People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us... It's people who claim that they're good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
Gregory Maguire (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years, #1))
A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.
Leo Tolstoy (Семейное счастие)
But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
An ordinary beginning, something that would have been forgotten had it been anyone but her. But as he shook her hand and met those striking emerald eyes, he knew before he'd taken his next breath that she was the one he could spend the rest of his life looking for but never find again. She seemed that good, that perfect, while a summer wind blew through the trees.
Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook (The Notebook, #1))
When God Created Mothers"
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."
And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands."
The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way."
It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."
That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word."
God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...."
I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower."
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed.
But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure."
Can it think?"
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model."
It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear."
What's it for?"
It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride."
You are a genius, " said the angel.
Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.
Erma Bombeck (When God Created Mothers)
You’re mad,” I said. “You know what he can do. No prize is worth that.”
Sturmhond grinned. “That remains to be seen.”
“The Darkling will hunt you for the rest of your days.”
“Then you and I will have something in common, won’t we? Besides, I like to have powerful enemies. Makes me feel important.”
Mal crossed his arms and considered the privateer. “I can’t decide if you’re crazy or stupid.”
“I have so many good qualities,” Sturmhond said. “It can be hard to choose.
Leigh Bardugo (Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2))
..for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
His hand rested above my hip, having a totally different impact on me. My skin tingled underneath the chiffon. Daemon cleared his throat as he glanced away. 'You...you look beautiful, by the way. Really too good to be with that idiot.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Obsidian (Lux, #1))
I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Is everybody in? Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. The entertainment for this evening is not new, you've seen this entertainment through and through you have seen your birth, your life, your death....you may recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? -enough to base a movie on??
Jim Morrison (An American Prayer)
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best have gone to their eternal rest.
Edgar Allan Poe (Poems)
From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.
Edgar Allan Poe (Alone)
I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all the things you want from a person -- sexual chemistry, let's say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty -- and you get to pick three of those things. The rest you have to look for elsewhere. It's only in the movies that you find someone who gives you all those things. But this isn't the movies. In the real world, you have to identify which three qualities you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then you look for those qualities in another person. That's real life. Don't you see it's a trap? If you keep trying to find everything, you'll wind up with nothing.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins - is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred's a subset of self pity and not the other way around - ' It destroys everything around it, except itself '.
Self pity will destroy relationships, it'll destroy anything that's good, it will fulfill all the prophecies it makes and leave only itself. And it's so simple to imagine that one is hard done by, and that things are unfair, and that one is underappreciated, and that if only one had had a chance at this, only one had had a chance at that, things would have gone better, you would be happier if only this, that one is unlucky. All those things. And some of them may well even be true. But, to pity oneself as a result of them is to do oneself an enormous disservice.
I think it's one of things we find unattractive about the american culture, a culture which I find mostly, extremely attractive, and I like americans and I love being in america. But, just occasionally there will be some example of the absolutely ravening self pity that they are capable of, and you see it in their talk shows. It's an appalling spectacle, and it's so self destructive. I almost once wanted to publish a self help book saying 'How To Be Happy by Stephen Fry : Guaranteed success'. And people buy this huge book and it's all blank pages, and the first page would just say - ' Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself - And you will be happy '. Use the rest of the book to write down your interesting thoughts and drawings, and that's what the book would be, and it would be true. And it sounds like 'Oh that's so simple', because it's not simple to stop feeling sorry for yourself, it's bloody hard. Because we do feel sorry for ourselves, it's what Genesis is all about.
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you.
Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.
Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.
Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
I also never would have imagined I'd quote back a church lesson, but when the rest of the crowd stood up to take communion, I found myself saying to Dimitri: "Don't you think that if God can supposedly forgive you, it's kind of egotistical for you not to forgive yourself?"
"How long have you been waiting to use that line on me?" he asked.
"Actually, it just came to me. Pretty good, huh? I bet you thought I wasn't paying attention."
"You weren't. You never do. You were watching me.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness—even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile—reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined—those dead, those living, those generations yet to come—that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength—to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.
Dean Koontz (From the Corner of His Eye)
Please, Noah, I don't want to do this wrong. Tell me how to make you feel good."
He shifted so that his body rested beside mine, his leg and arm still draped over me. I felt small under his warmth and strength.
His chocolate-brown eyes softened. "Being with you feels good. Touching you-" he tucked a curl behind my ear. "-feels good. I have never wanted anyone like I want you. There's nothing you can do wrong when just breathing makes everything right.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
What a lovely thing a rose is!"
He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen interest in natural objects.
"There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as religion," said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. "It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Naval Treaty - a Sherlock Holmes Short Story)
And after a long time the boy came back again.
"I am sorry, Boy," said the tree, "but I have nothing left to give you-
My apples are gone."
"My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy.
"My branches are gone," said the tree.
"You cannot swing on them-"
"I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy.
"My trunk is gone," said the tree.
"You cannot climb-"
"I am too tired to climb," said the boy.
"I am sorry," sighed the tree.
"I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet pleace to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.
Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree)
when you walk, you look like you’re trying to disappear.
your back is gonna be fucked up.
why do you think change is so hard? is it because you’re afraid?
people might think you’re pretty, but they’ll never love you.
you talk like you’re apologizing for your own voice.
find your spine, stop shrinking.
there is nothing brave about keeping silent.
how many times have you been in love? I can’t picture it ever happening for you.
you lie because it makes you feel free. this is a prison.
you’re always gonna think about him. you will never get him out of your system.
I wish I never had to see you again.
you poor thing.
go to hell.
you may be a nice person but you will never be a good person.
no one is ever going to want to touch you.
is there a vision in your head of who you want to be?
you do not have the strength to become her.
there is no boat big enough to keep you from drowning in the sea of yourself.
go to bed, baby.
you are tired from all of this nothing.
There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!
Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
What you should really be sorry for," he continued, "is that for the rest of my life, I'll have to avoid wine cellars to keep from thinking about you."
"Why? Was kissing me that bad?"
A devil-solf whisper. "No sweetheart. It was that good.
Lisa Kleypas (Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2))
On July 2, McCandless finished reading Tolstoy's "Family Happiness", having marked several passages that moved him:
"He was right in saying that the only certain happiness in life is to live for others...
I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books , music, love for one's neighbor - such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps - what more can the heart of a man desire?" ...
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him;
The evil that men do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar ... The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it ...
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest,
(For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all; all honourable men)
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral ...
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man….
He hath brought many captives home to Rome,
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?
O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me
William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
A good thing to do when one is sitting, eating, and resting is to have a conversation.
Lemony Snicket (Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid)
I know my own reasons for keeping Peeta alive. He's my friend, and this is my way to defy the Capitol, to subvert its terrible Games. But if I had no real ties to him, what would make me want to save him, to choose him over myself? Certainly he is brave, but we have all been brave enough to survive a Games. There is that quality of goodness that's hard to overlook, but stil... and then I think of it, what Peeta can do so much better than the rest of us. He can use words. He obliterated the rest of the field at both interviews. And maybe it's because of that underlying goodness that he can move a crowd--no, a country--to his side with the turn of a simple sentence.
I remember thinking that was the gift the leader of our revolution should have. Has Haymitch convinced the others of this? That Peeta's tongue would have far greater power against the Capitol than any physical strength the rest of us could claim? I don't know. It still seems like a really long leap for some of the tributes. I mean, we're talking about Johanna Mason here. But what other explanation can there be for their decided efforts to keep him alive?
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
I love her. I know she loves me. And despite what Julia thinks is good for us, I want her to wait for me. We need to be together. We have to be together. If I don't stop her from walking away right now, I'll regret it for the rest of my life.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books , music, love for one's neighbor - such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps - what more can the heart of a man desire?
Leo Tolstoy (Семейное счастие)
Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet.
And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more.
This is a complete record of its thoughts from the moment it began its life till the moment it ended it.
Ah … ! What’s happening? it thought.
Er, excuse me, who am I?
Why am I here? What’s my purpose in life?
What do I mean by who am I?
Calm down, get a grip now … oh! this is an interesting sensation, what is it? It’s a sort of … yawning, tingling sensation in my … my … well I suppose I’d better start finding names for things if I want to make any headway in what for the sake of what I shall call an argument I shall call the world, so let’s call it my stomach.
Good. Ooooh, it’s getting quite strong. And hey, what’s about this whistling roaring sound going past what I’m suddenly going to call my head? Perhaps I can call that … wind! Is that a good name? It’ll do … perhaps I can find a better name for it later when I’ve found out what it’s for. It must be something very important because there certainly seems to be a hell of a lot of it. Hey! What’s this thing? This … let’s call it a tail – yeah, tail. Hey! I can can really thrash it about pretty good can’t I? Wow! Wow! That feels great! Doesn’t seem to achieve very much but I’ll probably find out what it’s for later on. Now – have I built up any coherent picture of things yet?
Never mind, hey, this is really exciting, so much to find out about, so much to look forward to, I’m quite dizzy with anticipation …
Or is it the wind?
There really is a lot of that now isn’t it?
And wow! Hey! What’s this thing suddenly coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding name like … ow … ound … round … ground! That’s it! That’s a good name – ground!
I wonder if it will be friends with me?
And the rest, after a sudden wet thud, was silence.
Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed.
In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were.
And with good reason.
In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want.
Piece of cake.
In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class.
Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything.
Piece of cake.
The O'Reilly Factor.
So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times."
Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there.
Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun.
Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you?
Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine.
My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse."
Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas!
Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler.
What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
It felt very good to have him walking beside her. Good like rest and quiet, like something you could live without but you needed anyway. That you had to learn how to miss, and then you'd never stop missing it.
Marilynne Robinson (Lila (Gilead, #3))
The worst part about loving someone, Merripen, is that there will always be things you can't protect her from. Things beyond your control. You finally realize there is something worse than dying... and that is having something happen to her. You have to live with that fear always. But you have to take the bad part, if you want the good part."
Kev looked at him bleakly. "What's the good part?"
A smile touched Cam's lips. "All the rest of it is the good part," he said, and went.
Lisa Kleypas (Seduce Me at Sunrise (The Hathaways, #2))
I think love is about happiness and sacrifice. Comprising instead of arguing. Having someone who is always there for you even when you don't deserve it. Loving someone means you want to spend the rest of your life with them on the good days and the bad days and everything in between.
Lauren Asher (Throttled (Dirty Air, #1))
It's not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It's a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.
John C. Holt
While this is all very amusing, the kiss that will free the girl is the kiss that she most desires,” she said. “Only that and nothing more.”
Jace’s heart started to pound. He met the Queen’s eyes with his own. “Why are you doing this?”
… “Desire is not always lessened by disgust…And as my words bind my magic, so you can know the truth. If she doesn’t desire your kiss, she won’t be free.”
“You don’t have to do this, Clary, it’s a trick—” (Simon)
...Isabelle sounded exasperated. ‘Who cares, anyway? It’s just a kiss.”
“That’s right,” Jace said. Clary looked up, then finally, and her wide green eyes rested on him. He moved toward her... and put his hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him… He could feel the tension in his own body, the effort of holding back, of not pulling her against him and taking this one chance, however dangerous and stupid and unwise, and kissing her the way he had thought he would never, in his life, be able to kiss her again. “It’s just a kiss,” he said, and heard the roughness in his own voice, and wondered if she heard it, too.
Not that it mattered—there was no way to hide it. It was too much. He had never wanted like this before... She understood him, laughed when he laughed, saw through the defenses he put up to what was underneath. There was no Jace Wayland more real than the one he saw in her eyes when she looked at him… All he knew was that whatever he had to owe to Hell or Heaven for this chance, he was going to make it count.
He...whispered in her ear. “You can close your eyes and think of England, if you like,” he said.
Her eyes fluttered shut, her lashes coppery lines against her pale, fragile skin. “I’ve never even been to England,” she said, and the softness, the anxiety in her voice almost undid him. He had never kissed a girl without knowing she wanted it too, usually more than he did, and this was Clary, and he didn’t know what she wanted. Her eyes were still closed, but she shivered, and leaned into him — barely, but it was permission enough.
His mouth came down on hers. And that was it. All the self-control he’d exerted over the past weeks went, like water crashing through a broken dam. Her arms came up around his neck and he pulled her against him… His hands flattened against her back... and she was up on the tips of her toes, kissing him as fiercely as he was kissing her... He clung to her more tightly, knotting his hands in her hair, trying to tell her, with the press of his mouth on hers, all the things he could never say out loud...
His hands slid down to her waist... he had no idea what he would have done or said next, if it would have been something he could never have pretended away or taken back, but he heard a soft hiss of laughter — the Faerie Queen — in his ears, and it jolted him back to reality. He pulled away from Clary before he it was too late, unlocking her hands from around his neck and stepping back... Clary was staring at him. Her lips were parted, her hands still open. Her eyes were wide. Behind her, Alec and Isabelle were gaping at them; Simon looked as if he was about to throw up.
...If there had ever been any hope that he could have come to think of Clary as just his sister, this — what had just happened between them — had exploded it into a thousand pieces... He tried to read Clary’s face — did she feel the same? … I know you felt it, he said to her with his eyes, and it was half bitter triumph and half pleading. I know you felt it, too…She glanced away from him... He whirled on the Queen. “Was that good enough?” he demanded. “Did that entertain you?”
The Queen gave him a look: special and secretive and shared between the two of them. “We are quite entertained," she said. “But not, I think, so much as the both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
human beings have a strong dramatic instinct toward binary thinking, a basic urge to divide things into two distinct groups, with nothing but an empty gap in between. We love to dichotomize. Good versus bad. Heroes versus villains. My country versus the rest. Dividing the world into two distinct sides is simple and intuitive, and also dramatic because it implies conflict, and we do it without thinking, all the time.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
And my own affairs were as bad, as dismal, as the day I had been born. The only difference was that now I could drink now and then, though never often enough. Drink was the only thing that kept a man from feeling forever stunned and useless. Everything else just kept picking and picking, hacking away. And nothing was interesting, nothing. The people were restrictive and careful, all alike. And I've got to live with these fuckers for the rest of my life, I thought. God, they all had assholes and sexual organs and their mouths and their armpits. They shit and they chattered and they were dull as horse dung. The girls looked good from a distance, the sun shining through their dresses, their hair. But get up close and listen to their minds running out of their mouths, you felt like digging in under a hill and hiding out with a tommy-gun. I would certainly never be able to be happy, to get married, I could never have children. Hell, I couldn't even get a job as a dishwasher.
Charles Bukowski (Ham on Rye)
Where have you been?" she cried. "Damn you, where have you been?" She took a few steps toward Schmendrick, but she was looking beyond him, at the unicorn.
When she tried to get by, the magician stood in her way. "You don't talk like that," he told her, still uncertain that Molly had recognized the unicorn. "Don't you know how to behave, woman? You don't curtsy, either."
But Molly pushed him aside and went up to the unicorn, scolding her as though she were a strayed milk cow. "Where have you been?" Before the whiteness and the shining horn, Molly shrank to a shrilling beetle, but this time it was the unicorn's old dark eyes that looked down.
"I am here now," she said at last.
Molly laughed with her lips flat. "And what good is it to me that you're here now? Where where you twenty years ago, ten years ago? How dare you, how dare you come to me now, when I am this?" With a flap of her hand she summed herself up: barren face, desert eyes, and yellowing heart. "I wish you had never come. Why did you come now?" The tears began to slide down the sides of her nose.
The unicorn made no reply, and Schmendrick said, "She is the last. She is the last unicorn in the world."
"She would be." Molly sniffed. "It would be the last unicorn in the world to come to Molly Grue." She reached up then to lay her hand on the unicorn's cheek; but both of them flinched a little, and the touch came to rest on on the swift, shivering place under the jaw. Molly said, "It's all right. I forgive you.
Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1))
Many things are thrown our way in this game of life. It's how you deal with them that shows your true character. I want all of you to feel the hope, love & passion I feel for the upcoming year & the rest of my life. I want ALL of you to not only go for your dreams, but have a damn ass good time doing it! Love & Warmth, May ♥
Caring about the quality of your work causes stress. Stress can kill you. Maintain good health by remembering that the stockholders are complete strangers who have never done anything for you.
Scott Adams (Dilbert's Guide to the Rest of Your Life: Dispatches from Cubicleland)
Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?
Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.
Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though
all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.
Mary Oliver (Dream Work)
Why does it always have to be that way? Why do good men always have to sacrifice themselves for others?
Because they believe that the rest of us are worth it.
Siri Mitchell (The Messenger)
We'll win, of course," he said.
"You don't want that," said the demon.
"Why not, pray?“
“Listen," said Crowley desperately, "how many musicians do you think your side have got, eh? First grade, I mean."
Aziraphale looked taken aback.
"Well, I should think-" he began.
"Two," said Crowley. "Elgar and Liszt. That's all. We've got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
George, who is out somewhere there in the dark, who is good to me - whom I revile, who can keep learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them. Who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. And yes, I do wish to be happy. George and Martha: Sad, sad, sad. Whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said: “Yes, this will do”. Who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving… me, and must be punished for it. George and Martha… Sad, sad, sad.
Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
But what the evil people do, that's their responsibility. The burden they have to carry. Sure, when we see 'em starting on causing some hurt, we've got to try and stop 'em, but mostly what the rest of us should be concerning ourselves with is doing right by others. Every time you do a good turn, you shine the light a little further into the dark. And the thing is, even when we're gone, that light's going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.
Charles de Lint (Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5))
CUSTOMER: Which was the first Harry Potter book?
BOOKSELLER: The Philosopher’s Stone.
CUSTOMER: And the second?
BOOKSELLER: The Chamber of Secrets.
CUSTOMER: I’l take The Chamber of Secrets. I don’t want The Philosopher’s Stone.
BOOKSELLER: Have you already read that one?
CUSTOMER: No, but with series of books I always find they take a while to really get going. I don’t want to waste my time with the useless introductory stuff at the beginning.
BOOKSELLER: The story in Harry Potter actually starts right away. Personally, I do recommend that you start with the first book – and it’s very good.
CUSTOMER: Are you working on commission?
CUSTOMER: Right. How many books are there in total?
CUSTOMER: Exactly. I’m not going to waste my money on the first book when there are so many others to buy. I’l take the second one.
BOOKSELLER: . . . If you’re sure.
(One week later, the customer returns)
BOOKSELLER: Hi, did you want to buy a copy of The Prisoner of Azkaban?
CUSTOMER: What’s that?
BOOKSELLER: It’s the book after The Chamber of Secrets.
CUSTOMER: Oh, no, definitely not. I found that book far too confusing. I ask you, how on earth are children supposed to understand it if I can’t? I mean, who the heck is that Voldemort guy anyway? No. I’m not going to bother with the rest.
BOOKSELLER: . . .
Jen Campbell (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)
Then the best thing I can do is—"
He froze. The brown eyes that had been narrowed with aggravation suddenly went wide with...what? Amazement? Awe? Or perhaps that stunned feeling I kept having when I saw him?
Because suddenly, I was pretty sure he was experiencing the same thing I had earlier. He'd seen me plenty of times in Siberia. He'd seen me just the other night at the warehouse. But now...now he was truly viewing me with his own eyes. Now that he was no longer Strigoi, his whole world was different. His outlook and feelings were different. Even his soul was different.
It was like one of those moments when people talked about their lives flashing before their eyes. Because as we stared at one another, every part of our relationship replayed in my mind's eye. I remembered how strong and invincible he'd been when we first met, when he'd come to bring Lissa and me back to the folds of Moroi society. I remembered the gentleness of his touch when he's bandaged my bloodies and bettered hands. I remembered him carrying me in his arms after Victor's daughter Natalie had attacked me. Most of all, I remembered the night we'd been together in the cabin, just before the Strigoi had taken him. A year. We'd known each other only a year but we'd lived a lifetime in it.
And he was realizing that too, I knew as he studied me. His gaze was all-powerful, taking in every single one of my features and filing them away.
Dimly, I tried to recall what I looked like today. I still wore the dress from the secret meeting and knew it looked good on me. My eyes were probably bloodshot from crying earlier, and I'd only had time for a quick brushing of my hair before heading off with Adrian.
