’d needed so badly.
What had she thought, that love was a toy, something easy and sweet, just to play with? Real love was dangerous, it got you from inside and held on tight, and if you didn’t let go fast enough you might be willing to do anything for it’s sake.
She refused to believe in superstition, she wouldn’t; yet it was claiming her.
Some fates are guaranteed, no matter who tries to intervene.
After all I’ve done for you is lodged somewhere in her brain, and far worse, it’s in her heart as well.
She was bad luck, ill-fated and unfortunate as the plague.
She is not worth his devotion. She wishes he would evaporate into thin air. Maybe then she wouldn’t have this feeling deep inside, a feeling she can deny all she wants, but that won’t stop it from being desire.
Love is worth the sum of itself and nothing more.
But that’s what happens when you’re a liar, especially when you’re telling the worst of these lies to yourself.
He has stumbled into love, and now he’s stuck there. He’s fairly used to not getting what he wants, and he’s dealt with it, yet he can’t help but wonder if that’s only because he didn’t want anything so badly.
It’s music, it’s a sound that is absurdly beautiful in his mouth, but she won’t pay attention. She knows from the time she spent on the back stairs of the aunts’ house that most things men say are lies. Don’t listen, she tells herself. None if it’s true and none of it matters, because he’s whispering that he’s been looking for her forever. She can’t believe it. She can’t listen to anything he tells her and she certainly can’t think, because if she did she might just think she’d better stop.
What good would it do her to get involved with someone like him? She’d have to feel so much, and she’s not that kind.
The greatest portion of grief is the one you dish out for yourself.
She preferred cats to human beings and turned down every offer from the men who fell in love with her.
They told her how sticks and stones could break bones, but taunting and name-calling were only for fools.
— & now here she is, all used up.
Although she’d never believe it, those lines in *’s face are the most beautiful part about her. They reveal what she’s gone through and what she’s survived and who exactly she is, deep inside.
She’s gotten back some of what she’s lost. Attraction, she now understands, is a state of mind.
If there’s one thing * is now certain of, it’s house you can amaze yourself by the things you’re willing to do.
You really don’t know? That heart-attack thing you’ve been having? It’s love, that’s what it feels like.
She knows now that when you don’t lose yourself in the bargain, you find you have double the love you started with, and that’s one recipe that can’t be tampered with.
Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
America," he begged.
I turned to Maxon.
"They're fine. The rebels were slow, and everyone here knows what to do in an emergency."
I nodded. We stood there quietly for a minute, and I could tell he was about to move on.
"Maxon," I whispered.
He turned back, a little surprised to be addressed so casually.
"About last night. Let me explain. When they came to prep us, to get us ready to come here, there was a man who told me that I was never to turn you down. No matter what you asked for. Not ever."
He was dumbfounded. "What?"
"He made it sound like you might ask for certain things. And you said yourself that you hadn't been around many women. After eighteen years...and then you sent the cameras away. I just got scared when you got that close to me."
Maxon shook his head, trying to process all this. Humiliation, rage, and disbelief all played across his typically even-tempered face.
"Was everyone told this?" he asked, sounding appalled at the idea.
"I don't know. I can't imagine many girls would need such a warning. They're probably waiting to pounce on you," I noted, nodding my head toward the rest of the room.
He gave a dark chuckle. "But you're not, so you had absolutely no qualms about kneeing me in the groin, right?"
"I hit your thigh!"
"Oh, please. A man doesn't need that long to recover from a knee to the thigh," he replied, his voice full of skepticism.
A laugh escaped me. Thankfully, Maxon join in. Just then another mass hit the windows, and we stopped in unison. For a moment I had forgotten where I was.
"So how are you handling a roomful of crying women?" I asked.
There was a comical bewilderment in his expression. "Nothing in the world is more confusing!" he whispered urgently. "I haven't the faintest clue how to stop it."
This was the man who was going to lead our country: the guy rendered useless by tears. It was too funny.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
Aghhh! You don’t get it! I have to resist! No kiss, no matter how good it is, is worth killing you for. I’ve already lost one boyfriend. I am not going to
lose another one! Do you understand me?” Ryan didn’t answer my question, but he was positively glowing. “You just called me your boyfriend!” he
“I—” My mouth dropped all the way to my lap. “I did not!”
“Yes you did! You said you weren’t going to lose another boyfriend, and that would be me—the other boyfriend you don’t want to lose.”
“Ha! You said it, and you can’t take it back! You are so my girlfriend now!”
“I am not!”
“So are too!”
“Aghhh!” I screamed again. “You are so impossible!”
When I screamed, I lost control for a second and let out a burst of energy that stalled the truck.
Ryan just grinned at me. He was lucky the car stopped right then, because I was contemplating knocking the stupid cocky smirk right off his face.
Instead, I flung the door open.
“Bye, honey!” Ryan called playfully as I jumped out of the truck. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow!
Kelly Oram (Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker, #1))
Perhaps the body has its own memory system, like the invisible meridian lines those Chinese acupuncturists always talk about. Perhaps the body is unforgiving, perhaps every cell, every muscle and fragment of bone remembers each and every assault and attack. Maybe the pain of memory is encoded into our bone marrow and each remembered grievance swims in our bloodstream like a hard, black pebble. After all, the body, like God, moves in mysterious ways.
From the time she was in her teens, Sera has been fascinated by this paradox - how a body that we occupy, that we have worn like a coat from the moment of our birth - from before birth, even - is still a stranger to us. After all, almost everything we do in our lives is for the well-being of the body: we bathe daily, polish our teeth, groom our hair and fingernails; we work miserable jobs in order to feed and clothe it; we go to great lengths to protect it from pain and violence and harm. And yet the body remains a mystery, a book that we have never read. Sera plays with this irony, toys with it as if it were a puzzle: How, despite our lifelong preoccupation with our bodies, we have never met face-to-face with our kidneys, how we wouldn't recognize our own liver in a row of livers, how we have never seen our own heart or brain. We know more about the depths of the ocean, are more acquainted with the far corners of outer space than with our own organs and muscles and bones. So perhaps there are no phantom pains after all; perhaps all pain is real; perhaps each long ago blow lives on into eternity in some different permutation and shape; perhaps the body is this hypersensitive, revengeful entity, a ledger book, a warehouse of remembered slights and cruelties.
But if this is true, surely the body also remembers each kindness, each kiss, each act of compassion? Surely this is our salvation, our only hope - that joy and love are also woven into the fabric of the body, into each sinewy muscle, into the core of each pulsating cell?
Thrity Umrigar (The Space Between Us)
A non-religious man today ignores what he considers sacred but, in the structure of his consciousness, could not be without the ideas of being and the meaningful. He may consider these purely human aspects of the structure of consciousness. What we see today is that man considers himself to have nothing sacred, no god; but still his life has a meaning, because without it he could not live; he would be in chaos. He looks for being and does not immediately call it being, but meaning or goals; he behaves in his existence as if he had a kind of center. He is going somewhere, he is doing something. We do not see anything religious here; we just see man behaving as a human being. But as a historian of religion, I am not certain that there is nothing religious here…
I cannot consider exclusively what that man tells me when he consciously says, ‘I don’t believe in God; I believe in history,’ and so on. For example, I do not think that Jean-Paul Sartre gives all of himself in his philosophy, because I know that Sartre sleeps and dreams and likes music and goes to the theater. And in the theater he gets into a temporal dimension in which he no longer lives his ‘moment historique.’ There he lives in quite another dimension. We live in another dimension when we listen to Bach. Another experience of time is given in drama. We spend two hours at a play, and yet the time represented in the play occupies years and years. We also dream. This is the complete man. I cannot cut this complete man off and believe someone immediately when he consciously says that he is not a religious man. I think that unconsciously, this man still behaves as the ‘homo religiosus,’ has some source of value and meaning, some images, is nourished by his unconscious, by the imaginary universe of the poems he reads, of the plays he sees; he still lives in different universes. I cannot limit his universe to that purely self-conscious, rationalistic universe which he pretends to inhabit, since that universe is not human.
