Home Staging Quotes

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Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Who here wants to be a writer?' I asked. Everyone in the room raised his hand. 'Why the hell aren't you home writing?' I said, and left the stage.
Leon Uris (Qb VII)
On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone.
Janis Joplin
I don't know. But I do know that I'm at the stage of my life where I want forever, not right now. I know that the first person I kissed won't be nearly as important as the last person I kiss. And I also know better than to dream about things that can't happen.
Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home)
The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan
It is the phenomenon somethings called "alienation from self." In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the specter of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that answering it becomes out of the question. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves - there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
But depression wasn't the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn't he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells await them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten from top to bottom.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
The big truth for men is that often we have to leave home in the first half of life before we can return home at a later stage and find our soul there.
Richard Rohr
Was there anything more wonderful than sending someone home with a book you loved? No, there was not.
Kylie Scott (Play (Stage Dive, #2))
Life is a process during which one initially gets less and less dependent, independent, and then more and more dependent.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
He saw clearly how plain and simple - how narrow, even - it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
Veil, you see, if I vas to say something portentous like "zer dark eyes of zer mind" back home in Uberwald, zer would be a sudden crash of thunder,' said Otto. 'And if I vas to point at a castle on a towering crag and say "Yonder is . . . zer castle" a volf would be bound to howl mournfully.' He sighed. 'In zer old country, zer scenery is psychotropic and knows vot is expected of it. Here, alas, people just look at you in a funny vay.
Terry Pratchett (The Truth: Stage Adaptation)
Here, too, I found neither home nor company, nothing but a seat from which to view a stage where strange people played strange parts.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Stages As every flower fades and as all youth Departs, so life at every stage, So every virtue, so our grasp of truth, Blooms in its day and may not last forever. Since life may summon us at every age Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor, Be ready bravely and without remorse To find new light that old ties cannot give. In all beginnings dwells a magic force For guarding us and helping us to live. Serenely let us move to distant places And let no sentiments of home detain us. The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces. If we accept a home of our own making, Familiar habit makes for indolence. We must prepare for parting and leave-taking Or else remain the slaves of permanence. Even the hour of our death may send Us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces, And life may summon us to newer races. So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.
Hermann Hesse (The Glass Bead Game)
So, Mr. Digence, home to visit the family?" "That's right. My mother's folks are from Killarney." "Oh, really?" "O'Reilly, actually. But what's a vowel between friends?" "Very good. You should be on the stage." "It's funny you should mention that." The passport officer groaned. Ten more minutes and his shift would have been over. "I was being sarcastic, actually. . ." "Because my friend, Mr. McGuire, and I are also doing a stint in the Christmas pantomime. It's Snow White. I'm Doc, and he's Dopey." The passport officer forced a smile. "Very good. Next." Mulch spoke for the entire line to hear. "Of course, Mr. McGuire there was born to play Dopey, if you catch my drift." Loafers lost it right there in the terminal. "You little freak!" he screamed. "I'll kill you! You'll be my next tattoo! You'll be my next tattoo!" Much tutted as Loafers disappeared beneath half a dozen security guards. "Actors," he said. "Highly strung.
Eoin Colfer (The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl, #3))
From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Yeah. I told you he was crazy, right? I heard he does some weird stuff at home, too.' He said it with a conspiratorial stage whisper. 'Like mowing his lawn, and trimming his peonies.' 'Peonies?' I balked. 'God, he really is a freak.
Francesca Zappia (Made You Up)
Principal Brill, those costumes were made by my mother. My mother, who has stage four small-cell lung cancer. My mother, who will never watch her little boy celebrate another Halloween again. My mother, who will more than likely experience a year of 'lasts'. Last Christmas. Last birthday. Last Easter. And if God is willing, her last Mother's Day. My mother, who when asked by her nine-year-old son if he could be her cancer for Halloween, had no choice but to make him the best cancerous tumor-riden lung costume she could. So if you think it's so offensive, I suggest you drive them home yourself and tell my mother to her face. Do you need my address?
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
I am, and always have been - first, last, and always - a child of America. You raised me. I grew up in the pastures and hills of Texas, but I had been to thirty-four states before I learned how to drive. When I caught the stomach flu in the fifth grade, my mother sent a note to school written on the back of a holiday memo from Vice President Biden. Sorry, sir—we were in a rush, and it was the only paper she had on hand. I spoke to you for the first time when I was eighteen, on the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when I introduced my mother as the nominee for president. You cheered for me. I was young and full of hope, and you let me embody the American dream: that a boy who grew up speaking two languages, whose family was blended and beautiful and enduring, could make a home for himself in the White House. You pinned the flag to my lapel and said, “We’re rooting for you.” As I stand before you today, my hope is that I have not let you down. Years ago, I met a prince. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, his country had raised him too. The truth is, Henry and I have been together since the beginning of this year. The truth is, as many of you have read, we have both struggled every day with what this means for our families, our countries, and our futures. The truth is, we have both had to make compromises that cost us sleep at night in order to afford us enough time to share our relationship with the world on our own terms. We were not afforded that liberty. But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable. America has always believed this. And so, I am not ashamed to stand here today where presidents have stood and say that I love him, the same as Jack loved Jackie, the same as Lyndon loved Lady Bird. Every person who bears a legacy makes the choice of a partner with whom they will share it, whom the American people will “hold beside them in hearts and memories and history books. America: He is my choice. Like countless other Americans, I was afraid to say this out loud because of what the consequences might be. To you, specifically, I say: I see you. I am one of you. As long as I have a place in this White House, so will you. I am the First Son of the United States, and I’m bisexual. History will remember us. If I can ask only one thing of the American people, it’s this: Please, do not let my actions influence your decision in November. The decision you will make this year is so much bigger than anything I could ever say or do, and it will determine the fate of this country for years to come. My mother, your president, is the warrior and the champion that each and every American deserves for four more years of growth, progress, and prosperity. Please, don’t let my actions send us backward. I ask the media not to focus on me or on Henry, but on the campaign, on policy, on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake in this election. And finally, I hope America will remember that I am still the son you raised. My blood still runs from Lometa, Texas, and San Diego, California, and Mexico City. I still remember the sound of your voices from that stage in Philadelphia. I wake up every morning thinking of your hometowns, of the families I’ve met at rallies in Idaho and Oregon and South Carolina. I have never hoped to be anything other than what I was to you then, and what I am to you now—the First Son, yours in actions and words. And I hope when Inauguration Day comes again in January, I will continue to be.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
What do I want? What kind of question is that? I want what everybody wants. I want someone who has my back. I want someone's name to put in the space after "in an emergecy please call." I want someone who will drink the other half of the bottle of wine so I don't. And someone to make it worth sitting down at an actual table to eat. I want someone who's dying to get home after a long day because I'm going to be there.
Claire Cook (Best Staged Plans)
Wise men have regarded the earth as a tragedy, a farce, even an illusionist's trick; but all, if they are truly wise, and not merely intellectual rapists, recognize that it is certainly some kind of stage in which we all play roles, most of us being very poorly coached and totally unrehearsed before the curtain rises. Is it too much if I ask, tentatively, that we agree to look upon it as a circus, a touring carnival wandering about the sun for a record season of four billion years and producing new monsters and miracles, hoaxes and bloody mishaps, wonders and blunders, but never quite entertaining the customers well enough to prevent them from leaving, one by one, and returning to their homes for a long and bored winter's sleep under the dust?
Robert Anton Wilson
I wrote too many poems in a language I did not yet know how to speak But I know now it doesn't matter how well I say grace if I am sitting at a table where I am offering no bread to eat So this is my wheat field you can have every acre, Love this is my garden song this is my fist fight with that bitter frost tonight I begged another stage light to become that back alley street lamp that we danced beneath the night your warm mouth fell on my timid cheek as i sang maybe i need you off key but in tune maybe i need you the way that big moon needs that open sea maybe i didn't even know i was here til i saw you holding me give me one room to come home to give me the palm of your hand every strand of my hair is a kite string and I have been blue in the face with your sky crying a flood over Iowa so you mother will wake to Venice Lover, I smashed my glass slipper to build a stained glass window for every wall inside my chest now my heart is a pressed flower and a tattered bible it is the one verse you can trust so I'm putting all of my words in the collection plate I am setting the table with bread and grace my knees are bent like the corner of a page I am saving your place
Andrea Gibson
The real meaning of persona is a mask, such as actors were accustomed to wear on the ancient stage; and it is quite true that no one shows himself as he is, but wears his mask and plays his part. Indeed, the whole of our social arrangements may be likened to a perpetual comedy; and this is why a man who is worth anything finds society so insipid, while a blockhead is quite at home in it.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Studies in Pessimism (Essays of Arthur Schopenhauer))
It's about that applause I want to speak to you. I want you to remember that when you've done a little dance or a song or sketch, the applause which you get is not only because you yourself have done your best, but because each of those men is seeing in you someone he loves at home, and because of you is able to forget for a little while the unhappiness of not being in his home, and in some cases the great tragedy of not knowing what has happened to the children in his family.
Noel Streatfeild (Theater Shoes (Shoes, #4))
He smelled faintly of soap, a little musky, perhaps. Warm wasn't something, I'd ever registered as having a smell before, but that's what David smelled of. Warmth, like he was liquid sunshine or something. Heat and comfort and home.
Kylie Scott (Lick (Stage Dive, #1))
In the 1890s, when Freud was in the dawn of his career, he was struck by how many of his female patients were revealing childhood incest victimization to him. Freud concluded that child sexual abuse was one of the major causes of emotional disturbances in adult women and wrote a brilliant and humane paper called “The Aetiology of Hysteria.” However, rather than receiving acclaim from his colleagues for his ground-breaking insights, Freud met with scorn. He was ridiculed for believing that men of excellent reputation (most of his patients came from upstanding homes) could be perpetrators of incest. Within a few years, Freud buckled under this heavy pressure and recanted his conclusions. In their place he proposed the “Oedipus complex,” which became the foundation of modern psychology. According to this theory any young girl actually desires sexual contact with her father, because she wants to compete with her mother to be the most special person in his life. Freud used this construct to conclude that the episodes of incestuous abuse his clients had revealed to him had never taken place; they were simply fantasies of events the women had wished for when they were children and that the women had come to believe were real. This construct started a hundred-year history in the mental health field of blaming victims for the abuse perpetrated on them and outright discrediting of women’s and children’s reports of mistreatment by men. Once abuse was denied in this way, the stage was set for some psychologists to take the view that any violent or sexually exploitative behaviors that couldn’t be denied—because they were simply too obvious—should be considered mutually caused. Psychological literature is thus full of descriptions of young children who “seduce” adults into sexual encounters and of women whose “provocative” behavior causes men to become violent or sexually assaultive toward them. I wish I could say that these theories have long since lost their influence, but I can’t. A psychologist who is currently one of the most influential professionals nationally in the field of custody disputes writes that women provoke men’s violence by “resisting their control” or by “attempting to leave.” She promotes the Oedipus complex theory, including the claim that girls wish for sexual contact with their fathers. In her writing she makes the observation that young girls are often involved in “mutually seductive” relationships with their violent fathers, and it is on the basis of such “research” that some courts have set their protocols. The Freudian legacy thus remains strong.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
A show of hands, please: How many of you have had a teacher at any stage of your education, from the first grade until this day in May, who made you happier to be alive, prouder to be alive, than you had previously believed possible? Good! Now say the name of that teacher to someone sitting or standing near you. All done? Thank you, and drive home safely, and God bless you all.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young)
When I was in eighth grade, I used a self-timing camera to take nude pictures of myself in various stages of erection. I then exchanged my biology teacher’s slides with the images. The teacher, in a state of panic, kept rapidly pressing the ‘next’ button. It was like a pornographic flip-book. That was the last straw in a very heavy pile of straws. I was expelled, and I ended up transferring mid-year from boarding school to a public school near home.
Dani Alexander (Shattered Glass (Shattered Glass, #1))
He gave me a long look. “Any time. If you need something, I want you to tell me. That’s the only way this is going to work.” “Okay.” I needed his naked body at my disposal. Now. “I want total honesty from you, okay?” “Total honesty.” So help me, I’d ride him all the way home and back again.
Kylie Scott (Deep (Stage Dive, #4))
the more one was lost in unfamiliar quarters of distant cities, the more one understood the other cities he had crossed to arrive there; and he retraced the stages of his journeys, and he came to know the port from which he set sail, and the familiar places of his youth, and the surroundings of home...
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
can you hear the women who came before me five hundred thousand voices ringing through my neck as if this were all a stage built for them i can’t tell which parts of me are me and which parts are them can you see them taking over my spirit shaking out of my limbs to do everything they couldn’t do when they were alive
Rupi Kaur (Home Body)
His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.
Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
Parents abandon their children. Children abandon their parents. Parents protect or forsake, but they always forsake. Children stay or go but they always go. And it's all unfair, especially the sound of the words, because language is pleasing and confusing, because ultimately we would like to sing or at least whistle a tune, to walk alongside the stage whistling a tune. We want to be actors waiting patiently for the cue to go onstage. But the audience left a long time ago.
Alejandro Zambra (Ways of Going Home)
He acts like an animal, has an animal's habits! Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There's even something -sub-human -something not quite to the stage of humanity yet! Yes, something - ape-like about him, like one of those pictures I've seen in - anthropological studies! Thousands and thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he is - Stanley Kowalski - survivor of the Stone Age! Bearing the raw meat home from the kill in the jungle! And you - you here - waiting for him! Maybe he'll strike you or maybe grunt and kiss you! That is, if kisses have been discovered yet! Night falls and the other apes gather! There in the front of the cave, all grunting like him, and swilling and gnawing and hulking! His poker night! - you call it - this party of apes! Somebody growls - some creature snatches at something - the fight is on! God! Maybe we are a long way from beng made in God's image, but Stella - my sister - there has been some progress since then! Such things as art - as poetry and music - such kinds of new light have come into the world since then! In some kinds of people some tendered feelings have had some little beginning! That we have got to make grow! And cling to, and hold as our flag! In this dark march towards what-ever it is we're approaching . . . Don't - don't hang back with the brutes!
Tennessee Williams (A Streetcar Named Desire)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
You both love Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Hawthorne and Melville, Flaubert and Stendahl, but at that stage of your life you cannot stomach Henry James, while Gwyn argues that he is the giant of giants, the colossus who makes all other novelists look like pygmies. You are in complete harmony about the greatness of Kafka and Beckett, but when you tell her that Celine belongs in their company, she laughs at you and calls him a fascist maniac. Wallace Stevens yes, but next in line for you is William Carlos Williams, not T.S. Eliot, whose work Gwyn can recite from memory. You defend Keaton, she defends Chaplin, and while you both howl at the sight of the Marx Brothers, your much-adored W.C. Fields cannot coax a single smile from her. Truffaut at his best touches you both, but Gwyn finds Godard pretentious and you don't, and while she lauds Bergman and Antonioni as twin masters of the universe, you reluctantly tell her that you are bored by their films. No conflicts about classical music, with J.S. Bach at the top of the list, but you are becoming increasingly interested in jazz, while Gwyn still clings to the frenzy of rock and roll, which has stopped saying much of anything to you. She likes to dance, and you don't. She laughs more than you do and smokes less. She is a freer, happier person than you are, and whenever you are with her, the world seems brighter and more welcoming, a place where your sullen, introverted self can almost begin to feel at home.
Paul Auster (Invisible (Rough Cut))
It was a wonderful life. To have a stage play right in this room, with real people acting real parts.
Jan Karon (Home to Holly Springs (Mitford Years, #10))
Masks! I see them everywhere. That dreadful vision of the other night - the deserted town with its masked corpses in every doorway; that nightmare product of morphine and ether - has taken up residence within me. I see masks in the street, I see them on stage in the theatre, I find yet more of them in the boxes. They are on the balcony and in the orchestra-pit. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by masks. The attendants to whom I give my overcoat are masked; masks crowd around me in the foyer as everyone leaves, and the coachman who drives me home has the same cardboard grimace fixed upon his face! It is truly too much to bear: to feel that one is alone and at the mercy of all those enigmatic and deceptive faces, alone amid all the mocking laughs and the threats embodied in those masks. I have tried to persuade myself that I am dreaming, and that I am the victim of a hallucination, but all the powdered and painted faces of women, all the rouged lips and kohl-blackened eyelids... all of that has created around me an atmosphere of trance and mortal agony. Cosmetics: there is the root cause of my illness! But I am happy, now, when there are only masks! Sometimes, I detect the cadavers beneath, and remember that beneath the masks there is a host of spectres.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
Iam a sensitive, introverted woman, which means that I love humanity but actual human beings are tricky for me. I love people but not in person. For example, I would die for you but not, like…meet you for coffee. I became a writer so I could stay at home alone in my pajamas, reading and writing about the importance of human connection and community. It is an almost perfect existence. Except that every so often, while I’m thinking my thoughts, writing my words, living in my favorite spot—which is deep inside my own head—something stunning happens: A sirenlike noise tears through my home. I freeze. It takes me a solid minute to understand: The siren is the doorbell. A person is ringing my doorbell. I run out of my office to find my children also stunned, frozen, and waiting for direction about how to respond to this imminent home invasion. We stare at each other, count bodies, and collectively cycle through the five stages of doorbell grief: Denial: This cannot be happening. ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO BE IN THIS HOUSE ARE ALREADY IN THIS HOUSE. Maybe it was the TV. IS THE TV ON? Anger: WHO DOES THIS? WHAT KIND OF BOUNDARYLESS AGGRESSOR RINGS SOMEONE’S DOORBELL IN BROAD DAYLIGHT? Bargaining: Don’t move, don’t breathe—maybe they’ll go away. Depression: Why? Why us? Why anyone? Why is life so hard? Acceptance: Damnit to hell. You—the little one—we volunteer you. Put on some pants, act normal, and answer the door. It’s dramatic, but the door always gets answered. If the kids aren’t home, I’ll even answer it myself. Is this because I remember that adulting requires door answering? Of course not. I answer the door because of the sliver of hope in my heart that if I open the door, there might be a package waiting for me. A package!
Glennon Doyle (Untamed)
At the college where I teach, I'm surrounded by circus people. We aren't tightrope walkers or acrobats. We don't breathe fire or swallow swords. We're gypsies, moving wherever there's work to be found. Our scrapbooks and photo albums bear witness to our vagabond lives: college years, grad-school years, instructor-mill years, first-job years. In between each stage is a picture of old friends helping to fill a truck with boxes and furniture. We pitch our tents, and that place becomes home for a while. We make families from colleagues and students, lovers and neighbors. And when that place is no longer working, we don't just make do. We move on to the place that's next. No place is home. Every place is home. Home is our stuff. As much as I love the Cumberland Valley at twilight, I probably won't live there forever, and this doesn't really scare me. That's how I know I'm circus people.
Cathy Day (The Circus In Winter)
When I was a little girl and my teachers sent notes home complaining that I was as loud as the boys, that it wasn't lady like for a girl to be this outspoken, this raucous, instead of forcing me to tone it down to the timber of a stage whisper, just a few notes above a whimper you took me by the hand to the hilltop by our house, told me to use my voice by shouting to my heart's content, told me never to forget that I was a girl not a mouse and if I believed I had to change myself to suit anyone else I shouldn't that no matter what they said my voice was so important. You then visited my school, called a meeting with my teachers sat them all down and said that you were raising a rebel girl to be a warrior woman, and if she could not speak, the same way boys are allowed to, if she had to turn her voice into sighs then how will she utter the battle cries that were needed when her warrior sisters called upon her to help them defend the daughters of this world.
