I Have Cancer Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to I Have Cancer. Here they are! All 100 of them:

The answer is good things only happen to you if you're good. Good? Honest is more what I mean... Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.
Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories)
The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.
John Green (Paper Towns)
To have her here in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth—I count that something of a miracle.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
I have found God, but he is insufficient.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
All right then," said the savage defiantly, I'm claiming the right to be unhappy." "Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind." There was a long silence. "I claim them all," said the Savage at last.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
To think you could have been dreaming the cure for cancer," Blue said. "Look, Sargent," Ronan retorted, "I was gonna dream you some eye cream last night since clearly modern medicine's doing jack shit for you, but I nearly had my ass handed to me by a death snake from the fourth circle of dream hell, so you're welcome." Blue was appropriately touched. "Ah, thanks, man." "No problem, bro.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4))
The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Cancer Ward)
There was quite a lot of competitiveness about it, with everybody wanting to beat not only cancer itself, but also the other people in the room. Like, I realize that this is irrational, but when they tell you that you have, say, a 20 percent chance of living five years, the math kicks in and you figure that’s one in five . . . so you look around and think, as any healthy person would: I gotta outlast four of these bastards.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Pride should be reserved for something you achieve or obtain on your own, not something that happens by accident of birth. Being Irish isn't a skill... it's a fucking genetic accident. You wouldn't say I'm proud to be 5'11"; I'm proud to have a pre-disposition for colon cancer.
George Carlin
And for that one moment of freedom you have to listen to all that love crap... it drive me nuts sometimes... I want to kick them out immediately... I do now and then. But that doesn't keep them away. They like it, in fact. The less you notice them the more they chase after you. There's something perverse about women... they're all masochists at heart.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
It's all right, Tessa, you can go. We love you. You can go now.' 'Why are you saying that?' 'She might need permission to die, Cal.' 'I don't want her to. She doesn't have my permission.
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
Just those three words, said and meant. I love you. They were quite hopeless. He said it as he might have said, I have cancer. His fairy story.
John Fowles (The Collector)
People talk about the courage of cancer patients, and I do not deny that courage. I had been poked and stabbed and poisoned for years, and still I trod on. But make no mistake: In that moment, I would have been very, very happy to die.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
i would like to remind the management that the drinks are watered and the hat-check girl has syphilis and the band is composed of former ss monsters However since it is new year's eve and i have lip cancer i will place my paper hat on my concussion and dance
Leonard Cohen
I’ll give you my strength if I can have your remission.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
With no magnetic field, Mars has no defense against harsh solar radiation. If I were exposed to it, I’d get so much cancer, the cancer would have cancer.
Andy Weir (The Martian)
Everyone I have lost in the closing of a door the click of the lock is not forgotten, they do not die but remain within the soft edges of the earth, the ash of house fires and cancer in sin and forgiveness huddled under old blankets dreaming their way into my hands, my heart closing tight like fists. - "Indian Boy Love Song #1
Sherman Alexie (The Business of Fancydancing)
But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness, I want sin.' 'In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy.' 'All right then,' said the Savage defiantly, 'I'm claiming the right to be unhappy.' 'Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence. 'I claim them all,' said the Savage at last. Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. 'You're welcome," he said.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Augustus asked if I wanted to go with him to Support Group, but I was really tired from my busy day of Having Cancer, so I passed
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that your house hasn't burned down, you don't have cancer, and your daughter hasn't been raped or murdered. The bad news is that I ran over your dog. And your son. And his wife. But not before I ran out of gas to achieve all of that.
Jarod Kintz (The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They're Over.)
What is there possibly left for us to be afraid of, after we have dealt face to face with death and not embraced it? Once I accept the existence of dying as a life process, who can ever have power over me again?
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
We’re playing Three Wishes,” she told her friend. “Cake, hot bath, soft bed. How about you?” “World peace,” said Karou. Zuzana rolled her eyes. “Yes, Saint Karou.” “Cure for cancer,” Karou went on. “And unicorns for all.” “Bluh. Nothing ruins Three Wishes like altruism. It has to be something for yourself, and if it doesn’t include food, it’s a lie.” “I did include food. I said unicorns, didn’t I?” “Mmm. You’re craving unicorn, are you?” Zuzana’s brow furrowed. “Wait. Do they have those here?” “Alas, no.” “They did,” said Mik. “But Karou ate them all.” “I am a voracious unicorn predator.
Laini Taylor (Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3))
You must be life for me to the very end," so he writes. "That is the only way in which to sustain my idea of you. Because you have gotten, as you see, tied up with something so vital to me, I do not think I shall ever shake you off. Nor do I wish to. I want you to live more vitally every day, as I am dead. That is why, when I speak of you to others, I am just a bit ashamed. It's hard to talk of one's self so intimately
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. Which isn't being pious. Just practical. Cancer may cool you, but the other's sure to.
Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories)
I'm not afraid of being dead. I'm just afraid of what you might have to go through to get there.
Pamela Bone
Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. To-day I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity - I belong to the earth!
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
We are focusing on the small details and hiding the misery in the world. Look at the smoker and we miss global warming, war, and the crap we eat--not the bad guys but smoking. I smoke and they talk about cancer, I eat and they talk about cholesterol, I make love, it's AIDS. Before AIDS and cholesterol and cancer there's the pleasure of making love and eating and smoking. I have to die someday, so if the thing that gave me pleasure all of my life kills me instead of me going under a truck, that's fine. Besides, why should I live so that when I die I give fresh meat to the worms? I hope that I am rotted and they don't want to eat me. F@#$ck the worms.
Marjane Satrapi
Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart.
Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories)
I have nothing but contempt for the people who despise money. They are hypocrites or fools. Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five. Without an adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off. The only thing to be careful about is that you do not pay more than a shilling for the shilling you earn. You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like a cancer.