Annabelle, what happened to you?” Lillian asked the next morning. “You look dreadful. Why aren’t you wearing your riding habit? I thought you were going to try out the jumping course this morning. And why did you disappear
so suddenly last night? It’s not like you to simply vanish without saying—”
“I didn’t have a choice in the matter,” Annabelle said testily, folding her fingers around the delicate bowl of a porcelain teacup. Looking pale and exhausted, her blue eyes ringed with dark shadows, she swallowed a mouthful of heavily sweetened tea before continuing. “It was that blasted perfume of yours—as soon as he caught one whiff of it, he went berserk.”
Shocked, Lillian tried to take in the information, her stomach plummeting. “It… it had an effect on Westcliff, then?” she managed to ask.
“Good Lord, not Lord Westcliff.” Annabelle rubbed her weary eyes. “He couldn’t have cared less what I smelled like. It was my husband who went completely mad. After he caught the scent of that stuff, he dragged me up to our room and…well, suffice it to say, Mr. Hunt kept me awake all night. All night ,” she repeated in sullen emphasis, and drank deeply of the tea.
“Doing what?” Daisy asked blankly.
Lillian, who was feeling a rush of relief that Lord Westcliff had not been attracted to Annabelle while she
was wearing the perfume, gave her younger sister a derisive glance. “What do you think they were doing? Playing a few hands of Find-the-Lady?
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
The Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stay
At his little place at What'sitsname (it isn't far away).
They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,
And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do;
He can shoot the feathered cherubs if they fly on the estate,
Or fish for Father Neptune with the mermaids for a bait;
He scaled amid the staggering stars that precipice, the sky,
And blew his trumpet above heaven, and got by mastery
The starry crown of God Himself, and shoved it on the shelf;
But the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't brag himself.
O blind your eyes and break your heart and hack your hand away,
And lose your love and shave your head; but do not go to stay
At the little place in What'sitsname where folks are rich and clever;
The golden and the goodly house, where things grow worse for ever;
There are things you need not know of, though you live and die in vain,
There are souls more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain;
There is a game of April Fool that's played behind its door,
Where the fool remains for ever and the April comes no more,
Where the splendour of the daylight grows drearier than the dark,
And life droops like a vulture that once was such a lark:
And that is the Blue Devil that once was the Blue Bird;
For the Devil is a gentleman, and doesn't keep his word.
G.K. Chesterton (The Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton, Volume 10: Collected Poetry, Part 1)
The problem is, it's just not enough to live according to the rules. Sure, you manage to live according to the rules. Sometimes it's tight, extremely tight, but on the whole you manage it. Your tax papers are up to date. Your bills paid on time. You never go out without your identity card (and the special little wallet for your Visa!).
Yet you haven’t any friends.
The rules are complex, multiform. There’s the shopping that needs doing out of working hours, the automatic dispensers where money has to be got (and where you so often have to wait). Above all there are the different payments you must make to the organizations that run different aspects of your life. You can fall ill into the bargain, which involves costs, and more formalities.
Nevertheless, some free time remains. What’s to be done? How do you use your
time? In dedicating yourself to helping people? But basically other people don’t interest you. Listening to records? That used to be a solution, but as the years go by you have to say that music moves you less and less.
Taken in its widest sense, a spot of do-it-yourself can be a way out. But the fact is that nothing can halt the ever-increasing recurrence of those moments when your total isolation, the sensation of an all-consuming emptiness, the foreboding that your existence is nearing a painful and definitive end all combine to plunge you into a state of real suffering.
And yet you haven’t always wanted to die.
You have had a life. There have been moments when you were having a life. Of
course you don't remember too much about it; but there are photographs to prove it. This was probably happening round about the time of your adolescence, or just after. How great your appetite for life was, then! Existence seemed so rich in new possibilities. You might become a pop singer, go off to Venezuela.
More surprising still, you have had a childhood. Observe, now, a child of seven, playing with his little soldiers on the living room carpet. I want you to observe him closely. Since the divorce he no longer has a father. Only rarely does he see his mother, who occupies an important post in a cosmetics firm. And yet he plays with his little soldiers and the interest he takes in these representations of the world and of war seems very keen. He already lacks a bit of affection, that's for sure, but what an air he has of being interested in the world!
You too, you took an interest in the world. That was long ago. I want you to cast your mind back to then. The domain of the rules was no longer enough for you; you were unable to live any longer in the domain of the rules; so you had to enter into the domain of the struggle. I ask you to go back to that precise moment. It was long ago, no? Cast your mind back: the water was cold.
Michel Houellebecq (Whatever)
Intensive mothering is the ultimate female Olympics: We are all in powerful competition with each other, in constant danger of being trumped by the mom down the street, or in the magazine we're reading. The competition isn't just over who's a good mother--it's over who's the best. We compete with each other; we compete with ourselves. The best mothers always put their kids' needs before their own, period. The best mothers are the main caregivers. For the best mothers, their kids are the center of the universe. The best mothers always smile. They always understand. They are never tired. They never lose their temper. They never say, "Go to the neighbor's house and play while Mommy has a beer." Their love for their children is boundless, unflagging, flawless, total. Mothers today cannot just respond to their kids' needs, they must predict them--and with the telepathic accuracy of Houdini. They must memorize verbatim the books of all the child-care experts and know which approaches are developmentally appropriate at different ages. They are supposed to treat their two-year-olds with "respect." If mothers screw up and fail to do this on any given day, they should apologize to their kids, because any misstep leads to permanent psychological and/or physical damage. Anyone who questions whether this is the best and the necessary way to raise kids is an insensitive, ignorant brute. This is just common sense, right?
Susan J. Douglas
Then what do you want?" she asked softly.
He shook his head without answering. But Sara knew. He wanted to be safe. If he were rich and powerful enough, he would never be hurt, lonely, or abandoned. He would never have to trust anyone. She continued to stroke his hair, playing lightly with the thick raven locks. 'Take a chance on me," she urged. "Do you really have so much to lose?"
He gave a harsh laugh and loosened his arms to release her. "More than you know."
Clinging to him desperately, Sara kept her mouth at his ear. "Listen to me." All she could do was play her last card. Her voice trembled with emotion. "You can't change the truth. You can act as though you're deaf and blind, you can walk away from me forever, but the truth will still be there, and you can't make it go away. I love you." She felt an involuntary tremor run through him. "I love you," she repeated. "Don't lie to either of us by pretending you're leaving for my good. All you'll do is deny us both a chance at happiness. I'll long for you every day and night, but at least my conscience will be clear. I haven't held anything back from you, out of fear or pride or stubbornness." She felt the incredible tautness of his muscles, as if he were carved from marble. "For once have the strength not to walk away," she whispered. "Stay with me. Let me love you, Derek."
He stood there frozen in defeat, with all the warmth and promise of her in his arms ... and he couldn't allow himself to take what she offered. He'd never felt so worthless, so much a fraud. Perhaps for a day, a week, he could be what she wanted. But no longer than that. He had sold his honor, his conscience, his body, anything he could use to escape the lot he'd been given in life. And now, with all his great fortune, he couldn't buy back what he'd sacrificed. Were he capable of tears, he would have shed them. Instead he felt numbing coldness spread through his body, filling up the region where his heart should have been. It wasn't difficult to walk away from her. It was appallingly easy.