Nikita Gill
What stage of love was it when another person became a habit? How quickly had the mere background hum of another person's life become such an essential fixture of the house that its absence felt like a robbery? Like their home had been gutted and he was left drifting around the remains...
Charlie Adhara (Cry Wolf (Big Bad Wolf, #5))
There are seven incarnations (and six correlates) necessary to becoming an Artist: 1. Explorer (Courage) 2. Surveyor (Vision) 3. Miner (Strength) 4. Refiner (Patience) 5. Designer (Intelligence) 6. Maker (Experience) 7. Artist. First, you must leave the safety of your home and go into the dangers of the world, whether to an actual territory or some unexamined aspect of the psyche. This is what is meant by 'Explorer.' Next, you must have the vision to recognize your destination once you arrive there. Note that a destination may sometimes also be the journey. This is what is meant by 'Surveyor.' Third, you must be strong enough to dig up the facts, follow veins of history, unearth telling details. This is what is meant by 'Miner.' Fourth, you must have the patience to winnow and process your material into something rare. This may take months or even years. And this is what is meant by 'Refiner.' Fifth, you must use your intellect to conceive of your material as something meaning more than its origins. This is what is meant by 'Designer.' Six, you must fashion a work independent of everything that has gone before it including yourself. This is accomplished though experience and is what is meant by 'Maker.' At this stage, the work is acceptable. You will be fortunate to have progressed so far. It is unlikely, however, that you will go any farther. Most do not. But let us assume you are exceptional. Let us assume you are rare. What then does it mean to reach the final incarnation? Only this: at every stage, from 1 thru 6, you will risk more, see more, gather more, process more, fashion more, consider more, love more, suffer more, imagine more and in the end know why less means more and leave what doesn't and keep what implies and create what matters. This is what is meant by 'Artist.
Mark Z. Danielewski
I know this freaks you out. And it should probably freak me out too. But it doesn’t. It feels right. You and I feel right. So stay with me for just tonight. I promise to return you home in one piece, both inside and out. Can I have this? Just tonight?
Rachel Higginson (The Five Stages of Falling in Love)
When Seymour and I were five and three, Les and Bessie played on the same bill for a couple of weeks with Joe Jackson -- the redoubtable Joe Jackson of the nickel-plated trick bicycle that shone like something better than platinum to the very last row of the theater. A good many years later, not long after the outbreak of the Second World War, when Seymour and I had just recently moved into a small New York apartment of our own, our father -- Les, as he'll be called hereafter -- dropped in on us one evening on his way home from a pinochle game. He quite apparently had held very bad cards all afternoon. He came in, at any rate, rigidly predisposed to keep his overcoat on. He sat. He scowled at the furnishings. He turned my hand over to check for cigarette-tar stains on my fingers, then asked Seymour how many cigarettes he smoked a day. He thought he found a fly in his highball. At length, when the conversation -- in my view, at least -- was going straight to hell, he got up abruptly and went over to look at a photograph of himself and Bessie that had been newly tacked up on the wall. He glowered at it for a full minute, or more, then turned around, with a brusqueness no one in the family would have found unusual, and asked Seymour if he remembered the time Joe Jackson had given him, Seymour, a ride on the handle bars of his bicycle, all over the stage, around and around. Seymour, sitting in an old corduroy armchair across the room, a cigarette going, wearing a blue shirt, gray slacks, moccasins with the counters broken down, a shaving cut on the side of his face that I could see, replied gravely and at once, and in the special way he always answered questions from Les -- as if they were the questions, above all others, he preferred to be asked in his life. He said he wasn't sure he had ever got off Joe Jackson's beautiful bicycle.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
The thing is, you're beautiful. Yes, you… In your wild, mundane glory. Your daily life hides from you the possibilities of why you’re here And who you are. But never forget that every breath you take is actual alchemy. With your eyes you record visions of this place. With your fingertips you read the bumps in life, Sending messages back from whence you came. You’re a soul traveler, An explorer. You make this place home for now; Trying on the costumes, Playing out your roles. Every so often, take off your masks. Drop your robes. See yourself reflected in the very mirror of your life. And remember… When you leave this stage, The only thing you will wonder is, “Did I love brilliantly?
Jacob Nordby
You don't have the right to complain about your life if you're not willing to change it
Tori Toth (Feel At Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell)
Y'know — Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts . . . and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,— same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then. So I'm going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now'll know a few simple facts about us — more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lind-bergh flight. See what I mean? So — people a thousand years from now — this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. — This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying. Said by the Stage Manager
Thornton Wilder (Our Town)
One thing we've learned this summer is that a house is not an end in itself, any more than "home" is just one geographic location where things feel safe and familiar. Home can be anyplace in which we create our own sense of rest and peace as we tend to the spaces in which we eat and sleep and play. It is a place that we create and re-create in every moment, at every stage of our lives, a place where the plain and common becomes cherished and the ordinary becomes sacred.
Katrina Kenison (The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir)
Michael wasn't on the pool deck, which was hard for me. None of my old Coral Springs teammates were around. Still, that old plane of cement felt like home. I folded my clothes and put them on the bench. I placed my water bottle under my starting block, and I dove in. Once again, I felt that ultimate state of transition, my feet no longer on the ground, my hands not yet in the water.
Dara Torres (Age Is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
Survivors often feel like prisoners in their own homes during the later stages of the relationship. They are told what they should and should not be doing and treated like children who need guidance.
Debbie Mirza (The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist: Recognizing the Traits and Finding Healing After Hidden Emotional and Psychological Abuse (The Narcissism Series Book 1))
Instructions for a Broken Heart I will find a bare patch of earth, somewhere where the ruins have fallen away, somewhere where I can fit both hands, and I will dig a hole. And into that hole, I will scream you, I will dump all the shadow places of my heart—the times you didn’t call when you said you’d call, the way you only half listened to my poems, your eyes on people coming through the swinging door of the café—not on me—your ears, not really turned toward me. For all those times I started to tell you about the fight with my dad or when my grandma died, and you said something about your car, something about the math test you flunked, as an answer. I will scream into that hole the silence of dark nights after you’d kissed me, how when I asked if something was wrong—and something was obviously so very wrong—how you said “nothing,” how you didn’t tell me until I had to see it in the dim light of a costume barn—so much wrong. I will scream all of it. Then I will fill it in with dark earth, leave it here in Italy, so there will be an ocean between the hole and me. Because then I can bring home a heart full of the light patches. A heart that sees the sunset you saw that night outside of Taco Bell, the way you pointed out that it made the trees seem on fire, a heart that holds the time your little brother fell on his bike at the fairgrounds and you had pockets full of bright colored Band-Aids and you kissed the bare skin of his knees. I will take that home with me. In my heart. I will take home your final Hamlet monologue on the dark stage when you cried closing night and it wasn’t really acting, you cried because you felt the words in you and on that bare stage you felt the way I feel every day of my life, every second, the way the words, the light and dark, the spotlight in your face, made you Hamlet for that brief hiccup of a moment, made you a poet, an artist at your core. I get to take Italy home with me, the Italy that showed me you and the Italy that showed me—me—the Italy that wrote me my very own instructions for a broken heart. And I get to leave the other heart in a hole. We are over. I know this. But we are not blank. We were a beautiful building made of stone, crumbled now and covered in vines. But not blank. Not forgotten. We are a history. We are beauty out of ruins.
Kim Culbertson (Instructions for a Broken Heart)
We succeeded in taking that picture from [deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideaologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitands of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity--in all this vastness-- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us... To my mind, there is perhaps no better demostration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
[Clayton] Christensen had seen dozens of companies falter by going for immediate payoffs rather than long-term growth, and he saw people do the same thing. In three hours at work, you could get something substantial accomplished, and if you failed to accomplish it you felt the pain right away. If you spent three hours at home with your family, it felt like you hadn't done a thing, and if you skipped it nothing happened. So you spent more and more time at the office, on high-margin, quick-yield tasks, and you even believed that you were staying away from home for the sake of your family. He had seen many people tell themselves that they could divide their lives into stages, spending the first part pushing forward their careers, and imagining that at some future point they would spend time with their families--only to find that by then their families were gone.
Larissa MacFarquhar
On the way home from church, I felt like I was walking on clouds, as pure as an angel. I wished a car would run me down at that very instant, so I could die and go straight to heaven before I had a chance to sin again.
Alice Bag (Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story)
For inst. when the telephone rings now days I am scared to death that its somebody asking us to go somewheres for dinner or somewheres. Six yrs. ago I was afraid it wasn't. At 29 home was like they say on the vaudeville stage, a place to go when all the other joints was closed up. At 35 its a place you never leave without a loud squawk.
Ring Lardner (Symptoms of Being 35)
When I arrived home from Boston, I realized there were no pictures on my mantel. I set down my suitcase and walked into the living room and looked across to the fireplace, and it felt empty. Empty of real stories. I went to my bedroom where the bed was made, and on my desk there were no pictures in frames and on the end tables there were no pictures. There was a framed picture of Yankee Stadium above the toilet in the bathroom, and there was some art I’d picked up in my travels, but there was little evidence of an actual character living an actual life. My home felt like a stage on which props had been set for a face story rather than a place where a person lived an actual human narrative. It’s an odd feeling to be awakened from a life of fantasy. You stand there looking at a bare mantel and the house gets an eerie feel, as though it were haunted by a kind of nothingness, an absence of something that could have been, an absence of people who could have been living here, interacting with me, forcing me out of my daydreams. I stood for a while and heard the voices of children who didn’t exist and felt the tender touch of a wife who wanted me to listen to her. I felt, at once, the absent glory of a life that could have been.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
We arrive at demonstrations excited, as if our favorite musician is playing on the speakers' stage. We convince ourselves we are doing something to solve the racial problem when we are really doing something to satisfy our feelings. We go home fulfilled, like we dined at our favorite restaurant. And this fulfillment is fleeting, like a drug high. The problems of inequity and injustice persist. They persistently make us feel bad and guilty. We persistently do something to make ourselves feel better as we convince ourselves we are making society better, as we never make society better.
Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist)
KRIT "Fuck," Matty whispered. He'd heard her. It was me who couldn't breathe now. I had thought it was an accident. But she'd fucking done it on purpose. To protect me. Holy hell. "I'm gonna go . . . ," Matty trailed off. I listened to his footsteps until he was gone before pulling back and looking down at Blythe. "You got in front of a six-foot-three one hundred and eighty pounds of muscle because he was going to hit me?" She nodded. "It was my fault he was going to hit you. I was just going to stop him." She was going to stop him. This girl. Never in all my life did I imagine there was anyone like her. Never. "Sweetheart, how did you intend to stop him? I could handle him. I've kicked his ass many, many times." I cupped her chin in my hand. "I had rather had him kick my ass than to have anything happen to you. That was fucking unbearable. You can't do that to me. If you get hurt, I won't be able to handle it." She signed, and her eyes locked back toward the stage. " I made this worse. I'm sorry. Can you go fix things with the two of you so you can get back onstage?" The distressed look on her face meant I wasn't going to be able to leave. I wanted nothing more than to take her back home and hold her all night. But she was really upset about this. I had overreacted. She had been sitting over here staring at the floor with the saddest lost expression, and I couldn't think straight. I had to get to her. "I'll get Green, and we'll go back onstage. But you have to promise me that you won't try and save me again. I take care of you. Not the other way around," I told her. She reached up and touched my face. "Then who will take care of you?" No one had ever cared about that before. That wasn't something I was going to tell her, though. "You safe in my arms is all I need. Okay?" She frowned and glanced away from me. "I'm not agreeing to that," she said. God, she was adorable. I pressed a kiss to her head. "Come with me to get the guys," I told her as I stood up and brought her with me. "You won't do anything to Green then?" she said, sounding hopeful. "No." Until you're asleep tonight. And then I'm beating his ass.
Abbi Glines (Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7))
Stage one—you’re caught in a second-dart reaction and don’t even realize it: your partner forgets to bring milk home and you complain angrily without seeing that your reaction is over the top. Stage two—you realize you’ve been hijacked by greed or hatred (in the broadest sense), but cannot help yourself: internally you’re squirming, but you can’t stop grumbling bitterly about the milk. Stage three—some aspect of the reaction arises, but you don’t act it out: you feel irritated but remind yourself that your partner does a lot for you already and getting cranky will just make things worse. Stage four—the reaction doesn’t even come up, and sometimes you forget you ever had the issue: you understand that there’s no milk, and you calmly figure out what to do now with your partner. In education, these are known succinctly as unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence. They’re useful
Rick Hanson (Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom)
I will not make you a vampire," Mr. Crepsley insisted. "You must forget about it. Go home and get on with your life." "No!" Steve screamed. "I won't forget!" He stumbled to his feet and pointed a shaking ringer at the tall, ugly vampire. "I'll get you for this," he promised. "I don't care how long it takes. One day, Vur Horston, I'll track you down and kill you for rejecting me!" Steve jumped from the stage and ran toward the exit. "One day!" he called back over his shoulder, and I could hear him laughing as he ran, a crazy kind of laugh.
Darren Shan (Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare (Cirque du Freak, #1))
Good dancers awaken the joy in our hearts, we have seen them ablaze on stage, videos, on our streets, in the theaters, in our homes, schools and they have successfully ignited the love of dancing in our soul. At least, this is the major reason why dancers are born and made.
Paul Bamikole
After being maligned for his lack of offense for much of his career, [César] Gerónimo batted .280 with two home runs, a triple, three runs, and three RBIs vs. Boston during the 1975 World Series, and then he batted .308 with two doubles, two steals, and three runs vs. New York during the 1976 World Series. The man who’s defense Sparky Anderson called 'ungodly' became an offensive star on baseball’s biggest stage.
Tucker Elliot
And so began my final stage of my boyhood in Mohawk. Later, as an adult, I would return from time to time. As a visitor, though, never again as a true resident. But then I wouldn't be a true resident of any other place either, joining instead the great multitude of wandering Americans, so many of whom have a Mohawk in their past, the memory of which propels us we know not precisely where, so long as it's away. Return we do, but only to gain momentum for our next outward arc, each further than the last, until there is no elasticity left, nothing to draw us home.
Richard Russo (The Risk Pool)
I'd always thought it was gaudy, but standing there watching him beside the gold and glass shrine, I realised that his was a candlelight faith. It didn't work in the clear unforgiving light in London or Scandinavia, where even the dust in the cathedrals showed. But in the warm dimness and the shadows, what would have been tasteless at home made sense. The shrine looked like an oil painting made into real substance. So did he. England's was a reading religion, one it was difficult to understand at the bleak unimpressive first glance, one that needed books to explain itself. But his was images and images, the same as the old stages, in a place where not everyone could read and good light was expensive.
Natasha Pulley (The Bedlam Stacks)
I have outgrown so much, I think at some point we all do ~ we reach a stage in our life where we are forced to make a change, forced to cut friendships, relationships, jobs and places we once called home. At the time, it all feels a little overwhelming nothing stays the same and you have to learn your footing again but I can reassure you once you create the path you wish to walk along, what you left behind won't even matter.
Nikki Rowe
The carnivals gave me my names, Edward. Sometimes I was the Blue Man of the North Pole, or the Blue Man of Algeria, or the Blue Man of New Zealand. I had never been to any of these places, of course, but it was pleasant to be considered exotic, if only on a painted sign. The 'show' was simple. I would sit on the stage, half undressed, as people walked past and the barker told them how pathetic I was. For this, I was able to put a few coins in my pocket. The manager once called me the 'best freak' in his stable, and, sad as it sounds, I took pride in that. When you are an outcast, even a tossed stone can be cherished. One winter, I came to this pier. Ruby Pier. They were starting a sideshow called the Curious Citizens. I liked the idea of being in one place, escaping the bumpy horse carts of carnival life. This became my home. I lived in a room above a sausage shop. I played cards at night with the other sideshow walkers, with the tinsmiths, sometimes even with your father. In the early mornings, if I wore long shirts and draped my head in a towel, I could walk along the beach without scaring people. It may not sound like much, but for me, it was a freedom I had rarely know.' He stopped. He looked at Eddie. Do you understand? Why we're here? This is not your heaven. It's mine.
Mitch Albom (The Five People You Meet in Heaven)
He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place, which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
Sometime in her forties, my mother stopped moving forward. Somehow when we weren't looking, she must have curtsied, performed a little shuffle sidestep, and exited stage right. In retrospect, she'd been rehearsing for some time. She went up to bed often without saying good night, or stayed home from family outings with ambiguous symptoms.
Jessica Francis Kane (Rules for Visiting)
In 1949, Saul was thirteen. Never before had he seen his father cry. Suddenly, he realized that what he took to be his home - a two-bedroom apartment in a newly renovated brick building above Gertel's bakery - was to his father no more than a prop on someone else's stage, which could at any moment be struck and carried into the wings. In its absence, home was in the rhythm of the halakhah: the daily prayer, the weekly Sabbath, the annual holy days. In time was their culture. In time, not in space, was their home.
Chloe Benjamin (The Immortalists)
As the adults, we are the ones who set the stage for vitality, love, or disharmony in the home. We set ourselves up for one or the other, and our children take their cues from us.
Gabriel Cousens
Ever theatrical, Jackie also viewed the home as a grand set: a malleable, working stage on which to play out the daily sketches of life...
Shelly Branch (What Would Jackie Do?: An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living)
At home, she was broken and useless; in the Canyon she had the same potential as the raven that flew circles above her head.
Zoje Stage (Getaway)
For the home winemaker at the crush stage, it's enough to shoot for 50 ppm (SO2) for reds and 70 ppm for whites, adjustable as the pH dictates from the optimums.
Jeff Cox (From Vines to Wines: The Complete Guide to Growing Grapes and Making Your Own Wine)
Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.
Juliet Blackwell (A Haunting is Brewing (Witchcraft Mystery, #6.5; Haunted Home Renovation Mystery, #4.5))
four stages of learning: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence.
Tony Jeary (Life Is a Series of Presentations: 8 Ways to Punch Up Your People Skills at Work, at Home, Anytime, Anywhere)
With each day that our huge ship was on the ocean, my sense of being further and further away from my loved ones, my home, and my environment grew stronger.
Tilly Dunn (Exit Stage Left)
Lark selected a table near the stage. I’d have preferred to sit further back. Hell, I’d have preferred to be at home, but had promised myself that I’d make an effort.
Ivy Fairbanks (Morbidly Yours)
imagined what I’d do when I reached this stage. It now seems absurd, but I suppose I thought I’d find a town labelled ‘Ginestlay’ and that would be that; I’d know I’d found home. But nothing else had worked out as I thought it would – this town was well outside my search boundary, and after all my careful planning and methodical efforts I’d found it by accident. It
Saroo Brierley (Lion: A Long Way Home)
Mmmm,” I said after the waiter left, and Augustus smiled crookedly as he stared down the canal while I stared up it. We had plenty to look at, so the silence didn’t feel awkward really, but I wanted everything to be perfect. It was perfect, I guess, but it felt like someone had tried to stage the Amsterdam of my imagination, which made it hard to forget that this dinner, like the trip itself, was a cancer perk. I just wanted us to be talking and joking comfortably, like we were on the couch together back home, but some tension underlay everything.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Previous civilizations have been overthrown from without by the incursion of barbarian hordes. Christendom has dreamed up its own dissolution in the minds of its own intellectual elite. Our barbarians are home products, indoctrinated at the public expense, urged on by the media systematically stage by stage, dismantling Christendom, depreciating and deprecating all its values.
Malcolm Muggeridge (The End of Christendom)
He says that we have an unparalleled ability to face pain and that we can do it by going through four different stages. The first is the sleep that gives us protection and distance. The second
Christina Rickardsson (Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World)
She doubted a generation that had grown up with WAP, murder hornets, Covid, cataclysmic social unrest, and being forcibly home-schooled by a bunch of depressed day drinkers really understood the threat of pool halls, but Leigh had to hand it to the drama teacher for putting on a gender-neutral production of The Music Man, one of the least offensive and most tedious musicals ever staged by a middle school.
