No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!
C. JoyBell C.
We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game to find a way to say that life has just begun.
John Mayer (Continuum: Music by John Mayer)
And he leans in, so carefully. Breathing
and not breathing and hearts beating
between us and he’s so close, he’s so close and I can’t feel my legs anymore. I can’t feel my fingers or the cold or the emptiness of this room because all I feel is him, everywhere,filling everything and he whispers
He says “Please don’t shoot me for this.”
And he kisses me.
His lips are softer than anything I've ever known, soft like a first snowfall, like biting into cotton candy, like melting and floating and being weightless in water. It’s sweet, it’s
so effortlessly sweet.
And then it changes.
He kisses me again, this time stronger,
desperate, like he has to have me, like he’s dying to memorize the feel of my lips against his own. The taste of him is making me crazy; he’s all heat and desire and peppermint and I want more. I've just begun reeling him in, pulling him into me when he breaks away.
He’s breathing like he’s lost his mind andhe’s looking at me like something has brokeninside of him, like he’s woken up to find that
his nightmares were just that, that they never existed, that it was all just a bad dream that felt far too real but now he’s awake and he’s safe and everything is going to be okay and
I’m falling apart and into his heart and I’m a disaster.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five, I was just alive.
But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.
A.A. Milne (Now We Are Six (Winnie-the-Pooh, #4))
She threw up her hands. "All right. Why not?"
His arms fell to his sides. "That's it? I pour my heart out. I love you so much I've got freakin' tears in my eyes. And all I get in return is 'Why not'?"
What did you expect? Am I supposed to fall all over you just because you've finally come to your senses?"
Would it be too much to ask?"...He'd begun to glare at her again, his eyes growing stormier by the minute."When do you think you might be ready? To fall all over me, that is.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Breathing Room)
...she wasn't reading Deathly Hallows at all. Her book wasn't orange but rose and water and sand, and featured a kid on a broomstick and white unicorn. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She didn't notice me staring at her.
'Oh, I envy you,' I thought, but was smiling for her. She had just begun.
Melissa Anelli (Harry, a History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon)
We're no longer young men. We've lost any desire to conquer the world. We are refugees. We are fleeing from ourselves. From our lives. We were eighteen years old, and we had just begun to love the world and to love being in it; but we had to shoot at it. The first shell to land went straight for our hearts. We've been cut off from real action, from getting on, from progress. We don't believe in those things any more; we believe in the war.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
For the music to be over so soon. For the music to be over when it had just begun. That was really sad.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante, #1))
The thing about real life is, when you do something stupid, it normally costs you. In books the heroes can make as many mistakes as they like. It doesn't matter what they do, because everything works out in the end. They'll beat the bad guys and put things right and everything ends up cool.
In real life, vacuum cleaners kill spiders. If you cross a busy road without looking, you get whacked by a car. If you fall from a tree, you break some bones.
Real life's nasty. It's cruel. It doesn't care about heroes and happy endings and the way things should be. In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins.
I just wanted to make that clear before I begun.
Darren Shan (Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare (Cirque du Freak, #1))
Ask people for help. You’ll be all right. Don’t worry. It’s a great adventure, your life, and it has only just begun…
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
It is time we admitted, from kings and presidents on down, that there is no evidence that any of our books was authored by the Creator of the universe. The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men and women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology. To rely on such a document as the basis for our worldview-however heroic the efforts of redactors- is to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular politics and scientific culture. We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
But you are not finished. You are my masterpiece, Helene Aquilla, but I have just begun. If you survive, you shall be a force to be reckoned with in this world. But first you will be unmade. First, you will be broken.
Sabaa Tahir (A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2))
I wondered, for the very first time, if maybe I was doing this whole thing wrong. If maybe I'd allowed myself to be blinded by my own anger to the exclusion of all else. If maybe, just maybe, I'd been so determined not to be stereotyped that I'd begun to stereotype everyone around me.
Tahereh Mafi (A Very Large Expanse of Sea)
-BDB on the board-
May 8, 2006
Rhage (in his bedroom posting in V's room on the board)
Hi, my name is V.
I've been knitting for 125 years now.
It's begun to impact my personal relationships: my brothers think I'm a nancy. It's begun to affect my health: I'm getting a callus on my forefinger and I find bits of yarn in all my pockets and I'm starting to smell like wool. I can't concentrate at work: I keep picturing all these lessers in Irish sweaters and thick socks.
(*sounds of sympathy*)
I've come seeking a community of people who, like me, are trying not to knit.
Can you help me?
(*We're with you*)
Thank you (*takes out hand-knitted hankie in pink*)
("We embrace you, V")
Vishous (in the pit): Oh hell no...you did not just put that up. And nice spelling in the title. Man...you just have to roll up on me, don't you. I got four words for you, my brother.
Rhage: Four words? Okay...lemme see... Rhage, you're so sexy.
Rhage, you're SO smart. No wait! Rhage, you're SO right! That's it, isn't it...g'head. You can tell me.
Vishous: First one starts with a "P"
Use your head for the other three.
Rhage: P? Hmm... Please pass the yarn
Vishous: Payback is a bitch!
I'm so scuuuuuurred.
Can you whip me up a blanket to hide under?
J.R. Ward (The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider's Guide (Black Dagger Brotherhood))
The funny thing is that although we place so much energy and importance on our wedding day, it isn't the biggest day of our life. The biggest day of your life is every day thereafter. Because it's not the pledge to love someone that matters, but the act of fulfilling that pledge that is most important. In other words, it's only just begun.
Laura Wolf (Diary of a Mad Bride)
They shouldn't call death passing on. They should call it leveling up. Because the game only got harder once I lost. And I was more than a little worried it had only just begun.
Kami Garcia (Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles, #4))
I’ve just never met someone like you," as if I were a stranger from another town or an eccentric guest accompanying a mutual friend to a dinner party. It was a strange thought to hear from the mouth of the woman who had birthed and raised me, with whom I shared a home for eighteen years, someone who was half me. My mother had struggled to understand me just as I struggled to understand her. Thrown as we were on opposite sides of a fault line—generational, cultural, linguistic—we wandered lost without a reference point, each of us unintelligible to the other’s expectations, until these past few years when we had just begun to unlock the mystery, carve the psychic space to accommodate each other, appreciate the differences between us, linger in our refracted commonalities. Then, what would have been the most fruitful years of understanding were cut violently short, and I was left alone to decipher the secrets of inheritance without its key.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side.
Cause i really always knew that my little crime would be cold thats why i got heater for your thighs and i know i know its not your time but bye bye and word to the wise when the fire dies you think its over but its just begun
Years after the war, after marriages, children, divorces, books, he came to Paris with his wife. He phoned her. It's me. She recognized him at once from the voice. He said, I just wanted to hear your voice. She said, it's me, hello. He was nervous, afraid, as before. His voice suddenly trembled. And with the trembling, suddenly, she heard again the voice of China. He knew she'd begun writing books, he'd heard about it through her mother whom he'd met again in Saigon. And about her younger brother, and he'd been grieved for her. Then he didn't know what to say. And then he told her. Told her that it was as before, that he still loved her, he could never stop loving her, that he'd love her until death.
Marguerite Duras (The Lover)
She didn't like to be talked about. Equally, she didn't like not to be talked about, when the high-minded chatter rushed on as though she was not there. There was no pleasing her, in fact. She had the grace, even at eleven, to know there was no pleasing her. She thought a lot, analytically, about other people's feelings, and had only just begun to realize that this was not usual, and not reciprocated.
A.S. Byatt (The Children's Book)
The industrial age had only just begun; the planet had reached its Best Before date.
Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1))
If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, it stands to reason that I'm going to get there. I've begun to think we sit far more than we're supposed to." He smiled. "Why else would we have feet?
Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Harold Fry, #1))
Everyone runs around trying to find a place where they still serve breakfast because eating breakfast, even if it's 5 o'clock in the afternoon, is a sign that the day has just begun and good things can still happen. Having lunch is like throwing in the towel.
Jonathan Goldstein (Lenny Bruce is Dead)
Leo smiled and stroked her hair. 'We'll both be fine, Marks. We've just begun our journey...and there's so much we have yet to do.' He spoke more softly as he heard her breathing turn even and steady. 'Rest against my heart. Let me watch over your dreams. And know that tomorrow morning, and every morning after that, you'll awaken next to someone who loves you.'
'Dodger?' she mumbled against his chest, and he grinned.
'No, your confounded ferret will have to stay in his basket. I was referring to myself.'
'Yes, I know.' Catherine slid her hand up to his cheek. 'Only you,' she said. 'Always you.
Lisa Kleypas (Married by Morning (The Hathaways, #4))
The war's only just begun.
Elizabeth Richards (Black City (Black City, #1))
Of course his life could be found in the pages of a book; I had just begun to notice that the lives of men always are.
Jamaica Kincaid (Lucy)
Forever in your arms
Is where I want to be
Holding you close
Within the space
That once held only me...
Forever in your warmth
The place for me and you
I feel the sun
Our life's just begun
I know you feel it too
Walter Dean Myers (Street Love)
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.
They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Just when you thought that you already learned the way how to live, life changes - and you're left the same as you begun.
We have just begun to navigate a strange region; we must expect to encounter strange adventures, strange perils.
Arthur Machen (The Terror)
It wasn’t like a first kiss because we knew each other too intimately for that. And it wasn’t like a last kiss because we’d only just begun. It was the kiss you spend your whole life waiting for. The kiss you wish would swallow you whole so you’d always be living it. This was the kiss of a lifetime, shared with a woman I’d spent a few lifetimes waiting for.
Nicole Williams (Fissure (The Patrick Chronicles, #1))
I can see some of the roses still blooming in my mother´s garden. Brown on the edges and bright in other colors, their petals drooping downward, dying just as their lives have begun.
They stayed past their time, and I´ve realized that I have too.
Laura Nowlin (If He Had Been with Me)
Donia asked incredulously. “What were you doing?”
“The day had just begun, and we were dancing,” Aislinn said.
“Dancing?” Donia looked at the Summer Queen with the same disdain Keenan had once seen on her face when she looked at the Summer Girls. “Of course you were. Bananach is attacking faeries, stealing from our courts. Irial is injured. Faerie is closed. Yes, dancing is precisely what will help.
Melissa Marr (Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely, #5))
The days of me being "tolerant" are long gone. The days of me being "intolerant" have just begun.
James D. Sass (Essays in Satanism)
Royce understood then why she had come: she had come to finish the task her relatives had begun; to do to him what he had done to her brother. Unmoving, he watched her, noting that tears were pouring down her beautiful face as she slowly bent down. But instead of reaching for his lance or her dagger, she took his hand between both of hers and pressed her lips to it. Through his daze of pain and confusion, Royce finally understood that she was kneeling to him, and a groan tore from his chest: "Darling," he said brokenly, tightening his hand, trying to make her stand, "don't do this…"
But his wife wouldn't listen. In front of seven thousand onlookers, Jennifer Merrick Westmoreland, countess of Rockbourn, knelt before her husband in a public act of humble obeisance, her face pressed to his hand, her shoulders wrenched with violent sobs. By the time she finally arose, there could not have been many among the spectators who had not seen what she had done. Standing up, she stepped back, lifted her tear-streaked face to his, and squared her shoulders.
Pride exploded in Royce's battered being—because, somehow, she was managing to stand as proudly—as defiantly—as if she had just been knighted by a king.
Judith McNaught (A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland, #1))
My life was over; my life had just begun.
Alice Sebold (Lucky)
A moment later, Helen had returned; she was walking slowly now, and carefully, her hand on the back of a thin boy with a mop of wavy brown hair. He couldn’t have been older than twelve, and Clary recognized him immediately. Helen, her hand firmly clamped around the wrist of a younger boy whose hands were covered with blue wax. He must have been playing with the tapers in the huge candelabras that decorated the sides of the nave. He looked about twelve, with an impish grin and the same wavy, bitter-chocolate hair as his sister.
Jules, Helen had called him. Her little brother.
The impish grin was gone now. He looked tired and dirty and frightened. Skinny wrists stuck out of the cuffs of a white mourning jacket whose sleeves were too long for him. In his arms he was carrying a little boy, probably not more than two years old, with the same wavy brown hair that he had; it seemed to be a family trait. The rest of his family wore the same borrowed mourning clothes: following Julian was a brunette girl about ten, her hand firmly clasped in the hold of a boy the same age: the boy had a sheet of tangled black hair that nearly obscured his face. Fraternal twins, Clary guessed. After them came a girl who might have been eight or nine, her face round and very pale between brown braids.
The misery on their faces cut at Clary’s heart. She thought of her power with runes, wishing that she could create one that would soften the blow of loss. Mourning runes existed, but only to honor the dead, in the same way that love runes existed, like wedding rings, to symbolize the bond of love. You couldn’t make someone love you with a rune, and you couldn’t assuage grief with it, either. So much magic, Clary thought, and nothing to mend a broken heart.
“Julian Blackthorn,” said Jia Penhallow, and her voice was gentle. “Step forward, please.”
Julian swallowed and handed the little boy he was holding over to his sister. He stepped forward, his eyes darting around the room. He was clearly scouring the crowd for someone. His shoulders had just begun to slump when another figure darted out onto the stage. A girl, also about twelve, with a tangle of blond hair that hung down around her shoulders: she wore jeans and a t-shirt that didn’t quite fit, and her head was down, as if she couldn’t bear so many people looking at her. It was clear that she didn’t want to be there — on the stage or perhaps even in Idris — but the moment he saw her, Julian seemed to relax. The terrified look vanished from his expression as she moved to stand next to him, her face ducked down and away from the crowd.
“Julian,” said Jia, in the same gentle voice, “would you do something for us? Would you take up the Mortal Sword?
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
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.
What we do know, and what we can assert without further hesitation, is that the universe had a beginning. The universe continues to evolve. And yes, every one of our body’s atoms is traceable to the big bang and to the thermonuclear furnaces within high-mass stars that exploded more than five billion years ago. We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out—and we have only just begun. †
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness. We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose. Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
Carl Sagan (Cosmos)
But Eve had already scented it, already—despite herself—begun to smile. “It’s coffee,” she murmured, unaware of the way her voice softened as she reached for the simple brown bag Mavis held. “Coffee.” Illusions shattered, Mavis stared. “The man’s got more money than God, and he sends you a bag of coffee?”
“Oh, well then.” In disgust, Mavis waved a hand. “I don’t care what the damn stuff costs a pound, Dallas. A woman wants glitter.”
Eve brought the bag to her face and sniffed deep. “Not this woman. The son of a bitch knew just how to get to me.” She sighed. “In more ways than one.
J.D. Robb (Naked in Death (In Death, #1))
WINTER SPOILER KINDA
Cinder stared at his whitened knuckles and struggled for something meaningful to say. Her grand plan of revolution and change had just begun and already she felt like a failure. This seemed worse than failing the people of Luna, though. She'd failed the people she cared about most in the universe.
Finally, she whispered, "I'm so sorry, Thorne."
"Yeah," he said. "Me too.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
And yes, every one of our body's atoms is traceable to the big bang and to the thermonuclear furnaces within high-mass stars that exploded more than five billion years ago.
We are stardust brought to life, then empowered by the universe to figure itself out - and we have only just begun.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
High house shadow, and a knife in the dark. A new game's begun, or the old one's just turned.
Steven Erikson (Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #1))
Christianity is wild. It’s intimate. It’s heartbreaking and soul-mending. It’s the wings to rise above the everyday and hope of a honeymoon with the God who has loved you forever. The party has just begun, and the best is yet to come.
Steven James (Story)
I have begun to notice that I don’t even enjoy folks who aren’t at least a tad mentally ill. I don’t wish folks without a little anxiety or depression any harm, I just don’t find myself particularly curious about them. I have come to believe that we “crazies” are the best people.
Glennon Doyle (Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living)
Well I thought my time was over, but it’s only just begun.
Just believe what God says that Jesus has done for you...
spirit, soul, and body --
think about it, talk about it,
sing about it, shout about it,
and the praise cure has begun.
Lilian B. Yeomans
Just because you’ve begun down one path doesn’t mean you’re committed to it forever , especially if that path turns out to be flawed or impeded. At that same time, this is not an excuse to be flighty or incessantly noncommittal.
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living)
It seemed sensible to crave safety, to crave shelter from the bombs and the Birds and the daily depravity of war. But somewhere deep in her mind an idea had begun to fester-perhaps the longing for safety was itself just another kind of violence-a violence of cowardice, silence, submission. What was safety, anyway, but the sound of a bomb falling on someone else's home?
Omar El Akkad (American War)
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th' other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
They shoot the white girl first, but the rest they can take their time. No need to hurry out here. They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other. Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent, but there is time, and the day has just begun. They are nine. Over twice the number of the women, they are obliged to stampede or kill, and they have the paraphernalia for either requirement--rope, a palm leaf cross, handcuffs, mace, and sunglasses, along with clean, handsome guns.
Toni Morrison (Paradise)
Centuries of travel yore suggest that when we no longer know where to turn, our real journey has just begun.
When the world told the caterpillar its life was over, the butterfly objected, “My life has just begun.
Your life’s just begun and there’s a ton of things out in the world you’ve never laid eyes on. Things you never could imagine.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
And once upon a time I wondered: Is writing epic fantasy not somehow a betrayal? Did I not somehow do a disservice to my own reality by paying so much attention to the power fantasies of disenchanted white men?
But. Epic fantasy is not merely what Tolkien made it.
This genre is rooted in the epic — and the truth is that there are plenty of epics out there which feature people like me. Sundiata’s badass mother. Dihya, warrior queen of the Amazighs. The Rain Queens. The Mino Warriors. Hatshepsut’s reign. Everything Harriet Tubman ever did. And more, so much more, just within the African components of my heritage. I haven’t even begun to explore the non-African stuff. So given all these myths, all these examinations of the possible… how can I not imagine more? How can I not envision an epic set somewhere other than medieval England, about someone other than an awkward white boy? How can I not use every building-block of my history and heritage and imagination when I make shit up?