Sara made an inarticulate sound as he extricated himself from her embrace. He left her as he had left the others, without looking back.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
Van Eck folded his soiled handkerchief twice, tucked it away. He nodded to the boy and the girl. “Do whatever you have to. The auction starts in less than an hour, and I want answers before then.”
“Hold him up,” the stout boy said to the girl. She hauled Wylan to his feet, and the boy slipped a pair of brass knuckles from his pocket. “He’s not going to be so pretty after this.”
“Who is there to care?” Van Eck said with a shrug. “Just make sure you keep him conscious. I want information.”
The boy eyed Wylan skeptically. “You sure you want to do it this way, little merch?”
Wylan summoned every bit of bravado he’d learned from Nina, the will he’d learned from Matthias, the focus he’d studied in Kaz, the courage he’d learned from Inej, and the wild, reckless hope he’d learned from Jesper, the belief that no matter the odds, somehow they would win. “I won’t talk,” he said.
The first punch shattered two of his ribs. The second had him coughing blood.
“Maybe we should snap your fingers so you can’t play that infernal flute,” Van Eck suggested.
I’m here for her, Wylan reminded himself. I’m here for her.
In the end, he was not Nina or Matthias or Kaz or Inej or Jesper. He was just Wylan Van Eck. He told them everything.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as "play" is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash--at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.
Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation)
Something, somewhere, somewhen, must have happened differently...
PETUNIA EVANS married Michael Verres, a Professor of Biochemistry at Oxford.
HARRY JAMES POTTER-EVANS-VERRES grew up in a house filled to the brim with books. He once bit a math teacher who didn't know what a logarithm was. He's read Godel, Escher, Bach and Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases and volume one of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. And despite what everyone who's met him seems to fear, he doesn't want to become the next Dark Lord. He was raised better than that. He wants to discover the laws of magic and become a god.
HERMIONE GRANGER is doing better than him in every class except broomstick riding.
DRACO MALFOY is exactly what you would expect an eleven-year-old boy to be like if Darth Vader were his doting father.
PROFESSOR QUIRRELL is living his lifelong dream of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, or as he prefers to call his class, Battle Magic. His students are all wondering what's going to go wrong with the Defense Professor this time.
DUMBLEDORE is either insane, or playing some vastly deeper game which involved setting fire to a chicken.
DEPUTY HEADMISTRESS MINERVA MCGONAGALL needs to go off somewhere private and scream for a while.
HARRY POTTER AND THE METHODS OF RATIONALITY
You ain't guessin' where this one's going.
Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)
The only other girl at the party
is ranting about feminism. The audience:
a sea of rape jokes and snapbacks
and styrofoam cups and me. They gawk
at her mouth like it is a drain
clogged with too many opinions.
I shoot her an empathetic glance
and say nothing. This house is for
wallpaper women. What good
is wallpaper that speaks?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
whose coffee table silence
will these boys rest their feet on?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if someone takes my spot?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if everyone notices I’ve been
sitting this whole time? I am guilty
of keeping my feminism in my pocket
until it is convenient not to, like at poetry
slams or my women’s studies class.
There are days I want people to like me
more than I want to change the world.
There are days I forget we had to invent
nail polish to change color in drugged
drinks and apps to virtually walk us home
at night and mace disguised as lipstick.
Once, I told a boy I was powerful
and he told me to mind my own business.
Once, a boy accused me of practicing
misandry. You think you can take
over the world? And I said No,
I just want to see it. I just need
to know it is there for someone.
Once, my dad informed me sexism
is dead and reminded me to always
carry pepper spray in the same breath.
We accept this state of constant fear
as just another part of being a girl.
We text each other when we get home
safe and it does not occur to us that our
guy friends do not have to do the same.
You could saw a woman in half
and it would be called a magic trick.
That’s why you invited us here,
isn’t it? Because there is no show
without a beautiful assistant?
We are surrounded by boys who hang up
our naked posters and fantasize
about choking us and watch movies
we get murdered in. We are the daughters
of men who warned us about the news
and the missing girls on the milk carton
and the sharp edge of the world.
They begged us to be careful. To be safe.
Then told our brothers to go out and play.
As I brush my teeth, I scroll through my phone to see if Sabrina texted when my phone was on silent last night.
She didn’t. Damn. I was hoping my speech—and that amazing fucking kiss—might’ve changed her mind about going out with me, but I guess it didn’t.
I do, however, find the most mind-boggling conversation in the group chat I have with my roommates. All the messages are from last night, and they’re bizarre as fuck.
Garrett: The hells, D?!
Dean: It’s not what you think!!
Logan: It’s hard to mistake ur romantic bath with that giant pink thing! In ur ass!
Dean: It wasn’t in my ass!
Garrett: I’m not even going to ask where it was
Dean: I had a girl over!
Dean: I hate you guys
I rinse my mouth out, spit, and drop the toothbrush into the little cup on the sink. Then I quickly type out a text.
Me: Wait… what did I miss?
Since we have practice in twenty minutes, the guys are already awake and clearly on their phones. Two photos pop up simultaneously. Garrett and Logan have both sent me pics of pink dildos. I’m even more confused now.
Dean messages immediately with, Why do you guys have dildo pics handy?
Garrett: At Least It’s Not In My Butt.
I snort to myself, because I’m starting to piece it together.
Logan: Nice, G! U got that on the first try!
Garrett: We spend too much time 2gether.
Me: PLEASE tell me u caught D playing w/ dildos.
Logan: Sure did.
Dean is quick to object again.
I HAD A GIRL OVER!
The guys and I rag on him for a couple more minutes, but I have to stop when Fitzy stumbles into the bathroom and shoves me aside. He’s got crazy bedhead and he’s buck-naked.
“Gotta piss,” he mumbles.
“Mornin’, sunshine,” I say cheerfully. “Want me to make you some coffee?”
“God. Yes. Please.”
Chuckling, I duck out of the bathroom and walk the four or so steps into his kitchenette. When he finally emerges, I shove a cup of coffee in his hand, sip my own, and say, “Dean shoved a dildo up his ass last night.”
Fitzy nods. “Makes sense.”
I snicker mid-sip. Coffee spills over the rim of my cup. “It really does, huh?
Elle Kennedy (The Goal (Off-Campus, #4))
I’m such a negative person, and always have been. Was I born that way? I don’t know. I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good.
I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and despair. I hate most of what passes for civilization. I hate the modern world. For one thing there are just too Goddamn many people. I hate the hordes, the crowds in their vast cities, with all their hateful vehicles, their noise and their constant meaningless comings and goings. I hate cars. I hate modern architecture. Every building built after 1955 should be torn down!
I despise modern music. Words cannot express how much it gets on my nerves – the false, pretentious, smug assertiveness of it. I hate business, having to deal with money. Money is one of the most hateful inventions of the human race. I hate the commodity culture, in which everything is bought and sold. No stone is left unturned. I hate the mass media, and how passively people suck up to it.
I hate having to get up in the morning and face another day of this insanity. I hate having to eat, shit, maintain the body – I hate my body. The thought of my internal functions, the organs, digestion, the brain, the nervous system, horrify me.