Karin Slaughter (False Witness)
I ignored her and continued down the hall. I had only four more hours to perfect the Sausalito. I was worried only about myself. By that stage, I was no longer certain of how the pack felt about anything.
Karen Russell (St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
Now most young people spend their twenties and thirties in another stage of life, where they go to university, start a career, and experience being an adult outside of their parents’ home before marriage.
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance: An Investigation)
The Illusory Self I am composed of body and soul, I seem to have mind, reason, sense, yet I find none of them my own. For where was my body prior to my birth, and whither will it go when I have departed? Where are the various states produced by the life stages of an illusory self? Where is the newborn babe, the child, the boy, the pubescent, the stripling, the bearded youth, the lad, the full-grown man? Whence came the soul, whither will it go, how long will it be our mate? Can we tell its essential nature? When did we acquire it? Prior to our birth? But we were not then in existence. What of it after death? But then we who are embodied, compounds endowed with quality, shall be no more, but shall hasten to our rebirth, to be with the unbodied, without composition and without quality. But now, inasmuch as we are alive, we are the dominated rather than the rulers, known rather than knowing. The soul knows us, though unknown by us, and imposes commands we are obliged to obey as wervants their mistress. And when it will, it will transact its divorce in court and depart, leaving our home desolate of life. If we press it to remain, it will dissolve our relationship. So subtle is its nature that it furnishes no handle to the body.
Philo of Alexandria
I understood the stage in New York City didn't simply exist on Broadway, with actors playing our parts. The most dramatic, unforgettable and horrifying theatrical experiences happened within the walls of homes.
Jennifer Laurens (Overprotected)
She remembered walking back from there last month, half-drunk with a gaggle of half-friends from her dorm, and when one of them asked her (only half-giving a shit) where she’d planned to go for Christmas break, Darby had answered bluntly: that it would require an act of God Himself to make her come back home to Utah. And apparently He’d been listening, because He’d blessed Darby’s mother with late-stage pancreatic cancer.
Taylor Adams (No Exit)
What are the true reasons why the purchaser is planning to spend his money on a new car instead of a piano? Because he has decided that he wants the commodity called locomotion more than he wants the commodity called music? Not altogether. He buys a car, because it is at the moment the group custom to buy cars. The modern propagandist therefore sets to work to create circumstances which will modify that custom . . . He will endeavor to develop public acceptance of the idea of a music room in the home. This he may do, for example, by organizing an exhibition of period music rooms designed by well-known decorators who themselves exert an influence on the buying groups . . . Then, in order to create dramatic interest in the exhibit, he stages an event or ceremony. To this ceremony key people, persons known to influence the buying habits of the public, such as a famous violinist, a popular artist, and a society leader, are invited. These key persons affect other groups, lifting the idea of the music room to a place in the public consciousness which it did not have before. The juxtaposition of these leaders, and the idea which they are dramatizing, are then projected to the wider public through various publicity channels . . . The music room will be accepted because it has been made the thing. And the man or woman who has a music room, or has arranged a corner of the parlor as a musical corner, will naturally think of buying a piano. It will come to him as his own idea.
Edward L. Bernays (Propaganda)
but the effects of abandonment apply to all types of loss and disconnection, whether it’s loss of a job, a dream, or a friend. It may be a loss of one’s home, health, or sense of purpose. Abandonment is a psychobiological process.
Susan Anderson (The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Revised and Updated: Surviving Through and Recovering from the Five Stages That Accompany the Loss of Love)
We have all these big windows to look out over the valley, but the curtains are always shut. Sunsets hidden, starlight concealed… your house… it’s a home, mine…you’ve seen it… it’s staged. Always on display, but never part of life.
A.M. Johnson (Possession (Avenues Ink, #1))
America's industrial success produced a roll call of financial magnificence: Rockefellers, Morgans, Astors, Mellons, Fricks, Carnegies, Goulds, du Ponts, Belmonts, Harrimans, Huntingtons, Vanderbilts, and many more based in dynastic wealth of essentially inexhaustible proportions. John D. Rockefeller made $1 billion a year, measured in today's money, and paid no income tax. No one did, for income tax did not yet exist in America. Congress tried to introduce an income tax of 2 percent on earnings of $4,000 in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Income tax wouldn't become a regular part of American Life until 1914. People would never be this rich again. Spending all this wealth became for many a more or less full-time occupation. A kind of desperate, vulgar edge became attached to almost everything they did. At one New York dinner party, guests found the table heaped with sand and at each place a little gold spade; upon a signal, they were invited to dig in and search for diamonds and other costly glitter buried within. At another party - possibly the most preposterous ever staged - several dozen horses with padded hooves were led into the ballroom of Sherry's, a vast and esteemed eating establishment, and tethered around the tables so that the guests, dressed as cowboys and cowgirls, could enjoy the novel and sublimely pointless pleasure of dining in a New York ballroom on horseback.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Then there are those who think their bodies don't exist. They live by mechanical time. They rise at seven o'clock in the morning. They eat their lunch at noon and their supper at six. They arrive at their appointments on time, precisely by the clock. They make love between eight and ten at night. They work forty hours a week, read the Sunday paper on Sunday, play chess on Tuesday nights. When their stomach growls, they look at their watch to see if it is time to eat. When they begin to lose themselves in a concert, they look at the clock above the stage to see when it will be time to go home. They know that the body is not a thing of wild magic, but a collection of chemicals, tissues, and nerve impulses. Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain. Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock. As such, the body must be addressed in the language of physics. And if the body speaks, it is the speaking only of so many levers and forces. The body is a thing to be ordered, not obeyed.
Alan Lightman
We came home because we were failures. We wouldn't admit that, of course, not at first, not to ourselves, and certainly not to anyone else. We said we came home because our mother was ill, because we needed a break, a momentary pause before setting off for the Next Big Thing. But the truth was, we had failed, and rather than let anyone else know, we crafted careful excuses and alibis, and wrapped them around ourselves like a cloak to keep out the cold truth. The first stage: denial.
Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters)
Waste of time," said the leper. "There's a dozen or more beggars who come here every day, pretending to be cripples, hiring themselves out to the holy men. A couple of drachmas and they'll swear they've been crippled or blind for years then stage a bloody miraculous recovery. Holy men? Healers? Don't make me laugh." "But this man is different," said Christ. "I remember him," said the blind man. "Jesus. He come here on the sabbath, like a fool. The priests wouldn't let him heal anyone on sabbath. He should've known that." "But he did heal someone," said the lame man. "Old Hiram. You remember that. He told him to take up his bed and walk." "Bloody rubbish," said the blind man. "Hiram went as far as the temple gate, then he lay down and went on begging. Old Sarah told me. He said what was the use of taking his living away? Begging was the only thing he knew how to do. You and your blether about goodness," he said, turning to Christ, "where's the goodness in throwing an old man out into the street without a trade, without a home, without a penny? Eh? That Jesus is asking too much of people." "But he was good," said the lame man. "I don't care what you say. You could feel it, you could see it in his eyes." "I never saw it," said the blind man.
Philip Pullman (The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ)
No matter what stage you are in, acknowledging that our possessions, homes, and affairs can be problematic to those we leave behind is the first step toward taking proactive measures to reduce potential chaos and strife among those destined to deal with it.
Lisa J. Shultz (Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
Framed through the hall door Will saw the only theater he cared for now, the familiar stage where sat his father (home already! he and Jim must have run the long way round!) holding a book but reading the empty spaces. In a chair by the fire mother knitted and hummed like a tea-kettle.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
At that point, more than 15,000 women were dying each year from cervical cancer. The Pap smear had the potential to decrease that death rate by 70 percent or more, but there were two things standing in its way: first, many women - like Henrietta - simply didn't get the test; and, second, even when they did, few doctors knew how to interpret the results accurately, because they didn't know what various stages of cervical cancer looked like under a microscope. Some mistook cervical infections for cancer and removed a woman's entire reproductive tract when all she needed was antibiotics. Others mistook malignant changes for infection, sending women home with antibiotics only to have them return later, dying from metastasized cancer. And even when doctors correctly diagnosed precancerous changes, they often didn't know how those changes should be treated.
Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Young Adult Edition)
Etiquette was so confounding in this country. Still, looking at Mirabella-her fists balled together like small, white porcupines, her brows knitted in animal confusion-I felt a throb of compassion. How can people live like they do? I wondered. Then I congragulated myself. This was a Stage 3 thought.
Karen Russell (St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
Amma wanted her daughter to be free, feminist and powerful Later she took her on personal development courses for children to give her the confidence and articulacy to flourish in any setting Big mistake Mum, Yazz said at fourteen when she was pitching to go to Reading Music Festival with her friends, it would be to the detriment of my juvenile development if you curtailed my activities at this critical stage in my journey towards becoming the independent-minded and fully self-expressed adult you expect me to be, I mean, do you really want me rebelling against your old-fashioned rules by running away from the safety of my home to live on the streets and having to resort to prostitution to survive and thereafter drug addiction, crime, anorexia and abusive relationships with exploitative bastards twice my age before my early demise in a crack house? Amma fretted the whole weekend her little girl way away
Bernardine Evaristo (Girl, Woman, Other)
Umm… sure…” I walked to the front of the stage. “Everyone, thank you for your tremendous help and support ever since I arrived here. As your new deputy mayor, I promise to continue with my efforts in protecting our homes. I have many plans for the future, and I believe these plans will make our village safer and better in every way. Thank you.
Steve the Noob (Diary of Steve the Noob 9 (An Unofficial Minecraft Book))
Yet, for all the hours Imogen spent as an adult cocooned in her apartment, she still wasn’t sure if she’d ever felt truly at home anywhere. Sometimes in the company of a tree—or a creek, or a moss-covered rock, or a desert night haloed by the Milky Way—she felt the tension inside her finally relent. There—out there—was a place where she belonged.
Zoje Stage (Getaway)
In the days of the Alan Freed package shows he had so resented being forced to go on before Chuck Berry in Berry’s home city of St. Louis that he played thirty minutes of viciously hard Rock ’n’Roll, then took out a can of lighter fuel, poured it on the piano, and put a match to it, telling the stage crew as he stomped off, “I’d like to see any son-of-a-bitch follow that.
Charles White (The Life and Times of Little Richard: The Authorized Biography)
Sister Gee stared at her neighbors as they surrounded her, and at that moment she saw them as she had never seen them before: they were crumbs, thimbles, flecks of sugar powder on a cookie, invisible, sporadic dots on the grid of promise, occasionally appearing on Broadway stages or on baseball teams with slogans like “You gotta believe,” when in fact there was nothing to believe but that one colored in the room is fine, two is twenty, and three means close up shop and everybody go home; all living the New York dream in the Cause Houses, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, a gigantic copper reminder that this city was a grinding factory that diced the poor man’s dreams worse than any cotton gin or sugarcane field from the old country. And
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
Our forebears back in the camp meeting days used to say that if people left a meeting talking about what a wonderful sermon the preacher gave or how beautifully the singers sang, the meeting had failed. But if people went home saying things like “Isn’t God good? He met me tonight in such a wonderful way,” it was a good meeting. There was to be no sharing the stage with the Lord.
Jim Cymbala (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire)
Our forebears back in the the camp meeting days used to say that if people left a meeting talking about what a wonderful sermon the preacher gave or how beautifully the singers sang, the meeting had failed. But if people went home saying things like "Isn't God good? He met me tonight in such a wonderful way," it was a good meeting. There was to be no sharing the stage with the Lord.
Jim Cymbala (Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit)
Now Miss Mapp's social dictatorship among the ladies of Tilling had long been paramount, but every now and then signs of rebellious upheavals showed themselves. By virtue of her commanding personality these had never assumed really serious proportions, for Diva, who was generally the leader in these uprisings, had not the same moral massiveness. But now when Elizabeth was so exceedingly superior, the fumes of Bolshevism mounted swiftly to Diva's head. Moreover, the sight of this puzzling male impersonator, old, wrinkled, and moustached, had kindled to a greater heat her desire to know her and learn what it felt like to be Romeo on the music-hall stage and, after years of that delirious existence, to subside into a bath-chair and Suntrap and Tilling. What a wonderful life! . . . And behind all this there was a vague notion that Elizabeth had got her information in some clandestine manner and had muddled it. For all her clear-headedness and force Elizabeth did sometimes make a muddle and it would be sweeter than honey and the honeycomb to catch her out. So in a state of brooding resentment Diva went home to lunch and concentrated on how to get even with Elizabeth.
E.F. Benson (Miss Mapp (Lucia, #2))
There is no man,’ he began, ‘however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory. And yet he ought not entirely to regret it, because he cannot be certain that he has indeed become a wise man—so far as it is possible for any of us to be wise—unless he has passed through all the fatuous or unwholesome incarnations by which that ultimate stage must be preceded. I know that there are young fellows, the sons and grand sons of famous men, whose masters have instilled into them nobility of mind and moral refinement in their schooldays. They have, perhaps, when they look back upon their past lives, nothing to retract; they can, if they choose, publish a signed account of everything they have ever said or done; but they are poor creatures, feeble descendants of doctrinaires, and their wisdom is negative and sterile. We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you are not the result of training at home, by a father, or by masters at school, they have sprung from beginnings of a very different order, by reaction from the influence of everything evil or commonplace that prevailed round about them. They represent a struggle and a victory. I can see that the picture of what we once were, in early youth, may not be recognisable and cannot, certainly, be pleasing to contemplate in later life. But we must not deny the truth of it, for it is evidence that we have really lived, that it is in accordance with the laws of life and of the mind that we have, from the common elements of life, of the life of studios, of artistic groups—assuming that one is a painter—extracted something that goes beyond them.
Marcel Proust (Within a Budding Grove, Part 2)
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
And there was the time Paul McCartney serenaded my wife with “Michelle.” She laughed, a little embarrassed, as the rest of the audience applauded, and I wondered what Michelle’s parents would have said back in 1965, the year the song came out, if someone had knocked on the door of their South Side home and told them that someday the Beatle who wrote it would be singing it to their daughter from a White House stage.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
The eighties are a sorely underrated decade in terms of musical composition. They don’t get nearly the respect they deserve. I try to use my platform in the world to bring attention to this travesty by singing eighties ballads whenever I get the chance. Like right now, as I sing “What About Me” by Moving Pictures on the karaoke stage. It was their one-hit wonder and a soul-stirring exercise in self-pity. My eyes are closed as I belt out the lyrics and sway behind he microphone. Not in time to the music—I’m so pissed, I’m lucky to still be standing at all. Usually I play the guitar too, but my fine-motor functions fell by the wayside hours ago. I’m a fantastic musician—not that anyone really notices. That talent gets lost in the shadow of the titles, the same way the talented offspring of two accomplished stars get discounted by the weight of their household name. My mother gave me my love of music—she played several instruments. I had tutors, first for the piano, then the violin—but it was the guitar that really stuck with me. The karaoke stage at The Goat used to be my second home and in the last few hours, I’ve given serious consideration to moving in beneath it. If Harry Potter was the Boy Under the Stairs, I could be the Prince Under the Stage. Why the fuck not?
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Early naturalists talked often about “deep time”—the perception they had, contemplating the grandeur of this valley or that rock basin, of the profound slowness of nature. But the perspective changes when history accelerates. What lies in store for us is more like what aboriginal Australians, talking with Victorian anthropologists, called “dreamtime,” or “everywhen”: the semi-mythical experience of encountering, in the present moment, an out-of-time past, when ancestors, heroes, and demigods crowded an epic stage. You can find it already by watching footage of an iceberg collapsing into the sea—a feeling of history happening all at once. It is. The summer of 2017, in the Northern Hemisphere, brought unprecedented extreme weather: three major hurricanes arising in quick succession in the Atlantic; the epic “500,000-year” rainfall of Hurricane Harvey, dropping on Houston a million gallons of water for nearly every single person in the entire state of Texas; the wildfires of California, nine thousand of them burning through more than a million acres, and those in icy Greenland, ten times bigger than those in 2014; the floods of South Asia, clearing 45 million from their homes. Then the record-breaking summer of 2018 made 2017 seem positively idyllic. It brought an unheard-of global heat wave, with temperatures hitting 108 in Los Angeles, 122 in Pakistan, and 124 in Algeria. In the world’s oceans, six hurricanes and tropical storms appeared on the radars at once, including one, Typhoon Mangkhut, that hit the Philippines and then Hong Kong, killing nearly a hundred and wreaking a billion dollars in damages, and another, Hurricane Florence, which more than doubled the average annual rainfall in North Carolina, killing more than fifty and inflicting $17 billion worth of damage. There were wildfires in Sweden, all the way in the Arctic Circle, and across so much of the American West that half the continent was fighting through smoke, those fires ultimately burning close to 1.5 million acres. Parts of Yosemite National Park were closed, as were parts of Glacier National Park in Montana, where temperatures also topped 100. In 1850, the area had 150 glaciers; today, all but 26 are melted.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Here's the truth: No matter what happened on the stage tonight, no matter where you went when you drove out of here, no matter where you end up, no matter what happens, what you become, what you gain, what you lose, whether you succeed or fail, stand or fall, no matter what you dip your hands into...no gone is too far gone. You can always come home. And when you do, you'll find me standing right here, arms wide, eyes searching for your return. I love you.
Charles Martin (Long Way Gone)
We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are. After that we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire. The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. Your life will always be filled with challenges. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. One of my favorite quotes comes from Alfred D Souza. He said, "For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. Stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get a new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until you are off welfare, until the first or fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you've had a drink, until you've sobered up, until you die, until you are born again to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.
Crystal Boyd
Various exhortations, or relations of experience, followed, and intermingled with the singing. One old gray-headed woman, long past work, but much revered as a sort of chronicle of the past, rose, and leaning on her staff, said—"Well, chil'en! Well, I'm mighty glad to hear ye all and see ye all once more, 'cause I don't know when I'll be gone to glory; but I've done got ready, chil'en; 'pears like I'd got my little bundle all tied up, and my bonnet on, jest a waitin' for the stage to come along and take me home; sometimes, in the night, I think I hear the wheels a rattlin', and I'm lookin' out all the time; now, you jest be ready too, for I tell ye all, chil'en," she said striking her staff hard on the floor, "dat ar glory is a mighty thing! It's a mighty thing, chil'en,—you don'no nothing about it,—it's wonderful." And the old creature sat down, with streaming tears, as wholly overcome, while the whole circle struck up—
Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin)
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
Children" Years back here we were children and at the stage of running in gangs about the meadows-- here to this one, there to that one. Where we picked up violets on lucky days, you can now see cattle gadding about. I still remember hunching ankle deep in violets, squabbling over which bunches were fairest. Our childishness was obvious-- we ran dancing rounds, we wore new green wreaths. So time passes. Here we ran swilling strawberries from oak to pine through hedges, through turnstiles-- as long as day was burning down. Once a gardener rushed from an arbor: "O.K. now, children, run home." We came out in spots those yesterdays, when we stuffed on strawberries; it was just a childish game to us. Often we heard the herdsman hooing and warning us: "Children, the woods are alive with snakes." And one of the children breaking through the sharp grass, grew white and shouted, "Children, a snake ran in there. He got our pony. She'll never get well. I wish that snake would go to hell!" "Well then, get out of the woods! If you don't hurry away quickly, I'll tell you what will happen-- if you don't leave the forest behind you by daylight, you'll lose yourselves; your pleasure will end in bawling." Do you know how five virgins dawdled in the meadow, till the king slammed his dining-room door? Their shouting and shame were outrageous: their jailor tore everything off them, down to their skins they stood like milk cows without any clothes.