And how dare I disrespect that history, profane all my ancestors’ suffering and struggles, by giving up the freedom to imagine that they’ve won for me.
There’s always that first step in skating, from dry ground to slick ice, when it just seems impossible. Impossible that two thin blades of metal will support you, impossible that because its molecules have begun to dance a little slower water will hold you up.
Carol Goodman (The Lake of Dead Languages)
Jen snorted a laugh as she spoke out loud. "Gee thanks, so kind of you to chalk it up to me just being a dumb ass."
Decebel chuckled and his eyes had begun to get lighter. "You will stop undressing in front of other people."
Jen put a hand on her hip as she tipped her head to the side. She narrowed her eyes at her mate and tapped her lip with a finger.
"Now, I'm going to need you clarify that." When Decebel didn't respond, but continued to stare at her, Jen rolled her eyes.
"Clarify, elucidate, enlighten. Do. You. Understand. The. Words. That. Are…," Jen emphasized each word.
"Jennifer," Decebel growled.
"Comingoutofmymouth," Jen finished quickly making Sally giggle.
"Only undress in our bedroom."
"Nope, na-ah. There's waaaay too many loop holes in that little decree. Seriously Dec, you can do better than that," Jen told him with a single eyebrow raised. Decebel growled at the challenge in her words and the tone of her voice. Damn, when am I going to learn not to poke the angry wolf. The thought ran through her mind before she could censor it from a now wickedly smiling Alpha.
We just hold each other. Where I was once lost, he’s found me. But I know now that I have only begun to truly discover Chris. He’s still lost.
Lisa Renee Jones (Being Me (Inside Out, #2))
And then I feel something else. Something that's totally new. I feel the tiniest sensation of hope. Maybe my life isn't over. Maybe my life has just begun.
Blake Nelson (Recovery Road)
Yesterday is done. Today has just begun. I am not going let anyone's negative issues do anything to me other than inspire me to do better.
shades and shadows the smell of coffee beans sits in my nostrils the taste of Colombia on my tongue the pages of my favorite book between my fingers my morning bliss has just begun
R.H. Sin (A Beautiful Composition of Broken)
Just be careful," a Seattle homicide detective warned. "Maybe we'd better know where to find your dental records in case we need to identify you."
I laughed, but the words were jarring; the black humor that would surround Ted Bundy evermore begun.
Ann Rule (The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy: The Shocking Inside Story)
I waited at least two hours. I'd begun to think that he'd given up on me in the weeks that had passed. Or that he no longer cared about me. Hated me even. And the idea of losing him for ever, my best friend, the only person I'd ever trusted with my secrets, was so painful I couldn't stand it. Not on top of everything else that had happened. I could feel my eyes tearing up and my throat starting to close the way it does when I get upset.
Then I look up and there he was, three metres away, just watching me. Without even thinking, I jumped up and threw my arms around him, making some weird sound that combined laughing, choking and crying.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
So you just kill people for power."
"As do you."
"How dare you-"
He laughs, loud. "You're free to lie to yourself, if it makes you feel better."
"I am not lying-"
"Why did it take you so long to break your connection with Jenkins?"
My mouth freezes in place.
"Why didn't you fight back right away? Why did you allow him to touch for as long as he did?"
My hands have begun to shake and I grip them, hard.
"You don't know anything about me."
"And yet you claim to know me so well."
I clench my jaw, not trusting myself to speak.
"At least I'm honest," he adds.
"You just agreed you're a liar!"
He raises his eyebrows. "At least I'm honest about being a liar.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
We've always defined ourselves by the ability to overcome the impossible. And we count these moments. These moments when we dare to aim higher, to break barriers, to reach for the stars, to make the unknown known. We count these moments as our proudest achievements. But we lost all that. Or perhaps we've just forgotten that we are still pioneers. And we've barely begun. And that our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.
Cooper - Interstellar
You’re so eager to jump into something you’ve barely begun to understand. Things don’t just get handed to you. You have to fight. Prove that you are worthy and then maybe the answers will be found." - Mr. Creepy
I've begun to wonder if that's all we really need. Just one person who knows us truly. One person who knows the darkness that lies within and believes in us anyway.
Michelle Zink (A Temptation of Angels)
I am neither dead, nor alive, and I’m not something little Madison can hide. But you will be dead by the time this is done. The timer starts now. The games have just begun.
Amo Jones (The Silver Swan (Elite Kings Club, #1))
What a terrifyingly beautiful thought that you are the beginning of forever.
I love you, and life for me has just begun.
You think to baffle me, you with your pale faces all in a row, like sheep in a butcher's. You shall be sorry yet, each one of you! You think you have left me without a place to rest, but I have more. My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side. Your girls that you all love are mine already. And through them you and others shall yet be mine, my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed. Bah!
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
Oh," Sally brightened proud of herself for deciphering his sign language, "you're telling me not to leave my room."
Costin nodded his big wolf head again. His eyes had begun glowing back in the party and even now they continued to emit an eerie shade of green.
Sally's inner Jen had been triggered as soon as she got the words out. So naturally she did what her inner Jen told her to. She stepped forward putting one toe outside her door. Costin growled, so she stepped back. Watching him coyly she put her other toe outside her door and he growled again. She was inwardly scolding herself for taunting him and allowing her inner Jen to control her actions, but she had discovered long ago that sometimes inner Jen is just more fun.
When Sally stuck her foot out for the third time, she giggled when Costin snapped at her. She could tell that he was playing by the way his tail wagged and his eyes lightened, but had not stopped glowing all together.
For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
As I say, these were helpful lessons for me. Not only had I learnt that changes were a part of Josie, and that I should be ready to accommodate them, I'd begun to understand also, that this wasn't a trait peculiar just to Josie, that people often felt the need to prepare a side of themselves to display to passersby - as they might in a store window, and that such display needn't be taken so seriously once the moment had passed.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Klara and the Sun)
Mother,” Alec’s voice as he interrupted his mother was firm, implacable, and not unkind. “Father. There’s something I have to tell you.” he smiled at them. “I‘m seeing someone.”
Robert Lightwood looked at his son with some exasperation. “Alec,” he said. “This is hardly the time.”
“Yes, it is. This is important. You see, I‘m not just seeing anyone.” Words seemed to be pouring out of Alec in a torrent, while his parents looked on in confusion. Isabelle and Magnus were staring at him with expressions of nearly identical astonishment. “I‘m seeing a Downworlder. In fact, I‘m seeing a war-”
Magnus‘s fingers moved, quick as a flash of light, in Alec‘s direction. There was a faint shimmer in the air around Alec-his eyes rolled up-and he dropped to the floor, felled like a tree.
“Alec!” Maryse clapped her hand to her mouth. Isabelle, who had been closest to her brother, dropped down beside him. But Alec had already begun to stir, his eyelids fluttering open. “Wha-what-why am I on the floor?”
“That‘s a good question.” Isabelle glowered down at her brother. “What was that?”
“What was what?” Alec sat up, holding his head. A look of alarm crossed his face. “Wait-did I say anything? Before I passed out, I mean.”
Jace snorted. “You know how we were wondering if that thing Clary did would work or not?” he asked. “It works all right.”
Alec looked supremely horrified. “What did I say?”
“You said you were seeing someone,” his father told him. “Though you weren’t clear as to why that was important.”
“Its not,” Alec said. “I mean, I‘m not seeing anyone. And its not important. Or it wouldn’t be if I was seeing someone, which I‘m not.”
Magnus looked at him as if he were an idiot. “Alec‘s been delirious,” he said. “Side effect of some demon toxins. Most unfortunate, but he‘ll be fine soon.”
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
I read it as if it had been written by someone else, although it was my own experience being recounted.
The endless questioning finally ended. My psychiatrist looked at me, there was no uncertainty in his voice. "Maniac-depressive illness." I admired his bluntness. I wished him locusts in his land and a pox upon his house. Silent, unbelievable rage. I smiled pleasantly. He smiled back. The war had just begun,
Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
I'm afraid I've done nothing at all to advance the plot."
"You chose to come away with me," Ned reminded her.
"So this is merely romance," she frowned disapprovingly. "I was hoping for an epic adventure, or a gothic mystery at the very least."
Ned laughed. "Darling, don't worry, the story has just begun.
India Holton (The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels, #1))
Dad, will they ever come back?"
"No. And yes." Dad tucked away his harmonica. "No not them. But yes, other people like them. Not in a carnival. God knows what shape they'll come in next. But sunrise, noon, or at the latest, sunset tomorrow they'll show. They're on the road."
"Oh, no," said Will.
"Oh, yes, said Dad. "We got to watch out the rest of our lives. The fight's just begun."
They moved around the carousel slowly.
"What will they look like? How will we know them?"
"Why," said Dad, quietly, "maybe they're already here."
Both boys looked around swiftly.
But there was only the meadow, the machine, and themselves.
Will looked at Jim, at his father, and then down at his own body and hands. He glanced up at Dad.
Dad nodded, once, gravely, and then nodded at the carousel, and stepped up on it, and touched a brass pole.
Will stepped up beside him. Jim stepped up beside Will.
Jim stroked a horse's mane. Will patted a horse's shoulders.
The great machine softly tilted in the tides of night.
Just three times around, ahead, thought Will. Hey.
Just four times around, ahead, thought Jim. Boy.
Just ten times around, back, thought Charles Halloway. Lord.
Each read the thoughts in the other's eyes.
How easy, thought Will.
Just this once, thought Jim.
But then, thought Charles Halloway, once you start, you'd always come back. One more ride and one more ride. And, after awhile, you'd offer rides to friends, and more friends until finally...
The thought hit them all in the same quiet moment.
...finally you wind up owner of the carousel, keeper of the freaks...
proprietor for some small part of eternity of the traveling dark carnival shows....
Maybe, said their eyes, they're already here.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
The Smythe-Smith musical.It finished off what the Crusades had begun.There wasn't a man alive who could maintain a romantic thought when faced with the memory-or the threat-of a Smythe-Smith musicale.
Julia Quinn (Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith Quartet #1))
The man on top of you is teaching you how to hate, sees you
as a piece of real estate,
just another fallow field lying underneath him
like a sacrifice.
He’s turning your back into a table so he doesn’t have to
eat off the floor, so he can get comfortable,
pressing against you until he fits, until he’s made a place for himself
The clock ticks from five to six. Kissing degenerates into biting.
So you get a kidney punch, a little blood in your urine.
It isn’t over yet, it’s just begun.
Richard Siken (Crush)
In the instant before the door opened, I could almost sense my life expanding just like a river whose waters have begun to swell; for I had never before taken such a drastic step to change the course of my own future. I was like a child tiptoeing along a precipice overlooking the sea. And yet somehow I hadn't imagined a great wave might come and strike me there, and wash everything away.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
So often, parents want to play Edward Scissorhands and start pruning their child like a tree, but the reality is that your tree has just begun to grow, and you don't even know what kind of tree it is. Maybe it's not a sports tree.
William Stixrud (The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives)
I intercepted Chaol, and he informed me of your ‘condition.’ You’d think a man in his position wouldn’t be so squeamish, especially after examining all of those corpses.”
Calaena opened an eye and frowned as Dorian sat on her bed. “I’m in a state of absolute agony and I can’t be bothered.”
“It can’t be that bad,” he said, fishing a deck of cards from his jacket. “Want to play?”
“I already told you that I don’t feel well.”
“You look fine to me.” He skillfully shuffled the deck. “Just one game.”
“Don’t you pay people to entertain you?”
He glowered, breaking the deck. “You should be honored by my company.”
“I’d be honored if you would leave.”
“For someone who relies on my good graces, you’re very bold.”
“Bold? I’ve barely begun.” Lying on her side, she curled her knees to her chest.
He laughed, pocketing the deck of cards. “Your new canine companion is doing well, if you wish to know.”
She moaned into her pillow. “Go away. I feel like dying.”
“No fair maiden should die alone,” he said, putting a hand on hers. “Shall I read to you in your final moments? What story would you like?”
She snatched her hand back. “How about the story of the idiotic prince who won’t leave the assassin alone?”
“Oh! I love that story! It has such a happy ending, too—why, the assassin was really feigning her illness in order to get the prince’s attention! Who would have guessed it? Such a clever girl. And the bedroom scene is so lovely—it’s worth reading through all of their ceaseless banter!”
“Out! Out! Out! Leave me be and go womanize someone else!” She grabbed a book and chucked it at him.
Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1))
I think you just complimented me," said Jane. "You should take better care next time."
The music had started, the couples had begun a promenade, but Mr. Nobley paused to hold Jane's arm and whisper, "Jane Erstwhile, if I never had to speak with another human being but you, I would die a happy man. I would that these people, the music, the food and foolishness all disappeared and left us alone. I would never tire of looking at you or listening to you." He took a breath. "There. That compliment was on purpose. I swear I will never idly compliment you again."
Jane's mouth was dry. All she could think to say was, "But... but surely you wouldn't banish all the food."
He considered, then nodded once. "Right. We will keep the food. We will have a picnic."
And he spun her into the middle of the dance.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Real life is all beginnings. Days, weeks, children, journeys, marriages, inventions. Even a murder is the beginning of a criminal. Perhaps even a spree. Everything is prologue. Every story has a stutter. It just keeps starting and starting until you decide to shut the camera off. Half the time you don’t even realise that what you’re choosing for breakfast is the beginning of a story that won’t pan out till you’re sixty and staring at the pastry that made you a widower. No, love, in real life you can get all the way to death and never have finished one single story. Or never even get one so much as half-begun.
Catherynne M. Valente
I am frightened at the prospect of how much I might love you, because I know the price it brings, and just thinking of you has begun the investment process within my heart. It would be easier to never invest at all, to hold all vulnerability close to my chest, not allowing anyone to enter my safe. But what a cruel thing it would be, to deny an opportunity to love a soul as beautiful as yours. I’m going to hope, and hope, and hope, until one day I do something. Maybe then, we’ll be able to find that place that we have both wanted for so long. Maybe then, we’ll have each other. I’m not reaching for stars anymore. I’m reaching for you, and honestly, that’s far more beautiful than a night full of dancing flames. I am not good with words, but still my words dance out of chaos, forming something beautiful.
T.B. LaBerge (Unwritten Letters to You)
As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No,"
So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move;
'Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.
Moving of the earth brings harms and fears,
Men reckon what it did and meant;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.
Dull sublunary lovers' love
(Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
Those things which elemented it.
But we, by a love so much refined
That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assured of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.
Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion.
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two:
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if the other do;
And though it in the center sit,
Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.
In those early amorphous years when memory had only just begun, when life was full of Beginnings and no Ends, and Everything was Forever, Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twins, physically separate, but with joint identities.
In books, I'd always felt like the Happily Ever After appeared as a new beginning, but for me, it didn't feel like that. My Happily Ever After was a strand of strung-together happy-for-nows, extending back not just to a year ago, but to thirty years before. Mine had already begun, and so this day was neither an ending nor a beginning.
It was just another good day. A perfect day. A happy-for-now, so vast and deep that I knew — or rather believed — I didn't have to worry about tomorrow.
Emily Henry (Beach Read)
She has a fiery soul that cannot be tamed.
She has free spirit that cannot be maimed.
She moves with the wind and flows with the river.
She howls at the moon and smiles at the sun.
Just when you think she is finished, she declares, “I’ve just begun.”
Like wild flowers, she grows where she decides to push through fallow ground.
Like wild fires, she spreads with speed that can’t be drowned.
She has mystery in her blood, magic in her touch and regardless of her frame
she can be too much-wild woman.
She is not predictable, controllable nor the people pleasing kind.
That’s why she is called wild woman and can never be defined.
Jobs had begun to drop acid by then, and he turned Brennan on to it as well, in a wheat field just outside Sunnyvale. "It was great," he recalled. "I had been listening to a lot of Bach. All of a sudden the whole field was playing Bach. It was the most wonderful feeling of my life up to that point. I felt like the conductor of this symphony with Bach coming through the wheat.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
and makes me end where I begun.
When you start to say to yourself, just one look back, just one glance, the danger will have begun for you.
Tess Uriza Holthe (When the Elephants Dance)
I'm a poor man, your majesty," the Hatter began in a weak voice, "and I hadn't but just begun my tea, not more than a week or so, and what with the bread and butter so thin - and the twinkling of the tea-"
"The twinkling of what?" asked the King.
"It began with the tea," the Hatter said.
"Of course twinkling begins with a T!" said the King. "Do you take me for a dunce?
Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass)
The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both *may* be, and one *must* be, wrong. God cannot be *for* and *against* the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party - and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaption to effect His purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true - that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By His mere great power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either *saved* or *destroyed* the Union without human contest. Yet the contest began, And, having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.
She was making the case that we should resist on principle, even though it might be futile. I had just begun trying to make the case for hope in writing, and I argued that you don’t know if your actions are futile; that you don’t have the memory of the future; that the future is indeed dark, which is the best thing it could be; and that, in the end, we always act in the dark. The effects of your actions may unfold in ways you cannot foresee or even imagine. They may unfold long after your death. That is when the words of so many writers often resonate most.
Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me)
We were little animals, which is not to imply that by the end of the week we were tearing our tank tops off; just that, metaphorically speaking, we had begun to sniff each other's bottoms, and we did not find the odor entirely repellent.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
It was like staring into the face of a familiar stranger. You know, that person you see in a crowd and swear you know, but you really don't? Now she was me - the familiar stranger.
She had my eyes. They were the same hazel color that could never decide whether it wanted to be green or brown, but my eyes had never been that big and round. Or had they? She had my hair - long and straight and almost as dark as my grandma’s had been before hers had begun to turn silver. The stranger had my high cheekbones, long, strong nose, and wide mouth - more features from my grandma and her Cherokee ancestors. But my face had never been that pale. I’d always been olive-ish, much darker skinned than anyone else in my family. But maybe it wasn’t that my skin was suddenly so white ... maybe it just looked pale in comparison to the dark blue outline of the crescent moon that was perfectly positioned in the middle of my forehead. Or maybe it was the horrid fluorescent lighting. I hoped it was the lighting.