Somehow, I doubted any of it mattered. The way Dimitri was looking at me...it confirmed everything I'd suspected. The feelings he'd had for me before he'd been turned-the feelings that had become twisted while a Strigoi—were all still there. They had to be. Maybe Lissa was his savior. Maybe the rest of the Court thought she was a goddess. I knew, right then, that no matter how bedraggled I looked or how blank he tried to keep his face, I was a goddess to him.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
People use the word 'love' a lot of different ways. Take me, for instance. I am often heard saying that I love my mom and dad. I am also often heard saying that I love pizza.
What am I saying when I say I love my mom and dad? I'm saying that I care about them. I'm saying that I love spending time with them and that I talk to them every chance I get. I'm saying that if they needed me, I would do every humanly possible to help them. I'm saying that I always want what's best for them.
What am I saying when I say I love pizza? Am I saying that I care deeply about pizza? Am I saying that I have a relationship with pizza? Am I saying that if pizza had a problem, I would be there for the pizza? (What? Not enough pepperoni? I'll be right there!)
Of course not. When I say I love pizza, I'm just saying that I enjoy eating pizza until I don't want any more pizza. Once I'm tired of the pizza, I don't care what happens to the rest of it. I'll throw it away. I'll feed it to the dog. I'll stick it in the back of the refrigerator until it gets all green and moldy. It doesn't matter to me anymore.
These are two very different definition of the word 'love'.
It gets confusing when people start talking about love, and especially about loving you. Which way do these people love you? Do they want what is best for you, or do they just want you around because it is good for them, and they don't really care what happens to you?
Next time someone looks deeply into your eyes and says 'I love you', look very deeply right back and say, 'Would that be pizza love, or the real thing?
Mary Beth Bonacci (Real Love: Answers to Your Questions on Dating, Marriage and the Real Meaning of Sex)
Why should her lover, just because he is male, be in a position to judge her against other women? Why must she need to know her position and hate needing to, and hate knowing? Why should his reply have such exaggerated power? And it does. He does not know that what he says will affect the way she feels when they next make love. She is angry for a number of good reasons that may have nothing to do with this particular man's intentions. The exchange reminds her that, in spite of a whole fabric of carefully woven equalities, they are not equal in this way that is so crucial that its snagged thread unravels the rest.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
The italian nanny was attempting to answer the teachers latest question when the moroccan student interupted, shouting "Excuse me, What is an easter?"
it would seem that depsite having grown up in a muslim country, she would have heard it mentioned once or twice, but no. "I mean it," She said. " I have no idea what you people are talking about."
The teacher called upon the rest of us to explain.
The poles led the charge to the best of their ability. It is," said one, "a party for the little boy of god who call his self jesus and... oh shit." She faltered and her fellow country man came to her aid.
He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two... morsels of... lumber."
The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.
he die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father."
he weared of himself the long hair and after he die. the first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples."
he Nice the jesus."
he make the good things, and on the easter we be sad because somebody makes him dead today.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
Peeta and I sit on the damp sand, facing away from each other, my right shoulder and hip pressed against his.
After a while I rest my head against his shoulder. Feel his hand caress my hair.
"Katniss... If you die, and I live, there's no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You're my whole life", he says. "I would never be happy again."
I start to object but he puts a finger to my lips. "It's different for you. I'm not sayin it wouldn't be hard. But there are other people who'd make your life worth living." ... "Your family needs you, Katniss", Peeta says.
My family. My mother. My sister. And my pretend cousin Gale. But Peeta's intension is clear. That Gale really is my family, or will be one day, if I live. That I'll marry him. So Peeta's giving me his life and Gale at the same time. To let me know I shouldn't ever have doubts about it.
Everithing. That's what Peeta wants me to take from him.
"No one really needs me", he says, and there's no self-pity in his voice. It's true his family doesen't need him. They will mourn him, as will a handful of friends. But they will get on. Even Haymitch, with the help of a lot of white liquor, will get on. I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.
"I do", I say. "I need you." He looks upset, takes a deep breath as if to begin a long argument, and that's no good, no good at all, because he'll start going on about Prim and my mother and everything and I'll just get confused. So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.
I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food. I kissed Peeta about a thousand times during those Games and after. But there was only one kiss that made me feel something stir deep inside. Only one that made me want more. But my head wound started bleeding and he made me lie down.
This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion," said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. "It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock Holmes, #4))
Being good is something that one must choose over and over again, every day, throughout the day, for the rest of one's life," Asher said. "A day is made of a thousand decisions, most small, some huge. With each decision you have the chance to work toward light, or sink toward darkness.
Cate Tiernan (Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved, #1))
“’Cause I always love a challenge.”
He’d caught her with that when she was halfway in the cab. With one foot in and the other still braced against the curb, she stared at him. “What challenge?”
“You’re challenging me to get you back into my life.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Your exact words were ‘I challenge you, Bobby Ray Smith, to get me back into your life.’”
“I never said that.”
“That’s what I heard.” The beauty of wolf hearing. You heard only what you wanted to, made up what was never said but should have been, and the rest meant little or nothing.
Shelly Laurenston (The Beast in Him (Pride, #2))
I wonder by my troth, what thou, and I
Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then?
But suck'd on countrey pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the seaven sleepers den?
T'was so; But this, all pleasures fancies bee.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desir'd, and got, 'twas but a dreame of thee.
And now good morrow to our waking soules,
Which watch not one another out of feare;
For love, all love of other sights controules,
And makes one little roome, an every where.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have showne,
Let us possesse one world; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appeares,
And true plaine hearts doe in the faces rest,
Where can we finde two better hemispheares
Without sharpe North, without declining West?
What ever dyes, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none doe slacken, none can die.
John Donne (The Complete English Poems)
We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world - its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and not be afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
He looked down at the keys and played a gentle chord. Jesper wondered at how he could have mistaken Kuwei for Wylan. Their hands were completely different, the shape of the fingers, the knuckles.
“Jes,” Wylan said, “did you mean what you told my father? Will you stay with me? Will you help?”
Jesper leaned back on the pianoforte, resting on his elbows. “Let’s see. Live in a luxurious merch mansion, get waited on by servants, spend a little extra time with a budding demolitions expert who plays a mean flute? I guess I can manage it.” Jesper’s eyes traveled from the top of Wylan’s red-gold curls to the tips of his toes and back again. “But I do charge a pretty steep fee.”
Wylan flushed a magnificent shade of pink. “Well, hopefully the medik will be here to fix my ribs soon,” he said as he headed back into the parlor.
“Yes,” said Wylan, glancing briefly over his shoulder, his cheeks now red as cherries. “I’d like to make a down payment.”
Jesper released a bark of laughter. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt this good. And no one was even shooting at him.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I am a cutter, you see. Also a snipper, a slicer, a carver, a jabber. I am a very special case. I have a purpose. My skin, you see, screams. It's covered with words - cook, cupcake, kitty, curls - as if a knife-wielding first-grader learned to write on my flesh. I sometimes, but only sometimes, laugh. Getting out of the bath and seeing, out of the corner of my eye, down the side of a leg: babydoll. Pull on a sweater and, in a flash of my wrist: harmful. Why these words? Thousands of hours of therapy have yielded a few ideas from the good doctors. They are often feminine, in a Dick and Jane, pink vs. puppy dog tails sort of way. Or they're flat-out negative. Number of synonyms for anxious carved in my skin: eleven. The one thing I know for sure is that at the time, it was crucial to see these letters on me, and not just see them, but feel them. Burning on my left hip: petticoat.
And near it, my first word, slashed on an anxious summer day at age thirteen: wicked. I woke up that morning, hot and bored, worried about the hours ahead. How do you keep safe when your whole day is as wide and empty as the sky? Anything could happen. I remember feeling that word, heavy and slightly sticky across my pubic bone. My mother's steak knife. Cutting like a child along red imaginary lines. Cleaning myself. Digging in deeper. Cleaning myself. Pouring bleach over the knife and sneaking through the kitchen to return it. Wicked. Relief. The rest of the day, I spent ministering to my wound. Dig into the curves of W with an alcohol-soaked Q-tip. Pet my cheek until the sting went away. Lotion. Bandage. Repeat.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
Do you think any of us know how to love?! Do you think anybody would ever do anything if they waited until they knew how to love?! Do you think that babies would ever get made or meals cooked or crops planed or books written or what God-damn-have-you? Do you think people would even get out of bed in the morning if they waited until they knew how to love? You have had too much therapy. Or not enough. God knows how to love, kiddo. The rest of us are only good actors.
Forget love. Try good manners.
Rebecca Wells (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood)
We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did - and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the mighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see each other again; perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us.
Roland Barthes (A Lover's Discourse: Fragments)
Wanderer, who are you? I watch you go on your way, without scorn, without love, with impenetrable eyes - damp and downhearted, like a plumb line that returns unsatisfied from every depth back into the light (what was it looking for down there?), with a breast that does not sigh, with lips that hide their disgust, with a hand that only grips slowly: who are you? What have you done? Take a rest here, this spot is hospitable to everyone, - relax! And whoever you may be: what would you like now? What do you find relaxing? Just name it: I'll give you whatever I have! - "Relaxing? Relaxing? How inquisitive you are! What are you saying! But please, give me - -" What? What? Just say it! - "Another mask! A second mask!" ...
Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
Dear Max -
You looked so beautiful today. I'm going to remember what you looked like forever.
And I hope you remember me the same way - clean, ha-ha. I'm glad our last time together was happy.
But I'm leaving tonight, leaving the flock, and this time it's for good. I don't know if I'll ever see any of you again. The thing is, Max, that everyone is a little bit right. Added up all together, it makes this one big right.
Dylan's a little bit right about how my being here might be putting the rest of you in danger. The threat might have been just about Dr. Hans, but we don't know that for sure. Angel is a little bit right about how splitting up the flock will help all of us survive. And the rest of the flock is a little bit right about how when you and I are together, we're focused on each other - we can't help it.
The thing is, Maximum, I love you. I can't help but be focused on you when we're together. If you're in the room, I want to be next to you. If you're gone, I think about you. You're the one who I want to talk to. In a fight, I want you at my back. When we're together, the sun is shining. When we're apart, everything is in shades of gray.
I hope you'll forgive me someday for turning our worlds into shades of gray - at least for a while.
You're not at your best when you're focused on me. I mean, you're at your best Maxness, but not your best leaderness. I mostly need Maxness. The flock mostly needs leaderness. And Angel, if you're listening to this, it ain't you, sweetie. Not yet.
At least for a couple more years, the flock needs a leader to survive, no matter how capable everyone thinks he or she is. The truth is that they do need a leader, and the truth is that you are the best leader. It's one of the things I love about you.
But the more I thought about it, the more sure I got that this is the right thing to do. Maybe not for you, or for me, but for all of us together, our flock.
Please don't try to find me. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, besides wearing that suit today, and seeing you again will only make it harder. You'd ask me to come back, and I would, because I can't say no to you. But all the same problems would still be there, and I'd end up leaving again, and then we'd have to go through this all over again.
Please make us only go through this once.
I love you. I love your smile, your snarl, your grin, your face when you're sleeping. I love your hair streaming out behind you as we fly, with the sunlight making it shine, if it doesn't have too much mud or blood in it. I love seeing your wings spreading out, white and brown and tan and speckled, and the tiny, downy feathers right at the top of your shoulders. I love your eyes, whether they're cold or calculating or suspicious or laughing or warm, like when you look at me.
You're the best warrior I know, the best leader. You're the most comforting mom we've ever had. You're the biggest goofball, the worst driver, and a truly lousy cook. You've kept us safe and provided for us, in good times and bad. You're my best friend, my first and only love, and the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, with wings or without.
Tell you what, sweetie: If in twenty years we haven't expired yet, and the world is still more or less in one piece, I'll meet you at the top of that cliff where we first met the hawks and learned to fly with them. You know the one. Twenty years from today, if I'm alive, I'll be there, waiting for you. You can bet on it.
Good-bye, my love.
P.S. Tell everyone I sure will miss them
We're going to investigate," Fireheart meowed. "We can't decide how to get rid of these dogs until we know exactly what we have to face. We're not going to attack them, not yet-have you got that, Cloudtail?"
Cloudtail's blue eyes burned into his, and he did not reply.
"I won't take you, Cloudtail, unless you promise to do as you're told without question."
"Oh, all right." The tip of Cloudtail's tail flicked irritably. "I want every last dog turned into crowfood, but I'll do it you're way, Fireheart."
"Good." Fireheart's gaze swept over the rest of the patrol. "Any questions?"
"What if we come across Tigerstar?" asked Sandstorm.
"A cat from another Clan on our territory?" Fireheart bared his teeth. "Yes, you can attack him.
Cloudtil let out a growl of satisfaction.
Erin Hunter (A Dangerous Path (Warriors, #5))
Weren't you just doing the same thing, trying to maximize what had in order to get what you wanted? People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us. It's people who claim that they're good, or anyway better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
Most parents try really hard to give their kids the best possible life. They give them the best food and clothes they can afford, take their own kind of take on training kids to be honest and polite. But what they don't realize is no matter how much they try, their kids will get out there. Out to this complicated little world. If they are lucky they will survive, through backstabbers, broken hearts, failures and all the kinds of invisible insane pressures out there. But most kids get lost in them. They will get caught up in all kinds of bubbles. Trouble bubbles. Bubbles that continuously tell them that they are not good enough. Bubbles that get them carried away with what they think is love, give them broken hearts. Bubbles that will blur the rest of the world to them, make them feel like that is it, that they've reached the end. Sometimes, even the really smart kids, make stupid decisions. They lose control. Parents need to realize that the world is getting complicated every second of every day. With new problems, new diseases, new habits. They have to realize the vast probability of their kids being victims of this age, this complicated era. Your kids could be exposed to problems that no kind of therapy can help. Your kids could be brainwashed by themselves to believe in insane theories that drive them crazy. Most kids will go through this stage. The lucky ones will understand. They will grow out of them. The unlucky ones will live in these problems. Grow in them and never move forward. They will cut themselves, overdose on drugs, take up excessive drinking and smoking, for the slightest problems in their lives.
You can't blame these kids for not being thankful or satisfied with what they have. Their mentality eludes them from the reality.
Thisuri Wanniarachchi (COLOMBO STREETS)
the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
I’m assuming you’re as mystified by this as the rest of us, Rasputin.
No. I’m not. I have been planning to destroy the Breakworld since I was a child.
This is why I don’t make so many jokes. I never know when is good.
Joss Whedon (Astonishing X-Men, Vol. 4: Unstoppable)
Liam really enjoyed a good movie. He found it restful to watch people's conversations without being expected to join in. But he always felt sort of lonesome if he didn't have someone next to him to nudge in the ribs at the good parts.
Anne Tyler (Noah's Compass)
Yes, such has been my lot since childhood. Everyone read signs of non-existent evil traits in my features. But since they were expected to be there, they did make their appearance. Because I was reserved, they said I was sly, so I grew reticent. I was keenly aware of good and evil, but instead of being indulged I was insulted and so I became spiteful. I was sulky while other children were merry and talkative, but though I felt superior to them I was considered inferior. So I grew envious. I was ready to love the whole world, but no one understood me, and I learned to hate. My cheerless youth passed in conflict with myself and society, and fearing ridicule I buried my finest feelings deep in my heart, and there they died. I spoke the truth, but nobody believed me, so I began to practice duplicity. Having come to know society and its mainsprings, I became versed in the art of living and saw how others were happy without that proficiency, enjoying for free the favors I had so painfully striven for. It was then that despair was born in my heart--not the despair that is cured with a pistol, but a cold, impotent desperation, concealed under a polite exterior and a good-natured smile. I became a moral cripple; I had lost one half of my soul, for it had shriveled, dried up and died, and I had cut it off and cast it away, while the other half stirred and lived, adapted to serve every comer. No one noticed this, because no one suspected there had been another half. Now, however, you have awakened memories of it in me, and what I have just done is to read its epitaph to you. Many regard all epitaphs as ridiculous, but I do not, particularly when I remember what rests beneath them.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
It was wintertime. I was starving to death trying to be a writer in New York. I hadn't eaten for three or four days. So, I finally said, "I'm gonna have a big bag of popcorn." And God, I hadn't tasted food for so long, it was so good. Each kernel, you know, each one was like a steak! I chewed and it would just drop into my poor stomach. My stomach would say, "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!" I was in heaven, just walking along, and two guys happened by, and one said to the other, "Jesus Christ!" The other one said, "What was it?" "Did you see that guy eating popcorn? God, it was awful!" And so I couldn't enjoy the rest of the popcorn. I thought; what do you mean, "it was awful?" I'm in heaven here. I guess I was kinda dirty. They can always tell a fucked-up guy.
When did they stop putting toys in cereal boxes? When I was little, I remember wandering the cereal aisle (which surely is as American a phenomenon as fireworks on the Fourth of July) and picking my breakfast food based on what the reward was: a Frisbee with the Trix rabbit's face emblazoned on the front. Holographic stickers with the Lucky Charms leprechaun. A mystery decoder wheel. I could suffer through raisin bran for a month if it meant I got a magic ring at the end.
I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.
Here's a secret: those mothers don't exist. Most of us-even if we'd never confess-are suffering through the raisin bran in the hopes of a glimpse of that magic ring.
I look very good on paper. I have a family, and I write a newspaper column. In real life, I have to pick superglue out of the carpet, rarely remember to defrost for dinner, and plan to have BECAUSE I SAID SO engraved on my tombstone.
Real mothers wonder why experts who write for Parents and Good Housekeeping-and, dare I say it, the Burlington Free Press-seem to have their acts together all the time when they themselves can barely keep their heads above the stormy seas of parenthood.
Real mothers don't just listen with humble embarrassment to the elderly lady who offers unsolicited advice in the checkout line when a child is throwing a tantrum. We take the child, dump him in the lady's car, and say, "Great. Maybe YOU can do a better job."
Real mothers know that it's okay to eat cold pizza for breakfast.
Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than to succeed.
If parenting is the box of raisin bran, then real mothers know the ratio of flakes to fun is severely imbalanced. For every moment that your child confides in you, or tells you he loves you, or does something unprompted to protect his brother that you happen to witness, there are many more moments of chaos, error, and self-doubt.
Real mothers may not speak the heresy, but they sometimes secretly wish they'd chosen something for breakfast other than this endless cereal.
Real mothers worry that other mothers will find that magic ring, whereas they'll be looking and looking for ages.
Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.
Jodi Picoult (House Rules)
(Ragnar just came back from the war.)
Then Keita the Viper spun around and ran into his arms, hugging him tight. "This is all your fault!" she accused.
"How much I missed you! And I was shockingly worried about you. I actually cared if you were hurt or had been damaged in some way. She leaned back, squinted up at him. "You weren't, were you? Damaged?"
"Not so that I won't heal."
"Good." She rested her head on his chest. "Believe it or not, I don't know what I'd have done if something happened to you." Keita abruptly pulled back from him and punched him in the chest. "What have you done to me, foreigner? Well, let me make it plain that you'll not trap me in your evil web of amazing sex and unconditional love! I'm stronger than that!"
And Ragnar sighed...loudly.
G.A. Aiken (The Dragon Who Loved Me (Dragon Kin, #5))
If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line - starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King's Highway past the appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circling or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led - make of that what you will.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
Japan." Not about the Japanese, but about moments of perfection. Commit it to memory and make good use of it. Because if I come home and you're still pining over this little girl without having given her a chance, I will call you a chicken shit for the rest of your life.
Melina Marchetta (The Piper's Son)
It's not that introverts aren't good team players. We just don't need to be in the same room as the rest of the team at all times. We would much prefer to have part of the project carved out for us to squirrel away with it in our offices, consulting as necessary but working independently.
Sophia Dembling (The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World (Perigee Book))
Turn off the inner editor.
Let yourself write.
Let it flow.
Let yourself fail.
Do something crazy.
Write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I did it.
It was fun.
It was insane.
It was 1,667 words per day.
It was possible, but you have to turn off the inner critic off completely.
If you can’t write, run away.
Writing is like anything else.
You won’t get good at it immediately.
It’s a craft.
You have to keep getting better.
You don’t get to Juilliard unless you practice.
You want to get to Carnegie Hall?
Practice. Practice. Practice ..or give them a lot of money.
Like anything else it takes 10,000 hours to get to mastery.
Just like Malcolm Gladwell says.
Get your thoughts down.
Let it rest.
Let is marinate.
