Last Working Day Quotes

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In my next life I want to live my life backwards. You start out dead and get that out of the way. Then you wake up in an old people's home feeling better every day. You get kicked out for being too healthy, go collect your pension, and then when you start work, you get a gold watch and a party on your first day. You work for 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You party, drink alcohol, and are generally promiscuous, then you are ready for high school. You then go to primary school, you become a kid, you play. You have no responsibilities, you become a baby until you are born. And then you spend your last 9 months floating in luxurious spa-like conditions with central heating and room service on tap, larger quarters every day and then Voila! You finish off as an orgasm!
Woody Allen
When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. In learning to write, the pupil goes over with his pen what the teacher has outlined in pencil: so in reading; the greater part of the work of thought is already done for us. This is why it relieves us to take up a book after being occupied with our own thoughts. And in reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another’s thoughts. So it comes about that if anyone spends almost the whole day in reading, and by way of relaxation devotes the intervals to some thoughtless pastime, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking; just as the man who always rides, at last forgets how to walk. This is the case with many learned persons: they have read themselves stupid.
Arthur Schopenhauer (Essays and Aphorisms)
Live each day as if it's your last', that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
David Nicholls (One Day)
Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.
Lili St. Crow
There's a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It's not something you can give; it's something they have to build. Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone. Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
Last semester was intense,” I said to Dad. “Intense?” he echoed, picking up my file. “Let’s see. On your first day at Hecate, you were attacked by a werewolf. You insulted a teacher, which resulted in semester-long cellar duty with one Archer Cross. According to the notes, the two of you became ‘close.’ Apparently close enough for you to see the mark of L’Occhio di Dio on his chest. I flushed at that, and felt Mom’s arm tighten around me. Over the past six months, I’d filled her in on a lot of the story with Archer, but not all of it. Specifically, the whole me-making-out-in-the-cellar-with-a-murderous-warlock-working-with-the-Eye-part.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
You will see great sorrow, and in that sorrow you will be happy. This is my last message to you: in sorrow seek happiness. Work, work unceasingly. Remember my words, for although I shall talk with you again, not only my days but my hours are numbered.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
You may have noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread. You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why, liking this, you should also like that. Again, you have stood before some landscape, which seems to embody what you have been looking for all your life; and then turned to the friend at your side who appears to be seeing what you saw -- but at the first words a gulf yawns between you, and you realise that this landscape means something totally different to him, that he is pursuing an alien vision and cares nothing for the ineffable suggestion by which you are transported. Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of -- something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it -- tantalising glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say "Here at last is the thing I was made for". We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it's your last, or do you save your money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?
Nora Ephron (I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman)
I became aware that our love was doomed; love had turned into a love affair with a beginning and an end. I could name the very moment when it had begun, and one day I knew I should be able to name the final hour. When she left the house I couldn't settle to work. I would reconstruct what we had said to each other; I would fan myself into anger or remorse. And all the time I knew I was forcing the pace. I was pushing, pushing the only thing I loved out of my life. As long as I could make believe that love lasted I was happy; I think I was even good to live with, and so love did last. But if love had to die, I wanted it to die quickly. It was as though our love were a small creature caught in a trap and bleeding to death; I had to shut my eyes and wring its neck.
Graham Greene (The End of the Affair)
Make me an offer, " I said at last. "Write it up, and give me a point-by-point outline of why you're a good would-be suitor. " He started to laugh, then saw my face. "Seriously? That's like homework. There's a reason I'm not in college. " I snapped my fingers. "Get to it, Ivashkov. I want to see you put in a good day's work. " I expected a joke or a brush-off until later, but instead, he said, "Okay. " "Okay?" "Yep. I'm going to go back to my room right now to start drafting my assignment. " I stared incredulously as he reached for his coat. I had never seen Adrian move that fast when any kind of labor was involved. Oh no. What had I gotten myself into?
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
I would give them (aspiring writers) the oldest advice in the craft: Read and write. Read a lot. Read new authors and established ones, read people whose work is in the same vein as yours and those whose genre is totally different. You've heard of chain-smokers. Writers, especially beginners, need to be chain-readers. And lastly, write every day. Write about things that get under your skin and keep you up at night.
Khaled Hosseini
Don't look back until you've written an entire draft, just begin each day from the last sentence you wrote the preceding day. This prevents those cringing feelings, and means that you have a substantial body of work before you get down to the real work which is all in ... the edit." [Ten rules for writing fiction (part two), The Guardian, 20 February 2010]
Will Self
The street outside is empty, lit only by a half moon; yet factory engines beat in the background and the working day is about to begin. Maggie steps out of the tenement and suddenly the street begins to fill with women, some running, some pulling their jackets around them, some lighting pipes, some, like Maggie herself, taking a pinch of snuff. From other tenements come other women, and soon all merge into one, like a herd of cattle off to market, clopping over the stone pavements and the cobbles, lowing with last night’s news.
Michael Tobert (Karna's Wheel)
Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.
C.S. Lewis
Everyone tries to make his life a work of art. We want love to last and we know that it does not last; even if, by some miracle, it were to last a whole lifetime, it would still be incomplete. Perhaps, in this insatiable need for perpetuation, we should better understand human suffering, if we knew that it was eternal. It appears that great minds are, sometimes, less horrified by suffering than by the fact that it does not endure. In default of inexhaustible happiness, eternal suffering would at least give us a destiny. But we do not even have that consolation, and our worst agonies come to an end one day. One morning, after many dark nights of despair, an irrepressible longing to live will announce to us the fact that all is finished and that suffering has no more meaning than happiness.
Albert Camus (The Rebel)
You don't understand!' Foaly objected. Trouble cut him off with a chop of his hand through the air. 'I never understand. That's why we pay you and your dork posse." Foaly objected again. 'They are not dorks!' Trouble found space for yet another holster. 'Really? That guy brings a Beanie Baby to work every day. And your nephew, Mayne, speaks fluent Unicorn.' 'They're not all dorks,' said Foaly, correcting himself.
Eoin Colfer (The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl, #8))
Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he's delighted his lapdog's working at Hogwarts, isn't he?" "Speaking of dogs," said Snape softly, "did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you risked a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform. Gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in future, didn't it?
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
Paulo Coelho
She blew a stream of smoke up at the empty clotheslines. 'These silly dreams you have when you're young. I mean, what, Katie and Brendan Harris were going ot make a life in Las Vegas? How long would that little Eden have lasted? Maybe they'd be on their second trailer park, second kid, but it would have hit them sooner or later - life isn't happily ever after and golden sunsets and shit like that. It's work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves the burden of it, either. You'll be let down. You'll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But, shit, you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything -because that's what growing older is.
Dennis Lehane (Mystic River)
But it's not enough to be in love. It's about how you spend your days, what you do together, who you choose as friends, and most of all it's what work you do ... Better to break both our hearts now than watch them wither away over time.
Helen Simonson (Major Pettigrew's Last Stand)
Liam cleared his throat again and turned to fully face me. “So, it’s the summer and you’re in Salem, suffering through another boring, hot July, and working part-time at an ice cream parlor. Naturally, you’re completely oblivious to the fact that all of the boys from your high school who visit daily are more interested in you than the thirty-one flavors. You’re focused on school and all your dozens of clubs, because you want to go to a good college and save the world. And just when you think you’re going to die if you have to take another practice SAT, your dad asks if you want to go visit your grandmother in Virginia Beach.” “Yeah?” I leaned my forehead against his chest. “What about you?” “Me?” Liam said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “I’m in Wilmington, suffering through another boring, hot summer, working one last time in Harry’s repair shop before going off to some fancy university—where, I might add, my roommate will be a stuck-up-know-it-all-with-a-heart-of-gold named Charles Carrington Meriwether IV—but he’s not part of this story, not yet.” His fingers curled around my hip, and I could feel him trembling, even as his voice was steady. “To celebrate, Mom decides to take us up to Virginia Beach for a week. We’re only there for a day when I start catching glimpses of this girl with dark hair walking around town, her nose stuck in a book, earbuds in and blasting music. But no matter how hard I try, I never get to talk to her. “Then, as our friend Fate would have it, on our very last day at the beach I spot her. You. I’m in the middle of playing a volleyball game with Harry, but it feels like everyone else disappears. You’re walking toward me, big sunglasses on, wearing this light green dress, and I somehow know that it matches your eyes. And then, because, let’s face it, I’m basically an Olympic god when it comes to sports, I manage to volley the ball right into your face.” “Ouch,” I said with a light laugh. “Sounds painful.” “Well, you can probably guess how I’d react to that situation. I offer to carry you to the lifeguard station, but you look like you want to murder me at just the suggestion. Eventually, thanks to my sparkling charm and wit—and because I’m so pathetic you take pity on me—you let me buy you ice cream. And then you start telling me how you work in an ice cream shop in Salem, and how frustrated you feel that you still have two years before college. And somehow, somehow, I get your e-mail or screen name or maybe, if I’m really lucky, your phone number. Then we talk. I go to college and you go back to Salem, but we talk all the time, about everything, and sometimes we do that stupid thing where we run out of things to say and just stop talking and listen to one another breathing until one of us falls asleep—” “—and Chubs makes fun of you for it,” I added. “Oh, ruthlessly,” he agreed. “And your dad hates me because he thinks I’m corrupting his beautiful, sweet daughter, but still lets me visit from time to time. That’s when you tell me about tutoring a girl named Suzume, who lives a few cities away—” “—but who’s the coolest little girl on the planet,” I manage to squeeze out.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a great and glorious nation. Favourite amongst his subjects was the court painter of whom he was very proud. Everybody agreed this wizzened old man pianted the greatest pictures in the whole kingdom and the king would spend hours each day gazing at them in wonder. However, one day a dirty and dishevelled stranger presented himself at the court claiming that in fact he was the greatest painter in the land. The indignant king decreed a competition would be held between the two artists, confident it would teach the vagabond an embarrassing lesson. Within a month they were both to produce a masterpiece that would out do the other. After thirty days of working feverishly day and night, both artists were ready. They placed their paintings, each hidden by a cloth, on easels in the great hall of the castle. As a large crowd gathered, the king ordered the cloth be pulled first from the court artist’s easel. Everyone gasped as before them was revealed a wonderful oil painting of a table set with a feast. At its centre was an ornate bowl full of exotic fruits glistening moistly in the dawn light. As the crowd gazed admiringly, a sparrow perched high up on the rafters of the hall swooped down and hungrily tried to snatch one of the grapes from the painted bowl only to hit the canvas and fall down dead with shock at the feet of the king. ’Aha!’ exclaimed the king. ’My artist has produced a painting so wonderful it has fooled nature herself, surely you must agree that he is the greatest painter who ever lived!’ But the vagabond said nothing and stared solemnly at his feet. ’Now, pull the blanket from your painting and let us see what you have for us,’ cried the king. But the tramp remained motionless and said nothing. Growing impatient, the king stepped forward and reached out to grab the blanket only to freeze in horror at the last moment. ’You see,’ said the tramp quietly, ’there is no blanket covering the painting. This is actually just a painting of a cloth covering a painting. And whereas your famous artist is content to fool nature, I’ve made the king of the whole country look like a clueless little twat.