Nature is horrible. It’s not cute and loveable. It’s kill or be killed. It’s very dangerous out there. The natural world is filled with scary, murderous creatures and forces. I hate the whole way that nature functions. Sex is especially hateful and horrifying, the male penetrating the female, his dick goes into her hole, she’s impregnated, another being grows inside her, and then she must go through a painful ordeal as the new being pushes out of her, only to repeat the whole process in time.
Reproduction – what could be more existentially repulsive?
How I hate the courting ritual. I was always repelled by my own sex drive, which in my youth never left me alone. I was constantly driven by frustrated desires to do bizarre and unacceptable things with and to women. My soul was in constant conflict about it. I never was able to resolve it.
Old age is the only relief.
I hate the way the human psyche works, the way we are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations. And we never ever fully succeed in this endeavor.
I hate organized religions. I hate governments. It’s all a lot of power games played out by ambition-driven people, and foisted on the weak, the poor, and on children.
Most humans are bullies. Adults pick on children. Older children pick on younger children. Men bully women. The rich bully the poor. People love to dominate.
I hate the way humans worship power – one of the most disgusting of all human traits.
I hate the human tendency towards revenge and vindictiveness. I hate the way humans are constantly trying to trick and deceive one another, to swindle, to cheat, and take unfair advantage of the innocent, the naïve and the ignorant.
I hate the vacuous, false, banal conversation that goes on among people.
Sometimes I feel suffocated; I want to flee from it.
For me, to be human is, for the most part, to hate what I am. When I suddenly realize that I am one of them, I want to scream in horror.
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go...
Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don't
Because, sometimes they won't.
I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.
And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on...
You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!
Dr. Seuss (Oh, the Places You'll Go!)
I’m kind of hoping it will end like this. You made me happy. Very happy. But…you deserve everything. Wife, kids, a white picket fence.”
“And I’ll have all of it. With you.”
“You know that can’t happen with me.”
“Then it can’t happen with anyone. There won’t be a next Rosie. And there won’t be another story like ours. This is it, Rose LeBlanc. And this is us. If there is no you, then there is no me.”
“You know, I always hated Romeo and Juliet . The play. The movie. The very idea. It was tragic, all right. Tragically stupid. I mean, they were what? Thirteen? Sixteen? What a waste of life, to kill yourself because your family wouldn’t let you get hitched. But Romeo and Juliet were right. I was the next eleven years killing myself slowly while I grieved for you. Then you came back, and I still thought it was just a fascination. But now that I know…”
“Now that I know that it can only ever be you, you’re going to get better for me so Earth won’t explode. Can you do that, Sirius? I promise not to leave this room until you get out. Not even for a shower. Not even to get you your chocolate chip cookies. I’ll get someone to drive all the way to New York and bring them for you.”
“I love you.” Rosie’s tears curtained her vision.
“I love you, Baby LeBlanc,” I said. “So fucking much. You taught me how to love. How well did I do?”
“A-plus,” she whispered. “You aced it. Can you promise me something?”
“ Live .”
“Not without you.”
“And have kids. Lots of them. They’re fun.” “Rosie…”
“I’m not afraid. I got what I wanted from this life. You .”
“I love you, Earth. You were good to me.” “Rose!”
Her eyes closed, the door opened, the sound on her monitor went off, and my heart disintegrated.
L.J. Shen (Ruckus (Sinners of Saint, #2))
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’
In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways.
We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances… and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.
This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
I closed what little distance was left between us, one hand sliding through his soft hair, the other gathering the back of his shirt into my fist. When my lips finally pressed against his, I felt something coil deep inside of me. There was nothing outside of him, not even the grating of cicadas, not even the gray-bodied trees. My heart thundered in my chest. More, more, more—a steady beat. His body relaxed under my hands, shuddering at my touch. Breathing him in wasn’t enough, I wanted to inhale him. The leather, the smoke, the sweetness. I felt his fingers counting up my bare ribs. Liam shifted his legs around mine to draw me closer.
I was off-balance on my toes; the world swaying dangerously under me as his lips traveled to my cheek, to my jaw, to where my pulse throbbed in my neck. He seemed so sure of himself, like he had already plotted out this course.
I didn’t feel it happen, the slip. Even if I had, I was so wrapped up in him that I couldn’t imagine pulling back or letting go of his warm skin or that moment. His touch was feather-light, stroking my skin with a kind of reverence, but the instant his lips found mine again, a single thought was enough to rocket me out of the honey-sweet haze.
The memory of Clancy’s face as he had leaned in to do exactly what Liam was doing now suddenly flooded my mind, twisting its way through me until I couldn’t ignore it. Until I was seeing it play out glossy and burning like it was someone else’s memory and not mine.
And then I realized—I wasn’t the only one seeing it. Liam was seeing it, too.
How, how, how? That wasn’t possible, was it? Memories flowed to me, not from me.
But I felt him grow still, then pull back. And I knew, I knew by the look on his face, that he had seen it.
Air filled my chest. “Oh my God, I’m sorry, I didn’t want—he—”
Liam caught one of my wrists and pulled me back to him, his hands cupping my cheeks. I wondered which one of us was breathing harder as he brushed my hair from my face. I tried to squirm away, ashamed of what he’d seen, and afraid of what he’d think of me.
When Liam spoke, it was in a measured, would-be-calm voice. “What did he do?”
“Don’t lie,” he begged. “Please don’t lie to me. I felt it…my whole body. God, it was like being turned to stone. You were scared—I felt it, you were scared!”
His fingers came up and wove through my hair, bringing my face close to his again. “He…” I started. “He asked to see a memory, and I let him, but when I tried to move away…I couldn’t get out, I couldn’t move, and then I blacked out. I don’t know what he did, but it hurt—it hurt so much.”
Liam pulled back and pressed his lips to my forehead. I felt the muscles in his arms strain, shake. “Go to the cabin.” He didn’t let me protest. “Start packing.”
“I’m going to find Chubs,” he said. “And the three of us are getting the hell out of here. Tonight.”
“We can’t,” I said. “You know we can’t.” But he was already crashing back through the dark path. “Lee!
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals.
What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed--run over, maimed, destroyed--but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.
Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error,a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.
There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled;it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself,I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.
If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love:
To Gaylene deceased
To Ray deceased
To Francy permanent psychosis
To Kathy permanent brain damage
To Jim deceased
To Val massive permanent brain damage
To Nancy permanent psychosis
To Joanne permanent brain damage
To Maren deceased
To Nick deceased
To Terry deceased
To Dennis deceased
To Phil permanent pancreatic damage
To Sue permanent vascular damage
To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular damage
. . . and so forth.
These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
The cases described in this section (The Fear of Being) may seem extreme, but I have become convinced that they are not as uncommon as one would think. Beneath the seemingly rational exterior of our lives is a fear of insanity. We dare not question the values by which we live or rebel against the roles we play for fear of putting our sanity into doubt. We are like the inmates of a mental institution who must accept its inhumanity and insensitivity as caring and knowledgeableness if they hope to be regarded as sane enough to leave. The question who is sane and who is crazy was the theme of the novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The question, what is sanity? was clearly asked in the play Equus.
The idea that much of what we do is insane and that if we want to be sane, we must let ourselves go crazy has been strongly advanced by R.D. Laing. In the preface to the Pelican edition of his book The Divided Self, Laing writes: "In the context of our present pervasive madness that we call normality, sanity, freedom, all of our frames of reference are ambiguous and equivocal." And in the same preface: "Thus I would wish to emphasize that our 'normal' 'adjusted' state is too often the abdication of ecstasy, the betrayal of our true potentialities; that many of us are only too successful in acquiring a false self to adapt to false realities."