I stared at the exotic-looking tattoo. Mixed with my strong Cherokee features it seemed to brand me with a mark of wildness ... as if I belonged to ancient times when the world was bigger ... more barbaric.
From this day on my life would never be the same. And for a moment — just an instant—I forgot about the horror of not belonging and felt a shocking burst of pleasure, while deep inside of me the blood of my grandmother’s people rejoiced.
I've been actively engaged with mythic imagery ever since I picked up that Rackham book, but it really came into focus for me when I moved from London to the country. As I walked the extraordinary landscape of Dartmoor, I looked at the trees and the rocks and the hills and I could see the personality in those forms...then they metamorphosed under my pencil into faeries, goblins and trolls. After Alan and I published "Faeries", he moved on from the subject of faery folklore to illustrate Tolkien and other literary works...while I discovered that my own exploration of Faerieland had only just begun. In the countryside, the old stories seemed to come alive around me; the faeries were a tangible aspect of the landscape, pulses of spirit, emotion, and light. They "insisted" on taking form under my pencil, emerging on the page before me cloaked in archetypal shapes drawn from nature and myth. I'd attracted their attention, you see, and they hadn't finished with me yet.
When I woke up and looked in the mirror, I saw that my face had finally begun to forget who I was.
I guessed my features had just been caught off guard that day. When I peered closer, they rushed to reassemble, as though to say, Oh, shit. But it was as if they couldn’t remember their original placement, and as a result, the final impression was a little off-kilter.
Yukiko Motoya (The Lonesome Bodybuilder)
So, kid, you’ve got to live,
and not just that stoic existence you’ve
been stomping trough all this time.
You’ve got to be kind,
you’ve got to fall in love,
fall out of love,
no matter how much it hurts
because my god,
it’s worth it.
Don’t let the world turn you to stone;
you’ve got to feel.
your heart will threaten
to march right out of your chest
because you’re so fucking full of it all-
of the people,
the endless days,
the eternal nights-
and kid, that’s fine.
Courage isn’t measured by the
number of people you’ve turned away
or by the counts of the nights you’ve
spent alone because you refuse to
give someone the chance to love you.
Being alone is not poetic;
you’ve got to let them in.
Let them peel back your skin
and waltz into your bloodstream
and love them,
And finally, kid,
your life has already begun.
Chaos is already underway.
By ten o'clock she thought he might soon be ready to talk. He'd threatened, blustered, even tried to sweet-talk her. Then the bribery had begun. He'd let her live if she let him out immediately. He'd give her three horses, two sheep, and a cow. He'd give her a pouch of coin, three horses, two sheep, not just a cow but a milking cow, and set her up anywhere in England, if she would just leave his castle and not bother him again for the rest of his life. The only offer/threat that had perked her momentary interest was when he'd shouted that he was going to "toop her 'til her bonny legs fell off."
She should be so lucky.
Karen Marie Moning (Kiss of the Highlander (Highlander, #4))
She wasn't a cruel Bird. But her heart ached so badly for these sad, broken birds that, just as the Puppeteer had planned, she had begun to hate them. She hated them for making her feel so wretched, when she should be happiest. That happens sometimes.
Katherine Catmull (Summer and Bird)
I kept noticing a self-help cliché that people say to each other all the time, and share on Facebook incessantly. We say to each other: “Nobody can help you except you.” It made me realize: we haven’t just started doing things alone more, in every decade since the 1930s. We have started to believe that doing things alone is the natural state of human beings, and the only way to advance. We have begun to think: I will look after myself, and everybody else should look after themselves, as individuals. Nobody can help you but you. Nobody can help me but me. These ideas now run so deep in our culture that we even offer them as feel-good bromides to people who feel down—as if it will lift them up. But John has proven that this is a denial of human history, and a denial of human nature. It leads us to misunderstand our most basic instincts. And this approach to life makes us feel terrible.
Johann Hari (Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions)
There were probably many factors that kept the relationship going and kept your love alive. There were all his promises. "I promise this will never happen again." You believed him the first time. And the second. As the abuse continued, he became increasingly remorseful, his promises more insistent. You continued to believe him; you wanted to believe him. After all, you loved him.
Then there were all the apologies. He seemed truly sorry. You forgave him. Now, however, when you think back, you realize the apologies were conditional. They blamed you! "I'm sorry, but if only you hadn't..." They always made his abuse somehow your fault. You may have begun to believe this, and you may even remember apologizing to him. You began to believe that if you were careful about what you said or did, you could prevent the abuse from happening again. As the abuse escalated over time, the blaming became more obvious. "I didn't mean to hurt you, but if you just weren't so [stupid, ugly, careless, dumb, etc.], this would never have happened." Time after time you were made to believe that every act of violence or abuse was your fault. Day after day you were made to feel that you were unworthy of him.
Meg Kennedy Dugan (It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence)
Ladies and gentlemen, we have just begun our gradual descent into the Indianapolis area, a descent similar in many ways to the gradual slide of the United States from a first-class world leader to an aggressive, third-rate debtor nation of overweight slobs, undereducated slob children and aimless elderly people who can’t afford to buy medicine.
George Carlin (When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?)
I’ve spent my creative life so far first in the theatre, then on the page, then on the screen, examining what is turning out as I grow older to look like one enormous landscape.
What I originally thought were different worlds turn out to be one interconnected place. And like a bedspread viewed by a sick child from his pillow, I am very aware that there are colours in various corners which I know very well, but I haven’t yet found the ways to get from the blue to the green and from the green to the red.
I’ve just begun, and I suppose that’s become my preoccupation – the idea that at one point I will see it clearly.
Clive Barker (Liverpool Lives (Memory, Prophecy and Fantasy, #1))
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We've never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge, and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take-off. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.
I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute.
We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.
I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it."
There's a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it." Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
Ah yes, the facts. I've spent my whole life running after them, convinced that if I found demonstrable, incontrovertible facts I would also find some kind of truth. Now aged sixty-three, faced with this war which has only just begun and with an unsettling premonition of what is soon to follow, I'm beginning to think the facts are just a front and that the truth they mask is at best like a Russian doll: as soon as you open it up you find a smaller one inside, then another which is even smaller, then another and another, till finally all you are left with is something the size of a grain.
Letters against the war: Letter from Quetta, 2011.
What's your name?" I ask him.
We're standing in front of my door.
He stops suprised. Lifts his chin almost imperecmptly. Focuses his eyes on my face until I begin to regret my question.
"You want to know my name."
I don't do it on purpose, but my eyes narrow just a bit.
"Warner is your last name, isn't it?"
He almost smiles. "You want to know my name"
"I didn't realize it was a secret."
He steps forward. His lips twitch. His eyes fall, his lips draw in a tight breath. He drops a gloved finger down the apple of my cheek. "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours,"
He whispers, too close to my neck.
I inch backward. Swallow hard.
"You already know my name."
He's not looking at my eyes. "You're right. I should rephrase that. What I meant to say was I'll tell you mine if you show me yours."
"What?" I'm breathing too fast too suddenly.
He begins to pull off his gloves and I begin to panic.
"Show me what you can do."
My jaw is tight and my teeth have begun to ache. "I won't touch you"
"That's all right." He tugs off the other glove. "I don't exactly need your help."
"Don't worry." He grins. "I'm sure it won't hurt you at all."
"No," I gasp "No, I won't-I can't-"
"Fine," Warner snaps "That's fine. You don't want to hurt me. I'm so utterly flattered." He almost rolls his eyes.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
What is the matter with you?" asked Shcherbatsky.
"Nothing much, but there is little to be happy about in this world."
"Little? You'd better come with me to Paris instead of going to some Mulhausen or other. You'll see how jolly it will be!"
"No, I have done with that; it is time for me to die."
"That is a fine thing!" said Shcherbatsky, laughing. "I am only just beginning to live."
"Yes, I thought so too till lately; but now I know that I shall soon die."
Levin was saying what of late he had really been thinking. He saw death and the apprroach of death in everything; but the work he had begun interested him all the more. After all, he had to live his life somehow, til death came. Everything for him was wrapped in darkness; but just because of the darkness, feeling his work to be the only thread to guide him through the darkness, he seized upon it and clung to it with all his might.
Leo Tolstoy (Anna Karenina)
But the most astonishing thing about trees is how social they are. The trees in a forest care for each other, sometimes even going so far as to nourish the stump of a felled tree for centuries after it was cut down by feeding it sugars and other nutrients, and so keeping it alive. Only some stumps are thus nourished. Perhaps they are the parents of the trees that make up the forest of today. A tree’s most important means of staying connected to other trees is a “wood wide web” of soil fungi that connects vegetation in an intimate network that allows the sharing of an enormous amount of information and goods. Scientific research aimed at understanding the astonishing abilities of this partnership between fungi and plant has only just begun. The reason trees share food and communicate is that they need each other. It takes a forest to create a microclimate suitable for tree growth and sustenance. So it’s not surprising that isolated trees have far shorter lives than those living connected together in forests. Perhaps the saddest plants of all are those we have enslaved in our agricultural systems. They seem to have lost the ability to communicate, and, as Wohlleben says, are thus rendered deaf and dumb. “Perhaps farmers can learn from the forests and breed a little more wildness back into their grain and potatoes,” he advocates, “so that they’ll be more talkative in the future.” Opening
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from A Secret World (The Mysteries of Nature Book 1))
Yes, the universe had a beginning. Yes, the universe continues to evolve. And yes, every one of our body’s atoms is traceable to the big bang and to the thermonuclear furnaces within high-mass stars. We are not simply in the universe, we are part of it. We are born from it. One might even say that the universe has empowered us, here in our small corner of the cosmos, to figure itself out. And we have only just begun.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution)
I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. I say two, because the state of my own knowledge does not pass beyond that point.
Others will follow, others will outstrip me on the same lines; and I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens. I, for my part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly in one direction and in one direction only. It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the
thought of the separation of these elements. If each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable;
the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.
It was the curse of mankind that these incongruous faggots were thus bound together—that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling. How, then were they dissociated?
Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
I have begun to wonder where I came from. The person I am now, this fumbling, stumbling supplicant... was I built on the foundations of my old life, or did I rise from the grave a blank state? How much of me is inherited, and how much is my own creation? Questions that were once just idle musings have begun to feel strangely urgent. Am I firmly rooted to what came before? Or can I choose to deviate?
Isaac Marion (Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1))
We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace - business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs and we know now that a government by organized money is just as bad as a government by organized mob.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
We've dug our holes and hallowed caves Put goblin foes in shallow graves This day our work is just begun In the mines where silver rivers run
Beneath the stone the metal gleams Torches shine on silver streams Beyond the eyes of he spying sun In the mines where silver rivers run
The hammers chime on Mithral pure As dwarven mines in days of yore A craftsman's work is never done In the mines where silver rivers run
To dwarven gods we sing or praise Put another orc in a shallow grave We know our work has just began In the mines where silver rivers run
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
Why did you come back?”
It felt like a trick question. My hard-won hermitage — begun by me, secured by Jeremy — was no small thing. It was a chance to be someone else, and how many of those do you get?
And yet I’d left it behind.
I came back because I had to. Because there was nothing wrong in the world except that I was getting older in it. Because Sam and Grace had told me I should go if that was what I wanted.
What I wanted was:
I wanted to make something. At the beginning of all of this, I had just been a kid with a keyboard. It was less the game of it, and more those hours I spent falling from song to song.
“I want to make an album,” I said. “I miss making music.”
I could tell he approved of my answer.
Maggie Stiefvater (Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3.5))
A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us... What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of earth, but also the earth's ability to produce.
And so began something that had not quite begun and would not soon end, with many people in many places moving off in directions and on missions which they all mistakenly thought they understood. That was just as well. The future was too fearful for contemplation, and beyond the expected, illusory finish lines were things fated by the decisions made this morning -- and, once decided, best unseen.
Why, I . . . I still like you.” Nerves fluttered in her chest, but she kept her tone light. “Do you like me?”
A few moments passed in silence. She would have counted them in heartbeats, but her foolish heart had become a most unreliable timepiece. It gave three pounding beats in a flurry, then none at all.
Just when she’d begun to despair, he turned his head, catching her in a passionate, openmouthed kiss. He put both arms around her, fisting his hands in the fabric of her dress, lifting her up and against his chest. So that her body recalled every inch of his, every second of their blissful lovemaking. The now-familiar ache returned—that sweet, hollow pang of desire that only deepened as his tongue flickered over hers. In a matter of seconds, he had her gasping. Needing. Damp.
Then he set her back on her toes. Pressed his brow to hers and released a deep, resonant sigh. And just before turning to leave, he spoke a single word.
He said, “No.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
If we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce. We will see that beauty and utility are alike dependent upon the health of the world. But we will also see through the fads and the fashions of protest. We will see that war and oppression and pollution are not separate issues, but are aspects of the same issue. Amid the outcries for the liberation of this group or that, we will know that no person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place - a much humbler place than we have been taught to think - in the order of creation.
(pg.89, "Think Little")
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
Somebody said it couldn't be done.
But he with a chuckle replied,
That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so 'till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done. And he did.
Somebody scoffed, "Oh, you'll never do that
At least no one ever has done it."
But he took off his coat, and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we know, he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or "quit-it".
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't done. And he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done.
There are thousands to prophesy failure.
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you
But just buckle in, with a bit of a grin;
Just take off your coat and go to it.
Just start in to sing as yout tackle the thing
That cannot be done--and you'll do it!
Edgar A. Guest
The library was like a stone quarry where no rain had fallen in ten thousand years. Way off in that direction: silence. Way off in that direction: hush. It was the time between things finished and things begun. Nobody died here. Nobody was born. The library, and all its books, just were. We
Ray Bradbury (Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales)
By the second week of November 1990, a new character had begun to spring forth in Kurt's journal writings, and this figure would soon make its way into almost every image, song, or story. He intentionally misspelled its name, and in doing so he was granting it a life of its own. Oddly, he gave it a female persona, but since it became his great love that Fall - and even made him throw up, just like Tobi - there was a fairness in this gender choice. He called it 'heroine'.
Charles R. Cross (Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain)
The great nonprosecutions of Wall Street in the years since 2008, I would learn, were just symbols of this dystopian sorting process to which we’d already begun committing ourselves. The cleaving of the country into two completely different states—one a small archipelago of hyperacquisitive untouchables, the other a vast ghetto of expendables with only theoretical rights—has been in the works a long time. The Divide is a terrible story, and a crazy one. And it goes back a long, long way.
Matt Taibbi (The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap)
I hear a gasp.
I spin around.
I jump up, alert, searching for the sound. It seemed close by. Someone saw me. Someone—
A civilian. She’s already darting away, her body pressed against the wall of a nearby unit.
“Hey!” I shout. “You there—”
She stops. Looks up.
I nearly collapse.
She’s staring at me. She’s actually here, staring at me, her eyes wide and panicked. My legs are suddenly made of lead. I’m rooted to the ground, unable to form words. I don’t even know where to start. There’s so much I want to say to her, so much I’ve never told her, and I’m just so happy to see her—God, I’m so relieved—
I spin around, frantic, wondering whether I’ve actually begun to lose my grip on reality. My eyes land on the little dog still sitting there, waiting for me, and I stare at it, dumbfounded, wondering what on earth just happened. I keep looking back at the place I thought I saw her, but I see nothing.
I run a hand through my hair, so confused, so horrified and angry with myself that I’m tempted to rip it out of my head.
What is happening to me.
Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))
One of my new housemates, Stacy, wants to write a story about an astronaut. In his story the astronaut is wearing a suit that keeps him alive by recycling his fluids. In the story the astronaut is working on a space station when an accident takes place, and he is cast into space to orbit the earth, to spend the rest of his life circling the globe. Stacy says this story is how he imagines hell, a place where a person is completely alone, without others and without God. After Stacy told me about his story, I kept seeing it in my mind. I thought about it before I went to sleep at night. I imagined myself looking out my little bubble helmet at blue earth, reaching toward it, closing it between my puffy white space-suit fingers, wondering if my friends were still there. In my imagination I would call to them, yell for them, but the sound would only come back loud within my helmet. Through the years my hair would grow long in my helmet and gather around my forehead and fall across my eyes. Because of my helmet I would not be able to touch my face with my hands to move my hair out of my eyes, so my view of earth, slowly, over the first two years, would dim to only a thin light through a curtain of thatch and beard.
I would lay there in bed thinking about Stacy's story, putting myself out there in the black. And there came a time, in space, when I could not tell whether I was awake or asleep. All my thoughts mingled together because I had no people to remind me what was real and what was not real. I would punch myself in the side to feel pain, and this way I could be relatively sure I was not dreaming. Within ten years I was beginning to breathe heavy through my hair and my beard as they were pressing tough against my face and had begun to curl into my mouth and up my nose. In space, I forgot that I was human. I did not know whether I was a ghost or an apparition or a demon thing.
After I thought about Stacy's story, I lay there in bed and wanted to be touched, wanted to be talked to. I had the terrifying thought that something like that might happen to me. I thought it was just a terrible story, a painful and ugly story. Stacy had delivered as accurate a description of a hell as could be calculated. And what is sad, what is very sad, is that we are proud people, and because we have sensitive egos and so many of us live our lives in front of our televisions, not having to deal with real people who might hurt us or offend us, we float along on our couches like astronauts moving aimlessly through the Milky Way, hardly interacting with other human beings at all.
Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality)
If I walked too far and wondered loud enough the fields would change. I could look down and see horse corn and I could hear it then- singing- a kind of low humming and moaning warning me back from the edge. My head would throb and the sky would darken and it would be that night again, that perpetual yesterday lived again. My soul solidifying, growing heavy. I came up to the lip of my grave this way many times but had yet to stare in.
I did begin to wonder what the word heaven meant. I thought, if this were heaven, truly heaven, it would be where my grandparents lived. Where my father's father, my favorite of them all, would lift me up and dance with me. I would feel only joy and have no memory, no cornfield and no grave.
