Exceptional Work Quotes

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There is no secret to success except hard work and getting something indefinable which we call 'the breaks.
Countee Cullen
That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. You can't control life, at least you can control your version.
Chuck Palahniuk (Stranger than Fiction)
We can buy you one of those books they have for little kids 'Timmy Has Two Dads'. Except I don't think they have one called 'Timmy Has Two Dads and One of Them Was Evil'. That part you're just going to have to work through on your own.
Cassandra Clare (City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4))
I never want to be away from you again, except at work, in the restroom or when one of us is at a movie the other does not want to see.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events))
We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled. Listen to no one except the two smartest and kindest adults you know, and that doesn't always mean your parents. If you do that, you will be fine.
Mindy Kaling (Why Not Me?)
Love is the kind of thing that's already happening by the time you notice it, that's how it works, and no matter how old you get, that doesn't change. Except that you can break it up into two entirely distinct types -- love where there's an end in sight and love where there isn't.
Banana Yoshimoto (Goodbye Tsugumi)
The process begins with the individual woman’s acceptance that American women, without exception, are socialized to be racist, classist and sexist, in varying degrees, and that labeling ourselves feminists does not change the fact that we must consciously work to rid ourselves of the legacy of negative socialization.
bell hooks (Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism)
Aslan's instructions always work; there are no exceptions.
C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia, #4))
Everything seems to be working." Except me. I'm broken.
Julie Anne Peters (By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead)
Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people, and finally I did on the open road. We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
No one expected you to amount to much," she told me. "Lori was the smart one, Maureen the pretty one, and Brian the brave one. You never had much going for you except that you always worked hard.
Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
Yes. What is it, guilt, revenge, love, what?” I swallowed. “I live alone.” "And your point is?” "You have the Pack. You’re surrounded by people who would fall over themselves for the pleasure of your company. I have no one. My parents are dead, my entire family is gone. I have no friends. Except Jim, and that’s more of a working relationship than anything else. I have no lover. I can’t even have a pet, because I’m not at the house often enough to keep it from starving. When I come crawling home, bleeding and filthy and exhausted, the house is dark and empty. Nobody keeps the porch light on for me. Nobody hugs me and says, ‘Hey, I’m glad you made it. I’m glad you’re okay. I was worried.’ Nobody cares if I live or die. Nobody makes me coffee, nobody holds me before I go to bed, nobody fixes my medicine when I’m sick. I’m by myself.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2))
All the natural movements of the soul are controlled by laws analogous to those of physical gravity. Grace is the only exception. Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void. The imagination is continually at work filling up all the fissures through which grace might pass.
Simone Weil (Gravity and Grace)
Important safety tip with most of the spiritual world: if you ignore it, it has less power. This does not work with demons or other demi-beings. Other exceptions to the rule are vampires, zombies, ghouls, lycanthropes, witches...Oh, hell, ignoring only works for ghosts.
Laurell K. Hamilton (The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #2))
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with visions of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lay your head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn't plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
Nothing can work damage to me except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me and never am a real sufferer except by my own fault.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
As far as I knew white women were never lonely, except in books. White men adored them, Black men desired them and Black women worked for them.
Maya Angelou
Son,'he said,' ye cannot in your present state understand eternity...That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why...the Blessed will say "We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, "We were always in Hell." And both will speak truly.
C.S. Lewis (The Great Divorce)
people had been working for so many years to make the world a safe, organized place. nobody realized how boring it would become. with the whole world property-lined and speed-limited and zoned and taxed and regulated, with everyone tested and registered and addressed and recorded. nobody had left much room for adventure, except maybe the kind you could buy. on a roller coaster. at a movie. still, it would always be that kind of faux excitement. you know the dinosaurs aren't going to eat the kids. the test audiences have outvoted any chance of even a major faux disaster. and because there's no possibility of real disaster, real risk, we're left with no chance for real salvation. real elation. real excitement. Joy. Discovery. Invention. the laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom. without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace.
Chuck Palahniuk (Asfixia)
The life of a writer is absolute hell compared to the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him...A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
Roald Dahl
There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.
Henry Ford
Real change will come when powerful women are less of an exception. It is easy to dislike senior women because there are so few.
Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead)
I felt no shame in these activities, because I understood what almost no one else seemed to grasp: that there was only an infinitesimal difference, a difference so small that it barely existed except as a figment of the human imagination, between working in a tall green glass building on Park Avenue and collecting litter in a park. In fact, there may have been no difference at all.
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad)
The weirder you're going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.
P.J. O'Rourke
Two or three times a year, set aside four days, away from work, family, and technology, to check in with yourself, gain perspective, daydream, and evaluate your life.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
And no one ever told me about the laziness of grief. Except at my job--where the machine seems to run on much as usual--I loathe the slightest effort. Not only writing but even reading a letter is too much.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Every artist is linked to a mistake with which he has a particular intimacy. All art draws its origin from an exceptional fault, each work is the implementation of this original fault, from which comes a risky plenitude and new light.
Maurice Blanchot
I don't do my work for any kind of group in particular, except for hobos, who just plain kick ass and light up my life.
Jhonen Vásquez
The war against working people should be understood to be a real war…. Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class…. And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don’t want anybody else to know about it.
Noam Chomsky
Use them with care, and use them with respect as to the transformations they can achieve, and you have an extraordinary research tool. Go banging about with a psychedelic drug for a Saturday night turn-on, and you can get into a really bad place, psychologically. Know what you're using, decide just why you're using it, and you can have a rich experience. They're not addictive, and they're certainly not escapist, either, but they're exceptionally valuable tools for understanding the human mind, and how it works.
Alexander Shulgin (Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story)
I saw that to do exceptionally well you have to push your limits and that, if you push your limits, you will crash and it will hurt a lot. You will think you have failed—but that won’t be true unless you give up.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
The unfortunate thing about working for yourself is that you have the worst boss in the world. I work every day of the year except at Christmas, when I work a half day.
David Eddings
I glared so hard I feared my face would get stuck that way. “If you ever try anything like that again, I will stab you in the foot, Thomas Cresswell.” “Ah. There’s something about you saying my name that sounds like a blessed curse,” he said. “If you can work up a good hand gesture to go along with it, that’d be exceptional.
Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1))
Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren't so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.
Michael E. Gerber (The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It)
I've noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my thirty years of teaching: schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. This is a great mystery to me because thousands of humane, caring people work in schools as teachers and aides and administrators, but the abstract logic of the institution overwhelms their individual contributions. Although teachers to care and do work very, very hard, the institution is psychopathic -- it has no conscience. It rings a bell and the young man in the middle of writing a poem must close his notebook and move to a different cell where he must memorize that humans and monkeys derive from a common ancestor.
John Taylor Gatto (Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling)
Contrary to what you may have heard from Henry Rollins or/and Ian MacKaye and/or anyone else who joined a band after working in an ice cream shop, you can't really learn much about a person based on what kind of music they happen to like. As a personality test, it doesn't work even half the time. However, there is at least one thing you can learn: The most wretched people in the word are those who tell you they like every kind of music 'except country.' People who say that are boorish and pretentious at the same time.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
She liked to imagine that when she passed, the world looked after her, but she also knew how anonymous she was. Except when she was at work, no one knew where she was at any time of day and no one waited for her. It was immaculate anonymity.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood,the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work.
Oscar A. Romero (The Violence of Love)
I was not meant to live anywhere except in Paradise. Such, simply, was my genetic inadaptation. Here on earth every prick of a rose-thorn changed into a wound. When the sun hid behind a cloud, I grieved. I pretended to work like others from morning to evening, but I was absent, dedicated to invisible countries.
Czesław Miłosz
The Orient and Islam have a kind of extrareal, phenomenologically reduced status that puts them out of reach of everyone except the Western expert. From the beginning of Western speculation about the Orient, the one thing th orient could not do was to represent itself. Evidence of the Orient was credible only after it had passed through and been made firm by the refining fire of the Orientalist’s work.
Edward W. Said (Orientalism)
This is mad,” said Ron. “We’re the only ones left who haven’t got anyone — well, except Neville. Hey — guess who he asked? Hermione!” “What?” said Harry, completely distracted by this startling news. “Yeah, I know!” said Ron, some of the color coming back into his face as he started to laugh. “He told me after Potions! Said she’s always been really nice, helping him out with work and stuff — but she told him she was already going with someone. Ha! As if! She just didn’t want to go with Neville...I mean, who would?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
The "show business," which is so incorporated into our view of Christian work today, has caused us to drift far from Our Lord's conception of discipleship. It is instilled in us to think that we have to do exceptional things for God; we have not. We have to be exceptional in ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, surrounded by sordid sinners. That is not learned in five minutes.
Oswald Chambers
Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man's independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn't done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
At least I was true. My intellectual abilities gave me a release, and an excuse. I shunned company because I preferred books; and the dreams I confided to my father were of becoming a scholar in good earnest, and going to University. It was unheard-of several shocked governesses were only too quick to tell me, when I spoke a little too boldly -- but my father nodded and smiled and said, 'We'll see.' Since I believed my father could do anything -- except of course make me pretty -- I worked and studied with passionate dedication, lived in hope, and avoided society and mirrors.
Robin McKinley (Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast)
Landscape Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that they have no tongues, could lecture all day if they wanted about spiritual patience? Isn't it clear the black oaks along the path are standing as though they were the most fragile of flowers? Every morning I walk like this around the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart ever close, I am as good as dead. Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now the crows break off from the rest of the darkness and burst up into the sky—as though all night they had thought of what they would like their lives to be, and imagined their strong, thick wings.
Mary Oliver (Dream Work)
Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: that what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or marry a disk jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of deliverance no proof against its magic, what else?
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
There's nothing of any importance in life - except how well you do your work. Nothing. Only that. Whatever else you are, will come from that. It's the only measure of human value. All the codes of ethics they'll try to ram down your throat are just so much paper money put out by swindlers to fleece people of their virtues. The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Nothing ever comes to me, that is worth having, except as the result of hard work.
Booker T. Washington
We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It's so clear, you see, that if we're to begin living in the present, we must first of all redeem our past and then be done with it forever. And the only way we can redeem our past is by suffering and by giving ourselves over to exceptional labor, to steadfast and endless labor.
Anton Chekhov (The Cherry Orchard)
With you away, it is as if all the letters in my life are scrambled into an anagram, and I will not be able to put all the letters in order and make sense of anything until you return. I never want to be apart from you again, Beatrice, except in the restroom, at work, and when one of us is at a movie that the other does not want to see.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events))
It ain't that you get religion. Religion gets you and then milks you dry. Won't let you drink a little whiskey. Won't let you make no fat-assed girls grin and giggle. Won't let you do a damn thing except work for what you'll get in the hearafter. I live in the here and now.
Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina)
I would not know what to say to you, except this: there was never a map that got it all right, and truth and beauty were never married to one another for long.
Reif Larsen (The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet)
There's always something to do if you don't have to work or consider the cost. It's no real fun but the rich don't know that. They never had any. They never want anything very hard except maybe somebody else's wife and that's a pretty pale desire compared with the way a plumber's wife wants new curtains for the living room.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye)
When you have two people who love each other, are happy and gay and really good work is being done by one or both of them, people are drawn to them as surely as migrating birds are drawn at night to a powerful beacon. If the two people were as solidly constructed as the beacon there would be little damage except to the birds. Those who attract people by their happiness and their performance are usually inexperienced. They do not know how not to be overrun and how to go away. They do not always learn about the good, the attractive, the charming, the soon-beloved, the generous, the understanding rich who have no bad qualities and who give each day the quality of a festival and who, when they have passed and taken the nourishment they needed, leave everything deader than the roots of any grass Attila's horses' hooves have ever scoured.
Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast)
To quote the exceptional teacher Marva Collins, "I will is more important than IQ." It is wonderful to have a terrific mind, but it's been my experience that having outstanding intelligence is a very small part of the total package that leads to success and happiness. Discipline, hard work, perserverance, and generosity of spirit are, in the final analysis, far more important.
Rafe Esquith (There Are No Shortcuts)
If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen. The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to be meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
For example, highly sensitive people tend to be keen observers who look before they leap. They arrange their lives in ways that limit surprises. They're often sensitive to sights, sounds, smells, pain, coffee. They have difficulty when being observed (at work, say, or performing at a music recital) or judged for general worthiness (dating, job interviews). But there are new insights. The highly sensitive tend to be philosophical or spiritual in their orientation, rather than materialistic or hedonistic. They dislike small talk. They often describe themselves as creative or intuitive (just as Aron's husband had described her). They dream vividly, and can often recall their dreams the next day. They love music, nature, art, physical beauty. They feel exceptionally strong emotions -- sometimes acute bouts of joy, but also sorrow, melancholy, and fear. Highly sensitive people also process information about their environments -- both physical and emotional -- unusually deeply. They tend to notice subtleties that others miss -- another person's shift in mood, say, or a lightbulb burning a touch too brightly.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
We are not taught "love thy neighbor unless their skin is a different color from yours " or "love thy neighbor unless they don't make money as you do" or "love thy neighbor unless they don't share your belies." We are taught "love thy neighbor". No exceptions. We are all in this together - every single one of us. And the only way we are going to survive as a society is through compassion. A Great Community does not mean we all think the same things or do the same things. It simply means we are willing to work together and are willing to love despite our differences.
David Levithan (Wide Awake)
I dislike interaction. The less I say the better I feel. I was naturally a loner. I didn’t want conversation, or to goanywhere. I didn’t understand other people who wanted to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I was drawn to all the wrong things: I was lazy , I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non - being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone. Relationships never worked with me. I alwayslost interest. I simply disliked people, crowds, anywhere, except at my readings.