Wilhelm Reich had a somewhat similar view of present-day human behavior. Thus Reich says, "Homo normalis blocks off entirely the perception of basic orgonotic functioning by means of rigid armoring; in the schizophrenic, on the other hand, the armoring practically breaks down and thus the biosystem is flooded with deep experiences from the biophysical core with which it cannot cope." The "deep experiences" to which Reich refers are the pleasurable streaming sensations associated with intense excitation that is mainly sexual in nature. The schizophrenic cannot cope with these sensations because his body is too contracted to tolerate the charge. Unable to "block" the excitation or reduce it as a neurotic can, and unable to "stand" the charge, the schizophrenic is literally "driven crazy."
But the neurotic does not escape so easily either. He avoids insanity by blocking the excitation, that is, by reducing it to a point where there is no danger of explosion, or bursting. In effect the neurotic undergoes a psychological castration. However, the potential for explosive release is still present in his body, although it is rigidly guarded as if it were a bomb. The neurotic is on guard against himself, terrified to let go of his defenses and allow his feelings free expression. Having become, as Reich calls him, "homo normalis," having bartered his freedom and ecstasy for the security of being "well adjusted," he sees the alternative as "crazy." And in a sense he is right. Without going "crazy," without becoming "mad," so mad that he could kill, it is impossible to give up the defenses that protect him in the same way that a mental institution protects its inmates from self-destruction and the destruction of others.
Alexander Lowen (Fear of Life)
There's a class of things to be afraid of: it's "those things that you should be afraid of". Those are the things that go bump in the night, right? You're always exposed to them when you go to horror movies, especially if they're not the gore type of horror movie. They're always hinting at something that's going on outside of your perceptual sphere, and they frighten you because you don't know what's out there. For that the Blair Witch Project was a really good example, because nothing ever happens in that movie but it's frightenting and not gory. It plays on the fact tht you do have a category of Those Things Of Which You Should Be Afraid. So it's a category, frightening things. And only things capable of abstraction can come up with something like the caregory of frightenting things.
And so Kali is like an embodied representation of the category of frightening things. And then you might ask yourself, well once you come up with the concept of the category of frightening things, maybe you can come up with the concept of what to do in the face of frightening things. Which is not the same as "what do you do when you encounter a lion", or "what do you do when you encounter someone angry". It's a meta question, right?
But then you could say, at a philosophical level: "You will encounter elements of the category of all those things which can frighten and undermine you during your life. Is there something that you can do *as a category* that would help you deal with that." And the answer is yeah, there is in fact. And that's what a lot of religious stories and symbolic stories are trying to propose to you, is the solution to that. One is, approach it voluntarily. Carefully, but voluntarily. Don't freeze and run away. Explore, instead. You expose yourself to risk but you gain knowledge.
And you wouldn't have a cortex which, you know, is ridiculously disproportionate, if as a species we hadn't decided that exploration trumps escape or freezing. We explore. That can make you the master of a situation, so you can be the master of something like fire without being terrified of it.
One of the things that the Hindus do in relationship to Kali, is offer sacrifices. So you can say, well why would you offer sacrifices to something you're afraid of. And it's because that is what you do, that's always what you do. You offer up sacrifices to the unknown in the hope that good things will happen to you.
One example is that you're worried about your future. Maybe you're worried about your job, or who you're going to marry, or your family, there's a whole category of things to be worried about, so you're worried about your future. SO what're you doing in university? And the answer is you're sacrificing your free time in the present, to the cosmos so to speak, in the hope that if you offer up that sacrifice properly, the future will smile upon you. And that's one of the fundamental discoveries of the human race. And it's a big deal, that discovery: by changing what you cling to in the present, you can alter the future.
Jordan B. Peterson
IT HAS TO DO WITH ALL OF US,” said Owen Meany, when I called him that night. “SHE WAS JUST LIKE OUR WHOLE COUNTRY—NOT QUITE YOUNG ANYMORE, NOT BUT OLD EITHER; A LITTLE BREATHLESS, VERY BEAUTIFUL, MAYBE A LITTLE STUPID, MAYBE A LOT SMARTER THAN SHE SEEMED. AND SHE WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING—I THINK SHE WANTED TO BE GOOD. LOOK AT THE MEN IN HER LIFE—JOE DIMAGGIO, ARTHUR MILLER, MAYBE THE KENNEDYS. LOOK AT HOW GOOD THEY SEEM! LOOK AT HOW DESIRABLE SHE WAS! THAT’S WHAT SHE WAS: SHE WAS DESIRABLE. SHE WAS FUNNY AND SEXY—AND SHE WAS VULNERABLE, TOO. SHE WAS NEVER QUITE HAPPY, SHE WAS ALWAYS A LITTLE OVERWEIGHT. SHE WAS JUST LIKE OUR WHOLE COUNTRY,” he repeated; he was on a roll. I could hear Hester playing her guitar in the background, as if she were trying to improvise a folk song from everything she said. “AND THOSE MEN,” he said. “THOSE FAMOUS, POWERFUL MEN—DID THEY REALLY LOVE HER? AND DID THEY TAKE CARE OF HER? IF SHE WAS EVER WITH THE KENNEDYS, THEY COULDN’T HAVE LOVED HER—THEY WERE JUST USING HER, THEY WERE JUST BEING CARELESS AND TREATING THEMSELVES TO A THRILL. THAT’S WHAT POWERFUL MEN DO TO THIS COUNTRY—IT’S A BEAUITFUL, SEXY, BREATHLESS COUNTRY, AND POWERFUL MEN USE IT TO TREAT THEMSELVES TO A THRILL! THEY SAY THEY LOVE IT BUT THEY DON’T MEAN IT. THEY SAY THINGS TO MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR GOOD—THEY MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR MORAL. THAT”S WHAT I THOUGHT KENNEDY WAS: A MORALIST. BUT HE WAS JUST GIVING US A SNOW JOB, HE WAS JUST BEING A GOOD SEDUCER. I THOUGHT HE WAS A SAVIOR. I THOUGHT HE WANTED TO USE HIS POWER TO DO GOOD. BUT PEOPLE WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING JUST TO GET THE POWER; THEN THEY’LL USE THE POWER JUST TO GET A THRILL. MARILYN MONROE WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE BEST MAN—MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST INTEGRITY, MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST ABILITY TO DO GOOD. AND SHE WAS SEDUCED, OVER AND OVER AGAIN—SHE GOT FOOLED, SHE WAS TRICKED, SHE GOT USED, SHE WAS USED UP. JUST LIKE THE COUNTRY. THE COUNTRY WANTS A SAVIOR. THE COUNTRY IS A SUCKER FOR POWERFUL MEN WHO LOOK GOOD. WE THINK THEY’RE MORALISTS AND THEN THEY JUST USE US. THAT'S WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU AND ME,” said Owen Meany. “WE’RE GOING TO BE USED.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
I mention all this to make the point that if you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going and keep a record of where it has been, you wouldn't choose human beings for the job.
But here's an extremely salient point: we have been chosen, by fate or Providence or whatever you wish to call it. It's an unnerving thought that we may be living the universe's supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously.
Because we are so remarkably careless about looking after things, both when alive and when not, we have no idea-- really none at all-- about how many things have died off permanently, or may soon, or may never, and what role we have played in any part of the process. In 1979, in the book The Sinking Ark, the author Norman Myers suggested that human activities were causing about two extinctions a week on the planet. By the early 1990s he had raised the figure to about some six hundred per week. (That's extinctions of all types-- plants, insects, and so on as well as animals.) Others have put the figure ever higher-- to well over a thousand a week. A United Nations report of 1995, on the other hand, put the total number of known extinctions in the last four hundred years at slightly under 500 for animals and slightly over 650 for plants-- while allowing that this was "almost certainly an underestimate," particularly with regard to tropical species. A few interpreters think most extinction figures are grossly inflated.