Then edit, but don’t edit as you type.
That just slows the brain down.
Find a daily practice.
For me it’s blogging.
The more you write the easier it gets.
The more it is a flow, the less a worry.
It’s not for school, it’s not for a grade, it’s just to get your thoughts out there.
You know they want to come out.
So keep at it.
Make it a practice.
Write with abandon and it may end up being really really good.
It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false.
Leo Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilych)
Two ways to choose, which way to go
Decide for me, please let me know
Pictures all around, of how a good life should be
A model for the rest, that bred insecurity
Everything seemed easy but I didn't have the heart
Me in my own world, yeah you there beside
The gaps are enormous, we stare from each side
Ian Thomas Curtis
In the field I’m in, there is a lot of that and it gets offered to me all the time. People even go as far as to just stick it in your pocket and walk off. Now, if it was a good thing, they wouldn’t do that. I mean, would somebody drop something beautiful in my pocket and just walk off? But I don’t want to have anything to do with any of that. I mean, as corny as it sounds, but this is how I really believe: Natural highs are the greatest highs in the world. Who wants to take something and just sit around for the rest of the day after you take it (drugs), and don’t know who you are, what you’re doing, where you are? Take in something that’s gonna inspire you to do greater things in the world.
And Dorothea..she had no dreams of being praised above other women.
Feeling that there was always something better which she might have done if she had only been better and known better, her full nature spent itself in deeds which left no great name on the earth, but the effect of her being on those around her was incalculable.
For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts and on all those Dorotheas who life faithfully their hidden lives and rest in unvisited tombs. Middlemarch
Maxon, I hope you find someone you can't love without. I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it's like to have to try and live without them."
Maxon's face was a shallow echo of my own pain. He looked absolutely brokenhearted for me. More than that, he looked angry.
"I'm sorry, America. I don't..." His face shifted a little. "Is this a good time to pat your shoulder?"
His uncertainty made me smile. "Yes. Now would be a great time."
He seemed as skeptically as he'd been the other day, but instead of just patting my shoulder, he leaned in and tentatively wrapped his arms around me.
"I only really ever hug my mother. Is this okay?" he asked.
I laughed. "It's hard to get a hug wrong."
After a minute, I spoke again. "I know what you mean, though. I don't really hug anyone besides my family."
I felt so drained after the long day of dressing and the Report and dinner and talking. It was nice to have Maxon just hold me, sometimes even patting my hair. He wasn't as lost as he seemed. He patiently waited for my breathing to slow, and when it did, he pulled back to look at me.
"America, I promise you I'll keep you here until the last possible moment. I understand that they want me to narrow the Elite down to three and then choose. But I swear to you, I'll make it to two and keep you here until then. I won't make you leave a moment before I have to. Or the moment you're ready. Whichever comes first."
"I know we just met, but I think you're wonderful. And it bothers me to see you hurt. If he were here, I'd...I'd..." Maxon shook with frustration, then sighed. "I'm so sorry, America."
He pulled me back in, and I rested my head on his broad shoulder. I knew Maxon would keep his promises. So I settled into perhaps the last place I ever thought I'd find genuine comfort.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows.
That I believe to be the true ground of democracy. I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen...patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that 'all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. The authority of father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished not because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
I haven’t been a good guest in Hugo’s life. I access his memories and discover that he and Austin first became boyfriends at this very celebration, a year ago this weekend. They’d been friends for a little while, but they’d never talked about how they felt. They were each afraid of ruining the friendship, and instead of making it better, their caution made everything awkward. So finally, as a pair of twentysomething men passed by holding hands, Austin said, “Hey, that could be us in ten years.”
And Hugo said, “Or ten months.”
And Austin said, “Or ten days.”
And Hugo said, “Or ten minutes.”
And Austin said, “Or ten seconds.”
Then they each counted to ten, and held hands for the rest of the day.
The start of it.
Hugo would have remembered this.
But I didn’t.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
Just seeing the smile on her face is enough to keep me satisfied for the rest of my life. Seeing her happy again is better than any feeling in the world. I never want to see her sad again. "This will be worth it, Lake. Everything we had to go through. I promise. Even if you have to wait for me, I'll make it worth it."
The smile fades from her eyes and she clutches her hand to her heart. "You already have, Will."
That. Right there. I don't deserve her.
I walk swiftly back to where she's standing and take her face in my hands. "I mean it," I say. "I love you so damn much, it hurts." I force my lips against hers, then pull away just as fast. "But it hurts in a really good way.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
Cats don’t have dark sides. That’s all a shadow is—and though you might be prejudiced against the dark, you ought to remember that that’s where stars live, and the moon and raccoons and owls and fireflies and mushrooms and cats and enchantments and a rather lot of good, necessary things. Thieving, too, and conspiracies, sneaking, secrets, and desire so strong you might faint dead away with the punch of it. But your light side isn’t a perfectly pretty picture, either, I promise you. You couldn’t dream without the dark. You couldn’t rest. You couldn’t even meet a lover on a balcony by moonlight. And what would the world be worth without that? You need your dark side, because without it, you’re half gone. Cats, on the other hand, have a more sensible setup. We just have the one side, and it’s mostly the sneaking and sleeping side anyway. So the other Iago and I feel very companionable toward each other. Whereas I expect my drowsy mistress Above would loathe this version of herself, who is kind and quiet and lonely and rather dear, all the things the original is not. My love stands for both. This one pets me more; that one let me pounce on anything I wanted.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2))
While I was backstage before presenting the Best New Artist award, I talked to George Strait for a while. He's so incredibly cool. So down-to-earth and funny. I think it should be known that George Strait has an awesome, dry, subtle sense of humor. Then I went back out into the crowd and watched the rest of the show. Keith Urban's new song KILLS ME, it's so good. And when Brad Paisley ran down into the front row and kissed Kimberley's stomach (she's pregnant) before accepting his award, Kellie, my mom, and I all started crying. That's probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen.
I thought Kellie NAILED her performance of the song we wrote together "The Best Days of Your Life". I was so proud of her. I thought Darius Rucker's performance RULED, and his vocals were incredible. I'm a huge fan. I love it when I find out that the people who make the music I love are wonderful people. I love Faith Hill and how she always makes everyone in the room feel special. I love Keith Urban, and how he told me he knows every word to "Love Story" (That made my night). I love Nicole Kidman, and her sweet, warm personality. I love how Kenny Chesney always has something hilarious or thoughtful to say. But the real moment that brought on this wave of gratitude was when Shania Twain HERSELF walked up and introduced herself to me. Shania Twain, as in.. The reason I wanted to do this in the first place. Shania Twain, as in.. the most impressive and independent and confident and successful female artist to ever hit country music. She walked up to me and said she wanted to meet me and tell me I was doing a great job. She was so beautiful, guys. She really IS that beautiful. All the while, I was completely star struck. After she walked away, I realized I didn't have my camera. Then I cried.
You know, last night made me feel really great about being a country music fan in general. Country music is the place to find reality in music, and reality in the stars who make that music. There's kindness and goodness and....honesty in the people I look up to, and knowing that makes me smile. I'm proud to sing country music, and that has never wavered. The reason for the being.. nights like last night.
I'm not good at losing people, Amani, and you know I don't give a damn about this country." The rest of him was still now, something solid to hang on to. But his fingers were sliding into my hair, making me shiver. "I give a damn about you and you are this place. I thought I had to do without you if you were so determined to leave the world. But then you were gone and I would have torn the desert apart looking for you.
Alwyn Hamilton (Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands, #2))
Female Mercenary. This will be a companion on your Tour. She is usually tall, thin and wiry, silent, and neurotic. Sex scares her. This is because she either came from a nunnery or was raped as a child. Or both. Somehow this inspired her to become a mercenary and she is very good at her job. You can rely on her absolutely in a fight. She can usually kill two people at once while guarding your back in between. The rest of the time, she will irritate you with lots of punctilious weapons cleaning and a perpetual insistence that a proper watch be kept. Mostly, she will have no magic talents, but sometimes, in an emergency, she will come up with a gift or vision. You will end up grudgingly admiring her.
Diana Wynne Jones (The Tough Guide to Fantasyland)
We have not noticed how fast the rest has risen. Most of the industrialized world--and a good part of the nonindustrialized world as well--has better cell phone service than the United States. Broadband is faster and cheaper across the industrial world, from Canada to France to Japan, and the United States now stands sixteenth in the world in broadband penetration per capita. Americans are constantly told by their politicians that the only thing we have to learn from other countries' health care systems is to be thankful for ours. Most Americans ignore the fact that a third of the country's public schools are totally dysfunctional (because their children go to the other two-thirds). The American litigation system is now routinely referred to as a huge cost to doing business, but no one dares propose any reform of it. Our mortgage deduction for housing costs a staggering $80 billion a year, and we are told it is crucial to support home ownership, except that Margaret Thatcher eliminated it in Britain, and yet that country has the same rate of home ownership as the United States. We rarely look around and notice other options and alternatives, convinced that "we're number one.
Fareed Zakaria (The Post-American World)
There are times when you can't do the sensible thing, when you can't act like a responsible adult at all; you just have to do whatever insane thing comes into your head. When bad people do it they end up murderers, when good people do it they end up heroes, and when the rest of do it we end up looking like total idiots. But when's that ever stopped us?
Iain Banks (Espedair Street)
Charity … is the opium of the privileged; from the good citizen who habitually drops ten kobo from his loose change and from a safe height above the bowl of the leper outside the supermarket; to the group of good citizens (like youselfs) who donate water so that some Lazarus in the slums can have a syringe boiled clean as a whistle for his jab and his sores dressed more hygienically than the rest of him; to the Band Aid stars that lit up so dramatically the dark Christmas skies of Ethiopia. While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.
Chinua Achebe (Anthills of the Savannah)
The principles underlying propaganda are extremely simple. Find some common desire, some widespread unconscious fear or anxiety; think out some way to relate this wish or fear to the product you have to sell; then build a bridge of verbal or pictorial symbols over which your customer can pass from fact to compensatory dream, and from the dream to the illusion that your product, when purchased, will make the dream come true. They are selling hope.
We no longer buy oranges, we buy vitality. We do not just buy an auto, we buy prestige. And so with all the rest. In toothpaste, for example, we buy not a mere cleanser and antiseptic, but release from the fear of being sexually repulsive. In vodka and whisky we are not buying a protoplasmic poison which in small doses, may depress the nervous system in a psychologically valuable way; we are buying friendliness and good fellowship, the warmth of Dingley Dell and the brilliance of the Mermaid Tavern. With our laxatives we buy the health of a Greek god. With the monthly best seller we acquire culture, the envy of our less literate neighbors and the respect of the sophisticated. In every case the motivation analyst has found some deep-seated wish or fear, whose energy can be used to move the customer to part with cash and so, indirectly, to turn the wheels of industry.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
It’s not destiny, Ox. You’re not bound by this. Not yet. There’s a choice. There is always a choice. My wolf chose you. I chose you. And if you don’t choose me, then that’s your choice and I will walk out of here knowing you got to choose your own path. But I swear to god, if you choose me, I will make sure that you know the weight of your worth every day for the rest of our lives because that’s what this is. I am going to be a fucking Alpha one day, and there is no one I’d rather have by my side than you. It’s you, Ox. For me, it’s always been you.” So I said, “Okay, Joe.” I looked up at him. His wolf was close to the surface. And he said, “Okay?” I said, “Okay. Okay. I don’t know if I see the things you do.” “I know.” “And I don’t know if I’ll be good enough.” “I know you will,” he said, eyes flashing orange. “But I promised you. I said it will always be you and me.” His face stuttered a bit, and he said, “You did. You promised me. You promised.” I
T.J. Klune (Wolfsong (Green Creek, #1))
You’re right,” Jacks said. “You’re not part of my world. You’re not one of those girls. And maybe that’s why.”
“Why I can’t stop thinking about you.”
Maddy rolled her eyes. “Guys like you don’t say that to girls like me.”
“I’ve never said that to anyone, actually,” Jacks corrected. “In fact, I’ve never done anything like this before.” He let out a little laugh. “How am I doing?”
He swallowed hard, trying to push down his nervousness. He was astonished to realize he was nervous. Somehow being around Maddy just put him in a different space. Jacks felt so present.
Maddy stared at him, letting the anger and frustration surge through her.
“Why are you doing this to me?” she asked finally.
He paused, considering.
“I’m being honest. I know you may not believe me. But I haven’t been able to not think about you. When we were in the back at the restaurant, and . . .” Jacks’s voice trailed off, his face coloring. “I still feel terrible about what I did. I lied to you and, even though I had good reasons for it, it was wrong of me.”
Maddy studied him. Was he telling the truth?
Jacks smiled. “I mean this in the best possible way: I’m not going to leave you alone until you let me make it up to you. I’m serious. I’ll be here every night. You might as well get me some pajamas and a toothbrush.”
Despite her best efforts not to, Maddy laughed. She looked at Jacks and could see the faintest twinkle of light in his eyes.
“So what you’re saying is that I should just give in and let you make it up to me. Otherwise you’ll be tormenting me like this for the rest of my life?”
“Pretty much. Yeah.”
“Well.” She sighed. “What do you have in mind?”
“Come fly with me.
Scott Speer (Immortal City (Immortal City, #1))
I just need a rest, im tired about being an asshole and making everyone bad, i really hope that everyone have a very goood life, you know... when i think about kill myself i feel peace, i tried to make good things in my life and all of that is a fucking mistake, i cant even look at people at the face, i have lost confidence and i am always sad, shit, i really hope that god forgive's me and everyone that i love, i know that i have people that love's me but i cant keep doing this, i already hate me.
Evelyn. If you can handle this. But I can’t, in good conscience, do this to you if you don’t think you’ll survive it.” “Survive what, exactly?” “Losing me again. I don’t want to let you love me if you don’t think you can lose me again. One last time.” “I can’t. Of course I can’t. But I want to anyway. I’m going to anyway. Yes,” I said finally. “I can survive it. I’d rather survive it than never feel it.” “Are you sure?” she said. “Yes,” I said. “Yes, I’m sure. I’ve never been more sure about anything. I love you, Celia. I’ve always loved you. And we should spend the rest of the time we have together.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
Austerity means to eliminate the comforts and cushions in your life that you have learned to snuggle into and lose wakefulness. Take away anything that dulls your edge. No newspapers or magazines. No TV. No candy, cookies, or sweets. No sex. No cuddling. No reading of anything at all while you eat or sit on the toilet. Reduce working time to a necessary minimum. No movies. No conversation that isn't about truth, love, or the divine.
If you take on these disciplines for a few weeks, as well as any other disciplines that may particularly cut through your unique habits of dullness, then your life will be stripped of routine distraction. All that will be left is the edge you have been avoiding by means of your daily routine. You will have to face the basic discomfort and dissatisfaction that is the hidden texture of your life. You will be alive with the challenge of living your truth, rather than hiding form it.
Unadorned suffering is the bedmate of masculine growth. Only by staying intimate with your personal suffering can you feel through it to its source. By putting all your attention into work, TV, sex, and reading, your suffering remains unpenetrated, and the source remains hidden. Your life becomes structured entirely by your favorite means of sidestepping the suffering you rarely allow yourself to feel. And when you do touch the surface of your suffering, perhaps in the form of boredom, you quickly pick up a magazine or the remote control.
Instead, feel your suffering, rest with it, embrace it, make love with it. Feel your suffering so deeply and thoroughly that you penetrate it, and realize its fearful foundation. Almost everything you do, you do because you are afraid to die. And yet dying is exactly what you are doing, from the moment you are born. Two hours of absorption in a good Super Bowl telecast may distract you temporarily, but the fact remains. You were born as a sacrifice. And you can either participate in the sacrifice, dissolving in the giving of your gift, or you can resist it, which is your suffering.
By eliminating the safety net of comforts in your life, you have the opportunity to free fall in this moment between birth and death, right through the hole of your fear, into the unthreatenable openness which is the source of your gifts. The superior man lives as this spontaneous sacrifice of love.
David Deida (The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire)
Emira realized that Briar probably didn't know how to say good-bye because she never had to do it before. But whether she said good-bye or not, Briar was about to become a person who existed without Emira. She'd go to sleepovers with girls she met at school, and she'd have certain words that she'd always forget how to spell. She'd be a person who sometimes said things like, "Seriously?" or "That's so funny" and she'd ask a friend if this was her water or theirs. Briar would say good-bye in yearbook signatures and through heartbroken tears and through emails and over the phone. But she'd never say good-bye to Emira, which made it seem that Emira would never be completely free from her. For the rest of her life and for zero dollars an hour, Emira would always be Briar's sitter.
Kiley Reid (Such a Fun Age)
That Chippendale is a coffee table, Lieutenant, not a footstool."
"How do you walk with that stick up your ass?" She left her feet where they were, propped comfortably on the table. "Does it hurt, or does it give you a nice little rush?"
"Your dinner guests," he said, curling his lip, "have arrived."
"Thank you, Summerset." Roarke got to his feet. "We'll have the hors d'oeuvres in here." He held out a hand to Eve.
She waited, deliberately, until Summerset had stepped out again before swinging her feet to the floor.
"In the interest of good fellowship," Roarke began as they started toward the foyer, "could you not mention the stick in Summerset's ass for the rest of the evening?"
"Okay. If he rags on me I'll just pull it out and beat him over the head with it."
"That should be entertaining.
Fundamentalist Christianity: fascinating. These people actually believe that the world is twelve thousand years old. Swear to God. Based on what? I asked them.
"Well, we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages? Twelve thousand years."
"Well, how fucking scientific, OK. I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble there. That's good. You believe the world's twelve thousand years old?"
"OK, I got one word to ask you, a one word question, ready?"
You know, the world's twelve thousand years old and dinosaurs existed, and existed in that time, you'd think it would been mentioned in the fucking Bible at some point:
And O, Jesus and the disciples walked to Nazareth. But the trail was blocked by a giant brontosaurus... with a splinter in its paw. And the disciples did run a-screamin'. "What a big fucking lizard, Lord!"
"I'm sure gonna mention this in my book," Luke said.
"Well, I'm sure gonna mention it in my book," Matthew said.
But Jesus was unafraid. And he took the splinter from the brontosaurus paw, and the brontosaurus became his friend. And Jesus sent him to Scotland where he lived in a loch, O so many years, attracting fat American families with their fat fuckin' dollars to look for the Loch Ness Monster. And O the Scots did praise the Lord: "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!"
Twelve thousand years old. But I actually asked this guy, "OK, dinosaur fossils-- how does that fit into your scheme of life? What's the deal?" He goes:
"God put those here to test our faith."
"I think God put you here to test my faith, dude. I think I've figured this out."
Does that-- That's what this guy said. Does that bother anyone here? The idea that God might be fucking with our heads? Anyone have trouble sleeping restfully with that thought in their head? God's running around burying fossils: "Ho ho! We'll see who believes in me now, ha ha! I'm a prankster God. I am killing me, ho ho ho!" You know? You die, you go to St. Peter:
"Did you believe in dinosaurs?"
"Well, yeah. There were fossils everywhere. (trapdoor opens) Aaaaarhhh!"
"You fuckin' idiot! Flying lizards? You're a moron. God was fuckin' with you!"
"It seemed so plausible, aaaaaahh!"
"Enjoy the lake of fire, fucker!"
They believe this. But you ever notice how people who believe in Creationism usually look pretty unevolved. Eyes really close together, big furry hands and feet? "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it.
Such a weird belief. Lots of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a fucking cross, man? "Ow." Might be why he hasn't shown up yet.
"Man, they're still wearing crosses. Fuck it, I'm not goin' back, Dad. No, they totally missed the point. When they start wearing fishes, I might show up again, but... let me bury fossils with you, Dad. Fuck 'em, let's fuck with 'em! Hand me that brontosaurus head, Dad.
Bill Hicks (Love All the People: Letters, Lyrics, Routines)
I know. I know I’ve been a jerk, and I don’t have a good excuse. But touching you and loving you, and knowing you were planning to leave me, made me crazy. After we made love the second time, I began to think maybe you’d decide to stay with me. I started to think about you and me waking up every day together for the rest of our lives. I even thought about kids and taking some of those breathing classes when you got pregnant. Maybe buying one of those mini-vans.