Charles Bukowski
Every morning the maple leaves. Every morning another chapter where the hero shifts from one foot to the other. Every morning the same big and little words all spelling out desire, all spelling out You will be alone always and then you will die. So maybe I wanted to give you something more than a catalog of non-definitive acts, something other than the desperation. Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I couldn’t come to your party. Dear So-and-So, I’m sorry I came to your party and seduced you and left you bruised and ruined, you poor sad thing. You want a better story. Who wouldn’t? A forest, then. Beautiful trees. And a lady singing. Love on the water, love underwater, love, love and so on. What a sweet lady. Sing lady, sing! Of course, she wakes the dragon. Love always wakes the dragon and suddenly flames everywhere. I can tell already you think I’m the dragon, that would be so like me, but I’m not. I’m not the dragon. I’m not the princess either. Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure, I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow glass, but that comes later. Let me do it right for once, for the record, let me make a thing of cream and stars that becomes, you know the story, simply heaven. Inside your head you hear a phone ringing and when you open your eyes only a clearing with deer in it. Hello deer. Inside your head the sound of glass, a car crash sound as the trucks roll over and explode in slow motion. Hello darling, sorry about that. Sorry about the bony elbows, sorry we lived here, sorry about the scene at the bottom of the stairwell and how I ruined everything by saying it out loud. Especially that, but I should have known. Inside your head you hear a phone ringing, and when you open your eyes you’re washing up in a stranger’s bathroom, standing by the window in a yellow towel, only twenty minutes away from the dirtiest thing you know. All the rooms of the castle except this one, says someone, and suddenly darkness, suddenly only darkness. In the living room, in the broken yard, in the back of the car as the lights go by. In the airport bathroom’s gurgle and flush, bathed in a pharmacy of unnatural light, my hands looking weird, my face weird, my feet too far away. I arrived in the city and you met me at the station, smiling in a way that made me frightened. Down the alley, around the arcade, up the stairs of the building to the little room with the broken faucets, your drawings, all your things, I looked out the window and said This doesn’t look that much different from home, because it didn’t, but then I noticed the black sky and all those lights. We were inside the train car when I started to cry. You were crying too, smiling and crying in a way that made me even more hysterical. You said I could have anything I wanted, but I just couldn’t say it out loud. Actually, you said Love, for you, is larger than the usual romantic love. It’s like a religion. It’s terrifying. No one will ever want to sleep with you. Okay, if you’re so great, you do it— here’s the pencil, make it work … If the window is on your right, you are in your own bed. If the window is over your heart, and it is painted shut, then we are breathing river water. Dear Forgiveness, you know that recently we have had our difficulties and there are many things I want to ask you. I tried that one time, high school, second lunch, and then again, years later, in the chlorinated pool. I am still talking to you about help. I still do not have these luxuries. I have told you where I’m coming from, so put it together. I want more applesauce. I want more seats reserved for heroes. Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you. Quit milling around the yard and come inside.
Richard Siken
The rocket worked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet.
Wernher von Braun
It's only those exceptional and rare individuals who have brilliant ideas delivered to them by the muse, complete and gift wrapped. The rest of us have to work at it.
Alan Moore
When we’re constantly stuck in our screens, we’re missing out on what’s happening around us and within us.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
I think deeply about things and want others to do likewise. I work for ideas and learn from people. I don’t like excluding people. I’m a perfectionist, but I won’t let that get in the way of publication. Except for education and entertainment, I’m not going to waste my time on things that won’t have an impact. I try to be friends with everyone, but I hate it when you don’t take me seriously. I don’t hold grudges, it’s not productive, but I learn from my experience. I want to make the world a better place.
Aaron Swartz
There is no bleaker moment in life of the city than that one which crosses the boundary lines between those who have not slept all night and those who are going to work. It was for Sabina as if two races of men and women lived on earth, the night people and the day people, never meeting face to face except at this moment.
Anaïs Nin (A Spy in the House of Love (Cities of the Interior, #4))
Because the truth is, I wouldn’t care if she lied to me, except for the fact that I love her. And once you love someone, you can’t really put up with them lying to you. It just doesn’t work. It makes things into a big mess.
Lauren Barnholdt (The Thing About the Truth)
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art. LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN. I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.* Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.
Lana Del Rey
In an age when nations and individuals routinely exchange murder for murder, when the healing grace of authentic spirituality is usurped by the divisive politics of religious organizations, and when broken hearts bleed pain in darkness without the relief of compassion, the voice of an exceptional poet producing exceptional work is not something the world can afford to dismiss.
Aberjhani (The American Poet Who Went Home Again)
Grant, O Lord my God, that I may never fall away in success or in failure; that I may not be prideful in prosperity nor dejected in adversity. Let me rejoice only in what unites us and sorrow only in what separates us. May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself. May I see always the things that are eternal and never those that are only temporal. May I shun any joy that is without You and never seek any that is beside You. O Lord, may I delight in any work I do for You and tire of any rest that is apart from You. My God, let me direct my heart towards You, and in my failings, always repent with a purpose of amendment.
Thomas Aquinas
It is usual to speak in a playfully apologetic tone about one’s adult enjoyment of what are called ‘children’s books’. I think the convention a silly one. No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally (and often far more) worth reading at the age of fifty – except, of course, books of information. The only imaginative works we ought to grow out of are those which it would have been better not to have read at all.
C.S. Lewis (Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories)
No, I'm not afraid, except when it comes to things about myself, but I'm working on that.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
don’t believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have re- belled long ago! There’s a destructive urge in people, the urge to rage, murder and kill. And until all of humanity, without exception, undergoes a metamorphosis, wars will continue to be waged, and everything that has been carefully built up, cultivated and grown will be cut down and destroyed, only to start allover again!
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
Bees will not work except in darkness; Thought will not work except in Silence; neither will Virtue Work except in secrecy.
Maurice Maeterlinck (The Treasure of the Humble)
Nobody’s ever got the nerve to be cheeky to a prince, except you. The moment you first called me a prick, my fate was sealed. O, fathers of my bloodline! O, ye kings of olde! Take this crown from me, bury me in my ancestral soil. If only you had known the mighty work of thine loins would be undone by a gay heir who likes it when American boys with chin dimples are mean to him.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
There are some things you don’t have to know how it works – only that it works. While some people are studying the roots, others are picking the fruit. It just depends on which end of this you want to get in on." -- Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn (The Art of Exceptional Living)
Obviously these are some exceptional young people, but what they have in common is that they were ordinary people who cared. They wanted to act, to do something, to make life better for other people—and they have.
Morgan Carroll (Take Back Your Government: A Citizen's Guide to Making Your Government Work For You)
In fact, corporations are the infants of our society - they know very little except how to grow (though they're very good at that), and they howl when you set limits. Socializing them is the work of politics. It's about time we took it up again.
Bill McKibben (The Bill McKibben Reader: Pieces from an Active Life)
Beauty today can have no other measure except the depth to which a work resolves contradictions. A work must cut through the contradictions and overcome them, not by covering them up, but by pursuing them.
Theodor W. Adorno
God is a meticulous clockmaker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
When you love your work, you will be exceptionally diligent in what you do and you will excel in delivering both quality and quantity.
Prem Jagyasi
There's nothing of any importance in life—except how well you do your work.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. The mind is an attribute of the individual. The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary. No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of exploitation and reversed the base of mankind's moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
what love looks like what does love look like the therapist asks one week after the breakup and i’m not sure how to answer her question except for the fact that i thought love looked so much like you that’s when it hit me and i realized how naive i had been to place an idea so beautiful on the image of a person as if anybody on this entire earth could encompass all love represented as if this emotion seven billion people tremble for would look like a five foot eleven medium-sized brown-skinned guy who likes eating frozen pizza for breakfast what does love look like the therapist asks again this time interrupting my thoughts midsentence and at this point i’m about to get up and walk right out the door except i paid too much money for this hour so instead i take a piercing look at her the way you look at someone when you’re about to hand it to them lips pursed tightly preparing to launch into conversation eyes digging deeply into theirs searching for all the weak spots they have hidden somewhere hair being tucked behind the ears as if you have to physically prepare for a conversation on the philosophies or rather disappointments of what love looks like well i tell her i don’t think love is him anymore if love was him he would be here wouldn’t he if he was the one for me wouldn’t he be the one sitting across from me if love was him it would have been simple i don’t think love is him anymore i repeat i think love never was i think i just wanted something was ready to give myself to something i believed was bigger than myself and when i saw someone who probably fit the part i made it very much my intention to make him my counterpart and i lost myself to him he took and he took wrapped me in the word special until i was so convinced he had eyes only to see me hands only to feel me a body only to be with me oh how he emptied me how does that make you feel interrupts the therapist well i said it kind of makes me feel like shit maybe we’re looking at it wrong we think it’s something to search for out there something meant to crash into us on our way out of an elevator or slip into our chair at a cafe somewhere appear at the end of an aisle at the bookstore looking the right amount of sexy and intellectual but i think love starts here everything else is just desire and projection of all our wants needs and fantasies but those externalities could never work out if we didn’t turn inward and learn how to love ourselves in order to love other people love does not look like a person love is our actions love is giving all we can even if it’s just the bigger slice of cake love is understanding we have the power to hurt one another but we are going to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t love is figuring out all the kind sweetness we deserve and when someone shows up saying they will provide it as you do but their actions seem to break you rather than build you love is knowing who to choose
Rupi Kaur (The Sun and Her Flowers)
If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day, there would be enough for everybody and no unemployment -- assuming a certain very moderate amount of sensible organization. This idea shocks the well-to-do, because they are convinced that the poor would not know how to use so much leisure. In America men often work long hours even when they are well off; such men, naturally, are indignant at the idea of leisure for wage-earners, except as the grim punishment of unemployment; in fact, they dislike leisure even for their sons.
Bertrand Russell
In practice nobody cares if work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except " Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it"? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
Don’t you know that slavery was outlawed?” “No,” the guard said, “you’re wrong. Slavery was outlawed with the exception of prisons. Slavery is legal in prisons.” I looked it up and sure enough, she was right. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution says: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Well, that explained a lot of things. That explained why jails and prisons all over the country are filled to the brim with Black and Third World people, why so many Black people can’t find a job on the streets and are forced to survive the best way they know how. Once you’re in prison, there are plenty of jobs, and, if you don’t want to work, they beat you up and throw you in a hole. If every state had to pay workers to do the jobs prisoners are forced to do, the salaries would amount to billions… Prisons are a profitable business. They are a way of legally perpetuating slavery. In every state more and more prisons are being built and even more are on the drawing board. Who are they for? They certainly aren’t planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government’s genocidal war against Black and Third World people.
Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography)
Every night I used to pray that I'd find my people, and finally I did on the open road. We had nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore, except to make our lives into a work of art. Live fast. Die young. Be wild. And have fun. I believe in the country America used to be. I believe in the person I want to become. I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever: "I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I'm at war with myself I ride, I just ride." Who are you? Are you in touch with all of your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you can experience them? I have. I am fucking crazy. But I am free.
Lana Del Rey
How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?“ Winston thought. “By making him suffer”, he said. “Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery is torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but MORE merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy – everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed.
George Orwell (1984)
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death. At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man. Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be. We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures)
oxygen Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even, while it calls the earth its home, the soul. So the merciful, noisy machine stands in our house working away in its lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel before the fire, stirring with a stick of iron, letting the logs lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room, are in your usual position, leaning on your right shoulder which aches all day. You are breathing patiently; it is a beautiful sound. It is your life, which is so close to my own that I would not know where to drop the knife of separation. And what does this have to do with love, except everything? Now the fire rises and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red roses of flame. Then it settles to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift: our purest, sweet necessity: the air.
Mary Oliver (Thirst)
Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. Bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for the carnival,you dig? And to start with it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared... and his ass would ad-lib and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teethlike... little raspy incurving hooks and started eating. He thought this was cute at first and built an act around it... but the asshole would eat its way through his pants and start talking on the street... shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags. Nobody loved it. And it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up... beating at it with his fists... and sticking candles up it, but... nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him... "It is you who will shut up in the end, not me... "because we don't need you around here anymore. I can talk and eat and shit." After that, he began waking up in the morning with transparentjelly... like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands... like burning gasoline jelly and grow there. So, finally, his mouth sealed over... and the whole head... would have amputated spontaneously except for the eyes, you dig? That's the one thing that the asshole couldn't do was see. It needed the eyes. Nerve connections were blocked... and infiltrated and atrophied. So, the brain couldn't give orders anymore. It was trapped inside the skull... sealed off. For a while, you could see... the silent, helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes. And then finally the brain must have died... because the eyes went out... and there was no more feeling in them than a crab's eye at the end of a stalk.
William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch)
I do not blench at nature red in tooth and claw... And much as I love The Wind in the Willows and the works of Beatrix Potter, I never dress my animals in clothes... They behave as animals should behave, with the exception that they open their mouths and speak the Queen's English.
Dick King-Smith
So this is why I write. Because most times, your life isn’t funny the first time through. Most times, you can hardly stand it. That’s why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. And writing makes you look back. Because since you can’t control life, at least you can control your version.
Chuck Palahniuk (Stranger than Fiction)
Whatever appeals to the white working class is ennobled. What appeals to black workers, and all others outside the tribe, is dastardly identitarianism. All politics are identity politics - except the politics of white people, the politics of the blood heirloom.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy)
The children will come to no harm." "Except for the older ones. Like that poor kid down there." "Mr. Scoresby, that is the way this world works. And if you want to put an end to cruelty and injustice, you must take me farther on. I have a job to do." "Seems to me—" Lee said, feeling for the words, "seems to me the place you fight cruelty is where you find it, and the place you give help is where you see it needed.
Philip Pullman (The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2))
The biologist and intellectual E. O. Wilson was once asked what represented the most hindrance to the development of children; his answer was the soccer mom. He did not use the notion of the Procrustean bed, but he outlined it perfectly. His argument is that they repress children's natural biophilia, their love of living things. But the problem is more general; soccer moms try to eliminate the trial and error, the antifragility, from children's lives, move them away from the ecological and transform them into nerds working on preexisting (soccer-mom-compatible) maps of reality. Good students, but nerds--that is, they are like computers except slower. Further, they are now totally untrained to handle ambiguity. As a child of civil war, I disbelieve in structured learning . . . . Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes, all those things that make life worth living, compared to the structured, fake, and ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a preset schedule and an alarm clock.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder)
Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws. The Hingefreel people of Arkintoofle Minor did try to build spaceships that were powered by bad news but they didn't work particularly well and were so extremely unwelcome whenever they arrived anywhere that there wasn't really any point in being there.
Douglas Adams
Things had gotten -- what's the word? Dry. Things had gotten sort of dry for me. I was working as a city janitor in a neighborhood elementary school and, in summers, collecting litter in the park alongside the East River near the WIlliamsburg Bridge. I felt no shame whatsoever in these activities, because I understood what almost no one else seemed to grasp: that there was only an infinitesimal difference, a difference so small that it barely existed except as a figment of the human imagination, between working in a tall green glass building on Park Avenue and collecting litter in a park. In fact, there may have been no difference at all.
