Hats Off Quotes

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You should date a girl who reads. Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn. She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. Buy her another cup of coffee. Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. She has to give it a shot somehow. Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world. Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype. You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico
This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
Walt Whitman
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
If your brains were dynamite there wouldn't be enough to blow your hat off.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Timequake)
Good Morning!" said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat. "What do you mean?" he said. "Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?" "All of them at once," said Bilbo. "And a very fine morning for a pipe of tobacco out of doors, into the bargain. ... "Good morning!" he said at last. "We don't want any adventures here, thank you! You might try over The Hill or across The Water." By this he meant that the conversation was at an end. "What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!" said Gandalf. "Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won't be good till I move off.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit (The Lord of the Rings, #0))
The original, shimmering self gets buried so deep that most of us end up hardly living out of it at all. Instead we live out all the other selves, which we are constantly putting on and taking off like coats and hats against the world’s weather
Frederick Buechner (Telling Secrets)
I take my hat off to you — or I would, if I were not afraid of showering you in spiders.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
Betsy returned to her chair, took off her coat and hat, opened her book and forgot the world again.
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4))
We won't be seeing you,' Fred told Professor Umbridge, swinging his leg over his broomstick. 'Yeah, don't bother to keep in touch,' said George, mounting his own. Fred looked around at the assembled students, and at the silent, watchful crowd. 'If anyone fancies buying a Portable Swamp, as demonstrated upstairs, come to number ninety-three, Diagon Alley — Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes,' he said in a loud voice, 'Our new premises!' 'Special discounts to Hogwarts students who swear they're going to use our products to get rid of this old bat,' added George, pointing at Professor Umbridge. 'STOP THEM!' shrieked Umbridge, but it was too late. As the Inquisitorial Squad closed in, Fred and George kicked off from the floor, shooting fifteen feet into the air, the iron peg swinging dangerously below. Fred looked across the hall at the poltergeist bobbing on his level above the crowd. 'Give her hell from us, Peeves.' And Peeves, who Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about to tumultuous applause from the students below and sped out of the open front doors into the glorious sunset.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
ubiquitous, adj. When it’s going well, the fact of it is everywhere. It’s there in the song that shuffles into your ears. It’s there in the book you’re reading. It’s there on the shelves of the store as you reach for a towel and forget about the towel. It’s there as you open the door. As you stare off into the subway, it’s what you’re looking at. You wear it on the inside of your hat. It lines your pockets. It’s the temperature. The hitch, of course, it that when it’s going badly, it’s in all the same places.
David Levithan (The Lover's Dictionary)
What I'd like is to meet a man I could take off my hat to and say: "Thank you for having got born, and the longer you live the better.
Maxim Gorky
Policemen and security guards wear hats with a peak that comes down low over their eyes. Apparently this is for psychological reasons. Eyebrows are very expressive and you appear a lot more authoritative if you keep them covered up. The advantage of this is that it makes a lot harder for cops to see anything more than six foot off the ground. Which is why painting rooftops and bridges is so easy.
Banksy (Wall and Piece)
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
Herman Melville (Moby Dick (Saddleback Classics))
You came into my life-not as one comes to visit (you know, “not taking one’s hat off”) but as one comes to a kingdom where all the rivers have been waiting for your reflection, all the roads, for your steps.
Vladimir Nabokov (Letters to Vera)
He trapped my hand against his chest and yanked my sleeve down past my wrist, covering my hand with it. Just as quickly, he did the same thing with the other sleeve. He held my shirt by the cuffs, my hands captured. My mouth opened in protest. Reeling me closer, he didn’t stop until I was directly in front of him. Suddenly he lifted me onto the counter. My face was level with his. He fixed me with a dark, inviting smile. And that’s when I realized this moment had been dancing around the edge of my fantasies for several days now. "Take off your hat," I said, the words tumbling out before I could stop them. He slid it around, the brim facing backward. I scooted to the edge of the counter, my legs dangling one on either side of him. Something inside of me was telling me to stop—but I swept that voice to the far back of my mind. He spread his hands on the counter, just outside my hips. Tilting his head to one side, he moved closer. His scent, which was all damp dark earth, overwhelmed me. I inhaled two sharp breaths. No. This wasn’t right. Not this, not with Patch. He was frightening. In a good way, yes. But also in a bad way. A very bad way. "You should go," I breathed. "You should definitely go." "Go here?" His mouth was on my shoulder. "Or here?" It moved up my neck. My brain couldn’t process one logical thought. Patch’s mouth was roaming north, up over my jaw, gently sucking at my skin... "My legs are falling asleep," I blurted. It wasn’t a total lie. I was experiencing tingling sensations all through my body, legs included. "I could solve that." Patch’s hands closed on my hips.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1))
It's not a real name," she says. "Not one that he's carried with him always. It's one he wears like his hat. So he can take it off if he wants.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
You're bored, aren't you.' 'I need constant distraction. Shall we go?' 'Uh, aren't you supposed to delegate responsibility or something? If you're not here, who's in charge?' Skulduggery looked around and pointed to a sorcerer at the far side of the cemetery. 'He is.' 'Who is he?' 'Don't know. He looks like leadership material, though, doesn't he?' 'Does he?' 'He's wearing a hat.' 'And that means he's a leader?' 'Leaders wear hats. It's to keep the rain off while we make important decisions. He'll do fine.' 'Shouldn't you tell him that he's in charge?' 'And spoil the surprise?
Derek Landy (Death Bringer (Skulduggery Pleasant, #6))
And it's really very difficult to kill someone when all your inner instincts would oblige you to take off your hat first!
Susan Kay (Phantom)
Franz Kafka is Dead He died in a tree from which he wouldn't come down. "Come down!" they cried to him. "Come down! Come down!" Silence filled the night, and the night filled the silence, while they waited for Kafka to speak. "I can't," he finally said, with a note of wistfulness. "Why?" they cried. Stars spilled across the black sky. "Because then you'll stop asking for me." The people whispered and nodded among themselves. They put their arms around each other, and touched their children's hair. They took off their hats and raised them to the small, sickly man with the ears of a strange animal, sitting in his black velvet suit in the dark tree. Then they turned and started for home under the canopy of leaves. Children were carried on their fathers' shoulders, sleepy from having been taken to see who wrote his books on pieces of bark he tore off the tree from which he refused to come down. In his delicate, beautiful, illegible handwriting. And they admired those books, and they admired his will and stamina. After all: who doesn't wish to make a spectacle of his loneliness? One by one families broke off with a good night and a squeeze of the hands, suddenly grateful for the company of neighbors. Doors closed to warm houses. Candles were lit in windows. Far off, in his perch in the trees , Kafka listened to it all: the rustle of the clothes being dropped to the floor, or lips fluttering along naked shoulders, beds creaking along the weight of tenderness. It all caught in the delicate pointed shells of his ears and rolled like pinballs through the great hall of his mind. That night a freezing wind blew in. When the children woke up, they went to the window and found the world encased in ice. One child, the smallest, shrieked out in delight and her cry tore through the silence and exploded the ice of a giant oak tree. The world shone. They found him frozen on the ground like a bird. It's said that when they put their ears to the shell of his ears, they could hear themselves.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
Hats off to Tavia Gilbert who made Bones alive for me. What a great writer and narrator team. You make listening fun!” (Audible.com reader review)
Tavia Gilbert (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
All beauty comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain. If the greatnesses are in conjunction in a man or woman it is enough...the fact will prevail through the universe...but the gaggery and gilt of a million years will not prevail. Who troubles himself about his ornaments or fluency is lost. This is what you shall so: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body...
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
Ginger was an understatement, Morrigan thought, trying to hide her astonishment as the hat came off. Ginger of the Year or King Ginger or Big Gingery President of the Ginger Foundation for the Incurably Ginger would have been more accurate. His mane of bright copper waves could probably have won awards.
Jessica Townsend (Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1))
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.
Herman Melville
YOU CHEATING SCUM!” Lee Jordan was howling into the megaphone, dancing out of Professor McGonagall’s reach. “YOU FILTHY, CHEATING B —” Professor McGonagall didn’t even bother to tell him off. She was actually shaking her finger in Malfoy’s direction, her hat had fallen off, and she too was shouting furiously.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3))
A hat should be taken off when greeting a lady, and left off the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat.