W. Somerset Maugham (Of Human Bondage)
Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog, you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty five years and you pay it back and then one day you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed, you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then one day you step off a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die. Maybe
Denis Leary
I know what cancer was. How is it like humankind?" Sek Hardeen's perfectly modulated, softly accented tones showed a hint of agitation. "We have spread out through the galaxy like cancer cells through a living body, Duré. We multiply without thought to the countless life forms that must die or be pushed aside so that we may breed and flourish. We eradicate competing forms of intelligent life.
Dan Simmons (The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2))
I was depressed, but that was a side issue. This was more like closing up shop, or, say, having a big garage sale, where you look at everything you've bought in your life, and you remember how much it meant to you, and now you just tag it for a quarter and watch 'em carry it off, and you don't care. That's more like how it was.
Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres)
It's really going to happen. I really won't ever go back to school. Not ever. I'll never be famous or leave anything worthwhile behind. I'll never go to college or have a job. I won't see my brother grow up. I won't travel, never earn money, never drive, never fall in love or leave home or get my own house. It's really, really true. A thought stabs up, growing from my toes and ripping through me, until it stifles everything else and becomes the only thing I'm thinking. It fills me up like a silent scream.
Jenny Downham (Before I Die)
I detach myself from preconceived outcomes and trust that all is well. Being myself allows the wholeness of my unique magnificience to draw me in those directions most beneficial to me and to all others. This is really the only thing I have to do. And within that framework, everything that is truly mine comes into my life effortlessly, in the most magical and unexpected ways imaginable, demonstrating every day the power and love of who I truly am.
Anita Moorjani (Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing)
Van Houten, I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. (Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.) We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invented anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark blue and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I felt free and chained at the same time - like one feels just before election, when all the crooks have been nominated and you are beseeched to vote for the right man.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
It's not in the mainstream media yet, but the biggest jump in skin cancer has occurred since the advent of sunscreens. That kind of thing makes me happy. The fact that people, in pursuit of a superficial look of health, give themselves a fatal disease. I love it when 'reasoning' human beings think they have figured out how to beat something and it comes right back and kicks them in the nuts. God bless the law of unintended consequences. And the irony is impressive: Healthy people, trying to look healthier, make themselves sick. Good!
George Carlin (Brain Droppings)
I once spoke to someone who had survived the genocide in Rwanda, and she said to me that there was now nobody left on the face of the earth, either friend or relative, who knew who she was. No one who remembered her girlhood and her early mischief and family lore; no sibling or boon companion who could tease her about that first romance; no lover or pal with whom to reminisce. All her birthdays, exam results, illnesses, friendships, kinships—gone. She went on living, but with a tabula rasa as her diary and calendar and notebook. I think of this every time I hear of the callow ambition to 'make a new start' or to be 'born again': Do those who talk this way truly wish for the slate to be wiped? Genocide means not just mass killing, to the level of extermination, but mass obliteration to the verge of extinction. You wish to have one more reflection on what it is to have been made the object of a 'clean' sweep? Try Vladimir Nabokov's microcosmic miniature story 'Signs and Symbols,' which is about angst and misery in general but also succeeds in placing it in what might be termed a starkly individual perspective. The album of the distraught family contains a faded study of Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Isn't there something in living dangerously?' There's a great deal in it,' the Controller replied. 'Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time.' What?' questioned the Savage, uncomprehending. It's one of the conditions of perfect health. That's why we've made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory.' V.P.S.?' Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It's the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconvenience.' But I like the inconveniences.' We don't,' said the Controller. 'We prefer to do things comfortably.' But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.' In fact,' said Mustapha Mond, 'you're claiming the right to be unhappy. Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer, the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.' There was a long silence. I claim them all,' said the Savage at last. Mustapha Mond shrugged his shoulders. 'You're welcome,' he said.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
I just have an allergic reaction to lung cancer. Gives me tumors.
Barry Lyga (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, #1))
I just took [my cancer diagnosis] as bad luck, basically. It did strike me almost immediately, my atheist sort of thing kicked in and I thought "ha, if I was a God-botherer, I'd be thinking, why me God? What have I done to deserve this?" and I thought at least I'm free of that, at least I can simply treat it as bad luck and get on with it.
Iain M. Banks
It's a bore, but the answer is good things only happen to you if you're good. Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not lawtype honest--I'd rob a grave, I'd steal two-bits off a dead man's eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day's enjoyment--but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. Which isn't being pious. Just practical. Cancer may cool you, but the other's sure to.
Truman Capote (Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories)
I want to be brave. I want to be big. I want to be gracious and cool. I want to be the Audrey Hepburn of cancer.
Gail Konop Baker (Cancer Is a Bitch: Or, I'd Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis)
The cancer I don't have is everywhere now.
Chuck Palahniuk
I am a free man―and I need my freedom. I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company. What do you want of me? When I have something to say, I put it in print. When I have something to give, I give it. Your prying curiosity turns my stomach! Your compliments humiliate me! Your tea poisons me! I owe nothing to any one. I would be responsible to God alone―if He existed!
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
Tobin," Mom said disapprovingly. She wasn't a particularly funny person. It suited her professionally - I mean, you don't want your cancer surgeon to walk into the examination room and be like, "Guy walks into a bar. Bartender says, 'What'll ya have?' And the guy says, 'Whaddya got?' And the bartender says, 'I don't know what I got, but I know what you got: Stage IV melanoma.
John Green (Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances)
I let Eli blow so much smoke up my skirt I'm surprised I don't have ass cancer.
Molly Harper
As far as history goes I am dead. If there is something beyond I shall have to bounce back. I have found God, but he is insufficient. I am only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which I have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If a am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
You cannot kill me here. Bring your soldiers, your death, your disease, your collapsed economy because it doesn’t matter, I have nothing left to lose and you cannot kill me here. Bring the tears of orphans and the wails of a mother’s loss, bring your God damn air force and Jesus on a cross, bring your hate and bitterness and long working hours, bring your empty wallets and love long since gone but you cannot kill me here. Bring your sneers, your snide remarks and friendships never felt, your letters never sent, your kisses never kissed, cigarettes smoked to the bone and cancer killing fears but you cannot kill me here. For I may fall and I may fail but I will stand again each time and you will find no satisfaction. Because you cannot kill me here.