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad)
I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn't plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
You need to come with us right now," one of the queen's guards said. "If you resist, we'll take you by force." "Leave him alone!" I yelled, looking from face to face. That angry darkness exploded within me. How could they still not believe? Why were they still coming after him? "He hasn't done anything! Why can't you guys accept that he's really a dhampir now?" The man who'd spoken arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't talking to him." "You're...you're here for me?" I asked. I tried to think of any new spectacles I might have caused recently. I considered the crazy idea that the queen had found out I'd spent the night with Adrian and was pissed off about it. That was hardly enough to send the palace guard for me, though...or was it? Had I really gone too far with my antics? "What for?" demanded Dimitri. That tall, wonderful bod of his—the one that could be so sensual sometimes—was filled with tension and menace now. The man kept his gaze on me, ignoring Dimitri. "Don't make me repeat myself: Come with us quietly, or we will make you." The glimmer of handcuffs showed in his hands. My eyes went wide. "That's crazy! I'm not going anywhere until you tel me how the hell this—" That was the point at which they apparently decided I wasn't coming quietly. Two of the royal guardians lunged for me, and even though we technically worked for the same side, my instincts kicked in. I didn't understand anything here except that I would not be dragged away like some kind of master criminal. I shoved the chair I'd been sitting in earlier at the one of the guardians and aimed a punch at the other. It was a sloppy throw, made worse because he was taller than me. That height difference allowed me to dodge his next grab, and when I kicked hard at his legs, a grunt told me I'd hit home. [...] Meanwhile, other guardians were joining the fray. Although I got a couple of good punches in, I knew the numbers were too overwhelming. One guardian caught hold of my arm and began trying to put the cuffs on me. He stopped when another set of hands grabbed me from the other side and jerked me away. Dimitri. "Don't touch her," he growled. There was a note in his voice that would have scared me if it had been directed toward me. He shoved me behind him, putting his body protectively in front of mine with my back to the table. Guardians came at us from all directions, and Dimitri began dispatching them with the same deadly grace that had once made people call him a god. [...] The queen's guards might have been the best of the best, but Dimitri...well, my former lover and instructor was in a category all his own. His fighting skills were beyond anyone else's, and he was using them all in defense me. "Stay back," he ordered me. "They aren't laying a hand on you.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
I would have done the same thing I did. I would have put all my energy into loving someone that wasn't you. I would have tried in vain, every day, to not think about you, and what could have been. What should have been. I would have tried to convince myself that there's no such thing as true love, except for the love you yourself make work, even though I know better....The bottom line is I never had any business marrying anyone who wasn't you.
Jonathan Tropper (Plan B)
When you win, you don't examine it very much, except to congratulate yourself. You easily, and wrongly, assume it has something to do with your rare qualities as a person. But winning only measures how hard you've worked and how physically talented you are; it doesn't particularly define you beyond those characteristics. Losing on the other hand, really does say something about who you are. Among other things it measures are: do you blame others, or do you own the loss? Do you analyze your failure, or just complain about bad luck? If you're willing to examine failure, and to look not just at your outward physical performance, but your internal workings, too, losing can be valuable. How you behave in those moments can perhaps be more self-defining than winning could ever be. Sometimes losing shows you for who you really are.
Lance Armstrong (Every Second Counts)
With the news about Andy, it was like someone had thrown an x-ray switch and reversed everything into photographic negative, so that even with the daffodils and the dogwalkers and the traffic cops whistling on the corners, death was all I saw: sidewalks teeming with dead, cadavers pouring off the buses and hurrying home from work, nothing left of any of them in a hundred years except tooth fillings and pacemakers and maybe a few scraps of cloth and bone.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
THE GREAT HUMANITY The great humanity is the deck-passenger on the ship third class on the train on foot on the causeway the great humanity. The great humanity goes to work at eight marries at twenty dies at forty the great humanity. Bread is enough for all except the great humanity rice the same sugar the same cloth the same books the same are enough for all except the great humanity. The great humanity has no shade on his soil no lamp on his road no glass on his window but the great humanity has hope you can't live without hope.
Nâzım Hikmet
What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. ... I certainly do not deny that I still recognize an imperative of knowledge and that through it one can work upon men, but it must be taken up into my life, and that is what I now recognize as the most important thing.
Søren Kierkegaard
I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist…
C.S. Lewis (Letters of C. S. Lewis (Edited, with a Memoir, by W. H. Lewis))
I came from Paris in the Spring of 1884, and was brought in intimate contact with him [Thomas Edison]. We experimented day and night, holidays not excepted. His existence was made up of alternate periods of work and sleep in the laboratory. He had no hobby, cared for no sport or amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene. There can be no doubt that, if he had not married later a woman of exceptional intelligence, who made it the one object of her life to preserve him, he would have died many years ago from consequences of sheer neglect. So great and uncontrollable was his passion for work.
Nikola Tesla
I have often wondered whether especially those days when we are forced to remain idle are not precisely the days spend in the most profound activity. Whether our actions themselves, even if they do not take place until later, are nothing more than the last reverberations of a vast movement that occurs within us during idle days. In any case, it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy. The days when even our hands do not stir are so exceptionally quiet that it is hardly possible to raise them without hearing a whole lot.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters on Life)
I wanted to say something to cheer her up. I had a feeling that cheering her up might be a lot of work. I was thinking of how sometimes, trying to say the right thing to people, it’s like some kind of brain surgery, and you have to tweak exactly the right part of the lobe. Except with talking, it’s more like brain surgery with old, rusted skewers and things, maybe like those things you use to eat lobster, but brown. And you have to get exactly the right place, and you’re touching around in the brain but the patient, she keeps jumping and saying, “Ow.
M.T. Anderson (Feed)
When you open a book,” the sentimental library posters said, “anything can happen.” This was so. A book of fiction was a bomb. It was a land mine you wanted to go off. You wanted it to blow your whole day. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of books were duds. They had been rusting out of everyone’s way for so long that they no longer worked. There was no way to distinguish the duds from the live mines except to throw yourself at them headlong, one by one.
Annie Dillard (An American Childhood)
We keep our heads down and work hard, believing that our diligence will reward us with our dignity, but our diligence will only make us disappear. By not speaking up, we perpetuate the myth that our shame is caused by our repressive culture and the country we fled, whereas America has given us nothing but opportunity. The lie that Asians have it good is so insidious that even now as I write, I’m shadowed by doubt that i didn’t have it bad compared to others. but racial trauma is not a competitive sport. The problem is not that my childhood was exceptionally traumatic but that it was in fact rather typical. Most white Americans can only understand racial trauma as a spectacle.
Cathy Park Hong (Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning)
the women and men I interviewed who had the strongest sense of true belonging stayed zoomed in. They didn’t ignore what was happening in the world, nor did they stop advocating for their beliefs. They did, however, commit to assessing their lives and forming their opinions of people based on their actual, in-person experiences. They worked against the trap that most of us have fallen into: I can hate large groups of strangers, because the members of those groups who I happen to know and like are the rare exceptions.
Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone)
HOW CAN I TELL IF A MAN I’M SEEING WILL BECOME ABUSIVE? • He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners. • He is disrespectful toward you. • He does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable. • He is controlling. • He is possessive. • Nothing is ever his fault. • He is self-centered. • He abuses drugs or alcohol. • He pressures you for sex. • He gets serious too quickly about the relationship. • He intimidates you when he’s angry. • He has double standards. • He has negative attitudes toward women. • He treats you differently around other people. • He appears to be attracted to vulnerability. No single one of the warning signs above is a sure sign of an abusive man, with the exception of physical intimidation. Many nonabusive men may exhibit a umber of these behaviors to a limited degree. What, then, should a woman do to protect herself from having a relationship turn abusive? Although there is no foolproof solution, the best plan is: 1. Make it clear to him as soon as possible which behaviors or attitudes are unacceptable to you and that you cannot be in a relationship with him if they continue. 2. If it happens again, stop seeing him for a substantial period of time. Don’t keep seeing him with the warning that this time you “really mean it,” because he will probably interpret that to mean that you don’t. 3. If it happens a third time, or if he switches to other behaviors that are warning flags, chances are great that he has an abuse problem. If you give him too many chances, you are likely to regret it later. Finally, be aware that as an abuser begins his slide into abuse, he believes that you are the one who is changing. His perceptions work this way because he feels so justified in his actions that he can’t imagine the problem might be with him. All he notices is that you don’t seem to be living up to his image of the perfect, all-giving, deferential woman.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
But that is love, isn't it? It's terribly inconvenient. It sweeps you up and stales your attention and slows down your work. our labors fall behind, our friends report us missing, and everything comes to a screeching halt! Everything, that is, except what truly matters in this life --- true love. We've all been there. We know the feelings. So when we see it in a friend, a dear, dear friend, we throw down our work and we celebrate. We rejoice. We raise a glass. Because when we recognize it in the hearts of friends, it reminds us of how important it is in our own. Mr. Seven, you are and always have been my companion and friend. You have made me a better man, and almost on a daily basis you have reminded me that I too need to celebrate the love in my life. - William Charming
Michael Buckley (The Council of Mirrors (The Sisters Grimm, #9))
Everybody was asleep. Everybody except me, James Herriot, creeping sore and exhausted towards another spell of hard labour. Why the hell had I ever decided to become a country vet? I must have been crazy to pick a job where you worked seven days a week and through the night as well. Sometimes I felt as though the practice was a malignant, living entity; testing me, trying me out; putting the pressure on more and more to see just when at what point I would drop down dead.
James Herriot (All Creatures Great and Small (All Creatures Great and Small, #1))
To save our democracy, Americans need to restore the basic norms that once protected it. But we must do more than that. We must extend those norms through the whole of a diverse society. We must make them truly inclusive. America's democratic norms, at their core, have always been sound. But for much of our history, they were accompanied - indeed, sustained - by racial exclusion. Now those norms must be made to work in an age of racial equality and unprecedented ethnic diversity. Few societies in history have managed to be both multiracial and genuinely democratic. That is our challenge. It is also our opportunity. If we meet it, America will truly be exceptional.
Steven Levitsky (How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future)
Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaquaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged into torment plunged into fire whose fire flames if that continues and who can doubt it will fire the firmament that is to say blast hell to heaven so blue still and calm so calm with a calm which even though intermittent is better than nothing but not so fast and considering what is more that as a result of the labors left unfinished
Samuel Beckett
Take for instance a man driven to incessant work by a sense of deep insecurity and loneliness; or another one driven by ambition, or greed for money. In all these cases the person is the slave of a passion, and his activity is in reality a "passivity" because he is driven; he is the sufferer, not the "actor." On the other hand a man sitting quiet and contemplating, with no purpose or aim except that of experiencing himself and his oneness with the world, is considered to be "passive", because he is not "doing" anything. In reality, this attitude of concentrated meditation is the highest activity there is, an activity of the soul, which is possible only under the condition of inner freedom and independence.
Erich Fromm
We’re going to rectify the situation right now.” “What do you mean? What situation?” “Your situation. Ana, I’m going to make love to you, now.” “Oh.” The floor has fallen away. I’m a situation. I’m holding my breath. “That’s if you want to, I mean, I don’t want to push my luck.” “I thought you didn’t make love. I thought you fucked hard.” I swallow, my mouth suddenly dry. He gives me a wicked grin, the effects of which travel all the way down there. “I can make an exception, or maybe combine the two, we’ll see. I really want to make love to you. Please, come to bed with me. I want our arrangement to work, but you re­ally need to have some idea what you’re getting yourself into. We can start your training tonight – with the basics. This doesn’t mean I’ve come over all hearts and flowers, it’s a means to an end, but one that I want, and hopefully you do too.” His gray gaze is intense
E.L. James
I have said that His Dark Materials is not fantasy but stark realism, and my reason for this is to emphasise what I think is an important aspect of the story, namely the fact that it is realistic, in psychological terms. I deal with matters that might normally be encountered in works of realism, such as adolescence, sexuality, and so on; and they are the main subject matter of the story – the fantasy (which, of course, is there: no-one but a fool would think I meant there is no fantasy in the books at all) is there to support and embody them, not for its own sake. Dæmons, for example, might otherwise be only a meaningless decoration, adding nothing to the story: but I use them to embody and picture some truths about human personality which I couldn't picture so easily without them. I'm trying to write a book about what it means to be human, to grow up, to suffer and learn. My quarrel with much (not all) fantasy is it has this marvelous toolbox and does nothing with it except construct shoot-em-up games. Why shouldn't a work of fantasy be as truthful and profound about becoming an adult human being as the work of George Eliot or Jane Austen?
Philip Pullman
He looked down at himself and laughed softly. ‘‘My dark side dresses better than I do.’’ He stood up and reached for clothes folded neatly on a table to the side as he loosened the tie on his robe. He hesitated, smiled, and raised his eyebrows. ‘‘If you don’t mind, Claire . . . ?’’ ‘‘Oh. Sorry.’’ Claire turned her back. She didn’t like turning her back on him, even with the cell door locked. He was better behaved when he knew she was watching. She focused on the faint, distorted image of his reflection on the TV screen as he shed the dressing gown and began to pull on his clothing. She couldn’t see much, except that he was very pale all over. Once she was sure his pants were up, she glanced behind her. He had his back to her, and she couldn’t help but compare him with the only other man she’d really studied half-naked. Shane was broad, strong, solid. Myrnin looked fragile, but his muscles moved like cables under that pale skin—far stronger than Shane’s, she knew. Myrnin turned as he buttoned his shirt. ‘‘It’s been a while since a pretty girl looked at me with such interest,’’ he said. She looked away, feeling the blush work its heat up through her neck and onto her cheeks. ‘‘It’s all right, Claire. I’m not offended.
Rachel Caine (Feast of Fools (The Morganville Vampires, #4))
Grief is a curious thing, when it happens unexpectedly. It is a Band-Aid being ripped away, taking the top layer off a family. And the underbelly of a household is never pretty, ours no exception. There were times I stayed in my room for days on end with headphones on, if only so that I would not have to listen to my mother cry. There were the weeks that my father worked round-the-clock shifts, so that he wouldn't have to come home to a house that felt too big for us.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
Why do you keep saying that " he asked in response "Apples and oranges aren't that different really. I mean they're both fruit. Their weight is extremely similar. They both contain acidic elements. They're both roughly spherical. They serve the same social purpose. With the possible exception of a tangerine I can't think of anything more similar to an orange than an apple. If I was having lunch with a man who was eating an apple and-while I was looking away-he replaced that apple with an orange I doubt I'd even notice. So how is this a metaphor for difference I could understand if you said 'That's like comparing apples and uranium ' or 'That's like comparing apples with baby wolverines ' or 'That's like comparing apples with the early work of Raymond Carver ' or 'That's like comparing apples with hermaphroditic ground sloths.' Those would all be valid examples of profound disparity.
Chuck Klosterman (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto)
[Hitler] has grasped the falsity of the hedonistic attitude to life. Nearly all western thought since the last war, certainly all “progressive” thought, has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security, and avoidance of pain. In such a view of life there is no room, for instance, for patriotism and the military virtues. Hitler, because in his own joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don’t only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flag and loyalty-parades ... Whereas Socialism, and even capitalism in a grudging way, have said to people “I offer you a good time,” Hitler has said to them “I offer you struggle, danger and death,” and as a result a whole nation flings itself at his feet
George Orwell
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
People had been working for so many years to make the world a safe, organized place. Nobody realized how boring it would become. With the whole world property-lined and speed-limited and zoned and taxed and regulated, with everyone tested and registered and adressed and recorded. Nobody had left much room for adventure, except maybe the kind you could buy. [...] The laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom.