P.J. O'Rourke (Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People)
Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria: 1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable ... They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser; they do not make you feel they are conferring a great benefit on you when they live with you, and they don't make a scandal when they leave. (...) 2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye. (...) 3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts. 4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors. (...) 5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted ... that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false. (...) 6) They are not vain. They don't waste time with the fake jewellery of hobnobbing with celebrities, being permitted to shake the hand of a drunken [judicial orator], the exaggerated bonhomie of the first person they meet at the Salon, being the life and soul of the bar ... They regard prases like 'I am a representative of the Press!!' -- the sort of thing one only hears from [very minor journalists] -- as absurd. If they have done a brass farthing's work they don't pass it off as if it were 100 roubles' by swanking about with their portfolios, and they don't boast of being able to gain admission to places other people aren't allowed in (...) True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight ... As Krylov said, the empty barrel makes more noise than the full one. (...) 7) If they do possess talent, they value it ... They take pride in it ... they know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits. (...) 8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility ... Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts ... they require mens sana in corpore sano. And so on. That's what civilized people are like ... Reading Pickwick and learning a speech from Faust by heart is not enough if your aim is to become a truly civilized person and not to sink below the level of your surroundings. [From a letter to Nikolay Chekhov, March 1886]
Anton Chekhov (A Life in Letters)
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially when my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to a bookstore as soon as I can. That is my substitute for the pistol and ball.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
With Cats, some say, one rule is true: Don’t speak till you are spoken to. Myself, I do not hold with that — I say, you should ad-dress a Cat. But always keep in mind that he Resents familiarity. I bow, and taking off my hat, Ad-dress him in this form: O Cat! But if he is the Cat next door, Whom I have often met before (He comes to see me in my flat) I greet him with an oopsa Cat! I think I've heard them call him James — But we've not got so far as names.
T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
The most peaceful thing in the world is plowing a field. Chances are you’ll do your best thinking that way. And that’s why I’ve always thought and said, farmers are the smartest people in the world, they don’t go for high hats and they can spot a phony a mile off.
Harry Truman
I’ve lived the literal meaning of the “land of the free” and “home of the brave.” It’s not corny for me. I feel it in my heart. I feel it in my chest. Even at a ball game, when someone talks during the anthem or doesn’t take off his hat, it pisses me off. I’m not one to be quiet about it, either.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper)
Failed relationships can be described as so much wasted makeup. Forget the laughs, forget the fights, forget the sex, forget the jealousy. But take off your hat and observe a moment's silence for the legions of unknown tubes of foundation, mascara, eyeliner, blusher and lipstick who died that it might all have been possible. But who died in vain.
Marian Keyes (Watermelon (Walsh Family, #1))
Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
Herman Melville
It had ceased raining in the night and he walked out on the road and called for the dog. He called and called. Standing in that inexplicable darkness. Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind. After a while he sat in the road. He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept. He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all and without distinction.
Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
Take off your hat," the King said to the Hatter. "It isn't mine," said the Hatter. "Stolen!" the King exclaimed, turning to the jury, who instantly made a memorandum of the fact. "I keep them to sell," the Hatter added as an explanation; "I've none of my own. I'm a hatter.
Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass)
The History Teacher Trying to protect his students' innocence he told them the Ice Age was really just the Chilly Age, a period of a million years when everyone had to wear sweaters. And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age, named after the long driveways of the time. The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more than an outbreak of questions such as "How far is it from here to Madrid?" "What do you call the matador's hat?" The War of the Roses took place in a garden, and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom on Japan. The children would leave his classroom for the playground to torment the weak and the smart, mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses, while he gathered up his notes and walked home past flower beds and white picket fences, wondering if they would believe that soldiers in the Boer War told long, rambling stories designed to make the enemy nod off.
Billy Collins (Questions About Angels)
It is impossible to travel faster than light, and certainly not desirable, as one’s hat keeps blowing off.
Woody Allen
A cold blast hit him and he laughed at the sting as he stepped outside, surveyed the night sky, and drank deeply. Such a good liar he was. Such a good one. Everyone thought he was fine because he'd camo'd his little problems. He wore a Sox hat to hide the eye twitch. Set his wristwatch to go off every half hour to beat back the dream. Ate though he wasn't angry. Laughed though he found nothing funny. And he'd always smoked like a chimney.
J.R. Ward (Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4))
Fear that I was very different from everyone else. Fear that deep down inside I was a shallow fraud, that after the revolution or after Jesus came down to straighten everything out, everyone from hippies to hard-hats would unfold and blossom into the beautiful people they were while I would remain a gnarled little wart in the corner, oozing bile and giving off putrid smells.
Mark Vonnegut (The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity)
He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painter he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light ones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.
James Joyce (The Dead)
I never truckled. I never took off the hat to Fashion and held it out for pennies. I told them the truth. They liked it or they didn't like it. What had that to do with me? I told them the truth.
Frank Norris (McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (Signet Classics))
Love without hope, as when the young bird-catcher Swept off his tall hat to the Squire's own daughter, So let the imprisoned larks escape and fly Singing about her head, as she rode by.
Robert Graves
He rushed past the usual fragments of painful memories – his mother smiling down at him, her face illuminated by the sunlight rippling off the Venetian Grand Canal; his sister Bianca laughing as she pulled him across the Mall in Washington, D.C., her green floppy hat shading her eyes and the splash of freckles across her nose. He saw Percy Jackson on a snowy cliff outside Westover Hall, shielding Nico and Bianca from the manticore as Nico clutched a Mythomagic figurine and whispered, I’m scared. He saw Minos, his old ghostly mentor, leading him through the Labyrinth. Minos’s smile was cold and cruel. Don’t worry, son of Hades. You will have your revenge.
Rick Riordan (The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5))
I'm not going to touch her," he said "She's not mine.She never will be." "Indeed." Bruiser rolled his eyes and dusted off his hat. "Definitely no years of pent-up lusting there. Glad we have that sorted.
Tessa Dare (Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After, #2))
Nothing about you or Wonderland makes sense. And the ‘one abiding truth’ is that life was so much easier when I’d forgotten your massive ego and that other world ever existed.” A tremor shifts through his features, first fragile, then severe. His muscles twitch under his T-shirt, sending a tingling sensation through my knuckles. “You want me nonexistent?" Before I can respond, he steps back and flips the hat from his head. Then he drags off his vest and his T-shirt, dropping them all on the floor at my feet. Once he’s peeled off his necklace and bracelets, he stands there facing me in only jeans and boots. I watch him warily. “W-w-what are you doing?” “I’m clearing the way for my massive ego.
A.G. Howard (Unhinged (Splintered, #2))
The Saab seethed off into the night. Arthur watched it go, as stunned as a man might be who, having believed himself to be totally blind for five years, suddenly discovers that he had merely been wearing too large a hat.
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1-5))
A thousand years or more ago, When I was newly sewn, There lived four wizards of renown, Whose name are still well-known: Bold Gryffindor from wild moor, Fair Ravlenclaw from glen, Sweet Hufflepuff from valley broad, Shrewd Slytherin from fen. They share a wish, a hope, a dream, They hatched a daring plan, To educate young sorcerers, Thus Hogwarts school began. Now each of these four founders Formed their own house, for each Did value different virtues, In the ones they had to teach. By Gryffindor, the bravest were Prized far beyond the rest; For Ravenclaw, the cleverest Would always be the best; For Hufflepuff, hardworkers were Most worthy of admission; And power-hungry Slytherin Loved those of great ambition. While still alive they did divide Their favourates from the throng, Yet how to pick the worthy ones When they were dead and gone? 'Twas Gryffindor who found the way, He whipped me off his head The founders put some brains in me So I could choose instead! Now slip me snug around your ears, I've never yet been wrong, I'll have alook inside your mind And tell where you belong!
J.K. Rowling
never ask the tight-rope walker how he keeps his balance. if he stops to think about it, he falls off
Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32; Tiffany Aching, #2))
Up home we wear a hat like that to shoot deer in, for Chrissake," he said. "That's a deer shooting hat." "Like hell it is." I took it off and looked at it. I sort of closed one eye, like I was taking aim at it. "This is a people shooting hat," I said. "I shoot people in this hat.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
What some people need," said Magrat, to the world in general, "is a bit more heart." "What some people need," said Granny Weatherwax, to the stormy sky, "is a lot more brain." Then she clutched at her hat to stop the wind from blowing it off. What I need, thought Nanny Ogg fervently, is a drink.