Iain S. Thomas
I got schooled this year. By everyone. By my little brother... by The Avett Brothers... by my mother, my best friend, my teacher, my father, and by a boy. a boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with... I got so schooled this year. By a nine-year-old. He taught me that it's okay to live life a little backwards. And how to laugh At what you would think is un-laughable. I got schooled this year By a Band! They taught me how to find that feeling of feeling again. They taught me how to decide what to be And go be it. I got schooled this year. By a cancer patient. She taught me so much. She's still teaching me so much. She taught me to question. To never regret. She taught me to push my boundaries, Because that's what they're there for. She told me to find a balance between head and heart And then she taught me how... I got schooled this year By a Foster Kid She taught me to respect the hand that I was dealt. And to be grateful I was even dealt a hand. She taught me that family Doesn't have to be blood. Sometimes your family are your friends. I got schooled this year By my teacher He taught me That the points are not the point, The point is poetry... I got schooled this year By my father. He taught me that hero's aren't always invincible And that the magic is within me.. I got schooled this year by a Boy. a boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with. And he taught me the most important thing of all... To put the emphasis On life.
Colleen Hoover
I know that societies often have killed people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine.
Malcom X Alex Haley
I believe these stories exist because we sometimes need to create unreal monsters and bogies to stand in for all the things we fear in our real lives: the parent who punches instead of kissing, the auto accident that takes a loved one, the cancer we one day discover living in our own bodies. If such terrible occurrences were acts of darkness, they might actually be easier to cope with. But instead of being dark, they have their own terrible brilliance. . . and none shine so bright as the acts of cruelty we sometimes perpetrate in our own families.
Stephen King
love. she liberated me to life, she continued to do that. and when she was in her final sickness i went out to san francisco and the doctor said she had 3 weeks to live, i asked her "would you come to north carolina?" she said yes. she had emphysema and lung cancer, i brought her to my home. she lived for a year and a half ..and when she was finally in extemis, she was on oxygen and fighting cancer for her life and i remembered her liberating me, and i said i hoped i would be able to liberate her, she deserved that from me. she deserved a great daughter and she got one. so in her last days, i said "i understand some people need permission to go… as i understand it you may have done what god put you here to do. you were a great worker, you must've been a great lover cause a lot of men and if I'm not wrong maybe a couple of woman risked their lives to love you. you were a piss poor mother of small children but a you were great mother of young adults, and if you need permission to go, i liberate you". and i went back to my house, and something said go back- i was in my pajamas, i jumped in my car and ran and the nurse said "she just gone". you see love liberates. it doesn't bind, love says i love you. i love you if you're in china, i love you if you're across town, i love you if you're in harlem, i love you. i would like to be near you, i would like to have your arms around me i would like to have your voice in my ear but thats not possible now, i love you so go. love liberates it doesn't hold. thats ego. love liberates.
Maya Angelou
I call my mom from the car. I tell her that Neutral Milk Hotel is playing at the Hideout and she says, "Who? What? You're hiding out?" And then I hum a few bars of one of their songs and Mom says, "Oh, I know that song. It's on the mix you made me," and I say, "Right," and she says, "Well you have to be back by eleven," and I say, "Mom this is a historical event. History doesn't have a curfew," and she says, "Back by eleven," and I say, "Fine. Jesus," and then she has to go cut cancer out of someone.
John Green (Will Grayson, Will Grayson)
I’m smart in some ways- pretty good vocabulary, solid at math – but I am definitely the stupidest smart person there is… I was going to be the worst friend in the history of dying girls… Because I don’t really have a moral compass and I need to rely on (Earl) for guidance, or else I might accidentally become like a hermit or a terrorist or something. How fucked up is that.
Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)
I have always been tormented by the image of multiplicity of selves. Some days I call it richness, and other days I see it as a disease, a proliferation as dangerous as cancer. My first concept about people around me was that all of them were coordinated into a WHOLE, whereas I was made up of multiple selves, of fragments. I know that I was upset as a child to discover that we had only one life. It seems to me that I wanted to compensate for this by multiplying experience. Or perhaps it always seems like this when you follow all your impulses and they take you in different directions. In any case, when I was happy, always at the beginning of a love, euphoric, I felt I was gifted for living many lives fully. It was only when I was in trouble, lost in a maze, stifled by complications and paradoxes that I was haunted or that I spoke of my "madness," but I meant the madness of the poets.
Anaïs Nin
I certainly couldn't have survived my childhood without books. All that deprivation and pain--abuse, broken home, a runaway sister, a brother with cancer--the books allowed me to withstand. They sustained me. I read still, prolifically, with great passion, but never like I read in those days: in those days it was life or death.
Junot Díaz
Great God! What have I turned into? What right have you people to clutter up my life, steal my time, probe my soul, suckle my thoughts, have me for your companion, confidant, and information bureau? What do you take me for? Am I an entertainer on salary, required every evening to play an intellectual farce under your stupid noses? Am I a slave, bought and paid for, to crawl on my belly in front of you idlers and lay at your feet all that I do and all that I know?