Banksy (Wall and Piece)
A moth goes into a podiatrist’s office, and the podiatrist’s office says, “What seems to be the problem, moth?” The moth says “What’s the problem? Where do I begin, man? I go to work for Gregory Illinivich, and all day long I work. Honestly doc, I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. I don’t even know if Gregory Illinivich knows. He only knows that he has power over me, and that seems to bring him happiness. But I don’t know, I wake up in a malaise, and I walk here and there… at night I…I sometimes wake up and I turn to some old lady in my bed that’s on my arm. A lady that I once loved, doc. I don’t know where to turn to. My youngest, Alexendria, she fell in the…in the cold of last year. The cold took her down, as it did many of us. And my other boy, and this is the hardest pill to swallow, doc. My other boy, Gregarro Ivinalititavitch… I no longer love him. As much as it pains me to say, when I look in his eyes, all I see is the same cowardice that I… that I catch when I take a glimpse of my own face in the mirror. If only I wasn’t such a coward, then perhaps…perhaps I could bring myself to reach over to that cocked and loaded gun that lays on the bedside behind me and end this hellish facade once and for all…Doc, sometimes I feel like a spider, even though I’m a moth, just barely hanging on to my web with an everlasting fire underneath me. I’m not feeling good. And so the doctor says, “Moth, man, you’re troubled. But you should be seeing a psychiatrist. Why on earth did you come here?” And the moth says, “‘Cause the light was on.
Norm Macdonald
believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
The stars are brilliant at this time of night and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break for darling, the times are quite glorious. I left him by the water’s edge, still waving long after the ship was gone and if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well. There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew. I used to go there to say goodbye. I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them, one way or the other, leaving sin on my body scrubbing tears off with salt and I built my rituals in farewells. Endings I still cling to. So I go to the ocean to say goodbye. He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my head and though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right one for I have used them myself and there is no coming back. Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay. I turned away from the ocean as not to fall for its plea for it used to seduce and consume me and there was this one night a few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewells and just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone. But I was younger then and easily fooled and the ocean was deep and dark and blue and I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones. I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival. Then days passed by and I spent them with my work and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send. But there is this one day every year or so when the burden gets too heavy and I collect my belongings I no longer need and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written words and I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone. Nothing left to hold me back. You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss like chains wrapped around my veins, and if you see a fire from the shore tonight it’s my chains going up in flames. The time of moon i quite glorious. We could have been so glorious.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
I’d fallen captive to those expressive dark eyes again. I blamed my inappropriate behavior last night on champagne, but in the sobering light of day, I’d fallen into the same drugged stupor. She was soft. Strong. Real. And seriously curvy.
J.J. Sorel (A Taste of Peace)
Fortunately for me, I know well enough what I want, and am basically utterly indifferent to the criticism that I work to hurriedly. In answer to that, I have done some things even more hurriedly theses last few days.
Vincent van Gogh
From the moment I start a new novel, life’s just one endless torture. The first few chapters may go fairly well and I may feel there’s still a chance to prove my worth, but that feeling soon disappears and every day I feel less and less satisfied. I begin to say the book’s no good, far inferior to my earlier ones, until I’ve wrung torture out of every page, every sentence, every word, and the very commas begin to look excruciatingly ugly. Then, when it’s finished, what a relief! Not the blissful delight of the gentleman who goes into ecstasies over his own production, but the resentful relief of a porter dropping a burden that’s nearly broken his back . . . Then it starts all over again, and it’ll go on starting all over again till it grinds the life out of me, and I shall end my days furious with myself for lacking talent, for not leaving behind a more finished work, a bigger pile of books, and lie on my death-bed filled with awful doubts about the task I’ve done, wondering whether it was as it ought to have been, whether I ought not to have done this or that, expressing my last dying breath the wish that I might do it all over again!
Émile Zola (The Masterpiece)
Productivity is a trap. Becoming more efficient just makes you more rushed, and trying to clear the decks simply makes them fill up again faster. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever achieved “work-life balance,” whatever that might be, and you certainly won’t get there by copying the “six things successful people do before 7:00 a.m.” The day will never arrive when you finally have everything under control—when the flood of emails has been contained; when your to-do lists have stopped getting longer; when you’re meeting all your obligations at work and in your home life; when nobody’s angry with you for missing a deadline or dropping the ball; and when the fully optimized person you’ve become can turn, at long last, to the things life is really supposed to be about. Let’s start by admitting defeat: none of this is ever going to happen. But you know what? That’s excellent news.
Oliver Burkeman (Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals)
Because if even a single woman was involved, they wouldn't have decided that a man who'd been working there one day was a more likely source of information than a woman who'd been there for years.
Freya Marske (A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding, #1))
Blue jeans, white shirt Walked into the room you know you made my eyes burn It was like, James Dean, for sure You're so fresh to death and sick as ca-cancer You were sorta punk rock, I grew up on hip hop But you fit me better than my favourite sweater, and I know That love is mean, and love hurts But I still remember that day we met in december, oh baby! I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time Big dreams, gangster Said you had to leave to start your life over I was like, “No please, stay here, We don't need no money we can make it all work,” But he headed out on sunday, said he'd come home monday I stayed up waitin', anticipatin', and pacin' But he was chasing paper "Caught up in the game" ‒ that was the last I heard I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time You went out every night And baby that's alright I told you that no matter what you did I'd be by your side Cause Imma ride or die Whether you fail or fly Well shit at least you tried. But when you walked out that door, a piece of me died I told you I wanted more-but that's not what I had in mind I just want it like before We were dancing all night Then they took you away-stole you out of my life You just need to remember.... I will love you 'til the end of time I would wait a million years Promise you'll remember that you're mine Baby can you see through the tears Love you more Than those bitches before Say you'll remember, oh baby, say you'll remember I will love you 'til the end of time
Lana Del Rey
And then there is that day when all around, all around you hear the dropping of the apples, one by one, from the trees. At first it is one here and one there, and then it is three and then it is four and then nine and twenty, until the apples plummet like rain, fall like horse hoofs in the soft, darkening grass, and you are the last apple on the tree; and you wait for the wind to work you slowly free from your hold upon the sky, and drop you down and down. Long before you hit the grass you will have forgotten there ever was a tree, or other apples, or a summer, or green grass below, You will fall in darkness...
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
She lived a good deal by herself, to herself, working, passing on from day to day, and always thinking, trying to lay hold on life, to grasp it in her own understanding. Her active living was suspended, but underneath, in the darkness, something was coming to pass. If only she could break through the last integuments!
D.H. Lawrence (Women in Love)
The day before is what we bring to the day we're actually living through, life is a matter of carrying along all those days-before just as someone might carry stones, and when we can no longer cope with the load, the work is done, the last day is the only one that is not the day before another day.
José Saramago (The Cave)
Live each day as if it's our last', that was the conventional advice, but really who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn't practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and you relectric typewriter and work hard at...something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.
David Nicholls
WOMAN: Hi, where are your copies of Breaking Dawn? I can't see any on the shelf. BOOKSELLER: Sorry, I think we’ve sold out of the Twilight books; we’re waiting on more. WOMAN: What? BOOKSELLER: We should have some in tomorrow. WOMAN: But I need a copy now. I finished the last one last night. BOOKSELLER: I’m sorry, I can’t help you. WOMAN: No, you don’t understand. I’ve taken the whole day off work to read it. BOOKSELLER: Erm… WOMAN: I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! NOW! BOOKSELLER: Erm… WOMAN: Can you call your wholesaler and see if they can deliver this afternoon? BOOKSELLER: They only --- WOMAN: And then I can wait here for them. BOOKSELLER: I’m sorry, they only deliver in the morning. WOMAN: BUT WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? BOOKSELLER: . . .we have many other books. WOMAN (sniffs): Do any of those have Robert Pattinson in them?
Jen Campbell (Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death. At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow? I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man. Is there a God? I do not know. Is man immortal? I do not know. One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be. We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
Robert G. Ingersoll (The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures)
You are not an ugly person all the time; you are not an ugly person ordinarily; you are not an ugly person day to day. From day to day, you are a nice person. From day to day, all the people who are supposed to love you on the whole do. From day to day, as you walk down a busy street in the large and modern and prosperous city in which you work and lie, dismayed and puzzled at how alone you can feel in this crowd, how awful it is to go unnoticed, how awful it is to go unloved, even as you are surrounded by more people than you could possibly get to know in a lifetime that lasted for millennia and then out of the corner of your eye you see someone looking at you and absolute pleasure is written all over the person's face, and then you realize that you are not as revolting a presence as you think you are. And so, ordinarily, you are a nice person, an attractive person, a person capable of drawing to yourself the affection of other people, a person at home in your own skin: a person at home in your own house, with its nice backyard, at home on your street, your church, in community activities, your job, at home with your family, your relatives, your friends - you are a whole person.
Jamaica Kincaid (A Small Place)
I was told The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 7 She picks the colors and the cake first By the age of 10 She knows time, And location By 17 She’s already chosen a gown 2 bridesmaids And a maid of honor By 23 She’s waiting for a man Who wont break out in hives when he hears the word “commitment” Someone who doesn’t smell like a Band-Aid drenched in lonely Someone who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of the bed Someone Who’ll hold her hand like it’s the only one they’ve ever seen To be honest I don’t know what kind of tux I’ll be wearing I have no clue what want my wedding will look like But I imagine The women who pins my last to hers Will butterfly down the aisle Like a 5 foot promise I imagine Her smile Will be so large that you’ll see it on google maps And know exactly where our wedding is being held The woman that I plan to marry Will have champagne in her walk And I will get drunk on her footsteps When the pastor asks If I take this woman to be my wife I will say yes before he finishes the sentence I’ll apologize later for being impolite But I will also explain him That our first kiss happened 6 years ago And I’ve been practicing my “Yes” For past 2, 165 days When people ask me about my wedding I never really know what to say But when they ask me about my future wife I always tell them Her eyes are the only Christmas lights that deserve to be seen all year long I say She thinks too much Misses her father Loves to laugh And she’s terrible at lying Because her face never figured out how to do it correctl I tell them If my alarm clock sounded like her voice My snooze button would collect dust I tell them If she came in a bottle I would drink her until my vision is blurry and my friends take away my keys If she was a book I would memorize her table of contents I would read her cover-to-cover Hoping to find typos Just so we can both have a few things to work on Because aren’t we all unfinished? Don’t we all need a little editing? Aren’t we all waiting to be proofread by someone? Aren’t we all praying they will tell us that we make sense She don’t always make sense But her imperfections are the things I love about her the most I don’t know when I will be married I don’t know where I will be married But I do know this Whenever I’m asked about my future wife I always say …She’s a lot like you
Rudy Francisco
According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself! Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.
George Müller
SONIA: What can we do? We must live our lives. [A pause] Yes, we shall live, Uncle Vanya. We shall live through the long procession of days before us, and through the long evenings; we shall patiently bear the trials that fate imposes on us; we shall work for others without rest, both now and when we are old; and when our last hour comes we shall meet it humbly, and there, beyond the grave, we shall say that we have suffered and wept, that our life was bitter, and God will have pity on us. Ah, then dear, dear Uncle, we shall see that bright and beautiful life; we shall rejoice and look back upon our sorrow here; a tender smile—and—we shall rest. I have faith, Uncle, fervent, passionate faith. [SONIA kneels down before her uncle and lays her head on his hands. She speaks in a weary voice] We shall rest. [TELEGIN plays softly on the guitar] We shall rest. We shall hear the angels. We shall see heaven shining like a jewel. We shall see all evil and all our pain sink away in the great compassion that shall enfold the world. Our life will be as peaceful and tender and sweet as a caress. I have faith; I have faith. [She wipes away her tears] My poor, poor Uncle Vanya, you are crying! [Weeping] You have never known what happiness was, but wait, Uncle Vanya, wait! We shall rest. [She embraces him] We shall rest. [The WATCHMAN’S rattle is heard in the garden; TELEGIN plays softly; MME. VOITSKAYA writes something on the margin of her pamphlet; MARINA knits her stocking] We shall rest.
Anton Chekhov (Uncle Vanya)
And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure joy of being tired at the end of the day. It is caring and sharing and giving and loving…
Marilyn Thomsen
Dead men cannot take effective action; their power of influence on others lasts only till the grave. Deeds and actions that energise others belong only to the living. Well, then, look at the facts in this case. The Saviour is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men...?