Terry Pratchett (Witches Abroad (Discworld, #12; Witches, #3))
Life is perhaps lighting up a cigarette in the narcotic repose between two love-makings or the absent gaze of a passerby who takes off his hat to another passerby with a meaningless smile and a good morning
Forugh Farrokhzad (Another Birth: Let Us Believe In The Beginning Of The Cold Season)
I wanted to tell everyone I was in love. I wanted to tell them how I felt. I wanted to scream if off the porch to complete strangers. It was a feeling that didn't want to be contained in the small privacy of my mind. Of course, I knew there would be no telling anyone. I'd heard the word so many times. But I'd never contemplated its meaning. Love. It hat explained itself to me. I was swept away by what it really meant. It was a word used to convey what had no language. It was a word used to explain a million things that couldn't be explained. It simplified what the heart could not.
Dan Skinner (Memorizing You)
As they began to mount the stairs, he looked up at his mother. "Just how many of those wine coolers did she drink?" "She had three," Suzy replied. Three! Bobby Tom couldn't believe it. After only three drinks, she'd stripped off her clothes and demanded that he have sex with her. "Mom?" He shoved on his hat. "Yes dear." "Whatever you do, don't let her anywhere near a six-pack.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars, #2))
We’ve both read the same books, so I know direct sunlight is harmful for babies. Whenever I take Jamie out, I make sure she’s wearing her hat and is hidden safely beneath the stroller’s shade screen. I pretty much treat her like she’s a vampire.
Elle Kennedy (The Goal (Off-Campus, #4))
This is Detective Ashford Ishikawa. Who am I speaking with?” “My name is Jack Ludefance. I’m a private investigator from Santa Rosaria and I’ve been retained by Cindy Hastings through her lawyer, Mr. Hooks, to investigate her father’s murder. Is there way we can get together to talk?” “Why? What are we going to talk about, Mr. Ludefance?” “As I said, Detective Ishikawa, I’ve been hired to investigate the case. I’ve read the police reports. My hat is off to you. Very thorough work.” “Just doing my job. If you’ve read them, and I won’t ask how you got them, I’ll ask you again, what is there for us to talk about?” “Detective, I’m not trying to do your job and I’m not asking you to do my job. This is of mutual interest to both of us. The sooner we solve the crime the better, yes? Think of it this way. I’m your helper.
Behcet Kaya (Appellate Judge (Jack Ludefance, #3))
Corned beef and cabbage and leprechaun men. Colorful rainbows hide gold at their end. Shamrocks and clovers with three leaves plus one. Dress up in green—add a top hat for fun. Steal a quick kiss from the lasses in red. A tin whistle tune off the top of my head. Friends, raise a goblet and offer this toast— 'The luck of the Irish and health to our host!'
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Sean pushes up to his feet and stands there. I look at his dirty boots. Now I've offended him, I think. He says, "Other people have never been important to me, Kate Connolly. Puck Connolly." I tip my face up to look at him, finally. The blanket falls off my shoulders, and my hat, too, loosened by the wind. I can't read his expression--his narrow eyes make it difficult. I say, "And now?" Kendrick reaches to turn up the collar on his jacket. He doesn't smile, but he's not as close to frowning as usual. "Thanks for the cake.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races)
President Lyndon Johnson's 10 point formula for success: 1. Learn to remember names. Inefficiency at this point may indicate that your interest is not sufficiently outgoing. 2. Be a comfortable person so there is no strain in being with you. Be an old-shoe, old-hat kind of individual. 3. Acquire the quality of relaxed easy-going so that things do not ruffle you. 4. Don't be egotistical. Guard against the impression that you know it all. 5. Cultivate the quality of being interesting so people will get something of value from their association with you. 6. Study to get the "scratchy" elements out of your personality, even those of which you may be unconscious. 7. Sincerely attempt to heal, on an honest Christian basis, every msiunderstanding you have had or now have. Drain off your grievances. 8. Practice liking people until you learn to do so genuinely. 9. Never miss an opportunity to say a word of congratulation upon anyone's achievement, or express sympathy in sorrow or disappointment. 10. Give spiritual strength to people, and they will give genuine affection to you.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Mr. Normal stepped forward and offered him a Scotch bottle. "You look like you could use some." Yeah, you think? Butch took a swig. "Thanks." "So can we kill him now?" said the one with the goatee and the baseball hat. Beth's man spoke harshly. "Back off, V." "Why? He's just a human." "And my shellan is half-human. The man doesn't die just because he's not one of us." "Jesus, you've changed your tune." "So you need to catch up, brother." Butch got to his feet. If his death was going to be debated, he wanted in on the discussion. "I appreciate the support," he said to Beth's boy. "But I don't need it." He went over to the guy with the hat, discreetly switching his grip on the bottle's neck in case he had to crack the damn thing over a head. He moved in tight, so their noses were almost touching. He could feel the vampire heating up, priming for a fight. "I'm happy to take you on, asshole," Butch said. "I'll probably end up losing, but I fight dirty, so I'll make you hurt while you kill me." Then he eyed the guy's hat. "Though I hate clocking the shit out of another Red Sox fan." There was a shout of laughter from behind him. Someone said, "This is gonna be fun to watch." The guy in front of Butch narrowed his eyes into slits. "You true about the Sox?" "Born and raised in Southie. Haven't stopped grinning since '04." There was a long pause. The vampire snorted. "I don't like humans." "Yeah, well, I'm not too crazy about you bloodsuckers." Another stretch of silence. The guy stroked his goatee. "What do you call twenty guys watching the World Series?" "The New York Yankees," Butch replied. The vampire laughed in a loud burst, whipped the baseball cap off his head, and slapped it on his thigh. Just like that, the tension was broken.
J.R. Ward (Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1))
Sometimes I wonder,” Merlin declared, licking a bit of mustard off his upper lip, “where exactly does the food come from? Is there a fourth dimension where a magic hat goes to fetch it? Or does it simply summon turkeys and bread out of thin air? In which case, what is this sandwich really made of?
Soman Chainani (The Last Ever After (The School for Good and Evil, #3))
When what we see catches us off guard, and when we write it as realistically and openly as possible, it offers hope. You look around and say, Wow, there's that same mockingbird; there's that woman in the red hat again. The woman in the red hat is about hope because she's in it up to her neck, too, yet every day she puts on that crazy red hat and walks to town.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
So, a crash course for the amnesiac,” Leo said, in a helpful tone that made Jason think this was not going to be helpful. “We go to the ‘Wilderness School’”—Leo made air quotes with his fingers. “Which means we’re ‘bad kids.’ Your family, or the court, or whoever, decided you were too much trouble, so they shipped you off to this lovely prison—sorry, ‘boarding school’—in Armpit, Nevada, where you learn valuable nature skills like running ten miles a day through the cacti and weaving daisies into hats! And for a special treat we go on ‘educational’ field trips with Coach Hedge, who keeps order with a baseball bat.
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
I shall approach. Before taking off his hat, I shall take off my own. I shall say, "The Marquis de Saint Eustache, I believe." He will say, "The celebrated Mr. Syme, I presume." He will say in the most exquisite French, "How are you?" I shall reply in the most exquisite Cockney, "Oh, just the Syme."' 'Oh shut it...what are you really going to do?' 'But it was a lovely catechism! ...Do let me read it to you. It has only forty-three questions and answers, some of the Marquis's answers are wonderfully witty. I like to be just to my enemy.' 'But what's the good of it all?' asked Dr. Bull in exasperation. 'It leads up to the challenge...when the Marquis as given the forty-ninth reply, which runs--' 'Has it...occurred to you...that the Marquis may not say all the forty-three things you have put down for him?' 'How true that is! ...Sir, you have a intellect beyond the common.