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
This is your war now.' I despised myself for the cheesy sentiment, but what else did I have? 'Some war,' he said dismissively. 'What am I at war with? My cancer. And what is my cancer? My cancer is me. The tumors are made of me. They're made of me as surely as my brain and my heart are made of me. It is a civil war, Hazel Graze, with a predetermined winner.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
We try, we struggle, all the time to find words to express our love. The quality, the quantity, certain that no two people have experienced it before in the history of creation. Perhaps Catherine and Heathcliff, perhaps Romeo and Juliet, maybe Tristan and Isolde, maybe Hero and Leander, but these are just characters, make-believe. We have known each other forever, since before conception even. We remember playing together in a playpen, crossing paths at FAO Schwarz. We remember meeting in front of the Holy Temple in the days before Christ, we remember greeting each other at the Forum, at the Parthenon, on passing ships as Christopher Columbus sailed to America. We have survived pogrom together, we have died in Dachau together, we have been lynched by the Ku Klux Klan together. There has been cancer, polio, the bubonic plague, consumption, morphine addiction. We have had children together, we have been children together, we were in the womb together. Our history is so deep and wide and long, we have known each other a million years. And we don't know how to express this kind of love, this kind of feeling. I get paralyzed sometimes. One day, we are in the shower and I want to say to him, I could be submerged in sixty feet of water right now, never drowning, never even fearing drowning, knowing I would always be safe with you here, knowing that it would be ok to die as long as you are here. I want to say this but don't.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
Love"I'm in love with you," he said quietly. "Augustus,"I said. "I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." "Augustus," I said again, not knowing what else to say. It felt like everything was rising up in me, like I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn't say it back. I couldn't say anything back. I just looked at him and let him look at me until he nodded, lips pursed, and turned away, placing the side of his head against the window.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I have always been tormented by the image of multiplicity of selves. Some days I call it richness, and other days I see it as a disease, a proliferation as dangerous as cancer. My first concept about people around me was that all of them were coordinated into a WHOLE, whereas I was made up of a multitude of selves, of fragments.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934)
Me: Well, you see, I, uh, I'm a cancer survivor. Person #1: And how's that working out for you? Me: Well, you see, I, uh, used to have leukemia. Person #2: Dude, how come you're not, like, BALD? Me: Well, you see, I, uh, I had acute lymphocytic lymphoma when I was five. Person #3: Whoa. THAT must'a sucked. I once had my tonsils out...
Jordan Sonnenblick (After Ever After)
The majority of people dismiss those things that lie beyond the bounds of their own understanding as absurd and not worth thinking about. I myself can only wish that my stories were, indeed, nothing but incredible fabrications. I have stayed alive all these years clinging to the frail hope that these memories of mine were nothing but a dream or a delusion. I have struggled to convince myself that they never happened. But each time I tried to push them into the dark, they came back stronger and more vivid than ever. Like cancer cells, these memories have taken root in my mind and eaten into my flesh.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty . . . what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse . . . To sing you must first open your mouth. You must have a pair of lungs, and a little knowledge of music. It is not necessary to have an accordion, or a guitar. The essential thing is to want to sing. This then is a song. I am singing.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
This is my life, I thought...I have excised the cancer from my past, cut it out; I have crossed the high plains, descended into the desert, traversed oceans, and planted my feet in new soil; I have been the apprentice, paid my dues, and have just become master of my ship. But when I look down, why do I see the ancient, tarred, mud-stained slippers that I buried at the start of the journey still stuck to my feet?
Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone)
I wandered over across the hall where they were showing a short movie about vasectomies. Much later I told her that I'd actually gotten a vasectomy a long time ago, and somebody else must have gotten her pregnant. I also told her once that I had inoperable cancer and would soon be passed away and gone, eternally. But nothing I could think up, no matter how dramatic or horrible, ever made her repent or love me the way she had at first, before she really knew me.
Denis Johnson (Jesus' Son)
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. "I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone. What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
Sterling Hayden (Wanderer)
So at family gatherings… I try to stick to the acceptable script. Indeed, I discover that the less I say, the happier everyone seems to be with me. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t have been better off as a paraplegic or afflicted by some tragic form of cancer. The invisibility and periodicity of my disorder, along with how often I border on normalcy, allows them to evade my need for their understanding. And because our most enduring family heirloom is avoidance and denial of pain and suffering, I don’t need much prompting to shut myself down in their presence.
Kiera Van Gelder (The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating)
To the normal person, waking up on Mondays can suck. Let's face it: who enjoys having to wake up early on a Monday to start your week over again? For me, it is something I've missed. I swear, when I beat this cancer I will never complain about it again. Why? Because it means I'm healthy. It means that it is a day other than Saturday. It means I have something to do, or somewhere else to be, other than at home, sick and feeling helpless.
Amanda Maxlyn (What's Left of Me (What's Left of Me, #1))
There’s a reason humans peg-out around eighty: prose fatigue. It looks like organ failure or cancer or stroke but it’s really just the inability to carry on clambering through the assault course of mundane cause and effect. If we ask Sheila then we can’t ask Ron. If I have the kippers now then it’s quiche for tea. Four score years is about all the ifs and thens you can take. Dementia’s the sane realisation you just can’t be doing with all that anymore.
Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf, #1))
I read the first chapter of A Brief History of Time when Dad was still alive, and I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is, and how compared to the universe and compared to time, it didn't even matter if I existed at all. When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem. "Which problem?" "The problem of how relatively insignificant we are." He said, "Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and you picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimeter?" I said, "I'd probably die of dehydration." He said, "I just mean right then, when you moved that single grain of sand. What would that mean?" I said, "I dunno, what?" He said, "Think about it." I thought about it. "I guess I would have moved one grain of sand." "Which would mean?" "Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?" "Which would mean you changed the Sahara." "So?" "So? So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for millions of years. And you changed it!" "That's true!" I said, sitting up. "I changed the Sahara!" "Which means?" he said. "What? Tell me." "Well I'm not talking about painting the Mona Lisa or curing cancer. I'm just talking about moving that one grain of sand one millimeter." "Yeah? If you hadn't done it, human history would have been one way..." "Uh-huh?" "But you did do it, so...?" I stood on the bed, pointing one of my fingers at the fake stars, and screamed: "I changed the course of human history!" "That's right." "I changed the universe!" "You did." "I'm God!" "You're an atheist." "I don't exist!" I fell back onto the bed, into his arms, and we cracked up together.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Only a rich cunt can save me now,' he says with an air of utmost weariness. 'One gets tired of chasing after new cunts all the time. It gets mechanical. The trouble is, you see, I can't fall in love. I'm too much of an egoist. Women only help me to dream, that's all. It's a vice, like drink or opium. I've got to have a new one every day; if I don't I get morbid. I think too much. Sometimes I'm amazed at myself, how quick I pull it off — and how little it really means. I do it automatically like. Sometimes I'm not thinking about a woman at all, but suddenly I notice a woman looking at me and then, bango! it starts all over again. Before I know what I'm doing I've got her up to the room. I don't even remember what I say to them. I bring them up to the room, give them a pat on the ass, and before I know what it's all about it's over. It's like a dream.... Do you know what I mean?