Athanasius of Alexandria (On the Incarnation)
The day will never arrive when you finally have everything under control—when the flood of emails has been contained; when your to-do lists have stopped getting longer; when you’re meeting all your obligations at work and in your home life; when nobody’s angry with you for missing a deadline or dropping the ball; and when the fully optimized person you’ve become can turn, at long last, to the things life is really supposed to be about. Let’s start by admitting defeat: none of this is ever going to happen.
Oliver Burkeman (Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals)
Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
I have often wondered whether especially those days when we are forced to remain idle are not precisely the days spend in the most profound activity. Whether our actions themselves, even if they do not take place until later, are nothing more than the last reverberations of a vast movement that occurs within us during idle days. In any case, it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy. The days when even our hands do not stir are so exceptionally quiet that it is hardly possible to raise them without hearing a whole lot.
Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters on Life)
Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. The trick of it, she told herself, is to be courageous and bold and make a difference. Not change the world exactly, just the bit around you. Go out there with your double-first, your passion and your new Smith Corona electric typewriter and work hard at … something. Change lives through art maybe. Write beautifully. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved if at all possible.
David Nicholls
Nothing had worked out the way he’d hoped. He should’ve expected it by now, maybe. After all, things never had before. And yet he kept on pissing into the wind. He was like a man whose door’s too low, but instead of working out how to duck, keeps on smacking his head into the lintel every day of his miserable life. He wanted to feel sorry for himself, but he knew he deserved no better. A man can’t do the things he’d done, and hope for happy endings.
Joe Abercrombie (Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3))
The peculiar predicament of the present-day self surely came to pass as a consequence of the disappointment of the high expectations of the self as it entered the age of science and technology. Dazzled by the overwhelming credentials of science, the beauty and elegance of the scientific method, the triumph of modern medicine over physical ailments, and the technological transformation of the very world itself, the self finds itself in the end disappointed by the failure of science and technique in those very sectors of life which had been its main source of ordinary satisfaction in past ages. As John Cheever said, the main emotion of the adult Northeastern American who has had all the advantages of wealth, education, and culture is disappointment. Work is disappointing. In spite of all the talk about making work more creative and self-fulfilling, most people hate their jobs, and with good reason. Most work in modern technological societies is intolerably dull and repetitive. Marriage and family life are disappointing. Even among defenders of traditional family values, e.g., Christians and Jews, a certain dreariness must be inferred, if only from the average time of TV viewing. Dreary as TV is, it is evidently not as dreary as Mom talking to Dad or the kids talking to either. School is disappointing. If science is exciting and art is exhilarating, the schools and universities have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of rendering both dull. As every scientist and poet knows, one discovers both vocations in spite of, not because of, school. It takes years to recover from the stupor of being taught Shakespeare in English Lit and Wheatstone's bridge in Physics. Politics is disappointing. Most young people turn their backs on politics, not because of the lack of excitement of politics as it is practiced, but because of the shallowness, venality, and image-making as these are perceived through the media--one of the technology's greatest achievements. The churches are disappointing, even for most believers. If Christ brings us new life, it is all the more remarkable that the church, the bearer of this good news, should be among the most dispirited institutions of the age. The alternatives to the institutional churches are even more grossly disappointing, from TV evangelists with their blown-dry hairdos to California cults led by prosperous gurus ignored in India but embraced in La Jolla. Social life is disappointing. The very franticness of attempts to reestablish community and festival, by partying, by groups, by club, by touristy Mardi Gras, is the best evidence of the loss of true community and festival and of the loneliness of self, stranded as it is as an unspeakable consciousness in a world from which it perceives itself as somehow estranged, stranded even within its own body, with which it sees no clear connection. But there remains the one unquestioned benefit of science: the longer and healthier life made possible by modern medicine, the shorter work-hours made possible by technology, hence what is perceived as the one certain reward of dreary life of home and the marketplace: recreation. Recreation and good physical health appear to be the only ambivalent benefits of the technological revolution.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
We will never fight again, our lovely, quick, template-ready arguments. Our delicate cross-stitch of bickers. The house becomes a physical encyclopedia of no-longer hers, which shocks and shocks and is the principal difference between our house and a house where illness has worked away. Ill people, in their last day on Earth, do not leave notes stuck to bottles of red wine saying ‘OH NO YOU DON’T COCK-CHEEK’. She was not busy dying, and there is no detritus of care, she was simply busy living, and then she was gone. She won’t ever use (make-up, turmeric, hairbrush, thesaurus). She will never finish (Patricia Highsmith novel, peanut butter, lip balm). And I will never shop for green Virago Classics for her birthday. I will stop finding her hairs. I will stop hearing her breathing.
Max Porter (Grief is the Thing with Feathers)
Right now, I am in Fallujah. I am in Darfur. I am on Sixty-third and Park having dinner with Ellen Barkin and Ron Perelman... Right now, I'm on Lafayette and Astor waiting to hit you up for change so I can get high. I'm taking a walk through the Rose Garden with George Bush. I'm helping Donald Rumsfeld get a good night's sleep...I was in that cave with Osama, and on that plane with Mohamed Atta...And what I want you to know is that your work has barely begun. And what I want you to trust is the efficacy of divine love if practiced consciously. And what I need you to believe is that if you hate who I love, you do not know me at all. And make no mistake, "Who I Love" is every last one. I am every last one. People ask of me: Where are you? Where are you?...Verily I ask of you to ask yourself: Where are you? Where are you?
Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
When the last autumn of Dickens's life was over, he continued to work through his final winter and into spring. This is how all of us writers give away the days and years and decades of our lives in exchange for stacks of paper with scratches and squiggles on them. And when Death calls, how many of us would trade all those pages, all that squandered lifetime-worth of painfully achieved scratches and squiggles, for just one more day, one more fully lived and experienced day? And what price would we writers pay for that one extra day spent with those we ignored while we were locked away scratching and squiggling in our arrogant years of solipsistic isolation? Would we trade all those pages for a single hour? Or all of our books for one real minute?
Dan Simmons (Drood)
What was once a home she had taken apart one piece at a time, one day...She sold her belongings for money to buy food.  First the luxuries: a small statue, a picture.  Then the items with more utility: a lamp, a kettle.  Clothes left the closet at a rate of a garment a day…she burned everything in the basement first; then everything in the attic.  It lasted weeks, not months.  Though tempted, she left the roof alone.  She stripped the second floor, and the stairs.  She extracted every possible calorie from the kitchen.  she wasn’t working alone, because neighbourhood pirates simultaneously stole anything of value outside: door and window frames, fencing, stucco.  They pillaged her yard.  Breaking in was a boundary her neigbours had not yet crossed.  But the animals had.  Rats and mice and other vermin found the cracks without much effort.  Like her, they sought warmth and scraps of food.  With great reluctance, she roasted the ones she could catch.  She spent her nights fighting off the ones that escaped.
John Payton Foden (Magenta)
I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands. That is why it is so late and why I have been guilty of such omissions. They come with their laws and their codes to bind me fast; but I evade them ever, for I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands. People blame me and call me heedless; I doubt not they are right in their blame. The market day is over and work is all done for the busy. Those who came to call me in vain have gone back in anger. I am only waiting for love to give myself up at last into his hands.
Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali)
You count the days and watch the years go by. You tell yourself, and you believe it, that you'd rather just die. You'd rather stare death boldly in the face and say you're ready because whatever is waiting on the other side has to be better than growing old in a six-by-ten cage with no one to talk to. You consider yourself half-dead at best. Please take the other half. You've watched dozens leave and not return, and you accept the fact that one day they'll come for you. You're nothing but a rat in their lab, a disposable body to be used as proof that their experiment is working. An eye for an eye, each killing must be avenged. You kill enough and you're convinced that killing is good. You count the days, and then there are none left. You ask yourself on your last morning if you are really ready. You search for courage, but the bravery is fading. When it's over, no one really wants to die.
John Grisham (The Confession)
Any drinker knows how the process works: the first day you get drunk is okay, the morning after means a big head but so you can kill that easy with a few more drinks and a meal, but if you pass up the meal and go on to another night's drunk, and wake up to keep the toot going, and continue on to the fourth day, there'll come one day when the drinks wont take effect because you're chemically overloaded and you'll have to sleep it off but cant sleep any more because it was alcohol itself that made you sleep those last five nights, so delirium sets in ― Sleeplessness, sweat, trembling, a groaning feeling of weakness where your arms are numb and useless, nightmares, (nightmares of death)... well, there's more of that up later.
Jack Kerouac (Big Sur)
I’M LOSING FAITH IN MY FAVORITE COUNTRY Throughout my life, the United States has been my favorite country, save and except for Canada, where I was born, raised, educated, and still live for six months each year. As a child growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, I aggressively bought and saved baseball cards of American and National League players, spent hours watching snowy images of American baseball and football games on black and white television and longed for the day when I could travel to that great country. Every Saturday afternoon, me and the boys would pay twelve cents to go the show and watch U.S. made movies, and particularly, the Superman serial. Then I got my chance. My father, who worked for B.F. Goodrich, took my brother and me to watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball in the Mistake on the Lake in Cleveland. At last I had made it to the big time. I thought it was an amazing stadium and it was certainly not a mistake. Amazingly, the Americans thought we were Americans. I loved the United States, and everything about the country: its people, its movies, its comic books, its sports, and a great deal more. The country was alive and growing. No, exploding. It was the golden age of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American dream was alive and well, but demanded hard work, honesty, and frugality. Everyone understood that. Even the politicians. Then everything changed. Partly because of its proximity to the United States and a shared heritage, Canadians also aspired to what was commonly referred to as the American dream. I fall neatly into that category. For as long as I can remember I wanted a better life, but because I was born with a cardboard spoon in my mouth, and wasn’t a member of the golden gene club, I knew I would have to make it the old fashioned way: work hard and save. After university graduation I spent the first half of my career working for the two largest oil companies in the world: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell. The second half was spent with one of the smallest oil companies in the world: my own. Then I sold my company and retired into obscurity. In my case obscurity was spending summers in our cottage on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka, Ontario, and winters in our home in Port St. Lucie, Florida. My wife, Ann, and I, (and our three sons when they can find the time), have been enjoying that “obscurity” for a long time. During that long time we have been fortunate to meet and befriend a large number of Americans, many from Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation.” One was a military policeman in Tokyo in 1945. After a very successful business carer in the U.S. he’s retired and living the dream. Another American friend, also a member of the “Greatest Generation”, survived The Battle of the Bulge and lived to drink Hitler’s booze at Berchtesgaden in 1945. He too is happily retired and living the dream. Both of these individuals got to where they are by working hard, saving, and living within their means. Both also remember when their Federal Government did the same thing. One of my younger American friends recently sent me a You Tube video, featuring an impassioned speech by Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida. In the speech, Rubio blasts the spending habits of his Federal Government and deeply laments his country’s future. He is outraged that the U.S. Government spends three hundred billion dollars, each and every month. He is even more outraged that one hundred and twenty billion of that three hundred billion dollars is borrowed. In other words, Rubio states that for every dollar the U.S. Government spends, forty cents is borrowed. I don’t blame him for being upset. If I had run my business using that arithmetic, I would be in the soup kitchens. If individual American families had applied that arithmetic to their finances, none of them would be in a position to pay a thin dime of taxes.