Chuck Palahniuk (Choke)
But now what? Why, now comes my master, takes me right away from my work, and my friends, and all I like, and grinds me down into the very dirt! And why? Because, he says, I forgot who I was; he says, to teach me that I am only a nigger! After all, and last of all, he comes between me and my wife, and says I shall give her up, and live with another woman. And all this your laws give him power to do, in spite of God or man. Mr. Wilson, look at it! There isn't one of all these things, that have broken the hearts of my mother and my sister, and my wife and myself, but your laws allow, and give every man power to do, in Kentucky, and none can say to him nay! Do you call these the laws of my country? Sir, I haven't any country, anymore than I have any father. But I'm going to have one. I don't want anything of your country, except to be let alone,--to go peaceably out of it; and when I get to Canada, where the laws will own me and protect me, that shall be my country, and its laws I will obey. But if any man tries to stop me, let him take care, for I am desperate. I'll fight for my liberty to the last breath I breathe. You say your fathers did it; if it was right for them, it is right for me!
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)
People who say that they’re too busy to have lunch have a misguided sense of their importance. Anyone can take a lunch break. Even if it’s a half-hour. Step away, have a meal, and relax. First, not doing it is counterproductive. To have your mind working nonstop for eight hours is not healthy. Even race cars take breaks. They can’t go full rev for eight hours, they need pit stops. Your mind and body are more complex than a race car, so you need pit stops also.
Art Rios (Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional)
Don't give your son money. As far as you can afford it, give him horses. No one ever came to grief, except honourable grief, through riding horses. No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle. Young men have often been ruined through owning horses, or through backing horses, but never through riding them; unless of course they break their necks, which, taken at a gallop, is a very good death to die.
Winston Churchill (The Works Of Winston Churchill)
But all that's hugely unlikely -- with the exception of mosquito bites and sunburn. And yet even experienced travelers are still afraid. "What everyone forgets -- even me -- is the people who actually live here. In places like Central America, I mean. Southeast Asia. India. Africa. Millions, even billions, of people, who live out their whole lives in these places -- the places so many people like us fear. Think about it: they ride chicken buses to work every day. Their clothes are always damp. Their whole lives, they never escape the dust and the heat. But they deal with all these discomforts. They have to. "So why can't travelers? If we've got the means to get here, we owe it to the country we're visiting not to treat it like an amusement park, sanitized for our comfort. It's insulting to the people who live here. People just trying to have the best lives they can, with the hands they've been dealt.
Kirsten Hubbard (Wanderlove)
Over Christmas break, I took on additional hours and was working late one Saturday night when Wild Bill came sauntering into my department tipsy to pick me up so I wouldn’t have to hitchhike home. I had scarcely seen him since he enrolled me in school, except slumped over the bar at Dave’s or when he would occasionally drop by the Tampico unannounced on the way home to his new family. He’d beach himself on the sofa while I did my homework, and when he sobered up enough to drive home, he would down a can of beer before saying goodbye. To say it made me happy to see him, drunk and all, is an understatement. Seeing my father anywhere besides Dave’s Tavern was akin to spotting a unicorn in the wild. I asked him to meet me out in front of the store, but he insisted on following me through the employees’ exit. On the way out, he stole two poinsettias. He thought it was hilarious to be running out of the JCPenney’s with a poinsettia in each hand.
Samantha Hart (Blind Pony: As True A Story As I Can Tell)
She was right about something else too,ʺ Dimitri said after a long pause. My back was to him, but there was a strange quality to his voice that made me turn around. ʺWhatʹs that?ʺ I asked. ʺThat I do still love you.ʺ With that one sentence, everything in the universe changed. Time slowed to one heartbeat. The world became his eyes, his voice. This wasnʹt happening. It wasnʹt real. None of it could be real. It felt like a spirit dream. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and see if Iʹd wake up moments later. No. No matter how unbelievable it all seemed, this was no dream. This was real. This was life. This was flesh and blood. ʺSince . . . since when?ʺ I finally managed to ask. ʺSince . . . forever.ʺ His tone implied the answer was obvious. ʺI denied it when I was restored. I had no room for anything in my heart except guilt. I especially felt guilty about you—what Iʹd done—and I pushed you away. I put up a wall to keep you safe. It worked for a while—until my heart finally started accepting other emotions. And it all came back. Everything I felt for you. It had never left; it was just hidden from me until I was ready. And again . . . that alley was the turning point. I looked at you . . . saw your goodness, your hope, and your faith. Those are what make you beautiful. So, so beautiful.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
You would think, wouldn’t you, that if you were the child of a happy marriage, then you ought to have a better than average marriage yourself – either through some genetic inheritance or because you’d learnt from example? But it doesn’t seem to work like that. So perhaps you need the opposite example – to see mistakes in order not to make them yourself. Except this would mean that the best way for parents to ensure their children have happy marriages would be to have unhappy ones themselves. So what’s the answer?
Julian Barnes (Pulse)
When I talk to anyone or read the writings of anyone who has any axe to grind, I feel that intellectual honesty and balanced judgement have simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Everyone’s thought is forensic, everyone is simply putting a “case” with deliberate suppression of his opponent’s point of view, and, what is more, with complete insensitiveness to any sufferings except those of himself and his friends.
George Orwell (Facing Unpleasant Facts: 1937-1939 (The Complete Works of George Orwell, Vol. 11))
Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit. It? I ast. Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It. But what do it look like? I ast. Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It. Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose. She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can't miss it. It sort of like you know what, she say, grinning and rubbing high up on my thigh. Shug! I say. Oh, she say. God love all them feelings. That's some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves 'em you enjoys 'em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that's going, and praise God by liking what you like. God don't think it dirty? I ast. Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love? and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration. You saying God vain? I ast. Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. What it do when it pissed off? I ast. Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back. Yeah? I say. Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect. You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say. Yes, Celie, she say. Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk? Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I'm still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing. Now that my eyes opening, I feels like a fool. Next to any little scrub of a bush in my yard, Mr. ____s evil sort of shrink. But not altogether. Still, it is like Shug say, You have to git man off your eyeball, before you can see anything a'tall. Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere. Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind,water, a big rock. But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it. Amen
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)
I did not care if Ella went to Princeton, if she was exceptionally pretty, if she grew up to marry a rich man, or really if she married at all - there were many incarnations of her I felt confident I could embrace, a hippie or a housewife or a career woman. But what I did care about, what I wanted most fervently, was for her to understand that hard work paid off, that decency begat decency, that humility was not a raincoat you occasionally pulled on when you thought conditions called for it, but rather a constant way of existing in the world, knowing that good luck and bad luck touched everyone and none of us was fully responsible for our fortunes or tragedies. Above all, I wanted my daughter to understand that many people were guided by bitterness and that it was best to avoid these individuals - their moods and behavior were a hornet's nest you had no possible reason to do anything other than bypass and ignore.
Curtis Sittenfeld (American Wife)
I will love you no matter how many mistakes I make when trying to reduce fractions, and no matter how difficult it is to memorize the periodic table.I will love you as the manatee loves the head of lettuce and as the dark spot loves the leopard, as the leech loves the ankle of a wader and as a corpse loves the beak of the vulture. I will love you as the iceberg loves the ship, and the passengers love the lifeboat, and the lifeboat loves the teeth of the sperm whale, and the sperm whale loves the flavour of naval uniforms. I never want to be away from you again, except at work, in the restroom or when one of us is at a movie the other does not want to see.
Lemony Snicket (The Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events))
In the adult world, an uneven distribution of abilities is more valuable than mediocrity at everything. It is irrelevant to me whether or not my doctor is adept at hitting a ball with a stick—or finding her way to work without looking at street signs—but I would like her to be as proficient as possible in the practice of medicine. Conversely, at school, being other than unobtrusively average in every area (with the exception of sports) is a distinct disadvantage.
Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Result (Don Tillman, #3))
I want to be the guy in a movie who's, I don't know, out walking his rabbit on a leash (I don't have a rabbit) and knows exactly how to strike up a quirky, compelling conversation. Though maybe if you're walking a rabbit on a leash, you don't even have to speak; the rabbit does the work for you. Not that Zuzana seems like the rabbity type. Maybe if I were walking a fox on a leash. Or a hyena. Yeah, if I had a hyena, I'd probably never have to start a conversation again. Except for, "Sorry my hyena ate your leg.
Laini Taylor (Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5))
Let’s see! I’ll put you to work right away! Aye! No—first I’ll give you a tour! No—I’ll introduce you to my crew! No—I’ll let you rest! No—I’d better get you into uniforms! Aye! It’s important that everyone aboard wear a waterproof uniform in case the submarine collapses and we find ourselves underwater! Of course, in that case we’ll need diving helmets! Except Sunny because she can’t wear one! I guess she’ll drown! No—she can curl up inside a diving helmet! Aye! The helmets have a tiny door on the neck just for such purpose! Aye! I’ve seen it done! I’ve seen so many things in my time!” “Excuse me,” Violet said, “but could you tell us who you are?
Lemony Snicket (The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11))
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900. To You WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams, I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands; Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you, Your true Soul and Body appear before me, They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying. Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem; I whisper with my lips close to your ear, I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you. O I have been dilatory and dumb; I should have made my way straight to you long ago; I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you. I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you; None have understood you, but I understand you; None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself; None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you; None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you; I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself. Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all; From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light; But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light; From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever. O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you! You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life; Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time; What you have done returns already in mockeries; (Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?) The mockeries are not you; Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk; I pursue you where none else has pursued you; Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me; The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me, The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside. There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you; There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you; No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you; No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you. As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you; I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you. Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard! These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you; These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they; These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them, Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution. The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency; Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself; Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted; Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
Walt Whitman
be glαd of life, becαuse it gives you the chαnce to love αnd to work αnd to plαy αnd to look up αt the stαrs; to be sαtisfied with your posessions, to despise nothing in the world except fαlsehood αnd meαnness αnd to feαr nothing except cowαrdice; to be governed by your αdmirαtions rαther thαn by your disgusts, to covet nothing thαt is your neighbour's except his kindness of heαrt αnd gentleness of mαnners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends and to spend αs much time αs you cαn with body αnd with spirit.
Henry Van Dyke
Jean-Jacques Rousseau defined civilization as when people build fences. A very perceptive observation. And it’s true—all civilization is the product of a fenced-in lack of freedom. The Australian Aborigines are the exception, though. They managed to maintain a fenceless civilization until the seventeenth century. They’re dyed-in-the-wool free. They go where they want, when they want, doing what they want. Their lives are a literal journey. Walkabout is a perfect metaphor for their lives. When the English came and built fences to pen in their cattle, the Aborigines couldn’t fathom it. And, ignorant to the end of the principle at work, they were classified as dangerous and antisocial and were driven away, to the outback. So I want you to be careful. The people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best. You deny that reality only at the risk of being driven into the wilderness yourself.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
England once there lived a big And wonderfully clever pig. To everybody it was plain That Piggy had a massive brain. He worked out sums inside his head, There was no book he hadn't read. He knew what made an airplane fly, He knew how engines worked and why. He knew all this, but in the end One question drove him round the bend: He simply couldn't puzzle out What LIFE was really all about. What was the reason for his birth? Why was he placed upon this earth? His giant brain went round and round. Alas, no answer could be found. Till suddenly one wondrous night. All in a flash he saw the light. He jumped up like a ballet dancer And yelled, "By gum, I've got the answer!" "They want my bacon slice by slice "To sell at a tremendous price! "They want my tender juicy chops "To put in all the butcher's shops! "They want my pork to make a roast "And that's the part'll cost the most! "They want my sausages in strings! "They even want my chitterlings! "The butcher's shop! The carving knife! "That is the reason for my life!" Such thoughts as these are not designed To give a pig great piece of mind. Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland, A pail of pigswill in his hand, And piggy with a mighty roar, Bashes the farmer to the floor… Now comes the rather grizzly bit So let's not make too much of it, Except that you must understand That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland, He ate him up from head to toe, Chewing the pieces nice and slow. It took an hour to reach the feet, Because there was so much to eat, And when he finished, Pig, of course, Felt absolutely no remorse. Slowly he scratched his brainy head And with a little smile he said, "I had a fairly powerful hunch "That he might have me for his lunch. "And so, because I feared the worst, "I thought I'd better eat him first.
Roald Dahl
She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything. The rooms in the house on Friary Street belonged to her, she thought; when she moved in them she was really there. In the town, if she walked to the shop or to the Vocational School, the air, the light, the ground, it was all solid and part of her, even if she met no one familiar. Nothing here was part of her. It was false, empty, she thought. She closed her eyes and tried to think, as she had done so many times in her life, of something she was looking forward to, but there was nothing. Not the slightest thing. Not even Sunday. Nothing maybe except sleep, and she was not even certain she was looking forward to sleep. In any case, she could not sleep yet, since it was not yet nine o’clock. There was nothing she could do. It was as though she had been locked away.
Colm Tóibín (Brooklyn)
Both scepticism and wonder are skills that need honing and practice. Their harmonious marriage within the mind of every schoolchild ought to be a principal goal of public education. I’d love to see such a domestic felicity portrayed in the media, television especially: a community of people really working the mix - full of wonder, generously open to every notion, dismissing nothing except for good reason, but at the same time, and as second nature, demanding stringent standards of evidence; and these standards applied with at least as much rigour to what they hold dear as to what they are tempted to reject with impunity.
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
I like to receive money for my work. But I can pass that up this time. I like to have people know my work is done by me. But I can pass that up. I like to have tenants made happy by my work. But that doesn't matter too much. The only thing that matters, my goal, my reward, my beginning, my end is the work itself. My work done my way. Peter, there's nothing in the world that you can offer me, except this. Offer me this and you can have anything I've got to give. My work done my way. A private, personal, selfish, egotistical motivation. That's the only way I function. That's all I am.
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
We all stood and gathered our backpacks and I looked at the floor around my chair to make sure I hadn’t dropped anything. I was terrified of unwittingly leaving behind a scrap of paper on which were written all my private desires and humiliations. The fact that no such scrap of paper existed, that I did not even keep a diary or write letters except bland, earnest, falsely cheerful ones to my family (We lost to St. Francis in soccer, but I think we’ll win our game this Saturday; we are working on self-portraits in art class, and the hardest part for me is the nose) never decreased my fear.
Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep)
The Cowboy Way Being a Cowboy is doing the right thing; common wisdom born of simple virtues and strong ideals. Above all, it is a strict adherence to honesty even when it is not in our best interests. It is having an inherent sense of justice in a world where the cards are often stacked against us. We try to hold enough common sense to recognize the value of a lost cause and the cost of lost values. Generally speaking, we are quietly reserved in all things except freedom, fresh air and Saturday night. We have a keen eye for a good horse, a good gun,and a good Cowgirl. Constant to friends, we are more so when friends need us, less so when they don't. Familiar with hard work we also know hard knocks and hard roads. Often given to tears when lesser individuals would display indifference; we are as well given to joy in a few places others would only find disdain. We enjoy plain living, not because we relish doing without, but because we have discovered the treasures within. And, finally, we have that elusive emotion called courage which is, at worst, a badly directed sense of conceit and, at best, it is the stuff of which dreams are made. . . .
Charly Gullett
We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. We glow, we are consumed with eagerness to commence the work, with the anticipation of whose glorious result our whole souls are on fire. It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow; and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. To-morrow arrives, and with it a more impatient anxiety to do our duty, but with this very increase of anxiety arrives, also, a nameless, a positively fearful, because unfathomable, craving for delay. This craving gathers strength as the moments fly. The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us, — of the definite with the indefinite — of the substance with the shadow. But, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the shadow which prevails, — we struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer-note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies — it disappears — we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred, the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. "He was on his way home from work — happy, successful, healthy — and then, gone," I read in the account of a psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident. In 1966 I happened to interview many people who had been living in Honolulu on the morning of December 7, 1941; without exception, these people began their accounts of Pearl Harbor by telling me what an "ordinary Sunday morning" it had been. "It was just an ordinary beautiful September day," people still say when asked to describe the morning in New York when American Airlines 11 and United Airlines 175 got flown into the World Trade towers. Even the report of the 9/11 Commission opened on this insistently premonitory and yet still dumbstruck narrative note: "Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art --it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure-- photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac's Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget's Paris. Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, form the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography --and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns-- is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.
Susan Sontag (On Photography)
Then welcome, you poor things! I'm so gald you're here! I never get to talk to anyone except when I'm working, and then I'm supposed to say things like, 'Woe is me' and 'Beware' and 'Uncle Rupert is going to die.' And then they look at me like I have two heads, which I don't because I'm not a troll , and they always say, 'Oh, no, the banshee is here!' Do you know how that makes me feel? Every time I show up, people run screaming and warn everybody else that I'm around. Believe me, I've thought about staying home and sleeping late, but I can't because I care about people. Without me to warn them, people would die unexpectedly, and then where would their relatives be? When I tell them, they have time to make arrangments, say good-bye...you know-important things. I'm actually a very nice person; it's just that no one gives me a chance to prove it.
E.D. Baker (The Frog Princess)
Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, "They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting." Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, "He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death." Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason. The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. You fail to see that this very facility proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain reflects, as in a mirror, the things you show them, but nothing sinks in. The child remembers the words and the ideas are reflected back; his hearers understand them, but to him they are meaningless. Although memory and reason are wholly different faculties, the one does not really develop apart from the other. Before the age of reason the child receives images, not ideas; and there is this difference between them: images are merely the pictures of external objects, while ideas are notions about those objects determined by their relations.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Emile, or On Education)
The Brotherhood cannot be wiped out because it is not an organization in the ordinary sense. Nothing holds it together except an idea which is indestructible. You will get no comradeship and no encouragement. When finally you are caught, you will get no help. We never help our members. At most, when it is absolutely necessary that someone should be silenced, we are occassionally able to smuggle a razor into a prisoner's cell. You will have to get used to living without results and without hope. You will work for a while, you will be caught, you will confess and then you will die. Those are the only resuls you will ever see. There is no possibility that any perceptible change will happen within our lifetime. We are the dead. Our only true life is in the future.
George Orwell (1984)
Life, of course, never gets anyone's entire attention. Death always remains interesting, pulls us, draws us. As sleep is necessary to our physiology, so depression seems necessary to our psychic economy. In some secret way, Thanatos nourishes Eros as well as opposes it. The two principles work in covert concert; though in most of us Eros dominates, in none of us is Thanatos completely subdued. However-and this is the paradox of suicide-to take one's life is to behave in a more active, assertive, "erotic" way than to helplessly watch as one's life is taken away from one by inevitable mortality. Suicide thus engages with both the death-hating and the death-loving parts of us: on some level, perhaps, we may envy the suicide even as we pity him. It has frequently been asked whether the poetry of Plath would have so aroused the attention of the world if Plath had not killed herself. I would agree with those who say no. The death-ridden poems move us and electrify us because of our knowledge of what happened. Alvarez has observed that the late poems read as if they were written posthumously, but they do so only because a death actually took place. "When I am talking about the weather / I know what I am talking about," Kurt Schwitters writes in a Dada poem (which I have quoted in its entirety). When Plath is talking about the death wish, she knows what she is talking about. In 1966, Anne Sexton, who committed suicide eleven years after Plath, wrote a poem entitled "Wanting to Die," in which these startlingly informative lines appear: But suicides have a special language. Like carpenters they want to know which tools. They never ask why build. When, in the opening of "Lady Lazarus," Plath triumphantly exclaims, "I have done it again," and, later in the poem, writes, Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call, we can only share her elation. We know we are in the presence of a master builder.
Janet Malcolm (The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes)
It was the American middle class. No one's house cost more than two or three year's salary, and I doubt the spread in annual wages (except for the osteopath) exceeded more than five thousand dollars. And other than the doctor (who made house calls), the store managers, the minister, the salesman, and the banker, everyone belonged to a union. That meant they worked a forty-hour week, had the entire weekend off (plus two to four weeks' paid vacation in the summer), comprehensive medical benefits, and job security. In return for all that, the country became the most productive in the world and in our little neighborhood it meant your furnace was always working, your kids could be dropped off at the neighbors without notice, you could run next door anytime to borrow a half-dozen eggs, and the doors to all the homes were never locked -- because who would need to steal anything if they already had all that they needed?
Michael Moore (Here Comes Trouble)
I’M LOSING FAITH IN MY FAVORITE COUNTRY Throughout my life, the United States has been my favorite country, save and except for Canada, where I was born, raised, educated, and still live for six months each year. As a child growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I aggressively bought and saved baseball cards of American and National League players, spent hours watching snowy images of American baseball and football games on black and white television and longed for the day when I could travel to that great country. Every Saturday afternoon, me and the boys would pay twelve cents to go the show and watch U.S. made movies, and particularly, the Superman serial. Then I got my chance. My father, who worked for B.F. Goodrich, took my brother and me to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball in the Mistake on the Lake in Cleveland. At last I had made it to the big time. I thought it was an amazing stadium and it was certainly not a mistake. Amazingly, the Americans thought we were Americans. I loved the United States, and everything about the country: its people, its movies, its comic books, its sports, and a great deal more. The country was alive and growing. No, exploding. It was the golden age of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream was alive and well, but demanded hard work, honesty, and frugality. Everyone understood that. Even the politicians. Then everything changed. Partly because of its proximity to the United States and a shared heritage, Canadians also aspired to what was commonly referred to as the American dream. I fall neatly into that category. For as long as I can remember I wanted a better life, but because I was born with a cardboard spoon in my mouth, and wasn’t a member of the golden gene club, I knew I would have to make it the old fashioned way: work hard and save. After university graduation I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The second half was spent with one of the smallest oil companies in the world: my own. Then I sold my company and retired into obscurity. In my case obscurity was spending summers in our cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, and winters in our home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. My wife, Ann, and I, (and our three sons when they can find the time), have been enjoying that “obscurity” for a long time. During that long time we have been fortunate to meet and befriend a large number of Americans, many from Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” One was a military policeman in Tokyo in 1945. After a very successful business carer in the U.S. he’s retired and living the dream. Another American friend, also a member of the “Greatest Generation”, survived The Battle of the Bulge and lived to drink Hitler’s booze at Berchtesgaden in 1945. He too is happily retired and living the dream. Both of these individuals got to where they are by working hard, saving, and living within their means. Both also remember when their Federal Government did the same thing. One of my younger American friends recently sent me a You Tube video, featuring an impassioned speech by Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida. In the speech, Rubio blasts the spending habits of his Federal Government and deeply laments his country’s future. He is outraged that the U.S. Government spends three hundred billion dollars, each and every month. He is even more outraged that one hundred and twenty billion of that three hundred billion dollars is borrowed. In other words, Rubio states that for every dollar the U.S. Government spends, forty cents is borrowed. I don’t blame him for being upset. If I had run my business using that arithmetic, I would be in the soup kitchens. If individual American families had applied that arithmetic to their finances, none of them would be in a position to pay a thin dime of taxes.
Stephen Douglass
In the book of Alma is a story that has fascinated e since I first read it. it is about a very colorful character named Moroni--not to be confused with the last survivor of the Nephites, who was also named Moroni. This man was a brilliant military commander, and he rose to be supreme commander of all the Nephite forces at the age of twenty-five. For the next fourteen years he was off to the wars continuously except for two very short periods of peace during which he worked feverishly at reinforcing the Nephite defenses. When peace finally came, he was thirty-nine years old, and the story goes that at the age of forty-three he died. Sometime before this he had given the chief command of the armies of the Nephites to his son Moronihah. Now, if he had a son, he had a wife. I've often wondered where she was and how she fared during those fourteen years of almost continuous warfare, and how she felt to have him die so soon after coming home. I am sure there are many, many stories of patience and sacrifice that have never been told. We each do our part, and we each have our story.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)
Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes. I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever from human view. After that it exists only in my mind's eye. Like other artists, my river is temperamental; there is no predicting when the mood to paint will come upon him, or how long it will last. But in midsummer, when the great white fleets cruise the sky for day after flawless day, it is worth strolling down to the sandbars just to see whether he has been at work.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There)
Good, glad you agree,” Wrath muttered as he cued George. The dog signaled that they’d come up to a barrier by halting, and Wrath reached out, his palm finding a sheet that was stiff and thick. Dropping his hold on the halter, he used two hands to pull it aside so he didn’t tear it from its tethers above. The voices stopped immediately. Except for one that breathed, “Holy . . . shit.” All at once there was a clattering, as if tools were being dropped to the floor—and then a rustling. Like seven males of some size had just gone down on their knees. For a moment, Wrath’s eyes teared up behind his wraparounds. “Evening,” he said, trying to be all casual. “How’s the work going?” No answer. And he could smell the stunned disbelief—it was like sautéed onions, not entirely unpleasant. “My lord,” came a low greeting. “It is a great honor to be in your presence.” He opened his mouth to blow that off . . . except as he inhaled, he realized that was the truth. For each and every one of them. They were honestly in awe and overcome. In a hoarse voice, he said, “Welcome to my home.
J.R. Ward (The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #12))
You went back in time,” he repeated, “and you expect his cell phone to work?” “Well, no, I just, I mean, I came back and he hasn’t! Shouldn’t he have?” Morrison, very steadily, said, “Were you together?” “No! I just said he went to fight the Morrigan!” “I see.” There was a pause. “The man is seventy-four years old, Joanie. He can take care of himself. If you were,” a great and patient pause filled the line before he went on, “time traveling. If you were time traveling and got separated, then I can’t think of any reason he would necessarily come back to the present at the same time you did.” “Except I was the focal point, it was my fault, it --!” “Joanne. Siobhan. Siobhan Grainne MacNamarra Walkingstick.” I didn’t think anybody had ever said my name like that before. I gulped down a hysterical sob and whispered, “Yeah?” Morrison, with gentle emphasis, said, “I love you. Now pull yourself together and go find the bad guy,” and hung up.
C.E. Murphy (Raven Calls (Walker Papers, #7))
It didn't take long. In that despondent changeless heat the entire human content of the ship congealed into a massive drunkenness. People moved flabbily about like squid in a tank of tepid smelly water. From that moment on we saw, rising to the surface, the terrifying nature of white men, exasperated, freed from constraint, absolutely unbuttoned, their true nature, same as in the war. That tropical steam bath called forth the instincts as August breeds toads and snakes on the fissured walls of prisons. In the European cold, under gray, puritanical northern skies, we seldom get to see our brothers' festering cruelty except in times of carnage, but when roused by the foul fevers of the tropics, their rottenness rises to the surface. That's when the frantic unbuttoning sets in, when filth triumphs and covers us entirely. It's a biological confession. Once work and cold weather cease to constrain us, once they relax their grip, the white man shows you the same spectacle as a beautiful beach when the tide goes out: the truth, fetid pools, crabs, carrion, and turds.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
In Mexico City they somehow wandered into an exhibition of paintings by the beautiful Spanish exile Remedios Varo: in the central painting of a triptych, titled “Bordando el Manto Terrestre,” were a number of frail girls with heart-shaped faces, huge eyes, spun-gold hair, prisoners in the top room of a circular tower, embroidering a kind of tapestry which spilled out the slit windows and into a void, seeking hopelessly to fill the void: for all the other buildings and creatures, all the waves, ships and forests of the earth were contained in the tapestry, and the tapestry was the world. Oedipa, perverse, had stood in front of the painting and cried. No one had noticed; she wore dark green bubble shades. For a moment she’d wondered if the seal around her sockets were tight enough to allow the tears simply to go on and fill up the entire lens space and never dry. She could carry the sadness of the moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears, as if indices as yet unfound varied in important ways from cry to cry. She had looked down at her feet and known, then, because of a painting, that what she stood on had only been woven together a couple thousand miles away in her own tower, was only by accident known as Mexico, and so Pierce had take her away from nothing, there’d been no escape. What did she so desire escape from? Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: that what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a useful hobby like embroidery, or go mad, or marry a disk jockey. If the tower is everywhere and the knight of deliverance no proof against its magic, what else?
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
In 1965, worked with Nite Owl bringing street gangs under control. Tackled the Big Figure together. Brought down Underboss together. Good team. Until he got soft, like rest. Until he quit. No staying power. None of them. Except Comedian. Met him in 1966. Forceful personality. Didn't care if people liked him. Uncompromising. Admired that. Of us all, he understood most. About world. About people. About society and what's happening to it. Things everyone knows in gut. Things everyone too scared to face, too polite to talk about. He understood. Understood man's capacity for horrors and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly and never surrendered. Once man has seen, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend it doesn't exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way. We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
Feels almost like real agent work, doesn’t it?” Barron says as we walk down the street, heads bowed against the wind. “You know, if we caught your girlfriend committing a crime, I bet Yulikova would give us a bonus or something for being prize pupils.” “Except that we’re not going to do that,” I say. “I thought you wanted us to be good guys.” He grins a too-wide grin. He’s enjoying needling me, and my reacting only makes it worse, but I can’t stop. “Not if it means hurting her,” I say, my voice as deadly as I can make it. “Never her.” “Got it. Hurting, bad. But how do you excuse stalking her and her friends, little brother?” “I’m not excusing it,” I say. “I’m just doing it.