Robert Lowell
What immediately strikes me is just how tattered the books are. Some of the spines have split. The binding has loosened and the threads stick out. Some of the books are in such bad condition that they seem to be held together only by their place on the shelf. They are neither old nor valuable, but they have had hard lives - emigres, some having arrived with refugees from Russia before the war, only to go back east at a later stage. More than sixty years later they have come home to Paris.
Anders Rydell (The Book Thieves: The Nazi Looting of Europe's Libraries and the Race to Return a Literary Inheritance)
Now, through an act as simple as walking across a stage and collecting an empty plastic folder representing a degree, our stock had plummeted to nothing, the wretched leavings of some cosmic Ponzi scheme. A lifetime's worth of planning and training and delusion gone with the wind. Some of us were moving home to live free of charge in our parents' guest rooms, or if we were thin enough, heading west to try our luck in L.A.; others, to our collective horror, were being forced to work at actual jobs.
Rachel Shukert (Everything Is Going to Be Great: An Underfunded and Overexposed European Grand Tour)
Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I could have warned her. If we were back home, and Mirabella had come under attack by territorial beavers or snow-blind bears, I would have warned her. But the truth is that by Stage 3 I wanted her gone. Mirabella's inability to adapt was taking a visible toll. Her teeth were ground down to nubbins; her hair was falling out. ... her ribs were poking through her uniform. Her bright eyes had dulled to a sour whiskey color. But you couldn't show Mirabella the slightest kindness anymore-she'd never leave you alone!
Karen Russell (St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
Life in the Cause would lurch forward as it always did. You worked, slaved, fought off the rats, the mice, the roaches, the ants, the Housing Authority, the cops, the muggers, and now the drug dealers. You lived a life of disappointment and suffering, of too-hot summers and too-cold winters, surviving in apartments with crummy stoves that didn’t work and windows that didn’t open and toilets that didn’t flush and lead paint that flecked off the walls and poisoned your children, living in awful, dreary apartments built to house Italians who came to America to work the docks, which had emptied of boats, ships, tankers, dreams, money, and opportunity the moment the colored and the Latinos arrived. And still New York blamed you for all its problems. And who can you blame? You were the one who chose to live here, in this hard town with its hard people, the financial capital of the world, land of opportunity for the white man and a tundra of spent dreams and empty promises for anyone else stupid enough to believe the hype. Sister Gee stared at her neighbors as they surrounded her, and at that moment she saw them as she had never seen them before: they were crumbs, thimbles, flecks of sugar powder on a cookie, invisible, sporadic dots on the grid of promise, occasionally appearing on Broadway stages or on baseball teams with slogans like “You gotta believe,” when in fact there was nothing to believe but that one colored in the room is fine, two is twenty, and three means close up shop and everybody go home; all living the New York dream in the Cause Houses, within sight of the Statue of Liberty, a gigantic copper reminder that this city was a grinding factory that diced the poor man’s dreams worse than any cotton gin or sugarcane field from the old country. And now heroin was here to make their children slaves again, to a useless white powder. She looked them over, the friends of her life, staring at her. They saw what she saw, she realized. She read it in their faces. They would never win. The game was fixed. The villains would succeed. The heroes would die.
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
One Autumn night, in Sudbury town, Across the meadows bare and brown, The windows of the wayside inn Gleamed red with fire-light through the leaves Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves Their crimson curtains rent and thin.” “As ancient is this hostelry As any in the land may be, Built in the old Colonial day, When men lived in a grander way, With ampler hospitality; A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall, Now somewhat fallen to decay, With weather-stains upon the wall, And stairways worn, and crazy doors, And creaking and uneven floors, And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall. A region of repose it seems, A place of slumber and of dreams, Remote among the wooded hills! For there no noisy railway speeds, Its torch-race scattering smoke and gleeds; But noon and night, the panting teams Stop under the great oaks, that throw Tangles of light and shade below, On roofs and doors and window-sills. Across the road the barns display Their lines of stalls, their mows of hay, Through the wide doors the breezes blow, The wattled cocks strut to and fro, And, half effaced by rain and shine, The Red Horse prances on the sign. Round this old-fashioned, quaint abode Deep silence reigned, save when a gust Went rushing down the county road, And skeletons of leaves, and dust, A moment quickened by its breath, Shuddered and danced their dance of death, And through the ancient oaks o'erhead Mysterious voices moaned and fled. These are the tales those merry guests Told to each other, well or ill; Like summer birds that lift their crests Above the borders of their nests And twitter, and again are still. These are the tales, or new or old, In idle moments idly told; Flowers of the field with petals thin, Lilies that neither toil nor spin, And tufts of wayside weeds and gorse Hung in the parlor of the inn Beneath the sign of the Red Horse. Uprose the sun; and every guest, Uprisen, was soon equipped and dressed For journeying home and city-ward; The old stage-coach was at the door, With horses harnessed, long before The sunshine reached the withered sward Beneath the oaks, whose branches hoar Murmured: "Farewell forevermore. Where are they now? What lands and skies Paint pictures in their friendly eyes? What hope deludes, what promise cheers, What pleasant voices fill their ears? Two are beyond the salt sea waves, And three already in their graves. Perchance the living still may look Into the pages of this book, And see the days of long ago Floating and fleeting to and fro, As in the well-remembered brook They saw the inverted landscape gleam, And their own faces like a dream Look up upon them from below.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If you have been watching television lately, I think this is unendurably clear in the faces of those screaming people in the South, who are quite incapable of telling you what it is they are afraid of. They do not really know what it is they are afraid of, but they know they are afraid of something, and they are so frightened that they are nearly out of their minds. And this same fear obtains on one level or another, to varying degrees, throughout the entire country. We would never, never allow Negroes to starve, to grow bitter, and to die in ghettos all over the country if we were not driven by some nameless fear that has nothing to do with Negroes. We would never victimize, as we do, children whose only crime is color and keep them, as we put it, in their place. We wouldn’t drive Negroes mad as we do by accepting them in ball parks, and on concert stages, but not in our homes and not in our neighborhoods, and not in our churches. It is only too clear that even with the most malevolent will in the world Negroes can never manage to achieve one-tenth of the harm which we fear.
James Baldwin (Nobody Knows My Name)
One part of my life was given over to the service of destruction; it belonged to hate, to enmity, to killing. But life remained in me. And that in itself is enough, of itself almost a purpose and a way. I will work in myself and be ready; I will bestir my hands and my thoughts. I will not take myself very seriously, nor push on when sometimes I should like to be still. There are many things to be built and almost everything to repair; it is enough that I work to dig out again what was buried during the years of shells and machine guns. Not every one need be a pioneer; there is employment for feebler hands, lesser powers. It is there I mean to look for my place. Then the dead will be silenced and the past not pursue me any more; it will assist me instead. How simple it is—but how long it has taken to arrive there! And I might still be wandering in the wilderness, have fallen victim to the wire snares and the detonators, had Ludwig’s death not gone up before us like a rocket, lighting to us the way. We despaired when we saw how that great stream of feeling common to us all—that will to a new life shorn of follies, a life recaptured on the confines of death—did not sweep away before it all survived half-truth and self-interest, so to make a new course for itself, but instead of that merely trickled away in the marshes of forgetfulness, was lost among the bogs of fine phrases, and dribbled away along the ditches of social activities, of cares and occupations. But to-day I know that all life is perhaps only a getting ready, a ferment in the individual, in many cells, in many channels, each for himself; and if the cells and channels of a tree but take up and carry farther the onward urging sap, there will emerge at the last rustling and sunlit branches—crowns of leaves and freedom. I will begin. It will not be that consummation of which we dreamed in our youth and that we expected after the years out there. It will be a road like other roads, with stones and good stretches, with places torn up, with villages and fields—a road of toil. And I shall be alone. Perhaps sometimes I shall find some one to go with me a stage of the journey—but for all of it, probably no one. And I may often have to hump my pack still, when my shoulders are already weary; often hesitate at the crossways and boundaries; often have to leave something behind me, often stumble and fall. But I will get up again and not just lie there; I will go on and not look back. —Perhaps I shall never be really happy again; perhaps the war has destroyed that, and no doubt I shall always be a little inattentive and nowhere quite at home—but I shall probably never be wholly unhappy either—for something will always be there to sustain me, be it merely my own hands, or a tree, or the breathing earth. The
Erich Maria Remarque
From eight-thirty in the morning until eleven he dealt with a case of petty larceny; there were six witnesses to examine, and he didn’t believe a word that any of them said. In European cases there are words one believes and words one distrusts: it is possible to draw a speculative line between the truth and the lies; at least the cui bono principle to some extent operates, and it is usually safe to assume, if the accusation is theft and there is no question of insurance, that something has at least been stolen. But here one could make no such assumption; one could draw no lines. He had known police officers who nerves broke down in the effort to separate a single grain of incontestable truth; they ended, some of them, by striking a witness, they were pilloried in the local Creole papers and were invalided home or transferred. It woke in some men a virulent hatred of a black skin, but Scobie had long ago, during his fifteen years, passed through the dangerous stages; now lost in the tangle of lies he felt an extraordinary affection for these people who paralysed an alien form of justice by so simple a method.
Graham Greene (The Heart of the Matter)
THE HOMECOMING is the face of reality. (A literary approach to the social re-engineering of a decadent society) It was a two-fold finding - a home and a son - and a time for happy family reunion and laughter. Life went on normal in the genteel old town and Ekoyata Egbe was glad to return home to Iyala. And disappointed he was. For he was confronted by unsightly community in the clutches of corruption and superstition. In a moment too soon, Ekoyata found it hard to believe that his father, Egbe, was a member of a caucus and could give him as a ransom for his image. Also revealed was the top secret of the willful neglect of Iyala because the strong caucus benefited from confusion, with a long history of assassinations. Until he was warned about his honesty of purpose, Ekoyata did not know that he had taken the central stage in the fight and campaign against the caucus. Was he also going to be the next victim of assassination? It was the beginning of a misery that would sit Ekoyata on he keg of peril... with the thrill of romance... adventure... and keen justice. Would daring to accept the help of a handsome stranger named Okojie prevent the caucus from finding his corpse? ....
Aihebholo-oria Okonoboh (The Homecoming)
And it is only in its early stage. All those who believe they will remain untouched by its wrath are delusional. If Ehsan Jafri, a former member of parliament with a line to the deputy prime minister’s office, could be dragged out of his home and gashed and burned alive, what makes anyone think he or she will remain unharmed? If Aamir Khan, one of India’s biggest film stars, can be unpersoned; if Gauri Lankesh, one of its boldest journalists, can be shot dead; if Ramachandra Guha, one of its greatest historians, can be stopped from lecturing; if Naseeruddin Shah, among its finest actors, can be branded a traitor; if Manmohan Singh, the former prime minister, can be labelled an agent of Pakistan by his successor; if B.H. Loya, a perfectly healthy judge, can abruptly drop dead; if a young woman can be stalked by the police machinery of the state because Modi has displayed an interest in her—what makes the rest of us think we will remain untouched and unharmed? Unless the republic is reclaimed, the time will come when all of us will be one incorrect meal, one interfaith romance, one unfortunate misstep away from being extinguished. The mobs that slaughtered ‘bad’ Muslims will eventually come for Hindus who are not ‘good’.
K.S. Komireddi (Malevolent Republic: A Short History of the New India)
And Viola is the idol, the theme of Naples. She is the spoiled sultana of the boards. To spoil her acting may be easy enough,—shall they spoil her nature? No, I think not. There, at home, she is still good and simple; and there, under the awning by the doorway,—there she still sits, divinely musing. How often, crook-trunked tree, she looks to thy green boughs; how often, like thee, in her dreams, and fancies, does she struggle for the light,—not the light of the stage-lamps. Pooh, child! be contented with the lamps, even with the rush-lights. A farthing candle is more convenient for household purposes than the stars.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton (Zanoni Book One: The Musician: The Magical Antiquarian Curiosity Shoppe, A Weiser Books Collection)
One Autumn night, in Sudbury town, Across the meadows bare and brown, The windows of the wayside inn Gleamed red with fire-light through the leaves Of woodbine, hanging from the eaves Their crimson curtains rent and thin. As ancient is this hostelry As any in the land may be, Built in the old Colonial day, When men lived in a grander way, With ampler hospitality; A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall, Now somewhat fallen to decay, With weather-stains upon the wall, And stairways worn, and crazy doors, And creaking and uneven floors, And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall. A region of repose it seems, A place of slumber and of dreams, Remote among the wooded hills! For there no noisy railway speeds, Its torch-race scattering smoke and gleeds; But noon and night, the panting teams Stop under the great oaks, that throw Tangles of light and shade below, On roofs and doors and window-sills. Across the road the barns display Their lines of stalls, their mows of hay, Through the wide doors the breezes blow, The wattled cocks strut to and fro, And, half effaced by rain and shine, The Red Horse prances on the sign. Round this old-fashioned, quaint abode Deep silence reigned, save when a gust Went rushing down the county road, And skeletons of leaves, and dust, A moment quickened by its breath, Shuddered and danced their dance of death, And through the ancient oaks o'erhead Mysterious voices moaned and fled. These are the tales those merry guests Told to each other, well or ill; Like summer birds that lift their crests Above the borders of their nests And twitter, and again are still. These are the tales, or new or old, In idle moments idly told; Flowers of the field with petals thin, Lilies that neither toil nor spin, And tufts of wayside weeds and gorse Hung in the parlor of the inn Beneath the sign of the Red Horse. Uprose the sun; and every guest, Uprisen, was soon equipped and dressed For journeying home and city-ward; The old stage-coach was at the door, With horses harnessed,long before The sunshine reached the withered sward Beneath the oaks, whose branches hoar Murmured: "Farewell forevermore. Where are they now? What lands and skies Paint pictures in their friendly eyes? What hope deludes, what promise cheers, What pleasant voices fill their ears? Two are beyond the salt sea waves, And three already in their graves. Perchance the living still may look Into the pages of this book, And see the days of long ago Floating and fleeting to and fro, As in the well-remembered brook They saw the inverted landscape gleam, And their own faces like a dream Look up upon them from below.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Imagine walking into a dark room and flipping on the light switch. You have performed this simple habit so many times that it occurs without thinking. You proceed through all four stages in the fraction of a second. The urge to act strikes you without thinking. By the time we become adults, we rarely notice the habits that are running our lives. Most of us never give a second thought to the fact that we tie the same shoe first each morning, or unplug the toaster after each use, or always change into comfortable clothes after getting home from work. After decades of mental programming, we automatically slip into these patterns of thinking and acting.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones)
Goldberg, the attorney who was often by Trump’s side during those years, said many of his client’s much-ballyhooed associations with famous women and top models were mere moments, staged for the cameras. “Give him a Hershey bar and let him watch television,” Goldberg said. “I only remember him finishing the day [by] going home, not necessarily with a woman but with a bag of candy. . . . He planned his next project, read the blueprints, met with the lawyers, never raising his voice, never showing off, never nasty to anybody in the office, a gentleman. . . . I never heard him speak romantically about a woman. I mean, I heard him speak romantically about his work.” Kate
Michael Kranish (Trump Revealed: The Definitive Biography of the 45th President)
The bell of Limehouse Church rang as each of them, in this house, drifted into sleep - suddenly once more like children who, exhausted by the day's adventures, fall asleep quickly and carelessly. A solitary visitor, watching them as they slept, might wonder how it was that they had arrived at such a state and might speculate about each stage of their journey towards it: when did he first start muttering to himself, and not realise that he was doing so? When did she first begin to shy away from others and seek the shadows? When did all of them come to understand that whatever hopes they might have had were foolish, and that life was something only to be endured? Those who wander are always objects of suspicion and sometimes even of fear: the four people gathered in this house by the church had passed into a place, one might almost say a time, from which there was no return. The young man who had been bent over the fire had spent his life in a number of institutions - an orphanage, a juvenile home and most recently a prison; the old woman still clutching the brown bottle was an alcoholic who had abandoned her husband and two children many years before; the old man had taken to wandering after the death of his wife in a fire which he believed, at the time, he might have prevented. And what of Ned, who was now muttering in his sleep?
Peter Ackroyd (Hawksmoor)
Everything is linked,' said an enraptured Baremboim on stage; 'everyone is linked, all our actions have ramifications, and music is a teacher of this interconnected reality.' There was, however, in the letter a mundane, prosaic footnote that nibbled at the very edges of possible understanding, since understanding must always be preceded by human curiosity. Perhaps it will vanish in the charged space between one suicide bomber and the next military bulldozer that buries human beings alive within the imagined security of their own homes; perhaps it will join other shards of recollected moments of curiosity and discovery, to weld into a vessel of receptivity and response.
Wole Soyinka (Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World (Reith Lectures))
Contention with all its variations is one of the most destructive forces in home and society. Lying and stealing are only extensions of basic problems in the home environment. Some psychologists of the day would label such malfunctions as 'normal.' 'Ignore it,'they say. 'It's a normal stage which children will outgrow.' The fact is that quarreling, lying, and stealing are not necessary or normal to proper growth and development and are as much a menace to society as to the home and the individuals. Almost all children have some of these feelings in their makeup. Nut learning to control feelings rather than letting the feelings control the person is the secret to happiness.
Clyde F. Boyle
No doubt the movement which rightly or wrongly we have learnt to call the emancipation of women is in the first place a result of the transformation of society into a capitalist and industrial community, in which the home has lost its importance as an economic and productive unity. But the bitter tone of the champions of Woman’s Rights in their arraignment of man’s rule, the suspiciousness which refused to believe that anything but oppression and masculine tyranny was at the bottom of a great number of laws and customs, which in reality were designed just as much to safeguard women and provide them with protectors and maintenance—the rabidity of militant feminists, in short—was a direct reaction against a dressing-gown and slippers tyranny which was peculiar to non-Catholic Europe at the beginning of the nineteenth century—a revolt against mock heroes who slouched about their homes trying to assert authority over their womenfolk. The other day I came across a book which illustrates in a rather droll way the extent to which Northern European women have taken it for granted that this peculiar North European form of the subjection of women since the Reformation was characteristic of the whole past of Europe. It was a little essay by an English writer, Virginia Woolf—I confess that it is all I have read of hers,1 but she is said to have a great reputation as a novelist.
Sigrid Undset (Stages on the Road)
If you have a story to tell, put it out there. Get the thing done. No excuses. No procrastinating. No apologies. It will never be as good as you want it to be, so forget about perfection. Just be satisfied that you've done the best work you can do at this stage in your life as an author. Then roll the rocket onto the launch pad and fire it off. After that, write another story. Always keep going. Move fast. Stay one step ahead of the forces of distraction and self-doubt. Love your characters enough to give them a good home. Love your readers enough to give them a place of refuge from life's tragedies, big and small. And love the world you live in enough to make it the world of your dreams.