Stephen Douglass
She shook her head. 'Look. We both know life is short, Macy. Too short to waste a single second with anyone who doesn't appreciate and value you.' 'You said the other day life was long,' I shot back. 'Which is it?' ' It's both,' she said, shrugging. 'IT all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing.' 'Nothing can be two opposite things at once,' I said. 'It's impossible.' 'No,' she replied, squeezing my hand,' what's impossible is that we actually think it could be anything other than that. Look, when I was in the hosptal, right after the accident, they thought I was going to die. I was really fucked up, big time.' 'Uh-huh,' Monica said, looking at her sister. 'Then,' Kristy continued, nodding at her, 'life was very short, literally. but now that I'm better it seems so long I have to squint to see even the edges of it. It's all in the view, Macy. That's what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count.' Monica, lighting another cigarette, nodded. 'Mmm-hmm,' she said. 'What you have to decide,' Kristy said to me, leaning foreward, 'is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, would this be how you'd want to have spent it? It seemed like it was a choice I had already made. I'd spent the last year and a half with Jason, shaping my life to fit his, doing what I had to in order to make sure I had a plae in his perfect world, where things made sense. But it hadn't worked. 'Listen,' Kristy said,' the truth is, nohing is guaranteed. You know that more than anybody.' She looed at me hard, making sure I knew what she meant. I did. 'So don't be afraid. Be alive.' But then, I couldn't imagine, after everything that had happened, how you could live and not constantly be worrying about the dangers all around you. Especially when you'd already gotten teh scare of your life. 'It's the same thing,' I told her. 'What is?' 'Being afraid and being alive.' 'No,' she said slowly, and now it was as if she was speaking a language she knew at first I wouldn't understand, the very words, not to mention the concept, being foreign to me. 'Macy, no. It's not.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn't submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don't want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what's the matter with our self.
William James
We have a task before us which must be speedily performed. We know that it will be ruinous to make delay. The most important crisis of our life calls, trumpet-tongued, for immediate energy and action. We glow, we are consumed with eagerness to commence the work, with the anticipation of whose glorious result our whole souls are on fire. It must, it shall be undertaken to-day, and yet we put it off until to-morrow; and why? There is no answer, except that we feel perverse, using the word with no comprehension of the principle. To-morrow arrives, and with it a more impatient anxiety to do our duty, but with this very increase of anxiety arrives, also, a nameless, a positively fearful, because unfathomable, craving for delay. This craving gathers strength as the moments fly. The last hour for action is at hand. We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us, — of the definite with the indefinite — of the substance with the shadow. But, if the contest have proceeded thus far, it is the shadow which prevails, — we struggle in vain. The clock strikes, and is the knell of our welfare. At the same time, it is the chanticleer-note to the ghost that has so long overawed us. It flies — it disappears — we are free. The old energy returns. We will labor now. Alas, it is too late!
Edgar Allan Poe (The Complete Stories and Poems)
My son, your ineptitude is so vast, your incompetence so profound, that I am certain you are inhabited by greater power than I have ever known. Unfortunately, it seems to be working backward at the moment, and even I can find no way to set it right. It must be that you are meant to find your own way to reach your power in time; but frankly, you should live so long as that will take you. Therefore I grant it that you shall not age from this day forth, but will travel the world round and round, eternally inefficient, until at last you come to yourself and know what you are. Don't thank me. I tremble at your doom.
Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1))
I live in nature where everything is connected, circular. The seasons are circular. The planet is circular, and so is the planet around the sun. The course of water over the earth is circular coming down from the sky and circulating through the world to spread life and then evaporating up again. I live in a circular teepee and build my fire in a circle. The life cycles of plants and animals are circular. I live outside where I can see this. The ancient people understood that our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost site of that. I don’t live inside buildings because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in a real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they have stepped outside the natural circle of life. Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in a box of their bedrooms because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into another box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken into little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to the house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box. Break out of the box! This not the way humanity lived for thousands of years.
Elizabeth Gilbert (The Last American Man)
Accepting the fact that she did indeed have Alzheimer's, that she could only bank on two unacceptably effective drugs available to treat it, and that she couldn't trade any of this in for some other, curable disease, what did she want? Assuming the in vitro procedure worked, she wanted to live to hold Anna's baby and know it was her grandchild. She wanted to see Lydia act in something she was proud of. She wanted to see Tom fall in love. She wanted one more sabbatical year with John. She wanted to read every book she could before she could no longer read. She laughed a little, surprised at what she'd just revealed about herself. Nowhere in that list was anything about linguistics, teaching, or Harvard. She ate her last bite of cone. She wanted more sunny, seventy-degree days and ice-cream cones.
Lisa Genova (Still Alice)
You will not remember much from school. School is designed to teach you how to respond and listen to authority figures in the event of an emergency. Like if there's a bomb in a mall or a fire in an office. It can, apparently, take you more than a decade to learn this. These are not the best days of your life. They are still ahead of you. You will fall in love and have your heart broken in many different, new and interesting ways in college or university (if you go) and you will actually learn things, as at this point, people will believe you have a good chance of obeying authority and surviving, in the event of an emergency. If, in your chosen career path, there are award shows that give out more than ten awards in one night or you have to pay someone to actually take the award home to put on your mantlepiece, then those awards are more than likely designed to make young people in their 20's work very late, for free, for other people. Those people will do their best to convince you that they have value. They don't. Only the things you do have real, lasting value, not the things you get for the things you do. You will, at some point, realise that no trophy loves you as much as you love it, that it cannot pay your bills (even if it increases your salary slightly) and that it won't hold your hand tightly as you say your last words on your deathbed. Only people who love you can do that. If you make art to feel better, make sure it eventually makes you feel better. If it doesn't, stop making it. You will love someone differently, as time passes. If you always expect to feel the same kind of love you felt when you first met someone, you will always be looking for new people to love. Love doesn't fade. It just changes as it grows. It would be boring if it didn't. There is no truly "right" way of writing, painting, being or thinking, only things which have happened before. People who tell you differently are assholes, petrified of change, who should be violently ignored. No philosophy, mantra or piece of advice will hold true for every conceivable situation. "The early bird catches the worm" does not apply to minefields. Perfection only exists in poetry and movies, everyone fights occasionally and no sane person is ever completely sure of anything. Nothing is wrong with any of this. Wisdom does not come from age, wisdom comes from doing things. Be very, very careful of people who call themselves wise, artists, poets or gurus. If you eat well, exercise often and drink enough water, you have a good chance of living a long and happy life. The only time you can really be happy, is right now. There is no other moment that exists that is more important than this one. Do not sacrifice this moment in the hopes of a better one. It is easy to remember all these things when they are being said, it is much harder to remember them when you are stuck in traffic or lying in bed worrying about the next day. If you want to move people, simply tell them the truth. Today, it is rarer than it's ever been. (People will write things like this on posters (some of the words will be bigger than others) or speak them softly over music as art (pause for effect). The reason this happens is because as a society, we need to self-medicate against apathy and the slow, gradual death that can happen to anyone, should they confuse life with actually living.)
pleasefindthis
You see, Momo,' he [Beppo Roadsweeper] told her one day, 'it's like this. Sometimes, when you've a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you'll never get it swept.' He gazed silently into space before continuing. 'And then you start to hurry,' he went on. 'You work faster and faster, and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you're out of breath and have to stop - and still the street stretches away in front of you. That's not the way to do it.' He pondered a while. Then he said, 'You must never think of the whole street at once, understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next. Nothing else.' Again he paused for thought before adding, 'That way you enjoy your work, which is important, because then you make a good job of it. And that's how it ought to be.' There was another long silence. At last he went on, 'And all at once, before you know it, you find you've swept the whole street clean, bit by bit. What's more, you aren't out of breath.' He nodded to himself. 'That's important, too,' he concluded.
Michael Ende (Momo)
Even in your hobbies, has there not always been some secret attraction which the others are curiously ignorant of--something, not to be identified with, but always on the verge of breaking through, the smell of cut wood in the workshop or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side? Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possesed your soul have been but hints of it--tantalizing glimspes, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest--if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself--you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say 'Here at last is the thing I was made for.' We cannot tell each other about it. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the things we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.
C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain)
Some paintings become famous because, being durable, they are viewed by successive generations, in each of which are likely to be found a few appreciative eyes. I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it is the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever from human view. After that it exists only in my mind's eye. Like other artists, my river is temperamental; there is no predicting when the mood to paint will come upon him, or how long it will last. But in midsummer, when the great white fleets cruise the sky for day after flawless day, it is worth strolling down to the sandbars just to see whether he has been at work.
Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There)
A plane flies overhead and inside it is a writer who has spent most of his life as a law clerk, even though he’s always known deep down that he’s a writer. For the first time, he’s worked out what he wants to write, what the truth really is. He begs a napkin and a pen off the air hostess and he writes down the most beautiful sentence ever written, as the engine catches fire outside and the plane starts its plummet to the ground. It doesn’t matter to him. It’s the only sentence he’s ever written and it is the last and no part of him cares. The sentence falls through the air with singed, black edges and comes to rest in a tree, in a park, miles away. One day, around ten years from now, an old widow of an astronaut will find it when a strong breeze finally blows it from its hiding place. She will read it and she will weep.
pleasefindthis (Intentional Dissonance)
Once upon a time, there was only darkness, and there were monsters vast as worlds who swam in it. They were the Gibborium, and they loved the darkness because it concealed their hideousness. Whenever some other creature contrived to make light, they would extinguish it. When stars were born, they swallowed them, and it seemed that darkness would be eternal. But a race of bright warriors heard of the Gibborium and traveled from their far world to do battle with them. The war was long, light against dark, and many warriors were slain. In the end, when they vanquished the monsters, there were a hundred left alive, and these hundred were the godstars, who brought light to the universe. They made the rest of the stars, including our sun, and there was no more darkness, only endless light. They made children in their image- seraphim - and sent them down to beat light to the worlds that spun in space, and all was good. But one day, the last of the Gibborium, who was called Zamzumin, persuaded them that shadows were needed, that they would make the light seem brighter by contrast, and so the godstars brought shadows into being. But Zamzumin was a trickster. He needed only a shred of darkness to work with. He breathed life into the shadows, and as the godstars had made the seraphim in their own image, so did Zamzumin make the chimaera in his, and so they were hideous, and forever after the seraphim would fight on the side of light, and the chimaera for dark, and they would be enemies until the end of the world.
Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1))
In a bravura demonstration of stonewalling, righteousness, and hurt sincerity, Steve Jobs successfully took to the stage the other day to deny the problem, dismiss the criticism, and spread the blame among other smartphone makers,” Michael Wolff of newser.com wrote. “This is a level of modern marketing, corporate spin, and crisis management about which you can only ask with stupefied incredulity and awe: How do they get away with it? Or, more accurately, how does he get away with it?” Wolff attributed it to Jobs’s mesmerizing effect as “the last charismatic individual.” Other CEOs would be offering abject apologies and swallowing massive recalls, but Jobs didn’t have to. “The grim, skeletal appearance, the absolutism, the ecclesiastical bearing, the sense of his relationship with the sacred, really works, and, in this instance, allows him the privilege of magisterially deciding what is meaningful and what is trivial.
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
As Gill says, "every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist." The small family farm is one of the last places - they are getting rarer every day - where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker - and some farmers still do talk about "making the crops" - is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made. This certainly is a spiritual value, but it is not for that reason an impractical or uneconomic one. In fact, from the exercise of this responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural. The proper answer to the spiritual calling becomes, in turn, the proper fulfillment of physical need.
Wendell Berry (Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food)
When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process. It is the same as the pupil, in learning to write, following with his pen the lines that have been pencilled by the teacher. Accordingly, in reading, the work of thinking is, for the greater part, done for us. This is why we are consciously relieved when we turn to reading after being occupied with our own thoughts. But, in reading, our head is, however, really only the arena of some one else's thoughts. And so it happens that the person who reads a great deal—that is to say, almost the whole day, and recreates himself by spending the intervals in thoughtless diversion, gradually loses the ability to think for himself; just as a man who is always riding at last forgets how to walk. Such, however, is the case with many men of learning: they have read themselves stupid. For to read in every spare moment, and to read constantly, is more paralysing to the mind than constant manual work...