Rachel Gibson (Truly Madly Yours (Truly, Idaho, #1))
He never looked at her; and yet, the careful avoidance of his eyes betokened that in some way he knew exactly where, if they fell by chance, they would rest on her. If she spoke, he gave no sign of attention, and yet his next speech to any one else was modified by what she had said; sometimes there was an express answer to what she had remarked, but given to another person as though unsuggested by her. It was not the bad manners of ignorance: it was the willful bad manners arising from deep offense. It was willful at the time; repented of afterwards. But no deep plan, no careful cunning could have stood him in such good stead. Margaret thought about him more than she had ever done before; not with any tinge of what is called love, but with regret that she had wounded him so deeply, — and with a gentle, patient striving to return to their former position of antagonistic friendship; for a friend’s position was what she found that he had held in her regard, as well as in that of the rest of the family.
Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South)
My eyelids are heavy as stone. But when I sleep, I'll have that dream again. I haven't wanted to tell you about it, until now.
I'll be in the Separates, and I'll be digging with my bare hands. When I've made a hole deep enough to plant a tree, I'll place my fingers inside. I'll slip off the ring you gave me. It will catch the light and glint a rainbow of colors over my skin, but I will take my hands away, leaving it there. I'll sprinkle the earth back over it, and I will bury it. Back where it belongs.
I'll rest against a tree's rough trunk. The sun will be setting, it's dazzling color threading through the sky, making my cheeks warm.
Then I will wake up.
Lucy Christopher (Stolen (Stolen, #1))
The world needs people who have survived mistakes, tragedies, and trials to help the rest of us through. Where would we be if Victor Frankl had never experienced what he did during the war? He wouldn’t have used his experiences to benefit millions of people around the world.
The world needs you to let go of self-pity and shame regarding your life experiences, too. The world needs you to use the things you have learned for good. Stop letting your past mistakes define you and affect your value. Let go of separation and victimhood and find meaning in what you have been through.
Kimberly Giles (Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness)
Star friendship.— We were friends and have become estranged. But this was right, and we do not want to conceal and obscure it from ourselves as if we had reason to feel ashamed. We are two ships each of which has its goal and course; our paths may cross and we may celebrate a feast together, as we did—and then the good ships rested so quietly in one harbor and one sunshine that it may have looked as if they had reached their goal and as if they had one goal. But then the almighty force of our tasks drove us apart again into different seas and sunny zones, and perhaps we shall never see one another again,—perhaps we shall meet again but fail to recognize each other: our exposure to different seas and suns has changed us! That we have to become estranged is the law above us: by the same token we should also become more venerable for each other! And thus the memory of our former friendship should become more sacred! There is probably a tremendous but invisible stellar orbit in which our very different ways and goals may be included as small parts of this path,—let us rise up to this thought! But our life is too short and our power of vision too small for us to be more than friends in the sense of this sublime possibility.— Let us then believe in our star friendship even if we should be compelled to be earth enemies.
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs)
I didn't really want to talk. I'd wanted him there, but I asn't sure why. Maybe just to have someone to drink with. Actually, that sounded pretty good at the moment. I sat on the seat of the chaise and he sat on the foot, and we just drank at each other for a while.
After a few minutes, he leaned back against the railing, like maybe he wanted a backrest, and I shifted my feet over to make room. But I guess I didn't shift far enough, because a large, warm hand covered my right foot, adjusting it slightly. And then it just stayed there, like he'd forgotten to remove it.
I looked at it. Pritkin's hands were oddly refined compared to the rest of him: strong but long fingered, with elegant bones and short-clipped nails. They always looked like they'd wandered off from some fine gentleman, one they'd probably like to get back to, because God knew they weren't getting a manicure while attached to him.
Karen Chance (Hunt the Moon (Cassandra Palmer, #5))
It's so weird how that can be, how you could have a night that's the worst in your life, but to everybody else it's just an ordinary night. Like on my calendar at home, I would mark this as being one of the most horrific days of my life. This and the day Daisy died. But for the rest of the world, this was just an ordinary day. Or may be it was even a good day. May be somebody won the lottery today.
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain - which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad - Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying 'mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but', people apologizing to me when I conk them with a nameless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays - every bit of it.
What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Speaker of the House of Commons to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ('Please Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.') What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardners' Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course.
How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view.
All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
An idea hit me so fast I didn't pause to analyse it. I just acted. My body might be constrained, but my head and neck had just enough freedom to shift up-and kiss him.
My lips met his, and I learned a few things. One was that it was possible to catch him totally by surprise. His body froze and locked up, shocked at the sudden turn of events. I also realized that he was just as good a kisser as I recalled. The last time we'd kissed had been when he was a Strigoi. There had been an eerie sexiness to that, but it didn't compare to the heat and energy of being alive. His lips were just like a remembered from out time at St. Vladimir's, both soft and hungry at the same time. Electricity spread through the rest of my body as he kissed me back. It was both comforting and exhilarating.
And that was was the third thing I discovered. He was kissing me back. Maybe, just maybe, Dimitri wasn't as resolved as he claimed to be. Maybe under all that guilt and certainty that he couldn't love again, he still wanted me. I would have liked to have found out. But I didn't have the time.
Instead, I punched him.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
Afflictions quicken us to prayer. It is a pity it should be so; but experience testifies, that a long course of ease and prosperity, without painful changes—has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal in our secret worship. But troubles rouse our spirits, and constrain us to call upon the Lord in good earnest—when we feel a need of that help which we only can have from his almighty arm. Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us—a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world, and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this world is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upwards, where our true treasure is, and where our heart ought to be. When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, "It is good to be here!
John Newton (The Letters of John Newton)
How could I not fall in love with him," she asked. And on the tail end of her words, her bedroom door flew open and closed just as fast.
Jen bent over, panting heavily as she looked up at Sally.
"Hey Sally girl. Who we falling in love with?" Jen asked breathlessly.
"Jen, what's wrong?" Sally paused and then decided on a better question. "What have you done now?"
Jen stood up and took two deep breaths. Seeming to have regained her wind, she spoke quickly.
"First off, I've changed my mind. I don't want you to name your first born after me."
Sally interrupted. "Thank goodness for that," she muttered.
"I want you to name your entire freaking litter after me," Jen growled. "Do you know what I've been through?" Jen's arms were flinging around as she glared at Sally. "I did that little strip tease to try and keep things from escalating with the rest of the pack and Decebel was beyond pissed. I had to sneak out of the gathering room and make a run for it. I've been running through the freaking forest trying to throw him off by changing back and forth so that I could place my clothes that I carried in my freaking muzzle. CARRIED IN MY MUZZLE SALLY! I put them in different places to throw off him off my scent." Jen went over to Sally's window and was trying to judge the danger of using it as an exit.
Numberless are the world's wonders, but none
More wonderful than man; the storm gray sea
Yields to his prows, the huge crests bear him high;
Earth, holy and inexhaustible, is graven
With shining furrows where his plows have gone
Year after year, the timeless labor of stallions.
The light-boned birds and beasts that cling to cover,
The lithe fish lighting their reaches of dim water,
All are taken, tamed in the net of his mind;
The lion on the hill, the wild horse windy-maned,
Resign to him; and his blunt yoke has broken
The sultry shoulders of the mountain bull.
Words also, and thought as rapid as air,
He fashions to his good use; statecraft is his
And his the skill that deflects the arrows of snow,
The spears of winter rain: from every wind
He has made himself secure--from all but one:
In the late wind of death he cannot stand.
O clear intelligence, force beyond all measure!
O fate of man, working both good and evil!
When the laws are kept, how proudly his city stands!
When the laws are broken, what of his city then?
Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth,
Never be it said that my thoughts are his thoughts.
Sophocles (Antigone (The Theban Plays, #3))
Where are you going?" I asked, as Frank swung his feet off the bed.
"I'd hate the dear old thing to be disappointed in us," he answered. Sitting up on the side of the ancient bed, he bounced gently up and down, creating a piercing rhythmic squeak. The Hoovering in the hall stopped abruptly. After a minute or two of bouncing, he gave a loud, theatrical groan and collapsed backward with a twang of protesting springs. I giggled helplessly into a pillow, so as not to disturb the breathless silence outside.
Frank waggled his eyebrows at me. "You're supposed to moan ecstatically, not giggle," he admonished in a whisper. "She'll think I'm not a good lover."
"You'll have to keep it up for longer than that, if you expect ecstatic moans," I answered. "Two minutes doesn't deserve any more than a giggle."
"Inconsiderate little wench. I came here for a rest, remember?"
"Lazybones. You'll never manage the next branch on your family tree unless you show a bit more industry than that.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
This guy is different. I see him once in a while and we have fun and theres no pressure. We just have a good time. And he still writes for tranks and downers. A couple of weeks ago we flew down to the Virgin Islands for a weekend. It was a ball. Hey, crazy. Sounds great. Yeah. So your folks are still footin the bills, tilting his head toward the rest of the apartment, for the pad and so forth? Yeah. She laughed out loud again, Plus the fifty a week for the shrink. And sometimes I do a little freelance editing for a few publishers. And the rest of the time you just lay up and get high, eh? She smiled, Something like that.
Hubert Selby Jr. (Requiem for a Dream)
SETH: But don’t you understand, Amy? You’re wrong. Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all the things you want from a person—sexual chemistry, let’s say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty—and you get to pick three of those things. Three—that’s it. Maybe four, if you’re very lucky. The rest you have to look for elsewhere. It’s only in the movies that you find someone who gives you all of those things. But this isn’t the movies. In the real world, you have to identify which three qualities you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then you look for those qualities in another person. That’s real life. Don’t you see it’s a trap? If you keep trying to find everything, you’ll wind up with nothing.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Being a compulsive overeater is no different from being an alcoholic or drug addict. The only difference is that you can avoid drugs and alcohol completely and you have to have a relationship with food every day for the rest of your life. It's actually the hardest addiction to live with. If you were an alcoholic and someone said to you that you were required to have a single drink three to five times a day, but were not supposed to ever drink to excess, or a drug addict who was required to take just one pill severeal times a day every day, but you're not supposed to ever take more than that...no one would ever make it through rehab.
Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat)
Not easy when you can't talk, is it?" I grinned. "Well, not easy for you but I could get used to it."
He grumbled, but I could see relif in his eyes, like he was glad to see me smile.
"SO i was right, wasn't I? It's still youm even in wolf form."
"No sudden uncontrollable urges to go kill something?"
He rolled his eyes.
"Hey, you're the one who was worried." I paused. "And i don't smell like dinner, right?"
I got a real look for that one.
"Just covering all the bases."
He gave a rumbling groul, like a chuckle, and settled in, lowering his head to his front paws, gaze on me. I tried to get comfortable, but the ground was ice-cold through his swearshirt, and i was wearing only my new pajamas, a light jacket, and sneakers.
Seeing me shiver, he stretched a front leg toward the swearshirt, pawing the edge and snarling when he realized he couldnt grab it.
"The lack of opposanle thumbs is going to take some getting used to, huh?"
He motioned me closer with his muzzel. When I pretended not to understand, he twisted and gingerly took the hem of the swearshirt between his teeth, lips curled in discust as he tugged it.
"Okay, okay. I'm just trying not to croud you."
That wasnt the only reason i was uncomfortanle getting too cozy with him now, but he just grunted, again seeming to say it was fine. i moved over beside himm. He shifted, his torso making a partial wind block, the boddy heat from the change still blasting like a furnace.
"Yes, thats better.thanks. now get some rest."
i had no idea what would happen now. i doubted derek did either. he'd been focused on getting through the change. what i did know was that this was only half the process. he had to change back, and he'd need time and rest for that.
and how would it happen? did he have to wait until his body was ready, like he did with the change to a wolf? how long would that be?hours?days?
Feeling his gaze on me, i forced a smile and pushed back my worries. it would be okat. he could change. that was the important thing.
when i relaxed, he shifted closer, fur brushing my hand. i tentatively touched it, feeling the coarse top layer and soft undercoar. he leaned against my hand, as if to sat it was okaym and i buried my hand in his fur, his skin so hot from the change it was like putting my numb hands on a radiator. my cool fingers must have felt just as good, because he closed his eyes and shifte until i was leaning on him. within minutes he was asleep.
i closed my eyes, meaning to rest for just a moment, but the next thing i knew, i was waking up, curled on my side, using derek as a pillow. i jumped. he looked over at me.
"S-sorry, I didn't mean-"
He cut me short with a growl, telling me off for apologizing.
It occurred to him that he had not spent his life as he should have done. It occurred to him that his scarcely perceptible attempts to struggle against what was considered good by the most highly placed people, those scarcely noticeable impulses which he had immediately suppressed, might have been the real thing, and all the rest false. And his professional duties and the whole arrangement of his life and of his family, and all his social and official interests, might all have been false.
Leo Tolstoy (The Death of Ivan Ilych)
I could have spent the rest of my life trying to prove that I was a good girl - but that would have been unfaithful to who I really was. I believed that I was a good person, if not a good girl. But my appetites were what they were. So I gave up on the idea of denying myself what I truly wanted. Then I sought ways to delight myself. As long as I stayed away from married men, I felt that I was doing no harm.
Anyway, at some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time.
After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.
Elizabeth Gilbert (City of Girls)
Resting beside her, he seemed to Ildiko a living statue, carved from dark granite into a form of supple elegance and power. He was beautiful, and the tremor change in her perception of him robbed her lungs of air.
He opened both eyes suddenly, making her jump. Two shimmering gold coins stared at her unblinking. "Good evening, wife," he said in a voice raspy with the remnants of sleep. A closed-lip smile curved his mouth upward and deepened the tiny lines that fanned from the corners of his eyes. "You're staring. Do I have a fly on my nose?"
Fighting down a blush at being caught gawking at her own husband, Ildiko lightly tapped the tip of his nose with one finger. "I was trying to find a way to kill it without punching you in the face. Lucky for you, it flew away.
Grace Draven (Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1))
Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass. 1900.
WHOEVER you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands;
Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true Soul and Body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs—out of commerce, shops, law, science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem;
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
O I have been dilatory and dumb;
I should have made my way straight to you long ago;
I should have blabb’d nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing but you.
I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you;
None have understood you, but I understand you;
None have done justice to you—you have not done justice to yourself;
None but have found you imperfect—I only find no imperfection in you;
None but would subordinate you—I only am he who will never consent to subordinate you;
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.
Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of all;
From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color’d light;
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of gold-color’d light;
From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams, effulgently flowing forever.
O I could sing such grandeurs and glories about you!
You have not known what you are—you have slumber’d upon yourself all your life;
Your eye-lids have been the same as closed most of the time;
What you have done returns already in mockeries;
(Your thrift, knowledge, prayers, if they do not return in mockeries, what is their return?)
The mockeries are not you;
Underneath them, and within them, I see you lurk;
I pursue you where none else has pursued you;
Silence, the desk, the flippant expression, the night, the accustom’d routine, if these conceal you from others, or from yourself, they do not conceal you from me;
The shaved face, the unsteady eye, the impure complexion, if these balk others, they do not balk me,
The pert apparel, the deform’d attitude, drunkenness, greed, premature death, all these I part aside.
There is no endowment in man or woman that is not tallied in you;
There is no virtue, no beauty, in man or woman, but as good is in you;
No pluck, no endurance in others, but as good is in you;
No pleasure waiting for others, but an equal pleasure waits for you.
As for me, I give nothing to any one, except I give the like carefully to you;
I sing the songs of the glory of none, not God, sooner than I sing the songs of the glory of you.
Whoever you are! claim your own at any hazard!
These shows of the east and west are tame, compared to you;
These immense meadows—these interminable rivers—you are immense and interminable as they;
These furies, elements, storms, motions of Nature, throes of apparent dissolution—you are he or she who is master or mistress over them,
Master or mistress in your own right over Nature, elements, pain, passion, dissolution.
The hopples fall from your ankles—you find an unfailing sufficiency;
Old or young, male or female, rude, low, rejected by the rest, whatever you are promulges itself;
Through birth, life, death, burial, the means are provided, nothing is scanted;
Through angers, losses, ambition, ignorance, ennui, what you are picks its way.
He smiled down at the baby, and kissed him on the head. "I give you my blessing, Leo. First male great-grandchild! I have a feeling you are special, like Hazel was. You are more than a regular baby, eh? You will carry on for me. You will see her someday. Tell her hello for me."
"Bisabuelo," Ezperanza said, a little more insistently.
"yes, yes." Sammy chuckled. "El viejo loco rambles on. I am tired, Ezperanza. You are right. But I'll rest soon. It's been a good life. Raise him well, nieta."
The scene faded.
Leo was standing on the deck of the Argo II, holding Hazel's hand. The sun had gone down, and the ship was lit only by bronze lanterns. Hazel's eyes were puffy from crying.
What they'd seen was too much. The whole ocean heaved under them, and now for the first time Leo felt as if they were totally adrift.
"Hello, Hazel Levesque," he said, his voice gravelly.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
I tramp the perpetual journey
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,
I have no chair, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public
Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten
Wonderful cities and free nations we shall fetch as we go.
If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand
on my hip,
And in due time you shall repay the same service to me,
For after we start we never lie by again.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded
And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs,
and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we
be fill'd and satisfied then?
And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue
You are also asking me questions and I hear you,
I answer that I cannot answer, you must find out for yourself.
Sit a while dear son,
Here are biscuits to eat and here is milk to drink,
But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss
you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress
Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every
moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout,
and laughingly dash with your hair.
Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)
The literal mind is baffled by the ironic one, demanding explanations that only intensify the joke. A vintage example, and one that really did occur, is that of P.G. Wodehouse, captured by accident during the German invasion of France in 1940. Josef Goebbels’s propaganda bureaucrats asked him to broadcast on Berlin radio, which he incautiously agreed to do, and his first transmission began:
Young men starting out in life often ask me—“How do you become an internee?” Well, there are various ways. My own method was to acquire a villa in northern France and wait for the German army to come along. This is probably the simplest plan. You buy the villa and the German army does the rest.
Somebody—it would be nice to know who, I hope it was Goebbels—must have vetted this and decided to let it go out as a good advertisement for German broad-mindedness. The “funny” thing is that the broadcast landed Wodehouse in an infinity of trouble with the British authorities, representing a nation that prides itself above all on a sense of humor.
Christopher Hitchens (Letters to a Young Contrarian)
And here, after all that, is what I have come to believe about beauty: Laughter is beautiful. Kindness is beautiful. Cellulite is beautiful. Softness and plumpness and roundness are beautiful. It's more important to be interesting, to be vivid, and to be adventurous, than to sit pretty for pictures. A woman's soft tummy is a miracle of nature. Beauty comes from tenderness. Beauty comes from variety, from specificity, from the fact that no person in the world looks exactly like anyone else. Beauty comes from the tragedy that each person's life is destined to be lost to time. I believe women are too hard on themselves. I believe that when you love someone, she becomes beautiful to you. I believe the eyes see everything through the heart - and nothing in the world feels as good as resting them on someone you love. I have trained my eyes to look for beauty, and I've gotten very good at finding it. You can argue and tell me it's not true, but I really don't care what anyone says. I have come, at last, to believe in the title I came up with for the book: Everyone Is Beautiful.
Katherine Center (Everyone is Beautiful)
You've come to say good-bye,I take it?" He arched an eyebrow. "You'll miss me terribly,I know,but if you want to avoid all that,you can always come with me."
"That's quite all right,thank you."
"Really?" Loki wrinkled his nose. "You can't actually be excited about the upcoming nuptials."
"What are you talking about?" I asked, tensing up.
"I heard you're engaged to that stodgy Markis." Loki waved his hand vaguely and stood up. "Which I think is ridiculous. He's boring and bland and you don't love him at all."
"How do you know about that?" I stood up straighter, preparing to defend myself.
"The guards around here are horrible gossips, and I hear everything." He grinned and sauntered toward me. "And I have two eyes. I've seen that little melodrama play out between you and that other tracker. Fish? Flounder? What's his name?"
"Finn," I said pointedly.
"Yes,him." Loki rested his shoulder against the door. "Can I give you a piece of advice?"
"By all means.I'd love to hear advice from a prisoner."
"Excellent." Loki leaned forward, as close to me as he could before he'd be racked with pain from attempting to leave the room. "Don't marry someone you don't love.