You can have that,' Franny said to me. 'Plenty of people do.'
How do you make the switch?' I asked.
It's not as easy as you might think,' she said. 'You have to stop desiring certain answers.'
I don't get it.'
If you stop asking why you were killed instead of someone else, stop investigating the vaccum left by your loss, stop wondering what everyone left on Earth is feeling,' she said, 'you can be free. Simply put, you have to give up on Earth.'
This seemed impossible to me.
She used the bathroom, running the tap noisily and disturbing the towels. She knew immediately that her mother had bought these towels- cream, a ridiculous color for towels- and monogrammed- also ridiculous, my mother thought. But then, just as quickly, she laughed at herself. She was beginning to wonder how useful her scorched-earth policy had been to her all these years. Her mother was loving if she was drunk, solid if she was vain. When was it all right to let go not only of the dead but of the living- to learn to accept?
I was not in the bathroom, in the tub, or in the spigot; I did not hold court in the mirror above her head or stand in miniature at the tip of every bristle on Lindsey's or Buckley's toothbrush. In some way I could not account for- had they reached a state of bliss? were my parents back together forever? had Buckley begun to tell someone his troubles? would my father's heart truly heal?- I was done yearning for them, needing them to yearn for me. Though I still would. Though they still would. Always.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling began
to affect the netting under which the three children lay.
It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallic
sound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This was
accompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries.
The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead, and
chilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brother
had already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the little
one, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but in
a very low tone, and with bated breath:--
"Hey?" said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes.
"What is that?"
"It's the rats," replied Gavroche.
And he laid his head down on the mat again.
The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of the
elephant, and who were the living black spots which we have already
mentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long as
it had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the same
as their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the good
story-teller Perrault calls "fresh meat," they had hurled themselves in
throngs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it, and had begun
to bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap.
Still the little one could not sleep.
"Sir?" he began again.
"Hey?" said Gavroche.
"What are rats?"
"They are mice."
This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice in
the course of his life, and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, he
lifted up his voice once more.
"Hey?" said Gavroche again.
"Why don't you have a cat?"
"I did have one," replied Gavroche, "I brought one here, but they ate
This second explanation undid the work of the first, and the little
fellow began to tremble again.
The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:--
"Who was it that was eaten?"
"And who ate the cat?"
"Yes, the rats."
The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which ate
"Sir, would those mice eat us?"
"Wouldn't they just!" ejaculated Gavroche.
The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:--
"Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I'm here! Here, catch
hold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Suppose [a person] had a basket full of apples and, being worried that some of the apples were rotten, wanted to take out the rotten ones to prevent the rot spreading. How would he proceed? Would he not begin by tipping the whole lot out of the basket? And would not the next step be to cast his eye over each apple in turn, and pick up and put back in the basket only those he saw to be sound, leaving the others? In just the same way, those who have never philosophized correctly have various opinions in their minds which they have begun to store up since childhood, and which they therefore have reason to believe may in many cases be false. They then attempt to separate the false beliefs from the others, so as to prevent their contaminating the rest and making the whole lot uncertain. Now the best way they can accomplish this is to reject all their beliefs together in one go, as if they were all uncertain and false. They can then go over each belief in turn and re-adopt only those which they recognize to be true and indubitable.
René Descartes (Meditations on First Philosophy)
Today you're in a hospital. Or at least this morning. This hour. This minute. Where you'll be three minutes from now is anyone's guess. You've begun to notice, though, that, bit by bit the sense of being outside yourself has diminished with each passing day. A critical mass is reached, and now your soul collapses in upon itself.
You're back inside the vessel of your body.
Just one. Just you. Just an individual.
Neal Shusterman (Challenger Deep)
If they be so two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two,
Thy soul the fixed foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th' other do.
And though it in the centre sit,
Yet when the other dar doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like the other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end, where I begun.
John Donne (A Valediction Forbidding Mourning)
It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements. If each, I told myself, could be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil. It was the curse of mankind that these incongruous faggots were thus bound together—that in the agonised womb of consciousness, these polar twins should be continuously struggling. How, then were they dissociated?
Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)
All now took leave of the Lord of the City and went to rest while they still could. Outside there was a starless blackness as Gandalf, with Pippin beside him bearing a small torch, made his way to their lodging. They did not speak until they were behind closed doors. Then at last Pippin took Gandalf's hand.
'Tell me,' he said, 'is there any hope? For Frodo, I mean; or at least mostly for Frodo.'
Gandalf put his hand on Pippin's head. 'There never was much hope,' he answered. 'Just a fool's hope, as I have been told. And when I heard of Cirith Ungol--' He broke off and strode to the window, as if his eyes could pierce the night in the East. 'Cirith Ungol!' he muttered. 'Why that way, I wonder?' He turned. 'Just now, Pippin, my heart almost failed me, hearing that name. And yet in truth I believe that the news that Faramir brings has some hope in it. For it seems clear that the Enemy has opened his war at last and made the first move when Frodo was still free. So now for many days he will have his eye turned this way and that, away from his own land. And yet, Pippin, I feel from afar his haste and fear. He has begun sooner than he would. Something has happened to stir him.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
I have begun in old age to understand just how oddly we all are put together. We are so proud of our autonomy that we seldom if ever realize how generous we are to ourselves, and just how stingy with others. One of the booby traps of freedom--which is bordered on all sides by isolation--is that we think so well of ourselves. I now see that I have helped myself to the best cuts at life's banquet.
In times like these I always cheered myself up with a certain story. I forgot just when I first heard it, or who I heard it from... but, back when I was young it would cheer me up when I was feeling depressed. Basically, you think of life in terms of a single 24 hour day. So if you take the average human lifespan, to be around 72 years, then dividing that by 24... that comes to 3 years per hour. Meaning, that if you were 18 it'd only be 6 AM! 6 in the morning is nothing! Schools aren't even open by then! It's only been a couple of hours before sunrise, the day's just begun! So if you're 18, you can still fix you life by then! In fact even if you were 30 year old, that's still only 10 AM! The sun's still high, and there's still 2 hours until noon! You still have the whole afternoon to fix your life! You could still make something of yourself. I've always been thinking that, but... I'm now 45 years old! 45 divided by 3 is 15 meaning, that the time 3PM! Ring Ring Ring! I can hear the clock, ringing in my mind! There's only 2 hours before work is over at 5PM! I can't redo anything, it's almost time to go home already.
Nobuyuki Fukumoto (Saikyō Densetsu Kurosawa 9)
I'm not embarrassed about having, you know, no experience," Luce said quietly-these walls were thin. "It's just, do you ever feel like nothing has happened to you? Like you know you have destiny, but all you've seen of life so far is unexceptional? I want my life to be different. I want to feel that it's begun. I'm waiting for kiss. But sometimes I feel like I could wait forever and nothing would ever change.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
A Faint Music by Robert Hass
Maybe you need to write a poem about grace.
When everything broken is broken,
and everything dead is dead,
and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt,
and the heroine has studied her face and its defects
remorselessly, and the pain they thought might,
as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves
has lost its novelty and not released them,
and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly,
watching the others go about their days—
likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears—
that self-love is the one weedy stalk
of every human blossoming, and understood,
therefore, why they had been, all their lives,
in such a fury to defend it, and that no one—
except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool
of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic
life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light,
faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears.
As in the story a friend told once about the time
he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him.
Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash.
He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge,
the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon.
And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,”
that there was something faintly ridiculous about it.
No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch
he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass,
scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp
along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word
was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise
the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs,
and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up
on the girder like a child—the sun was going down
and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket
he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing
carefully, and drove home to an empty house.
There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties
hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed.
A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick
with rage and grief. He knew more or less
where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill.
They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears
in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,”
she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights,
a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay.
“You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?”
“Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now,
“I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while—
Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall—
and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more,
and go to sleep.
And he, he would play that scene
once only, once and a half, and tell himself
that he was going to carry it for a very long time
and that there was nothing he could do
but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened
to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark
cracking and curling as the cold came up.
It’s not the story though, not the friend
leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,”
which is the part of stories one never quite believes.
I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain
it must sometimes make a kind of singing.
And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps—
First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)
He had always believed that his father had not been able to save a penny from the business, at least his father had never told him anything to the contrary, and Gregor, for his part, had never asked him any questions. In those days Gregor's sole concern had been to do everything in his power to make the family forget as quickly as possible the business disaster which had plunged everyone into a state of total despair. And so he had begun to work with special ardor and had risen almost overnight from stock clerk to traveling salesman, which of course had opened up very different money-making possibilities, and in no time his successes on the job were transformed, by means of commissions, into hard cash that could be plunked down on the table at home in front of his astonished and delighted family. Those had been the wonderful times, and they had never returned, at least not with the same glory, although later on Gregor earned enough money to meet the expenses of the entire family and actually did so. They had just gotten used to it, the family as well as Gregor, the money was received with thanks and given with pleasure, but no special feeling of warmth went with it any more.
Franz Kafka (The Metamorphosis)
Isn't it nice how we actually enjoy talking to each other now?" I said to her once on a trip home from college, after the bulk of the damage done in my teenage years had been allayed. "It is," she said. "You know what I realised? I've just never met someone like you." I've just never met someone like you, as if I were a stranger from another town or an eccentric guest accompanying a mutual friend to a dinner party. It was a strange thought to hear from the mouth of the woman who had birthed and raised me, with whom I shared a home for eighteen years, someone who was half me. My mother had struggled to understand me just as I struggled to understand her. Thrown as we were on opposite sides of a fault like—generational, cultural, linguistic—we wandered lost without a reference point, each of us unintelligible to the other's expectations, until these past few years when we had just begun to unlock the mystery, carve the psychic space to accommodate each other, appreciate the differences between us, linger in our refracted commonalities.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
Style is not how you write.
It is how you do not write like anyone else.
* * *
How do you know if you're a writer?
Write something everyday for two weeks, then stop, if you can.
If you can't, you're a writer.
And no one, no matter how hard they may try,
will ever be able to stop you from following your writing dreams.
* * *
You can find your writer's voice
by simply listening to that little Muse inside
that says in a low, soft whisper, "Listen to this...
* * *
Enter the writing process
with a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.
Let it surprise you.
* * *
Poems for children help them
celebrate the joy and wonder of their world.
Humorous poems tickle the funny bone of their imaginations.
* * *
There are many fine poets writing for children today.
The greatest reward for each of us is in knowing that our efforts
might stir the minds and hearts of young readers with a vision
and wonder of the world and themselves that may be new to them
or reveal something already familiar in new and enlightening ways.
* * *
The path to inspiration starts
Beyond the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.
* * *
When you write for children,
don't write for children.
Write from the child in you.
* * *
Poems look at the world from the inside out.
* * *
The act of writing brings with it a sense of discovery,
of discovering on the page something you didn't know you knew
until you wrote it.
* * *
The answer to the artist
Comes quicker than a blink
Though initial inspiration
Is not what you might think.
The Muse is full of magic,
Though her vision’s sometimes dim;
The artist does not choose the work,
It is the work that chooses him.
* * *
Poetry shows. Prose tells.
Choose precise, concrete words.
Remove prose from your poems.
Use images that evoke the senses.
Avoid the abstract, the verbose, the overstated.
Trust the poem to take you where it wants to go.
Follow it closely, recording its path with imagery.
* * *
What's a Poem?
caught in time.
of who you are.
* * *
A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.
Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.
* * *
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.
* * *
A poem is a busy bee
Buzzing in your head.
His hive is full of hidden thoughts
Waiting to be said.
His honey comes from your ideas
That he makes into rhyme.
He flies around looking for
What goes on in your mind.
When it is time to let him out
To make some poetry,
He gathers up your secret thoughts
And then he sets them free.
I turn to look at him. His face is smooth, without the blotches and spots that have begun to afflict the other boys. His features are drawn with a firm hand; nothing awry or sloppy, nothing too large—all precise, cut with the sharpest of knives. And yet the effect itself is not sharp. He turns and finds me looking at him. “What?” he says. “Nothing.” I can smell him. The oils that he uses on his feet, pomegranate and sandalwood; the salt of clean sweat; the hyacinths we had walked through, their scent crushed against our ankles. Beneath it all is his own smell, the one I go to sleep with, the one I wake up to. I cannot describe it. It is sweet, but not just. It is strong but not too strong. Something like almond, but that still is not right. Sometimes, after we have wrestled, my own skin smells like it. He puts a hand down, to lean against. The muscles in his arms curve softly, appearing and disappearing as he moves. His eyes are deep green on mine. My pulse jumps, for no reason I can name. He has looked at me a thousand thousand times, but there is something different in this gaze, an intensity I do not know. My mouth is dry, and I can hear the sound of my throat as I swallow. He watches me. It seems that he is waiting. I shift, an infinitesimal movement, towards him. It is like the leap from a waterfall. I do not know, until then, what I am going to do. I lean forward and our lips land clumsily on each other. They are like the fat bodies of bees, soft and round and giddy with pollen. I can taste his mouth—hot and sweet with honey from dessert. My stomach trembles, and a warm drop of pleasure spreads beneath my skin. More.
Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles)
Ready to have some fun?” She didn’t give him time to answer. Weighed down with the chains, she flashed to a busy street in New York—fingers crossed he would be run over—then to a gay strip club in Italy—fingers crossed he would be groped—then to a zoo in Oklahoma—fingers crossed the elephant shit was ripe.
“Enjoy,” she muttered with relish.
Anya flashed one final time, back to where she’d begun: his home in Greece. Lucien was still following her trail. Lightning-quick, she hid the chains under the bed and palmed her Taser.
When she straightened he was there, just in front of her. Her breath caught. He was still scowling, teeth bared and sharp, Death glowing in his eyes. He had a bleeding cut on his leg and he smelled like shit.
Her nose wrinkled. “Step in something?” she asked innocently.
“That, I did not mind.” He took a menacing step toward her. “What I did mind was being hit by a cab, then landing on the lap of a naked man. With an erection, Anya. He had an erection.”
She grinned. She just couldn’t help herself.
Gena Showalter (The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld, #2))
But they don't deserve to be winning!"
"And who does in this world, Roland? Only the gifted and the beautiful and the brave? What about the rest of us, Champ? What about the wretched, for example? What about the weak and the lowly and the desperate and the fearful and the deprived, to name but a few who come to mind? What about losers? What about failures? What about the ordinary fucking outcasts of this world - who happen to comprise ninety percent of the human race! Don't they have dreams, Agni? Don't they have hopes? Just who told you clean-cut bastards own the world anyway? Who put you clean-cut bastards in charge, that's what I'd like to know! Oh, let me tell you something. All-American Adonis : you fair-haired sons of bitches have had your day. It's all over, Agni. We're not playing according to your clean-cut rules anymore - we're playing according to our own! The Revolution has begun! Henceforth the Mundys are the master race! Long live Glorious Mundy!
Philip Roth (The Great American Novel)
I started running for reasons I had only just begun to understand. As a child, I ran in the woods and around my house for fun. As a teen, I ran to get my body in better shape. Later, I ran to find peace. I ran, and kept running, because I had learned that once you started something you didn’t quit, because in life, much like in an ultramarathon, you have to keep pressing forward. Eventually I ran because I turned into a runner, and my sport brought me physical pleasure and spirited me away from debt and disease, from the niggling worries of everyday existence. I ran because I grew to love other runners. I ran because I loved challenges and because there is no better feeling than arriving at the finish line or completing a difficult training run. And because, as an accomplished runner, I could tell others how rewarding it was to live healthily, to move my body every day, to get through difficulties, to eat with consciousness, that what mattered wasn’t how much money you made or where you lived, it was how you lived. I ran because overcoming the difficulties of an ultramarathon reminded me that I could overcome the difficulties of life, that overcoming difficulties was life.
Because people who live their lives this way can look forward to a single destiny, shared with others of this type - though such people do not believe they represent a type, but feel themselves distinguished from the common run of man, who they see as held down by the banal anchors of the world. But while others actually build a life in which things gain meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitably looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffer, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful. And yet they started off believing themselves too special for this world!
But - and here is the hope - there is a solution for people of this type, and it's perhaps not the solution that could have been predicted. The answer for them is to build on what they have begun and not abandon their plans as soon as things start getting difficult. They must work - without escaping into fantasies about being the person who worked. And I don't mean work for its own sake, but they must choose work that begins and ends in a passion, a question that is gnawing at their guts, which is not to be avoided but must be realized and live through the hard work and suffering that inevitably comes with the process.
They must reinforce and build on what is in their life already rather than always starting anew, hoping to find a situation without danger. Puers don't need to check themselves into analysis. If they can just remember this - It is their everlasting switching that is the dangerous thing, and not what they choose - they might discover themselves saved. The problem is the puer ever anticipates loss, disappointment, and suffering - which they foresee at the very beginning of every experience, so they cut themselves off at the beginning, retreating almost at once in order to protect themselves. In this way, they never give themselves to life - living in constant dread of the end. Reason, in this case, has taken too much from life.
They must give themselves completely to the experience! One things sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can't be happy, let them at least be unhappy - really, really unhappy for once, and then the might become truly human!
Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be?)
The savage rushing of the river seemed to be inside her head, inside her body. Even when the oarswomen, their guides, were speaking to her, she had the impression she couldn't quite hear them because of the roar. Not of the river that did indeed roar, just behind them, close to the simple shelter they'd made for her, but because of an internal roar as of the sound of a massive accumulation of words, spoken all at once, but collected over a lifetime, now trying to leave her body. As they rose to her lips, and in response to the question: Do you want to go home? she leaned over a patch of yellow grass near her elbow and threw up.
All the words from decades of her life filled her throat. Words she had said or had imagined saying or had swallowed before saying to her father, dead these many years. All the words to her mother. To her husbands. Children. Lovers. The words shouted back at the television set, spreading its virus of mental confusion.
Once begun, the retching went on and on. She would stop, gasping for breath, rest a minute, and be off again. Draining her body of precious fluid... Soon, exhausted, she was done.