Holly Black (Black Heart (Curse Workers, #3))
I grew up back and forth between the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. I spent short periods of time in France, Italy, and South Africa. This is my first time in the States. I was disappointed by Atlanta at first — I'd wanted to live in New York-but it's grown on me.” Everything about Kaidan was exciting and exotic. This was my first time traveling away from home, and he'd already seen so much. I ate my apple, glad it was crisp and not soft. “Which was your favorite place?” I asked. “I've never been terribly attached to any place. I guess it would have to be...here.” I stopped midchew and examined his face. He wouldn't look at me. He was clenching his jaw, tense. Was he serious or was he teasing me? I swallowed my bite. “The Texas panhandle?” I asked. “No.” He seemed to choose each word with deliberate care. “I mean here in this car. With you.” Covered in goose bumps, I looked away from him and stared straight ahead at the road, letting my hand with the apple fall to my lap. He cleared his throat and tried to explain. “I've not talked like this with anyone, not since I started working, not even to the only four people in the world who I call friends. You have Patti, and even that boyfriend of yours. So this has been a relief of sort. Kind of...nice.” He cleared his throat again. Oh, my gosh. Did we just have a moment? I proceeded with caution, hoping not to ruin it. “It's been nice for me, too,” I said. “I've never told Jay anything. He has no idea. You're the only one I've talked to about it all, except Patti, but it's not the same. She learned the basics from the nun at the convent where I was born.” “You were born in a convent,” he stated. “Yes.” “Naturally.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
This was the greatest gift that he had, the talent that fitted him for war; that ability not to ignore but to despise whatever bad ending there could be. This quality was destroyed by too much responsibility for others or the necessity of undertaking something ill planned or badly conceived. For in such things the bad ending, failure, could not be ignored. It was not simply a possibility of harm to one's self, which could be ignored. He knew he himself was nothing, and he knew death was nothing. He knew that truly, as truly as he knew anything. In the last few days he had learned that he himself, with another person, could be everything. But inside himself he knew that this was the exception. That we have had, he thought. In that I have been most fortunate. That was given to me, perhaps, because I never asked for it. That cannot be taken away nor lost. But that is over and done with now on this morning and what there is to do now is our work.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
When I was little, I longed and longed to be older, except now I can't recall what exactly it was that I most keenly anticipated. Being allowed to stay up as late as I wanted? To wear or eat or read whatever I pleased? Well, I could do all those things now, but mostly I don't--either because I have to get up early for work the next morning, or haven't enough money to buy the outfit I really love, or for some other boring, grown-up reason. Also, children don't realize what a huge proportion of adult life is used up worrying about things--from what to make for dinner and whether one's sheets will get dry in time to make the beds that night, to whether one will ever manage to meet the right man and marry him. Shouldn't being a grown-up be slightly more exhilarating?
Michelle Cooper (The FitzOsbornes at War)
When the gap between the world of the city and the world my grandfather had presented to me as right and good became too wide and depressing to tolerate, I'd turn to my other great love, which was pulp adventure fiction. Despite the fact that [he] would have had nothing but scorn and loathing for all of those violent and garish magazines, there was a sort of prevailing morality in them that I'm sure he would have responded to. The world of Doc Savage and The Shadow was one of absolute values, where what was good was never in the slightest doubt and where what was evil inevitably suffered some fitting punishment. The notion of good and justice espoused by Lamont Cranston with his slouch hat and blazing automatics seemed a long way from that of the fierce and taciturn old man I remembered sitting up alone into the Montana night with no company save his bible, but I can't help feeling that if the two had ever met they'd have found something to talk about. For my part, all those brilliant and resourceful sleuths and heroes offered a glimpse of a perfect world where morality worked the way it was meant to. Nobody in Doc Savage's world ever killed themselves except thwarted kamikaze assassins or enemy spies with cyanide capsules. Which world would you rather live in, if you had the choice?
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place... It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses, whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. Now, there is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewel was beaten - savagely, by someone who led exclusively with his left. And Tom Robinson now sits before you having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesses... his RIGHT. I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the State. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance. But my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt. Now I say "guilt," gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her. She's committed no crime - she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. She must destroy the evidence of her offense. But what was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her. Tom Robinson was to her a daily reminder of what she did. Now, what did she do? She tempted a *****. She was white, and she tempted a *****. She did something that, in our society, is unspeakable. She kissed a black man. Not an old uncle, but a strong, young ***** man. No code mattered to her before she broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. The witnesses for the State, with the exception of the sheriff of Maycomb County have presented themselves to you gentlemen, to this court in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption... the evil assumption that all Negroes lie, all Negroes are basically immoral beings, all ***** men are not to be trusted around our women. An assumption that one associates with minds of their caliber, and which is, in itself, gentlemen, a lie, which I do not need to point out to you. And so, a quiet, humble, respectable *****, who has had the unmitigated TEMERITY to feel sorry for a white woman, has had to put his word against TWO white people's! The defendant is not guilty - but somebody in this courtroom is. Now, gentlemen, in this country, our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system - that's no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality! Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review, without passion, the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision and restore this man to his family. In the name of GOD, do your duty. In the name of God, believe... Tom Robinson
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
The work of Christ on the cross did not influence God to love us, did not increase that love by one degree, did not open any fount of grace or mercy in His heart. He had loved us from old eternity and needed nothing to stimulate that love. The cross is not responsible for God's love; rather it was His love which conceived the cross as the one method by which we could be saved. God felt no different toward us after Christ had died for us, for in the mind of God Christ had already died before the foundation of the world. God never saw us except through atonement. The human race could not have existed one day in its fallen state had not Christ spread His mantle of atonement over it. And this He did in eternal purpose long ages before they led Him out to die on the hill above Jerusalem. All God's dealings with man have been conditioned upon the cross.
A.W. Tozer (The Radical Cross: Living the Passion of Christ)
Why should people in one part of the globe have developed collectivist cultures, while others went individualist? The United States is the individualism poster child for at least two reasons. First there's immigration. Currently, 12 percent of Americans are immigrants, another 12 percent are children of immigrants, and everyone else except for the 0.9 percent pure Native Americans descend from people who emigrated within the last five hundred years. And who were the immigrants? Those in the settled world who were cranks, malcontents, restless, heretical, black sheep, hyperactive, hypomanic, misanthropic, itchy, unconventional, yearning to be rich, yearning to be out of their damn boring repressive little hamlet, yearning. Couple that with the second reason - for the majority of its colonial and independent history, America has had a moving frontier luring those whose extreme prickly optimism made merely booking passage to the New World insufficiently novel - and you've got America the individualistic. Why has East Asia provided textbook examples of collectivism? The key is how culture is shaped by the way people traditionally made a living, which in turn is shaped by ecology. And in East Asia it's all about rice. Rice, which was domesticated there roughly ten thousand years ago, requires massive amounts of communal work. Not just backbreaking planting and harvesting, which are done in rotation because the entire village is needed to harvest each family's rice. The United States was not without labor-intensive agriculture historically. But rather than solving that with collectivism, it solved it withe slavery.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Billy looked at the clock on the gas stove. He had an hour to kill before the saucer came. He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this: American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation. The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new. When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground., to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again. The American fliers turned in their uniforms, became high school kids. And Hitler turned into a baby, Billy Pilgrim supposed. That wasn't in the movie. Billy was extrapolating. Everybody turned into a baby, and all humanity, without exception, conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
Sand as far as the eye can see, between the last hills and the sea -- the sea -- in the cold air of an afternoon almost past, and blessed by the wind that always blows from the north. The beach. And the sea. It could be perfection -- an image for divine eyes -- a world that happens, that's all, the mute existence of land and water, a work perfectly accomplished, truth --truth -- but once again it is the redeeming grain of a man that jams the mechanism of that paradise, a bagatelle capable on its own of suspending all that great apparatus of inexorable truth, a mere nothing, but one planted in the sand, an imperceptible tear in the surface of that sacred icon, a minuscule exception come to rest on the perfection of that boundless beach. To see him from afar he would be no more than a black dot: amid nothingness, the nothing of a man and a painter's easel. The easel is anchored by slender cords to four stones placed on the sand. It sways imperceptibly in the wind that always blows from the north. The man is wearing waders and a large fisherman's jacket. He is standing, facing the sea, twirling a slim paintbrush between his fingers. On the easel, a canvas.
Alessandro Baricco (Ocean Sea)
The particular myth that's been organizing this talk, and in a way the whole series, is the story of the Tower of Babel in the Bible. The civilization we live in at present is a gigantic technological structure, a skyscraper almost high enough to reach the moon. It looks like a single world-wide effort, but it's really a deadlock of rivalries; it looks very impressive, except that it has no genuine human dignity. For all its wonderful machinery, we know it's really a crazy ramshackle building, and at any time may crash around our ears. What the myth tells us is that the Tower of Babel is a work of human imagination, that its main elements are words, and that what will make it collapse is a confusion of tongues. All had originally one language, the myth says. The language is not English or Russian or Chinese or any common ancestor, if there was one. It is the language that makes Shakespeare and Pushkin authentic poets, that gives a social vision to both Lincoln and Gandhi. It never speaks unless we take the time to listen in leisure, and it speaks only in a voice too quiet for panic to hear. And then all it has to tell us, when we look over the edge of our leaning tower, is that we are not getting any nearer heaven, and that it is time to return to earth. [p.98]
Northrop Frye (The Educated Imagination)
There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an Artist: 1. Explorer (Courage) 2. Surveyor (Vision) 3. Miner (Strength) 4. Refiner (Patience) 5. Designer (Intelligence) 6. Maker (Experience) 7. Artist. First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche. This is what is meant by 'Explorer.' Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you arrive there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey. This is what is meant by 'Surveyor.' Third, you must be strong enough to dig up the facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details. This is what is meant by 'Miner.' Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years. And this is what is meant by 'Refiner.' Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins. This is what is meant by 'Designer.' Six, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished though experience and is what is meant by 'Maker.' At this stage, the work is acceptable. You will be fortunate to have progressed so far. It is unlikely, however, that you will go any farther. Most do not. But let us assume you are exceptional. Let us assume you are rare. What then does it mean to reach the final incarnation? Only this: at every stage, from 1 thru 6, you will risk more, see more, gather more, process more, fashion more, consider more, love more, suffer more, imagine more and in the end know why less means more and leave what doesn't and keep what implies and create what matters. This is what is meant by 'Artist.
Mark Z. Danielewski
Count your years and you'll be ashamed to be wanting and working for exactly the same things as you wanted when you were a boy. Of this one thing make sure against your dying day - that your faults die before you do. Have done with those unsettled pleasures, which cost one dear - they do one harm after they're past and gone, not merely when they're in prospect. Even when they're over, pleasures of a depraved nature are apt to carry feelings of dissatisfaction, in the same way as a criminal's anxiety doesn't end with the commission of the crime, even if it's undetected at the time. Such pleasures are insubstantial and unreliable; even if they don't do one any harm, they're fleeting in character. Look around for some enduring good instead. And nothing answers this description except what the spirit discovers for itself within itself. A good character is the only guarantee of everlasting, carefree happiness. Even if some obstacle to this comes on the scene, its appearance is only to be compared to that of clouds which drift in front of the sun without ever defeating its light.
Seneca (Letters from a Stoic)
1. That reason is a gift of God and that we should believe in its ability to comprehend the world. 2. That they have been wrong who undermined confidence in reason by enumerating the forces that want to usurp it: class struggle, libido, will to power. 3. That we should be aware that our being is enclosed within the circle of its perceptions, but not reduce reality to dreams and the phantoms of the mind. 4. That truth is a proof of freedom and that the sign of slavery is the lie. 5. That the proper attitude toward being is respect and that we must, therefore, avoid the company of people who debase being with their sarcasm, and praise nothingness. 6. That, even if we are accused of arrogance, it is the case that in the life of the mind a strict hierarchy is necessary. 7. That intellectuals in the twentieth century were afflicted with the habit of baratin, i.e., irresponsible jabber. 8. That in the hierarchy of human activities the arts stand higher than philosophy, and yet bad philosophy can spoil art. 9. That the objective truth exists; namely, out of two contrary assertions, one is true, one false, except in strictly defined cases when maintaining contradiction is legitimate. 10. That quite independently of the fate of religious denominations we should preserve a "philosophical faith," i.e., a belief in transcendence as a measure of humanity. 11. That time excludes and sentences to oblivion only those works of our hands and minds which prove worthless in raising up, century after century, the huge edifice of civilization. 12. That in our lives we should not succumb to despair because of our errors and our sins, for the past is never closed down and receives the meaning we give it by our subsequent acts.
Czesław Miłosz (New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001)
Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage might work: Because you wear pink but write poems about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell at your keys when you lose them, and laugh, loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol, gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming. You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents of what you packed were written inside the boxes. Because you think swans are overrated. Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence. Because you underline everything you read, and circle the things you think are important, and put stars next to the things you think I should think are important, and write notes in the margins about all the people you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there. Because you make that pork recipe you found in the Frida Khalo Cookbook. Because when you read that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed over the windows, you still believe someone outside can see you. And one day five summers ago, when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments— there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew, which you paid for with your last damn dime because you once overheard me say that I liked it.
Matthew Olzmann
Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the circuit to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. / At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to classical plays--especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare--or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. / So he switched to opera--usually in Italian or German, so that he was not distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard performed on Earth. The "Dies Irae," roaring with ominous appropriateness through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. / Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. / And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
I am not a well educated man except that I have educated myself, and, because I have educated myself, what I say will not stand up, for lack of recognized authority. This in turn leaves me free to say what I will, in the hope that, like those small forces that do not threaten empires and are thus not fully pursued, the things in which I believe can survive in some high and forgotten place until the power of empire subsides. And although I know that few will listen to or credit this, I think we are in a lost age, in which holiness and charity have been traded for the victory and penetration of knowledge, though all the knowledge in the world has not brought us any further than where we can go without it even in the outermost halls of grace. I believe that more is to be known and apprehended from the beauty of a face than in delving, no matter how deep, simply into how things work, no matter how marvelous that may be. The greatest substance of the world is immaterial, the province of the heart, and its study cannot be forced or reasoned. Merely to touch upon the edge of things in parsing their mechanics is to forswear their fullness, for the entry to this fullness lies not in science but in art. I cannot prove this, for it cannot be proven, but I claim, assert, and have seen it.