James Hampton
She had humor and common sense and she soon knew what she must do. She must have done with her dream world, laugh at the ridiculous Mary who had lived in it and get to know the Mary whom she did not want to know, find out what she was like and what her prospects were. It sounded an easy program but she found it a grueling one. The phantasy world, she discovered, had tentacles like an octopus and cannot be escaped without mortal combat, and when at last her strong will had won the battle it seemed as though she were living in a vacuum, so little had the real world to offer the shy, frustrated, unattractive girl who was the Mary she must live with until she died. But free of the tentacles she was able now to sum up the situation with accuracy. She would not marry and being a gentlewoman no other career was open to her. She was not gifted in any way and she would never be strong and probably never free from pain. She was not a favorite with either of her parents, both of whom were vaguely ashamed of having produced so unattractive a child, and yet she was the one who would have to stay at home with them. The prospect was one of lifelong boredom and seemed to her as bleak as the cold winds that swept across the fens, even at times as terrible as the great Cathedral in whose shadow she must live and die. For at that time she did not love the Cathedral and in her phantasy life the city had merely been the hub from which her radiant dreams stretched out to the wide wheel of the world. What should she do? Her question was not a cry of despair but a genuine and honest with to know. She never knew what put it into her head that she, unloved, should love. Religion for her parents, and therefore for their children, was not much more than a formality and it had not occurred to her to pray about her problem, and yet from somewhere the idea came as though in answer to her question, and sitting in Blanche's Bower with the cat she dispassionately considered it. Could mere loving be a life's work? Could it be a career like marriage or nursing the sick or going on the stage? Could it be adventure?
Elizabeth Goudge (The Dean's Watch)
Let the center be your home: To be centered is considered desirable; when they feel distracted or scattered, people often say, “I lost my center.” But if there is no person inside your head, if the ego’s sense of I, me, mine is illusory, where’s the center? Paradoxically, the center is everywhere. It is the open space that has no boundaries. Instead of thinking of your center as a defined spot—the way people point to their hearts as the seat of the soul—be at the center of experience. Experience isn’t a place; it’s a focus of attention. You can live there, at the still point around which everything revolves. To be off center is to lose focus, to look away from experience or block it out. To be centered is like saying “I want to find my home in creation.” You relax into the rhythm of your own life, which sets the stage for meeting yourself at a deeper level. You can’t summon the silent witness, but you can place yourself close to it by refusing to get lost in your own creation. When I find myself being overshadowed by anything, I can fall back on a few simple steps: • I say to myself, “This situation may be shaking me, but I am more than any situation.” • I take a deep breath and focus my attention on whatever my body is feeling. • I step back and see myself as another person would see me (preferably the person whom I am resisting or reacting to). • I realize that my emotions are not reliable guides to what is permanent and real. They are momentary reactions, and most likely they are born of habit. • If I am about to burst out with uncontrollable reactions, I walk away. As you can see, I don’t try to feel better, to be more positive, to come from love, or to change the state I’m in. We are all framed by personalities and driven by egos. Ego personalities are trained by habit and by the past; they run along like self-propelled engines. If you can observe the mechanism at work without getting wrapped up in it, you will find that you possess a second perspective, one that is always calm, alert, detached, tuned in but not overshadowed. That second place is your center. It isn’t a place at all but a close encounter with the silent witness.
Deepak Chopra (The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life)
There was another inspiring moment: a rough, choppy, moonlit night on the water, and the Dreadnaught's manager looked out the window suddenly to spy thousands of tiny baitfish breaking the surface, rushing frantically toward shore. He knew what that meant, as did everyone else in town with a boat, a gaff and a loaf of Wonder bread to use as bait: the stripers were running! Thousands of the highly prized, relatively expensive striped bass were, in a rare feeding frenzy, suddenly there for the taking. You had literally only to throw bread on the water, bash the tasty fish on the head with a gaff and then haul them in. They were taking them by the hundreds of pounds. Every restaurant in town was loading up on them, their parking lots, like ours, suddenly a Coleman-lit staging area for scaling, gutting and wrapping operations. The Dreadnaught lot, like every other lot in town, was suddenly filled with gore-covered cooks and dishwashers, laboring under flickering gaslamps and naked bulbs to clean, wrap and freeze the valuable white meat. We worked for hours with our knives, our hair sparkling with snowflake-like fish scales, scraping, tearing, filleting. At the end of the night's work, I took home a 35-pound monster, still twisted with rigor. My room-mates were smoking weed when I got back to our little place on the beach and, as often happens on such occasions, were hungry. We had only the bass, some butter and a lemon to work with, but we cooked that sucker up under the tiny home broiler and served it on aluminum foil, tearing at it with our fingers. It was a bright, moonlit sky now, a mean high tide was lapping at the edges of our house, and as the windows began to shake in their frames, a smell of white spindrift and salt saturated the air as we ate. It was the freshest piece of fish I'd ever eaten, and I don't know if it was due to the dramatic quality the weather was beginning to take on, but it hit me right in the brainpan, a meal that made me feel better about things, made me better for eating it, somehow even smarter, somehow . . . It was a protein rush to the cortex, a clean, three-ingredient ingredient high, eaten with the hands. Could anything be better than that?
Anthony Bourdain (Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)
At that time, a number of myths were created by the young people of the smoking carriages and forests of hallucinogenic mushrooms, the hungry for the thirst of lysergic acid, who were too tired of the suffering they grew up in and needed to take refuge in dreams. In these children's universe there were unbelievable stories about places in the mountains that women sought to retreat to, places where people were united by music and love for a mutual spiritual growth. For Aunt Jeanine, who had grown up with the image of her father, an amputee due to the war, feeding on such stories was like a haven, one she would later try to turn into her home. And one of those stories, one particular one, stood in her memory until the last stage of her life, when she passed away at eighty-one, burned with fire. (...) At that time, kid, they said that if we searched enough, we would find a place where the world wouldn't end. Men would never know what hell of a place that was, totally unconquerable! A place where the dirty hands of men would never arrive. A place men would never know about . Don't you think I could find it? To have my body disappearing in the woods, as I saw happening to kids in Japan, in that forest that swallows them to its core. Flesh turned to powder, my essence disappearing in the middle of life. They said that, when you die at a place, you'll stay at that place forever. That was why everyone was afraid to go to war. They weren't afraid of dying, kid, they were afraid of dying there.
Pat R (Os Homens Nunca Saberão Nada Disto)
It is part," Rollo writes home to the elder Dr. Groast in Lancashire, in elaborate revenge for childhood tales of Jenny Greenteeth waiting out in the fens to drown him, "part of an old and clandestine drama for which the human body serves only as a set of very allusive, often cryptic programme-notes- it's as if the body we can measure is a scrap of this programme found outside in the street, near a magnificent stone theatre we cannot enter. The convolutions of language denied us! the great Stage, even darker than Mr Tyrone Guthrie's accustomed murk… Gilt and mirroring, red velvet, tier on tier of box seats all in shadows too, as somewhere down in that deep proscenium, deeper than geometries we know of, the voices utter secrets we are never told…
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
Twenty people sings out: “What, is it over? Is that all?” The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody sings out “sold,” and rose up mad, and was agoing for that stage and them tragedians. But a big fine-looking man jumps up on a bench, and shouts: “Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen.” They stopped to listen. “We are sold—mighty badly sold. But we don’t want to be the laughing-stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear the last of this thing as long as we live. No. What we want, is to go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of the town! Then we’ll all be in the same boat. Ain’t that sensible?” (“You bet it is!—the jedge is right!” everybody sings out.) “All right, then—not a word about any sell. Go along home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I am very often asked why, at the age of eighty-five, I continue to practice. Tip number eighty-five (sheer coincidence that I am now eighty-five years old) begins with a simple declaration: my work with patients enriches my life in that it provides meaning in life. Rarely do I hear therapists complain of a lack of meaning. We live lives of service in which we fix our gaze on the needs of others. We take pleasure not only in helping our patients change, but also in hoping their changes will ripple beyond them toward others. We are also privileged by our role as cradlers of secrets. Every day patients grace us with their secrets, often never before shared. The secrets provide a backstage view of the human condition without social frills, role-playing, bravado, or stage posturing. Being entrusted with such secrets is a privilege given to very few. Sometimes the secrets scorch me and I go home and hold my wife and count my blessings. Moreover, our work provides the opportunity to transcend ourselves and to envision the true and tragic knowledge of the human condition. But we are offered even more. We become explorers immersed in the grandest of pursuits—the development and maintenance of the human mind. Hand in hand with patients, we savor the pleasure of discovery—the “aha” experience when disparate ideational fragments suddenly slide smoothly together into a coherent whole. Sometimes I feel like a guide escorting others through the rooms of their own house. What a treat it is to watch them open doors to rooms never before entered, discover unopened wings of their house containing beautiful and creative pieces of identity. Recently I attended a Christmas service at the Stanford Chapel to hear a sermon by Rev. Jane Shaw that underscored the vital importance of love and compassion. I was moved by her call to put such sentiments into practice whenever we can. Acts of caring and generosity can enrich any environment in which we find ourselves. Her words motivated me to reconsider the role of love in my own profession. I became aware that I have never, not once, used the word love or compassion in my discussions of the practice of psychotherapy. It is a huge omission, which I wish now to correct, for I know that I regularly experience love and compassion in my work as a therapist and do all I can to help patients liberate their love and generosity toward others. If I do not experience these feelings for a particular patient, then it is unlikely I will be of much help. Hence I try to remain alert to my loving feelings or absence of such feelings for my patients.
Irvin D. Yalom (Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist's Memoir)
Raven, lying on the sandy ground, covered in creepy-crawlies. Spiders, cockroaches, termites, ants, crickets—they smother her, nibble on her, devouring her from hair to toenails in seconds, leaving just a skeleton behind. Apple, standing at the podium on Legacy Day. Poof, she disappears. And reappears in a goblin cave. The goblin troop moves in, brandishing salad bowls and chopping knives. Daring Charming, no story to call home, thins and melts into a wisp of a ghost, swimming endlessly through walls. The crowded Charmitorium at Ever After High, Headmaster Grimm on the stage. “And remember, students, no matter what you do, don’t follow the example of the worst, most despised, most selfish character in all of Ever After history—Raven Queen!” “Boo!” the students yell. “Boo!” says the Daring ghost. Apple’s head in a goblin bowl opens her eyes and looks straight at Raven. “Boo!
Shannon Hale (The Storybook of Legends (Ever After High, #1))
Five actors playing allotted parts on a set stage; and now he, for whom no part had been written, had walked onto the stage unexpectedly, because one of the players had turned rebel, as she had once before. He threw everything out of focus, and them into a fever. The heat and intensity of these flying questions was enough to make a man with even partially trained clairvoyant faculties feel as if he sat in a room filled with flashing fireflies. He took warning and withdrew himself to a cold inner isolation, as he knew how to do, even while laughing and talking with surface ease. It would not do to let his mind become clouded with emotion; or open any door of his imagination. But the impressions that came across that safer inner distance did not make his companions seem less dramatic, more normal: they were still out of focus. Something about the picture was distorted, even to a clear vision. The sense of evil was as strong as ever although the lurking Presence seemed to have retreated into a far background. He saw presently what the distortion was. Their modern figures were somehow incongruous in the old house, not at home. Like actors who had somehow got onto the wrong stage, onto sets with which their voices and costumes clashed. Interlopers. Or else-actors of an old school dressed up in an unbecoming masquerade. Witch House was an old house. Not old as other houses are old, that remain beds of the continuous stream of life, of marriages and births and deaths, of children crying and children laughing, where the past is only part of the pattern, root of the present and the future. Joseph de Quincy, dead nearly a quarter of a thousand years, was still its master: he had been strong, so strong that no later personality could dim or efface him here where he had set his seal. "He left his evil here when he could no longer stay himself," Carew thought. "As a man with diphtheria leaves germs on the things he has handled, the bed he has lain in. Thoughts are tangible things; on their own plane they breed like germs and, unlike germs, they do not die. He may have forgotten; he may even walk the earth in other flesh, but what he has left here lives." As probably it had been meant to do. For the man whose malignance, swollen with the contributions of the centuries, still ensouled these walls would not have cared to build a house or found a family except as a means to an end. Witch House was set like a mold, steeped in ritual atmosphere as a temple. Dangerous business, for who could say that such a temple would not find a god? There are low, non-human beings that coalesce with and feed on such leftover forces: lair in them.
Evangeline Walton (Witch House)
And so it was that Michael built a brown castle on the peak of his mountain, Gabriel built a golden pyramid in the midst of his plain, saying it was both a holy temple in my praise and an edifice that would guide him on his pattern for his future work, though I knew that only he would ever understand it, to my amusement, and Raphael built a silver palace to sparkle above the trees of his forests, as his home and celestial workshop, and I was well pleased with their work, as ever it was better than what I had hoped for. "That was the First Age, the Archangel Age, long over. I can speak in much detail about each stage in my creation, and my scribes have written all my words on each stage in the books I gave to the angel courts, for study and meditation and for prayer, but such details are for my sons and daughters most interested in them, when they are of an age, with the understanding, to comprehend such things.
Philip Dodd (Angel War)
And growth has no end. One part of my life was given over to the service of destruction; it belonged to hate, to enmity, to killing. But life remained in me. And that in itself is enough, of itself almost a purpose and a way. I will work in myself and be ready; I will bestir my hands and my thoughts. I will not take myself very seriously, nor push on when sometimes I should like to be still. There are many things to be built and almost everything to repair; it is enough that I work to dig out again what was buried during the years of shells and machine guns. Not every one need be a pioneer; there is employment for feebler hands, lesser powers. It is there I mean to look for my place. Then the dead will be silenced and the past not pursue me any more; it will assist me instead. How simple it is—but how long it has taken to arrive there! And I might still be wandering in the wilderness, have fallen victim to the wire snares and the detonators, had Ludwig’s death not gone up before us like a rocket, lighting to us the way. We despaired when we saw how that great stream of feeling common to us all—that will to a new life shorn of follies, a life recaptured on the confines of death—did not sweep away before it all survived half-truth and self-interest, so to make a new course for itself, but instead of that merely trickled away in the marshes of forgetfulness, was lost among the bogs of fine phrases, and dribbled away along the ditches of social activities, of cares and occupations. But to-day I know that all life is perhaps only a getting ready, a ferment in the individual, in many cells, in many channels, each for himself; and if the cells and channels of a tree but take up and carry farther the onward urging sap, there will emerge at the last rustling and sunlit branches—crowns of leaves and freedom. I will begin. It will not be that consummation of which we dreamed in our youth and that we expected after the years out there. It will be a road like other roads, with stones and good stretches, with places torn up, with villages and fields—a road of toil. And I shall be alone. Perhaps sometimes I shall find some one to go with me a stage of the journey—but for all of it, probably no one. And I may often have to hump my pack still, when my shoulders are already weary; often hesitate at the crossways and boundaries; often have to leave something behind me, often stumble and fall. But I will get up again and not just lie there; I will go on and not look back. —Perhaps I shall never be really happy again; perhaps the war has destroyed that, and no doubt I shall always be a little inattentive and nowhere quite at home—but I shall probably never be wholly unhappy either—for something will always be there to sustain me, be it merely my own hands, or a tree, or the breathing earth. The
Erich Maria Remarque (The Road Back)
I think the desire to create will last all my life – I realize that the time for me to be that person has not been available, or should I say right – I have become aware that the young stage of my children’s life is passing and there will be more time for me later – it’s too easy to be a “want it now” person. But I am so glad that I will have more time very soon. Without doubt though, as luck would have it, the very best thing I have ever made is my children. I feel my spirit rise as I listen to Elizabeth’s words, and so I reach over and take the bowl… Before I had children I had a dream. A dream of the sort of mama I wanted to be. One who always had a homemade cake in a pretty tin and a jar of homemade cookies, a stylish handmade home with French-print curtains, a carefully tended cottage garden, lots of time to play together outside and making all our own Christmas presents. Happy children, happy stay-at-home mama and a beautiful life.
Lucy H. Pearce (The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood)
At one stage in the heated intramural debate, ex-ACS president and longtime director Alton Ochsner took the floor and regaled his eminent colleagues with a tale intended to disarm those still unpersuaded by the proof against smoking. There was a certain Russian count, Ochsner told them, who, suspecting his attractive young wife of infidelity, advised her that he was leaving their home for an extended trip, but in fact posted himself at a nearby residence to spy on her. The very first night after his leave-taking, the count watched by moonlight as a sleigh pulled up to his house, a handsome lieutenant from the Czar's Guard bounded out, the count's wife greeted the hussar at the door and led him inside, and in a moment the couple was seen through an upstairs bedroom window in candlelit silhouette as they wildly embraced; after another moment the candle was blown out. "Proof! Proof!" said the anguished count, smiting himself on the brow. "If I only had the proof!
Richard Kluger (Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris)
It seems strange that George Burns and Gracie Allen would be discovered, as radio properties, by the British. They were doing a vaudeville tour in England, playing to packed houses everywhere. The British just loved Gracie; her routines became so well known during the six-month trip that the audience would sometimes shout out the punchline in unison. They were aided in this by radio, using the infant medium to promote their stage shows, doing short bits from their act on various BBC stations as they traveled. From the beginning, Gracie had severe mike fright. She never really lost her fear of the microphone, Burns would say in interviews and in his books, but she always coped with it. Returning home, they auditioned for NBC and Grape Nuts in 1930. But the agency executive thought Gracie would be “too squeaky” on the air, and they lost the job. It was an irony: a few years later, the same product would be carrying their radio show, then one of the most successful in the nation.
John Dunning (On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio)
Fleeing first, in November 1813, Presley represented the greatest blow, for a body servant was a master’s favorite and confidante: no one knew Jones better than Presley did. Presley, however, preferred to serve a Royal Navy captain. In 1815 a visitor to HMS Havannah recognized Presley, whom he praised as “uncommonly likely & trained as a House Servant.” The visitor noted that Presley had renamed himself “Washington,” evidently after the great revolutionary leader who had won liberty and independence for the Americans.3 As a black Washington, Presley returned to free his friends and family left behind. In October 1814, Presley guided a British raiding party to Kinsale, liberating the rest of the slaves and casting Jones out. Presley’s return represents a common pattern in the slave escapes during the war. Runaways tended to bolt in two stages: in the first, a pioneer runaway made initial contact with the British, and then in the second stage, he returned home to liberate kin and friends.
Alan Taylor (The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832)
BLACK WINGS At the same Olympics, staged by Hitler to consecrate the superiority of his race, the star that shone brightest was black, a grandson of slaves, born in Alabama. Hitler had no choice but to swallow the bitter pill, four of them actually: the four gold medals that Jesse Owens won in sprinting and long jump. The entire world celebrated those victories of democracy over racism. When the champion returned home, he received no congratulations from the president, nor was he invited to the White House. He returned to the usual: he boarded buses by the back door, ate in restaurants for Negroes, used bathrooms for Negroes, stayed in hotels for Negroes. For years, he earned a living running for money. Before the start of baseball games he would entertain the crowd by racing against horses, dogs, cars, or motorcycles. Later on, when his legs were no longer what they had been, Owens took to the lecture circuit. He did pretty well there, praising the virtues of religion, family, and country.
Eduardo Galeano (Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone)
You Westerners, he continued, 'you come here and tell us about Jesus. You can stay for a year or two, and your conscience will feel good, and then you can go away. Your Jesus will call you to other work back home. It's true some of you can raise a lot of money on behalf of us underprivileged people. But you'll still be living in your nice houses with your refrigerators and servants and we'll still be living here. What you are doing really has nothing to do with us. You'll go home anyhow, sooner or later.' This kind of conversation took place many times; it was an indictment of those evangelists who flew into Hong Kong, sang sweet songs about the love of Jesus on stage and on Hong Kong television, then jumped back into their planes and flew away again. 'Fine', said Ah Ping to me savagely one day, 'fine for them, fine for us too, we wouldn't mind believing in Jesus too if we could get into a plane and fly away round the world like them. They can sing about love very nicely, but what do they know about us? They don't touch us - they know nothing.