No, she had said weakly, I don't want to go home. I'll be all right now.
Alice Walker (Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart)
It's a fact of life that we dream while we're asleep. Try as you may, such a thing cannot be avoided. It's when we wake up, however, that we see two types of people emerge. On the one hand are doers, and on the other are dreamers.
When doers wake up, that's it, their dreams are over, and in general, they're content with this. They wash their faces, brush their teeth, and go about their business hoping nothing strange or our of the ordinary will happen along the way. Doers don't do much original thinking and they don't do surprises and they won't ever do anything unexpected or anything someone hasn't already done before. But they are called doers, after all, so they must do something and they do. In fact, doers do the same something over and over and over again. This is called routine, and doers are very good at routine.
Dreamers are different.
When dreamers wake up, their dreams have only just begun. They wash their faces and brush their teeth and open the front door hoping everything strange and out of the ordinary is waiting for them. Dreamers like asking questions that have never been asked before and doing things that have never been done before in ways that no one has ever though of before.
Nicholas Gannon (The Doldrums (The Doldrums #1))
There’s a young man with a gun.
Young man lost his honey
When she took it on the run.
She took it on the run!
Left her baby lonely
But he baby ain’t done.
The wind’ll blow ya through.
Ya gotta go where ka’s wind blows ya
Cause there’s nothin else to do.
Nothin else to do!
Gotta go where ka’s wind blows ya
Cause there’s nothin else to do.
Can you tell me what ya see?
Is it ghosts or just the mirror
That makes ya wanna flee?
I beg ya, tell me!
Is it ghosts or just your darker self
That makes ya wanna flee?
Whatcha doin at my do’?
If ya doan tell me now, my friend
I’ll lay ya on de flo’.
I can lay ya low!
The things I’ve do to such as you
You never wanna know.
Ain’t it grand to be alive?
To look out on Discordia
When the Demon Moon arrives.
Even when the shadows rise!
To see the world and walk the world
Makes ya glad to be alive.
You’re in a nasty fix!
To take a hand in traitor’s glove
Is to grasp a sheaf of sticks!
Nothing there but thorns and sticks!
When your find your hand in traitor’s glove
You’re in a nasty fix.
They go to hell or up to heaven!
The the guns are shot and the fires hot,
You got to poke em in the oven.
Salt and yow’ for leaven!
Heat em up and knock em down
And poke em in the oven.
You’re in the hands of fate.
No matter if it’s real or not,
The hour groweth late.
The hour groweth late!
No matter what shade ya cast
You’re in the hands of fate.
You have to walk the line.
When you finally get the thing you need
It makes you feel so fine.
It makes ya feel fine!
But if you’d have the thing you need
You have to walk the line.
It’s the other one again.
You may know her name and face
But that don’t make her your friend.
She is not your friend!
If you let her get too close
She’ll cut you up again!
We hail the one who made us all,
Who made the men and made the maids,
Who made the great and small.
He made us great and small!
And yet how great the hand of fate
That rules us one and all.
There’s a time to live and one to die.
With your back against the final wall
Ya gotta let the bullets fly.
Let the bullets fly!
Don’t ‘ee mourn for me, my lads
When it comes my day to die.
The child has come at last!
Sing your song, O sing it well,
The child has come to pass.
The worst has come to pass.
The Tower trembles on its ground;
The child has come at last.
The battle’s now begun!
And all the foes of men and rose
Rise with the setting sun.
Stephen King (Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6))
White liberals, instead of comparing what has happened to the black family since the liberal welfare state policies of the 1960s were put into practice, compare black families to white families and conclude that the higher rates of broken homes and unwed motherhood among blacks are due to “a legacy of slavery.” But why the large-scale disintegration of the black family should have begun a hundred years after slavery is left unexplained. Whatever the situation of the black family relative to the white family, in the past or the present, it is clear that broken homes were far more common among blacks at the end of the twentieth century than they were in the middle of that century or at the beginning of that century —even though blacks at the beginning of the twentieth century were just one generation out of slavery. The widespread and casual abandonment of their children, and of the women who bore them, by black fathers in the ghettos of the late twentieth century was in fact a painfully ironic contrast with what had happened in the immediate aftermath of slavery a hundred years earlier, when observers in the South reported desperate efforts of freed blacks to find family members who had been separated from them during the era of slavery.
Thomas Sowell (Black Rednecks and White Liberals)
I did a bad thing tonight, one of the most terrible things ever: I waited for her to fall asleep, then stole the sheet from under her head. I am missing you or maybe just the idea of you. I have begun seriously thinking about other men. I am afraid I am not strong enough or tough enough for this. I am afraid all the time. I have not slept well in months. When are you coming back, you jerk? We are all trying to be brave without you and doing a real crummy job of it. I do not want to have to be brave anymore without you.
Joe Meno (Demons in the Spring)
The library was still giving trouble: a few books in some of the more obscure corners of the stacks retained some autonomy, dating back to an infamous early experiment with flying books, and lately they'd begun to breed. Shocked undergraduates had stumbled on books in the very act.
Which sounded interesting, but so far the resulting offspring had either been predictably derivative (in fiction) or stunningly boring (nonfiction); hybrid pairings between fiction and nonfiction were the most vital. The librarian thought the problem was just that the right books weren't breeding with each other and proposed a forced mating program. The library committee had an epic secret meeting about the ethics of literary eugenics which ended in a furious deadlock.
Lev Grossman (The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3))
My time in camp with Kaden had become awkward several times, or perhaps I was just more self-conscious now.
I had known he cared about me. It was hardly a secret. It was the reason I was still alive, but I hadn’t quite grasped how much he cared. And in spite of myself, I knew in my own way, I cared about him too. Not Kaden the assassin, but the Kaden I had known back in Terravin, the one who had caught my attention the minute he walked through the tavern door. The one who was calm and had mysterious, but kind, eyes.
I remembered dancing with him at the festival, his arms pulling me closer, and the way he struggled with his thoughts, holding them back. He didn’t hold back the night he was drunk. The fireshine had loosened his lips and he laid it all out quite blatantly. Slurred and sloshy but clear. He loved me. This from a barbarian who was sent to kill me.
I lay back, staring into the cloudless sky, a shade bluer and brighter than yesterday.
Did he even know what love was? For that matter, did I? Even my parents didn’t seem to know. I crossed my arms behind my head as a pillow. Maybe there was no one way to define it. Maybe there were as many shades of love as the blues of the sky.
I wondered if his interest had begun when I tended his shoulder. I remembered his odd look of surprise when I touched him, as if no one had ever shown him a kindness before. If Griz, Finch, and Malich were any indication of his past, maybe no one had. They showed a certain steely devotion to one another, but it in no way resembled kindness. And then there were those scars on his chest and back. Only cruel savage could have delivered those. Yet somewhere along the way, Kaden had learned kindness. Tenderness, even. It surfaced in small actions. He seemed like he was two separate people, the intensely loyal Vendan assassin and someone else far different, someone he had locked away, a prisoner just like me.
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1))
So many memories,
and I'm still young.
So many dreams,
my song's just begun.
Sometimes I hear
my private melody grow,
then the sound vanishes,
but returns, I now know.
I've heard my heart break;
wounded, I've felt alone,
but slowly I learned
to thrive on my own.
I want to keep learning,
to depend my song;
in whatever I work
may my best self grow strong.
It's still the morning,
the green spring of my life.
i'm starting my journey,
family and friends at my side,
my song inside,
and love as my guide.
My family wonders
where I will go.
I wonder too.
I long to discover
how to protect the earth, our home,
hear world sisters and brothers,
who feel so alone.
Hearts and hands open
to those close and those far,
a great family circle
with peace our lodestar.
No child should be hungry.
All children should read,
be healthy and safe,
feel hope, learn to lead.
It's still the morning,
the spring of my life
I'm starting my journey,
family and friends at my side,
my song inside,
and love as my guide.
I'm take wrong turns
and again lose my way.
I'll search for wise answers,
listen, study and pray.
So many memories,
and I'm still young.
So many dreams;
my own song has begun.
I'll resist judging others
by their accents and skin,
confront my life challenges,
improve myself within.
Heeding my song-
for life's not easy or fair-
I'll persist, be a light
resist the snare of despair.
I've grown to feel strong.
I'm preparing to lead.
I'm composing my song.
It's still the morning,
the spring of my life.
I'm starting my journey,
family and friends at my side,
my song inside,
and love as my guide.
Pat Mora (Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems about Love)
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"
"Come, we shall have some fun now!", thought Alice. "I'm glad they've begun asking riddles - I believe I can guess that," she added aloud.
"Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?" said the March Hare.
"Exactly so," said Alice.
"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.
"I do," Alice hastily replied; "At least - at least I mean what I say - that's the same thing, you know."
"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "Why, you might just as well said that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!".
"You might just as well say," added the March Hare, "that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!".
"You might just as well say," added the Dormouse, which seemed to be talking in its sleep, "that "I breath when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breath"!".
"It is the same thing with you," said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Other Stories)
The world – whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering, of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we've just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead? we just don’t know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we've got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world – it is astonishing.
But ‘astonishing’ is an epithet concealing a logical trap. We’re astonished, after all, by things that deviate from some well-known and universally acknowledged norm, from an obviousness we've grown accustomed to. Now the point is, there is no such obvious world. Our astonishment exists per se and isn't based on comparison with something else.
Granted, in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like ‘the ordinary world,’ ‘ordinary life,’ ‘the ordinary course of events’ … But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.
My little brother's greatest fear was that the one person who meant so much to him would go away. He loved Lindsey and Grandma Lynn and Samuel and Hal, but my father kept him stepping lightly, son gingerly monitoring father every morning and every evening as if, without such vigilance, he would lose him.
We stood- the dead child and the living- on either side of my father, both wanting the same thing. To have him to ourselves forver. To please us both was an impossibility.
'Please don't let Daddy die, Susie,' he whispered. 'I need him.'
When I left my brother, I walked out past the gazebo and under the lights hanging down like berries, and I saw the brick paths branching out as I advanced.
I walked until the bricks turned to flat stones and then to small, sharp rocks and then to nothing but churned earth for miles adn miles around me. I stood there. I had been in heaven long enough to know that something would be revealed. And as the light began to fade and the sky to turn a dark, sweet blue as it had on the night of my death, I saw something walking into view, so far away I could not at first make out if it was man or woman, child or adult. But as moonlight reached this figure I could make out a man and, frightened now, my breathing shallow, I raced just far enough to see. Was it my father? Was it what I had wanted all this time so deperately?
'Susie,' the man said as I approached and then stopped a few feet from where he stood. He raised his arms up toward me.
'Remember?' he said.
I found myself small again, age six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet.
'Granddaddy,' I said.
And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and in a living room in Illinois. Now, as I had done then, I placed my feet on top of his feet.
'Granddaddy,' I said.
And because we were all alone and both in heaven, I was light enough to move as I had moved when I was six and he was fifty-six and my father had taken us to visit. We danced so slowly to a song that on Earth had always made my grandfather cry.
'Do you remember?' he asked.
'Adagio for Strings,' he said.
But as we danced and spun- none of the herky-jerky awkwardness of Earth- what I remembered was how I'd found him crying to this music and asked him why.
'Sometimes you cry,' Susie, even when someone you love has been gone a long time.' He had held me against him then, just briefly, and then I had run outside to play again with Lindsey in what seemed like my grandfather's huge backyard.
We didn't speak any more that night, but we danced for hours in that timeless blue light. I knew as we danced that something was happening on Earth and in heaven. A shifting. The sort of slow-to-sudden movement that we'd read about in science class one year. Seismic, impossible, a rending and tearing of time and space. I pressed myself into my grandfather's chest and smelled the old-man smell of him, the mothball version of my own father, the blood on Earth, the sky in heaven. The kumquat, skunk, grade-A tobacco.
When the music stopped, it cold have been forever since we'd begun. My grandfateher took a step back, and the light grew yellow at his back.
'I'm going,' he said.
'Where?' I asked.
'Don't worry, sweetheart. You're so close.'
He turned and walked away, disappearing rapidly into spots and dust. Infinity.
To the winter forest
And nowhere to go
This girl runs
From all she knows
The pressure rises to the top
The pressure rises (it won't stop)
They want your body
They want your soul
They want fake smiles
That's rock and roll
The wolves surrond you
A fever dream
The wolves surrond you
So start the scream
Howl, into the night,
Howl, until the light,
Howl, your turn to fight,
Howl, just make it right
Howl howl howl howl
You can't fight fo ever
You have to comply
If your life isn't working
You have to ask why
When we were young enough
Not to fear tomorrow
Or mourn yesterday
And we were just
And time was just
And we were in
Not rising through
Like arms in a sleeve
Because we had time
We had time to breathe
The bad times are here
The bad times have come
but life can't be over
When it hasn't begun
The lake shines and the water's cold
All that glitters can turn to gold
Silence the music to improve the tune
Stop the fake smiles and howl at the moon
Howl, into the night,
Howl, until the light,
Howl, your turn to fight,
Howl, just make it right
Howl howl howl howl
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
He had visited his family the evening before, eaten dinner with Renee and Chris, his grandson, in the pretence that everything was ordinary, but in fact to service his end-game ruse. He was going over the mountains, he'd said, to hunt for quail in willow canyons, he had no particular canyons in mind, he intended to return on Thursday evening, though possibly, if the hunting was good, he would return on Friday or Saturday. The lie was open-ended so that his family wouldn't start worrying until he'd been dead for as long as a week - so none would miss or seek him where he rotted silently in the sage. Ben imagined how it might be otherwise, his cancer a pestilent force in their lives, or a pall descending over them like ice, just as they'd begun to emerge from the pall of Rachel's death. The last thing they needed was for Ben to tell hem of his terminal colon cancer.
David Guterson (East of the Mountains)
Civil and voting rights for blacks didn’t come from the White House or from masses demonstrating in front of the White House. They came after the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955–56, the Freedom Rides in 1961, the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham in 1963, the Mississippi Freedom Summer and Freedom Schools in 1964, and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965. In other words, they came only after hundreds of thousands of black Americans and their white supporters had accepted the challenge and risks of ourselves making or becoming the changes we want to see in the world. Women’s leadership in the public sphere didn’t come from the White House or from CEOs. It came only after millions of women came together in small consciousness-raising groups to share stories of our “second sex” lives. Today’s good news is that Americans in all walks of life have begun to create another America from the ground up in many unforeseen ways. In our bones we sense that this is no ordinary time. It is a time of deep change, not just of social structure and economy but also of ourselves.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
I say is someone in there?’ The voice is the young post-New formalist from
Pittsburgh who affects Continental and wears an ascot that won’t stay tight, with that
hesitant knocking of when you know perfectly well someone’s in there, the
bathroom door composed of thirty-six that’s three times a lengthwise twelve
recessed two-bevelled squares in a warped rectangle of steam-softened wood, not
quite white, the bottom outside corner right here raw wood and mangled from
hitting the cabinets’ bottom drawer’s wicked metal knob, through the door and
offset ‘Red’ and glowering actors and calendar and very crowded scene and pubic
spirals of pale blue smoke from the elephant-colored rubble of ash and little
blackened chunks in the foil funnel’s cone, the smoke’s baby-blanket blue that’s sent
her sliding down along the wall past knotted washcloth, towel rack, blood-flower
wallpaper and intricately grimed electrical outlet, the light sharp bitter tint of a heated
sky’s blue that’s left her uprightly fetal with chin on knees in yet another North
American bathroom, deveiled, too pretty for words, maybe the Prettiest Girl Of All
Time (Prettiest G.O.A.T.), knees to chest, slew-footed by the radiant chill of the
claw-footed tub’s porcelain, Molly’s had somebody lacquer the tub in blue, lacquer,
she’s holding the bottle, recalling vividly its slogan for the past generation was The
Choice of a Nude Generation, when she was of back-pocket height and prettier by
far than any of the peach-colored titans they’d gazed up at, his hand in her lap her
hand in the box and rooting down past candy for the Prize, more fun way too much
fun inside her veil on the counter above her, the stuff in the funnel exhausted though
it’s still smoking thinly, its graph reaching its highest spiked prick, peak, the arrow’s
best descent, so good she can’t stand it and reaches out for the cold tub’s rim’s cold
edge to pull herself up as the white- party-noise reaches, for her, the sort of
stereophonic precipice of volume to teeter on just before the speaker’s blow, people
barely twitching and conversations strettoing against a ghastly old pre-Carter thing
saying ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ Joelle’s limbs have been removed to a distance
where their acknowledgement of her commands seems like magic, both clogs simply
gone, nowhere in sight, and socks oddly wet, pulls her face up to face the unclean
medicine-cabinet mirror, twin roses of flame still hanging in the glass’s corner, hair
of the flame she’s eaten now trailing like the legs of wasps through the air of the
glass she uses to locate the de-faced veil and what’s inside it, loading up the cone
again, the ashes from the last load make the world's best filter: this is a fact. Breathes
in and out like a savvy diver…
–and is knelt vomiting over the lip of the cool blue tub, gouges on the tub’s
lip revealing sandy white gritty stuff below the lacquer and porcelain, vomiting
muddy juice and blue smoke and dots of mercuric red into the claw-footed trough,
and can hear again and seems to see, against the fire of her closed lids’ blood, bladed
vessels aloft in the night to monitor flow, searchlit helicopters, fat fingers of blue
light from one sky, searching.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
I can see that your thoughts are deeper than you yourself are able to express. But since this is so, you know, don't you, that you've never lived what you are thinking and that isn't good. Only the ideas that we actually live are of any value. You knew all along that your sanctioned world was only half the world and you tried to suppress the second half the same way the priests and teachers do. You won't succeed. No one succeeds in this once he has begun to think." This went straight to my heart. "But there are forbidden and ugly things in the world!" I almost shouted. "You can't deny that. And they are forbidden, and we must renounce them. Of course I know that murder and all kinds of vices exist in the world but should I become a criminal just because they exist?" "We won't be able to find all the answers today," Max soothed me. "Certainly you shouldn't go kill somebody or rape a girl, no! But you haven't reached the point where you can understand the actual meaning of 'permitted' and 'forbidden.' You've only sensed part of the truth. You will feel the other part, too, you can depend on it. For instance, for about a year you have had to struggle with a drive that is stronger than any other and which is considered 'forbidden.' The Greeks and many other peoples, on the other hand, elevated this drive, made it divine and celebrated it in great feasts. What is forbidden, in other words, is not something eternal; it can change. Anyone can sleep with a woman as soon as he's been to a pastor with her and has married her, yet other races do it differently, even nowadays. That is why each of us has to find out for himself what is permitted and what is forbidden -forbidden for him. It's possible for one never to transgress a single law and still be a bastard. And vice versa. Actually it's only a question of convenience. Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them; things are forbidden to them that every honorable man will do any day in the year and other things are allowed to them that are generally despised. Each person must stand on his own feet.