Mark Helprin
But the Greeks and the Romans both believed in the idea of an external daemon of creativity—a sort of house elf, if you will, who lived within the walls of your home and who sometimes aided you in your labors. The Romans had a specific term for that helpful house elf. They called it your genius—your guardian deity, the conduit of your inspiration. Which is to say, the Romans didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius. It’s a subtle but important distinction (being vs. having) and, I think, it’s a wise psychological construct. The idea of an external genius helps to keep the artist’s ego in check, distancing him somewhat from the burden of taking either full credit or full blame for the outcome of his work. If your work is successful, in other words, you are obliged to thank your external genius for the help, thus holding you back from total narcissism. And if your work fails, it’s not entirely your fault. You can say, “Hey, don’t look at me—my genius didn’t show up today!” Either way, the vulnerable human ego is protected. Protected from the corrupting influence of praise. Protected from the corrosive effects of shame.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
I think about the sheer number of people who pulled together just to save my sorry ass, and I can barely comprehend it. My crewmates sacrificed a year of their lives to come back for me. Countless people at NASA worked day and night to invent rover and MAV modifications. All of JPL busted their asses to make a probe that was destroyed on launch. Then, instead of giving up, they made another probe to resupply Hermes. The China National Space Administration abandoned a project they'd worked on for years just to provide a booster. The cost for my survival must have been hundreds of millions of dollar. All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother? Well, okay. I know the answer to that. Part of it might be what I represent: progress, science, and the interplanetary future we've dreamed of for centuries. But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it's true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do. And because of that, I had billions of people on my side. Pretty cool, eh?
Andy Weir (The Martian)
But as I stood across from Archer, I couldn't forget that I was completely, stupidly in love with the one person I could never have. The laughter died on my lips, and I dashed at my eyes with the back of my hand. "I need to get back," I said. "Right," he replied. He was still holding his sword in his right hand, and he twirled the hilt, the point sratching the wooden floor. "So this is it. We're done." "Yeah," I said, my voice cracking. I cleared my throat. "And I have to say, the world's first and last Eye-demon reconnaissance mission went pretty well." It was a struggle to meet his eyes, but I managed it. "Thank you." He shrugged, his dark gaze full of something I couldn't quite read. "We were a good team." "We were." In more ways than one, I thought. Which is why this sucked so bad. I stepped back. "Anyway, I should go. See ya,Cross." Then I laughed, only it sounded suspiciously like another sob. "Except I won't, will I So I guess I should say goodbye." I felt like I was about to shatter into a million tiny shards, like the mirrors I'd broken with Dad. "okay, well, best of luck with the whole Eye thing, then. Try not to kill anyone I know." I turned away, but he reached out and caught my wrist. I could feel my pulse hammering under his fingers. "Mercer, that day in the cellar..." He searched my face, and I could sense him struggling for what he wanted to say. Then finally, "I didn't kiss you back because I had to. I kissed you because I wanted to." His eyes dropped to my lips,and it was like the whole world had shrunk to just me and him and the shaft of light between us. "I still want to," he said hoarsely. He tugged my wrist and pulled me into his arms. My brain registered the sound of his sword clattering to he ground as his other hand came up to grab the back of my neck, but once his lips were on mine, everything else faded away. I clutched at his shoulders, raising up on my tiptoes, and kissed him with everything I had in me. As the kiss deepened, we held each other tighter, so I didn't know if the pounding heartbeat I felt was mine or his. How stupid,I thought dreamily, to have ever thought I could give this up. Not just the kissing, although, as Archer's hands cupped my face, I had to admit that part was pretty awesome. But all of it: joking with him and working beside him. Being with a guy who was my friend and could still make me feel like this.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact, and say: “This is not just.” It will look across the oceans and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing to prevent us from paying adequate wages to schoolteachers, social workers and other servants of the public to insure that we have the best available personnel in these positions which are charged with the responsibility of guiding our future generations. There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American citizen whether he be a hospital worker, laundry worker, maid or day laborer. There is nothing except shortsightedness to prevent us from guaranteeing an annual minimum—and livable—income for every American family. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from remolding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (King Legacy))
While everybody tries to be as close as possible to the rest, everybody remains utterly alone, pervaded by the deep sense of insecurity, anxiety and guilt which always results when human separateness cannot be overcome. Our civilization offers many palliatives which help people to be consciously unaware of this aloneness: first of all the strict routine of bureaucratized, mechanical work, which helps people to remain unaware of their most fundamental human desires, of the longing for transcendence and unity. Inasmuch as the routine alone does not succeed in this, man overcomes his unconscious despair by the routine of amusement, the passive consumption of sounds and sights offered by the amusement industry; furthermore by the satisfaction of buying ever new things, and soon exchanging them for others. Modern man is actually close to the picture Huxley describes in his Brave New World: well fed, well clad, satisfied sexually, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men, guided by the slogans which Huxley formulated so succinctly, such as: “When the individual feels, the community reels”; or “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today,” or, as the crowning statement: “Everybody is happy nowadays.” Man’s happiness today consists in “having fun.” Having fun lies in the satisfaction of consuming and “taking in” commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, people, lectures, books, movies—all are consumed, swallowed.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
When I went on my first antidepressant it had the side effect of making me fixated on suicide (which is sort of the opposite of what you want). It’s a rare side effect so I switched to something else that did work. Lots of concerned friends and family felt that the first medication’s failure was a clear sign that drugs were not the answer; if they were I would have been fixed. Clearly I wasn’t as sick as I said I was if the medication didn’t work for me. And that sort of makes sense, because when you have cancer the doctor gives you the best medicine and if it doesn’t shrink the tumor immediately then that’s a pretty clear sign you were just faking it for attention. I mean, cancer is a serious, often fatal disease we’ve spent billions of dollars studying and treating so obviously a patient would never have to try multiple drugs, surgeries, radiation, etc., to find what will work specifically for them. And once the cancer sufferer is in remission they’re set for life because once they’ve learned how to not have cancer they should be good. And if they let themselves get cancer again they can just do whatever they did last time. Once you find the right cancer medication you’re pretty much immune from that disease forever. And if you get it again it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly. Right? Well, no. But that same, completely ridiculous reasoning is what people with mental illness often hear … not just from well-meaning friends, or people who were able to fix their own issues without medication, or people who don’t understand that mental illness can be dangerous and even fatal if untreated … but also from someone much closer and more manipulative. We hear it from ourselves. We listen to the small voice in the back of our head that says, “This medication is taking money away from your family. This medication messes with your sex drive or your weight. This medication is for people with real problems. Not just people who feel sad. No one ever died from being sad.” Except that they do. And when we see celebrities who fall victim to depression’s lies we think to ourselves, “How in the world could they have killed themselves? They had everything.” But they didn’t. They didn’t have a cure for an illness that convinced them they were better off dead. Whenever I start to doubt if I’m worth the eternal trouble of medication and therapy, I remember those people who let the fog win. And I push myself to stay healthy. I remind myself that I’m not fighting against me … I’m fighting against a chemical imbalance … a tangible thing. I remind myself of the cunning untrustworthiness of the brain, both in the mentally ill and in the mentally stable. I remind myself that professional mountain climbers are often found naked and frozen to death, with their clothes folded neatly nearby because severe hypothermia can make a person feel confused and hot and convince you to do incredibly irrational things we’d never expect. Brains are like toddlers. They are wonderful and should be treasured, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them to take care of you in an avalanche or process serotonin effectively.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Is it possible that the Pentateuch could not have been written by uninspired men? that the assistance of God was necessary to produce these books? Is it possible that Galilei ascertained the mechanical principles of 'Virtual Velocity,' the laws of falling bodies and of all motion; that Copernicus ascertained the true position of the earth and accounted for all celestial phenomena; that Kepler discovered his three laws—discoveries of such importance that the 8th of May, 1618, may be called the birth-day of modern science; that Newton gave to the world the Method of Fluxions, the Theory of Universal Gravitation, and the Decomposition of Light; that Euclid, Cavalieri, Descartes, and Leibniz, almost completed the science of mathematics; that all the discoveries in optics, hydrostatics, pneumatics and chemistry, the experiments, discoveries, and inventions of Galvani, Volta, Franklin and Morse, of Trevithick, Watt and Fulton and of all the pioneers of progress—that all this was accomplished by uninspired men, while the writer of the Pentateuch was directed and inspired by an infinite God? Is it possible that the codes of China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome were made by man, and that the laws recorded in the Pentateuch were alone given by God? Is it possible that Æschylus and Shakespeare, Burns, and Beranger, Goethe and Schiller, and all the poets of the world, and all their wondrous tragedies and songs are but the work of men, while no intelligence except the infinite God could be the author of the Pentateuch? Is it possible that of all the books that crowd the libraries of the world, the books of science, fiction, history and song, that all save only one, have been produced by man? Is it possible that of all these, the bible only is the work of God?
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
And I am proud, but mostly, I’m angry. I’m angry, because when I look around, I’m still alone. I’m still the only black woman in the room. And when I look at what I’ve fought so hard to accomplish next to those who will never know that struggle I wonder, “How many were left behind?” I think about my first-grade class and wonder how many black and brown kids weren’t identified as “talented” because their parents were too busy trying to pay bills to pester the school the way my mom did. Surely there were more than two, me and the brown boy who sat next to me in the hall each day. I think about my brother and wonder how many black boys were similarly labeled as “trouble” and were unable to claw out of the dark abyss that my brother had spent so many years in. I think about the boys and girls playing at recess who were dragged to the principal’s office because their dark skin made their play look like fight. I think about my friend who became disillusioned with a budding teaching career, when she worked at the alternative school and found that it was almost entirely populated with black and brown kids who had been sent away from the general school population for minor infractions. From there would only be expulsions or juvenile detention. I think about every black and brown person, every queer person, every disabled person, who could be in the room with me, but isn’t, and I’m not proud. I’m heartbroken. We should not have a society where the value of marginalized people is determined by how well they can scale often impossible obstacles that others will never know. I have been exceptional, and I shouldn’t have to be exceptional to be just barely getting by. But we live in a society where if you are a person of color, a disabled person, a single mother, or an LGBT person you have to be exceptional. And if you are exceptional by the standards put forth by white supremacist patriarchy, and you are lucky, you will most likely just barely get by. There’s nothing inspirational about that.
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
Consider the following sequence of cases, which we shall call the Tale of the Slave, and imagine it is about you. 1. There is a slave completely at the mercy of his brutal master’s whims. He is often cruelly beaten, called out in the middle of the night, and so on. 2. The master is kindlier and beats the slave only for stated infractions of his rules (not fulling the work quota, and so on). He gives the slave some free time. 3. The master has a group of slave, and he decides how things are to be allocated among them on nice grounds, taking into account their needs, merit, and so on. 4. The master allows the slave four days on their own and requires them to work only three days a week on his land. The rest of the time is their own. 5. The master allows his slaves to go off and work in the city (or anywhere they wish) for wages. He also retains the power to recall them to the plantation if some emergency threatens his land; and to raise or lower the three-sevenths amount required to be turned over to him. He further retains the right to restrict the slaves from participating in certain dangerous activities that threaten his financial return, for example, mountain climbing, cigarette smoking. 6. The master allows all of his 10,000 slaves, except you, to vote, and the joint decision is made by all of them. There is open discussion, and so forth, among them, and they have the power to determine to what use to put whatever percentage of your (and their) earnings they decide to take; what activities legitimately may be forbidden to you, and so on. 7. Though still not having the vote, you are at liberty (and are given the right) to enter into discussion of the 10,000, to try to persuade them to adopt various policies and to treat you and themselves in a certain way. They then go off to vote to decide upon policies covering the vast range of their powers. 8. In appreciation of your useful contributions to discussion, the 10,000 allow you to vote if they are deadlocked; they commit themselve3s to this procedure. After the discussion you mark your vote on a slip of paper, and they go off and vote. In the eventuality that they divide evenly on some issue, 5,000 for and 5,000 against, they look at your ballot and count it in. This has never yet happened; they have never yet had occasion to open your ballot. (A single master may also might commit himself to letting his slave decide any issue concerning him about which he, the master, was absolutely indifferent.) 9. They throw your vote in with theirs. If they are exactly tied your vote carries the issue. Otherwise it makes no difference to the electoral outcome. The question is: which transition from case 1 to case 9 made it no longer the tale of the slave?
Robert Nozick (Anarchy, State, and Utopia)
It is a mistake to think of the expatriate as someone who abdicates, who withdraws and humbles himself, resigned to his miseries, his outcast state. On a closer look, he turns out to be ambitious, aggressive in his disappointments, his very acrimony qualified by his belligerence. The more we are dispossessed, the more intense our appetites and illusions become. I even discern some relation between misfortune and megalomania. The man who has lost everything preserves as a last resort the hope of glory, or of literary scandal. He consents to abandon everything, except his name. [ . . . ] Let us say a man writes a novel which makes him, overnight, a celebrity. In it he recounts his sufferings. His compatriots in exile envy him: they too have suffered, perhaps more. And the man without a country becomes—or aspires to become—a novelist. The consequence: an accumulation of confusions, an inflation of horrors, of frissons that date. One cannot keep renewing Hell, whose very characteristic is monotony, or the face of exile either. Nothing in literature exasperates a reader so much as The Terrible; in life, it too is tainted with the obvious to rouse our interest. But our author persists; for the time being he buries his novel in a drawer and awaits his hour. The illusion of surprise, of a renown which eludes his grasp but on which he reckons, sustains him; he lives on unreality. Such, however, is the power of this illusion that if, for instance, he works in some factory, it is with the notion of being freed from it one day or another by a fame as sudden as it is inconceivable. * Equally tragic is the case of the poet. Walled up in his own language, he writes for his friends—for ten, for twenty persons at the most. His longing to be read is no less imperious than that of the impoverished novelist. At least he has the advantage over the latter of being able to get his verses published in the little émigré reviews which appear at the cost of almost indecent sacrifices and renunciations. Let us say such a man becomes—transforms himself—into an editor of such a review; to keep his publication alive he risks hunger, abstains from women, buries himself in a windowless room, imposes privations which confound and appall. Tuberculosis and masturbation, that is his fate. No matter how scanty the number of émigrés, they form groups, not to protect their interests but to get up subscriptions, to bleed each other white in order to publish their regrets, their cries, their echoless appeals. One cannot conceive of a more heart rending form of the gratuitous. That they are as good poets as they are bad prose writers is to be accounted for readily enough. Consider the literary production of any "minor" nation which has not been so childish as to make up a past for itself: the abundance of poetry is its most striking characteristic. Prose requires, for its development, a certain rigor, a differentiated social status, and a tradition: it is deliberate, constructed; poetry wells up: it is direct or else totally fabricated; the prerogative of cave men or aesthetes, it flourishes only on the near or far side of civilization, never at the center. Whereas prose demands a premeditated genius and a crystallized language, poetry is perfectly compatible with a barbarous genius and a formless language. To create a literature is to create a prose.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
Meg! I love you! I want to marry you!” “That’s weird,” she said without stopping. “Only six weeks ago, you were telling me all about how Lucy broke your heart.” “I was wrong. Lucy broke my brain.” That finally stopped her. “Your brain?” She looked back at him. “That’s right,” he said more quietly. “When Lucy ran out on me, she broke my brain. But when you left . . .” To his dismay, his voice cracked. “When you left, you broke my heart.” He finally had her full attention, not that she looked at all dreamy-eyed or even close to being ready to throw herself into his arms, but at least she was listening. He collapsed the umbrella, took a step forward, then stopped himself. “Lucy and I fit together so perfectly in my head. We had everything in common, and what she did made no sense. I had the whole town lining up feeling sorry for me, and I was damned if I was going to let anybody know how miserable I was. I—I couldn’t get my bearings. And there you were in the middle of it, this beautiful thorn in my side, making me “feel like myself again. Except . . .” He hunched his shoulders, and a trickle of rainwater ran down his collar. “Sometimes logic can be an enemy. If I was so wrong about Lucy, how could I trust the way I felt about you?” She stood there, not saying a word, just listening. “I wish I could say I realized how much I loved you as soon as you left town, but I was too busy being mad at you for bailing on me. I don’t have a lot of practice being mad, so it took me a while to understand that the person I was really mad at was myself. I was so pigheaded and stupid. And afraid. Everything has always come so easy for me, but nothing about you was easy. The things you made me feel. The way you forced me to look at myself.” He could barely breathe. “I love you, Meg. I want to marry you. I want to sleep with you every night, make love with you, have kids. I want to fight together and work together and—just be together. Now are you going to keep standing there, staring at me, or could you put “me out of my misery and say you still love me, at least a little?