Arthur Schopenhauer (Okumaya ve Okumuşlara Dair)
I paid you five thousand instead and promised the balance only if you made the match. As it turns out, this is your lucky day because I've decided to write you the full check, whether the match comes from you or from Portia. As long as I have a wife and you've been part of the process, you'll get your money." He toasted her with his beer mug. "Congratulations." She put down her fork. "Why would you do that?" "Because it's efficient." "Not as efficient as having Powers handle her own introductions. You're paying her a fortune to do exactly that." "I'd rather have you." Her pulse kicked. "Why?" He gave her the melty smile he must have been practicing since the cradle, one that made her feel as though she was the only woman in the world. "Because you're easier to bully. Do we have a deal or not?" "You don't want a matchmaker. You want a lackey." "Semantics. My hours are erratic, and my schedule changes without warning. It'll be your job to cope with all that. You'll soothe ruffled feathers when I need to cancel at the last minute. You'll keep my dates company when I'm going to be late, entertain them if I have to take a call. If things are going well, you'll disappear. If not, you'll make the woman disappear. I told you before. I work hard at my job. I don't want to have to work hard at this, too." "Basically, you expect me to find your bride, court her, and hand her over at the altar. Or do I have to come on the honeymoon, too?" "Definitely not." He gave her a lazy smile. "I can take care of that all by myself.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6))
Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage might work: Because you wear pink but write poems about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell at your keys when you lose them, and laugh, loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol, gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming. You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents of what you packed were written inside the boxes. Because you think swans are overrated. Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence. Because you underline everything you read, and circle the things you think are important, and put stars next to the things you think I should think are important, and write notes in the margins about all the people you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there. Because you make that pork recipe you found in the Frida Khalo Cookbook. Because when you read that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed over the windows, you still believe someone outside can see you. And one day five summers ago, when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments— there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew, which you paid for with your last damn dime because you once overheard me say that I liked it.
Matthew Olzmann
1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere. 2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times.... 3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions. 4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The apercu of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred. 5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth. It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.
Christopher Hitchens
So many of us fail: we divorce our wives and husbands, we leave the roofs of our lovers, go once again into the lonely march, mustering our courage with work, friends, half pleasures which are not whole because they are not shared. Yet still I believe in love's possibility, in its presence on the earth; as I believe I can approach the altar on any morning of any day which may be the last and receive the touch that does not, for me, say: There is no death; but does say: In this instant I recognize, with you, that you must die. And I believe I can do this in an ordinary kitchen with an ordinary woman and five eggs. The woman sets the table She watches me beat the eggs. I scramble them in a saucepan, as my now-dead friend taught me; they stand deeper and cook softer, he said. I take our plates, spoon eggs on them, we sit and eat. She and I and the kitchen have become extraordinary; we are not simply eating; we are pausing in the march to perform an act together, we are in love; and the meal offered and received is a sacrament which says: I know you will die; I am sharing food with you; it is all I can do, and it is everything.
Andre Dubus (Broken Vessels: Essays)
Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man’s a blacksmith, and one’s a whitesmith, and one’s a goldsmith, and one’s a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come, and must be met as they come. If there’s been any fault at all to-day, it’s mine. You and me is not two figures to be together in London; nor yet anywheres else but what is private, and beknown, and understood among friends. It ain’t that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall never see me no more in these clothes. I’m wrong in these clothes. I’m wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or off th’ meshes. You won’t find half so much fault in me if you think me in forge dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe. You won’t find half so much fault in me if, supposing as you should ever wish to see me, you come and put your head in at the forge window and see Joe the blacksmith, there, at the old anvil, in the old burnt apron, sticking to the old work. I’m awful dull, but I hope I’ve beat out something nigh the rights of this at last. And so God bless you, dear old Pip, old chap, God bless you!
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564 – died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century. Next he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights. Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623 two of his former theatrical colleagues published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare's genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped Shakespeare with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called "bardolatry". In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world. Source: Wikipedia
William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
[excerpt] The usual I say. Essence. Spirit. Medicine. A taste. I say top shelf. Straight up. A shot. A sip. A nip. I say another round. I say brace yourself. Lift a few. Hoist a few. Work the elbow. Bottoms up. Belly up. Set ‘em up. What’ll it be. Name your poison. I say same again. I say all around. I say my good man. I say my drinking buddy. I say git that in ya. Then a quick one. Then a nightcap. Then throw one back. Then knock one down. Fast & furious I say. Could savage a drink I say. Chug. Chug-a-lug. Gulp. Sauce. Mother’s milk. Everclear. Moonshine. White lightning. Firewater. Hootch. Relief. Now you’re talking I say. Live a little I say. Drain it I say. Kill it I say. Feeling it I say. Wobbly. Breakfast of champions I say. I say candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. I say Houston, we have a drinking problem. I say the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems. I say god only knows what I’d be without you. I say thirsty. I say parched. I say wet my whistle. Dying of thirst. Lap it up. Hook me up. Watering hole. Knock a few back. Pound a few down. My office. Out with the boys I say. Unwind I say. Nurse one I say. Apply myself I say. Toasted. Glow. A cold one a tall one a frosty I say. One for the road I say. Two-fisted I say. Never trust a man who doesn’t drink I say. Drink any man under the table I say. Then a binge then a spree then a jag then a bout. Coming home on all fours. Could use a drink I say. A shot of confidence I say. Steady my nerves I say. Drown my sorrows. I say kill for a drink. I say keep ‘em comin’. I say a stiff one. Drink deep drink hard hit the bottle. Two sheets to the wind then. Knackered then. Under the influence then. Half in the bag then. Out of my skull I say. Liquored up. Rip-roaring. Slammed. Fucking jacked. The booze talking. The room spinning. Feeling no pain. Buzzed. Giddy. Silly. Impaired. Intoxicated. Stewed. Juiced. Plotzed. Inebriated. Laminated. Swimming. Elated. Exalted. Debauched. Rock on. Drunk on. Bring it on. Pissed. Then bleary. Then bloodshot. Glassy-eyed. Red-nosed. Dizzy then. Groggy. On a bender I say. On a spree. I say off the wagon. I say on a slip. I say the drink. I say the bottle. I say drinkie-poo. A drink a drunk a drunkard. Swill. Swig. Shitfaced. Fucked up. Stupefied. Incapacitated. Raging. Seeing double. Shitty. Take the edge off I say. That’s better I say. Loaded I say. Wasted. Off my ass. Befuddled. Reeling. Tanked. Punch-drunk. Mean drunk. Maintenance drunk. Sloppy drunk happy drunk weepy drunk blind drunk dead drunk. Serious drinker. Hard drinker. Lush. Drink like a fish. Boozer. Booze hound. Alkie. Sponge. Then muddled. Then woozy. Then clouded. What day is it? Do you know me? Have you seen me? When did I start? Did I ever stop? Slurring. Reeling. Staggering. Overserved they say. Drunk as a skunk they say. Falling down drunk. Crawling down drunk. Drunk & disorderly. I say high tolerance. I say high capacity. They say protective custody. Blitzed. Shattered. Zonked. Annihilated. Blotto. Smashed. Soaked. Screwed. Pickled. Bombed. Stiff. Frazzled. Blasted. Plastered. Hammered. Tore up. Ripped up. Destroyed. Whittled. Plowed. Overcome. Overtaken. Comatose. Dead to the world. The old K.O. The horrors I say. The heebie-jeebies I say. The beast I say. The dt’s. B’jesus & pink elephants. A mindbender. Hittin’ it kinda hard they say. Go easy they say. Last call they say. Quitting time they say. They say shut off. They say dry out. Pass out. Lights out. Blackout. The bottom. The walking wounded. Cross-eyed & painless. Gone to the world. Gone. Gonzo. Wrecked. Sleep it off. Wake up on the floor. End up in the gutter. Off the stuff. Dry. Dry heaves. Gag. White knuckle. Lightweight I say. Hair of the dog I say. Eye-opener I say. A drop I say. A slug. A taste. A swallow. Down the hatch I say. I wouldn’t say no I say. I say whatever he’s having. I say next one’s on me. I say bottoms up. Put it on my tab. I say one more. I say same again
Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City)
Years ago, I dated a lovely young woman who was a few thousand dollars in debt. She was completely stressed out about this. Every month, more interest would be added to her debts. To deal with her stress, she would go every Tuesday night to a meditation and yoga class. This was her one free night, and she said it seemed to be helping her. She would breathe in, imagining that she was finding ways to deal with her debts. She would breathe out, telling herself that her money problems would one day be behind her. It went on like this, Tuesday after Tuesday. Finally, one day I looked through her finances with her. I figured out that if she spent four or five months working a part-time job on Tuesday nights, she could actually pay off all the money she owed. I told her I had nothing against yoga or meditation. But I did think its always best to try to treat the disease first. Her symptoms were stress and anxiety. Her disease was the money she owed. "Why don't you get a job on Tuesday nights and skip yoga for a while?" I suggested. This was something of a revelation to her. And she took my advice. She became a Tuesday-night waitress and soon enough paid off her debts. After that, she could go back to yoga and really breathe easier.
Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)
Dr. Bone Specialist came in, made me stand up and hobble across the room, checked my reflexes, and then made me lie down on the table. He bent my right knee this way and that, up and down, all the way out to the side and in. Then he did the same with my left leg. He ordered X rays then started to leave the room. I panicked. I MUST GET DRUGS. "What can I take for the pain?" I asked him before he got out the door. "You can take some over the counter ibuprofen," he suggested. "But I wouldn't take more than nine a day." I choked. Nine a day? I'd been popping forty. Nine a day? Like hell. I couldn't even go to the bathroom on my own, I hadn't slept in three weeks, and my normally sunny cheery disposition had turned into that of a very rabid dog. If I didn't get good drugs and get them now, it was straight to Shooter's World and then Walgreens pharmacy for me. "I don't think you understand," I explained. "I can't go to work. I have spent the last four days with my mother who is addicted to QVC, watching jewelry shows, doll shows and make-up shows. I almost ordered a beef-jerky maker! Give me something, or I'm going to use your calf muscles to make the first batch!" Without further ado, he hastily scribbled out a prescription for some codeine and was gone. I was happy. My mother, however, had lost the ability to speak.
Laurie Notaro (The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life)
Tristan?” He turned his face to me, and it was streaked with tears. I wanted to wipe them away, tell him that everything would be all right, but my body was locked stiff with pain. “Promise me you’ll get better,” he whispered. “Tell me you’ll grow strong again. That you’ll gallop on horseback through summer meadows. Dance in spring rains and let snowflakes melt on your tongue in winter. That you’ll travel wherever the wind takes you. That you’ll live.” He stroked my hair. “Promise me.” Confusion crept over me. “You’ll be with me, though. You’ll do those things too?” He kissed my lips, silencing my questions. “Promise me.” “No,” I said, struggling against him.. “No, you said you were coming with me. You said. You promised.” He had to be coming with me - he said he was and Tristan couldn’t lie. Wouldn’t lie. He got to his feet and stepped into the water. I tried to struggle, but he was too strong. “Tristian, no, no, no!” I tried to scream, but I couldn’t. I tried to hold on to him, but my fingers wouldn’t work. The cold of the water bit into my skin and I sobbed, terrified. “You said you would never leave me!” He stopped, the weight of his sorrow greater than any mountain. “And if I had the choice, I never would. I love you, Cécile. I will love you until the day I take my last breath and that is the truth. “ He kissed me hard. “Forgive me.
Danielle L. Jensen (Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #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." Thank you.