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right? [Will nods] Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Robin Williams
Have you ever played Maximum Happy Imagination?" "Sounds like a Japanese game show." Kat straightens her shoulders. "Okay, we're going to play. To start, imagine the future. The good future. No nuclear bombs. Pretend you're a science fiction writer." Okay: "World government... no cancer... hover-boards." "Go further. What's the good future after that?" "Spaceships. Party on Mars." "Further." "Star Trek. Transporters. You can go anywhere." "Further." "I pause a moment, then realize: "I can't." Kat shakes her head. "It's really hard. And that's, what, a thousand years? What comes after that? What could possibly come after that? Imagination runs out. But it makes sense, right? We probably just imagine things based on what we already know, and we run out of analogies in the thirty-first century.
Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1))
The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better--but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn't care. I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn't pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn't a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whether I believed in a certain book, or whether I'd been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn't say, 'But you were never a Christian, so you're going the other way from heaven.' If so, I was going to reply, 'You know what? You're right. Fine.' I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries--I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that's someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research. Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe--what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be. Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn't fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day against the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit. So, I believed.
Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)
You cannot conceive of the depths of my sorrow, Campbell Maria Cooper." Alicia brought her fist to her mouth and her other hand to the rail of the bed and took a deep breath before she continued. "I will never be the same when you are gone. Things for me will be dim and gray and flat. But there is one thing that will keep me going, Campbell, and that is the belief in my connection to you. This thing. This crazy enmeshed love feeling that I have is real. Like this cup is real. Or this phone is real. And it will not just go away when you do. Okay? Wherever you are going, you will be connected to me by this thing, and you will never, ever be alone, okay? I want you to know that.
Wendy Wunder (The Probability of Miracles)
You had a fucking friend who needed you. What the hell was that, Jocelyn?" He shook his head slowly. "Don't," he whispered hoarsely, dipping his head so our noses were almost touching. "Don't do this. Not now. Whatever shit your spinning in that head of yours, stop. She needs you, babe." He shallowed hard, his eyes glimmering in the streetlights. "I need you." I felt that familiar choking in the bottom of my throat. "I didn't ask you to need me," I whispered back. I saw it. The hurt flickered across his face before he quickly banked it. Abruptly, he let go of me. "Fine. I don't have time for your multitude of emotional issues. I have a wee sister who may or may not have brain cancer, and she needs me, even if you don't. But I'll tell you something Jocelyn," he stepped forward, point a finger in my face, his own hardened with anger, "If you don't see her through this, you'll hate yourself for the rest of your life. You can pretend you don't give a shit about me, but you can't pretend Ellie means nothing to you. I've seen you. Do you hear me?" He hissed, his hot breath blowing across my face, his words cutting though my soul. "You love her. You can't sweep that under the rug because it's easier to pretend she means nothing to you than it is to bear the thought of losing her. She deserves better than that.
Samantha Young (On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1))
I have found that battling despair does not mean closing my eyes to the enormity of the tasks of effecting change, nor ignoring the strength and the barbarity of the forces aligned against us. It means teaching, surviving and fighting with the most important resource I have, myself, and taking joy in that battle. It means, for me, recognizing the enemy outside and the enemy within, and knowing that my work is part of a continuum of women’s work, of reclaiming this earth and our power, and knowing that this work did not begin with my birth nor will it end with my death. And it means knowing that within this continuum, my life and my love and my work has particular power and meaning relative to others.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government. No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me…In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn't go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.
Ezra Taft Benson
When I went on my first antidepressant it had the side effect of making me fixated on suicide (which is sort of the opposite of what you want). It’s a rare side effect so I switched to something else that did work. Lots of concerned friends and family felt that the first medication’s failure was a clear sign that drugs were not the answer; if they were I would have been fixed. Clearly I wasn’t as sick as I said I was if the medication didn’t work for me. And that sort of makes sense, because when you have cancer the doctor gives you the best medicine and if it doesn’t shrink the tumor immediately then that’s a pretty clear sign you were just faking it for attention. I mean, cancer is a serious, often fatal disease we’ve spent billions of dollars studying and treating so obviously a patient would never have to try multiple drugs, surgeries, radiation, etc., to find what will work specifically for them. And once the cancer sufferer is in remission they’re set for life because once they’ve learned how to not have cancer they should be good. And if they let themselves get cancer again they can just do whatever they did last time. Once you find the right cancer medication you’re pretty much immune from that disease forever. And if you get it again it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly. Righ
Jenny Lawson
I saw myself before an infuriated mob, facing the firing squad, weeping out of pity for the evil they could not understand, and forgiving!-Like Jeanne d'Arc!-'Priests, professors, masters, you are making a mistake in turning me over to the law. I have never belonged to this people; I have never been a Christian; I am of the race that sang under torture; laws I have never understood; I have no moral sense, I am a brute: you are making a mistake.' Yes, my eyes are closed to your light. I am a beast, a nigger. But I can be saved. You are sham niggers, you, maniacs, fiends, misers. Merchant, you are a nigger; Judge, you are a nigger; General, you are a nigger; Emperor, old itch, you are a nigger: you have drunk of the untaxed liquor of Satan's still.-Fever and cancer inspire this people. Cripples and old men are so respectable they are fit to be boiled.-The smartest thing would be to leave this continent where madness stalks to provide hostages for these wretches. I enter the true kingdom of the children of Ham.