Amanda Hocking (Torn (Trylle, #2))
we all make vows, Jimmy. And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said. "Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone. And we truly mean it, at the time. But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement."
"You and George didn't go back on your promises."
She laughed. "Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men." She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, "They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt. Oh, there are continuities. He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business."
"But people change," he said quietly.
"Precisely. People change. Cultures change. Empires rise and fall. Shit. Geology changes! Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people." She flopped back against her chair. "Which is why vows are such a tricky business. Because nothing stays the same forever. Okay. Okay! I'm figuring something out now." She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging. "Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever." She shivered and slumped suddenly, "But, Jimmy! What unnatural words. Always and forever! Those aren't human words, Jim. Not even stones are always and forever.
Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1))
For remember, that it is altogether your world now. You and all the rest. We have delivered you from evil, but the evil that is inside men is at the last a matter for men to control. The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands-your hands and the hands of all men on this earth. The future can not blame the present, just as the present can not blame the past. The hope is always here, always alive, but only your fierce caring can fan it into a fire to warm the world.
For Drake is no longer in his hammock, children, nor is Arthur somewhere sleeping, and you may not lie idly expecting the second coming of anybody now, because the world is yours and it is up to you. Now especially since man has the strength to destroy the world, it is the responsibility of man to keep it alive, in all its beauty and marvelous joy.
And the world will still be imperfect, because men are imperfect. Good men will still be killed by bad, or sometimes by other good men, and there will still be pain and disease and famine, anger and hate. But if you work and care and are watchful, as we have tried to be for you, then in the long run the worse will never, ever, triumph over the better. And the gifts put into some men, that shine as bright as Eirias the sword, shall light the dark corners of life for all the rest, in so brave a world.
Susan Cooper (Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5))
Eat slowly," the blueblood said. "Don't cut your food with the fork. Cut it with the knife, and make the pieces small enough so you can answer a question without having to swallow first."
Why me? "Right. Any other tips?" Her sarcasm whistled right over his head.
"Yes. Look at me and not at your plate. If you have to look at your plate, glance at it occasionally."
Rose put down her fork. "Lord Submarine..."
"You can call me Declan." He said it as if granting her a knighthood. The nerve.
"Declan, then. How did you spend your day?"
"It's a simple question: How did you spend your day? What did you do prior to the fight and the pancake making?"
"I rested from my journey," he said with a sudden regal air.
"You took a nap"
"I spent my day scrubbing, vacuuming and dusting ten offices in the Broken. I got there at seven thirty in the morning and left at six. My back hurts, I can still smell bleach on my fingers, and my feet feel as flat as these pancakes. Tomorrow, I have to go back to work, and I want to eat my food in peace and quiet. I have good table manners. They may not be good enough for you, but they're definitely good enough for the Edge, and they are the height of social graces in this house. So please keep your critique to yourself."
The look on his face was worth having him under her roof. As if he had gotten slapped.
She smiled at him. "Oh and thank you for the pancakes. They are delicious.
Ilona Andrews (On the Edge (The Edge, #1))
Naive people tend to generalize people as—-good, bad, kind, or evil based on their actions. However, even the smartest person in the world is not the wisest or the most spiritual, in all matters. We are all flawed. Maybe, you didn’t know a few of these things about Einstein, but it puts the notion of perfection to rest. Perfection doesn’t exist in anyone. Nor, does a person’s mistakes make them less valuable to the world.
1. He divorced the mother of his children, which caused Mileva, his wife, to have a break down and be hospitalized.
2.He was a ladies man and was known to have had several affairs; infidelity was listed as a reason for his divorce.
3.He married his cousin.
4.He had an estranged relationship with his son.
5. He had his first child out of wedlock.
6. He urged the FDR to build the Atom bomb, which killed thousands of people.
7. He was Jewish, yet he made many arguments for the possibility of God. Yet, hypocritically he did not believe in the Jewish God or Christianity. He stated, “I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
Shannon L. Alder
It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course the great wastage is in the verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. It isn't only the synonyms; there are also the antonyms. After all, what justification is there for a word which is simply the opposite of some other words? A word contains its opposite in itself. Take 'good,' for instance. If you have a word like 'good,' what need is there for a word like 'bad'? 'Ungood' will do just as well--better, because it's an exact opposite, which the other is not. Or again, if you want a stronger version of 'good,' what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like 'excellent' and 'splendid' and all the rest of them? 'Plusgood' covers the meaning, or 'doubleplusgood' if you want something stronger still...In the end the whole notion of goodness and badness will be covered by only six words--in reality, only one word. Don't you see the beauty of that, Winston?
And that is why I consider promiscuity immoral. Not because sex is evil, but because sex is too good and too important... What sex should involve is a very serious relationship. Whether that relationship should or should not become a marriage is a question which depends on the circumstances and the context of the two persons' lives. I consider marriage a very important institution, but it is important when and if two people have found the person with whom they wish to spend the rest of their lives -- a question of which no man or woman can be automatically certain. When one is certain that one's choice is final, then marriage is, of course, a desirable state. But this does not mean that any relationship based on less than total certainty is improper. I think the question of an affair or a marriage depends on the knowledge and the position of the two persons involved and should be left up to them. Either is moral, provided only that both parties take the relationship seriously and that it is based on values.
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.
Elizabeth Warren (A Fighting Chance)
He frowned. She laughed. He brightened. She pouted. He grinned. She flinched. Come on: we don’t do that. Except when we’re pretending. Only babies frown and flinch. The rest of us just fake with our fake faces.
He grinned. No He didn’t. If a guy grins at you for real these days, you’d better chop his head off before he chops off yours. Soon the sneeze and the yawn will be mostly for show. Even the twitch.
She laughed. No she didn’t. We laugh about twice a year. Most of us have lost our laughs and now make do with false ones.
Not quite true.
All that no good to think, no good to say, no good to write. All that no good to write.
Martin Amis (London Fields)
Among the so-called neurotics of our day there are a good many
who in other ages would not have been neurotic-that is, divided
against themselves. If they had lived in a period and in a milieu in
which man was still linked by myth with the world of the ancestors,
and thus with nature truly experienced and not merely seen from
outside, they would have been spared this division with themselves.
I am speaking of those who cannot tolerate the loss of myth and
who can neither find a way to a merely exterior world, to the world
as seen by science, nor rest satisfied with an intellectual juggling
with words, which has nothing whatsoever to do with wisdom.
C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)
In 1965, worked with Nite Owl bringing street gangs under control. Tackled the Big Figure together. Brought down Underboss together. Good team.
Until he got soft, like rest. Until he quit.
No staying power. None of them. Except Comedian. Met him in 1966. Forceful personality. Didn't care if people liked him. Uncompromising. Admired that.
Of us all, he understood most. About world. About people. About society and what's happening to it.
Things everyone knows in gut. Things everyone too scared to face, too polite to talk about. He understood.
Understood man's capacity for horrors and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly and never surrendered. Once man has seen, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend it doesn't exist.
No matter who orders him to look the other way.
We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to.
We do it because we are compelled.
Alan Moore (Watchmen)
. . . Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.
Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you're Count Dracula.
Here's an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don't do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don't tell anybody what you're doing. Don't show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?
Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what's inside you, and you have made your soul grow.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
After he saw God [Tony Amsterdam] felt really good, for around a year. And then he felt really bad. Worse than he ever had before in his life. Because one day it came over him, he began to realize, that he was never going to see God again; he was going to live out his whole remaining life, decades, maybe fifty years, and see nothing but what he had always seen. What we see. He was worse off than if he hadn’t seen God. He told me one day he got really mad; he just freaked out and started cursing and smashing things in his apartment. He even smashed his stereo. He realized he was going to have to live on and on like he was, seeing nothing. Without any purpose. Just a lump of flesh grinding along, eating, drinking, sleeping, working, crapping.”
“Like the rest of us.” It was the first thing Bob Arctor had managed to say; each word came with retching difficulty.
Donna said, “That’s what I told him. I pointed that out. We were all in the same boat and it didn’t freak the rest of us. And he said, ‘You don’t know what I saw. You don’t know.’
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
Scott gave my knee an affectionate squeeze. "You'll never hear me admit this again, so listen up. You look good, Grey. On a scale from one to ten, you're definitely in the top half."
"You're not the kind of girl I would have chased after when I was in Portland, but I'm not the same guy I was back then either. You're a little too good for me, and let's face it, a little too smart."
"You've got street smarts," I pointed out.
"Stop interrupting. You're going to make me lose my place."
"You've got this speech memorized?"
A smirk. "I've got a lot of time on my hands. As I was saying--hell. I forgot where I was."
"You were telling me I can rest assured that I'm better-looking than half the girls at my school."
"That was a figure of speech. If you want to get technical, you're better-looking than ninety percent. Give or take."
I laid a hand over my heart. "I'm speechless."
Scott got down on his knee and clasped my hand dramatically. "Yes, Nora. Yes, I'll go to the homecoming dance with you.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Silence (Hush, Hush, #3))
There was nothing left for me to do, but go.
Though the things of the world were strong with me still.
Such as, for example: a gaggle of children trudging through a side-blown December flurry; a friendly match-share beneath some collision-titled streetlight; a frozen clock, a bird visited within its high tower; cold water from a tin jug; towering off one’s clinging shirt post-June rain.
Pearls, rags, buttons, rug-tuft, beer-froth.
Someone’s kind wishes for you; someone remembering to write; someone noticing that you are not at all at ease.
A bloody ross death-red on a platter; a headgetop under-hand as you flee late to some chalk-and-woodfire-smelling schoolhouse.
Geese above, clover below, the sound of one’s own breath when winded.
The way a moistness in the eye will blur a field of stars; the sore place on the shoulder a resting toboggan makes; writing one’s beloved’s name upon a frosted window with a gloved finger.
Tying a shoe; tying a knot on a package; a mouth on yours; a hand on yours; the ending of the day; the beginning of the day; the feeling that there will always be a day ahead.
Goodbye, I must now say goodbye to all of it.
Loon-call in the dark; calf-cramp in the spring; neck-rub in the parlour; milk-sip at end of day.
Some brandy-legged dog proudly back-ploughs the grass to cover its modest shit; a cloud-mass down-valley breaks apart over the course of a brandy-deepened hour; louvered blinds yield dusty beneath your dragging finger, and it is nearly noon and you must decide; you have seen what you have seen, and it has wounded you, and it seems you have only one choice left.
Blood-stained porcelain bowl wobbles face down on wood floor; orange peel not at all stirred by disbelieving last breath there among that fine summer dust-layer, fatal knife set down in pass-panic on familiar wobbly banister, later dropped (thrown) by Mother (dear Mother) (heartsick) into the slow-flowing, chocolate-brown Potomac.
None of it was real; nothing was real.
Everything was real; inconceivably real, infinitely dear.
These and all things started as nothing, latent within a vast energy-broth, but then we named them, and loved them, and in this way, brought them forth.
And now we must lose them.
I send this out to you, dear friends, before I go, in this instantaneous thought-burst, from a place where time slows and then stops and we may live forever in a single instant.
Goodbye goodbye good-
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism, is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men's lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical. I would not, of course, seek to deny that we gradually grow older, but while doing so, we pass through phases of good health and ill, of optimism and deep doubt, of freedom and constraint. There are times when everything seems easy, and times when it all seems impossibly hard. To make that manageable, we just have to remember that our present will one day become a past, and our future will be our present. We know that because it’s happened before. The things we put behind us will often come around again. The things that trouble us now will often come around again. Each time we endure the cycle, we ratchet up a notch. We learn from the last time around, and we do a few things better this time; we develop tricks of the mind to see us through. This is how progress is made. In the meantime, we can deal only with what’s in front of us at this moment in time. We take the next necessary action, and the next. At some point along the line, that next action will feel joyful again.
Katherine May (Wintering: The power of rest and retreat in difficult times)
We aren't fighting right now." I blurted out.
He gave me a sidelong look. "Do you want to fight?"
"No. I hate fighting with you. Verbally, I mean. I don't mind in the gym."
I thought I detected the hint of a smile. Always a half-smile for me. Rarely a full one. "I don't like fighting with you either."
Sitting next to him there, I marveled at the warm and happy emotions springing up inside me. There was something about being around him that felt so good, that moved me in a way Mason couldn't. You can't force love, I realized, It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.
The next words that came out of my mouth astonished me, both because they were completely unselfish and because I actually meant them.
"You should take it."
He flinched. "What?"
"Tasha's offer. You should take her up on it. It's a really great chance."
I remembered my mom's words about being ready for children. I wasn't. Maybe she hadn't been. But Tasha was. And I knew Dimitri was too. They got along really well. He could go be her guardian, have some kids with her...it would be a good deal for both of them.
"I never expected to hear you say anything like that," he told me, voice tight. "Especially after-"
"What a bitch I've been? Yeah." I tugged his coat tighter against the cold. It smelled like him. It was intoxicating, and I could half-imagine being wrapped in his embrace. Adrian might have been onto something about the power of scent. "Well. Like I said, I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want us to hate each other. And...well..." I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. "No matter how I feel about us...I want you to be happy."
Silence yet again. I noticed then that my chest hurt.
Dimitri reached out and put his arm around me. He pulled me to him, and I rested my head on his chest. "Roza," was all he said.
It was the first time he'd really touched me since the night of the lust charm. The practice room had been something different...more animal. This wasn't even about sex. It was just about being close to someone you cared about, about the emotion that kind of connection flooded you with.
Dimitri might run off with Tasha, but I would still love him. I would probably always love him.
I cared about Mason. But I would probably never love him.
I sighed into Dimitri, just wishing I could stay like that forever. It felt right being with him. And-no matter how much the thought of him and Tasha made me ache-doing what was best for him felt right. Now, I knew, it was time to stop being a coward and do something else that was right. Mason had said I needed to learn something about myself. I just had.
Reluctantly, I pulled away and handed Dimitri his coat. I stood up. He regarded me curiously, sensing my unease.
"Where you going?" he asked.
"To break someone's heart," I replied.
I admired Dimitri for a heartbeat more-the dark, knowing eyes and silken hair. The I headed inside. I had to apologize to Mason...and tell him there'd never be anything between us.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
The only other girl at the party
is ranting about feminism. The audience:
a sea of rape jokes and snapbacks
and styrofoam cups and me. They gawk
at her mouth like it is a drain
clogged with too many opinions.
I shoot her an empathetic glance
and say nothing. This house is for
wallpaper women. What good
is wallpaper that speaks?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
whose coffee table silence
will these boys rest their feet on?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if someone takes my spot?
I want to stand up, but if I do,
what if everyone notices I’ve been
sitting this whole time? I am guilty
of keeping my feminism in my pocket
until it is convenient not to, like at poetry
slams or my women’s studies class.
There are days I want people to like me
more than I want to change the world.
There are days I forget we had to invent
nail polish to change color in drugged
drinks and apps to virtually walk us home
at night and mace disguised as lipstick.
Once, I told a boy I was powerful
and he told me to mind my own business.
Once, a boy accused me of practicing
misandry. You think you can take
over the world? And I said No,
I just want to see it. I just need
to know it is there for someone.
Once, my dad informed me sexism
is dead and reminded me to always
carry pepper spray in the same breath.
We accept this state of constant fear
as just another part of being a girl.
We text each other when we get home
safe and it does not occur to us that our
guy friends do not have to do the same.
You could saw a woman in half
and it would be called a magic trick.
That’s why you invited us here,
isn’t it? Because there is no show
without a beautiful assistant?
We are surrounded by boys who hang up
our naked posters and fantasize
about choking us and watch movies
we get murdered in. We are the daughters
of men who warned us about the news
and the missing girls on the milk carton
and the sharp edge of the world.
They begged us to be careful. To be safe.
Then told our brothers to go out and play.
The Witcher swore quietly, looking at the sharp, angular, even runes drawn with energetic sweeps of the pen, faultlessly reflecting the author’s mood. He felt once again the desire to try to bite his own backside in fury. When he was writing to the sorceress a month ago he had spent two nights in a row contemplating how best to begin. Finally, he had decided on “Dear friend.” Now he had his just deserts.
'Dear friend, your unexpected letter – which I received not quite three years after we last saw each other – has given me much joy. My joy is all the greater as various rumours have been circulating about your sudden and violent death. It is a good thing that you have decided to disclaim them by writing to me; it is a good thing, too, that you are doing so so soon. From your letter it appears that you have lived a peaceful, wonderfully boring life, devoid of all sensation. These days such a life is a real privilege, dear friend, and I am happy that you have managed to achieve it.
I was touched by the sudden concern which you deigned to show as to my health, dear friend. I hasten with the news that, yes, I now feel well; the period of indisposition is behind me, I have dealt with the difficulties, the description of which I shall not bore you with. It worries and troubles me very much that the unexpected present you received from Fate brings you worries. Your supposition that this requires professional help is absolutely correct. Although your description of the difficulty – quite understandably – is enigmatic, I am sure I know the Source of the problem. And I agree with your opinion that the help of yet another magician is absolutely necessary. I feel honoured to be the second to whom you turn. What have I done to deserve to be so high on your list?
Rest assured, my dear friend; and if you had the intention of supplicating the help of additional magicians, abandon it because there is no need. I leave without delay, and go to the place which you indicated in an oblique yet, to me, understandable way. It goes without saying that I leave in absolute secrecy and with great caution. I will surmise the nature of the trouble on the spot and will do all that is in my power to calm the gushing source. I shall try, in so doing, not to appear any worse than other ladies to whom you have turned, are turning or usually turn with your supplications. I am, after all, your dear friend. Your valuable friendship is too important to me to disappoint you, dear friend.
Should you, in the next few years, wish to write to me, do not hesitate for a moment. Your letters invariably give me boundless pleasure.
Your friend Yennefer'
The letter smelled of lilac and gooseberries.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Krew elfów (Saga o Wiedźminie, #1))
One fine day you decide to talk less and less about the things you care most about, and when you have to say something, it costs you an effort . . . You’re good and sick of hearing yourself talk . . . you abridge . . . You give up … For thirty years you’ve been talking . . . You don’t care about being right anymore. You even lose your desire to keep hold of the small place you’d reserved yourself among the pleasures of life . . . You’re fed up … From that time on you’re content to eat a little something, cadge a little warmth, and sleep as much as possible on the road to nowhere. To rekindle your interest, you’d have to think up some new grimaces to put on in the presence of others . . . But you no longer have the strength to renew your repertory. You stammer. Sure, you still look for excuses for hanging around with the boys, but death is there too, stinking, right beside you, it’s there the whole time, less mysterious than a game of poker. The only thing you continue to value is petty regrets, like not finding time to run out to Bois-Colombes to see your uncle while he was still alive, the one whose little song died forever one afternoon in February. That horrible little regret is all we have left of life, we’ve vomited up the rest along the way, with a good deal of effort and misery. We’re nothing now but an old lamppost with memories on a street where hardly anyone passes anymore.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
I’m such a negative person, and always have been. Was I born that way? I don’t know. I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good.
I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and despair. I hate most of what passes for civilization. I hate the modern world. For one thing there are just too Goddamn many people. I hate the hordes, the crowds in their vast cities, with all their hateful vehicles, their noise and their constant meaningless comings and goings. I hate cars. I hate modern architecture. Every building built after 1955 should be torn down!
I despise modern music. Words cannot express how much it gets on my nerves – the false, pretentious, smug assertiveness of it. I hate business, having to deal with money. Money is one of the most hateful inventions of the human race. I hate the commodity culture, in which everything is bought and sold. No stone is left unturned. I hate the mass media, and how passively people suck up to it.
I hate having to get up in the morning and face another day of this insanity. I hate having to eat, shit, maintain the body – I hate my body. The thought of my internal functions, the organs, digestion, the brain, the nervous system, horrify me.
Nature is horrible. It’s not cute and loveable. It’s kill or be killed. It’s very dangerous out there. The natural world is filled with scary, murderous creatures and forces. I hate the whole way that nature functions. Sex is especially hateful and horrifying, the male penetrating the female, his dick goes into her hole, she’s impregnated, another being grows inside her, and then she must go through a painful ordeal as the new being pushes out of her, only to repeat the whole process in time.
Reproduction – what could be more existentially repulsive?
How I hate the courting ritual. I was always repelled by my own sex drive, which in my youth never left me alone. I was constantly driven by frustrated desires to do bizarre and unacceptable things with and to women. My soul was in constant conflict about it. I never was able to resolve it.