Ronald Reagan
1. I told you that I was a roadway of potholes, not safe to cross. You said nothing, showed up in my driveway wearing roller-skates. 2. The first time I asked you on a date, after you hung up, I held the air between our phones against my ear and whispered, “You will fall in love with me. Then, just months later, you will fall out. I will pretend the entire time that I don’t know it’s coming.” 3. Once, I got naked and danced around your bedroom, awkward and safe. You did the same. We held each other without hesitation and flailed lovely. This was vulnerability foreplay. 4. The last eight times I told you I loved you, they sounded like apologies. 5. You recorded me a CD of you repeating, “You are beautiful.” I listened to it until I no longer thought in my own voice. 6. Into the half-empty phone line, I whispered, “We will wake up believing the worst in each other. We will spit shrapnel at each other’s hearts. The bruises will lodge somewhere we don’t know how to look for and I will still pretend I don’t know its coming.” 7. You photographed my eyebrow shapes and turned them into flashcards: mood on one side, correct response on the other. You studied them until you knew when to stay silent. 8. I bought you an entire bakery so that we could eat nothing but breakfast for a week. Breakfast, untainted by the day ahead, was when we still smiled at each other as if we meant it. 9. I whispered, “I will latch on like a deadbolt to a door and tell you it is only because I want to protect you. Really, I’m afraid that without you I mean nothing.” 10. I gave you a bouquet of plane tickets so I could practice the feeling of watching you leave. 11. I picked you up from the airport limping. In your absence, I’d forgotten how to walk. When I collapsed at your feet, you refused to look at me until I learned to stand up without your help. 12. Too scared to move, I stared while you set fire to your apartment – its walls decaying beyond repair, roaches invading the corpse of your bedroom. You tossed all the faulty appliances through the smoke out your window, screaming that you couldn’t handle choking on one more thing that wouldn’t just fix himself. 13. I whispered, “We will each weed through the last year and try to spot the moment we began breaking. We will repel sprint away from each other. Your voice will take months to drain out from my ears. You will throw away your notebook of tally marks from each time you wondered if I was worth the work. The invisible bruises will finally surface and I will still pretend that I didn’t know it was coming.” 14. The entire time, I was only pretending that I knew it was coming.
Miles Walser
Dear Jim." The writing grew suddenly blurred and misty. And she had lost him again--had lost him again! At the sight of the familiar childish nickname all the hopelessness of her bereavement came over her afresh, and she put out her hands in blind desperation, as though the weight of the earth-clods that lay above him were pressing on her heart. Presently she took up the paper again and went on reading: "I am to be shot at sunrise to-morrow. So if I am to keep at all my promise to tell you everything, I must keep it now. But, after all, there is not much need of explanations between you and me. We always understood each other without many words, even when we were little things. "And so, you see, my dear, you had no need to break your heart over that old story of the blow. It was a hard hit, of course; but I have had plenty of others as hard, and yet I have managed to get over them,--even to pay back a few of them,--and here I am still, like the mackerel in our nursery-book (I forget its name), 'Alive and kicking, oh!' This is my last kick, though; and then, tomorrow morning, and--'Finita la Commedia!' You and I will translate that: 'The variety show is over'; and will give thanks to the gods that they have had, at least, so much mercy on us. It is not much, but it is something; and for this and all other blessings may we be truly thankful! "About that same tomorrow morning, I want both you and Martini to understand clearly that I am quite happy and satisfied, and could ask no better thing of Fate. Tell that to Martini as a message from me; he is a good fellow and a good comrade, and he will understand. You see, dear, I know that the stick-in-the-mud people are doing us a good turn and themselves a bad one by going back to secret trials and executions so soon, and I know that if you who are left stand together steadily and hit hard, you will see great things. As for me, I shall go out into the courtyard with as light a heart as any child starting home for the holidays. I have done my share of the work, and this death-sentence is the proof that I have done it thoroughly. They kill me because they are afraid of me; and what more can any man's heart desire? "It desires just one thing more, though. A man who is going to die has a right to a personal fancy, and mine is that you should see why I have always been such a sulky brute to you, and so slow to forget old scores. Of course, though, you understand why, and I tell you only for the pleasure of writing the words. I loved you, Gemma, when you were an ugly little girl in a gingham frock, with a scratchy tucker and your hair in a pig-tail down your back; and I love you still. Do you remember that day when I kissed your hand, and when you so piteously begged me 'never to do that again'? It was a scoundrelly trick to play, I know; but you must forgive that; and now I kiss the paper where I have written your name. So I have kissed you twice, and both times without your consent. "That is all. Good-bye, my dear" Then am I A happy fly, If I live Or if I die
Ethel Lilian Voynich
I. My first thought was, he lied in every word, That hoary cripple, with malicious eye Askance to watch the workings of his lie On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby. II. What else should he be set for, with his staff? What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare All travellers who might find him posted there, And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare. III. If at his counsel I should turn aside Into that ominous tract which, all agree, Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly I did turn as he pointed, neither pride Now hope rekindling at the end descried, So much as gladness that some end might be. IV. For, what with my whole world-wide wandering, What with my search drawn out through years, my hope Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope With that obstreperous joy success would bring, I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring My heart made, finding failure in its scope. V. As when a sick man very near to death Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end The tears and takes the farewell of each friend, And hears one bit the other go, draw breath Freelier outside, ('since all is o'er,' he saith And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;') VI. When some discuss if near the other graves be room enough for this, and when a day Suits best for carrying the corpse away, With care about the banners, scarves and staves And still the man hears all, and only craves He may not shame such tender love and stay. VII. Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest, Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ So many times among 'The Band' to wit, The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best, And all the doubt was now - should I be fit? VIII. So, quiet as despair I turned from him, That hateful cripple, out of his highway Into the path he pointed. All the day Had been a dreary one at best, and dim Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim Red leer to see the plain catch its estray. IX. For mark! No sooner was I fairly found Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two, Than, pausing to throw backwards a last view O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all round; Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound. I might go on, naught else remained to do. X. So on I went. I think I never saw Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve: For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove! But cockle, spurge, according to their law Might propagate their kind with none to awe, You'd think; a burr had been a treasure trove. XI. No! penury, inertness and grimace, In some strange sort, were the land's portion. 'See Or shut your eyes,' said Nature peevishly, It nothing skills: I cannot help my case: Tis the Last Judgement's fire must cure this place Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.
Robert Browning
But as I stood across from Archer, I couldn't forget that I was completely, stupidly in love with the one person I could never have. The laughter died on my lips, and I dashed at my eyes with the back of my hand. "I need to get back," I said. "Right," he replied. He was still holding his sword in his right hand, and he twirled the hilt, the point sratching the wooden floor. "So this is it. We're done." "Yeah," I said, my voice cracking. I cleared my throat. "And I have to say, the world's first and last Eye-demon reconnaissance mission went pretty well." It was a struggle to meet his eyes, but I managed it. "Thank you." He shrugged, his dark gaze full of something I couldn't quite read. "We were a good team." "We were." In more ways than one, I thought. Which is why this sucked so bad. I stepped back. "Anyway, I should go. See ya,Cross." Then I laughed, only it sounded suspiciously like another sob. "Except I won't, will I So I guess I should say goodbye." I felt like I was about to shatter into a million tiny shards, like the mirrors I'd broken with Dad. "okay, well, best of luck with the whole Eye thing, then. Try not to kill anyone I know." I turned away, but he reached out and caught my wrist. I could feel my pulse hammering under his fingers. "Mercer, that day in the cellar..." He searched my face, and I could sense him struggling for what he wanted to say. Then finally, "I didn't kiss you back because I had to. I kissed you because I wanted to." His eyes dropped to my lips,and it was like the whole world had shrunk to just me and him and the shaft of light between us. "I still want to," he said hoarsely. He tugged my wrist and pulled me into his arms. My brain registered the sound of his sword clattering to he ground as his other hand came up to grab the back of my neck, but once his lips were on mine, everything else faded away. I clutched at his shoulders, raising up on my tiptoes, and kissed him with everything I had in me. As the kiss deepened, we held each other tighter, so I didn't know if the pounding heartbeat I felt was mine or his. How stupid,I thought dreamily, to have ever thought I could give this up. Not just the kissing, although, as Archer's hands cupped my face, I had to admit that part was pretty awesome. But all of it: joking with him and working beside him. Being with a guy who was my friend and could still make me feel like this.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Since then he had taken these photos out too many times to count, but each time he looked into the face of this woman he had felt something growing inside him. It took him a long time to realize what it was. Only recently had his wounded synapses allowed him to name it. He had been falling in love all over again. He didn't understand how two people who were married, who saw each other every day, could forget what each other looked like, but if he had had to name what had happened- this was it. And the last two photos in the roll provided the key. He had come home from work- I remember trying to keep my mother's attention as Holiday barked when he had heard the car pull into the garage. 'He'll come out,' I said. 'Stay still.' And she did. Part of what I loved about photography was the power it gave me over the people on the other side of the camera, even my own parents. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my father walk through the side door into the yard. He carried his slim briefcase, which, years before, Lindsey and I had heatedly investigated only to find very little of interest to us. As he set it down I snapped the last solitary photo of my mother. Already her eyes had begun to seem distracted and anxious, diving under and up into a mask somehow. In the next photo, the mast was almost, but not quite, in place and in the final photo, where my father was leaning slightly down to give her a kiss on the cheek- there it was. 'Did I do that to you?' he asked her image as he stared at the pictures of my mother, lined up in a row. 'How did that happen?' ~pgs 239-240; Mr. Salmon dealing with the three c's (for families of addicts)- Cause (you didn't cause it), Control (you can't control it), and Cure (you can't cure it)
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Boy everyone in this country is running around yammering about their fucking rights. "I have a right, you have no right, we have a right." Folks I hate to spoil your fun, but... there's no such thing as rights. They're imaginary. We made 'em up. Like the boogie man. Like Three Little Pigs, Pinocio, Mother Goose, shit like that. Rights are an idea. They're just imaginary. They're a cute idea. Cute. But that's all. Cute...and fictional. But if you think you do have rights, let me ask you this, "where do they come from?" People say, "They come from God. They're God given rights." Awww fuck, here we go again...here we go again. The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument, "It came from God." Anything we can't describe must have come from God. Personally folks, I believe that if your rights came from God, he would've given you the right for some food every day, and he would've given you the right to a roof over your head. GOD would've been looking out for ya. You know that. He wouldn't have been worried making sure you have a gun so you can get drunk on Sunday night and kill your girlfriend's parents. But let's say it's true. Let's say that God gave us these rights. Why would he give us a certain number of rights? The Bill of Rights of this country has 10 stipulations. OK...10 rights. And apparently God was doing sloppy work that week, because we've had to ammend the bill of rights an additional 17 times. So God forgot a couple of things, like...SLAVERY. Just fuckin' slipped his mind. But let's say...let's say God gave us the original 10. He gave the british 13. The british Bill of Rights has 13 stipulations. The Germans have 29, the Belgians have 25, the Sweedish have only 6, and some people in the world have no rights at all. What kind of a fuckin' god damn god given deal is that!?...NO RIGHTS AT ALL!? Why would God give different people in different countries a different numbers of different rights? Boredom? Amusement? Bad arithmetic? Do we find out at long last after all this time that God is weak in math skills? Doesn't sound like divine planning to me. Sounds more like human planning . Sounds more like one group trying to control another group. In other words...business as usual in America. Now, if you think you do have rights, I have one last assignment for ya. Next time you're at the computer get on the Internet, go to Wikipedia. When you get to Wikipedia, in the search field for Wikipedia, i want to type in, "Japanese-Americans 1942" and you'll find out all about your precious fucking rights. Alright. You know about it. In 1942 there were 110,000 Japanese-American citizens, in good standing, law abiding people, who were thrown into internment camps simply because their parents were born in the wrong country. That's all they did wrong. They had no right to a lawyer, no right to a fair trial, no right to a jury of their peers, no right to due process of any kind. The only right they had was...right this way! Into the internment camps. Just when these American citizens needed their rights the most...their government took them away. and rights aren't rights if someone can take em away. They're priveledges. That's all we've ever had in this country is a bill of TEMPORARY priviledges; and if you read the news, even badly, you know the list get's shorter, and shorter, and shorter. Yeup, sooner or later the people in this country are going to realize the government doesn't give a fuck about them. the government doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety. it simply doesn't give a fuck about you. It's interested in it's own power. That's the only thing...keeping it, and expanding wherever possible. Personally when it comes to rights, I think one of two things is true: either we have unlimited rights, or we have no rights at all.