Jackie Pullinger (Chasing the Dragon: One Womans Struggle Against the Darkness of Hong Kong's Drug Dens)
A late arrival had the impression of lots of loud people unnecessarily grouped within a smoke-blue space between two mirrors gorged with reflections. Because, I suppose, Cynthia wished to be the youngest in the room, the women she used to invite, married or single, were, at the best, in their precarious forties; some of them would bring from their homes, in dark taxis, intact vestiges of good looks, which, however, they lost as the party progressed. It has always amazed me - the capacity sociable weekend revelers have of finding almost at once, by a purely empiric but very precise method, a common denominator of drunkenness, to which everybody loyally sticks before descending, all together, to the next level. The rich friendliness of the matrons was marked by tomboyish overtones, while the fixed inward look of amiably tight men was like a sacrilegious parody of pregnancy. Although some of the guests were connected in one way or another with the arts, there was no inspired talk, no wreathed, elbow-propped heads, and of course no flute girls. From some vantage point where she had been sitting in a stranded mermaid pose on the pale carpet with one or two younger fellows, Cynthia, her face varnished with a film of beaming sweat, would creep up on her knees, a proffered plate of nuts in one hand, and crisply tap with the other the athletic leg of Cochran or Corcoran, an art dealer, ensconced, on a pearl-grey sofa, between two flushed, happily disintegrating ladies. At a further stage there would come spurts of more riotous gaiety. Corcoran or Coransky would grab Cynthia or some other wandering woman by the shoulder and lead her into a corner to confront her with a grinning imbroglio of private jokes and rumors, whereupon, with a laugh and a toss of her head, he would break away. And still later there would be flurries of intersexual chumminess, jocular reconciliations, a bare fleshy arm flung around another woman's husband (he standing very upright in the midst of a swaying room), or a sudden rush of flirtatious anger, of clumsy pursuit-and the quiet half smile of Bob Wheeler picking up glasses that grew like mushrooms in the shade of chairs. ("The Vane Sisters")
Vladimir Nabokov (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
One day, I met a new patient who had been previously diagnosed with severe psychosis. The 55-year-old woman was suffering from depression and anxiety. She had never worked in her life and for a long time had been too anxious to leave home. In the discussion, I had a hunch. The woman might well be psychotic, but she seemed to have extraordinary intuitive powers. Could it be that she was anxious because she was overwhelmed by these powers and didn’t know what to do with them? My hunch was confirmed at the end of the session. I was pregnant at the time, and the woman suddenly told me, out of the blue, “What a beautiful boy! What a pity he hasn’t yet turned to be head-first.” She was right on both counts, but how could she know? I recommended to her that she learn to master her psychic powers. She registered in a course with a renowned teacher. We helped her with her depression in the hospital, but the training proved the key to her healing. Today she is transformed. She has a thriving practice where she offers her talents to the world. What used to cripple her with anxiousness now provides her with meaning and income.81
Frederic Laloux (Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness)
The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple — how narrow, even — it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
Christians have often been lamentably slow to grasp the profound secularity of the kingdom as it is proclaimed in the Gospels. Because Matthew (though not Mark or Luke) uses the phrase "the kingdom of heaven" - and perhaps because the greatest number of parables of the kingdom do indeed occur in Matthew - we have frequently succumbed to the temptation to place unwarranted importance on the word "heaven." In any case, we have too often given in to the temptation to picture the kingdom of heaven as if it were something that belonged more properly elsewhere than here. Worse yet, we have conceived of that elsewhere almost entirely in "heavenly" rather than in earthly terms. And all of that, mind you, directly in the face of Scripture's insistences to the contrary. In the Old Testament, for example, the principal difference between the gods of the heathen and the God who, as Yahweh, manifested himself to Israel was that, while the pagan gods occupied themselves chiefly "up there" in the "council of the gods," Yahweh showed his power principally "down here" on the stage of history. The pagan deities may have had their several fiefdoms on earth - pint-size plots of tribal real estate, outside which they had no interest or dominion, and even inside which they behaved mostly like absentee landlords; but their real turf was in the sky, not on earth. Yahweh, however, claimed two distinctions. Even on their heavenly turf, he insisted, it was he and not they who were in charge. And when he came down to earth, he acted as if the whole place was his own backyard. In fact, it was precisely by his overcoming them on utterly earthly ground, in and through his chosen people, that he claimed to have beaten them even on their heavenly home court. What he did on earth was done in heaven, and vice versa, because he alone, as the One Yahweh, was the sole proprietor of both. In the New Testament, that inseparability of heavenly concerns from earthly ones is, if anything, even more strenuously maintained. The kingdom Jesus proclaims is at hand, planted here, at work in this world. The Word sown is none other than God himself incarnate. By his death and resurrection at Jerusalem in A.D. 29, he reconciles everything, everywhere, to himself - whether they be things on earth or things in heaven.
Robert Farrar Capon (Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus)
They say that if you feel you don’t have fifteen minutes to meditate each day, then you need to do an hour. I’m sure it would do me no harm at all, but I’ve never been much of a man for sitting cross-legged, focusing on my breath. Instead, I prefer to whittle. Whittling is a form of practical meditation, which pre-dates the Buddhist and Hindu civilisations. It’s as simple as it gets. To make a tablespoon you take a branch – I prefer green birch, but holly, beech, maple and cherry can work well. Avoid softwoods. Saw it to length, axe it in half, draw out the shape of the spoon you’re aiming for, and start whittling it away with a small carving knife. Your knife, along with your sense of awareness, needs to be sharp. Drift away in your thoughts, worries or daydreams for one moment and, if you’re lucky, you’ll shave off a sliver of wood that may take you twenty minutes to correct; in the final stages you may not be able to correct it at all. If you’re unlucky, you may shave off a sliver of flesh from your finger that may take a week or two to correct itself. Nothing focuses the mind better than blood, or the thought of showing the woman you love an ugly, impractical spoon.
Mark Boyle (The Way Home: Tales from a life without technology)
The principal energy sources of our present industrial civilization are the so-called fossil fuels. We burn wood and oil, coal and natural gas, and, in the process, release waste gases, principally CO2, into the air. Consequently, the carbon dioxide content of the Earth’s atmosphere is increasing dramatically. The possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect suggests that we have to be careful: Even a one- or two-degree rise in the global temperature can have catastrophic consequences. In the burning of coal and oil and gasoline, we are also putting sulfuric acid into the atmosphere. Like Venus, our stratosphere even now has a substantial mist of tiny sulfuric acid droplets. Our major cities are polluted with noxious molecules. We do not understand the long-term effects of our course of action. But we have also been perturbing the climate in the opposite sense. For hundreds of thousands of years human beings have been burning and cutting down forests and encouraging domestic animals to graze on and destroy grasslands. Slash-and-burn agriculture, industrial tropical deforestation and overgrazing are rampant today. But forests are darker than grasslands, and grasslands are darker than deserts. As a consequence, the amount of sunlight that is absorbed by the ground has been declining, and by changes in the land use we are lowering the surface temperature of our planet. Might this cooling increase the size of the polar ice cap, which, because it is bright, will reflect still more sunlight from the Earth, further cooling the planet, driving a runaway albedo* effect? Our lovely blue planet, the Earth, is the only home we know. Venus is too hot. Mars is too cold. But the Earth is just right, a heaven for humans. After all, we evolved here. But our congenial climate may be unstable. We are perturbing our poor planet in serious and contradictory ways. Is there any danger of driving the environment of the Earth toward the planetary Hell of Venus or the global ice age of Mars? The simple answer is that nobody knows. The study of the global climate, the comparison of the Earth with other worlds, are subjects in their earliest stages of development. They are fields that are poorly and grudgingly funded. In our ignorance, we continue to push and pull, to pollute the atmosphere and brighten the land, oblivious of the fact that the long-term consequences are largely unknown.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
The idea of you lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you’re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man’s safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it’s day-time and you’re not behind him. “Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North; so I know the average all around. The average man’s a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men, in the day-time, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people—whereas you’re just as brave, and no braver. Why don’t your juries hang murderers? Because they’re afraid the man’s friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark—and it’s just what they would do. “So they always acquit; and then a man goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn’t bring a man with you; that’s one mistake, and the other is that you didn’t come in the dark, and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man—Buck Harkness, there—and if you hadn’t had him to start you, you’d a taken it out in blowing. “You didn’t want to come. The average man don’t like trouble and danger. You don’t like trouble and danger. But if only half a man—like Buck Harkness, there—shouts ‘Lynch him, lynch him!’ you’re afraid to back down—afraid you’ll be found out to be what you are—cowards—and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a-man’s coat tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you’re going to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it, is beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do, is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. If any real lynching’s going to be done, it will be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they’ll bring their masks, and fetch a man along. Now leave—and take your half-a-man with you...
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I remember standing in the wings when Mother’s voice cracked and went into a whisper. The audience began to laugh and sing falsetto and to make catcalls. It was all vague and I did not quite understand what was going on. But the noise increased until Mother was obliged to walk off the stage. When she came into the wings she was very upset and argued with the stage manager who, having seen me perform before Mother’s friends, said something about letting me go on in her place. And in the turmoil I remember him leading me by the hand and, after a few explanatory words to the audience, leaving me on the stage alone. And before a glare of footlights and faces in smoke, I started to sing, accompanied by the orchestra, which fiddled about until it found my key. It was a well-known song called Jack Jones that went as follows: Jack Jones well and known to everybody Round about the market, don’t yer see, I’ve no fault to find with Jack at all, Not when ’e’s as ’e used to be. But since ’e’s had the bullion left him ’E has altered for the worst, For to see the way he treats all his old pals Fills me with nothing but disgust. Each Sunday morning he reads the Telegraph, Once he was contented with the Star. Since Jack Jones has come into a little bit of cash, Well, ’e don’t know where ’e are. Half-way through, a shower of money poured on to the stage. Immediately I stopped and announced that I would pick up the money first and sing afterwards. This caused much laughter. The stage manager came on with a handkerchief and helped me to gather it up. I thought he was going to keep it. This thought was conveyed to the audience and increased their laughter, especially when he walked off with it with me anxiously following him. Not until he handed it to Mother did I return and continue to sing. I was quite at home. I talked to the audience, danced, and did several imitations including one of Mother singing her Irish march song that went as follows: Riley, Riley, that’s the boy to beguile ye, Riley, Riley, that’s the boy for me. In all the Army great and small, There’s none so trim and neat As the noble Sergeant Riley Of the gallant Eighty-eight. And in repeating the chorus, in all innocence I imitated Mother’s voice cracking and was surprised at the impact it had on the audience. There was laughter and cheers, then more money-throwing; and when Mother came on the stage to carry me off, her presence evoked tremendous applause. That night was my first appearance on the stage and Mother’s last.
Charlie Chaplin (My Autobiography (Neversink))
Hegel represents history as the self-realization of spirit (Geist) or God. The fundamental scheme of his theory is as follows. Spirit is self-creative energy imbued with a drive to become fully conscious of itself as spirit. Nature is spirit in its self-objectification in space; history is spirit in its self-objectification as culture—the succession of world-dominant civilizations from the ancient Orient to modern Europe. Spirit actualizes its nature as self-conscious being by the process of knowing. Through the mind of man, philosophical man in particular, the world achieves consciousness of itself as spirit. This process involves the repeated overcoming of spirit's alienation (Entfremdung) from itself, which takes place when spirit as the knowing mind confronts a world that appears, albeit falsely, as objective, i.e. as other than spirit. Knowing is recognition, whereby spirit destroys the illusory otherness of the objective world and recognizes it as actually subjective or selbstisch. The process terminates at the stage of "absolute knowledge," when spirit is finally and fully "at home with itself in its otherness," having recognized the whole of creation as spirit—Hegelianism itself being the scientific form of this ultimate self-knowledge on spirit's part.
Robert C. Tucker (The Marx-Engels Reader)
What is so rewarding about friendship?” my son asked, curling his upper lip into a sour expression. “Making friends takes too much time and effort, and for what?” I sat on the edge of his bed, understanding how it might seem simpler to go at life solo. “Friendship has unique rewards,” I told him. “They can be unpredictable. For instance....” I couldn’t help but pause to smile crookedly at an old memory that was dear to my heart. Then I shared with my son an unforgettable incident from my younger years. “True story. When I was about your age, I decided to try out for a school play. Tryouts were to begin after the last class of the day, but first I had to run home to grab a couple props for the monologue I planned to perform during tryouts. Silly me, I had left them at the house that morning. Luckily, I only lived across a long expanse of grassy field that separated the school from the nearest neighborhood. Unluckily, it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella. “Determined to get what I needed, I raced home, grabbed my props, and tore back across the field while my friend waited under the dry protection of the school’s wooden eaves. She watched me run in the rain, gesturing for me to go faster while calling out to hurry up or we would be late. “The rain was pouring by that time which was added reason for me to move fast. I didn’t want to look like a wet rat on stage in front of dozens of fellow students. Don’t ask me why I didn’t grab an umbrella from home—teenage pride or lack of focus, I’m not sure—but the increasing rain combined with the hollering from my friend as well as my anxious nerves about trying out for the play had me running far too fast in shoes that lacked any tread. “About a yard from the sidewalk where the grass was worn from foot traffic and consequently muddied from the downpour of rain, I slipped and fell on my hind end. Me, my props, and my dignity slid through the mud and lay there, coated. My things were dripping with mud. I was covered in it. I felt my heart plunge, and I wanted to cry. I probably would have if it hadn’t been for the wonderful thing that happened right then. My crazy friend ran over and plopped herself down in the mud beside me. She wiggled in it, making herself as much a mess as I was. Then she took my slimy hand in hers and pulled us both to our feet. We tried out for the play looking like a couple of swine escaped from a pigsty, laughing the whole time. I never did cry, thanks to my friend. “So yes, my dear son, friendship has its unique rewards—priceless ones.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Slaying Dragons: Quotes, Poetry, & a Few Short Stories for Every Day of the Year)
Is that who you are, that vaguely criminal face on your ID card, its soul snatched by the government camera as the guillotine shutter fell—or maybe just left behind with your heart, at the Stage Door Canteen, where they’re counting the night’s take, the NAAFI girls, the girls named Eileen, carefully sorting into refrigerated compartments the rubbery maroon organs with their yellow garnishes of fat—oh Linda come here feel this one, put your finger down in the ventricle here, isn’t it swoony, it’s still going. . . . Everybody you don’t suspect is in on this, everybody but you: the chaplain, the doctor, your mother hoping to hang that Gold Star, the vapid soprano last night on the Home Service programme, let’s not forget Mr. Noel Coward so stylish and cute about death and the afterlife, packing them into the Duchess for the fourth year running, the lads in Hollywood telling us how grand it all is over here, how much fun, Walt Disney causing Dumbo the elephant to clutch to that feather like how many carcasses under the snow tonight among the white-painted tanks, how many hands each frozen around a Miraculous Medal, lucky piece of worn bone, half-dollar with the grinning sun peering up under Liberty’s wispy gown, clutching, dumb, when the 88 fell—what do you think, it’s a children’s story?
Thomas Pynchon
home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he played the penny slot machines and lived off his social security check. He later claimed he had no regrets. “I made the best decision for me at the time. Both of them were real whirlwinds, and I knew my stomach and it wasn’t ready for such a ride.” •  •  • Jobs and Wozniak took the stage together for a presentation to the Homebrew Computer Club shortly after they signed Apple into existence. Wozniak held up one of their newly produced circuit boards and described the microprocessor, the eight kilobytes of memory, and the version of BASIC he had written. He also emphasized what he called the main thing: “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of lights and switches.” Then it was Jobs’s turn. He pointed out that the Apple, unlike the Altair, had all the essential components built in. Then he challenged them with a question: How much would people be willing to pay for such a wonderful machine? He was trying to get them to see the amazing value of the Apple. It was a rhetorical flourish he would use at product presentations over the ensuing decades. The audience was not very impressed. The Apple had a cut-rate microprocessor, not the Intel 8080. But one important person stayed behind to hear more. His name was Paul Terrell, and in 1975
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
If we combine the mass extinctions in Australia and America, and add the smaller-scale extinctions that took place as homo sapiens spread over Afro-Asia - such as the extinction of all other human species - and the extinctions that occurred when ancient foragers settled remote islands such as Cube, the inevitable conclusion is that the first wave of Sapiens colonisation was one of the biggest and swiftest ecological disasters to befall the animal kingdom. Hardest hit were the large furry creatures. At the time of the Cognitive Revolution, the planet was home to about 200 genera of large terrestrial mammals weighing over fifty kilograms. At the time of the Agricultural Revolution, only about a hundred remained. Homo sapiens drove to extinction about half of the planet's big beasts long before humans invented the wheel, writing or iron tools. This ecological tragedy was restaged in miniature countless times after the Agricultural Revolution. The archaeological record of island after island tells the same sad story. The tragedy opens with a scene showing a rich and varied population of large animals, without any trace of humans. In scene two, Sapiens appear, evidenced by a human bone, a spear point, or perhaps a potsherd. Scene three quickly follows, in which men and women occupy centre stage and most large animals, along with many smaller ones, are gone. (p. 80)
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
In striving to fulfill our identities as women, it's important not to confound the various passages of life with each other. What we may need in girlhood or adolescence are not the same qualities we need in maturity. The task of adolescence is to leave home. And women in a sexist society have chronically found this hard to do. Our biology has reinforced the very dependence which our minds have been able to fly beyond. Patriarchal practices like arranged marriages, female sexual mutilation and the denial of abortion have encouraged us to glorify not-leaving as a self-protective strategy. No wonder our creative heroines had to find strategies for leaving. Those who were heterosexual devised the strategy of falling for bad boys as a primal means of separation. We make a mistake in thinking they were only victims. They were adventurers first. That they became victims was not their intent. Sylvia Plath was not merely a masochist but a bold adventurer who perhaps got more than she bargained for. As I get older, I come to understand that the seemingly self-destructive obsessions of my various younger lives were not only self-destructive. They were also self-creative. All through the stages of our lives, we go through transformations that may only manifest themselves when they are safely over. The rebels and bad boys I loved were the harbingers of my loving those very qualities in myself. I loved and left the bad boys, but I thank them for helping to make me the strong survivor I am today.
Erica Jong (Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir)
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
How this complicated mosaic of [citizenship] statuses [among those who came under Roman control] had originated is again hard to know. Roman writers of the first century BCE, followed by modern legal scholars, tended to treat them as part of a highly technical, carefully calibrated system of civic rights and responsibilities. But that is almost certainly the product of later legal rationalisation. It is inconceivable that the men of the fourth century BCE sat down to debate the precise implications of civitas sine suffragio or the exact privileges that went with belonging to a 'Latin' colony. Much more likely, they were improvising their new relationships with different peoples in the outside world by using, and adjusting, their existing, rudimentary categories of citizenship and ethnicity. The implications, however, were again revolutionary. In extending citizenship to people who had no direct territorial connections with the city of Rome, they broke the link, which most people in the classical world took for granted, between citizenship and a single city. In a systematic way that was then unparalleled, they made it possible not just to become Roman but also to be a citizen of two places at once: one's home town and Rome. And in creating new Latin colonies all over Italy, they redefined the word 'Latin' so that it was no longer an ethnic identity but a political status unrelated to race or geography. This set the stage for a model of citizenship and 'belonging' that had enormous significance for Roman ideas of government, political rights, ethnicity and 'nationhood'. This model was shortly extended overseas and eventually underpinned the Roman Empire.