Hermann Hesse (Demian)
But you won’t abdicate."
Of course not. It’s my duty to go on, to maintain the line. I can’t possibly fail in that. It’s as if you and I were throwing a ball back and forth to establish a record, and had been doing so for a millennium. You cannot drop a ball that has remained airborne through good effort for most of a thousand years. You cannot stop an unlikely heart that has been beating for so long. I would rather die than betray continuity, for its own sake if for nothing else. And Britain needs a king, just as it needs motormen and cooks and a prime minister. Just as it needs soldiers who will die for it if they must. It’s my job, or it will be, but you should know that I’ve never wanted it. I was only born to it, as if with a deformity, to which I hope I can respond with grace."
Fredericka had been running her finger over the carpet, tracing a pattern in the way children do when they have learnt something overwhelming and are moved, but cannot say so. Freddy expected her to look up, with tears, and that in this moment she might have begun the long and arduous process of becoming a queen. She was so beautiful. To embrace her now, with high emotion flowing from her physical majesty, was all he wanted in the world. Her finger stopped moving, and she turned her eyes to him.
Yes?" he answered.
What’s raw egg? I read a recipe in She that called for a cup of raw egg. What is that?"
After a long silence, Freddy asked, "Which part of the formulation escapes you? Egg? Raw? The link between the two?"
The two what?"
Would you like to go dancing?"
Oh, yes Freddy!"
Come then. We will.
Mark Helprin (Freddy and Fredericka)
Hush!’ said the Cabby. They all listened.
In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it…
‘Gawd!’ said the Cabby. ‘Ain’t it lovely?’
Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it , as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.
‘Glory be!’ said the Cabby. ‘I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.’
…Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing…The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose.
Digory had never seen such a sun…You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travellers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.
It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6))
In Paris the swaying lanterns are lit in the streets; lights shine through water, fuzzy, diffuse. Saint-Just sits by an insufficient fire, in a poor light. He is a Spartan after all, and Spartans don’t need home comforts. He has begun his report, his list of accusations; if Robespierre saw it now, he would tear it up, but in a few days’ time it will be the very thing he needs. Sometimes he stops, half-glances over his shoulder. He feels someone has come into the room behind him; but when he allows himself to look, there is nothing to see. It is my destiny, he feels, forming in the shadows of the room. It is the guardian angel I had, long ago when I was a child. It is Camille Desmoulins, looking over my shoulder, laughing at my grammar. He pauses for a moment. He thinks, there are no living ghosts. He takes hold of himself. Bends his head over his task. His pen scratches. His strange letterforms incise the paper. His handwriting is minute. He gets a lot of words to the page.
Hilary Mantel (A Place of Greater Safety)
Do you even feel anything, Chad? Will you for once stop walking around, all in control and f'ing calm? Do you have any idea what you all have done. I lost everything, Chad. Everything, when Kyle died. I lost myself. I had finally begun to build a new life with new friends. With people I thought cared about me. I have started to be just a little bit happy again. Was it too much to ask? Did I ask for too much by just wanting to have a little bit of a life again? Now, it’s all screwed up again and you walk around here like you don’t feel anything about what’s happened.”
Chad spun around, and for only the second time since she’d known him, she saw the flash of anger so fierce her breath caught in her throat and she took an involuntary step back, away from him. Jennie knew Chad would never hurt her on purpose, but the anger rolling off of him was palpable. It seemed to force her backwards as if it had a life of its own, a power of its own.
“Not feel anything, Jennie? Are you f'ing kidding me? I walk around here every day and I ache every f'ing minute I’m with you. I’m so twisted up with loving you and hating you, I can’t breathe. I can’t keep my hands off you, but I can’t let myself kiss you because I might lose myself in you. I can’t make love to you because I’m afraid you’ll pretend I’m him. I know you want his arms around you, not mine. I know you want it to be his baby inside you, not mine. And I know you can’t love me back, no matter what I do, because you’re still so in love with your husband, you can’t even begin to see me.”
Chad didn’t stop and Jennie didn’t try to stop him.
“And every day, I have to sit here and wonder how I’ll be a part of my baby’s life. I wonder if you’ll let me be in the delivery room, if you’ll let me help you name the baby. I wonder how much money I’d have to offer the people who live across the street from you to get them to sell me their house, just so I can see my child grow up. If you’ll let me...” Chad stopped as if he’d run out of steam.
They stood in uneasy silence for a long time before Chad spoke again. He sounded worn out and bitter and angry, mirroring Jennie’s chaos of emotions.
“Am I feeling anything? Yeah. I’m feeling some f'ing sh**, Jen.
Lori Ryan (Negotiation Tactics (Sutton Capital #3))
I was increasingly both horrified and sceptical about these memories - I had no recall of these things at all, though I couldn't imagine why I'd want to make it all up either. It felt as though it had all happened to somebody else, I was not there - it wasn't me - when those people did nasty things.
But then, of course, it didn't feel like me, that's the whole point of dissociation - to create distance between the victim and her experience of the abuse. The alters were created for just that purpose: so that I'd not be aware that it happened to me, but rather to "others". The trouble is, in reality it was my body that took the abuse. It was only my mind that was divided, and sooner or later the amnesic barriers were bound to come down.
And that's exactly what had begun to happen as I heard their stories. They triggered a vague and growing sense in me that this really is my story.
Carolyn Bramhall (Am I a Good Girl Yet?: Childhood Abuse Had Shattered Her. Could She Ever Be Whole?)
Modern physicists have accepted that all existence is fundamentally energy. But now they also acknowledge that there is something else that they have no instrument to measure. They have begun to realize that there is a dimension of energy that seems to hold everything together. They recognize its existence, but have no clue to its nature. Since they are not able to perceive it, they call it ‘dark energy’. For now they concede that it constitutes 73 per cent of the universe. (It will take time and evolution for them to see that it is, in fact, a lot more than that!) They also tell us that at the centre of our galaxy, and presumably of several others, is a ‘black hole’ which is constantly sucking creation in. At the centre of a black hole, they say, is a singularity, a place where creation and destruction happen simultaneously. In fact, scientists seem just one step short of saying: Shi-va!
Sadhguru (Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga)
I have begun with the assumption that the Orient is not an inert fact of nature. It is not merely there, just as the Occident itself is not just there either. We must take seriously Vico’s great observation that men make their own history, that what they can know is what they have made, and extend it to geography: as both geographical and cultural entities—to say nothing of historical entities—such locales, regions, geographical sectors as “Orient” and “Occident” are man-made. Therefore as much as the West itself, the Orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for the West. The two geographical entities thus support and to an extent reflect each other.
Edward W. Said (Orientalism)
What packages we were allowed to receive from our families often contained handkerchiefs, scarves, and other clothing items. For some time, Mike had been taking little scraps of red and white cloth, and with a needle he had fashioned from a piece of bamboo he laboriously sewed an American flag onto the inside of his blue prisoner's shirt. Every afternoon, before we ate our soup, we would hang Mike's flag on the wall of our cell and together recite the Pledge of Allegiance. No other event of the day had as much meaning to us.
"The guards discovered Mike's flag one afternoon during a routine inspection and confiscated it. They returned that evening and took Mike outside. For our benefit as much as Mike's they beat him severely, just outside our cell, puncturing his eardrum and breaking several of his ribs. When they had finished, they dragged him bleeding and nearly senseless back into our cell, and we helped him crawl to his place on the sleeping platform. After things quieted down, we all lay down to go to sleep. Before drifting off, I happened to look toward a corner of the room, where one of the four naked lightbulbs that were always illuminated in our cell cast a dim light on Mike Christian. He had crawled there quietly when he thought the rest of us were sleeping. With his eyes nearly swollen shut from the beating, he had quietly picked up his needle and begun sewing a new flag.
John McCain (Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir)
You’d better marry her before she reaches eighteen and the spell wears off,” I said.
“Yes. The one that’s hiding her fangs and pincers from plain sight.”
“I don’t find them especially hidden,” he said mildly.
“Then perhaps you’re a pair.”
His brows lifted. “Now, that’s the cruelest thing you’ve said so far.”
Mrs. Fredericks cleared off, and Chloe took her place before the piano. A beam of sunlight was just beginning its slide into the chamber, capturing her in light. She was a glowing girl with a glowing face, and Joplin at her fingertips.
“Give me time,” I muttered, dropping my gaze to my plate. “I’ll come up with something worse.”
“No doubt.” Armand pulled a flask from his jacket and shook it in front of my nose. “Whiskey. Conveniently the same color as tea. Are you game, waif?” I glanced around, but no one was looking. I lifted my cup, drained it to the dregs, and set it before him.
He was right. It did look like tea. But it tasted like vile burning fire, all the way down my throat.
“Sip it,” he hissed, as I began to cough. His voice lifted over my sputtering. “Dear me, Miss Jones, I do beg your pardon. The tea’s rather hot; I should have mentioned it.”
“Quite all right,” I gasped, as the whiskey swirled an evil amber in my teacup.
Chloe’s song grew bouncier, with lyrics about a girl with strawberries in a wagon. Several of the men had begun to cluster near, drawn to her soprano or perchance her bosom. Two were vying to turn the pages of her music. She had to crane her head to keep Armand in view.
He sent her another smile from his chair, lifting his cup in salute.
“I’m going to kiss you, Eleanore,” he said quietly, still looking at her. “Not now. Later.” His eyes cut back to mine. “I thought it fair to tell you first.”
I stilled. “If you think you can do so without me biting your lip, feel free to try.”
His gaze shone wicked blue. “I don’t mind if you bite.”
“Biting your lip off, I should have said.”
“Ah. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.
Edgar A. Guest
How many beginnings can a story have, Daddy?"
"As many as you can eat, my lamb. But only one ending. Or maybe it's the other way around: one beginning and a whole Easter basket of endings."
"Papa, don't be silly... A story has to start somewhere. And then it has to end somewhere. That's the whole point. That's how it is in real life."
"But that's not how it is in real life, Rinny. Real life is all beginnings. Days, weeks, children, journeys, marriages, inventions. Even a murder is the beginning of a criminal. Perhaps even a spree. Everything is prologue. Every story has a stutter. It just keeps starting and starting until you decide to shut the camera off. Half the time you don't even realize that what you're choosing for breakfast is the beginning of a story that won't pan out till you're sixty and staring at the pastry that made you a widower. No, love, in real life you can get all the way to death and never have finished one single story. Or never even get one so much as half-begun.
Catherynne M. Valente (Radiance)
Bradley is one of the few basketball players who have ever been appreciatively cheered by a disinterested away-from-home crowd while warming up. This curious event occurred last March, just before Princeton eliminated the Virginia Military Institute, the year's Southern Conference champion, from the NCAA championships. The game was played in Philadelphia and was the last of a tripleheader. The people there were worn out, because most of them were emotionally committed to either Villanova or Temple-two local teams that had just been involved in enervating battles with Providence and Connecticut, respectively, scrambling for a chance at the rest of the country. A group of Princeton players shooting basketballs miscellaneously in preparation for still another game hardly promised to be a high point of the evening, but Bradley, whose routine in the warmup time is a gradual crescendo of activity, is more interesting to watch before a game than most players are in play. In Philadelphia that night, what he did was, for him, anything but unusual. As he does before all games, he began by shooting set shots close to the basket, gradually moving back until he was shooting long sets from 20 feet out, and nearly all of them dropped into the net with an almost mechanical rhythm of accuracy. Then he began a series of expandingly difficult jump shots, and one jumper after another went cleanly through the basket with so few exceptions that the crowd began to murmur. Then he started to perform whirling reverse moves before another cadence of almost steadily accurate jump shots, and the murmur increased. Then he began to sweep hook shots into the air. He moved in a semicircle around the court. First with his right hand, then with his left, he tried seven of these long, graceful shots-the most difficult ones in the orthodoxy of basketball-and ambidextrously made them all. The game had not even begun, but the presumably unimpressible Philadelphians were applauding like an audience at an opera.
John McPhee (A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton)
In less than a year, the magic of being diagnosed had begun to wear off, and my bipolar disorder no longer felt like a story hook. It felt like a part of me I wasn't sure I wanted to sit with anymore. So the further away I got from the diagnosis and all that had led up to it, the more I downplayed the extremes or made them punchlines I could use before anybody else could. I came to resent the head tilts and looks of surprise that go hand in hand with sharing what I'd come to see as a particularly unglamorous part of my life. If this was what interesting was, I didn't want it anymore. I hadn't counted on the most interesting people not being able to opt out. I didn't want to be the woman who does everything despite her bipolar disorder. I wanted to be the woman who has many complexities, her bipolar disorder being just one of them. (You know, a person).
Anne T. Donahue
Their other hands flipped up, palm to palm, and Merik’s only consolation as he and the domna slid into the next movement of the dance was that her chest heaved as much as his did. Merik’s right hand gripped the girl’s, and with no small amount of ferocity, he twisted her around to face the same direction as he before wrenching her to his chest. His hand slipped over her stomach, fingers splayed. Her left hand snapped up—and he caught it. Then the real difficulty of the dance began. The skipping of feet in a tide of alternating hops and directions. The writhing of hips countered the movement of their feet like a ship upon stormy seas. The trickling tap of Merik’s fingers down the girl’s arms, her ribs, her waist—like the rain against a ship’s sail. On and on, they moved to the music until they were both sweating. Until they hit the third movement. Merik flipped the girl around to face him once more. Her chest slammed against his—and by the Wells, she was tall. He hadn’t realized just how tall until this precise moment when her eyes stared evenly into his and her panting breaths fought against his own. Then the music swelled once more, her legs twined into his, and he forgot all about who she was or what she was or why he had begun the dance in the first place. Because those eyes of hers were the color of the sky after a storm. Without realizing what he did, his Windwitchery flickered to life. Something in this moment awoke the wilder parts of his power. Each heave of his lungs sent a breeze swirling in. It lifted the girl’s hair. Kicked at her wild skirts. She showed no reaction at all. In fact, she didn’t break her gaze from Merik, and there was a fierceness there—a challenge that sent Merik further beneath the waves of the dance. Of the music. Of those eyes. Each leap backward of her body—a movement like the tidal tug of the sea against the river—led to a violent slam as Merik snatched her back against him. For each leap and slam, the girl added in an extra flourishing beat with her heels. Another challenge that Merik had never seen, yet rose to, rose above. Wind crashed around them like a growing hurricane, and he and this girl were at its eye. And the girl never looked away. Never backed down. Not even when the final measures of the song began—that abrupt shift from the sliding cyclone of strings to the simple plucking bass that follows every storm—did Merik soften how hard he pushed himself against this girl. Figuratively. Literally. Their bodies were flush, their hearts hammering against each other’s rib cages. He walked his fingers down her back, over her shoulders, and out to her hands. The last drops of a harsh rain. The music slowed. She pulled away first, slinking back the required four steps. Merik didn’t look away from her face, and he only distantly noticed that, as she pulled away, his Windwitchery seemed to settle. Her skirts stopped swishing, her hair fluttered back to her shoulders. Then he slid backward four steps and folded his arms over his chest. The music came to a close. And Merik returned to his brain with a sickening certainty that Noden and His Hagfishes laughed at him from the bottom of the sea.
Susan Dennard (Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1))
As I went to stand up, I felt a tiny point of pressure on my back.
"Don't move," Kasey whispered.
I stayed bent over.
"Drop the knife," she said.
"Excuse me, I'm using it," I said.
She swallowed hard. "For what?"
"Mom and Dad. You."
The pressure on my back increased. "Drop it, Alexis."
Drop it? Like I was a bad dog running around with a sock in my mouth.
"How long will this take?" I asked, setting the knife on the floor. "I'm in the middle of something."
Get in the bathroom," she said.
The faster I indulged her, the faster it would be over with. So I walked into the bathroom. She followed, kicking the knife toward the end of the hallway and flipping on the bathroom light.
"What's this all about, Kasey?" I asked, turning around. At the sight of my face, she gasped, and the point of the fireplace poker she was holding wavered in her hands. I realized a second too late that I'd missed my chance to grab it and smash it into the side of her head.
"What's happening to you?" she whispered.
I glanced in the mirror. The darkness had begun to spread from my mouth and eyes. It leached out in inky puddles with thin tendrils of black snaking out in delicate feathery patterns.
What's happening to me? What was she talking about?
"So you have a pointy stick," I said. "Big deal. get out of my way."
"What are you going to do?" I sneered.
'I'll hit you, Lexi." Her face was stony. "As hard as I have to."
Whatever. I'm really not in the mood.
"Can we talk about this in the morning?" I asked. After I kill you?
"No," her eyes hardened. "Get your toothbrush."
"Pick up your toothbrush, and stick it down your throat."
"Do it," she said.
"Ugh, fine. You're sick, you know that?"
"Get in the tub."
I stuck the toothbrush into my throat. Instantly, I gagged and doubled over.
"Do it again," she said.
"God Kasey," I cried. Stabbing people was one thing. But making them barf- that was just disturbing.