Old age is the only relief.
I hate the way the human psyche works, the way we are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations. And we never ever fully succeed in this endeavor.
I hate organized religions. I hate governments. It’s all a lot of power games played out by ambition-driven people, and foisted on the weak, the poor, and on children.
Most humans are bullies. Adults pick on children. Older children pick on younger children. Men bully women. The rich bully the poor. People love to dominate.
I hate the way humans worship power – one of the most disgusting of all human traits.
I hate the human tendency towards revenge and vindictiveness. I hate the way humans are constantly trying to trick and deceive one another, to swindle, to cheat, and take unfair advantage of the innocent, the naïve and the ignorant.
I hate the vacuous, false, banal conversation that goes on among people.
Sometimes I feel suffocated; I want to flee from it.
For me, to be human is, for the most part, to hate what I am. When I suddenly realize that I am one of them, I want to scream in horror.
When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters—first and foremost—how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice—that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another. All good parents understand these three principles implicitly. If you want to stop little Johnnie from hitting his sister, you can’t look away one time and scream at him another. You can’t treat his sister differently when she hits him. And if he says he really didn’t hit his sister, you have to give him a chance to explain himself. How you punish is as important as the act of punishing itself.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers--
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours--your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Ten good lines out of four hundred, Emily—comparatively good, that is—and all the rest balderdash—balderdash, Emily."
"I—suppose so," said Emily faintly.
Her eyes brimmed with tears—her lips quivered. She could not help it. Pride was hopelessly submerged in the bitterness of her disappointment. She felt exactly like a candle that somebody had blown out.
"What are you crying for? demanded Mr. Carpenter.
Emily blinked away tears and tried to laugh.
"I—I'm sorry—you think it's no good—" she said.
Mr. Carpenter gave the desk a mighty thump.
"No good! Didn't I tell you there were ten good lines? Jade, for ten righteous men Sodom had been spared."
"Do you mean—that—after all—" The candle was being relighted again.
"Of course, I mean. If at thirteen you can write ten good lines, at twenty you'll write ten times ten—if the gods are kind. Stop messing over months, though—and don't imagine you're a genius, either, if you have written ten decent lines. I think there's something trying to speak through you—but you'll have to make yourself a fit instrument for it. You've got to work hard and sacrifice—by gad, girl, you've chosen a jealous goddess. And she never lets her votaries go—not even when she shuts her ears forever to their plea.
L.M. Montgomery (Emily of New Moon (Emily, #1))
George who is out somewhere there in the dark... George who is good to me, and whom I revile; who understands me, and whom I push off; who can make me laugh, and I choke it back in my throat; who can hold me, at night, so that it's warm, and whom I will bite so there's blood; who keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change the rules; who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy, and yes I do wish to be happy. George and Martha: sad, sad, sad... whom I will not forgive for having come to rest; for having seen me and having said: yes; this will do; who has made the hideous, the hurting, the insulting mistake of loving me and must be punished for it. George and Martha: sad, sad, sad... who tolerates, which is intolerable; who is kind, which is cruel; who understands, which is beyond comprehension...
Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different, as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given. Instead of this, a small number of persons, not more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world are called upon to believe it. But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I; and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
I have only one memory of getting here, and even that is just a single image: black ink curling around the side of a neck, the corner of a tattoo, and the gentle sway that could only mean he was carrying me.
He turns off the bathroom light and gets an ice pack from the refrigerator in the corner of the room. As he walks toward me, I consider closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep,but then our eyes meet and it's too late.
"Your hands," I croak.
"My hands are none of your concern," he replies. He rests his knee on the mattress and leans over me,slipping the ice pack under my head. Before he pulls away,I reach out to touch the cut on the side of his lip but stop when I realize what I am about to do, my hand hovering.
What do you have to lose? I ask myself. I touch my fingertips lightly to his mouth.
"Tris," he says, speaking against my fingers. "I'm all right."
"Why were you there?" I ask, letting my hand drop.
"I was coming back from the control room. I heard a scream."
"What did you do to them?" I say.
"I deposited Drew at the infirmary a half hour ago," he says. "Peter and Al ran. Drew claimed they were just trying to scare you.At least,I think that's what he was trying to say."
"He's in bad shape?"
"He'll live," he replies. He adds bitterly, "In what condition, I can't say."
It isn't right to wish pain on other people just because they hurt me first. But white-hot triumph races through me at the thought of Drew at the infirmary, and I squeeze Four's arm.
"Good," I say.My voice sounds tight and fierce.Anger builds inside me, replacing my blood with bitter water and filling me, consuming me.I wantt o break something,or hit something, but I am afraid to move,so I start crying instead.
Four crouches by the side of the bed, and watches me. I see no sympathy in his eyes.I would have been disappointed if I had. He pulls his wrist free and, to my surprise, rests his hand on the side of my face, his thumb skimming my cheekbone.His fingers are careful.
"I could report this," he says.
"No," I reply. "I don't want them to think I'm scared."
He nods.He moves his thumb absently over my cheekbone, back and forth. "I figured you would say that."
"You think it would be a bad idea if I sat up?"
"I'll help you."
Four grips my shoulder with one hand and holds my head steady with the other as I push myself up.Pain rushes through my body in sharp bursts,but I try to ignore it,stifling a groan.
He hands me the ice pack. "You can let yourself be in pain," he says. "It's just me here.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
He stared back at me so blatantly I wanted to smack him. “I know. Like I said, that… was never my intention. It was an accident.” My mouth dropped open. “Did you slip and fall on my bed? Because I don’t understand how you’ve accidentally ended up there.” Red stained the tips of his cheeks. “I check the outside, and then I check the inside just to be sure. Hybrids can get into your house, Katy, as you already know. So could Daedalus if they wanted.” What would he have done if Daemon had been there? Then it struck me and I felt sick all over again. “How long do you watch at night?” He shrugged. “A couple of hours.” So he’d have known if Daemon had come over most of the time, and the rest was just sheer dumb luck. Part of me wished he’d tried it just once when Daemon was there. He wouldn’t be walking right for months. There was a good chance he may leave this stairwell with a limp. Blake seemed to sense where my mind went. “After I checked inside your house, I… I don’t know what happened. You have bad dreams.” I wondered why. I had perverts sleeping in the bed with me.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opal (Lux, #3))
So let the reader who expects this book to be a political exposé slam its covers shut right now.
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil.
Socrates taught us: Know thyself!
Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt, stricken dumb: it is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and we weren't.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1918 - 1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II)
If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . .
If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them.
If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing.
(Speech was broadcast by ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965)
At this stage of the game, I don’t have the time for patience and tolerance. Ten years ago, even five years ago, I would have listened to people ask their questions, explained to them, mollified them. No more. That time is past. Now, as Norman Mailer said in Naked and the Dead, ‘I hate everything which is not in myself.’ If it doesn’t have a direct bearing on what I’m advocating, if it doesn’t augment or stimulate my life and thinking, I don’t want to hear it. It has to add something to my life. There’s no more time for explaining and being ecumenical anymore. No more time. That’s a characteristic I share with the new generation of Satanists, which might best be termed, and has labeled itself in many ways, an ‘Apocalypse culture.’ Not that they believe in the biblical Apocalypse—the ultimate war between good and evil. Quite the contrary. But that there is an urgency, a need to get on with things and stop wailing and if it ends tomorrow, at least we’ll know we’ve lived today. It’s a ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ philosophy. It’s the Satanic philosophy. If the generation born in the 50’s grew up in the shadow of The Bomb and had to assimilate the possibility of imminent self destruction of the entire planet at any time, those born in the 60’s have had to reconcile the inevitability of our own destruction, not through the bomb but through mindless, uncontrolled overpopulation. And somehow resolve in themselves, looking at what history has taught us, that no amount of yelling, protesting, placard waving, marching, wailing—or even more constructive avenues like running for government office or trying to write books to wake people up—is going to do a damn bit of good. The majority of humans have an inborn death wish—they want to destroy themselves and everything beautiful. To finally realize that we’re living in a world after the zenith of creativity, and that we can see so clearly the mechanics of our own destruction, is a terrible realization. Most people can’t face it. They’d rather retreat to the comfort of New Age mysticism. That’s all right. All we want, those few of us who have the strength to realize what’s going on, is the freedom to create and entertain and share with each other, to preserve and cherish what we can while we can, and to build our own little citadels away from the insensitivity of the rest of the world.
Anton Szandor LaVey (The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey)
This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed--run over, maimed, destroyed--but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.
Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error,a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.
There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled;it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself,I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.
If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all. Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love:
To Gaylene deceased
To Ray deceased
To Francy permanent psychosis
To Kathy permanent brain damage
To Jim deceased
To Val massive permanent brain damage
To Nancy permanent psychosis
To Joanne permanent brain damage
To Maren deceased
To Nick deceased
To Terry deceased
To Dennis deceased
To Phil permanent pancreatic damage
To Sue permanent vascular damage
To Jerri permanent psychosis and vascular damage
. . . and so forth.
These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."
This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
They said of him, about the city that night, that it was the peacefullest man's face ever beheld there. Many added that he looked sublime and prophetic.
One of the most remarkable sufferers by the same axe---a woman---had asked at the foot of the same scaffold, not long before, to be allowed to write down the thoughts that were inspiring her. If he had given an utterance to his, and they were prophetic, they would have been these:
"I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.
"I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years' time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward.
"I see that I hold a sanctuary in their hearts, and in the hearts of their descendants, generations hence. I see her, an old woman weeping for me on the anniversary of this day. I see her and her husband, their course done, lying side by side in their last earthly bed, and I know that each was not more honoured and held sacred in the other's soul, than I was in the souls of both.
"I see that child who lay upon her bosom and who bore my name, a man winning his way up in that path of life which once was mine. I see him winning it so well, that my name is made illustrious there by the light of his. I see the blots I threw upon it, faded away. I see him, foremost of just judges and honoured men, brining a boy of my name, with a forehead that I know and golden hair, to this place---then fair to look upon, with not a trace of this day's disfigurement---and I hear him tell the child my story, with a tender and faltering voice.
"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
But Daniel wouldn't kiss her the way she wanted.The closer she pressed to him, the farther back he leaned.
Finally he pushed her away completely. He held on only to her hands, as if the rest of her were dangerous.
"Lady." He kissed the very tips of her fingers, making her shiver. "Would I be too bold to say your love makes you unmannerly?"
"Unmannerly?" Luce blushed.
Daniel took her back into his arms, slowly, a bit nervously. "Good Lucinda, you must not find yourself in this place dressed as you are." His eyes kept returning to her dress. "What clothes are these? WHere is your costume?" He reached into a wardrobe and flicked through the clothes pegs.
Quickly,Daniel began to unlace his boots, tossing them on the floor with two thuds. Luce tried not to gape when he dropped his trousers.He wore short gray pantaloons underneath that left very little to the imagination.
Her cheeks burned as Daniel briskly unbuttoned his white shirt. He yanked it off,exposing the full beauty of his chest.Luce sucked in her breath. The only things missing were his unfurled wings. Daniel was so impeccably gorgeous-and he seemed to have no idea of the effect he was having on her by standing there in his underwear.
She gulped,fanning herself. "Is it hot in here?
Lauren Kate (Passion (Fallen, #3))
Will: What do I wanna way outta here for? I'm gonna live here the rest of my fuckin' life. We'll be neighbors, have little kids, take 'em to Little League up at Foley Field.
Chuckie: Look, you're my best friend, so don't take this the wrong way but, in 20 years if you're still livin' here, comin' over to my house, watchin' the Patriots games, workin' construction, I'll fuckin' kill ya. That's not a threat, that's a fact, I'll fuckin' kill ya.
Will: What the fuck you talkin' about?
Chuckie: You got somethin' none of us have...
Will: Oh, come on! What? Why is it always this? I mean, I fuckin' owe it to myself to do this or that. What if I don't want to?
Chuckie: No. No, no no no. Fuck you, you don't owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doin' this shit. And that's all right. That's fine. I mean, you're sittin' on a winnin' lottery ticket. And you're too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that's bullshit. 'Cause I'd do fuckin' anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin' guys. It'd be an insult to us if you're still here in 20 years. Hangin' around here is a fuckin' waste of your time.
Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting)
My darling Julie, I know you'll never see this letter, but it helps to write to you every day. It keeps you close to me. G-d, I miss you so. You haunt every hour of my life. I wish I'd never met you. No-I don't mean that! What good would my life be without my memories of you to make me smile.
I keep wondering if you're happy. I want you to be. I want you to have a glorious life. That's why I couldn't say the things I knew you wanted to hear when we were together. I was afraid if I did, you'd wait for me for years. I knew you wanted me to say I loved you. Not saying that to you was the only unselfish thing I did in Colorado, and I now I regret even that.
I love you, Julie. Christ, I love you so much. I'd give up all my life to have one year with you. Six months. Three. Anything.
You stole my heart in just a few days, darling, but you gave me your heart, too. I know you did- I could see it in your eyes every time you looked at me.
I don't regret the loss of my freedom any more or rage at the injustice of the years I spent in prison. Now, my only regret is that I can't have you. You're young, and I know you'll forget about me quickly and go on with your own life. That's exactly what you should do. It's what you must do. I want you to do that, Julie.
That's such a lousy lie. What I really want is to see you again, to hold you in my arms, to make love to you over and over again until I've filled you so completely that there's no room left inside of you for anyone but me, ever. I never thought of sexual intercourse as 'making love' until you. You never knew that.
I wish I had time to write you a better letter or that I'd kept one of the others I've written so I could send that instead. They were all much more coherent than this one. I won't send another letter to you, so don't watch for one. Letters will make us both hope and dream, and if I don't stop doing that, I will die of wanting you.
Before I go--I see from the newspapers that Costner has a new movie coming out in the States. If you dare to start fantasizing over Kevin after you see it, I will haunt you for the rest of your life.
I love you, Julie. I loved in Colorado. I love you here, where I am. I will always love you. Everywhere. Always.
Judith McNaught (Perfect (Paradise, #2))
An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths.
As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be.
It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting.
One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower.
And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on.
So it goes.
And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment.
Rome passed into the past, and became New York.
Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love.
("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
I curled up in the back next to Loki, his arm around me, and my head resting on his shoulder. My body ached all over, but it felt good being with him. He kissed the top of my head, and I snuggled up closer to him. He'd been helping me at the palace, but he'd waited until we were alone in the car to be affectionate. Willa had raised an eyebrow at us, but she said nothing. Later on, back in Forening, I'd have a thousand questions from her. But for now, she let us have our moment together.
"I can't wait until we get home," I said.
"Home,,"Loki said and laughed a little.
"What?" I lifted my head to look up at him. "What's funny about that?"
"Nothing." he shook his head. "i just...I don't think I've ever really felt like I had a home before." He smiled down at me. "Not until I met you."
Loki leaned down, kissing my gently on the mouth. I'm sure he wanted to kiss me more deeply, but he was afraid of hurting me. He continued to kiss me tenderly, and I clung to him as tightly as I could as heat swirled through me.
When he stopped, he rested his forehead against mine and breathed in deeply. "I cannot wait to get home with you, Princess."
"I'm the Queen now, you know," I teased, and he laughed and kissed me again.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
If you're anything like me,
You bite your nails,
And laugh when you're nervous.
You promise people the world,
because that's what they want from you.
You like giving them what they want...
But darling, you need to stop,
If you're anything like me,
You knock on wood every time you make plans.
You cross your fingers, hold your breath,
Wish on lucky numbers and eyelashes
Your superstitions were the lone survivors of the shipwreck.
Rest In Peace, to your naive bravado...
If life gets too good now,
Darling, it scares you.
If you're anything like me,
You never wanted to lock your door,
Your secret garden gate or your diary drawer
Didn't want to face the you you don't know anymore
For fear she was much better before...
But Darling, now you have to.
If you're anything like me,
There's a justice system in your head
For names you'll never speak again,
And you make your ruthless rulings.
Each new enemy turns to steel
They become the bars that confine you,
In your own little golden prison cell...
But Darling, there is where you meet yourself.
If you're anything like me
You've grown to hate your pride
To love your thighs
And no amount of friends at 25
Will fill the empty seats
At the lunch tables of your past
The teams that picked you last...
But Darling, you keep trying.
If you're anything like me,
You couldn't recognize the face of your love
Until they stripped you of your shiny paint
Threw your victory flag away
And you saw the ones who wanted you anyway...
Darling, later on you will thank your stars
for that frightful day.
If you're anything like me,
But Darling, it's going to be okay.
It's so weird that adults in committed relationships have a problem with something so innocuous as flirting. I would never expect you to walk around with a paper bag over your head to avoid catching the eye of a stranger, nor would I discourage you making friendly conversation with whomever you might encounter during the day. And if you needed to fuck somebody else, we could talk about it. People change, our desires evolve, and it feels foolish to me to expect what you'll want two, five, or ten years from now will be exactly the same thing that fills you up today. I mean, the way I feel about fidelity has evolved over the last ten years of my life. It's a hard-and-fast rule that we don't apply to any other thing in our lives: YOU MUST LOVE THIS [SHOW/BOOK/FOOD/SHIRT] WITH UNWAVERING FERVOR FOR THE REST OF YOUR NATURAL LIFE. Could you imagine being forced to listen to your favorite record from before your music tastes were refined for the rest of your life? Right now I'm pretty sure I could listen to Midnight Snack by HOMESHAKE for the rest of my life, but me ten years ago was really into acoustic Dave Matthews, and I'm not sure how I feel about that today. And yes, I am oversimplifying it, but really, if in seven years you want to have sex with the proverbial milkman, just let me know about it beforehand so I can hide my LaCroix and half eaten wedge of port salut. ('Milkmen' always eat all the good snacks.)
Samantha Irby (We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.)
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses.
While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
...My father muttered something to me, and I responded with a mumbled "What". He shouted, "You heard me," thundered up from his chair, pulled his belt out of its loops, and inflicted a beating that seemed never to end. I curled my arms around my body as he stood over me like a titan and delivered the blows. This was the only incident of its kind in our family. My father was never physically abusive toward my mother or sister and he was never again physically extreme with me. However, this beating and his worsening tendency to rages directed at my mother - which I heard in fright through the thin walls of our home - made me resolve, with icy determination, that only the most formal relationship would exist between my father and me, and for perhaps thirty years, neither he nor I did anything to repair the rift.
The rest of my childhood, we hardly spoke; there was little he said to me that was not critical, and there was little I said back that was not terse or mumbled. When I graduated from high school, he offered to buy me a tuxedo. I refused because I had learned from him to reject all aid and assistance; he detested extravagance and pleaded with us not to give him gifts. I felt, through a convoluted logic, that in my refusal, I was being a good son. I wish now that I had let him buy me a tuxedo, that I had let him be a dad. Having cut myself off from him, and by association the rest of the family, I was incurring psychological debts that would come due years later in the guise of romantic misconnections and a wrongheaded quest for solitude.
I have heard it said that a complicated childhood can lead to a life in the arts. I tell you this story of my father and me to let you know I am qualified to be a comedian.
Steve Martin (Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life)
He thought of nothing, wished for nothing, but not to be left behind the peasants, and to do his work as well as possible. He heard nothing but the swish of scythes, and saw before him Tit's upright figure mowing away, the crescent-shaped curve of the cut grass, the grass and flower heads slowly and rhythmically falling before the blade of his scythe, and ahead of him the end of the row, where would come the rest.
Suddenly, in the midst of his toil, without understanding what it was or whence it came, he felt a pleasant sensation of chill on his hot, moist shoulders. He glanced at the sky in the interval for whetting the scythes. A heavy, lowering storm cloud had blown up, and big raindrops were falling. Some of the peasants went to their coats and put them on; others--just like Levin himself--merely shrugged their shoulders, enjoying the pleasant coolness of it.