Mary Beard (SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome)
I saw the power this respect holds in traditional cultures on our family sabbatical to Thailand and Bali. My daughter Caroline studied Balinese dance for two months with a wonderful teacher, and he proposed to stage a farewell recital for her at his school, which is also his home. When we arrived, they set up the stage, got the music ready, and then started to dress Caroline. They took a very long time dressing a six-year-old whose average attention span is about five minutes. First they draped her in a silk sarong, with a beautiful chain around her waist. Then they wrapped embroidered silk fifteen times around her chest. They put on gold armbands and bracelets. They arranged her hair and put golden flowers in it. They put on more makeup than a six-year-old could dream of. Meanwhile, I sat there getting impatient, the proud father eager to take pictures. It was getting dark. “When are they going to finish dressing her and get on with the recital?” Thirty minutes, forty-five minutes. Finally the teacher’s wife came out and took off her own golden necklace and put it around my daughter’s neck. Caroline was thrilled. When I let go of my impatience, I realized what a wonderful thing was happening. In Bali, whether a dancer is six or twenty-six, she is equally honored and respected. She is an artist who performs not for the audience but for the gods. The level of respect that Caroline was given as an artist allowed her to dance beautifully. Imagine how you would feel if you were given that respect as a child. We need to learn respect for ourselves, for one another, to value our children through valuing their bodies, their feelings, their minds. Children may be limited in what they can do, but their spirit isn’t limited.
Jack Kornfield (Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are)
I. The Burial of the Dead April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. [...] (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you, I will show you fear in a handful of dust. [...] Unreal City, Under the brown fog of a winter dawn, A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many, I had not thought death had undone so many. [...] II. A Game of Chess [...] Under the firelight, under the brush, her hair Spread out in fiery points Glowed into words, then would be savagely still. III. The Fire Sermon [...] The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers, Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed. [...] At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea, The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights Her stove, and lays out food in tins. [...] I Tiresias, old man with dugs Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest-- I too awaited the expected guest. [...] IV. Death by Water [...] A current under sea Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell He passed the stages of his age and youth Entering the whirlpool. [...] V. What the Thunder Said [...] A woman drew her long black hair out tight And fiddled whisper music on those strings And bats with baby faces in the violet light Whistled, and beat their wings And crawled head downward down a blackened wall And upside down in air were towers Tolling reminiscent bells, that kept the hours And voices singing out of empty cisterns and exhausted wells.
T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land)
John Doerr, the legendary venture capitalist who backed Netscape, Google, and Amazon, doesn’t remember the exact day anymore; all he remembers is that it was shortly before Steve Jobs took the stage at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on January 9, 2007, to announce that Apple had reinvented the mobile phone. Doerr will never forget, though, the moment he first laid eyes on that phone. He and Jobs, his friend and neighbor, were watching a soccer match that Jobs’s daughter was playing in at a school near their homes in Palo Alto. As play dragged on, Jobs told Doerr that he wanted to show him something. “Steve reached into the top pocket of his jeans and pulled out the first iPhone,” Doerr recalled for me, “and he said, ‘John, this device nearly broke the company. It is the hardest thing we’ve ever done.’ So I asked for the specs. Steve said that it had five radios in different bands, it had so much processing power, so much RAM [random access memory], and so many gigabits of flash memory. I had never heard of so much flash memory in such a small device. He also said it had no buttons—it would use software to do everything—and that in one device ‘we will have the world’s best media player, world’s best telephone, and world’s best way to get to the Web—all three in one.’” Doerr immediately volunteered to start a fund that would support creation of applications for this device by third-party developers, but Jobs wasn’t interested at the time. He didn’t want outsiders messing with his elegant phone. Apple would do the apps. A year later, though, he changed his mind; that fund was launched, and the mobile phone app industry exploded. The moment that Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone turns out to have been a pivotal junction in the history of technology—and the world.
Thomas L. Friedman (Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations)
Some of us are confused by children’s needs for both dependency and independence, and instead of listening to them, we impatiently hurry them along. In an article on dependency in Mothering, a parenting magazine I respect, Peggy O’Mara, the editor, wrote, We have a cultural bias against dependency, against any emotion or behavior that indicates weakness. This is nowhere more tragically evident than in the way we push our children beyond their limitations and timetables. We establish outside standards as more important than inner experience when we wean our children rather than trusting that they will wean themselves, when we insist that our children sit at the table and finish their meals rather than trusting that they will eat well if healthful food is provided on a regular basis, and when we toilet train them at an early age rather than trusting that they will learn to use the toilet when they are ready to do so. It is the nature of the child to be dependent and it is the nature of dependence to be outgrown. Dependency, insecurity, and weakness are natural states for a child. They’re the natural states of all of us at times, but for children, especially young ones, they are predominant conditions and they are outgrown. Just as we grow from crawling to walking, from babbling to talking, from puberty into sexuality, as humans we move from weakness to strength, from uncertainty to mastery. When we refuse to acknowledge the stages prior to mastery, we teach our children to hate and distrust their weaknesses, and we start them on a journey of a lifetime of conflict, conflict with themselves, using external standards to set up an inner duality, a conflict between what is immediately their experience and how they’re supposed to be. Begrudging dependency because it is not independence is like begrudging winter because it is not yet spring. Dependency blossoms into independence in its own sweet time.
Jack Kornfield (Bringing Home the Dharma: Awakening Right Where You Are)
How do you build peaks? You create a positive moment with elements of elevation, insight, pride, and/ or connection. We’ll explore those final three elements later, but for now, let’s focus on elevation. To elevate a moment, do three things: First, boost sensory appeal. Second, raise the stakes. Third, break the script. (Breaking the script means to violate expectations about an experience—the next chapter is devoted to the concept.) Moments of elevation need not have all three elements but most have at least two. Boosting sensory appeal is about “turning up the volume” on reality. Things look better or taste better or sound better or feel better than they usually do. Weddings have flowers and food and music and dancing. (And they need not be superexpensive—see the footnote for more.IV) The Popsicle Hotline offers sweet treats delivered on silver trays by white-gloved waiters. The Trial of Human Nature is conducted in a real courtroom. It’s amazing how many times people actually wear different clothes to peak events: graduation robes and wedding dresses and home-team colors. At Hillsdale High, the lawyers wore suits and the witnesses came in costume. A peak means something special is happening; it should look different. To raise the stakes is to add an element of productive pressure: a competition, a game, a performance, a deadline, a public commitment. Consider the pregame jitters at a basketball game, or the sweaty-hands thrill of taking the stage at Signing Day, or the pressure of the oral defense at Hillsdale High’s Senior Exhibition. Remember how the teacher Susan Bedford said that, in designing the Trial, she and Greg Jouriles were deliberately trying to “up the ante” for their students. They made their students conduct the Trial in front of a jury that included the principal and varsity quarterback. That’s pressure. One simple diagnostic to gauge whether you’ve transcended the ordinary is if people feel the need to pull out their cameras. If they take pictures, it must be a special occasion. (Not counting the selfie addict, who thinks his face is a special occasion.) Our instinct to capture a moment says: I want to remember this. That’s a moment of elevation.
Chip Heath (The Power of Moments: Why Certain Moments Have Extraordinary Impact)
Her mind escaped between them, and went exploring for itself through the great gaps they had made in the simple obedient assumptions of her girlhood. That question originally put in Paradise, "Why shouldn't we?" came into her mind and stayed there. It is a question that marks a definite stage in the departure from innocence. Things that had seemed opaque and immutable appeared translucent and questionable. She began to read more and more in order to learn things and get a light upon things, and less and less to pass the time. Ideas came to her that seemed at first strange altogether and then grotesquely justifiable and then crept to a sort of acceptance by familiarity. And a disturbing intermittent sense of a general responsibility increased and increased in her. You will understand this sense of responsibility which was growing up in Lady Harman's mind if you have felt it yourself, but if you have not then you may find it a little difficult to understand. You see it comes, when it comes at all, out of a phase of disillusionment. All children, I suppose, begin by taking for granted the rightness of things in general, the soundness of accepted standards, and many people are at least so happy that they never really grow out of this assumption. They go to the grave with an unbroken confidence that somewhere behind all the immediate injustices and disorders of life, behind the antics of politics, the rigidities of institutions, the pressure of custom and the vagaries of law, there is wisdom and purpose and adequate provision, they never lose that faith in the human household they acquired amongst the directed securities of home. But for more of us and more there comes a dissolution of these assurances; there comes illumination as the day comes into a candle-lit uncurtained room. The warm lights that once rounded off our world so completely are betrayed for what they are, smoky and guttering candles. Beyond what once seemed a casket of dutiful security is now a limitless and indifferent universe. Ours is the wisdom or there is no wisdom; ours is the decision or there is no decision. That burthen is upon each of us in the measure of our capacity. The talent has been given us and we may not bury it.
H.G. Wells (The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman)
Having perfected his arrangements, he would get my pipe, and, lighting it, would hand it to me. Often he was obliged to strike a light for the occasion, and as the mode he adopted was entirely different from what I had ever seen or heard of before I will describe it. A straight, dry, and partly decayed stick of the Hibiscus, about six feet in length, and half as many inches in diameter, with a small, bit of wood not more than a foot long, and scarcely an inch wide, is as invariably to be met with in every house in Typee as a box of lucifer matches in the corner of a kitchen cupboard at home. The islander, placing the larger stick obliquely against some object, with one end elevated at an angle of forty-five degrees, mounts astride of it like an urchin about to gallop off upon a cane, and then grasping the smaller one firmly in both hands, he rubs its pointed end slowly up and down the extent of a few inches on the principal stick, until at last he makes a narrow groove in the wood, with an abrupt termination at the point furthest from him, where all the dusty particles which the friction creates are accumulated in a little heap. At first Kory-Kory goes to work quite leisurely, but gradually quickens his pace, and waxing warm in the employment, drives the stick furiously along the smoking channel, plying his hands to and fro with amazing rapidity, the perspiration starting from every pore. As he approaches the climax of his effort, he pants and gasps for breath, and his eyes almost start from their sockets with the violence of his exertions. This is the critical stage of the operation; all his previous labours are vain if he cannot sustain the rapidity of the movement until the reluctant spark is produced. Suddenly he stops, becoming perfectly motionless. His hands still retain their hold of the smaller stick, which is pressed convulsively against the further end of the channel among the fine powder there accumulated, as if he had just pierced through and through some little viper that was wriggling and struggling to escape from his clutches. The next moment a delicate wreath of smoke curls spirally into the air, the heap of dusty particles glows with fire, and Kory-Kory, almost breathless, dismounts from his steed.
Herman Melville
But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
OBAMA WENT THROUGH STAGES. That first day, I was in multiple meetings where he tried to lift everyone’s spirits. That evening, he interrupted the senior staff meeting in Denis McDonough’s office and gave a version of the speech that I’d now heard three times as we all sat there at the table. He was the only one standing. It was both admirable and heartbreaking watching him take everything in stride, working—still—to lift people’s spirits. When he was done, I spoke first. “It says a lot about you,” I said, “that you’ve spent the whole day trying to buck the rest of us up.” People applauded. Obama looked down. On the Thursday after the election, he had a long, amiable meeting with Trump. It left him somewhat stupefied. Trump had repeatedly steered the conversation back to the size of his rallies, noting that he and Obama could draw big crowds but Hillary couldn’t. He’d expressed openness to Obama’s arguments about healthcare, the Iran deal, immigration. He’d asked for recommendations for staff. He’d praised Obama publicly when the press was there. Afterward, Obama called a few of us up to the Oval Office to recap. “I’m trying to place him,” he said, “in American history.” He told us Trump had been perfectly cordial, but he’d almost taken pride in not being attached to a firm position on anything. “He peddles bullshit. That character has always been a part of the American story,” I said. “You can see it right back to some of the characters in Huckleberry Finn.” Obama chuckled. “Maybe that’s the best we can hope for.” In breaks between meetings in the coming days, he expressed disbelief that the election had been lost. With unemployment at 5 percent. With the economy humming. With the Affordable Care Act working. With graduation rates up. With most of our troops back home. But then again, maybe that’s why Trump could win. People would never have voted for him in a crisis. He kept talking it out, trying on different theories. He chalked it up to multiple car crashes at once. There was the letter from Comey shortly before the election, reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email server. There was the steady release of Podesta emails from Wikileaks through October. There was a rabid right-wing propaganda machine and a mainstream press that gorged on the story of Hillary’s emails, feeding Trump’s narrative of corruption.
Ben Rhodes (The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House)
The first signal of the change in her behavior was Prince Andrew’s stag night when the Princess of Wales and Sarah Ferguson dressed as policewomen in a vain attempt to gatecrash his party. Instead they drank champagne and orange juice at Annabel’s night club before returning to Buckingham Palace where they stopped Andrew’s car at the entrance as he returned home. Technically the impersonation of police officers is a criminal offence, a point not neglected by several censorious Members of Parliament. For a time this boisterous mood reigned supreme within the royal family. When the Duke and Duchess hosted a party at Windsor Castle as a thank you for everyone who had helped organize their wedding, it was Fergie who encouraged everyone to jump, fully clothed, into the swimming pool. There were numerous noisy dinner parties and a disco in the Waterloo Room at Windsor Castle at Christmas. Fergie even encouraged Diana to join her in an impromptu version of the can-can. This was but a rehearsal for their first public performance when the girls, accompanied by their husbands, flew to Klosters for a week-long skiing holiday. On the first day they lined up in front of the cameras for the traditional photo-call. For sheer absurdity this annual spectacle takes some beating as ninety assorted photographers laden with ladders and equipment scramble through the snow for positions. Diana and Sarah took this silliness at face value, staging a cabaret on ice as they indulged in a mock conflict, pushing and shoving each other until Prince Charles announced censoriously: “Come on, come on!” Until then Diana’s skittish sense of humour had only been seen in flashes, invariably clouded by a mask of blushes and wan silences. So it was a surprised group of photographers who chanced across the Princess in a Klosters café that same afternoon. She pointed to the outsize medal on her jacket, joking: “I have awarded it to myself for services to my country because no-one else will.” It was an aside which spoke volumes about her underlying self-doubt. The mood of frivolity continued with pillow fights in their chalet at Wolfgang although it would be wrong to characterize the mood on that holiday as a glorified schoolgirls’ outing. As one royal guest commented: “It was good fun within reason. You have to mind your p’s and q’s when royalty, particularly Prince Charles, is present. It is quite formal and can be rather a strain.
Andrew Morton (Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words)
Tim Tigner began his career in Soviet Counterintelligence with the US Army Special Forces, the Green Berets. That was back in the Cold War days when, “We learned Russian so you didn't have to,” something he did at the Presidio of Monterey alongside Recon Marines and Navy SEALs. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tim switched from espionage to arbitrage. Armed with a Wharton MBA rather than a Colt M16, he moved to Moscow in the midst of Perestroika. There, he led prominent multinational medical companies, worked with cosmonauts on the MIR Space Station (from Earth, alas), chaired the Association of International Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, and helped write Russia’s first law on healthcare. Moving to Brussels during the formation of the EU, Tim ran Europe, Middle East, and Africa for a Johnson & Johnson company and traveled like a character in a Robert Ludlum novel. He eventually landed in Silicon Valley, where he launched new medical technologies as a startup CEO. In his free time, Tim has climbed the peaks of Mount Olympus, hang glided from the cliffs of Rio de Janeiro, and ballooned over Belgium. He earned scuba certification in Turkey, learned to ski in Slovenia, and ran the Serengeti with a Maasai warrior. He acted on stage in Portugal, taught negotiations in Germany, and chaired a healthcare conference in Holland. Tim studied psychology in France, radiology in England, and philosophy in Greece. He has enjoyed ballet at the Bolshoi, the opera on Lake Como, and the symphony in Vienna. He’s been a marathoner, paratrooper, triathlete, and yogi.  Intent on combining his creativity with his experience, Tim began writing thrillers in 1996 from an apartment overlooking Moscow’s Gorky Park. Decades later, his passion for creative writing continues to grow every day. His home office now overlooks a vineyard in Northern California, where he lives with his wife Elena and their two daughters. Tim grew up in the Midwest, and graduated from Hanover College with a BA in Philosophy and Mathematics. After military service and work as a financial analyst and foreign-exchange trader, he earned an MBA in Finance and an MA in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton and Lauder Schools.  Thank you for taking the time to read about the author. Tim is most grateful for his loyal fans, and loves to correspond with readers like you. You are welcome to reach him directly at tim@timtigner.com.
Tim Tigner (Falling Stars (Kyle Achilles, #3))
Was this luck, or was it more than that? Proving skill is difficult in venture investing because, as we have seen, it hinges on subjective judgment calls rather than objective or quantifiable metrics. If a distressed-debt hedge fund hires analysts and lawyers to scrutinize a bankrupt firm, it can learn precisely which bond is backed by which piece of collateral, and it can foresee how the bankruptcy judge is likely to rule; its profits are not lucky. Likewise, if an algorithmic hedge fund hires astrophysicists to look for patterns in markets, it may discover statistical signals that are reliably profitable. But when Perkins backed Tandem and Genentech, or when Valentine backed Atari, they could not muster the same certainty. They were investing in human founders with human combinations of brilliance and weakness. They were dealing with products and manufacturing processes that were untested and complex; they faced competitors whose behaviors could not be forecast; they were investing over long horizons. In consequence, quantifiable risks were multiplied by unquantifiable uncertainties; there were known unknowns and unknown unknowns; the bracing unpredictability of life could not be masked by neat financial models. Of course, in this environment, luck played its part. Kleiner Perkins lost money on six of the fourteen investments in its first fund. Its methods were not as fail-safe as Tandem’s computers. But Perkins and Valentine were not merely lucky. Just as Arthur Rock embraced methods and attitudes that put him ahead of ARD and the Small Business Investment Companies in the 1960s, so the leading figures of the 1970s had an edge over their competitors. Perkins and Valentine had been managers at leading Valley companies; they knew how to be hands-on; and their contributions to the success of their portfolio companies were obvious. It was Perkins who brought in the early consultants to eliminate the white-hot risks at Tandem, and Perkins who pressed Swanson to contract Genentech’s research out to existing laboratories. Similarly, it was Valentine who drove Atari to focus on Home Pong and to ally itself with Sears, and Valentine who arranged for Warner Communications to buy the company. Early risk elimination plus stage-by-stage financing worked wonders for all three companies. Skeptical observers have sometimes asked whether venture capitalists create innovation or whether they merely show up for it. In the case of Don Valentine and Tom Perkins, there was not much passive showing up. By force of character and intellect, they stamped their will on their portfolio companies.