G.K. Chesterton (The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare)
I had gone to no place where the roads were frozen and hard as iron, where it was clear cold and dry and the snow was dry and powdery and hare-tracks in the snow and the peasants took off their hats and called you Lord and there was good hunting. I had gone to no such place but to the smoke of cafés and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. Suddenly to care very much and to sleep to wake with it sometimes morning and all that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard and clear and sometimes a dispute about the cost. Sometimes still pleasant and fond and warm and breakfast and lunch. Sometimes all niceness gone and glad to get out on the street but always another day starting and then another night. I tried to tell about the night and the difference between the night and the day and how the night was better unless the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it; as I cannot tell it now
Ernest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms)
Here's the thing. I hate kids. Always have. I mean, I know the job of the race, biologically speaking, is to achieve immortality through reproduction, but the idea of getting impregnated and blowing up like a balloon as I serve as a carrier and service unit for this other person who will eventually burst out of me in the most terrifying way imaginable, then carry on using me one way or another for the rest of my life, is right up there with throwing myself off the top of a twenty-story building. If I have a biological clock, it is digital and does not tick.
Isobelle Carmody (Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron)
The moon is weird tonight. A yellow devil with a knowing face and hard triumphant eyes. The top of his head is cropped off diagonally, as though he is wearing an invisible hat at a jaunty angle. Usually when I see the moon I feel like I've been blessed, but not tonight. The moon is telling me to watch my feet." pg. 50
Kirsty Eagar (Raw Blue)
Nakata let his body relax, switched off his mind, allowing things to flow through him. This was natural for him, something he'd done ever since he was a child, without a second thought. Before long the borders of his consciousness fluttered around, just like the butterflies. Beyond these borders lay a dark abyss. Occasionally his consciousness would fly over the border and hover over that dizzying black crevasse. But Nakata wasn't afraid of the darkness or how deep it was. And why should he be? That bottomless world of darkness, that weighty silence and chaos, was an old friend, a part of him already. Nakata understood this well. In that world there was no writing, no days of the week, no scary Governor, no opera, no BMWs. No scissors, no tall hats. On the other hand, there was also no delicious eel, no tasty bean-jam buns. Everything is there, but there are no parts. Since there are no parts, there's no need to replace one thing with another. No need to remove anything, or add anything. You don't have to think about difficult things, just let yourself soak it all in. For Nakata, nothing could be better.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
What about me?’ said Grantaire. ‘I’m here.’ ‘You?’ ‘Yes, me.’ ‘You? Rally Republicans! You? In defence of principles, fire up hearts that have grown cold!’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Are you capable of being good for something?’ ‘I have the vague ambition to be,’ said Grantaire. ‘You don’t believe in anything.’ ‘I believe in you.’ ‘Grantaire, will you do me a favour?’ ‘Anything. Polish your boots.’ ‘Well, don’t meddle in our affairs. Go and sleep off the effects of your absinthe.’ ‘You’re heartless, Enjolras.’ ‘As if you’d be the man to send to the Maine gate! As if you were capable of it!’ ‘I’m capable of going down Rue des Grès, crossing Place St-Michel, heading off along Rue Monsieur-le-Prince, taking Rue de Vaugirard, passing the Carmelite convent, turning into Rue d’Assas, proceeding to Rue du Cherche-Midi, leaving the Military Court behind me, wending my way along Rue des Vieilles-Tuileries, striding across the boulevard, following Chaussée du Maine, walking through the toll-gate and going into Richefeu’s. I’m capable of that. My shoes are capable of that.’ ‘Do you know them at all, those comrades who meet at Richefeu’s?' ‘Not very well. But we’re on friendly terms.’ ‘What will you say to them?’ ‘I’ll talk to them about Robespierre, of course! And about Danton. About principles.’ ‘You?’ ‘Yes, me. But I’m not being given the credit I deserve. When I put my mind to it, I’m terrific. I’ve read Prudhomme, I’m familiar with the Social Contract, I know by heart my constitution of the year II. “The liberty of the citizen ends where the liberty of another citizen begins.” Do you take me for a brute beast? I have in my drawer an old promissory note from the time of the Revolution. The rights of man, the sovereignty of the people, for God’s sake! I’m even a bit of an Hébertist. I can keep coming out with some wonderful things, watch in hand, for a whole six hours by the clock.’ ‘Be serious,’ said Enjolras. ‘I mean it,’ replied Grantaire. Enjolras thought for a few moments, and with the gesture of a man who had come to a decision, ‘Grantaire,’ he said gravely, ‘I agree to try you out. You’ll go to the Maine toll-gate.’ Grantaire lived in furnished lodgings very close to Café Musain. He went out, and came back five minutes later. He had gone home to put on a Robespierre-style waistcoat. ‘Red,’ he said as he came in, gazing intently at Enjolras. Then, with an energetic pat of his hand, he pressed the two scarlet lapels of the waistcoat to his chest. And stepping close to Enjolras he said in his ear, ‘Don’t worry.’ He resolutely jammed on his hat, and off he went.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
What is magic? Then there is the witches' explanation, which comes in two forms, depending on the age of the witch. Older witches hardly put words to it at all, but may suspect in their hearts that the universe really doesn't know what the hell is going on and consists of a zillion trillion billion possibilities, and could become any one of them if a trained mind rigid with quantum certainty was inserted into the crack and twisted; that, if you really had to make someone's hat explode, all you needed to do was twist into that universe where a large number of hat molecules all decide at the same time to bounce off in different directions. Younger witches, on the other hand, talk about it all the time and believe it involves crystals, mystic forces, and dancing about without yer drawers on. Everyone may be right, all at the same time. That's the thing about quantum.
Terry Pratchett (Lords and Ladies (Discworld, #14; Witches, #4))
Having lost his mother, father, brother, an grandfather, the friends and foes of his youth, his beloved teacher Bernard Kornblum, his city, his history—his home—the usual charge leveled against comic books, that they offered merely an escape from reality, seemed to Joe actually to be a powerful argument on their behalf… The escape from reality was, he felt—especially right after the war—a worthy challenge… The pain of his loss—though he would never have spoken of it in those terms—was always with him in those days, a cold smooth ball lodged in his chest, just behind his sternum. For that half hour spent in the dappled shade of the Douglas firs, reading Betty and Veronica, the icy ball had melted away without him even noticing. That was the magic—not the apparent magic of a silk-hatted card-palmer, or the bold, brute trickery of the escape artist, but the genuine magic of art. It was a mark of how fucked-up and broken was the world—the reality—that had swallowed his home and his family that such a feat of escape, by no means easy to pull off, should remain so universally despised.
Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay)
Shapes began to appear in the mist as it thickened. Clary saw herself and Simon as children, holding hands, crossing a street in Brooklyn,; she had barrettes in her hair and Simon was adorably rumpled, his glasses sliding off his nose. There they were again, throwing snowballs in Prospect Park; and at Luke's farmhouse, tanned from summer, hanging upside down from tree branches. She saw them in Java Jones, listening to Eric's terrible poetry, and on the back of a flying motorcycle as it crashed into a parking lot, with Jace there, looking at them, his eyes squinted against the sun. And there was Simon with Isabelle, his hands curved around her face, kissing her, and she could see Isabelle as Simon saw her: fragile and strong, and so, so beautiful. And there was Valentine's ship, Simon kneeling on Jace, blood on his mouth and shirt, and blood at Jace's throat, and there was the cell in Idris, and Hodge's weathered face, and Simon and Clary again, Clary etching the Mark of Cain onto his forehead. Maureen, and her blood on the floor, and her little pink hat, and the rooftop in Manhattan where Lilith had raised Sebastian, and Clary was passing him a gold ring across a table, and an Angel was rising out of a lake before him and he was kissing Isabelle...
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Will you let me lift you?" he said. "Just let me lift you. Just let me see how light you are." "All right," she said. "Do you want me to take off my coat?" "Yes, yes, yes," he said. "Take off your coat." She stood. She let her coat fall to the sofa. "Can I do it now?" he said. "Yes." He put his hands under her arms. He raised her off the floor and then put her down gently. "Oh you're so light!" he shouted. "Your'e so light, you're so fragile, you don't weigh any more than a suitcase. Why, I could carry you, I could carry you anywhere, I could carry you from one end of New York to the other." He got his hat and coat and ran out of the house.