George Carlin (It's Bad for Ya)
Tenways showed his rotten teeth. ‘Fucking make me.’ ‘I’ll give it a try.’ A man came strolling out of the dark, just his sharp jaw showing in the shadows of his hood, boots crunching heedless through the corner of the fire and sending a flurry of sparks up around his legs. Very tall, very lean and he looked like he was carved out of wood. He was chewing meat from a chicken bone in one greasy hand and in the other, held loose under the crosspiece, he had the biggest sword Beck had ever seen, shoulder-high maybe from point to pommel, its sheath scuffed as a beggar’s boot but the wire on its hilt glinting with the colours of the fire-pit. He sucked the last shred of meat off his bone with a noisy slurp, and he poked at all the drawn steel with the pommel of his sword, long grip clattering against all those blades. ‘Tell me you lot weren’t working up to a fight without me. You know how much I love killing folk. I shouldn’t, but a man has to stick to what he’s good at. So how’s this for a recipe…’ He worked the bone around between finger and thumb, then flicked it at Tenways so it bounced off his chain mail coat. ‘You go back to fucking sheep and I’ll fill the graves.’ Tenways licked his bloody top lip. ‘My fight ain’t with you, Whirrun.’ And it all came together. Beck had heard songs enough about Whirrun of Bligh, and even hummed a few himself as he fought his way through the logpile. Cracknut Whirrun. How he’d been given the Father of Swords. How he’d killed his five brothers. How he’d hunted the Shimbul Wolf in the endless winter of the utmost North, held a pass against the countless Shanka with only two boys and a woman for company, bested the sorcerer Daroum-ap-Yaught in a battle of wits and bound him to a rock for the eagles. How he’d done all the tasks worthy of a hero in the valleys, and so come south to seek his destiny on the battlefield. Songs to make the blood run hot, and cold too. Might be his was the hardest name in the whole North these days, and standing right there in front of Beck, close enough to lay a hand on. Though that probably weren’t a good idea. ‘Your fight ain’t with me?’ Whirrun glanced about like he was looking for who it might be with. ‘You sure? Fights are twisty little bastards, you draw steel it’s always hard to say where they’ll lead you. You drew on Calder, but when you drew on Calder you drew on Curnden Craw, and when you drew on Craw you drew on me, and Jolly Yon Cumber, and Wonderful there, and Flood – though he’s gone for a wee, I think, and also this lad here whose name I’ve forgotten.’ Sticking his thumb over his shoulder at Beck. ‘You should’ve seen it coming. No excuse for it, a proper War Chief fumbling about in the dark like you’ve nothing in your head but shit. So my fight ain’t with you either, Brodd Tenways, but I’ll still kill you if it’s called for, and add your name to my songs, and I’ll still laugh afterwards. So?’ ‘So what?’ ‘So shall I draw?
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes)
I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he's waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he's waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he's got all day. I hear people passing on the boardwalk and imagine them staring. Best-case scenario, they think I know this guy, that we're hugging. Worst-case scenario, they saw me totter like an intoxicated walrus into this complete stranger because I was looking down for a place to park our beach stuff. Either way, he knows what happened. He knows why my cheek is plastered to his bare chest. And there is definite humiliation waiting when I get around to looking up at him. Options skim through my head like a flip book. Option One: Run away as fast as my dollar-store flip flops can take me. Thing is, tripping over them is partly responsible for my current dilemma. In fact, one of them is missing, probably caught in a crack of the boardwalk. I'm getting Cinderella didn't feel this foolish, but then again, Cinderella wasn't as clumsy as an intoxicated walrus. Option two: Pretend I've fainted. Go limp and everything. Drool, even. But I know this won't work because my eyes flutter too much to fake it, and besides, people don't blush while unconscious. Option Three: Pray for a lightning bolt. A deadly one that you feel in advance because the air gets all atingle and your skin crawls-or so the science books say. It might kill us both, but really, he should have been paying more attention to me when he saw that I wasn't paying attention at all. For a shaved second, I think my prayers are answered because I go get tingly all over; goose bumps sprout everywhere, and my pulse feels like electricity. Then I realize, it's coming from my shoulders. From his hands. Option Last: For the love of God, peel my cheek off his chest and apologize for the casual assault. Then hobble away on my one flip-flop before I faint. With my luck, the lightning would only maim me, and he would feel obligated to carry me somewhere anyway. Also, do it now. I ease away from him and peer up. The fire on my cheeks has nothing to do with the fact that it's sweaty-eight degrees in the Florida sun and everything to do with the fact that I just tripped into the most attractive guy on the planet. Fan-flipping-tastic. "Are-are you all right?" he says, incredulous. I think I can see the shape of my cheek indented on his chest. I nod. "I'm fine. I'm used to it. Sorry." I shrug off his hands when he doesn't let go. The tingling stays behind, as if he left some of himself on me. "Jeez, Emma, are you okay?" Chloe calls from behind. The calm fwopping of my best friend's sandals suggests she's not as concerned as she sounds. Track star that she is, she would already be at my side if she thought I was hurt. I groan and face her, not surprised that she's grinning wide as the equator. She holds out my flip-flop, which I try not to snatch from her hand. "I'm fine. Everybody's fine," I say. I turn back to the guy, who seems to get more gorgeous by the second. "You're fine, right? No broken bones or anything?" He blinks, gives a slight nod. Chloe setts her surfboard against the rail of the boardwalk and extends her hand to him. He accepts it without taking his eyes off me. "I'm Chloe and this is Emma," she says. "We usually bring her helmet with us, but we left it back in the hotel room this time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else. …) The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful. Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it. When I was young, I did not understand why Jesus chose Peter as his successor, the first Pope, even though he abandoned Him. Now I am no longer surprised and I understand that by founding his church on the tomb of a traitor(…)He was warning each of us to remain humble, by making us aware of our fragility. (…) And what are bricks worth anyway? What matters is the promise of Christ, what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, which is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church with such poorly moulded bricks as are we. And that is where the mystery lies. This mixture of good and bad, of greatness and misery, of holiness and sin that makes up the church…this in reality am I .(…) The deep bond between God and His Church, is an intimate part of each one of us. (…)To each of us God says, as he says to his Church, “And I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2,21). But at the same time he reminds us of reality: 'Your lewdness is like rust. I have tried to remove it in vain. There is so much that not even a flame will take it away' (Ezechiel 24, 12). But then there is even something more beautiful. The Holy Spirit who is Love, sees us as holy, immaculate, beautiful under our guises of thieves and adulterers. (…) It’s as if evil cannot touch the deepest part of mankind. He re-establishes our virginity no matter how many times we have prostituted our bodies, spirits and hearts. In this, God is truly God, the only one who can ‘make everything new again’. It is not so important that He will renew heaven and earth. What is most important is that He will renew our hearts. This is Christ’s work. This is the divine Spirit of the Church.
Carlo Carretto
It is a mistake to think of the expatriate as someone who abdicates, who withdraws and humbles himself, resigned to his miseries, his outcast state. On a closer look, he turns out to be ambitious, aggressive in his disappointments, his very acrimony qualified by his belligerence. The more we are dispossessed, the more intense our appetites and illusions become. I even discern some relation between misfortune and megalomania. The man who has lost everything preserves as a last resort the hope of glory, or of literary scandal. He consents to abandon everything, except his name. [ . . . ] Let us say a man writes a novel which makes him, overnight, a celebrity. In it he recounts his sufferings. His compatriots in exile envy him: they too have suffered, perhaps more. And the man without a country becomes—or aspires to become—a novelist. The consequence: an accumulation of confusions, an inflation of horrors, of frissons that date. One cannot keep renewing Hell, whose very characteristic is monotony, or the face of exile either. Nothing in literature exasperates a reader so much as The Terrible; in life, it too is tainted with the obvious to rouse our interest. But our author persists; for the time being he buries his novel in a drawer and awaits his hour. The illusion of surprise, of a renown which eludes his grasp but on which he reckons, sustains him; he lives on unreality. Such, however, is the power of this illusion that if, for instance, he works in some factory, it is with the notion of being freed from it one day or another by a fame as sudden as it is inconceivable. * Equally tragic is the case of the poet. Walled up in his own language, he writes for his friends—for ten, for twenty persons at the most. His longing to be read is no less imperious than that of the impoverished novelist. At least he has the advantage over the latter of being able to get his verses published in the little émigré reviews which appear at the cost of almost indecent sacrifices and renunciations. Let us say such a man becomes—transforms himself—into an editor of such a review; to keep his publication alive he risks hunger, abstains from women, buries himself in a windowless room, imposes privations which confound and appall. Tuberculosis and masturbation, that is his fate. No matter how scanty the number of émigrés, they form groups, not to protect their interests but to get up subscriptions, to bleed each other white in order to publish their regrets, their cries, their echoless appeals. One cannot conceive of a more heart rending form of the gratuitous. That they are as good poets as they are bad prose writers is to be accounted for readily enough. Consider the literary production of any "minor" nation which has not been so childish as to make up a past for itself: the abundance of poetry is its most striking characteristic. Prose requires, for its development, a certain rigor, a differentiated social status, and a tradition: it is deliberate, constructed; poetry wells up: it is direct or else totally fabricated; the prerogative of cave men or aesthetes, it flourishes only on the near or far side of civilization, never at the center. Whereas prose demands a premeditated genius and a crystallized language, poetry is perfectly compatible with a barbarous genius and a formless language. To create a literature is to create a prose.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
It’s that time of the month again… As we head into those dog days of July, Mike would like to thank those who helped him get the toys he needs to enjoy his summer. Thanks to you, he bought a new bass boat, which we don’t need; a condo in Florida, where we don’t spend any time; and a $2,000 set of golf clubs…which he had been using as an alibi to cover the fact that he has been remorselessly banging his secretary, Beebee, for the last six months. Tragically, I didn’t suspect a thing. Right up until the moment Cherry Glick inadvertently delivered a lovely floral arrangement to our house, apparently intended to celebrate the anniversary of the first time Beebee provided Mike with her special brand of administrative support. Sadly, even after this damning evidence-and seeing Mike ram his tongue down Beebee’s throat-I didn’t quite grasp the depth of his deception. It took reading the contents of his secret e-mail account before I was convinced. I learned that cheap motel rooms have been christened. Office equipment has been sullied. And you should think twice before calling Mike’s work number during his lunch hour, because there’s a good chance that Beebee will be under his desk “assisting” him. I must confess that I was disappointed by Mike’s over-wrought prose, but I now understand why he insisted that I write this newsletter every month. I would say this is a case of those who can write, do; and those who can’t do Taxes. And since seeing is believing, I could have included a Hustler-ready pictorial layout of the photos of Mike’s work wife. However, I believe distributing these photos would be a felony. The camera work isn’t half-bad, though. It’s good to see that Mike has some skill in the bedroom, even if it’s just photography. And what does Beebee have to say for herself? Not Much. In fact, attempts to interview her for this issue were met with spaced-out indifference. I’ve had a hard time not blaming the conniving, store-bought-cleavage-baring Oompa Loompa-skinned adulteress for her part in the destruction of my marriage. But considering what she’s getting, Beebee has my sympathies. I blame Mike. I blame Mike for not honoring the vows he made to me. I blame Mike for not being strong enough to pass up the temptation of readily available extramarital sex. And I blame Mike for not being enough of a man to tell me he was having an affair, instead letting me find out via a misdirected floral delivery. I hope you have enjoyed this new digital version of the Terwilliger and Associates Newsletter. Next month’s newsletter will not be written by me as I will be divorcing Mike’s cheating ass. As soon as I press send on this e-mail, I’m hiring Sammy “the Shark” Shackleton. I don’t know why they call him “the Shark” but I did hear about a case where Sammy got a woman her soon-to-be ex-husband’s house, his car, his boat and his manhood in a mayonnaise jar. And one last thing, believe me when I say I will not be letting Mike off with “irreconcilable differences” in divorce court. Mike Terwilliger will own up to being the faithless, loveless, spineless, useless, dickless wonder he is.