Sebastian Mallaby (The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future)
But depression wasn’t the word. This was a plunge encompassing sorrow and revulsion far beyond the personal: a sick, drenching nausea at all humanity and human endeavor from the dawn of time. The writhing loathsomeness of the biological order. Old age, sickness, death. No escape for anyone. Even the beautiful ones were like soft fruit about to spoil. And yet somehow people still kept fucking and breeding and popping out new fodder for the grave, producing more and more new beings to suffer like this was some kind of redemptive, or good, or even somehow morally admirable thing: dragging more innocent creatures into the lose-lose game. Squirming babies and plodding, complacent, hormone-drugged moms. Oh, isn’t he cute? Awww. Kids shouting and skidding in the playground with no idea what future Hells awaited them: boring jobs and ruinous mortgages and bad marriages and hair loss and hip replacements and lonely cups of coffee in an empty house and a colostomy bag at the hospital. Most people seemed satisfied with the thin decorative glaze and the artful stage lighting that, sometimes, made the bedrock atrocity of the human predicament look somewhat more mysterious or less abhorrent. People gambled and golfed and planted gardens and traded stocks and had sex and bought new cars and practiced yoga and worked and prayed and redecorated their homes and got worked up over the news and fussed over their children and gossiped about their neighbors and pored over restaurant reviews and founded charitable organizations and supported political candidates and attended the U.S. Open and dined and travelled and distracted themselves with all kinds of gadgets and devices, flooding themselves incessantly with information and texts and communication and entertainment from every direction to try to make themselves forget it: where we were, what we were. But in a strong light there was no good spin you could put on it. It was rotten top to bottom. Putting your time in at the office; dutifully spawning your two point five; smiling politely at your retirement party; then chewing on your bedsheet and choking on your canned peaches at the nursing home. It was better never to have been born—never to have wanted anything, never to have hoped for anything. And all this mental thrashing and tossing was mixed up with recurring images, or half-dreams, of Popchik lying weak and thin on one side with his ribs going up and down—I’d forgotten him somewhere, left him alone and forgotten to feed him, he was dying—over and over, even when he was in the room with me, head-snaps where I started up guiltily, where is Popchik; and this in turn was mixed up with head-snapping flashes of the bundled pillowcase, locked away in its steel coffin.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
The Big Picture: From Abraham to Armageddon Down through the ages, the sons of Jacob have survived trials, persecution, and thousands of years in exile from their homeland. The Scriptures foretold the dispersion of the Jews and also of their regathering toward the end of the age. After a long absence from a country left in desolation, the Jews have come home to the land that God promised to Abraham: “…a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.” (Ezekiel 38:8). The other branch of Abraham’s family—the sons of Ishmael— are the Islamic Arabs that inhabit the lands surrounding Israel. Ishmael’s descendants epitomize the spirit and temperament that the Bible predicted more than three millennia ago: “…his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12). The Prophet Ezekiel tells us that these same sons of Ishmael will be among the enemies who seek to destroy Israel in the end times: “And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land…” (Ezekiel 38:16). The day is soon coming when Ishmael’s descendants will unite as one: “…they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.” Their ultimate purpose being the fulfillment of a long-held dream: the annihilation of Israel. Muslims have been taught for centuries that the Last Day will not come until they wage a final war against the Jews and rid the world of them once and for all. They believe that only after this is accomplished will Muslims enjoy a golden age of peace, justice, and worldwide Islamic rule. However, the Bible tells us that God has other plans: Before Israel can be destroyed He is going to intervene, and bring to ruin those who seek her destruction. On that day, multitudes of Jews will realize that Jesus is Messiah, and many Muslims will realize that they have made a fateful mistake. Though most are unaware, we, today, are witnessing the fruition of seeds that were planted nearly four thousand years ago with the birth of Abraham’s sons. God promised Abraham that He would make great nations of both Isaac and Ishmael. To be sure, one would be hard pressed to argue that He did not. The Jewish and Arabic peoples have had an immeasurable impact on the world and can now be found at center stage in the arena of world politics and conflict. Thus, the history of mankind will reach its pinnacle, essentially where it began, in a region literally located at the center of the globe; more specifically, Israel and the nations that surround her.
T.W. Tramm (From Abraham to Armageddon: The Convergence of Current Events, Bible Prophecy, and Islam)
An upbeat song played over the loudspeaker, and everyone's attention focused on the Jumbotron above the basketball court. "It's time for the Bulls' Kiss Cam. So, pucker up for your sweetie and kiss them." The camera found an older couple in their fifties. The man pulled his wife, I assumed, in for a quick peck on the lips. "Aww. That is so sweet," Trina said. She proceeded to yank poor Owen to his seat in case the spotlight landed on them. She'd do just about anything to get on television, even if it meant not kissing Owen tonight to do so. "That is so staged," I said and sneaked a quick peek at my phone, seeing if he messaged me back. He didn’t. "Really?" she countered and slapped my arm. Once I glanced her way, she pointed towards the large screen looming above. On the screen was Sebastian and me as the camera had just so happened to find us. It stayed there zooming closer. And closer. And closer. "Come on," the announcer called out, prodding us. "Just one kiss won't hurt." He had no idea what he was asking. A kiss would initiate feelings I couldn't avoid any longer. I momentarily forgot how to breathe as the song, “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid hummed at my lips. Not the best choice, but still. Everything became much worse once my giant moved into view, smiling my favorite smile. Sebastian inched closer; eyebrow cocked to dare me."No pressure or anything." I was quiet for a moment before whispering, "Game on, buddy." My eyes closed a few heartbeats shy of Sebastian's lips meeting mine. His hands rose, cupping my cheeks to keep me from pulling away. Like that was going to happen. Sebastian’s mouth moved against mine, and I conceded, kissing him in return. He tasted sweet and minty, like the home I’d been missing. The kiss turned from soft and tame to fierce and wantingas if neither of us could get enough. And already, I considered myself a goner. Everything became a haze. My heart thumped so wildly against my chest, I swore Sebastian could hear. The crowd surrounding us was whistling and cheering us on, and it only kept gaining momentum as the moments passed. The noise quickly faded until it was as if we were the only two people in the room. We could have been the only two people on earth. "Okay, guys." Trina tapped my shoulder, garnering my attention. "Camera has moved on now." That was our cue to separate, and I slowly drew away from Sebastian. He, in turn, slipped his hand to the back of my neck, holding me here. "Don't," he sighed against my lips. I didn't budge another inch. I didn't want to. Sebastian rewarded me by deepening the kiss. Dear God. There were sparks. My stomach flipped. My toes curled. My body warmed. Every single inch of me only wanted one thing and one thing only. If this continued for too much longer, it was easy to guess my new favorite hobby: Kissing Sebastian Freaking Birch. Needing some air, I pressed my palm flat against his chest. This time he released me as we both were breathless. Sebastian's eyes carefully studied me. He kept staring as if he could read my heart, my mind. And for those brief few seconds, I honestly didn't believe there were any secrets between us. His gaze shifted as he gauged what to do next, and I had no freaking idea where we went from here. We'd done it now. We crossed that line, and there was no way of ever going back.
Patty Carothers and Amy Brewer (Texting Prince Charming)
Doremus Jessup, so inconspicuous an observer, watching Senator Windrip from so humble a Boeotia, could not explain his power of bewitching large audiences. The Senator was vulgar, almost illiterate, a public liar easily detected, and in his "ideas" almost idiotic, while his celebrated piety was that of a traveling salesman for church furniture, and his yet more celebrated humor the sly cynicism of a country store. Certainly there was nothing exhilarating in the actual words of his speeches, nor anything convincing in his philosophy. His political platforms were only wings of a windmill. Seven years before his present credo—derived from Lee Sarason, Hitler, Gottfried Feder, Rocco, and probably the revue Of Thee I Sing—little Buzz, back home, had advocated nothing more revolutionary than better beef stew in the county poor-farms, and plenty of graft for loyal machine politicians, with jobs for their brothers-in-law, nephews, law partners, and creditors. Doremus had never heard Windrip during one of his orgasms of oratory, but he had been told by political reporters that under the spell you thought Windrip was Plato, but that on the way home you could not remember anything he had said. There were two things, they told Doremus, that distinguished this prairie Demosthenes. He was an actor of genius. There was no more overwhelming actor on the stage, in the motion pictures, nor even in the pulpit. He would whirl arms, bang tables, glare from mad eyes, vomit Biblical wrath from a gaping mouth; but he would also coo like a nursing mother, beseech like an aching lover, and in between tricks would coldly and almost contemptuously jab his crowds with figures and facts—figures and facts that were inescapable even when, as often happened, they were entirely incorrect. But below this surface stagecraft was his uncommon natural ability to be authentically excited by and with his audience, and they by and with him. He could dramatize his assertion that he was neither a Nazi nor a Fascist but a Democrat—a homespun Jeffersonian-Lincolnian-Clevelandian-Wilsonian Democrat—and (sans scenery and costume) make you see him veritably defending the Capitol against barbarian hordes, the while he innocently presented as his own warm-hearted Democratic inventions, every anti-libertarian, anti-Semitic madness of Europe. Aside from his dramatic glory, Buzz Windrip was a Professional Common Man. Oh, he was common enough. He had every prejudice and aspiration of every American Common Man. He believed in the desirability and therefore the sanctity of thick buckwheat cakes with adulterated maple syrup, in rubber trays for the ice cubes in his electric refrigerator, in the especial nobility of dogs, all dogs, in the oracles of S. Parkes Cadman, in being chummy with all waitresses at all junction lunch rooms, and in Henry Ford (when he became President, he exulted, maybe he could get Mr. Ford to come to supper at the White House), and the superiority of anyone who possessed a million dollars. He regarded spats, walking sticks, caviar, titles, tea-drinking, poetry not daily syndicated in newspapers and all foreigners, possibly excepting the British, as degenerate. But he was the Common Man twenty-times-magnified by his oratory, so that while the other Commoners could understand his every purpose, which was exactly the same as their own, they saw him towering among them, and they raised hands to him in worship.
Sinclair Lewis (It Can't Happen Here)
I’ll never forget this one night when Daddy had taken us way out to a little church up on a high ridge. There was no kind of instrumentation, and the hymns were all sung a cappella. During the preaching, there was a little more shouting from the congregation than usual. When it came time for us to sing, we were introduced by the preacher, a wiry little man with kind of a fiery look in his eyes. We stepped to the front and took our places on the old wood-plank platform to one side of the pulpit. Softly, I sung a note to get us started because it was decided I could come closest to hitting a key that we could all sing in. We began our songs, just as we had planned. I was aware that the pastor was on the stage behind us, but I didn’t think anything of it. After a while, I could feel Stella nudging me in the ribs, trying not to be noticed. I looked at her, and she motioned with her head slightly back toward where the preacher was standing. He seemed to be totally wrapped up in the spirit, nearly in a trance. I didn’t think too much of it, until I spotted a familiar sight—the back markings of a snake, a cottonmouth moccasin. I had seen them in the woods, usually scurrying across the path toward cover. They were afraid of me, and I was afraid of them. And up to now, we had always managed to keep our distance from each other. Here, apparently, they were a part of the worship service. I could see now, out of my peripheral vision, that the preacher had a full grown cottonmouth by the back of the head and it was twisting and coiling all around his forearm. Some members of the congregation were reaching out as if they wanted to touch it. The preacher was getting more and more worked up, and he reached into a wooden crate by the pulpit and took out two more snakes. This time he seemed to be holding them much more carelessly. He lifted them near his face as if daring them to strike. We sisters just kept on singing, unconsciously moving away from the snakes until we were very near the front of the platform. Just then, I noticed something that struck a note of fear in my heart much greater than that inspired by the snakes. My father had stepped into the back of the church to hear his little girls sing. Whatever he had been drinking didn’t impair his ability to see exactly what the preacher had in his hands. Just at that moment, the man and his snakes took a step toward the congregation, thus toward us. Daddy had seen enough. He charged down the aisle like a wild boar through a thicket. “You get them Goddamn snakes away from my kids!” Daddy bellowed with a force in his voice I had never heard before. It was amazing how quickly that preacher broke his trance and paid heed. He had heard the voice of a higher power, in this case a really pissed-off redneck. Daddy swooped us up and out the front door before we had time to think about what was happening. We didn’t even stop singing until we were almost down the steps into the churchyard. We were glad to be out of there, and I at least was proud that Daddy had come to our rescue. But Daddy obviously felt terrible about it. On the way home in the car, he got to feeling especially bad. “Goddamn! I can’t believe I said Goddamn in church!” he muttered to himself. He finally got so upset he had to stop the car and get out in the woods and, in his way, ask God’s forgiveness. I couldn’t help thinking how badly Mama had always wanted Daddy to walk down the church aisle and declare himself. Now he had certainly done that, although not I’m sure the way Mama had in mind.
Dolly Parton (Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business)
And now I come to the first positively important point which I wish to make. Never were as many men of a decidedly empiricist proclivity in existence as there are at the present day. Our children, one may say, are almost born scientific. But our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout. Now take a man of this type, and let him be also a philosophic amateur, unwilling to mix a hodge-podge system after the fashion of a common layman, and what does he find his situation to be, in this blessed year of our Lord 1906? He wants facts; he wants science; but he also wants a religion. And being an amateur and not an independent originator in philosophy he naturally looks for guidance to the experts and professionals whom he finds already in the field. A very large number of you here present, possibly a majority of you, are amateurs of just this sort. Now what kinds of philosophy do you find actually offered to meet your need? You find an empirical philosophy that is not religious enough, and a religious philosophy that is not empirical enough. If you look to the quarter where facts are most considered you find the whole tough-minded program in operation, and the 'conflict between science and religion' in full blast. The romantic spontaneity and courage are gone, the vision is materialistic and depressing. Ideals appear as inert by-products of physiology; what is higher is explained by what is lower and treated forever as a case of 'nothing but'—nothing but something else of a quite inferior sort. You get, in short, a materialistic universe, in which only the tough-minded find themselves congenially at home.If now, on the other hand, you turn to the religious quarter for consolation, and take counsel of the tender-minded philosophies, what do you find? Religious philosophy in our day and generation is, among us English-reading people, of two main types. One of these is more radical and aggressive, the other has more the air of fighting a slow retreat. By the more radical wing of religious philosophy I mean the so-called transcendental idealism of the Anglo-Hegelian school, the philosophy of such men as Green, the Cairds, Bosanquet, and Royce. This philosophy has greatly influenced the more studious members of our protestant ministry. It is pantheistic, and undoubtedly it has already blunted the edge of the traditional theism in protestantism at large. That theism remains, however. It is the lineal descendant, through one stage of concession after another, of the dogmatic scholastic theism still taught rigorously in the seminaries of the catholic church. For a long time it used to be called among us the philosophy of the Scottish school. It is what I meant by the philosophy that has the air of fighting a slow retreat. Between the encroachments of the hegelians and other philosophers of the 'Absolute,' on the one hand, and those of the scientific evolutionists and agnostics, on the other, the men that give us this kind of a philosophy, James Martineau, Professor Bowne, Professor Ladd and others, must feel themselves rather tightly squeezed. Fair-minded and candid as you like, this philosophy is not radical in temper. It is eclectic, a thing of compromises, that seeks a modus vivendi above all things. It accepts the facts of darwinism, the facts of cerebral physiology, but it does nothing active or enthusiastic with them. It lacks the victorious and aggressive note. It lacks prestige in consequence; whereas absolutism has a certain prestige due to the more radical style of it.
William James
Somehow I feel that, despite our work as reporters, there is little understanding of the Third Reich, what it is, what it is up to, where it is going, either at home or elsewhere abroad. It is a complex picture and it may be that we have given only a few strong, uncoordinated strokes of the brush, leaving the canvas as confusing and meaningless as an early Picasso. Certainly the British and the French do not understand Hitler’s Germany. Perhaps, as the Nazis say, the Western democracies have become sick, decadent, and have reached that stage of decline which Spengler predicted. But Spengler included Germany in the decline of the West, and indeed the Nazi reversion to the ancient, primitive, Germanic myths is a sign of her retrogression, as is her burning of books and suppression of liberty and learning.
William L. Shirer (Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-41)
All Mothers Aren’t the Same and All Babies Aren’t the Same We mothers all have different personalities, body shapes, interests and needs, and daily rhythms. And then maybe we change jobs, or partners, or homes. Or we add children or other responsibilities. Every baby is unique too. Some need a lot of holding. Some need a lot of breastfeeding. Some need a lot of sleep. A few babies seem to have read all the parenting books; most of them threw the books over their tiny shoulder on day one. All different, all changing. But eventually, the baby who never sleeps becomes the teenager who can sleep through an earthquake, with many stages in between.
La Leche League International (Sweet Sleep: Nighttime and Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family)
It wasn’t that long ago that society had drawn strict lines between what a man would do and what a woman would do domestically. The man would have a job, a simple nine-to-five, and the woman would keep house and make babies. Those lines had shifted and blurred. At first glance, you’d think it was because of the women's suffrage movement, but that wasn’t it. This society was moving into late-stage capitalism. In the past, one man’s wage would feed and clothe an entire family of six, and buy a house, with money left over for holidays and trips to the movies once and a while. As the cost of living went skyrocketing, and wages limped lethargically behind it, men weren’t bringing home enough money for the family to survive anymore. So, the wives went out to work as well. But the reorganization of domestic labor didn’t go with it. Women were told that they could have it all - a career, a family, a fulfilling life. It just meant they were doing it all, while a lot of men were reveling in their weaponized incompetence,
Lauretta Hignett (Immortal Games (Imogen Gray, #2))
Tenn believed that writers, all artists, had several homes. There was the biological place of birth; the home in which one grew up, bore witness, fell apart. There was also the place where the "epiphanies" began-a school, a church, perhaps a bed. Rockets were launched and an identity began to be set. There was the physical location where a writer sat each day and scribbled and hunted and pecked and dreamed and drank and cursed his way into a story or a play or a novel. Most importantly, however, there was the emotional, invisible, self-invented place where work began-what Tenn called his "mental theatre," a cerebral proscenium stage upon which his characters walked and stumbled and remained locked forever in his memory, ready, he felt, to be called into action and help him again.
James Grissom (Follies of God: Tennessee Williams and the Women of the Fog)
My meal from Honey and Hickory came with a side of dysentery straight out of Oregon Trail.’” Finn now spat out the quote against the echo of Simone’s accusation, reciting from memory a review he’d found on a late-night, liquor-fueled deep dive into all things Honey and Hickory. “That’s a direct quote from a one-star review I found for Simone’s historic family restaurant online.” Simone strode forward and claimed center stage. “Written by a disgruntled cook who was fired for never showing up to work. It hardly classifies as empirical evidence.” “Look, Ms. Blake,” he said, leaning heavy on the honorific like she had, gratified when her eyes narrowed. “Beyond Honey and Hickory’s subpar reviews, your generic flavors can’t match the nuance of Finn’s Secret Sauce. You’re a mom-and-pop barbecue joint with no soul, stuck in the past.” Directing his next words to the investors, he said, “Whereas I’m all heart, focused on the future of barbecue. Sustainable, organic, outside-the-box flavor blends.” Simone clicked her tongue. “Organic? Wow, super cutting edge. If this was 1999.” Hands on her hips, she angled away from him, toward the crowd. “Honey and Hickory was farm to table long before it was fashionable, and we cook with locally sourced meat and home-grown produce.” “Like you had anything to do with that? Your grandfather probably set up those contacts while you were in diapers.” He turned his focus on the audience; two could play at that game. “Don’t let Ms. Blake fool you. She’s been at the helm of the restaurant for less than a year, yet she’s trying to convince you she played a role in Honey and Hickory’s decades of success.
Chandra Blumberg (Stirring Up Love (Taste of Love, #2))
Eight years ago, Mexicans picked almost all of the crops in this great valley,” Jack said. “They came across the border, moved into these fields, and picked the crops and moved on. February for peas in Nipomo. June for apricots in Santa Clara. Grapes in August in Fresno, and September here for cotton. They came, they picked, and they returned home for the winter. Invisible to the locals at every stage. Until the Crash of ’29 broke the system and made Californians afraid for their jobs. They feared who Americans always fear: the outsider. So the state cracked down on illegal immigrants and called the Mexicans criminals and deported them. By ’31, the majority of them were gone or in hiding. It would have been a catastrophe for the agriculture business, but then…”—
Kristin Hannah (The Four Winds)
Women in this stage often begin to feel both desperate and adamant to go on this inward journey, no matter what. And so they do, as they leave one life for another, or one stage of life for another, or sometimes even one lover for no other lover than themselves. Progressing from adolescence to young womanhood, or from married woman to spinster, or from mid-age to older, crossing over the crone line, setting out wounded but with one’s own new value system—that is death and resurgence. Leaving a relationship or the home of one’s parents, leaving behind outmoded values, becoming one’s own person, and sometimes, driving deep into the wildlands because one just must, all these are the fortune of the descent. So off we go down into a different light, under a different sky, with unfamiliar ground beneath our boots. And yet we go vulnerably, for we have no grasping, no holding on to, no clinging to, no knowing—for we have no hands.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With The Wolves / If Women Rose Rooted / Wild Power)