John Cheever (The Stories of John Cheever)
I was born by the sea," I said. "I'd go to the beach the morning after a typhoon and find all sorts of things that the waves had tossed up. There'd be bottles and wooden geta and hats and cases for glasses, tables and chairs, things from nowhere near the water. I liked combing through the stuff, so I was always waiting for the next typhoon. I put out my cigarette. The strange thing is, everything washed up from the sea was purified. Useless junk, but absolutely clean. There wasn't a dirty thing. The sea is special in that way. When I look back over my life so far, I see all that junk on the beach. It's how my life has always been. Gathering up the junk, sorting through it, and then casting it off somewhere else. All for no purpose, leaving it to wash away again. This was in your hometown? This is all my life. I merely go from one beach to another. Sure I remember the things that happen in between, but that's all. I never tie them together. They're so many things, clean but useless.
Haruki Murakami (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World)
We try to make guests feel welcome," said Dee, scuttling behind his desk. He pulled off his pointed hat and, to Vimes's amazement, put on a pair of thick smoked glasses. "You had papers?" he said. Vimes handed them over. "It says here "His Grace"," the dwarf said, after reading them for awhile. "Yes, that's me." "And there's a sir." "That's me, too." "And an excellency." "'fraid so." Vimes narrowed his eyes. "I was blackboard monitor for awhile, too.
Terry Pratchett (The Fifth Elephant (Discworld, #24; City Watch, #5))
Our way was to share a fire until it burned down, ayi? To speak to each other until every person was satisfied. Younger men listened to older men. Now the Beelezi tell us the vote of a young, careless man counts the same as the vote of an elder.' In the hazy heat Tata Ndu paused to take off his hat, turn it carefully in his hands, then replace it above the high dome of his forehead. No one breathed. 'White men tell us: Vote, bantu! They tell us: You do not all have to agree, ce n'est pas necessaire! If two men vote yes and one says no, the matter is finished. A bu, even a child can see how that will end. It takes three stones in the fire to hold up the pot. Take one away, leave the other two, and what? The pot will spill into the fire.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Poisonwood Bible)
I gladly shucked off my wet, muddy jeans and put on the new pair. I noticed she hadn't bought me any underwear; Granuaile either didn't think of it or she did think of it and decided that I should go commando. I tore open the package of undershirts and gingerly pulled a black one over my head before tucking it into my jeans. Though I was now dressed in similar fashion to Coyote, I figured he could keep the cowboy hat and I'd rock the tattoos. Granuaile gave me a good once-over and her gaze felt less than innocent, but all she said was, "Much better.
Kevin Hearne (Tricked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #4))
Somebody said it couldn't be done. But he with a chuckle replied, That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one Who wouldn't say so 'till he'd tried. So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin On his face. If he worried, he hid it. He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn't be done. And he did. Somebody scoffed, "Oh, you'll never do that At least no one ever has done it." But he took off his coat, and he took off his hat, And the first thing we know, he'd begun it. With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin, Without any doubting or "quit-it". He started to sing as he tackled the thing That couldn't done. And he did it. There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done. There are thousands to prophesy failure. There are thousands to point out to you, one by one, The dangers that wait to assail you But just buckle in, with a bit of a grin; Just take off your coat and go to it. Just start in to sing as yout tackle the thing That cannot be done--and you'll do it!
Edgar A. Guest
To keep myself from harming or calling N and to stave off the rage and despair, I focus on my extraordinary son, drink midrange Chardonnay every night after he is asleep, and make a barrage of late-night mail-order retail purchases placed from the couch. The couch has officially become my second battle station. I am angry and I have credit And I´m all blackened inside; I should wear a pointy witch hat around Larkspur as I go to the bank and drop A off at day care. It would be more honest.
Suzanne Finnamore (Split: A Memoir of Divorce)
Knock it off, you two.’ Annabeth handed her scroll to Sadie. ‘Carter, let’s trade. I’ll try your khopesh ; you try my Yankees cap.’ She tossed him the hat. ‘I’m usually more of a basketball guy, but …’ Carter put on the cap and disappeared. ‘Wow, okay. I’m invisible, aren’t I?’ Sadie applauded. ‘You’ve never looked better, brother dear.’ ‘Very funny.’ ‘If you can sneak up on Setne,’ Annabeth suggested, ‘you might be able to take him by surprise, get the crown away from him.’ ‘But you told us Setne saw right through your invisibility,’ Carter said. ‘That was me ,’ Annabeth said, ‘a Greek using a Greek magic item. For you, maybe it’ll work better – or differently, at least.’ ‘Carter, give it a shot,’ I said. ‘The only thing better than a giant chicken man is a giant invisible chicken man.
Rick Riordan (The Crown of Ptolemy (Demigods & Magicians, #3))
Anytime I talk about my work informally, I inevitably encounter someone who wants to know why addicts become addicts. They use words like “will” and “choice,” and they end by saying, “Don’t you think there’s more to it than the brain?” They are skeptical of the rhetoric of addiction as disease, something akin to high blood pressure or diabetes, and I get that. What they’re really saying is that they may have partied in high school and college but look at them now. Look how strong-willed they are, how many good choices they’ve made. They want reassurances. They want to believe that they have been loved enough and have raised their children well enough that the things that I research will never, ever touch their own lives. I understand this impulse. I, too, have spent years creating my little moat of good deeds in an attempt to protect the castle of myself. I don’t want to be dismissed the way that Nana was once dismissed. I know that it’s easier to say Their kind does seem to have a taste for drugs, easier to write all addicts off as bad and weak-willed people, than it is to look closely at the nature of their suffering. I do it too, sometimes. I judge. I walk around with my chest puffed out, making sure hat everyone knows about my Harvard and Stanford degrees, as if those things encapsulate me, and when I do so, I give in to the same facile, lazy thinking that characterizes those who think of addicts as horrible people. It’s just that I’m standing on the other side of the moat. What I can say for certain is that there is no case study in the world that could capture the whole animal of my brother, that could show how smart and kind and generous he was, how much he wanted to get better, how much he wanted to live. Forget for a moment what he looked like on paper, and instead see him as he was in all of his glory, in all of his beauty. It’s true that for years before he died, I would look at his face and think, What a pity, what a waste. But the waste was my own, the waste was what I missed out on whenever I looked at him and saw just his addiction.
Yaa Gyasi (Transcendent Kingdom)
Jack was led out of the dark room into the strong light, and as they guided him up the steps he could see nothing for the glare. 'Your head here sir, if you please,' said the sheriff's man in a low, nervous, conciliating voice, 'and your hands just here.'    The man was slowly fumbling with the bolt, hinge and staple, and as Jack stood there with his hands in the lower half-rounds, his sight cleared: he saw that the broad street was filled with silent, attentive men, some in long togs, some in shore-going rig, some in plain frocks, but all perfectly recognizable as seamen. And officers, by the dozen, by the score: midshipmen and officers. Babbington was there, immediately in front of the pillory, facing him with his hat off, and Pullings, Stephen of course, Mowett, Dundas . . . He nodded to them, with almost no change in his iron expression, and his eye moved on: Parker, Rowan, Williamson, Hervey . . . and men from long, long ago, men he could scarcely name, lieutenants and commanders putting their promotion at risk, midshipmen and master's mates their commissions, warrant-officers their advancement.    'The head a trifle forward, if you please, sir,' murmured the sheriff's man, and the upper half of the wooden frame came down, imprisoning his defenceless face. He heard the click of the bolt and then in the dead silence a strong voice cry 'Off hats'. With one movement hundreds of broad-brimmed tarpaulin-covered hats flew off and the cheering began, the fierce full-throated cheering he had so often heard in battle.
Patrick O'Brian (The Reverse of the Medal (Aubrey/Maturin, #11))
Pa said, "Won't you say a few words? Ain't none of our folks ever been buried without a few words." Connie led Rose of Sharon to the graveside, she reluctant. "You got to," Connie said. "It ain't decent not to. It'll jus' be a little. The firelight fell on the grouped people, showing their faces and their eyes, dwindling on their dark clothes.All the hats were off now. The light danced, jerking over the people. Casy said, It'll be a short one." He bowed his head, and the others followed his lead. Casy said solemnly, "This here ol' man jus' lived a life an' just died out of it. I don't know whether he was good or bad, but that don't matter much. He was alive, an' that's what matters. An' now his dead, an' that don't matter. Heard a fella tell a poem one time, an' he says 'All that lives is holy.' Got to thinkin', an' purty soon it means more than the words says. An' I woundn' pray for a ol' fella that's dead. He's awright. He got a job to do, but it's all laid out for'im an' there's on'y one way to do it. But us, we got a job to do, an' they's a thousan' ways, an' we don' know which one to take. An' if I was to pray, it'd be for the folks that don' know which way to turn. Grampa here, he got the easy straight. An' now cover 'im up and let'im get to his work." He raised his head.