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Call Me Irresistible (Wynette, Texas, #5))
Do you have someone in mind, Galen?" Toraf asks, popping a shrimp into his mouth. "Is it someone I know?" "Shut up, Toraf," Galen growls. He closes his eyes, massages his temples. This could have gone a lot better in so many ways. "Oh," Toraf says. "It must be someone I know, then." "Toraf, I swear by Triton's trident-" "These are the best shrimp you've ever made, Rachel," Toraf continues. "I can't wait to cook shrimp on our island. I'll get the seasoning for us, Rayna." "She's not going to any island with you, Toraf!" Emma yells. "Oh, but she is, Emma. Rayna wants to be my mate. Don't you, princess?" he smiles. Rayna shakes her head. "It's no use, Emma. I really don't have a choice." She resigns herself to the seat next to Emma, who peers down at her, incredulous. "You do have a choice. You can come live with me at my house. I'll make sure he can't get near you." Toraf's expression indicates he didn't consider that possibility before goading Emma. Galen laughs. "It's not so funny anymore is it, tadpole?" he says, nudging him. Toraf shakes his head. "She's not staying with you, Emma." "We'll see about that, tadpole," she returns. "Galen, do something," Toraf says, not taking his eyes off Emma. Galen grins. "Such as?" "I don't know, arrest her or something," Toraf says, crossing his arms. Emma locks eyes with Galen, stealing his breath. "Yeah, Galen. Come arrest me if you're feeling up to it. But I'm telling you right now, the second you lay a hand on me, I'm busting this glass over your head and using it to split your lip like Toraf's." She picks up her heavy drinking glass and splashes the last drops of orange juice onto the table. Everyone gasps except Galen-who laughs so hard he almost upturns his chair. Emma's nostrils flare. "You don't think I'll do it? There's only one way to find out, isn't there, Highness?" The whole airy house echoes Galen's deep-throated howls. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he elbows Toraf, who's looking at him like he drank too much saltwater. "Do you know those foolish humans at her school voted her the sweetest out of all of them?" Toraf's expression softens as he looks up at Emma, chuckling. Galen's guffaws prove contagious-Toraf is soon pounding the table to catch his breath. Even Rachel snickers from behind her oven mitt. The bluster leaves Emma's expression. Galen can tell she's in danger of smiling. She places the glass on the table as if it's still full and she doesn't want to spill it. "Well, that was a couple of years ago." This time Galen's chair does turn back, and he sprawls onto the floor. When Rayna starts giggling, Emma gives in, too. "I guess...I guess I do have sort of a temper," she says, smiling sheepishly. She walks around the table to stand over Galen. Peering down, she offers her hand. He grins up at her. "Show me your other hand." She laughs and shows him it's empty. "No weapons." "Pretty resourceful," he says, accepting her hand. "I'll never look at a drinking glass the same way." He does most of the work of pulling himself up but can't resist the opportunity to touch her. She shrugs. "Survival instinct, maybe?" He nods. "Or you're trying to cut my lips off so you won't have to kiss me." He's pleased when she looks away, pink restaining her cheeks. "Rayna tries that all the time," Toraf chimes in. "Sometimes when her aim is good, it works, but most of the time kissing her is my reward for the pain.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Ruby and Aaron are both crazy patient; they’re good parents.” “I could be a good dad,” Ivan whispered, still feeding Jess. I could have told him he’d be good at anything he wanted to be good at, but nah. “Do you want to have kids?” he asked me out of the blue. I handed Benny another block. “A long time from now, maybe.” “A long time… like how long?” That had me glancing at Ivan over my shoulder. He had his entire attention on Jessie, and I was pretty sure he was smiling down at her. Huh. “My early thirties, maybe? I don’t know. I might be okay with not having any either. I haven’t really thought about it much, except for knowing I don’t want to have them any time soon, you know what I mean?” “Because of figure skating?” “Why else? I barely have enough time now. I couldn’t imagine trying to train and have kids. My baby daddy would have to be a rich, stay-at-home dad for that to work.” Ivan wrinkled his nose at my niece. “There are at least ten skaters I know with kids.” I rolled my eyes and poked Benny in the side when he held out his little hand for another block. That got me a toothy grin. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just wouldn’t want to do it any time soon. I don’t want to half-ass or regret it. If they ever exist, I’d want them to be my priority. I wouldn’t want them to think they were second best.” Because I knew what that felt like. And I’d already screwed up enough with making grown adults I loved think they weren’t important. If I was going to do something, I wanted to do my best and give it everything. All he said was, “Hmm.” A thought came into my head and made my stomach churn. “Why? Are you planning on having kids any time soon?” “I wasn’t,” he answered immediately. “I like this baby though, and that one. Maybe I need to think about it.” I frowned, the feeling in my stomach getting more intense. He kept blabbing. “I could start training my kids really young…. I could coach them. Hmm.” It was my turn to wrinkle my nose. “Three hours with two kids and now you want them?” Ivan glanced down at me with a smirk. “With the right person. I’m not going to have them with just anybody and dilute my blood.” I rolled my eyes at this idiot, still ignoring that weird feeling in my belly that I wasn’t going to acknowledge now or ever. “God forbid, you have kids with someone that’s not perfect. Dumbass.” “Right?” He snorted, looking down at the baby before glancing back at me with a smile I wasn’t a fan of. “They might come out short, with mean, squinty, little eyes, a big mouth, heavy bones, and a bad attitude.” I blinked. “I hope you get abducted by aliens.” Ivan laughed, and the sound of it made me smile. “You would miss me.” All I said, while shrugging was, “Meh. I know I’d get to see you again someday—” He smiled. “—in hell.” That wiped the look right off his face. “I’m a good person. People like me.” “Because they don’t know you. If they did, somebody would have kicked your ass already.” “They’d try,” he countered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There was something wrong with us. And I didn’t hate it. Not even a little bit.
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
The first school shooting that attracted the attention of a horrified nation occurred on March 24, 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Two boys opened fire on a schoolyard full of girls, killing four and one female teacher. In the wake of what came to be called the Jonesboro massacre, violence experts in media and academia sought to explain what others called “inexplicable.” For example, in a front-page Boston Globe story three days after the tragedy, David Kennedy from Harvard University was quoted as saying that these were “peculiar, horrible acts that can’t easily be explained.” Perhaps not. But there is a framework of explanation that goes much further than most of those routinely offered. It does not involve some incomprehensible, mysterious force. It is so straightforward that some might (incorrectly) dismiss it as unworthy of mention. Even after a string of school shootings by (mostly white) boys over the past decade, few Americans seem willing to face the fact that interpersonal violence—whether the victims are female or male—is a deeply gendered phenomenon. Obviously both sexes are victimized. But one sex is the perpetrator in the overwhelming majority of cases. So while the mainstream media provided us with tortured explanations for the Jonesboro tragedy that ranged from supernatural “evil” to the presence of guns in the southern tradition, arguably the most important story was overlooked. The Jonesboro massacre was in fact a gender crime. The shooters were boys, the victims girls. With the exception of a handful of op-ed pieces and a smattering of quotes from feminist academics in mainstream publications, most of the coverage of Jonesboro omitted in-depth discussion of one of the crucial facts of the tragedy. The older of the two boys reportedly acknowledged that the killings were an act of revenge he had dreamed up after having been rejected by a girl. This is the prototypical reason why adult men murder their wives. If a woman is going to be murdered by her male partner, the time she is most vulnerable is after she leaves him. Why wasn’t all of this widely discussed on television and in print in the days and weeks after the horrific shooting? The gender crime aspect of the Jonesboro tragedy was discussed in feminist publications and on the Internet, but was largely absent from mainstream media conversation. If it had been part of the discussion, average Americans might have been forced to acknowledge what people in the battered women’s movement have known for years—that our high rates of domestic and sexual violence are caused not by something in the water (or the gene pool), but by some of the contradictory and dysfunctional ways our culture defines “manhood.” For decades, battered women’s advocates and people who work with men who batter have warned us about the alarming number of boys who continue to use controlling and abusive behaviors in their relations with girls and women. Jonesboro was not so much a radical deviation from the norm—although the shooters were very young—as it was melodramatic evidence of the depth of the problem. It was not something about being kids in today’s society that caused a couple of young teenagers to put on camouflage outfits, go into the woods with loaded .22 rifles, pull a fire alarm, and then open fire on a crowd of helpless girls (and a few boys) who came running out into the playground. This was an act of premeditated mass murder. Kids didn’t do it. Boys did.
Jackson Katz (Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help)
After a long and happy life, I find myself at the pearly gates (a sight of great joy; the word for “pearl” in Greek is, by the way, margarita). Standing there is St. Peter. This truly is heaven, for finally my academic questions will receive answers. I immediately begin the questions that have been plaguing me for half a century: “Can you speak Greek? Where did you go when you wandered off in the middle of Acts? How was the incident between you and Paul in Antioch resolved? What happened to your wife?” Peter looks at me with some bemusement and states, “Look, lady, I’ve got a whole line of saved people to process. Pick up your harp and slippers here, and get the wings and halo at the next table. We’ll talk after dinner.” As I float off, I hear, behind me, a man trying to gain Peter’s attention. He has located a “red letter Bible,” which is a text in which the words of Jesus are printed in red letters. This is heaven, and all sorts of sacred art and Scriptures, from the Bhagavad Gita to the Qur’an, are easily available (missing, however, was the Reader’s Digest Condensed Version). The fellow has his Bible open to John 14, and he is frenetically pointing at v. 6: “Jesus says here, in red letters, that he is the way. I’ve seen this woman on television (actually, she’s thinner in person). She’s not Christian; she’s not baptized - she shouldn’t be here!” “Oy,” says Peter, “another one - wait here.” He returns a few minutes later with a man about five foot three with dark hair and eyes. I notice immediately that he has holes in his wrists, for when the empire executes an individual, the circumstances of that death cannot be forgotten. “What is it, my son?” he asks. The man, obviously nonplussed, sputters, “I don’t mean to be rude, but didn’t you say that no one comes to the Father except through you?” “Well,” responds Jesus, “John does have me saying this.” (Waiting in line, a few other biblical scholars who overhear this conversation sigh at Jesus’s phrasing; a number of them remain convinced that Jesus said no such thing. They’ll have to make the inquiry on their own time.) “But if you flip back to the Gospel of Matthew, which does come first in the canon, you’ll notice in chapter 25, at the judgment of the sheep and the goats, that I am not interested in those who say ‘Lord, Lord,’ but in those who do their best to live a righteous life: feeding the hungry, visiting people in prison . . . ” Becoming almost apoplectic, the man interrupts, “But, but, that’s works righteousness. You’re saying she’s earned her way into heaven?” “No,” replies Jesus, “I am not saying that at all. I am saying that I am the way, not you, not your church, not your reading of John’s Gospel, and not the claim of any individual Christian or any particular congregation. I am making the determination, and it is by my grace that anyone gets in, including you. Do you want to argue?” The last thing I recall seeing, before picking up my heavenly accessories, is Jesus handing the poor man a Kleenex to help get the log out of his eye.
Amy-Jill Levine (The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus)
New Rule: Now that liberals have taken back the word "liberal," they also have to take back the word "elite." By now you've heard the constant right-wing attacks on the "elite media," and the "liberal elite." Who may or may not be part of the "Washington elite." A subset of the "East Coast elite." Which is overly influenced by the "Hollywood elite." So basically, unless you're a shit-kicker from Kansas, you're with the terrorists. If you played a drinking game where you did a shot every time Rush Limbaugh attacked someone for being "elite," you'd be almost as wasted as Rush Limbaugh. I don't get it: In other fields--outside of government--elite is a good thing, like an elite fighting force. Tiger Woods is an elite golfer. If I need brain surgery, I'd like an elite doctor. But in politics, elite is bad--the elite aren't down-to-earth and accessible like you and me and President Shit-for-Brains. Which is fine, except that whenever there's a Bush administration scandal, it always traces back to some incompetent political hack appointment, and you think to yourself, "Where are they getting these screwups from?" Well, now we know: from Pat Robertson. I'm not kidding. Take Monica Goodling, who before she resigned last week because she's smack in the middle of the U.S. attorneys scandal, was the third-ranking official in the Justice Department of the United States. She's thirty-three, and though she never even worked as a prosecutor, was tasked with overseeing the job performance of all ninety-three U.S. attorneys. How do you get to the top that fast? Harvard? Princeton? No, Goodling did her undergraduate work at Messiah College--you know, home of the "Fighting Christies"--and then went on to attend Pat Robertson's law school. Yes, Pat Robertson, the man who said the presence of gay people at Disney World would cause "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," has a law school. And what kid wouldn't want to attend? It's three years, and you have to read only one book. U.S. News & World Report, which does the definitive ranking of colleges, lists Regent as a tier-four school, which is the lowest score it gives. It's not a hard school to get into. You have to renounce Satan and draw a pirate on a matchbook. This is for the people who couldn't get into the University of Phoenix. Now, would you care to guess how many graduates of this televangelist diploma mill work in the Bush administration? On hundred fifty. And you wonder why things are so messed up? We're talking about a top Justice Department official who went to a college founded by a TV host. Would you send your daughter to Maury Povich U? And if you did, would you expect her to get a job at the White House? In two hundred years, we've gone from "we the people" to "up with people." From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George Bush than Pat Robertson's law school? The problem here in America isn't that the country is being run by elites. It's that it's being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)