The fact is, we don't know. Don't have any idea. We don't know when we started doing many of the things we've done. We don't know what we are doing right now or how our present actions will affect the future. What we do know is that there is only one planet to do it on, and only one species of being capable of making a considered difference. Edward O. Wilson expressed it with unimprovable brevity in The Diversity of Life: "One planet, one experiment."
If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-- and by "we" i mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.
We have arrived at this position of eminence in a stunningly short time. Behaviorally modern human beings-- that is, people who can speak and make art and organize complex activities-- have existed for only about 0.0001 percent of Earth's history. But surviving for even that little while has required a nearly endless string of good fortune.
We really are at the beginning of it all. The trick, of course, is to make sure we never find the end. And that, almost certainly, will require a good deal more than lucky breaks.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
How do you break up with your boyfriend in a way that tells him, "I don't want to sleep with you on a regular basis anymore, but please be available for late night booty calls if I run out of other options"?
The story's so old you can't tell it anymore without everyone groaning, even your oldest friends with the last of their drinks shivering around the ice in their dirty glasses. The music playing is the same album everyone has. Those shoes, everybody has the same shoes on. It looked a little like rain so on person brought an umbrella, useless now in the starstruck clouded sky, forgotten on the way home, which is how the umbrella ended up in her place anyway. Everyone gets older on nights like this.
And still it's a fresh slap in the face of everything you had going, that precarious shelf in the shallow closet that will certainly, certainly fall someday. Photographs slipping into a crack to be found by the next tenant, that one squinter third from the left laughing at something your roommate said, the coaster from that place in the city you used to live in, gone now. A letter that seemed important for reasons you can't remember, throw it out, the entry in the address book you won't erase but won't keep when you get a new phone, let it pass and don't worry about it. You don't think about them; "I haven't thought about them in forever," you would say if anybody brought it up, and nobody does."
You think about them all the time.
Close the book but forget to turn off the light, just sit staring in bed until you blink and you're out of it, some noise on the other side of the wall reminding you you're still here. That's it, that's everything. There's no statue in the town square with an inscription with words to live by. The actor got slapped this morning by someone she loved, slapped right across the face, but there's no trace of it on any channel no matter how late you watch. How many people--really, count them up--know where you are? How many will look after you when you don't show up? The churches and train stations are creaky and the street signs, the menus, the writing on the wall, it all feels like the wrong language. Nobody, nobody knows what you're thinking of when you lean your head against the wall.
Put a sweater on when you get cold. Remind yourself, this is the night, because it is. You're free to sing what you want as you walk there, the trees rustling spookily and certainly and quietly and inimitably. Whatever shoes you want, fuck it, you're comfortable. Don't trust anyone's directions. Write what you might forget on the back of your hand, and slam down the cheap stuff and never mind the bad music from the window three floors up or what the boys shouted from the car nine years ago that keeps rattling around in your head, because you're here, you are, for the warmth of someone's wrists where the sleeve stops and the glove doesn't quite begin, and the slant of the voice on the punch line of the joke and the reflection of the moon in the water on the street as you stand still for a moment and gather your courage and take a breath before stealing away through the door. Look at it there. Take a good look. It looks like rain.
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion.
No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written.
Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market.
The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail.
Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence.
I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go.
Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor.
Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs.
Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book.
You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
A Faint Music by Robert Hass
Maybe you need to write a poem about grace.
When everything broken is broken,
and everything dead is dead,
and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,
and the heroine has studied her face and its defects
remorselessly, and the pain they thought might,
as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves
has lost its novelty and not released them,
and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,
watching the others go about their days—
likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears—
that self-love is the one weedy stalk
of every human blossoming, and understood,
therefore, why they had been, all their lives,
in such a fury to defend it, and that no one—
except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool
of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic
life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,
faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.
As in the story a friend told once about the time
he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.
Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash.
He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,
the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.
And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,”
that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.
No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch
he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,
scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp
along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word
was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise
the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs,
and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up
on the girder like a child—the sun was going down
and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket
he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing
carefully, and drove home to an empty house.
There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties
hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.
A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick
with rage and grief. He knew more or less
where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.
They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears
in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,”
she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights,
a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.
“You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?”
“Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now,
“I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while—
Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall—
and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more,
and go to sleep.
And he, he would play that scene
once only, once and a half, and tell himself
that he was going to carry it for a very long time
and that there was nothing he could do
but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened
to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark
cracking and curling as the cold came up.
It’s not the story though, not the friend
leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,”
which is the part of stories one never quite believes.
I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps—
First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)
GO BACK TO DALLAS!” the man sitting somewhere behind us yelled again, and the hold Aiden still had on the back of my neck tightened imperceptibly.
“Don’t bother, Van,” he demanded, pokerfaced.
“I’m not going to say anything,” I said, even as I reached up with the hand furthest away from him and put it behind my head, extending my middle finger in hopes that the idiot yelling would see it.
Those brown eyes blinked. “You just flipped him off, didn’t you?”
Yeah, my mouth dropped open. “How do you know when I do that?” My tone was just as astonished as it should be.
“I know everything.” He said it like he really believed it.
I groaned and cast him a long look. “You really want to play this game?”
“I play games for a living, Van.”
I couldn’t stand him sometimes. My eyes crossed in annoyance. “When is my birthday?”
He stared at me.
“March third, Muffin.”
What in the hell?
“See?” he mocked me.
Who was this man and where was the Aiden I knew?
“How old am I?” I kept going hesitantly.
“How do you know this?” I asked him slowly.
“I pay attention,” The Wall of Winnipeg stated.
I was starting to think he was right.
Then, as if to really seal the deal I didn’t know was resting between us, he said, “You like waffles, root beer, and Dr. Pepper. You only drink light beer. You put cinnamon in your coffee. You eat too much cheese. Your left knee always aches. You have three sisters I hope I never meet and one brother. You were born in El Paso. You’re obsessed with your work. You start picking at the corner of your eye when you feel uncomfortable or fool around with your glasses. You can’t see things up close, and you’re terrified of the dark.” He raised those thick eyebrows. “Anything else?”
Yeah, I only managed to say one word. “No.” How did he know all this stuff? How? Unsure of how I was feeling, I coughed and started to reach up to mess with my glasses before I realized what I was doing and snuck my hand under my thigh, ignoring the knowing look on Aiden’s dumb face. “I know a lot about you too. Don’t think you’re cool or special.”
“I know, Van.” His thumb massaged me again for all of about three seconds. “You know more about me than anyone else does.”
A sudden memory of the night in my bed where he’d admitted his fear as a kid pecked at my brain, relaxing me, making me smile. “I really do, don’t I?”
The expression on his face was like he was torn between being okay with the idea and being completely against it.
Leaning in close to him again, I winked. “I’m taking your love of MILF porn to the grave with me, don’t worry.”
He stared at me, unblinking, unflinching. And then: “I’ll cut the power at the house when you’re in the shower,” he said so evenly, so crisply, it took me a second to realize he was threatening me…
And when it finally did hit me, I burst out laughing, smacking his inner thigh without thinking twice about it. “Who does that?”
Aiden Graves, husband of mine, said it, “Me.”