John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath)
To Summarize briefly: A white rabbit is pulled out of a top hat. Because it is an extremely large rabbit, the trick takes many billions of years. All mortals are born at the very tip of the rabbit's fine hairs. where they are in a position to wonder at the impossibility of the trick. But as they grow older they work themselves even deeper into the fur. And there they stay. They become so comfortable they never risk crawling back up the fragile hairs again. Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of the fall off, but other cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink. 'Ladies and gentlemen,' they yell, 'we are floating in space!' but none of the people down there care. 'What a bunch of troublemakers!' they say. And they keep on chatting: Would you pass the butter, please? How much have our stocks risen today? What is the price of tomatoes? Have you heard that Princes Di is expecting again?
Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World)
We may see a Creature with forty-nine heads Who lives in the desolate snow, And whenever he catches a cold (which he dreads) He has forty-nine noses to blow. 'We may see the venomous Pink-Spotted Scrunch Who can chew up a man with one bite. It likes to eat five of them roasted for lunch And eighteen for its supper at night. 'We may see a Dragon, and nobody knows That we won't see a Unicorn there. We may see a terrible Monster with toes Growing out of the tufts of his hair. 'We may see the sweet little Biddy-Bright Hen So playful, so kind and well-bred; And such beautiful eggs! You just boil them and then They explode and they blow off your head. 'A Gnu and a Gnocerous surely you'll see And that gnormous and gnorrible Gnat Whose sting when it stings you goes in at the knee And comes out through the top of your hat. 'We may even get lost and be frozen by frost. We may die in an earthquake or tremor. Or nastier still, we may even be tossed On the horns of a furious Dilemma. 'But who cares! Let us go from this horrible hill! Let us roll! Let us bowl! Let us plunge! Let's go rolling and bowling and spinning until We're away from old Spiker and Sponge!
Roald Dahl (James and the Giant Peach)
The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking as it seemed from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand. He was wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his soft felt hat hid every inch of his face but the shiny tip of his nose; the snow had piled itself against his shoulders and chest, and added a white crest to the burden he carried. He staggered into the Coarch and Horses, more dead than alive as it seemed, and flung his portmanteau down. "A fire," he cried, "in the name of human charity! A room and a fire!" He stamped and shook the snow from off himself in the bar, and followed Mrs. Hall into her guest parlour to strike his bargain. And with that much introduction, that and a ready acquiescence to terms and a couple of sovereigns flung upon the table, he took up his quarters in the inn.
H.G. Wells (The Invisible Man)
No. The two kinds of fools we have in Russia," karkov grinned and began. "First there is the winter fool. The winter fool comes to the door of your house and he knocks loudly. You go to the door and you see him there and you have never seen him before. He is an impressive sight. He is a very big man and he has on high boots and a fur coat and a fur hat and he is all covered with snow. First he stamps his boots and snow falls from them. Then he takes off his fur coat and shakes it and more snow falls from them, Then he takes off his fur hat and knocks it against the door. More snow falls from his fur hat. Then he stamps his boots again and advances into the room. Then you look at him and you see he is a fool. That is the winter fool." "Now in the summer you see a fool going down the street and he is waving his arms and jerking his head from side to side and everybody from two hundred yards away can tell he is a fool. that is a summer fool. This economist is a winter fool.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
But, if you've decided to go out on a limb and kill one, for goodness' sake, be prepared. We all read, with dismay, the sad story of a good woman wronged in south Mississippi who took that option and made a complete mess of the entire thing. See, first she shot him. Well, she saw right off the bat that that was a mistake because then she had this enormous dead body to deal with. He was every bit as much trouble to her dead as he ever had been alive, and was getting more so all the time. So then, she made another snap decision to cut him up in pieces and dispose of him a hunk at a time. More poor planning. First, she didn't have the proper carving utensils on hand and hacking him up proved to be just a major chore, plus it made just this colossal mess on her off-white shag living room carpet. It's getting to be like the Cat in the Hat now, only Thing Two ain't showing up to help with the clean-up. She finally gets him into portable-size portions, and wouldn't you know it? Cheap trash bags. Can anything else possible go wrong for this poor woman? So, the lesson here is obvious--for want of a small chain saw, a roll of Visqueen and some genuine Hefty bags, she is in Parchman Penitentiary today instead of New Orleans, where she'd planned to go with her new boyfriend. Preparation is everything.
Jill Conner Browne (The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love: A Fallen Southern Belle's Look at Love, Life, Men, Marriage, and Being Prepared)
When the three of us came to her house, Atticus would sweep off his hat, wave gallantly to her and say, “Good evening, Mrs. Dubose! You look like a picture this evening.” I never heard Atticus say like a picture of what. He would tell her the courthouse news, and would say he hoped with all his heart she’d have a good day tomorrow. He would return his hat to his head, swing me to his shoulders in her very presence, and we would go home in the twilight. It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
What are you doing?” Ya!” said Jane, whirling around, her hands held up menacingly. It was Mr. Nobley with coat, hat, and cane, watching her with wide eyes. Jane took several quick (but oh so casual) steps away from Martin’s window. Um, did I just say, ‘Ya’?” You just said ‘Ya,”’ he confirmed. “If I am not mistaken, it was a battle cry, warning that you were about to attack me.” I, uh. . .“ She stopped to laugh. “I wasn’t aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja.” *** Surely a young beauty like yourself is lonely, too. It can be part of the game, if you like.” Get off,” she said, thoroughly done with this. His answer was to lean in closer. So she kneed him in groin. As hard as she could. Aw, ow, dammit!” He doubled over and thudded onto knees. Jane brushed off her knee, feeling like it had touched son thing dirty. “Aw, ow, dammit indeed! What’re you thinking?” Jane heard hurried footsteps coming down the stairs. It Mr. Nobley. Miss Erstwhile!” He was barefoot in his breeches, his shirt untucked. He glanced down at the groaning man. “Sir Templeton!” Ow, she kicked me,” said Sir Templeton. Kneed him, I kneed him,” Jane said. “I don’t kick. Not even when 1m a ninja.” Mr. Nobley stood a moment in silence, looking over the scene. “I hope you remembered to shout ‘Ya’ when taking him down. I hear that is very effective.” I’m afraid I neglected that bit, but I’ll certainly ‘ya’ from here to London if he ever touches me again.
Shannon Hale
Where I come from, Annagramma, they have the Sheepdog Trials. Shepherds travel there from all over to show off their dogs. And there're silver crooks and belts with silver buckles and prizes of all kinds, Annagramma, but do you know what the big prize is? No, you wouldn't. Oh, there are judges, but they don't count, not for the big prize. There is - there was a little old lady who was always at the front of the crowd, leaning on the hurdles with her pipe in her mouth with the two finest sheepdogs ever pupped sitting at her feet. Their names were Thunder and Lightning, and they moved so fast, they set the air on fire and their coats outshone the sun, but she never, ever put them in the Trials. She knew more about sheep than even sheep know. And what every young shepherd wanted, really wanted, wasn't some silly cup or belt but to see her take pipe out of her mouth as he left the arena and quietly say 'That'll do,' because that meant he was a real shepherd and all the other shepherds knew it, too. And if you'd told him he had to challenge her, he'd cuss at you and stamp his foot and tell you he'd sooner spit the sun dark. How could he ever win? She was shepherding. It was the whole of her life. What you took away from her you'd take away from yourself. You don't understand that, do you? But it's the heart and the soul and center of it! The soul... and... center!
Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32; Tiffany Aching, #2))
Fine!” I threw my hands up in the air. “Yes, you mean something to me. What you did for me on Thanksgiving—that made me…” My voice cracked. “That made me happy. You made me happy. And I still care about you. Okay? You mean something to me—something I can’t really even put into words because everything seems too lame in comparison. I’ve always wanted you, even when I hated you. I want you even though you drive me freaking insane. And I know I screwed everything up. Not just for you and me, but for Dee.” My breath caught on a sob. The words rushed from me, one after another. “And I never felt this way with anyone else. Like I’m falling every time I’m around you, like I can’t catch my breath, and I feel alive —not just standing around and letting my life walk past me. There’s been nothing like that with anyone else.” Tears pricked my eyes as I stepped back. My chest was swelling so fast it hurt. “But none of this matters, because I know you really hate me now . I understand that. I just wish I could go back and change everything! I—” Daemon was suddenly in front of me, clasping my cheeks in his warm hands. “I never hated you.” I blinked back the wetness gathering in my eyes. “But—” “I don’t hate you now , Kat.” He stared intently into my eyes. “I’m mad at you—at myself. I’m so angry, I can taste it. I want to find Blake and rearrange parts of his body. But do you know w hat I thought about all day yesterday? All night? The one single thought I couldn’t escape, no matter how pissed off I am at you?” “No,” I whispered. “That I’m lucky, because the person I can’t get out of my head, the person who means more to me than I can stand, is still alive. She’s still there. And that’s you.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Onyx (Lux, #2))
It's a physical sickness. Etienne. How much I love him. I love Etienne. I love it when he cocks an eyebrow whenever I say something he finds clever or amusing. I love listening to his boots clomp across my bedroom ceiling. I love that the accent over his first name is called an acute accent, and that he has a cute accent. I love that. I love sitting beside him in physics. Brushing against him during lands. His messy handwriting on our worksheets. I love handing him his backpack when class is over,because then my fingers smell like him for the next ten minutes. And when Amanda says something lame, and he seeks me out to exchange an eye roll-I love that,too. I love his boyish laugh and his wrinkled shirts and his ridiculous knitted hat. I love his large brown eyes,and the way he bites his nails,and I love his hair so much I could die. There's only one thing I don't love about him. Her. If I didn't like Ellie before,it's nothing compared to how I feel now. It doesn't matter that I can count how many times we've met on one hand. It's that first image, that's what I can't shake. Under the streeplamp. Her fingers in his hair. Anytime I'm alone, my mind wanders back to that night. I take it further. She touches his chest. I take it further.His bedroom.He slips off her dress,their lips lock, their bodies press,and-oh my God-my temperature rises,and my stomach is sick. I fantasize about their breakup. How he could hurt her,and she could hurt him,and of all the ways I could hurt her back. I want to grab her Parisian-styled hair and yank it so hard it rips from her skull. I want to sink my claws into her eyeballs and scrape. It turns out I am not a nice person. Etienne and I rarely discussed her before, but she's completely taboo now. Which tortures me, because since we've gotten back from winter break, they seem to be having problems again. Like an obsessed stalker,I tally the evenings he spend with me versus the evening he spends with her. I'm winning.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Starkly in an instant she saw herself as she really was-alone in a wood standing among blue shadows with no sounds and the air a sort of black ice. She had no coat. All the people she’d known had forgotten her. Her mother, biting off thread between her teeth, couldn’t hear her, and her father with his eyes turned sorrowfully inward did not see her. They never had. Those she loved did not need her. Lila and Carl danced together in a bubble. Ralph Eastman picked lint from his sleeve. Buddy tucked in his shirttails, jumped in a truck and drove away. Fiona Speed showed the back of her hat, heading downtown in a cab. They all had more important concerns, they were all in their own lives, and there was no room for her. At night their doors were shut and through lit windows she could see them consulting one another, checking the baby, looking after business, licking envelopes, turning back the bedcover, shutting off the light switch, while she was left stranded out in the chill night in the true human state, lost, in the dark, alone.
Susan Minot (Evening)
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs--commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there. Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall, northward. What do you see?--Posted like silent sentinels all around the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in lath and plaster--tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they here? But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they stand--miles of them--leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes and alleys, streets and avenues--north, east, south, and west. Yet here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither? Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick or, The Whale)
In front of the group was a legless man on a small wheeled trolley, who was singing at the top of his voice and banging two saucepans together. His name was Arnold Sideways. Pushing him along was Coffin Henry, whose croaking progress through an entirely different song was punctuated by bouts of off-the-beat coughing. He was accompanied by a perfectly ordinary-looking manin torn, dirty and yet expensive looking clothing, whose pleasant tenor voice was drowned out by the quaking of a duck on his head. He answered to the name of Duck Man, although he never seemed to understand why, or why he was always surrounded by people who seemed to see ducks where no ducks could be. And finally, being towed along by a small grey dog on a string, was Foul Ole Ron, generally regarded in Ankh-Morpork as the deranged beggars' deranged beggar. He was probably incapable of singing, but at least he was attempting to swear in time to the beat, or beats. The wassailers stopped and watched them in horror. People have always had the urge to sing and clang things at the dark stub of the year, when all sorts of psychic nastiness has taken advantage of the long grey days and the deep shadows to lurk and breed. Lately people had taken to singing harmoniously, which rather lost the affect. Those who really understood just clanged something and shouted. The beggars were not in fact this well versed in folkloric practice. They were just making a din in the well-founded hope that people would give them money to stop. It was just possible to make out consensus song in there somewhere. "Hogswatch is coming, The pig is getting fat, Please put a dollar in the old man's hat If you ain't got a dollar a penny will do-" "And if you ain't got a penny," Foul Ole Ron yodeled, solo, 'Then- fghfgh yffg mfmfmf..." The Duck man had, with great Presence of mind, clamped a hand over Ron's mouth.
Terry Pratchett (Hogfather (Discworld, #20; Death, #4))
Gate C22 At gate C22 in the Portland airport a man in a broad-band leather hat kissed a woman arriving from Orange County. They kissed and kissed and kissed. Long after the other passengers clicked the handles of their carry-ons and wheeled briskly toward short-term parking, the couple stood there, arms wrapped around each other like he’d just staggered off the boat at Ellis Island, like she’d been released at last from ICU, snapped out of a coma, survived bone cancer, made it down from Annapurna in only the clothes she was wearing. Neither of them was young. His beard was gray. She carried a few extra pounds you could imagine her saying she had to lose. But they kissed lavish kisses like the ocean in the early morning, the way it gathers and swells, sucking each rock under, swallowing it again and again. We were all watching– passengers waiting for the delayed flight to San Jose, the stewardesses, the pilots, the aproned woman icing Cinnabons, the man selling sunglasses. We couldn’t look away. We could taste the kisses crushed in our mouths. But the best part was his face. When he drew back and looked at her, his smile soft with wonder, almost as though he were a mother still open from giving birth, as your mother must have looked at you, no matter what happened after–if she beat you or left you or you’re lonely now–you once lay there, the vernix not yet wiped off, and someone gazed at you as if you were the first sunrise seen from the Earth. The whole wing of the airport hushed, all of us trying to slip into that woman’s middle-aged body, her plaid Bermuda shorts, sleeveless blouse, glasses, little gold hoop earrings, tilting our heads up.