Katie Alender (From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die, #2))
In a real road-construction situation, I would never get out of my car when traffic is backed up, walk over to the foreman of the crew, and ask if I can help make the road so that it all moves more quickly. Yet I found myself doing just that with God in my past when He was trying to repair me. Construction sites have caution cones and broken pavement and heavy equipment I'm not qualified to operate. I must have looked just as out of place trying to make repairs on myself all those years. When I put my trust in Him and have patience in Him as the foreman of my life--the One who is repairing a broken relationship with my mom, building me a stronger and healthier body and assembling healthier friendships and a marriage with a solid foundation--I live a life with much fewer obstructions on my ultimate commute to becoming fearless. And I trust that God has made the plans to finish the good work He has already begun. He will continue constructing the life He knows I'm meant to lead as I travel freely in my journey of "becoming.
Michelle Aguilar (Becoming Fearless: My Ongoing Journey of Learning to Trust God)
Magic is like a lot of other disciplines that people have recently begun developing, in historic terms. Working with magic is a way of understanding the universe and how it functions. You can approach it from a lot of different angles, applying a lot of different theories and mental models to it. You can get to the same place through a lot of different lines of theory and reasoning, kind of like really advanced mathematics. There's no truly right or wrong way to get there, either--there are just different ways, some more or less useful than others for a given application. And new vistas of thought, theory, and application open up on a pretty regular basis, as the Art develops and expands through the participation of multiple brilliant minds.
But that said, once you have a good grounding in it,you get a pretty solid idea of what's possible and what isn't. No matter how much circumlocution you do with your formulae, two plus two doesn't equal five. (Except maybe very, very rarely, sometimes, in extremely specific and highly unlikely circumstances.)
Jim Butcher (Cold Days (The Dresden Files, #14))
She had begun to understand how priesthoods were born, the necessity of sanctioned forms, rules and prohibitions, the moral filter defined by accepted notions of justice. And yet, she could also see how profoundly dangerous such an institution could become, as arbiters of morality, as dispensers of that justice. Faces like hooded vultures, guarding the door to the court, choosing who gets inside and who doesn’t. How soon before the first bag of silver changes hands? How soon before the first reprehensible criminal buys passage into the arms of the blind, unquestioning Redeemer? She could fashion such a church, could formalize the cult into a religion, and she could impose a harsh, unwavering sense of justice. But what of the next generation of priests and priestesses? And the one after that, and the next one? How long before the hard rules make that church a self-righteous, power-mongering tyranny? How long before corruption arrives, when the hidden heart of the religion is the simple fact that the Redeemer embraces everyone who comes before him? A fact virtually guaranteed to breed cynicism in the priesthood, and from such cynicism secular acquisitiveness would be inevitable. This loss was not just a loss of faith in the Redeemer. It was a loss of faith in religion itself.
Steven Erikson (Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8))
A few months ago on a school morning, as I attempted to etch a straight midline part on the back of my wiggling daughter's soon-to-be-ponytailed blond head, I reminded her that it was chilly outside and she needed to grab a sweater.
"No, I don't want to wear that sweater, it makes me look fat."
"What?!" My comb clattered to the bathroom floor. "Fat?! What do you know about fat? You're 5 years old! You are definitely not fat. God made you just right. Now get your sweater."
She scampered off, and I wearily leaned against the counter and let out a long, sad sigh. It has begun. I thought I had a few more years before my twin daughters picked up the modern day f-word. I have admittedly had my own seasons of unwarranted, psychotic Slim-Fasting and have looked erroneously to the scale to give me a measurement of myself. But these departures from my character were in my 20s, before the balancing hand of motherhood met the grounding grip of running. Once I learned what it meant to push myself, I lost all taste for depriving myself. I want to grow into more of a woman, not find ways to whittle myself down to less.
The way I see it, the only way to run counter to our toxic image-centric society is to literally run by example. I can't tell my daughters that beauty is an incidental side effect of living your passion rather than an adherence to socially prescribed standards. I can't tell my son how to recognize and appreciate this kind of beauty in a woman. I have to show them, over and over again, mile after mile, until they feel the power of their own legs beneath them and catch the rhythm of their own strides.
Which is why my parents wake my kids early on race-day mornings. It matters to me that my children see me out there, slogging through difficult miles. I want my girls to grow up recognizing the beauty of strength, the exuberance of endurance, and the core confidence residing in a well-tended body and spirit. I want them to be more interested in what they are doing than how they look doing it. I want them to enjoy food that is delicious, feed their bodies with wisdom and intent, and give themselves the freedom to indulge. I want them to compete in healthy ways that honor the cultivation of skill, the expenditure of effort, and the courage of the attempt.
Grace and Bella, will you have any idea how lovely you are when you try?
Recently we ran the Chuy's Hot to Trot Kids K together as a family in Austin, and I ran the 5-K immediately afterward. Post?race, my kids asked me where my medal was. I explained that not everyone gets a medal, so they must have run really well (all kids got a medal, shhh!). As I picked up Grace, she said, "You are so sweaty Mommy, all wet." Luke smiled and said, "Mommy's sweaty 'cause she's fast. And she looks pretty. All clean."
My PRs will never garner attention or generate awards. But when I run, I am 100 percent me--my strengths and weaknesses play out like a cracked-open diary, my emotions often as raw as the chafing from my jog bra. In my ultimate moments of vulnerability, I am twice the woman I was when I thought I was meant to look pretty on the sidelines. Sweaty and smiling, breathless and beautiful: Running helps us all shine. A lesson worth passing along.
Ed Lim’s daughter, Monique, was a junior now, but as she’d grown up, he and his wife had noted with dismay that there were no dolls that looked like her. At ten, Monique had begun poring over a mail-order doll catalog as if it were a book–expensive dolls, with n ames and stories and historical outfits, absurdly detailed and even more absurdly expensive.
‘Jenny Cohen has this one,’ she’d told them, her finger tracing the outline of a blond doll that did indeed resemble Jenny Cohen: sweet faced with heavy bangs, slightly stocky. 'And they just made a new one with red hair. Her mom’s getting it for her sister Sarah for Hannukkah.’ Sarah Cohen had flaming red hair, the color of a penny in the summer sun. But there was no doll with black hair, let alone a face that looked anything like Monique’s. Ed Lim had gone to four different toy stores searching for a Chinese doll; he would have bought it for his daughter, whatever the price, but no such thing existed.
He’d gone so far as to write to Mattel, asking them if there was a Chinese Barbie doll, and they’d replied that yes, they offered 'Oriental Barbie’ and sent him a pamphlet. He had looked at that pamphlet for a long time, at the Barbie’s strange mishmash of a costume, all red and gold satin and like nothing he’d ever seen on a Chinese or Japanese or Korean woman, at her waist-length black hair and slanted eyes. I am from Hong Kong, the pamphlet ran. It is in the Orient, or Far East. Throughout the Orient, people shop at outdoor marketplaces where goods such as fish, vegetables, silk, and spices are openly displayed. The year before, he and his wife and Monique had gone on a trip to Hong Kong, which struck him, mostly, as a pincushion of gleaming skyscrapers. In a giant, glassed-in shopping mall, he’d bought a dove-gray cashmere sweater that he wore under his suit jacket on chilly days. Come visit the Orient. I know you will find it exotic and interesting.
In the end he’d thrown the pamphlet away. He’d heard, from friends with younger children, that the expensive doll line now had one Asian doll for sale – and a few black ones, too – but he’d never seen it. Monique was seventeen now, and had long outgrown dolls.
Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere)
Shrouded as he was for a decade in an apparent cloak of anonymity and obscurity, Osama bin Laden was by no means an invisible man. He was ubiquitous and palpable, both in a physical and a cyber-spectral form, to the extent that his death took on something of the feel of an exorcism. It is satisfying to know that, before the end came, he had begun at least to guess at the magnitude of his 9/11 mistake. It is essential to remember that his most fanatical and militant deputy, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, did not just leave his corpse in Iraq but was isolated and repudiated even by the minority Sunnis on whose presumed behalf he spilled so much blood and wrought such hectic destruction. It is even more gratifying that bin Laden himself was exposed as an excrescence on the putrid body of a bankrupt and brutish state machine, and that he found himself quite unable to make any coherent comment on the tide—one hopes that it is a tide, rather than a mere wave—of demand for an accountable and secular form of civil society. There could not have been a finer affirmation of the force of life, so warmly and authentically counterposed to the hysterical celebration of death, and of that death-in-life that is experienced in the stultifications of theocracy, where womanhood and music and literature are stifled and young men mutated into robotic slaughterers.
Christopher Hitchens (The Enemy)
I will tell you what he told me
in the years just after the war
as we then called
the second world war
don't lose your arrogance yet he said
you can do that when you're older
lose it too soon and you may
merely replace it with vanity
just one time he suggested
changing the usual order
of the same words in a line of verse
why point out a thing twice
he suggested I pray to the Muse
get down on my knees and pray
right there in the corner and he
said he meant it literally
it was in the days before the beard
and the drink but he was deep
in tides of his own through which he sailed
chin sideways and head tilted like a tacking sloop
he was far older than the dates allowed for
much older than I was he was in his thirties
he snapped down his nose with an accent
I think he had affected in England
as for publishing he advised me
to paper my wall with rejection slips
his lips and the bones of his long fingers trembled
with the vehemence of his views about poetry
he said the great presence
that permitted everything and transmuted it
in poetry was passion
passion was genius and he praised movement and invention
I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write
Senor sempere and I were friends for almost forty years, and in all that time we spoke about God and the mysteries of life on only one occasion. Almost nobody knows this, but Sempere had not set foot in a church since the funeral of his wife Diana, to whose side we bring him today so that they might lie next to one another forever. Perhaps for that reason people assumed he was an atheist, but he was truly a man of faith. He believed in his friends, in the truth of things and in something to which he didn't dare put a name or a face because he said as priests that was our job. Senor Sempere believed we are all a part of something, and that when we leave this world our memories and our desires are not lost, but go on to become the memories and desires of those who take our place. He didn't know whether we created God in our own image or whether God created us without quite knowing what he was doing. He believed that God, or whatever brought us here, lives in each of our deeds, in each of our words, and manifests himself in all those things that show us to be more than mere figures of clay. Senor Sempere believed that God lives, to a smaller or greater extent, in books, and that is why he devoted his life to sharing them, to protecting them and to making sure their pages, like our memories and our desires are never lost. He believed, and made me believe it too, that as long as there is one person left in the world who is capable of reading them and experiencing them, a small piece of God, or of life, will remain. I know that my friend would not have liked us to say our farewells to him with prayer and hymns. I know that it would have been enough for him to realsie that his friends, many of whom have come here today to say goodbye, will never forget him. I have no doubt that the Lord, even though old Sempere was not expecting it, will recieve our dear friend at his side, and I know that he will live forever in the hearts of all those who are here today, all those who have discovered the magic of books thanks to him, and all those who, without even knowing him, will one day go through the door of his little bookshop where, as he liked to say, the story has only just begun. May you rest in peace, Sempere, dear friend, and may God give us all the opportunity to honour your memory and feel grateful for the priviledge of having known you.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This new concept of the "finest, highest achievement of art" had no sooner entered my mind than it located the imperfect enjoyment I had had at the theater, and added to it a little of what it lacked; this made such a heady mixture that I exclaimed, "What a great artiste she is!" It may be thought I was not altogether sincere. Think, however, of so many writers who, in a moment of dissatisfaction with a piece they have just written, may read a eulogy of the genius of Chateaubriand, or who may think of some other great artist whom they have dreamed of equaling, who hum to themselves a phrase of Beethoven for instance, comparing the sadness of it to the mood they have tried to capture in their prose, and are then so carried away by the perception of genius that they let it affect the way they read their own piece, no longer seeing it as they first saw it, but going so far as to hazard an act of faith in the value of it, by telling themselves "It's not bad you know!" without realizing that the sum total which determines their ultimate satisfaction includes the memory of Chateaubriand's brilliant pages, which they have assimilated to their own, but which, of course, they did not write. Think of all the men who go on believing in the love of a mistress in whom nothing is more flagrant than her infidelities; of all those torn between the hope of something beyond this life (such as the bereft widower who remembers a beloved wife, or the artist who indulges in dreams of posthumous fame, each of them looking forward to an afterlife which he knows is inconceivable) and the desire for a reassuring oblivion, when their better judgement reminds them of the faults they might otherwise have to expiate after death; or think of the travelers who are uplifted by the general beauty of a journey they have just completed, although during it their main impression, day after day, was that it was a chore--think of them before deciding whether, given the promiscuity of the ideas that lurk within us, a single one of those that affords us our greatest happiness has not begun life by parasitically attaching itself to a foreign idea with which it happened to come into contact, and by drawing from it much of the power of pleasing which it once lacked.
Marcel Proust (In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower)
We are dealing, then, with an absurdity that is not a quirk or an accident, but is fundamental to our character as people. The split between what we think and what we do is profound. It is not just possible, it is altogether to be expected, that our society would produce conservationists who invest in strip-mining companies, just as it must inevitably produce asthmatic executives whose industries pollute the air and vice-presidents of pesticide corporations whose children are dying of cancer. And these people will tell you that this is the way the "real world" works. The will pride themselves on their sacrifices for "our standard of living." They will call themselves "practical men" and "hardheaded realists." And they will have their justifications in abundance from intellectuals, college professors, clergymen, politicians. The viciousness of a mentality that can look complacently upon disease as "part of the cost" would be obvious to any child. But this is the "realism" of millions of modern adults.
There is no use pretending that the contradiction between what we think or say and what we do is a limited phenomenon. There is no group of the extra-intelligent or extra-concerned or extra-virtuous that is exempt. I cannot think of any American whom I know or have heard of, who is not contributing in some way to destruction. The reason is simple: to live undestructively in an economy that is overwhelmingly destructive would require of any one of us, or of any small group of us, a great deal more work than we have yet been able to do. How could we divorce ourselves completely and yet responsibly from the technologies and powers that are destroying our planet? The answer is not yet thinkable, and it will not be thinkable for some time -- even though there are now groups and families and persons everywhere in the country who have begun the labor of thinking it.
And so we are by no means divided, or readily divisible, into environmental saints and sinners. But there are legitimate distinctions that need to be made. These are distinctions of degree and of consciousness. Some people are less destructive than others, and some are more conscious of their destructiveness than others. For some, their involvement in pollution, soil depletion, strip-mining, deforestation, industrial and commercial waste is simply a "practical" compromise, a necessary "reality," the price of modern comfort and convenience. For others, this list of involvements is an agenda for thought and work that will produce remedies.
People who thus set their lives against destruction have necessarily confronted in themselves the absurdity that they have recognized in their society. They have first observed the tendency of modern organizations to perform in opposition to their stated purposes. They have seen governments that exploit and oppress the people they are sworn to serve and protect, medical procedures that produce ill health, schools that preserve ignorance, methods of transportation that, as Ivan Illich says, have 'created more distances than they... bridge.' And they have seen that these public absurdities are, and can be, no more than the aggregate result of private absurdities; the corruption of community has its source in the corruption of character. This realization has become the typical moral crisis of our time. Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.
Wendell Berry (The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture)
This is madness,” he whispered against her ear. But he made no move to let her go.
Her reply was an incoherent, confused moan, and her body became slightly more pliant in his arms, allowing him to mold her even closer to his form. He knew he should stop, knew he damned well shouldn’t have started, but his blood was racing with need, and she felt so . . .so . . .
He groaned, his lips leaving hers to taste the slightly salty skin of her neck. There was something about her that suited him like no woman ever had before, as if his body had discovered something his mind utterly refused to consider.
Something about her was . . . right.
She felt right. She smelled right. She tasted right. And he knew that if he stripped off all of her clothes and took her there on the carpet on the floor of his study, she would fit underneath him, fit around him— just right.
It occurred to Anthony that when she wasn’t arguing with him, Kate Sheffield might bloody well be the finest woman in England.
Her arms, which had been imprisoned in his embrace, slowly edged up, until her hands were hesitantly resting on his back. And then her lips moved. It was a tiny thing, actually, a movement barely felt on the thin skin of his forehead, but she was definitely kissing him back.
A low, triumphant growl emerged from Anthony’s mouth as he moved his mouth back to hers, kissing her fiercely, daring her to continue what she’d begun. “Oh, Kate,” he moaned, nudging her back until she was leaning against the edge of the desk. “God, you taste so good.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
Furthermore, Professor Uzzi-Tuzii had begun his oral translation as if he were not quite sure he could make the words hang together, going back over every sentence to iron out the syntactical creases, manipulating the phrases until they were not completely rumpled, smoothing them, clipping them, stopping at every word to illustrate its idiomatic uses and its commutations, accompanying himself with inclusive gestures as if inviting you to be content with approximate equivalents, breaking off to state grammatical rules, etymological derivations, quoting the classics. but just when you are convinced that for the professor philology and erudition mean more than what the story is telling, you realize the opposite is true: that academic envelope serves only to protect everything the story says and does not say, an inner afflatus always on the verge of being dispersed at contact with the air, the echo of a vanished knowledge revealed in the penumbra and in tacit allusions.
Torn between the necessity to interject glosses on multiple meanings of the text and the awareness that all interpretation is a use of violence and caprice against a text, the professor, when faced by the most complicated passages, could find no better way of aiding comprehension than to read them in the original, The pronunciation of that unknown language, deduced from theoretical rules, not transmitted by the hearing of voices with their individual accents, not marked by the traces of use that shapes and transforms, acquired the absoluteness of sounds that expect no reply, like the song of the last bird of an extinct species or the strident roar of a just-invented jet plane that shatters the sky on its first test flight.
Then, little by little, something started moving and flowing between the sentences of this distraught recitation,. The prose of the novel had got the better of the uncertainties of the voice; it had become fluent, transparent, continuous; Uzzi-Tuzii swam in it like a fish, accompanying himself with gestures (he held his hands open like flippers), with the movement of his lips (which allowed the words to emerge like little air bubbles), with his gaze (his eyes scoured the page like a fish's eyes scouring the seabed, but also like the eyes of an aquarium visitor as he follows a fish's movement's in an illuminated tank).