Then the words were out of my mouth before I could control them. “And you know what I’ll do? I’ll go sneak into bed with you, so ha.”
What the hell had I just said? What in the ever-loving hell had I just said?
“If you think I’m supposed to be scared…” He leaned forward so our faces were only a couple of inches away. The hand on my neck and the finger pads lining the back of my ear stayed where they were. “I’m not
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
The all-powerful Zahir seemed to be born with every human being and to gain full strength in childhood, imposing rules that would thereafter always be respected:
People who are different are dangerous; they belong to another tribe; they want our lands and our women.
We must marry, have children, reproduce the species.
Love is only a small thing, enough for one person, and any suggestion that the heart might be larger than this may seem perverse.
When we are married we are authorised to take possession of the other person, body and soul.
We must do jobs we detest because we are part of an organised society, and if everyone did what they wanted to do, the world would come to a standstill.
We must buy jewelry; it identifies us with our tribe.
We must be amusing at all times and sneer at those who express their real feelings; it's dangerous for a tribe to allow its members to show their feelings.
We must at all costs avoid saying no because people prefer those who always say yes, and this allows us to survive in hostile territory.
What other people think is more important than what we feel.
Never make a fuss--it might attract the attention of an enemy tribe.
If you behave differently you will be expelled from the tribe because you could infect others and destroy something that was extremely difficult to organise in the first place.
We must always consider the look of our new cave, and if we don't have a clear idea of our own, then we must call a decorator who will do his best to show others what good taste we have.
We must eat three meals a day, even if we're not hungry, and when we fail to fit the current ideal of beauty we must fast, even if we're starving.
We must dress according to the dictates of fashion, make love whether we feel like it or not, kill in the name of our country, wish time away so that retirement comes more quickly, elect politicians, complain about the cost of living, change our hair-style, criticise anyone who is different, go to a religious service on Sunday, Saturday or Friday, depending on our religion, and there beg forgiveness for our sins and puff ourselves up with pride because we know the truth and despise he other tribe, who worship false gods.
Our children must follow in our footsteps; after all we are older and know more about the world.
We must have a university degree even if we never get a job in the area of knowledge we were forced to study.
We must never make our parents sad, even if this means giving up everything that makes us happy.
We must play music quietly, talk quietly, weep in private, because I am the all-powerful Zahir, who lays down the rules and determines the meaning of success, the best way to love, the importance of rewards.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
The Tomorrow Man theory. It’s pretty basic. Today, right here, you are who you are. Tomorrow, you will be who you will be. Each and every night, we lie down to die, and each morning we arise, reborn. Now, those who are in good spirits, with strong mental health, they look out for their Tomorrow Man. They eat right today, they drink right today, they go to sleep early today–all so that Tomorrow Man, when he awakes in his bed reborn as Today Man, thanks Yesterday Man. He looks upon him fondly as a child might a good parent. He knows that someone–himself–was looking out for him. He feels cared for, and respected. Loved, in a word. And now he has a legacy to pass on to his subsequent selves…. But those who are in a bad way, with poor mental health, they constantly leave these messes for Tomorrow Man to clean up. They eat whatever the hell they want, drink like the night will never end, and then fall asleep to forget. They don’t respect Tomorrow Man because they don’t think through the fact that Tomorrow Man will be them. So then they wake up, new Today Man, groaning at the disrespect Yesterday Man showed them. Wondering why does that guy–myself–keep punishing me? But they never learn and instead come to settle for that behavior, eventually learning to ask and expect nothing of themselves. They pass along these same bad habits tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and it becomes psychologically genetic, like a curse. Looking at you now, Maven, I can see exactly where you fall on this spectrum. You are a man constantly trying to fix today what Yesterday Man did to you. You make up your bed, you clean those dirty dishes from the night before, and pledge not to start drinking until six, thinking that’s the way to keep an even keel. But in reality you’re always playing catch-up. I know this because I’ve been there. The thing is–you can’t fix the mistakes of Yesterday. Yesterday Man is dead, he’s gone forever, and blame and atonement aren’t worth a damn. What you can do is help yourself today. Eat a vegetable. Read a book. Cut that hair of yours. Leave Tomorrow Man something more than a headache and a jam-packed colon. Do for Tomorrow Man what you would have wanted Yesterday Man to do for you.
Stephen had been put to sleep in his usual room, far from children and noise, away in that corner of the house which looked down to the orchard and the bowling-green, and in spite of his long absence it was so familiar to him that when he woke at about three he made his way to the window almost as quickly as if dawn had already broken, opened it and walked out onto the balcony. The moon had set: there was barely a star to be seen. The still air was delightfully fresh with falling dew, and a late nightingale, in an indifferent voice, was uttering a routine jug-jug far down in Jack's plantations; closer at hand and more agreeable by far, nightjars churred in the orchard, two of them, or perhaps three, the sound rising and falling, intertwining so that the source could not be made out for sure. There were few birds that he preferred to nightjars, but it was not they that had brought him out of bed: he stood leaning on the balcony rail and presently Jack Aubrey, in a summer-house by the bowling-green, began again, playing very gently in the darkness, improvising wholly for himself, dreaming away on his violin with a mastery that Stephen had never heard equalled, though they had played together for years and years.
Like many other sailors Jack Aubrey had long dreamed of lying in his warm bed all night long; yet although he could now do so with a clear conscience he often rose at unChristian hours, particularly if he were moved by strong emotion, and crept from his bedroom in a watch-coat, to walk about the house or into the stables or to pace the bowling-green. Sometimes he took his fiddle with him. He was in fact a better player than Stephen, and now that he was using his precious Guarnieri rather than a robust sea-going fiddle the difference was still more evident: but the Guarnieri did not account for the whole of it, nor anything like. Jack certainly concealed his excellence when they were playing together, keeping to Stephen's mediocre level: this had become perfectly clear when Stephen's hands were at last recovered from the thumb-screws and other implements applied by French counter-intelligence officers in Minorca; but on reflexion Stephen thought it had been the case much earlier, since quite apart from his delicacy at that period, Jack hated showing away.
Now, in the warm night, there was no one to be comforted, kept in countenance, no one could scorn him for virtuosity, and he could let himself go entirely; and as the grave and subtle music wound on and on, Stephen once more contemplated on the apparent contradiction between the big, cheerful, florid sea-officer whom most people liked on sight but who would have never been described as subtle or capable of subtlety by any one of them (except perhaps his surviving opponents in battle) and the intricate, reflective music he was now creating. So utterly unlike his limited vocabulary in words, at times verging upon the inarticulate.
'My hands have now regained the moderate ability they possessed before I was captured,' observed Maturin, 'but his have gone on to a point I never thought he could reach: his hands and his mind. I am amazed. In his own way he is the secret man of the world.
Patrick O'Brian (The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, #17))
Your life is beautiful.
I see nothing especially lovely about it. [He looks at his watch] Excuse me, I must go at once, and begin writing again. I am in a hurry. [He laughs] You have stepped on my pet corn, as they say, and I am getting excited, and a little cross. Let us discuss this bright and beautiful life of mine, though. [After a few moments' thought] Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman? Should I not be treated by those who know me as one mentally diseased? Yet it is always the same, same old story, till I begin to think that all this praise and admiration must be a deception, that I am being hoodwinked because they know I am crazy, and I sometimes tremble lest I should be grabbed from behind and whisked off to a lunatic asylum. The best years of my youth were made one continual agony for me by my writing. A young author, especially if at first he does not make a success, feels clumsy, ill-at-ease, and superfluous in the world. His nerves are all on edge and stretched to the point of breaking; he is irresistibly attracted to literary and artistic people, and hovers about them unknown and unnoticed, fearing to look them bravely in the eye, like a man with a passion for gambling, whose money is all gone. I did not know my readers, but for some reason I imagined they were distrustful and unfriendly; I was mortally afraid of the public, and when my first play appeared, it seemed to me as if all the dark eyes in the audience were looking at it with enmity, and all the blue ones with cold indifference. Oh, how terrible it was! What agony!
Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
The writing grew suddenly blurred and misty. And she had lost him again--had lost him again! At the sight of the familiar childish nickname all the hopelessness of her bereavement came over her afresh, and she put out her hands in blind desperation, as though the weight of the earth-clods that lay above him were pressing on her heart.
Presently she took up the paper again and went on reading:
"I am to be shot at sunrise to-morrow. So if I am to keep at all my promise to tell you everything, I must keep it now. But, after all, there is not much need of explanations between you and me. We always understood each other without many words, even when we were little things.
"And so, you see, my dear, you had no need to break your heart over that old story of the blow. It was a hard hit, of course; but I have had plenty of others as hard, and yet I have managed to get over them,--even to pay back a few of them,--and here I am still, like the mackerel in our nursery-book (I forget its name), 'Alive and kicking, oh!' This is my last kick, though; and then, tomorrow morning, and--'Finita la Commedia!' You and I will translate that: 'The variety show is over'; and will give thanks to the gods that they have had, at least, so much mercy on us. It is not much, but it is something; and for this and all other blessings may we be truly thankful!
"About that same tomorrow morning, I want both you and Martini to understand clearly that I am quite happy and satisfied, and could ask no better thing of Fate. Tell that to Martini as a message from me; he is a good fellow and a good comrade, and he will understand. You see, dear, I know that the stick-in-the-mud people are doing us a good turn and themselves a bad one by going back to secret trials and executions so soon, and I know that if you who are left stand together steadily and hit hard, you will see great things. As for me, I shall go out into the courtyard with as light a heart as any child starting home for the holidays. I have done my share of the work, and this death-sentence is the proof that I have done it thoroughly. They kill me because they are afraid of me; and what more can any man's heart desire?
"It desires just one thing more, though. A man who is going to die has a right to a personal fancy, and mine is that you should see why I have always been such a sulky brute to you, and so slow to forget old scores. Of course, though, you understand why, and I tell you only for the pleasure of writing the words. I loved you, Gemma, when you were an ugly little girl in a gingham frock, with a scratchy tucker and your hair in a pig-tail down your back; and I love you still. Do you remember that day when I kissed your hand, and when you so piteously begged me 'never to do that again'? It was a scoundrelly trick to play, I know; but you must forgive that; and now I kiss the paper where I have written your name. So I have kissed you twice, and both times without your consent.
"That is all. Good-bye, my dear"
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live
Or if I die
Ethel Lilian Voynich
Did you ever get fed up?" I said. "I mean did you ever get scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did something? I mean do you like school and all that stuff?"
"It's a terrific bore."
"I mean do you hate it? I know it's a terrific bore, but do you hate it, is what I mean."
"Well, I don't exactly hate it. You always have to--"
"Well, I hate it. Boy, do I hate it," I said. "But it isn't just that. It's everything. I hate living in New York and all. Taxicabs, and Madison Avenue buses, with the drivers and all always yelling at you to get out at the rear door, and being introduced to phony guys that call the Lunts angels, and going up and down in elevators when you just want to go outside, and guys fitting your pants all the time at Brooks, and people always--"
"Don't shout, please," old Sally said. Which was very funny, because I wasn't even shouting.
"Take cars," I said. I said it in this very quiet voice. "Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake. A horse you can at least--"
"I don't know what you're even talking about," old Sally said. "You jump from one--"
"You know something?" I said. You're probably the only reason I'm in New York right now, or anywhere. If you weren't around, I'd probably be someplace way the hell off. In the woods or some goddam place. You're the only reason I'm around, practically."
"You're sweet," she said. But you could tell she wanted me to change the damn subject.
"You ought to go to a boys' school sometime. Try it sometime," I said. "It's full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques. The guys that are on the basketball team stuck together, the Catholics stick together, the guys that play bridge stick together. Even the guys that belong to the goddam Book-of-the-Month Club stick together. If you try to have a little intelligent--"
"Now, listen," old Sally said. "Lots of boys get more out of school that that."
"I agree! I agree they do, some of them! But that's all I get out of it. See? That's my point. That's exactly my goddamn point," I said. "I don't get hardly anything out of anything. I'm in bad shape. I'm in lousy shape."
"You certainly are.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation.
you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser.
do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on.
do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.
this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.
the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.
avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
My little brother's greatest fear was that the one person who meant so much to him would go away. He loved Lindsey and Grandma Lynn and Samuel and Hal, but my father kept him stepping lightly, son gingerly monitoring father every morning and every evening as if, without such vigilance, he would lose him.
We stood- the dead child and the living- on either side of my father, both wanting the same thing. To have him to ourselves forver. To please us both was an impossibility.
'Please don't let Daddy die, Susie,' he whispered. 'I need him.'
When I left my brother, I walked out past the gazebo and under the lights hanging down like berries, and I saw the brick paths branching out as I advanced.
I walked until the bricks turned to flat stones and then to small, sharp rocks and then to nothing but churned earth for miles adn miles around me. I stood there. I had been in heaven long enough to know that something would be revealed. And as the light began to fade and the sky to turn a dark, sweet blue as it had on the night of my death, I saw something walking into view, so far away I could not at first make out if it was man or woman, child or adult. But as moonlight reached this figure I could make out a man and, frightened now, my breathing shallow, I raced just far enough to see. Was it my father? Was it what I had wanted all this time so deperately?
'Susie,' the man said as I approached and then stopped a few feet from where he stood. He raised his arms up toward me.
'Remember?' he said.
I found myself small again, age six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet.
'Granddaddy,' I said.
And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet.
'Granddaddy,' I said.
And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and he was fifty-six and my father had taken us to visit. We danced so slowly to a song that on Earth had always made my grandfather cry.
'Do you remember?' he asked.
'Adagio for Strings,' he said.
But as we danced and spun- none of the herky-jerky awkwardness of Earth- what I remembered was how I'd found him crying to this music and asked him why.
'Sometimes you cry,' Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time.' He had held me against him then, just briefly, and then I had run outside to play again with Lindsey in what seemed like my grandfather's huge backyard.
We didn't speak any more that night, but we danced for hours in that timeless blue light. I knew as we danced that something was happening on Earth and in heaven. A shifting. The sort of slow-to-sudden movement that we'd read about in science class one year. Seismic, impossible, a rending and tearing of time and space. I pressed myself into my grandfather's chest and smelled the old-man smell of him, the mothball version of my own father, the blood on Earth, the sky in heaven. The kumquat, skunk, grade-A tobacco.
When the music stopped, it cold have been forever since we'd begun. My grandfateher took a step back, and the light grew yellow at his back.
'I'm going,' he said.
'Where?' I asked.
'Don't worry, sweetheart. You're so close.'
He turned and walked away, disappearing rapidly into spots and dust. Infinity.
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.
Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective.
Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity.
Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people.
The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault.
As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses.
There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination.
Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing.
My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor.
A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor).
In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time.
To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly.
Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow.
The less you do, the more you will accomplish.
Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed.
Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader.
The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees.
A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.
The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership.
Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong.
Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded.
Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage.
Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act.
Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk.
You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)