Another row, and yet another row, followed--long rows and short rows, with good grass and with poor grass. Levin lost all sense of time, and could not have told whether it was late or early now. A change began to come over his work, which gave him immense satisfaction. In the midst of his toil there were moments during which he forgot what he was doing, and it came all easy to him, and at those same moments his row was almost as smooth and well cut as Tit's. But so soon as he recollected what he was doing, and began trying to do better, he was at once conscious of all the difficulty of his task, and the row was badly mown.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
What great gravity is this that drew my soul towards yours? What great force, that though I went falsely, went kicking, went disguising myself to earn your love, also disguised, to earn your keeping, your resting, your staying, your will fleshed into mine, rasped by a slowly revealed truth, the barter of my soul, the soul that I fear, the soul that I loathe, the soul that: if you will love, I will love. I will redeem you, if you will redeem me? Is this our purpose, you and I together to pacify each other, to lead each other toward the lie that we are good, that we are noble, that we need not redemption, save the one that you and I invented of our own clay? I am not scared of you, my love, I am scared of me.
I went looking, I wrote out a list, I drew an image, I bled a poem of you. You were pretty and my friends believed I was worthy of you. You were clever, but I was smarter, perhaps the only one smarter, the only one able to lead you. You see, love, I did not love you, I loved me. And you were only a tool that I used to fix myself, to fool myself, to redeem myself. And though I have taught you to lay your lily hand in mine, I walk alone, for I cannot talk to you, lest you talk it back to me, lest I believe that I am not worthy, not deserving, not redeemed.
I want desperately for you to be my friend. But you are not my friend; you have slid up warmly to the man I wanted to be, the man I pretended to be, and I was your Jesus and, you were mine. Should I show you who I am, we may crumble. I am not scared of you my love, I am scared of me.
I want to be known and loved anyway. Can you do this? I trust by your easy breathing that your are human like me, that you are fallen like me, that you are lonely, like me. My love, do I know you? What is this great gravity that pulls us so painfully toward each other? Why do we not connect? Will we be forever in fleshing this out? And how will we with words, narrow words, come into the knowing of each other?
Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality (Paperback))
What I Have Lived For
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle. The tortoise is a ground-living creature. It is impossible to live nearer the ground without being under it. Its horizons are a few inches away. It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce. It has survived while the rest of evolution flowed past it by being, on the whole, no threat to anyone and too much trouble to eat. And then there is the eagle. A creature of the air and high places, whose horizons go all the way to the edge of the world. Eyesight keen enough to spot the rustle of some small and squeaky creature half a mile away. All power, all control. Lightning death on wings. Talons and claws enough to make a meal of anything smaller than it is and at least take a hurried snack out of anything bigger. And yet the eagle will sit for hours on the crag and survey the kingdoms of the world until it spots a distant movement and then it will focus, focus, focus on the small shell wobbling among the bushes down there on the desert. And it will leap… And a minute later the tortoise finds the world dropping away from it. And it sees the world for the first time, no longer one inch from the ground but five hundred feet above it, and it thinks: what a great friend I have in the eagle. And then the eagle lets go. And almost always the tortoise plunges to its death. Everyone knows why the tortoise does this. Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off. No one knows why the eagle does this. There’s good eating on a tortoise but, considering the effort involved, there’s much better eating on practically anything else. It’s simply the delight of eagles to torment tortoises. But of course, what the eagle does not realize is that it is participating in a very crude form of natural selection. One day a tortoise will learn how to fly.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all the things you want from a person - sexual chemistry, let's say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty - and you get to pick three of those things. Three - that's it. Maybe four, if you're very lucky. The rest you have to look for elsewhere. It's only in the movies that you find someone who gives you all of those things. But this isn't the movies. In the real world, you have to identify which three qualities you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then you look for those qualities in another person. That's real life. Don't you see it's a trap? If you keep trying to find everything, you'll wind up with nothing.'
...At the time, he hadn't believed these words, because at the time, everything really did seem possible: he was twenty-three, and everyone was young and attractive and smart and glamorous. Everyone thought they would be friends for decades, forever. But for most people, of course, that hadn't happened. As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren't necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic. They all chose differently: Roman had chosen beauty, sweetness, pliability; Malcolm, he thought, had chosen reliability, and competence...and aesthetic compatibility. And he? He had chosen friendship. Conversation. Kindness, Intelligence. When he was in his thirties, he had looked at certain people's relationships and asked the question that had (and continued to) fuel countless dinner-party conversations: What's going on there? Now, though, as an almost-forty-eight-year-old, he saw people's relationships as reflections of their keenest yet most inarticulable desires, their hopes and insecurities taking shape physically, in the form of another person. Now he looked at couples - in restaurants, on the street, at parties - and wondered: Why are you together? What did you identify as essential to you? What's missing in you that you want someone else to provide? He now viewed a successful relationship as one in which both people had recognized the best of what the other person had of offer and had chosen to value it as well.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Certainly those determining acts of her life were not ideally beautiful. They were the mixed result of young and noble impulse struggling amidst the conditions of an imperfect social state, in which great feelings will often take the aspect of error, and great faith the aspect of illusion. For there is no creature whose inward being is so strong that it is not greatly determined by what lies outside it. A new Theresa will hardly have the opportunity of reforming a conventual life, any more than a new Antigone will spend her heroic piety in daring all for the sake of a brother's burial: the medium in which their ardent deeds took shape is forever gone. But we insignificant people with our daily words and acts are preparing the lives of many Dorotheas, some of which may present a far sadder sacrifice than that of the Dorothea whose story we know.
Her finely touched spirit had still its fine issues, though they were not widely visible. Her full nature, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spent itself in channels which had no great name on the earth. But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
Dalinar took one step forward, then drove his Blade point-first into the middle of the blackened glyph on the stone. He took a step back. “For the bridgemen,” he said.
Sadeas blinked. Muttering voices fell silent, and the people on the field seemed too stunned, even, to breathe.
“The Blade,”Dalinar said, firm voice carrying in the air. “In exchange for your bridgemen. All of them. Every one you have in camp. They become mine, to do with as I please, never to be touched by you again. In exchange, you get the sword.”
Sadeas looked down at the Blade, incredulous. “This weapon is worth fortunes. Cities, palaces, kingdoms.”
“Do we have a deal?”Dalinar asked.
“Father, no!”Adolin Kholin said, his own Blade appearing in his hand. “You—”
Dalinar raised a hand, silencing the younger man. He kept his eyes on Sadeas. “Do we have a deal?” he asked, each word sharp.
Kaladin stared, unable to move, unable to think.
Sadeas looked at the Shardblade, eyes full of lust. He glanced at Kaladin, hesitated just briefly, then reached and grabbed the Blade by the hilt. “Take the storming creatures.”
Dalinar nodded curtly, turning away from Sadeas. “Let’s go,”he said to his entourage.
“They’re worthless, you know,”Sadeas said. “You’re of the ten fools, Dalinar Kholin! Don’t you see how mad you are? This will be remembered as the most ridiculous decision ever made by an Alethi highprince!”
Dalinar didn’t look back. He walked up to Kaladin and the other members of Bridge Four. “Go,” Dalinar said to them, voice kindly. “Gather your things and the men you left behind. I will send troops with you to act as guards. Leave the bridges and come swiftly to my camp. You will be safe there. You have my word of honor on it.”
He began to walk away.
Kaladin shook off his numbness. He scrambled after the highprince, grabbing his armored arm. “Wait. You—That—What just happened?”
Dalinar turned to him. Then, the highprince laid a hand on Kaladin’s shoulder, the gauntlet gleaming blue, mismatched with the rest of his slate-grey armor. “I don’t know what has been done to you. I can only guess what your life has been like. But know this. You will not be bridgemen in my camp, nor will you be slaves.”
“What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly.
“The slavemasters say one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning.
“And what do you say?”
“A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father.
Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.”
“You really think it was a good trade, don’t you?” Kaladin said, amazed.
Dalinar smiled in a way that seemed strikingly paternal.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
....the Crocodiles say they can't even begin to say how many new guys they've seen Come In and then get sucked back Out There, Come In to AA for a while and Hang In and put together a little sober time and have things start to get better, head-wise and life-quality-wise, and after a while the new guys get cocky, they decide they've gotten `Well,' and they get really busy at the new job sobriety's allowed them to get, or maybe they buy season Celtics tickets, or they rediscover pussy and start chasing pussy (these withered gnarled toothless totally post-sexual old fuckers actually say pussy), but one way or another these poor cocky clueless new bastards start gradually drifting away from rabid Activity In The Group, and then away from their Group itself, and then little by little gradually drift away from any AA meetings at all, and then, without the protection of meetings or a Group, in time--oh there's always plenty of time, the Disease is fiendishly patient--how in time they forget what it was like, the ones that've cockily drifted, they forget who and what they are, they forget about the Disease, until like one day they're at like maybe a Celtics-Sixers game, and the good old Fleet/First Interstate Center's hot, and they think what could just one cold foamer hurt, after all this sober time, now that they've gotten `Well.' Just one cold one. What could it hurt. And after that one it's like they'd never stopped, if they've got the Disease. And how in a month or six months or a year they have to Come Back In, back to the Boston AA halls and their old Group, tottering, D.T.ing, with their faces hanging down around their knees all over again, or maybe it's five or ten years before they can get it up to get back In, beaten to shit again, or else their system isn't ready for the recurred abuse again after some sober time and they die Out There--the Crocodiles are always talking in hushed, 'Nam-like tones about Out There--or else, worse, maybe they kill somebody in a blackout and spend the rest of their lives in MCI-Walpole drinking raisin jack fermented in the seatless toilet and trying to recall what they did to get in there, Out There; or else, worst of all, these cocky new guys drift back Out There and have nothing sufficiently horrible to Finish them happen at all, just go back to drinking 24/7/365, to not-living, behind bars, undead, back in the Disease's cage all over again. The Crocodiles talk about how they can't count the number of guys that've Come In for a while and drifted away and gone back Out There and died, or not gotten to die.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home, and must look far and wide to find one. Home is the center of my being, where I can hear the voice that says, “You are my beloved. On you my favor rests,” the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam. The same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love wherever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the beloved I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge.” As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life.
Jesus has made it clear to me that the same voice that he heard at the river Jordan and on Mount Tabor can also be heard by me.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in.
"Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?"
I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.”
She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—”
"Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?"
"Yeah, but that’s not the problem."
Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk.
"Go on," I said wearily.
"Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her."
"We?" I exclaimed.
"Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.”
I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said.
As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.”
"Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience."
Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to.
I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me.
"Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy."
I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.”
"Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways.
I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake.
"Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi."
Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.”
The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.”
That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
We have time for everything:
to sleep, to run from one place to another,
to regret having mistaken and to mistake again,
to judge the others and to forgive
we have time for reading and writing,
for making corrections to our texts, to regret ever having
we have time to make plans and time not to respect them,
we have time for ambitions and sicknesses,
time to blame the destiny and the details,
we have time to watch the clouds, advertisements or
some ordinary accident,
we have time to chase our wonders away
and to postpone the answers,
we have time to break a dream to pieces and then
to reinvent it,
we have time to make friends, to lose friends,
we have time to receive lessons and forget them afterwards,
we have time to receive gifts and not to understand them.
We have time for them all.
There is no time for just a bit of tenderness.
When we are aware about to do this we die.
I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you;
All you can do is to be a loved person.
the rest … depends on the others.
I’ve learned that as much as I care
others might not care.
I’ve learned that it takes years to earn trust
and just a few seconds to lose it.
I’ve learned that it does not matter WHAT you have in your life
but WHO you have.
I’ve learned that your charm is useful for about 15 minutes
Afterwards, you should better know something.
I’ve learned that no matter how you cut it,
everything has two sides!
I’ve learned that you should separate from your loved ones with warm words
It might be the last time you see them!
I’ve learned that you can still continue for a long time after saying you cannot continue anymore
I’ve learned that heroes are those who do what they have to do,
when they have to do it,
regardless the consequences
I’ve learned that there are people who love
But do not know how to show it !
I’ve learned that when I am upset I have the RIGHT to be upset
But not the right to be bad!
I’ve learned that real friendship continues to exist despite the distance
And this is true also for REAL LOVE !!!
I’ve learned that if someone does not love you like you want them to
It does not mean that they do not love you with all their heart.
I’ve learned that no matter how good of a friend someone is for you
that person will hurt you every now and then
and that you have to forgive him.
I’ve learned that it is not enough to be forgiven by others
Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I’ve learned that no matter how much you suffer,
The world will not stop for your pain.
I’ve learned that the past and the circumstances might have an influence on your personality
But that YOU are responsible for what you become !!!
I’ve learned that if two people have an argument it does not mean that they do not love each other
I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put on the first place the person, not the facts
I’ve learned that two people can look at the same thing
and can see something totally different
I’ve learned that regardless the consequences
those WHO ARE HONEST with themselves go further in life.
I’ve learned that life can be changed in a few hours
by people who do not even know you.
I’ve learned that even when you think there is nothing more you can give
when a friend calls you, you will find the strength to help him.
I’ve learned that writing just like talking can ease the pains of the soul !
I’ve learned that those whom you love the most
are taken away from you too soon …
I’ve learned that it is too difficult to realise where to draw the line between being friendly, not hurting people and supporting your oppinions.
I’ve learned to love
to be loved.
On the other hand it is possible that human control over the
machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have
control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car of
his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will
be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two
difference. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater
control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be
necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the
system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate
the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or
other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate
until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the
elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may
decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human
race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are
satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic
conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and
that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure
his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will
have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove
their need for the power process or to make them "sublimate" their
drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human
beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will
not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic
Theodore J. Kaczynski
I made it three days before the text messages started one afternoon while I was trying to finish warming up before our afternoon session. I had gotten to the LC later than usual and had gone straight to the training room, praising Jesus that I’d decided to change my clothes before leaving the diner once I’d seen what time it was and had remembered lunchtime traffic was a real thing. I was in the middle of stretching my hips when my phone beeped from where I’d left it on top of my bag. I took it out and snickered immediately at the message after taking my time with it.
Jojo: WHAT THE FUCK JASMINE
I didn’t need to ask what my brother was what-the-fucking over. It had only been a matter of time. It was really hard to keep a secret in my family, and the only reason why my mom and Ben—who was the only person other than her who knew—had kept their mouths closed was because they had both agreed it would be more fun to piss off my siblings by not saying anything and letting them find out the hard way I was going to be competing again.
Life was all about the little things.
So, I’d slipped my phone back into my bag and kept stretching, not bothering to respond because it would just make him more mad.
Twenty minutes later, while I was still busy stretching, I pulled my phone out and wasn’t surprised more messages appeared.
Jojo: WHY WOULD YOU NOT TELL ME
Jojo: HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME
Jojo: DID THE REST OF YOU KEEP THIS FROM ME
Tali: What happened? What did she not tell you?
Tali: OH MY GOD, Jasmine, did you get knocked up?
Tali: I swear, if you got knocked up, I’m going to beat the hell out of you. We talked about contraception when you hit puberty.
Sebastian: Jasmine’s pregnant?
Rubes: She’s not pregnant.
Rubes: What happened, Jojo?
Jojo: MOM DID YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS
Tali: Would you just tell us what you’re talking about?
Jojo: JASMINE IS SKATING WITH IVAN LUKOV
Jojo: And I found out by going on Picturegram. Someone at the rink posted a picture of them in one of the training rooms. They were doing lifts.
Jojo: JASMINE I SWEAR TO GOD YOU BETTER EXPLAIN EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW
Tali: ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IS THIS TRUE?
Jojo: I’m going on Lukov’s website right now to confirm this
Rubes: I just called Mom but she isn’t answering the phone
Tali: She knew about this. WHO ELSE KNEW?
Sebastian: I didn’t. And quit texting Jas’s name over and over again. It’s annoying. She’s skating again. Good job, Jas. Happy for you.
Jojo: ^^ You’re such a vibe kill
Sebastian: No, I’m just not flipping my shit because she got a new partner.
Jojo: SHE DIDN’T TELL US FIRST THO. What is the point of being related if we didn’t get the scoop before everybody else?
Jojo: I FOUND OUT ON PICTUREGRAM
Sebastian: She doesn’t like you. I wouldn’t tell you either.
Tali: I can’t find anything about it online.
Tali: Tell us everything or I’m coming over to Mom’s today.
Sebastian: You’re annoying. Muting this until I get out of work.
Jojo: Party pooper
Tali: Party pooper
I typed out a reply, because knowing them, if I didn’t, the next time I looked at my phone, I’d have an endless column of JASMINE on there until they heard from me.
That didn’t mean my response had to be what they wanted.
Me: Who is Ivan Lukov?
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
Have you ever wondered
What happens to all the
poems people write?
The poems they never
let anyone else read?
Perhaps they are
Too private and personal
Perhaps they are just not good enough.
Perhaps the prospect
of such a heartfelt
expression being seen as
overwrought obscure stupid
is enough to give any aspiring
poet good reason to
hide their work from
Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.
Burnt shredded flushed away
Occasionally they are folded
Into little squares
And wedged under the corner of
An unstable piece of furniture
(So actually quite useful)
a loose brick
the back of an
old alarm clock
put between the pages of
AN OBSCURE BOOK
that is unlikely
to ever be opened.
someone might find them one day,
BUT PROBABLY NOT
The truth is that unread poetry
Will almost always be just that.
to join a vast invisible river
of waste that flows out of suburbia.
On rare occasions,
Some especially insistent
pieces of writing will escape
into a backyard
or a laneway
be blown along
a roadside embankment
and finally come
to rest in a
as so many
It is here that
two or more pieces of poetry
drift toward each other
through a strange
force of attraction
and ever so slowly
to form a tiny,
this ball gradually
becomes larger and rounder as other
stray musings wishes and unsent
one by one.
Such a ball creeps
through the streets
Like a tumbleweed
for months even years
If it comes out only at night it has a good
Chance of surviving traffic and children
and through a
slow rolling motion
(its number one predator)
At a certain size, it instinctively
shelters from bad weather, unnoticed
but otherwise roams the streets
thought and feeling.
time and luck
the poetry ball becomes
large HUGE ENORMOUS:
A vast accumulation of papery bits
That ultimately takes to the air, levitating by
The sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.
It floats gently
above suburban rooftops
when everybody is asleep
inspiring lonely dogs
to bark in the middle
of the night.
a big ball of paper
no matter how large and
buoyant, is still a fragile thing.
it will be surprised by
gust of wind
in a matter
everyone will wake up
to find a pulpy mess
covering front lawns
clogging up gutters
and plastering car
Traffic will be delayed
unable to figure out
where it all came from
Will be the
Every lump of
faded words pressed into accidental
but undeniably present
To each reader
they will whisper
hilarious profound and perfect
No one will be able to explain the
Strange feeling of weightlessness
or the private smile
Long after the street sweepers
have come and gone.
Shaun Tan (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
Jazz presumes that it would be nice if the four of us--simpatico dudes that we are--while playing this complicated song together, might somehow be free and autonomous as well. Tragically, this never quite works out. At best, we can only be free one or two at a time--while the other dudes hold onto the wire. Which is not to say that no one has tried to dispense with wires. Many have, and sometimes it works--but it doesn't feel like jazz when it does. The music simply drifts away into the stratosphere of formal dialectic, beyond our social concerns.
Rock-and-roll, on the other hand, presumes that the four of us--as damaged and anti-social as we are--might possibly get it to-fucking-gether, man, and play this simple song. And play it right, okay? Just this once, in tune and on the beat. But we can't. The song's too simple, and we're too complicated and too excited. We try like hell, but the guitars distort, the intonation bends, and the beat just moves, imperceptibly, against our formal expectations, whetehr we want it to or not. Just because we're breathing, man. Thus, in the process of trying to play this very simple song together, we create this hurricane of noise, this infinitely complicated, fractal filigree of delicate distinctions.
And you can thank the wanking eighties, if you wish, and digital sequencers, too, for proving to everyone that technologically "perfect" rock--like "free" jazz--sucks rockets. Because order sucks. I mean, look at the Stones. Keith Richards is always on top of the beat, and Bill Wyman, until he quit, was always behind it, because Richards is leading the band and Charlie Watts is listening to him and Wyman is listening to Watts. So the beat is sliding on those tiny neural lapses, not so you can tell, of course, but so you can feel it in your stomach. And the intonation is wavering, too, with the pulse in the finger on the amplified string. This is the delicacy of rock-and-roll, the bodily rhetoric of tiny increments, necessary imperfections, and contingent community. And it has its virtues, because jazz only works if we're trying to be free and are, in fact, together. Rock-and-roll works because we're all a bunch of flakes. That's something you can depend on, and a good thing too, because in the twentieth century, that's all there is: jazz and rock-and-roll. The rest is term papers and advertising.