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
Suddenly with a single bound he leaped into the room. Winning a way past us before any of us could raise a hand to stay him. There was something so pantherlike in the movement, something so unhuman, that it seemed to sober us all from the shock of his coming. The first to act was Harker, who with a quick movement, threw himself before the door leading into the room in the front of the house. As the Count saw us, a horrible sort of snarl passed over his face, showing the eyeteeth long and pointed. But the evil smile as quickly passed into a cold stare of lion-like disdain. His expression again changed as, with a single impulse, we all advanced upon him. It was a pity that we had not some better organized plan of attack, for even at the moment I wondered what we were to do. I did not myself know whether our lethal weapons would avail us anything. Harker evidently meant to try the matter, for he had ready his great Kukri knife and made a fierce and sudden cut at him. The blow was a powerful one; only the diabolical quickness of the Count's leap back saved him. A second less and the trenchant blade had shorn through his heart. As it was, the point just cut the cloth of his coat, making a wide gap whence a bundle of bank notes and a stream of gold fell out. The expression of the Count's face was so hellish, that for a moment I feared for Harker, though I saw him throw the terrible knife aloft again for another stroke. Instinctively I moved forward with a protective impulse, holding the Crucifix and Wafer in my left hand. I felt a mighty power fly along my arm, and it was without surprise that I saw the monster cower back before a similar movement made spontaneously by each one of us. It would be impossible to describe the expression of hate and baffled malignity, of anger and hellish rage, which came over the Count's face. His waxen hue became greenish-yellow by the contrast of his burning eyes, and the red scar on the forehead showed on the pallid skin like a palpitating wound. The next instant, with a sinuous dive he swept under Harker's arm, ere his blow could fall, and grasping a handful of the money from the floor, dashed across the room, threw himself at the window. Amid the crash and glitter of the falling glass, he tumbled into the flagged area below. Through the sound of the shivering glass I could hear the "ting" of the gold, as some of the sovereigns fell on the flagging. We ran over and saw him spring unhurt from the ground. He, rushing up the steps, crossed the flagged yard, and pushed open the stable door. There he turned and spoke to us. "You think to baffle me, you with your pale faces all in a row, like sheep in a butcher's. You shall be sorry yet, each one of you! You think you have left me without a place to rest, but I have more. My revenge is just begun! I spread it over centuries, and time is on my side. Your girls that you all love are mine already. And through them you and others shall yet be mine, my creatures, to do my bidding and to be my jackals when I want to feed. Bah!" With a contemptuous sneer, he passed quickly through the door, and we heard the rusty bolt creak as he fastened it behind him. A door beyond opened and shut. The first of us to speak was the Professor. Realizing the difficulty of following him through the stable, we moved toward the hall. "We have learnt something… much! Notwithstanding his brave words, he fears us. He fears time, he fears want! For if not, why he hurry so? His very tone betray him, or my ears deceive. Why take that money? You follow quick. You are hunters of the wild beast, and understand it so. For me, I make sure that nothing here may be of use to him, if so that he returns.
Bram Stoker (Dracula)
I thought you were dead,” I say. “It almost killed me.”
“Did it?” His voice is neutral. “You made a pretty fast recovery.”
“No. You don’t understand.” My throat is tight; I feel as though I’m being strangled. “I couldn’t keep hoping, and then waking up every day and finding out it wasn’t true, and you were still gone. I—I wasn’t strong enough.”
He is quiet for a second. It’s too dark to see his expression: He is standing in shadow again, but I can sense that he is staring at me.
Finally he says, “When they took me to the Crypts, I thought they were going to kill me. They didn’t even bother. They just left me to die. They threw me in a cell and locked the door.”
“Alex.” The strangled feeling has moved from my throat to my chest, and without realizing it, I have begun to cry. I move toward him. I want to run my hands through his hair and kiss his forehead and each of his eyelids and take away the memory of what he has seen. But he steps backward, out of reach.
“I didn’t die. I don’t know how. I should have. I’d lost plenty of blood. They were just as surprised as I was. After that it became a kind of game—to see how much I could stand. To see how much they could do to me before I’d—”
He breaks off abruptly. I can’t hear any more; don’t want to know, don’t want it to be true, can’t stand to think of what they did to him there. I take another step forward and reach for his chest and shoulders in the dark. This time, he doesn’t push me away. But he doesn’t embrace me either. He stands there, cold, still, like a statue.
“Alex.” I repeat his name like a prayer, like a magic spell that will make everything okay again. I run my hands up his chest and to his chin. “I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”
Suddenly he jerks backward, simultaneously finding my wrists and pulling them down to my sides. “There were days I would rather they have killed me.” He doesn’t drop my wrists; he squeezes them tightly, pinning my arms, keeping me immobilized. His voice is low, urgent, and so full of anger it pains me even more than his grip. “There were days I asked for it—prayed for it when I went to sleep. The belief that I would see you again, that I could find you—the hope for it—was the only thing that kept me going.” He releases me and takes another step backward. “So no. I don’t understand.
Lauren Oliver (Requiem (Delirium, #3))
I did not mean to be a Christian. I have been very clear about that. My first words upon encountering the presence of Jesus for the first time 12 years ago, were, I swear to God, “I would rather die.” I really would have rather died at that point than to have my wonderful brilliant left-wing non-believer friends know that I had begun to love Jesus. I think they would have been less appalled if I had developed a close personal friendship with Strom Thurmond. At least there is some reason to believe that Strom Thurmond is a real person. You know, more or less.
But I never felt like I had much choice with Jesus; he was relentless. I didn’t experience him so much as the hound of heaven, as the old description has it, as the alley cat of heaven, who seemed to believe that if it just keeps showing up , mewling outside your door, you’d eventually open up and give him a bowl of milk. Of course, as soon as you do, you are fucked, and the next thing you know, he’s sleeping on your bed every night, and stepping on your chest at dawn to play a little push-push.
I resisted as long as I could, like Sam-I-Am in “Green Eggs and Ham” — I would not, could not in a boat! I could not would not with a goat! I do not want to follow Jesus, I just want expensive cheeses. Or something. Anyway, he wore me out. He won.
I was tired and vulnerable and he won. I let him in. This is what I said at the moment of my conversion: I said, “Fuck it. Come in. I quit.” He started sleeping on my bed that night. It was not so bad. It was even pretty nice. He loved me, he didn’t shed or need to have his claws trimmed, and he never needed a flea dip. I mean, what a savior, right? Then, when I was dozing, tiny kitten that I was, he picked me up like a mother cat, by the scruff of my neck, and deposited me in a little church across from the flea market in Marin’s black ghetto. That’s where I was when I came to. And then I came to believe.
The case I’ve presented in this book suggests that humans are undergoing what biologists call a major transition. Such transitions occur when less complex forms of life combine in some way to give rise to more complex forms. Examples include the transition from independently replicating molecules to replicating packages called chromosomes or, the transition from different kinds of simple cells to more complex cells in which these once-distinct simple cell types came to perform critical functions and become entirely mutually interdependent, such as the nucleus and mitochondria in our own cells. Our species’ dependence on cumulative culture for survival, on living in cooperative groups, on alloparenting and a division of labor and information, and on our communicative repertoires mean that humans have begun to satisfy all the requirements for a major biological transition. Thus, we are literally the beginnings of a new kind of animal.1 By contrast, the wrong way to understand humans is to think that we are just a really smart, though somewhat less hairy, chimpanzee. This view is surprisingly common. Understanding how this major transition is occurring alters how we think about the origins of our species, about the reasons for our immense ecological success, and about the uniqueness of our place in nature. The insights generated alter our understandings of intelligence, faith, innovation, intergroup competition, cooperation, institutions, rituals, and the psychological differences between populations. Recognizing that we are a cultural species means that, even in the short run (when genes don’t have enough time to change), institutions, technologies, and languages are coevolving with psychological biases, cognitive abilities, emotional responses, and preferences. In the longer run, genes are evolving to adapt to these culturally constructed worlds, and this has been, and is now, the primary driver of human genetic evolution. Figure 17.1.
Joseph Henrich (The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter)
Look you," Pandora told him in a businesslike tone, "marriage is not on the table."
Look you? Look you? Gabriel was simultaneously amused and outraged. Was she really speaking to him as if he were an errand boy?
"I've never wanted to marry," Pandora continued. "Anyone who knows me will tell you that. When I was little, I never liked the stories about princesses waiting to be rescued. I never wished on falling stars, or pulled the petals off daisies while reciting 'he loves me, he loves me not.' At my brother's wedding, they handed out slivers of wedding cake to all the unmarried girls and said if we put it under our pillows, we would dream of our future husbands. I ate my cake instead. Every crumb. I've made plans for my life that don't involve becoming anyone's wife."
"What plans?" Gabriel asked. How could a girl of her position, with her looks, make plans that didn't include the possibility of marriage?
"That's none of your business," she told him smartly.
"Understood," Gabriel assured her. "There's just one thing I'd like to ask: What the bloody hell were you doing at the ball in the first place, if you don't want to marry?"
"Because I thought it would be only slightly less boring than staying at home."
"Anyone as opposed to marriage as you claim to be has no business taking part in the Season."
"Not every girl who attends a ball wants to be Cinderella."
"If it's grouse season," Gabriel pointed out acidly, "and you're keeping company with a flock of grouse on a grouse-moor, it's a bit disingenuous to ask a sportsman to pretend you're not a grouse."
"Is that how men think of it? No wonder I hate balls." Pandora looked scornful. "I'm so sorry for intruding on your happy hunting grounds."
"I wasn't wife-hunting," he snapped. "I'm no more interested in marrying than you are."
"Then why were you at the ball?"
"To see a fireworks display!"
After a brief, electric silence, Pandora dropped her head swiftly. He saw her shoulders tremble, and for an alarming moment, he thought she had begun to cry. But then he heard a delicate snorting, snickering sound, and he realized she was... laughing?
"Well," she muttered, "it seems you succeeded."
Before Gabriel even realized what he was doing, he reached out to lift her chin with his fingers. She struggled to hold back her amusement, but it slipped out nonetheless. Droll, sneaky laughter, punctuated with vole-like squeaks, while sparks danced in her blue eyes like shy emerging stars. Her grin made him lightheaded.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))
How important was mantra to Gandhi’s transformation? Extremely. When done systematically, mantra has a powerful effect on the brain. It gathers and focuses the energy of the mind. It teaches the mind to focus on one point, and it cultivates a steadiness that over time becomes an unshakable evenness of temper. The cultivation of this quality of “evenness” is a central principle of the Bhagavad Gita. It is called samatva in Sanskrit, and it is a central pillar of Krishna’s practice. When the mind develops steadiness, teaches Krishna, it is not shaken by fear or greed. So, in his early twenties, Gandhi had already begun to develop a still-point at the center of his consciousness—a still-point that could not be shaken. This little seed of inner stillness would grow into a mighty oak. Gandhi would become an immovable object. Rambha had given Gandhi an enchanting image to describe the power of mantra. She compared the practice of mantra to the training of an elephant. “As the elephant walks through the market,” taught Rambha, “he swings his trunk from side to side and creates havoc with it wherever he goes—knocking over fruit stands and scattering vendors, snatching bananas and coconuts wherever possible. His trunk is naturally restless, hungry, scattered, undisciplined. This is just like the mind—constantly causing trouble.” “But the wise elephant trainer,” said Rambha, “will give the elephant a stick of bamboo to hold in his trunk. The elephant likes this. He holds it fast. And as soon as the elephant wraps his trunk around the bamboo, the trunk begins to settle. Now the elephant strides through the market like a prince: calm, collected, focused, serene. Bananas and coconuts no longer distract.” So too with the mind. As soon as the mind grabs hold of the mantra, it begins to settle. The mind holds the mantra gently, and it becomes focused, calm, centered. Gradually this mind becomes extremely concentrated. This is the beginning stage of meditation. All meditation traditions prescribe some beginning practice of gathering, focusing, and concentration—and in the yoga tradition this is most often achieved precisely through mantra. The whole of Chapter Six in the Bhagavad Gita is devoted to Krishna’s teachings on this practice: “Whenever the mind wanders, restless and diffuse in its search for satisfaction without, lead it within; train it to rest in the Self,” instructs Krishna. “When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a lamp in a windless place.
Stephen Cope (The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling)
According to the gospels, Christ healed diseases, cast out devils, rebuked the sea, cured the blind, fed multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, walked on the sea, cursed a fig tree, turned water into wine and raised the dead.
How is it possible to substantiate these miracles?
The Jews, among whom they were said to have been performed, did not believe them. The diseased, the palsied, the leprous, the blind who were cured, did not become followers of Christ. Those that were raised from the dead were never heard of again.
Can we believe that Christ raised the dead?
A widow living in Nain is following the body of her son to the tomb. Christ halts the funeral procession and raises the young man from the dead and gives him back to the arms of his mother.
This young man disappears. He is never heard of again. No one takes the slightest interest in the man who returned from the realm of death. Luke is the only one who tells the story. Maybe Matthew, Mark and John never heard of it, or did not believe it and so failed to record it.
John says that Lazarus was raised from the dead.
It was more wonderful than the raising of the widow’s son. He had not been laid in the tomb for days. He was only on his way to the grave, but Lazarus was actually dead. He had begun to decay.
Lazarus did not excite the least interest. No one asked him about the other world. No one inquired of him about their dead friends.
When he died the second time no one said: “He is not afraid. He has traveled that road twice and knows just where he is going.”
We do not believe in the miracles of Mohammed, and yet they are as well attested as this. We have no confidence in the miracles performed by Joseph Smith, and yet the evidence is far greater, far better.
If a man should go about now pretending to raise the dead, pretending to cast out devils, we would regard him as insane. What, then, can we say of Christ? If we wish to save his reputation we are compelled to say that he never pretended to raise the dead; that he never claimed to have cast out devils.
We must take the ground that these ignorant and impossible things were invented by zealous disciples, who sought to deify their leader. In those ignorant days these falsehoods added to the fame of Christ. But now they put his character in peril and belittle the authors of the gospels.
Christianity cannot live in peace with any other form of faith. If that religion be true, there is but one savior, one inspired book, and but one little narrow grass-grown path that leads to heaven.
Why did he not again enter the temple and end the old dispute with demonstration? Why did he not confront the Roman soldiers who had taken money to falsely swear that his body had been stolen by his friends? Why did he not make another triumphal entry into Jerusalem? Why did he not say to the multitude: “Here are the wounds in my feet, and in my hands, and in my side. I am the one you endeavored to kill, but death is my slave”? Simply because the resurrection is a myth. The miracle of the resurrection I do not and cannot believe.
We know nothing certainly of Jesus Christ. We know nothing of his infancy, nothing of his youth, and we are not sure that such a person ever existed.
There was in all probability such a man as Jesus Christ. He may have lived in Jerusalem. He may have been crucified; but that he was the Son of God, or that he was raised from the dead, and ascended bodily to heaven, has never been, and, in the nature of things, can never be, substantiated.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Feeling the slight tremor of his fingers against her skin, Daisy was emboldened to remark, “I’ve never been attracted to tall men before. But you make me feel—”
“If you don’t keep quiet,” he interrupted curtly, “I’m going to strangle you.”
Daisy felt silent, listening to the rhythm of his breath as it turned deeper, less controlled. By contrast his fingers became more certain in their task, working along the row of pearls until her dress gaped open and the sleeves slipped from her shoulders.
“Where is it?” he asked.
His tone was deadly. “Yes, Daisy. The key.”
“It fell inside my corset. Which means… I’ll have to take that off too.”
There was no reaction to the statement, no sound or movement. Daisy twisted to glance at Matthew.
He seemed dazed. His eyes looked unnaturally blue against the flush on his face. She realized he was occupied with a savage inner battle to keep from touching her.
Feeling hot and prickly with embarrassment, Daisy pulled her arms completely out of her sleeves. She worked the dress over her hips, wriggling out of the filmy white layers, letting them slide to the floor in a heap.
Matthew stared at the discarded dress as if it were some kind of exotic fauna he had never seen before. Slowly his eyes returned to Daisy, and an incoherent protest came from his throat as she began to unhook her corset.
She felt shy and wicked, undressing in front of him. But she was encouraged by the way he seemed unable to tear his gaze from each newly revealed inch of pale skin. When the last metal hook came apart, she tossed the web of lace and stays to the floor. All that remained over her breasts was a crumpled chemise.
The key had dropped into her lap. Closing her fingers around the metal object, she risked a cautious glance at Matthew.
His eyes were closed, his forehead scored with furrows of pained concentration. “This isn’t going to happen,” he said, more to himself than to her.
Daisy leaned forward to tuck the key into his coat pocket. Gripping the hem of her chemise, she stripped it over her head. A tingling shock chased over her naked upper body. She was so nervous that her teeth had begun to chatter. “I just took my chemise off,” she said. “Don’t you want to look?”
But his eyes had opened, and his gaze found her small, pink-tipped breasts, and the breath hissed through his clenched teeth. He sat without moving, staring at her as she untied his cravat and unbuttoned the layers of his waistcoat and shirt. She blushed everywhere but continued doggedly, rising to her knees to tug the coat from his shoulders.
He moved like a dreamer, slowly pulling his arms from the coat sleeves and waistcoat.
Daisy pushed his shirt open with awkward determination, her gaze drinking in the sight of his chest and torso. His skin gleamed like heavy satin, stretched taut over broad expanses of muscle. She touched the powerful vault of his ribs, trailing her fingertips to the rippled tautness of his midriff.
Suddenly Matthew caught her hand, seemingly undecided whether to push it away or press it closer.
Her fingers curled over his. She stared into his dilated blue eyes. “Matthew,” she whispered. “I’m here. I’m yours. I want to do everything you’ve ever imagined doing with me.”
He stopped breathing. His will foundered and collapsed, and suddenly nothing mattered except the demands of a desire that had been denied too long. With a rough groan of surrender, he lifted her onto his lap.
Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))