Ellen Bass (The Human Line)
He removed his hat, something a wizard doesn't ordinarily do unless he's about to pull something out of it, and handed it to the Bursar. Then he tore a thin strip off the bottom of his robe, held it dramatically in both hands, and tied it around his forehead. "It's part of the ethos," he said, in answer to their penetratingly unspoken question. "That's what the warriors on the Counterweight Continent do before they go into battle. And you have to shout --" He tried to remember some far-off reading. "-er, bonsai. Yes. Bonsai!" "I thought that meant chopping bits off trees to make them small," said the Senior Wrangler. The Dean hesitated. He wasn't too sure himself, if it came to it. But a good wizard never let uncertainty stand in his way. "No, it's definitely got to be bonsai," he said. He considered it some more then brightened up. "On account of it all being part of bushido. Like...small trees. Bush-i-do. Yeah. Makes sense, when you think about it." "But you can't shout 'bonsai' here." said the Lecturer in Recent Runes. "We've got a totally different cultural background. It'd be useless. No one will know what you mean. "I'll work on it, " said the Dean.*
Terry Pratchett (Reaper Man (Discworld, #11; Death, #2))
Thus engaged, with her right elbow supported by her left hand, Madame Defarge said nothing when her lord came in, but coughed just one grain of cough. This, in combination with the lifting of her darkly defined eyebrows over her toothpick by the breadth of a line, suggested to her husband that he would do well to look round the shop among the customers, for any new customer who had dropped in while he stepped over the way. The wine-shop keeper accordingly rolled his eyes about, until they rested upon an elderly gentleman and a young lady, who were seated in a corner. Other company were there: two playing cards, two playing dominoes, three standing by the counter lengthening out a short supply of wine. As he passed behind the counter, he took notice that the elderly gentleman said in a look to the young lady, "This is our man." "What the devil do you do in that galley there?" said Monsieur Defarge to himself; "I don't know you." But, he feigned not to notice the two strangers, and fell into discourse with the triumvirate of customers who were drinking at the counter. "How goes it, Jacques?" said one of these three to Monsieur Defarge. "Is all the spilt wine swallowed?" "Every drop, Jacques," answered Monsieur Defarge. When this interchange of Christian name was effected, Madame Defarge, picking her teeth with her toothpick, coughed another grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line. "It is not often," said the second of the three, addressing Monsieur Defarge, "that many of these miserable beasts know the taste of wine, or of anything but black bread and death. Is it not so, Jacques?" "It is so, Jacques," Monsieur Defarge returned. At this second interchange of the Christian name, Madame Defarge, still using her toothpick with profound composure, coughed another grain of cough, and raised her eyebrows by the breadth of another line. The last of the three now said his say, as he put down his empty drinking vessel and smacked his lips. "Ah! So much the worse! A bitter taste it is that such poor cattle always have in their mouths, and hard lives they live, Jacques. Am I right, Jacques?" "You are right, Jacques," was the response of Monsieur Defarge. This third interchange of the Christian name was completed at the moment when Madame Defarge put her toothpick by, kept her eyebrows up, and slightly rustled in her seat. "Hold then! True!" muttered her husband. "Gentlemen--my wife!" The three customers pulled off their hats to Madame Defarge, with three flourishes. She acknowledged their homage by bending her head, and giving them a quick look. Then she glanced in a casual manner round the wine-shop, took up her knitting with great apparent calmness and repose of spirit, and became absorbed in it. "Gentlemen," said her husband, who had kept his bright eye observantly upon her, "good day. The chamber, furnished bachelor- fashion, that you wished to see, and were inquiring for when I stepped out, is on the fifth floor. The doorway of the staircase gives on the little courtyard close to the left here," pointing with his hand, "near to the window of my establishment. But, now that I remember, one of you has already been there, and can show the way. Gentlemen, adieu!" They paid for their wine, and left the place. The eyes of Monsieur Defarge were studying his wife at her knitting when the elderly gentleman advanced from his corner, and begged the favour of a word. "Willingly, sir," said Monsieur Defarge, and quietly stepped with him to the door. Their conference was very short, but very decided. Almost at the first word, Monsieur Defarge started and became deeply attentive. It had not lasted a minute, when he nodded and went out. The gentleman then beckoned to the young lady, and they, too, went out. Madame Defarge knitted with nimble fingers and steady eyebrows, and saw nothing.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you. In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh. Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
My best advice about writer’s block is: the reason you’re having a hard time writing is because of a conflict between the GOAL of writing well and the FEAR of writing badly. By default, our instinct is to conquer the fear, but our feelings are much, much, less within our control than the goals we set, and since it’s the conflict BETWEEN the two forces blocking you, if you simply change your goal from “writing well” to “writing badly,” you will be a veritable fucking fountain of material, because guess what, man, we don’t like to admit it, because we’re raised to think lack of confidence is synonymous with paralysis, but, let’s just be honest with ourselves and each other: we can only hope to be good writers. We can only ever hope and wish that will ever happen, that’s a bird in the bush. The one in the hand is: we suck. We are terrified we suck, and that terror is oppressive and pervasive because we can VERY WELL see the possibility that we suck. We are well acquainted with it. We know how we suck like the backs of our shitty, untalented hands. We could write a fucking book on how bad a book would be if we just wrote one instead of sitting at a desk scratching our dumb heads trying to figure out how, by some miracle, the next thing we type is going to be brilliant. It isn’t going to be brilliant. You stink. Prove it. It will go faster. And then, after you write something incredibly shitty in about six hours, it’s no problem making it better in passes, because in addition to being absolutely untalented, you are also a mean, petty CRITIC. You know how you suck and you know how everything sucks and when you see something that sucks, you know exactly how to fix it, because you’re an asshole. So that is my advice about getting unblocked. Switch from team “I will one day write something good” to team “I have no choice but to write a piece of shit” and then take off your “bad writer” hat and replace it with a “petty critic” hat and go to town on that poor hack’s draft and that’s your second draft. Fifteen drafts later, or whenever someone paying you starts yelling at you, who knows, maybe the piece of shit will be good enough or maybe everyone in the world will turn out to be so hopelessly stupid that they think bad things are good and in any case, you get to spend so much less time at a keyboard and so much more at a bar where you really belong because medicine because childhood trauma because the Supreme Court didn’t make abortion an option until your unwanted ass was in its third trimester. Happy hunting and pecking!
Dan Harmon
This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals sails appeared charmed. They blazed red in the day and silver at night, like a magician’s cloak, hinting at mysteries concealed beneath, which Tella planned to uncover that night. Drunken laughter floated above her as Tella delved deeper into the ship’s underbelly in search of Nigel the Fortune-teller. Her first evening on the vessel she’d made the mistake of sleeping, not realizing until the following day that Legend’s performers had switched their waking hours to prepare for the next Caraval. They slumbered in the day and woke after sunset. All Tella had learned her first day aboard La Esmeralda was that Nigel was on the ship, but she had yet to actually see him. The creaking halls beneath decks were like the bridges of Caraval, leading different places at different hours and making it difficult to know who stayed in which room. Tella wondered if Legend had designed it that way, or if it was just the unpredictable nature of magic. She imagined Legend in his top hat, laughing at the question and at the idea that magic had more control than he did. For many, Legend was the definition of magic. When she had first arrived on Isla de los Sueños, Tella suspected everyone could be Legend. Julian had so many secrets that she’d questioned if Legend’s identity was one of them, up until he’d briefly died. Caspar, with his sparkling eyes and rich laugh, had played the role of Legend in the last game, and at times he’d been so convincing Tella wondered if he was actually acting. At first sight, Dante, who was almost too beautiful to be real, looked like the Legend she’d always imagined. Tella could picture Dante’s wide shoulders filling out a black tailcoat while a velvet top hat shadowed his head. But the more Tella thought about Legend, the more she wondered if he even ever wore a top hat. If maybe the symbol was another thing to throw people off. Perhaps Legend was more magic than man and Tella had never met him in the flesh at all. The boat rocked and an actual laugh pierced the quiet. Tella froze. The laughter ceased but the air in the thin corridor shifted. What had smelled of salt and wood and damp turned thick and velvet-sweet. The scent of roses. Tella’s skin prickled; gooseflesh rose on her bare arms. At her feet a puddle of petals formed a seductive trail of red. Tella might not have known Legend’s true name, but she knew he favored red and roses and games. Was this his way of toying with her? Did he know what she was up to? The bumps on her arms crawled up to her neck and into her scalp as her newest pair of slippers crushed the tender petals. If Legend knew what she was after, Tella couldn’t imagine he would guide her in the correct direction, and yet the trail of petals was too tempting to avoid. They led to a door that glowed copper around the edges. She turned the knob. And her world transformed into a garden, a paradise made of blossoming flowers and bewitching romance. The walls were formed of moonlight. The ceiling was made of roses that dripped down toward the table in the center of the room, covered with plates of cakes and candlelight and sparkling honey wine. But none of it was for Tella. It was all for Scarlett. Tella had stumbled into her sister’s love story and it was so romantic it was painful to watch. Scarlett stood across the chamber. Her full ruby gown bloomed brighter than any flowers, and her glowing skin rivaled the moon as she gazed up at Julian. They touched nothing except each other. While Scarlett pressed her lips to Julian’s, his arms wrapped around her as if he’d found the one thing he never wanted to let go of. This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals were as ephemeral as feelings, eventually they would wilt and die, leaving nothing but the thorns.
Stephanie Garber (Legendary (Caraval, #2))