Arthur Rimbaud (Une saison en enfer suivi de Illuminations et autres textes (1873-1875))
I became a student of my own depressed experience, trying to unthread its causes. What was the root of all this despair? Was it psychological? (Was it Mom and Dad's fault?( Was it just temporal, a 'bad time' in my life? (When the divorce ends will the depression end with it?) Was it genetic? (Melancholy, called by many names, has run through my family for generations, along with its sad bride, Alcoholism.) Was it cultural? (Is this just the fallout of postfeminist American career girl trying to find balance in an increasingly stressful alienting urban world?) Was it astrological? (Am I so sad because I'm a thin-skinned Cancer whose major signs are all ruled by unstable Gemini?) Was it artistic? (Don't creative people always suffer from depression because we're so supersensitive and special?) Was it evolutionary? (Do I carry in me the residual panic that comes after millennia of my species' attempting to survive a brutal world?) Was it karmic? (Are all these spasms of grief just the consequences of bad behavior in previous lifetimes, the last obstacles before liberation?) Was it hormonal? Dietary? Philosophical? Seasonal? Environmental? Was I tapping into a universal yearning for God? Did I have a chemical imbalance? Or did I just need to get laid?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: HAPPY CHRISTMAS Have you gotten used to the time difference? Bloody hell,I can't sleep. I'd call,but I don't know if you're awake or doing the family thing or what. The bay fog is so thick that I can't see out my window.But if I could, I am quite certain I'd discover that I'm the only person alive in San Francisco. To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: I forgot to tell you. Yesterday I saw a guy wearing an Atlanta Film Festival shirt at the hospital.I asked if he knew you,but he didn't.I also met an enormous,hair man in a cheeky Mrs. Claus getup. he was handing out gifts to the cancer patients.Mum took the attached picture. Do I always look so startled? To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: Are you awake yet? Wake up.Wake up wake up wake up. To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: re: Are you awake yet? I'm awake! Seany started jumping on my bed,like,three hours ago. We've been opening presents and eating sugar cookies for breakfast. Dad gave me a gold ring shaped like a heart. "For Daddy's sweetheart," he said. As if I'm the type of girl who'd wear a heart-shaped ring. FROM HER FATHER. He gave Seany tons of Star Wars stuff and a rock polishing kit,and I'd much rather have those.I can't beleive Mom invited him here for Christmas. She says it's because their divorce is amicable (um,no) and Seany and I need a father figure in our lives,but all they ever do is fight.This morning it was about my hair.Dad wants me to dye it back, because he thinks I look like a "common prostitute," and Mom wants to re-bleach it.Like either of them has a say. Oops,gotta run.My grandparents just arrived,and Granddad is bellowing for his bonnie lass.That would be me. P.S. Love the picture.Mrs. Claus is totally checking out your butt. And it's Merry Christmas, weirdo. To: Anna Oliphant From: Etienne St. Clair Subject: HAHAHA@ Was it a PROMISE RING? Did your father give you a PROMISE RING? To: Etienne St. Clair From: Anna Oliphant Subject: Re: HAHAHA! I am so not responding to that.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change, or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly, now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else's words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength. I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.
Audre Lorde (The Cancer Journals)
I think timing is better left up to God to decide then religious leaders. I once met a man that brought his wife flowers in the hospital. They held hands, kissed and were as affectionate as any cute couple could be. They were both in their eighties. I asked them how long they were married. I expected them to tell me fifty years or longer. To my surprise, they said only five years. He then began to explain to me that he was married thirty years to someone that didn’t love him, and then he remarried a second time only to have his second wife die of cancer, two years later. I looked at my patient (his wife) sitting in the wheelchair next to him smiling. She added that she had been widowed two times. Both of her marriages lasted fifteen years. I was curious, so I asked them why they would even bother pursuing love again at their age. He looked at me with astonishment and said, “Do you really think that you stop looking for a soulmate at our age? Do you honestly believe that God would stop caring about how much I needed it still, just because I am nearing the end of my life? No, he left the best for last. I have lived through hell, but if I only get five years of happiness with this woman then it was worth the years of struggle I have been through.
Shannon L. Alder
In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’ In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances… and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty. This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.
C.S. Lewis
When I look down into this fucked-out cunt of a whore I feel the whole world beneath me, a world tottering and crumbling, a world used up and polished like a leper's skull. If there were a man who dared to say all that he thought of this world there would not be left him a square foot of ground to stand on. When a man appears the world bears down on him and breaks his back. There are always too many rotten pillars left standing, too much festering humanity for man to bloom. The superstructure is a lie and the foundation is a huge quaking fear. If at intervals of centuries there does appear a man with a desperate, hungry look in his eye, a man that would turn the world upside down in order to create a new race, the love that he brings to the world is turned to bile and he becomes a scourge. If now and then we encounter pages that explode, pages that wound and sear, that wring groans and tears and curses, know that they come from a man with his back up, a man whose only defenses left are his words and his words are always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than all the racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush out the miracle of personality. If any man ever dared to translate all that is in his heart, to put down what is really his experience, what is truly his truth, I think then the world would go to smash, that it would be blown to smithereens and no god, no accident, no will could ever again assemble the pieces, the atoms, the indestructible elements that have gone to make up the world.
Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer (Tropic, #1))
Lord, are these your real terms? Can I meet H. again only if I learn to love you some much that I don't care whether I meet her or not? Consider, Lord, how it looks to us. What would anyone think of me if I said to the boys, 'No toffee now. But when you've grown up and don't really want toffee you shall have as much of it as you choose'? If I knew that to be eternally divided from H. and eternally forgotten by her would add a greater joy and splendour to her being, of course I'd say 'Fire ahead.' Just as if, on earth, I could have cured her cancer by never seeing her again, I'd have arranged never to see her again. I'd have had to. Any decent person would. But that's quite different. That's not the situation I'm in. When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of 'No answer.' It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, 'Peace, child; you don't understand.' Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
I am in this same river. I can't much help it. I admit it: I'm racist. The other night I saw a group (or maybe a pack?) or white teenagers standing in a vacant lot, clustered around a 4x4, and I crossed the street to avoid them; had they been black, I probably would have taken another street entirely. And I'm misogynistic. I admit that, too. I'm a shitty cook, and a worse house cleaner, probably in great measure because I've internalized the notion that these are woman's work. Of course, I never admit that's why I don't do them: I always say I just don't much enjoy those activities (which is true enough; and it's true enough also that many women don't enjoy them either), and in any case, I've got better things to do, like write books and teach classes where I feel morally superior to pimps. And naturally I value money over life. Why else would I own a computer with a hard drive put together in Thailand by women dying of job-induced cancer? Why else would I own shirts mad in a sweatshop in Bangladesh, and shoes put together in Mexico? The truth is that, although many of my best friends are people of color (as the cliche goes), and other of my best friends are women, I am part of this river: I benefit from the exploitation of others, and I do not much want to sacrifice this privilege. I am, after all, civilized, and have gained a taste for "comforts and elegancies" which can be gained only through the coercion of slavery. The truth is that like most others who benefit from this deep and broad river, I would probably rather die (and maybe even kill, or better, have someone kill for me) than trade places with the men, women, and children who made my computer, my shirt, my shoes.
Derrick Jensen (The Culture of Make Believe)
Cold flu looks nothing in front of cancer...complications in our personal life is like a flu and killing people on name of God or borders or countries is cancer...you can help this planet...there are ways...willingness is an action We are one...the only difference is ...few are awake, few are ready to wake up and few are just ignorant and time is coming when there will be no choice for those who is ignorant because of suffering and pain .... Bigger EGO is always drawn to Bigger Ego so many times Bigger ego ignores the important message being delivered by not a famous person. Love heals...Love not from mind...deep from heart....Mind brings games and play around with relationships...Something sacred deep from heart....L ♥ V E...Unconditional...No business of give and take....unconditional giving.... Don't be afraid and run away from loneliness and start seeking securities....Try to enjoy every part of it and then you will see ...Loneliness turned into something which we never want to loose....investigate your feeling when you feel lonely We always want something in return...we have made LOVE a business...I did it too in the past that's why I know it...this is the reason that we should change...you change, I change....everyone should think again on the way of living life and thinking and specially who thinks they know what life is. 2 births in the same life....physical and spiritual....you break the bondage (psychologically) with physical attributes of life ( detached state of mind) and try to find real "maksad" (purpose) of your existence as Being not Doing If you want to enjoy your relationship with your special one then please keep these tools handy:1) Patience2) Trust3) Freedom4) Honesty5) Respect we are all stars... twinkling with love and when there is love then there is no conflict 4 letters L ♥ V E ..imagine these letters on your hand and try to feel the deep meaning and power of these letters...feel the love you have for this life...start from there and spread love to everyone you see or meet...LOVE
Neeraj Sabharwal
Signs and wonders, eh? Pity if there is nothing wonderful in signs, and significant in wonders! There's a clue somewhere; wait a bit; hist--hark! By Jove, I have it! Look, you Doubloon, your zodiac here is the life of man in one round chapter; and now I'll read it off, straight out of the book. Come, Almanack! To begin: there's Aries, or the Ram--lecherous dog, he begets us; then, Taurus, or the Bull--he bumps us the first thing; then Gemini, or the Twins--that is, Virtue and Vice; we try to reach Virtue, when lo! comes Cancer the Crab, and drags us back; and here, going from Virtue, Leo, a roaring Lion, lies in the path--he gives a few fierce bites and surly dabs with his paw; we escape, and hail Virgo, the Virgin! that's our first love; we marry and think to be happy for aye, when pop comes Libra, or Scales--happiness weighed and found wanting; and while we are very sad about that, Lord! how we suddenly jump, as Scorpio, or the Scorpion, stings us in rear; we are curing the wound, when whang comes the arrows all round; Sagittarius, or the Archer, is amusing himself. As we pluck out the shafts, stand aside! here's the battering-ram, Capricornus, or the Goat; full tilt, he comes rushing and headlong we are tossed; when Aquarius, or the the Waterbearer, pours out his whole deluge and drowns us; and, to wind up, with Pisces, or the Fishes, we sleep. There's a sermon now, writ in high heaven, and the sun goes through it every year, and yet comes out of it all alive and hearty.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism. Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief. You know that people who live above a certain latitude and experience very long winter nights can become depressed and even suicidal, because something in our bodies requires whole spectrum light for a certain number of hours a day. Our spiritual requirement for light is just as desperate and as deep as our physical need for light. Jesus is the light of the world. We know that this world is a dark place sometimes, but we need not walk in darkness. The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the people who walk in darkness can have a bright companion. We need him, and He is ready to come to us, if we'll open the door and let him.
Chieko N. Okazaki
Isn’t everyone on the planet or at least everyone on the planet called me stuck between the two impulses of wanting to walk away like it never happened and wanting to be a good person in love, loving, being loved, making sense, just fine? I want to be that person, part of a respectable people, but I also want nothing to do with being people, because to be people is to be breakable, to know that your breaking is coming, any day now and maybe not even any day but this day, this moment, right now a plane could fall out of the sky and crush you or the building you’re in could just crumble and kill you or kill the someone you love— and to love someone is to know that one day you’ll have to watch them break unless you do first and to love someone means you will certainly lose that love to something slow like boredom or festering hate or something fast like a car wreck or a freak accident or flesh-eating bacteria— and who knows where it came from, that flesh-eating bacteria, he was such a nice-looking fellow, it is such a shame— and your wildebeest, everyone’s wildebeest, just wants to get it over with, can’t bear the tension of walking around the world as if we’re always going to be walking around the world, because we’re not, because here comes a cancer, an illness a voice in your head that wants to jump out a window, a person with a gun, a freak accident, a wild wad of flesh-eating bacteria that will start with your face.