Molly Harper (And One Last Thing ...)
The season of the world before us will be like no other in the history of mankind. Satan has unleashed every evil, every scheme, every blatant, vile perversion ever known to man in any generation. Just as this is the dispensation of the fullness of times, so it is also the dispensation of the fullness of evil. We and our wives and husbands, our children, and our members must find safety. There is no safety in the world: wealth cannot provide it, enforcement agencies cannot assure it, membership in this Church alone cannot bring it. As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. There are hosts of unseen sentinels watching over and guarding our temples. Angels attend every door. As it was in the days of Elisha, so it will be for us: “Those that be with us are more than they that be against us.” Before the Savior comes the world will darken. There will come a period of time where even the elect will lose hope if they do not come to the temples. The world will be so filled with evil that the righteous will only feel secure within these walls. The saints will come here not only to do vicarious work, but to find a haven of peace. They will long to bring their children here for safety’s sake. I believe we may well have living on the earth now or very soon the boy or babe who will be the prophet of the Church when the Savior comes. Those who will sit in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles are here. There are many in our homes and communities who will have apostolic callings. We must keep them clean, sweet and pure in an oh so wicked world. There will be greater hosts of unseen beings in the temple. Prophets of old as well as those in this dispensation will visit the temples. Those who attend will feel their strength and feel their companionship. We will not be alone in our temples. Our garments worn as instructed will clothe us in a manner as protective as temple walls. The covenants and ordinances will fill us with faith as a living fire. In a day of desolating sickness, scorched earth, barren wastes, sickening plagues, disease, destruction, and death, we as a people will rest in the shade of trees, we will drink from the cooling fountains. We will abide in places of refuge from the storm, we will mount up as on eagle’s wings, we will be lifted out of an insane and evil world. We will be as fair as the sun and clear as the moon. The Savior will come and will honor his people. Those who are spared and prepared will be a temple-loving people. They will know Him. They will cry out, “Blessed be the name of He that cometh in the name of the Lord; thou are my God and I will bless thee; thou are my God and I will exalt thee.” Our children will bow down at His feet and worship Him as the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. They will bathe His feet with their tears and He will weep and bless them for having suffered through the greatest trials ever known to man. His bowels will be filled with compassion and His heart will swell wide as eternity and He will love them. He will bring peace that will last a thousand years and they will receive their reward to dwell with Him. Let us prepare them with faith to surmount every trial and every condition. We will do it in these holy, sacred temples. Come, come, oh come up to the temples of the Lord and abide in His presence.
Vaughn J. Featherstone
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
The real problem here is that we’re all dying. All of us. Every day the cells weaken and the fibres stretch and the heart gets closer to its last beat. The real cost of living is dying, and we’re spending days like millionaires: a week here, a month there, casually spunked until all you have left are the two pennies on your eyes. Personally, I like the fact we’re going to die. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waking up every morning and going ‘WOW! THIS IS IT! THIS IS REALLY IT!’ It focuses the mind wonderfully. It makes you love vividly, work intensely, and realise that, in the scheme of things, you really don’t have time to sit on the sofa in your pants watching Homes Under the Hammer. Death is not a release, but an incentive. The more focused you are on your death, the more righteously you live your life. My traditional closing-time rant – after the one where I cry that they closed that amazing chippy on Tollington Road; the one that did the pickled eggs – is that humans still believe in an afterlife. I genuinely think it’s the biggest philosophical problem the earth faces. Even avowedly non-religious people think they’ll be meeting up with nana and their dead dog, Crackers, when they finally keel over. Everyone thinks they’re getting a harp. But believing in an afterlife totally negates your current existence. It’s like an insidious and destabilising mental illness. Underneath every day – every action, every word – you think it doesn’t really matter if you screw up this time around because you can just sort it all out in paradise. You make it up with your parents, and become a better person and lose that final stone in heaven. And learn how to speak French. You’ll have time, after all! It’s eternity! And you’ll have wings, and it’ll be sunny! So, really, who cares what you do now? This is really just some lacklustre waiting room you’re only going to be in for 20 minutes, during which you will have no wings at all, and are forced to walk around, on your feet, like pigs do. If we wonder why people are so apathetic and casual about every eminently avoidable horror in the world – famine, war, disease, the seas gradually turning piss-yellow and filling with ringpulls and shattered fax machines – it’s right there. Heaven. The biggest waste of our time we ever invented, outside of jigsaws. Only when the majority of the people on this planet believe – absolutely – that they are dying, minute by minute, will we actually start behaving like fully sentient, rational and compassionate beings. For whilst the appeal of ‘being good’ is strong, the terror of hurtling, unstoppably, into unending nullity is a lot more effective. I’m really holding out for us all to get The Fear. The Fear is my Second Coming. When everyone in the world admits they’re going to die, we’ll really start getting some stuff done.
Caitlin Moran
HAZEL WASN’T PROUD OF CRYING. After the tunnel collapsed, she wept and screamed like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. She couldn’t move the debris that separated her and Leo from the others. If the earth shifted any more, the entire complex might collapse on their heads. Still, she pounded her fists against the stones and yelled curses that would’ve earned her a mouth-washing with lye soap back at St. Agnes Academy. Leo stared at her, wide-eyed and speechless. She wasn’t being fair to him. The last time the two of them had been together, she’d zapped him into her past and shown him Sammy, his great-grandfather—Hazel’s first boyfriend. She’d burdened him with emotional baggage he didn’t need, and left him so dazed they had almost gotten killed by a giant shrimp monster. Now here they were, alone again, while their friends might be dying at the hands of a monster army, and she was throwing a fit. “Sorry.” She wiped her face. “Hey, you know…” Leo shrugged. “I’ve attacked a few rocks in my day.” She swallowed with difficulty. “Frank is…he’s—” “Listen,” Leo said. “Frank Zhang has moves. He’s probably gonna turn into a kangaroo and do some marsupial jujitsu on their ugly faces.” He helped her to her feet. Despite the panic simmering inside her, she knew Leo was right. Frank and the others weren’t helpless. They would find a way to survive. The best thing she and Leo could do was carry on. She studied Leo. His hair had grown out longer and shaggier, and his face was leaner, so he looked less like an imp and more like one of those willowy elves in the fairy tales. The biggest difference was his eyes. They constantly drifted, as if Leo was trying to spot something over the horizon. “Leo, I’m sorry,” she said. He raised an eyebrow. “Okay. For what?” “For…” She gestured around her helplessly. “Everything. For thinking you were Sammy, for leading you on. I mean, I didn’t mean to, but if I did—” “Hey.” He squeezed her hand, though Hazel sensed nothing romantic in the gesture. “Machines are designed to work.” “Uh, what?” “I figure the universe is basically like a machine. I don’t know who made it, if it was the Fates, or the gods, or capital-G God, or whatever. But it chugs along the way it’s supposed to most of the time. Sure, little pieces break and stuff goes haywire once in a while, but mostly…things happen for a reason. Like you and me meeting.” “Leo Valdez,” Hazel marveled, “you’re a philosopher.” “Nah,” he said. “I’m just a mechanic. But I figure my bisabuelo Sammy knew what was what. He let you go, Hazel. My job is to tell you that it’s okay. You and Frank—you’re good together. We’re all going to get through this. I hope you guys get a chance to be happy. Besides, Zhang couldn’t tie his shoes without your help.” “That’s mean,” Hazel chided, but she felt like something was untangling inside her—a knot of tension she’d been carrying for weeks. Leo really had changed. Hazel was starting to think she’d found a good friend. “What happened to you when you were on your own?” she asked. “Who did you meet?” Leo’s eye twitched. “Long story. I’ll tell you sometime, but I’m still waiting to see how it shakes out.” “The universe is a machine,” Hazel said, “so it’ll be fine.” “Hopefully.” “As long as it’s not one of your machines,” Hazel added. “Because your machines never do what they’re supposed to.” “Yeah, ha-ha.” Leo summoned fire into his hand. “Now, which way, Miss Underground?” Hazel scanned the path in front of them. About thirty feet down, the tunnel split into four smaller arteries, each one identical, but the one on the left radiated cold. “That way,” she decided. “It feels the most dangerous.” “I’m sold,” said Leo. They began their descent.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
I don’t remember when I stopped noticing—stopped noticing every mirror, every window, every scale, every fast-food restaurant, every diet ad, every horrifying model. And I don’t remember when I stopped counting, or when I stopped caring what size my pants were, or when I started ordering what I wanted to eat and not what seemed “safe,” or when I could sit comfortably reading a book in my kitchen without noticing I was in my kitchen until I got hungry—or when I started just eating when I got hungry, instead of questioning it, obsessing about it, dithering and freaking out, as I’d done for nearly my whole life. I don’t remember exactly when recovery took hold, and went from being something I both fought and wanted, to being simply a way of life. A way of life that is, let me tell you, infinitely more peaceful, infinitely happier, and infinitely more free than life with an eating disorder. And I wouldn’t give up this life of freedom for the world. What I know is this: I chose recovery. It was a conscious decision, and not an easy one. That’s the common denominator among people I know who have recovered: they chose recovery, and they worked like hell for it, and they didn’t give up. Recovery isn’t easy, at first. It takes time. It takes more work, sometimes, than you think you’re willing to do. But it is worth every hard day, every tear, every terrified moment. It’s worth it, because the trade-off is this: you let go of your eating disorder, and you get back your life. There are a couple of things I had to keep in mind in early recovery. One was that I was going to recover, even though I didn’t feel “ready.” I realized I was never going to feel ready—I was just going to jump in and do it, ready or not, and I am deeply glad that I did. Another was that symptoms were not an option. Symptoms, as critically necessary and automatic as they feel, are ultimately a choice. You can choose to let the fallacy that you must use symptoms kill you, or you can choose not to use symptoms. Easier said than done? Of course. But it can be done. I had to keep at the forefront of my mind the reasons I wanted to recover so badly, and the biggest one was this: I couldn’t believe in what I was doing anymore. I couldn’t justify committing my life to self-destruction, to appearance, to size, to weight, to food, to obsession, to self-harm. And that was what I had been doing for so long—dedicating all my strength, passion, energy, and intelligence to the pursuit of a warped and vanishing ideal. I just couldn’t believe in it anymore. As scared as I was to recover, to recover fully, to let go of every last symptom, to rid myself of the familiar and comforting compulsions, I wanted to know who I was without the demon of my eating disorder inhabiting my body and mind. And it turned out that I was all right. It turned out it was all right with me to be human, to have hungers, to have needs, to take space. It turned out that I had a self, a voice, a whole range of values and beliefs and passions and goals beyond what I had allowed myself to see when I was sick. There was a person in there, under the thick ice of the illness, a person I found I could respect. Recovery takes time, patience, enormous effort, and strength. We all have those things. It’s a matter of choosing to use them to save our own lives—to survive—but beyond that, to thrive. If you are still teetering on the brink of illness, I invite you to step firmly onto the solid ground of health. Walk back toward the world. Gather strength as you go. Listen to your own inner voice, not the voice of the eating disorder—as you recover, your voice will get clearer and louder, and eventually the voice of the eating disorder will recede. Give it time. Don’t give up. Love yourself absolutely. Take back your life. The value of freedom cannot be overestimated. It’s there for the taking. Find your way toward it, and set yourself free.
Marya Hornbacher