Dave Hickey (Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy)
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get.
See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On.
The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour.
And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
Why did you defect now? Why here? There are other troll tribes and hundreds of cities that aren't at war with your King."
"But only the Trylle have Wendy." Loki's smile returned but his eyes ere pained. "And how could I pass on that?"
"She is married, you know," Finn said. "So it might be a good idea if you stopped trying to flirt with her. She's not interested."
"It's up to her to decide who she's interested in," Loki said, with an edge to his voice. "And it's not exactly like you're following your own advice."
"I am her tracker." Finn sat up in bed, but this time I didn't try to stop him. His eyes were burning. "It's my job to protect her."
"No, Duncan is her tracker." Loki pointed to where Duncan stood in the doorway, staring wide-eyed at their confrontation. "And Wendy's stronger than the both of you combined. You're not protecting her. You're protecting yourself because you're a lovesick ex-boyfriend."
"You think you have everything figured out, but you don't know anything," Finn growled. "If it were up to me I'd have you sent back to the Vittra in a flash."
"But it's not up to you!" I snapped. "It's up to me. And this conversation is over. Finn needs to rest, and you are not helping anything, Loki."
"Sorry," Loki said and rubbed his hands on his pants.
"Why don't you go back to your room?" I asked Loki. "I'll be over to talk to you in a minute."
He nodded and got up. "Feel better," Loki said to Finn, and he actually sounded sincere.
Finn grunted in response, and Loki and Duncan left. I wanted to reach out and touch Finn, comfort him in some way, because I felt like he needed it. Maybe I needed it too.
"Get some sleep," I told Finn, since I could think of nothing better to say to him. I got up, but he reached out and grabbed my wrist.
"Wendy, I don't trust him," he said, referring to Loki.
"I know. But I do."
"Be careful," Finn said simply and let go of me.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying over head--
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it WOULD be grand!"
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."
The eldest Oyster looked at him.
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue,
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said
"Do you admire the view?
"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"
"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said.
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size.
Holding his pocket handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter.
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none--
And that was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.
Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2))
In times of old when I was new
And Hogwarts barely started
The founders of our noble school
Thought never to be parted:
United by a common goal,
They had the selfsame yearning,
To make the world’s best magic school
And pass along their learning.
“Together we will build and teach!”
The four good friends decided
And never did they dream that they
Might someday be divided,
For were there such friends anywhere
As Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Unless it was the second pair
Of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?
So how could it have gone so wrong?
How could such friendships fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
The whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, “We’ll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest.”
Said Ravenclaw, “We’ll teach those whose
Intelligence is surest.”
Said Gryffindor, “We’ll teach all those
With brave deeds to their name.”
Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot,
And treat them just the same.”
These differences caused little strife
When first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had
A House in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so,
For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,
And only those of sharpest mind
Were taught by Ravenclaw
While the bravest and the boldest
Went to daring Gryffindor.
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
And taught them all she knew,
Thus the Houses and their founders
Retained friendships firm and true.
So Hogwarts worked in harmony
For several happy years,
But then discord crept among us
Feeding on our faults and fears.
The Houses that, like pillars four,
Had once held up our school,
Now turned upon each other and,
Divided, sought to rule.
And for a while it seemed the school
Must meet an early end,
What with dueling and with fighting
And the clash of friend on friend
And at last there came a morning
When old Slytherin departed
And though the fighting then died out
He left us quite downhearted.
And never since the founders four
Were whittled down to three
Have the Houses been united
As they once were meant to be.
And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses
Because that is what I’m for,
But this year I’ll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it’s wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether
Sorting May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within.
I have told you, I have warned you. . . .
Let the Sorting now begin.
The hat became motionless once more;
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that this raw material arose naturally you fall into another fallacy, For the whole universe might thus have been its own creator, and have arisen quite naturally. If God created the world by an act of his own will, without any raw material, then it is just his will and nothing else — and who will believe this silly nonsense? If he is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If, on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. If he is form-less, action-less and all-embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul, devoid of all morality, would have no desire to create anything. If he is perfect, he does not strive for the three aims of man, so what advantage would he gain by creating the universe? If you say that he created to no purpose because it was his nature to do so, then God is pointless. If he created in some kind of sport, it was the sport of a foolish child, leading to trouble. If he created because of the karma of embodied beings [acquired in a previous creation] He is not the Almighty Lord, but subordinate to something else. If out of love for living beings and need of them he made the world, why did he not take creation wholly blissful free from misfortune? If he were transcendent he would not create, for he would be free: Nor if involved in transmigration, for then he would not be almighty. Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all, And God commits great sin in slaying the children whom he himself created. If you say that he slays only to destroy evil beings, why did he create such beings in the first place? Good men should combat the believer in divine creation, maddened by an evil doctrine. Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning or end, and is based on the principles, life and rest. Uncreated and indestructible, it endures under the compulsion of its own nature.
[By 9th century Jain (the religion of Jainism) Acharya, Jinasena, in his work, Mahapurana, a major Jain text. The Jains have never believed in any gods as creators of the universe, unlike most other religions, and have focused on acting morally on Earth rather than wasting time supplicating the supernatural.]
Jinasena (Mahapurana (महापुराण))
The berth belongs to you too. It will always be there when—if you want to come back.”
Inej could not speak. Her heart felt too full, a dry creek bed ill-prepared for such rain. “I don’t know what to say.”
His bare hand flexed on the crow’s head of his cane. The sight was so strange Inej had trouble tearing her eyes from it. “Say you’ll return.”
“I’m not done with Ketterdam.” She hadn’t known she meant it until she said the words.
Kaz cast her a swift glance. “I thought you wanted to hunt slavers.”
“I do. And I want your help.” Inej licked her lips, tasted the ocean on them. Her life had been a series of impossible moments, so why not ask for something impossible now? “It’s not just the slavers. It’s the procurers, the customers, the Barrel bosses, the politicians. It’s everyone who turns a blind eye to suffering when there’s money to be made.”
“I’m a Barrel boss.”
“You would never sell someone, Kaz. You know better than anyone that you’re not just one more boss scraping for the best margin.”
“The bosses, the customers, the politicians,” he mused. “That could be half the people in Ketterdam—and you want to fight them all.”
“Why not?” Inej asked. “One the seas and in the city. One by one.”
“Brick by brick,” he said. Then he gave a single shake of his head, as if shrugging off the notion. “I wasn’t made to be a hero, Wraith. You should have learned that by now. You want me to be a better man, a good man. I—“
“This city doesn’t need a good man. It needs you.”
“How many times have you told me you’re a monster? So be a monster. Be the thing they all fear when they close their eyes at night. We don’t go after all the gangs. We don’t shut down the houses that treat fairly with their employees. We go after women like Tante Heleen, men like Pekka Rollins.” She paused. “And think about it this way…you’ll be thinning the competition.”
He made a sound that might almost have been a laugh.
One of his hands balanced on his cane. The other rested at his side next to her. She’d need only move the smallest amount and they’d be touching. He was that close. He was that far from reach.
Cautiously, she let her knuckles brush against his, a slight weight, a bird’s feather. He stiffened, but he didn’t pull away.
“I’m not ready to give up on this city, Kaz. I think it’s worth saving.” I think you’re worth saving.
Once they’d stood on the deck of a ship and she’d waited just like this. He had not spoken then and he did not speak now. Inej felt him slipping away, dragged under, caught in an undertow that would take him farther and farther from shore. She understood suffering and knew it was a place she could not follow, not unless she wanted to drown too.
Back on Black Veil, he’d told her they would fight their way out. Knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. She would fight for him, but she could not heal him. She would not waste her life trying.
She felt his knuckles slide again hers. Then his hand was in her hand, his palm pressed against her own. A tremor moved through him. Slowly, he let their fingers entwine.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
I didn't have a choice."
"Are you saying...What are you saying?" Is he...could he be talking about me?
He runs a hand through his hair. I've never seen him this emotional before. He's always so controlled, so sure of himself. "I'm saying you're what I want, Emma. I'm saying I'm in love with you."
He steps forward and lifts his hand to my cheek, blazing a line of fire with his fingertips as they trace down to my mouth. "How do you think it would make me feel to see you with Grom?" he whispers. "Like someone ripped my heart out and put it through Rachel's meat grinder, that's how. Probably worse. It would probably kill me. Emma, please don't cry."
I throw my hands in the air. "Don't cry? Are you serious? Why did you come here, Galen? Did you think it would make me feel better to know that you do love me, but that it still won't work out? That I still have to mate with Grom for the greater good? Don't you tell me not to cry, Galen! I...c...c...can't h...h...help-" The waterworks soak me. Galen looks at me, hands by his side, helpless as a trapped crab. I'm bordering on hyperventilation, and pretty soon I'll start hiccupping. This is too much.
His expression is so severe, it looks like he's in physical pain. "Emma," he breathes. "Emma, does this mean you feel the same way? Do you care for me at all?"
I laugh, but it sounds sharper than I intended, because of a hiccup. "What does it matter how I feel, Galen? I think we pretty much covered why. No need to rehash things, right?"
"It matters, Emma." He grabs my hand and pulls me to him again. "Tell me right now. Do you care for me?"
"If you can't tell that I'm stupid in love with you, Galen, then you aren't a very good ambassador for the hum-"
His mouth covers mine, cutting me off. This kiss isn't gentle like the first one. It's definitely not sweet. It's rough, demanding, searching. And disorienting. There's not a part of me that isn't melting against Galen, not a part that isn't combusting with his fevered touch.
I accidentally moan into his lips. He takes it for his cue to lift me off my feet, to pull me up to his height for more leverage. I take his groan for my cue to kiss him harder.
He ignores his cell phone ringing in his pocket. I ignore the rest of the universe. Even when headlights approach, I'm willing to overlook their intrusion and keep kissing. But, prince that he is, Galen is a little more refined than me at this moment. He gently pries his lips from mine and sets me down. His smile is both intoxicated and intoxicating. "We still need to talk."
"Right," I say, but I'm shaking my head.
He laughs. "I didn't come all the way to Atlantic City to make you cry."
"I'm not crying." I lean into him again. He doesn't refuse my lips, but he doesn't do them justice either, planting a measly little kiss on them before stepping back.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Fame requires every kind of excess. I mean true fame, a devouring neon, not the somber renown of waning statesmen or chinless kings. I mean long journeys across gray space. I mean danger, the edge of every void, the circumstance of one man imparting an erotic terror to the dreams of the republic. Understand the man who must inhabit these extreme regions, monstrous and vulval, damp with memories of violation. Even if half-mad he is absorbed into the public's total madness; even if fully rational, a bureaucrat in hell, a secret genius of survival, he is sure to be destroyed by the public's contempt for survivors. Fame, this special kind, feeds itself on outrage, on what the counselors of lesser men would consider bad publicity-hysteria in limousines, knife fights in the audience, bizarre litigation, treachery, pandemonium and drugs. Perhaps the only natural law attaching to true fame is that the famous man is compelled, eventually, to commit suicide.
(Is it clear I was a hero of rock'n'roll?)
Toward the end of the final tour it became apparent that our audience wanted more than music, more even than its own reduplicated noise. It's possible the culture had reached its limit, a point of severe tension. There was less sense of simple visceral abandon at our concerts during these last weeks. Few cases of arson and vandalism. Fewer still of rape. No smoke bombs or threats of worse explosives. Our followers, in their isolation, were not concerned with precedent now. They were free of old saints and martyrs, but fearfully so, left with their own unlabeled flesh. Those without tickets didn't storm the barricades, and during a performance the boys and girls directly below us, scratching at the stage, were less murderous in their love of me, as if realizing finally that my death, to be authentic, must be self-willed- a succesful piece of instruction only if it occured by my own hand, preferrably ina foreign city. I began to think their education would not be complete until they outdid me as a teacher, until one day they merely pantomimed the kind of massive response the group was used to getting. As we performed they would dance, collapse, clutch each other, wave their arms, all the while making absolutely no sound. We would stand in the incandescent pit of a huge stadium filled with wildly rippling bodies, all totally silent. Our recent music, deprived of people's screams, was next to meaningless, and there would have been no choice but to stop playing. A profound joke it would have been. A lesson in something or other.
In Houston I left the group, saying nothing, and boarded a plane for New York City, that contaminated shrine, place of my birth. I knew Azarian would assume leadership of the band, his body being prettiest. As to the rest, I left them to their respective uproars- news media, promotion people, agents, accountants, various members of the managerial peerage. The public would come closer to understanding my disappearance than anyone else. It was not quite as total as the act they needed and nobody could be sure whether I was gone for good. For my closest followers, it foreshadowed a period of waiting. Either I'd return with a new language for them to speak or they'd seek a divine silence attendant to my own.
I took a taxi past the cemetaries toward Manhattan, tides of ash-light breaking across the spires. new York seemed older than the cities of Europe, a sadistic gift of the sixteenth century, ever on the verge of plague. The cab driver was young, however, a freckled kid with a moderate orange Afro. I told him to take the tunnel.
Is there a tunnel?" he said.
To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice—
Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid, with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
Yet not to thine eternal resting-place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world—with kings,
The powerful of the earth—the wise, the good,
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun,—the vales
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods—rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old Ocean’s gray and melancholy waste,—
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom.—Take the wings
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound,
Save his own dashings—yet the dead are there:
And millions in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep—the dead reign there alone.
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw
In silence from the living, and no friend
Take note of thy departure? All that breathe
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care
Plod on, and each one as before will chase
His favorite phantom; yet all these shall leave
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come
And make their bed with thee. As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life’s green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron and maid,
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man—
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side,
By those, who in their turn shall follow them.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
William Cullen Bryant (Thanatopsis)
Gustavo Tiberius speaking."
“It’s so weird you do that, man,” Casey said, sounding amused. “Every time I call.”
“It’s polite,” Gus said. “Just because you kids these days don’t have proper phone etiquette.”
“Oh boy, there’s the Grumpy Gus I know. You miss me?”
Gus was well aware the others could hear the conversation loud and clear. He was also aware he had a reputation to maintain. “Hadn’t really thought about it.”
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” Gus mumbled into the phone, blushing fiercely.
“Yeah? How much?”
Gus was in hell. “A lot,” he said truthfully. “There have been allegations made against my person of pining and moping. False allegations, mind you, but allegations nonetheless.”
“I know what you mean,” Casey said. “The guys were saying the same thing about me.”
Gus smiled. “How embarrassing for you.”
“Completely. You have no idea.”
“They’re going to get you packed up this week?”
“Ah, yeah. Sure. Something like that.”
“You’re being cagey.”
“I have no idea what you mean. Hey, that’s a nice Hawaiian shirt you’ve got on. Pink? I don’t think I’ve seen you in that color before.”
Gus shrugged. “Pastor Tommy had a shitload of them. I think I could wear one every day for the rest of the year and not repeat. I think he may have had a bit of a….” Gus trailed off when his hand started shaking. Then, “How did you know what I was wearing?”
There was a knock on the window to the Emporium. Gus looked up.
Standing on the sidewalk was Casey. He was wearing bright green skinny jeans and a white and red shirt that proclaimed him to be a member of the 1987 Pasadena Bulldogs Women’s Softball team. He looked ridiculous. And like the greatest thing Gus had ever seen.
Casey wiggled his eyebrows at Gus. “Hey, man.”
“Hi,” Gus croaked.
“Come over here, but stay on the phone, okay?”
Gus didn’t even argue, unable to take his eyes off Casey. He hadn’t expected him for another week, but here he was on a pretty Saturday afternoon, standing outside the Emporium like it was no big deal.
Gus went to the window, and Casey smiled that lazy smile.
He said, “Hi.”
Gus said, “Hi.”
“So, I’ve spent the last two days driving back,” Casey said. “Tried to make it a surprise, you know?”
“I’m very surprised,” Gus managed to say, about ten seconds away from busting through the glass just so he could hug Casey close.
The smile widened. “Good. I’ve had some time to think about things, man. About a lot of things. And I came to this realization as I drove past Weed, California. Gus. It was called Weed, California. It was a sign.”
Gus didn’t even try to stop the eye roll. “Oh my god.”
“Right? Kismet. Because right when I entered Weed, California, I was thinking about you and it hit me. Gus, it hit me.”
Casey put his hand up against the glass. Gus did the same on his side. “Hey, Gus?”
“I’m going to ask you a question, okay?”
Gustavo’s throat felt very dry. “Okay.”
“What was the Oscar winner for Best Song in 1984?”
Automatically, Gus answered, “Stevie Wonder for the movie The Woman in Red. The song was ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You.’” It was fine, of course. Because he knew answers to all those things. He didn’t know why Casey wanted to—
And then he could barely breathe.
Casey’s smile wobbled a little bit. “Okay?”
Gus blinked the burn away. He nodded as best he could.
And Casey said, “Yeah, man. I love you too.”
Gus didn’t even care that he dropped his phone then. All that mattered was getting as close to Casey as humanely possible. He threw open the door to the Emporium and suddenly found himself with an armful of hipster. Casey laughed wetly into his neck and Gus just held on as hard as he could. He thought that it was possible that he might never be in a position to let go. For some reason, that didn’t bother him in the slightest.
T.J. Klune (How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1))
We entered the cool cave of the practice space with all the long-haired, goateed boys stoned on clouds of pot and playing with power tools. I tossed my fluffy coat into the hollow of my bass drum and lay on the carpet with my worn newspaper. A shirtless boy came in and told us he had to cut the power for a minute, and I thought about being along in the cool black room with Joey. Let's go smoke, she said, and I grabbed the cigarettes off the amp. She started talking to me about Wonder Woman. I feel like something big is happening, but I don't know what to do about it. With The Straight Girl? I asked in the blankest voice possible. With everything. Back in the sun we walked to the edge of the parking lot where a black Impala convertible sat, rusted and rotting, looking like it just got dredged from a swamp. Rainwater pooling on the floor. We climbed up onto it and sat our butts backward on the edge of the windshield, feet stretched into the front seat. Before she even joined the band, I would think of her each time I passed the car, the little round medallions with the red and black racing flags affixed to the dash. On the rusting Chevy, Joey told me about her date the other night with a girl she used to like who she maybe liked again. How her heart was shut off and it felt pretty good. How she just wanted to play around with this girl and that girl and this girl and I smoked my cigarette and went Uh-Huh. The sun made me feel like a restless country girl even though I'd never been on a farm. I knew what I stood for, even if nobody else did. I knew the piece of me on the inside, truer than all the rest, that never comes out. Doesn't everyone have one? Some kind of grand inner princess waiting to toss her hair down, forever waiting at the tower window. Some jungle animal so noble and fierce you had to crawl on your belly through dangerous grasses to get a glimpse. I gave Joey my cigarette so I could unlace the ratty green laces of my boots, pull them off, tug the linty wool tights off my legs. I stretched them pale over the car, the hair springing like weeds and my big toenail looking cracked and ugly. I knew exactly who I was when the sun came back and the air turned warm. Joey climbed over the hood of the car, dusty black, and said Let's lie down, I love lying in the sun, but there wasn't any sun there. We moved across the street onto the shining white sidewalk and she stretched out, eyes closed. I smoked my cigarette, tossed it into the gutter and lay down beside her. She said she was sick of all the people who thought she felt too much, who wanted her to be calm and contained. Who? I asked. All the flowers, the superheroes. I thought about how she had kissed me the other night, quick and hard, before taking off on a date in her leather chaps, hankies flying, and I sat on the couch and cried at everything she didn't know about how much I liked her, and someone put an arm around me and said, You're feeling things, that's good. Yeah, I said to Joey on the sidewalk, I Feel Like I Could Calm Down Some. Awww, you're perfect. She flipped her hand over and touched my head. Listen, we're barely here at all, I wanted to tell her, rolling over, looking into her face, we're barely here at all and everything goes so fast can't you just kiss me? My eyes were shut and the cars sounded close when they passed. The sun was weak but it baked the grime on my skin and made it smell delicious. A little kid smell. We sat up to pop some candy into our mouths, and then Joey lay her head on my lap, spent from sugar and coffee. Her arm curled back around me and my fingers fell into her slippery hair. On the February sidewalk that felt like spring.