Catherine Lacey (Nobody Is Ever Missing)
Dear Mr. Peter Van Houten (c/o Lidewij Vliegenthart), My name is Hazel Grace Lancaster. My friend Augustus Waters, who read An Imperial Affliction at my recommendationtion, just received an email from you at this address. I hope you will not mind that Augustus shared that email with me. Mr. Van Houten, I understand from your email to Augustus that you are not planning to publish any more books. In a way, I am disappointed, but I'm also relieved: I never have to worry whether your next book will live up to the magnificent perfection of the original. As a three-year survivor of Stage IV cancer, I can tell you that you got everything right in An Imperial Affliction. Or at least you got me right. Your book has a way of telling me what I'm feeling before I even feel it, and I've reread it dozens of times. I wonder, though, if you would mind answering a couple questions I have about what happens after the end of the novel. I understand the book ends because Anna dies or becomes too ill to continue writing it, but I would really like to mom-wether she married the Dutch Tulip Man, whether she ever has another child, and whether she stays at 917 W. Temple etc. Also, is the Dutch Tulip Man a fraud or does he really love them? What happens to Anna's friends-particularly Claire and Jake? Do they stay that this is the kind of deep and thoughtful question you always hoped your readers would ask-what becomes of Sisyphus the Hamster? These questions have haunted me for years-and I don't know long I have left to get answers to them. I know these are not important literary questions and that your book is full of important literally questions, but I would just really like to know. And of course, if you ever do decide to write anything else, even if you don't want to publish it. I'd love to read it. Frankly, I'd read your grocery lists. Yours with great admiration, Hazel Grace Lancaster (age 16)
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
Sean: …………And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my life apart. You're an orphan right? [Will nods] Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Matt Damon
Yes?” Came the thin and reedy voice. I winced as I pushed the door open. Beth sounded terrible. And when I got an eyeful of her, she looked just as bad. Sitting up against the headboard with a mountain of blankets piled around her, she had dark circles under her eyes. Her pale, waiflike features were sharp, and her hair was an unwashed, tangled mess. I tried not to breathe too deeply, because the room smelled of vomit and sweat. I halted at the bed, shocked to my core. “Are you sick?” Her unfocused gaze drifted away from me, landing on the door to the adjoined bathroom, it didn’t make sense. Hybrids—we couldn’t get sick. Not the common cold or the most dangerous cancer. Like the Luxen, we were immune to everything out there in terms of disease, but Beth? Yeah, she wasn’t looking too good. A great sense of unease blossomed in my belly, stiffening my muscles. “Beth?” Her watery stare finally drifted to me. “Is Dawson back yet?” My heart turned over heavily, almost painfully. The two of them have been through so much, more than Daemon and I had, and this . . . God, this wasn’t fair. “No, he’s not back yet, but you? You look sick.” She raised a slim, pale hand to her throat. “I'm not feeling very well.” I didn’t know how bad this was, and I was almost afraid to find out. “What’s wrong?” One shoulder rose, and it looked like it had taken great effort. “You shouldn’t be worried,” she said, her voice low as she picked at the hem of a blanket. “It’s not a big deal. I’ll be okay once Dawson comes back.” Her gaze floated off again, and as she dropped the edge of the blanket, she reached down, put her hand over her blanket-covered belly, and said, “We’ll be okay once Dawson comes back.” “We’ll be . . . ?” I trailed off as my eyes widened. My jaw came unhinged and dropped as I gaped at her. I stared at where her hand was and watched in dawned horror as she rubbed her belly in slow, steady circles. Oh no. oh, hell to the no to the tenth power. I started forward and then stopped. “Beth, are you . . . are you pregnant?
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Opposition (Lux, #5))
Children write essays in school about the unhappy, tragic, doomed life of Anna Karenina. But was Anna really unhappy? She chose passion and she paid for her passion—that's happiness! She was a free, proud human being. But what if during peacetime a lot of greatcoats and peaked caps burst into the house where you were born and live, and ordered the whole family to leave house and town in twenty-four hours, with only what your feeble hands can carry?... You open your doors, call in the passers-by from the streets and ask them to buy things from you, or to throw you a few pennies to buy bread with... With ribbon in her hair, your daughter sits down at the piano for the last time to play Mozart. But she bursts into tears and runs away. So why should I read Anna Karenina again? Maybe it's enough—what I've experienced. Where can people read about us? Us? Only in a hundred years? "They deported all members of the nobility from Leningrad. (There were a hundred thousand of them, I suppose. But did we pay much attention? What kind of wretched little ex-nobles were they, the ones who remained? Old people and children, the helpless ones.) We knew this, we looked on and did nothing. You see, we weren't the victims." "You bought their pianos?" "We may even have bought their pianos. Yes, of course we bought them." Oleg could now see that this woman was not yet even fifty. Yet anyone walking past her would have said she was an old woman. A lock of smooth old woman's hair, quite incurable, hung down from under her white head-scarf. "But when you were deported, what was it for? What was the charge?" "Why bother to think up a charge? 'Socially harmful' or 'socially dangerous element'—S.D.E.', they called it. Special decrees, just marked by letters of the alphabet. So it was quite easy. No trial necessary." "And what about your husband? Who was he?" "Nobody. He played the flute in the Leningrad Philharmonic. He liked to talk when he'd had a few drinks." “…We knew one family with grown-up children, a son and a daughter, both Komsomol (Communist youth members). Suddenly the whole family was put down for deportation to Siberia. The children rushed to the Komsomol district office. 'Protect us!' they said. 'Certainly we'll protect you,' they were told. 'Just write on this piece of paper: As from today's date I ask not to be considered the son, or the daughter, of such-and-such parents. I renounce them as socially harmful elements and I promise in the future to have nothing whatever to do with them and to maintain no communication with them.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Cancer Ward)
As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this worldview, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions. After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. "I don't know" had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once. But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn't know and couldn't explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening. For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy. I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us. Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait. I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don't seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.
Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)