Who has never killed an hour? Not casually or without thought, but carefully: a premeditated murder of minutes. The violence comes from a combination of giving up, not caring, and a resignation that getting past it is all you can hope to accomplish. So you kill the hour. You do not work, you do not read, you do not daydream. If you sleep it is not because you need to sleep. And when at last it is over, there is no evidence: no weapon, no blood, and no body. The only clue might be the shadows beneath your eyes or a terribly thin line near the corner of your mouth indicating something has been suffered, that in the privacy of your life you have lost something and the loss is too empty to share.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
It will get better. You'll never forget them, not even after years. But one day, you'll go a whole minute without feeling the pain. Then an hour. A day. That's all you can ask for, really.” His voice drops. “You'll heal, I promise.
Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1))
Sometimes life is very mean: a person can spend days, weeks, months and years without feeling new. Then, when a door opens - a positive avalanche pours in. One moment, you have nothing, the next, you have more than you can cope with.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
I missed you every minute this week and I don't want to spend another day without you. If my mom disowns me for being with a vampire, then that's her decision, but I've made mine, and I won't apologize or back down from it.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
I’m never gonna wait
that extra twenty minutes
to text you back,
and I’m never gonna play
hard to get
when I know your life
has been hard enough already.
When we all know everyone’s life
has been hard enough already
it’s hard to watch
the game we make of love,
like everyone’s playing checkers
with their scars,
whenever they get out
without a broken heart.
Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
there’s gonna have to be
a thousand separate heavens
for all of my flying parts.
One of the things I love about books is being able to define and condense certain portions of a character's life into chapters. It's intriguing, because you can't do this with real life. You can't just end a chapter, then skip the things you don't want to live through, only to open it up to a chapter that better suits your mood. Life can't be divided into chapters... only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath.
I need one of those chapter breaks. I just want to catch my breath, but I have no idea how.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
How did you find me? If you hacked into the Club’s computer to look up my appointments - "
“Whoa, I think you overestimate me, shitlord. Last time I checked all I did was be in the wrong place at the right time. I saw you and had to - ”
“ - delicately approach you. In a sideways manner. From behind. Without being seen at all. For ten minutes.
Sara Wolf (Lovely Vicious (Lovely Vicious, #1))
I've apparently been the victim of growing up, which apparently happens to all of us at one point or another. It's been going on for quite some time now, without me knowing it. I've found that growing up can mean a lot of things. For me, it doesn't mean I should become somebody completely new and stop loving the things I used to love. It means I've just added more things to my list. Like for example, I'm still beyond obsessed with the winter season and I still start putting up strings of lights in September. I still love sparkles and grocery shopping and really old cats that are only nice to you half the time. I still love writing in my journal and wearing dresses all the time and staring at chandeliers. But some new things I've fallen in love with -- mismatched everything. Mismatched chairs, mismatched colors, mismatched personalities. I love spraying perfumes I used to wear when I was in high school. It brings me back to the days of trying to get a close parking spot at school, trying to get noticed by soccer players, and trying to figure out how to avoid doing or saying anything uncool, and wishing every minute of every day that one day maybe I'd get a chance to win a Grammy. Or something crazy and out of reach like that. ;) I love old buildings with the paint chipping off the walls and my dad's stories about college. I love the freedom of living alone, but I also love things that make me feel seven again. Back then naivety was the norm and skepticism was a foreign language, and I just think every once in a while you need fries and a chocolate milkshake and your mom. I love picking up a cookbook and closing my eyes and opening it to a random page, then attempting to make that recipe. I've loved my fans from the very first day, but they've said things and done things recently that make me feel like they're my friends -- more now than ever before. I'll never go a day without thinking about our memories together.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift)
Do you know what a balance wheel is?” She shook her head slightly. “There’s one in every clock or watch. It rotates back and forth without stopping. It’s what makes the ticking sound...what makes the hands move forward to mark the minutes. Without it, the watch wouldn’t work. You’re my balance wheel, Poppy.” -Harry Rutledge
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
I don't know what you think of me. And you certainly would never picture us together. But probably peanut butter was just peanut butter for a long time, before someone ever thought of pairing it with jelly. And there was salt, but it started to taste better when there was pepper. And what's the point of butter without bread? (Why are all these examples of FOODS?!!?!?!?!?!?!) Anyway by myself I'm nothing special. But with you I could be.
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy's and talk about the day and type up your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don't listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you're sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the tv programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your
and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you're late and be amazed when you're early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I'm black and be sorry when I'm wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I'd known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you're angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you're gorgeous and hug you when you're anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I'm next to you and whimper when I'm not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don't and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I'm rejecting you when I'm not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I'd ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don't believe me and have a feeling so deep I can't find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I'd get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don't want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don't mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it's empty without you and want what you want and think I'm losing myself but know I'm safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don't deserve any less and answer your questions when I'd rather not and tell you the truth when I really don't want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it's all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it's beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.
Sarah Kane (Crave)
I know this goes without saying, but Stonehenge really was the most incredible accomplishment. It took five hundred men just to pull each sarsen, plus a hundred more to dash around positioning the rollers. Just think about it for a minute. Can you imagine trying to talk six hundred people into helping you drag a fifty-ton stone eighteen miles across the countryside and muscle it into an upright position, and then saying, 'Right, lads! Another twenty like that, plus some lintels and maybe a couple of dozen nice bluestones from Wales, and we can party!' Whoever was the person behind Stonehenge was one dickens of a motivator, I'll tell you that.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
What I've learnt - to my cost - on several occasions in my life, is that people will put up with all manner of bad behaviour so long as you're giving them what they want. They'll laugh and get into it and enjoy the anecdotes and the craziness and the mayhem as long as you're going your job well, but the minute you're not, you're fucked. They'll wipe their hands of you without a second glance.
Russell Brand (My Booky Wook)
There was a girl, and her uncle sold her. Put like that it seems so simple.
No man, proclaimed Donne, is an island, and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other's tragedies. We are insulated (a word that means, literally, remember, made into an island) from the tragedy of others, by our island nature and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived and then by some means or other, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life. Lives are snowflakes- forming patterns we have seen before, as like one another as peas in a pod (and have you ever looked at peas in a pod? I mean, really looked at them? There's not a chance you'll mistake one for another, after a minute's close inspection) but still unique.
Without individuals we see only numbers, a thousand dead, a hundred thousand dead, "casualties may rise to a million." With individual stories, the statistics become people- but even that is a lie, for the people continue to suffer in numbers that themselves are numbing and meaningless. Look, see the child's swollen, swollen belly and the flies that crawl at the corners of his eyes, this skeletal limbs: will it make it easier for you to know his name, his age, his dreams, his fears? To see him from the inside? And if it does, are we not doing a disservice to his sister, who lies in the searing dust beside him, a distorted distended caricature of a human child? And there, if we feel for them, are they now more important to us than a thousand other children touched by the same famine, a thousand other young lives who will soon be food for the flies' own myriad squirming children?
We draw our lines around these moments of pain, remain upon our islands, and they cannot hurt us. They are covered with a smooth, safe, nacreous layer to let them slip, pearllike, from our souls without real pain.
Fiction allows us to slide into these other heads, these other places, and look out through other eyes. And then in the tale we stop before we die, or we die vicariously and unharmed, and in the world beyond the tale we turn the page or close the book, and we resume our lives.
A life that is, like any other, unlike any other.
And the simple truth is this: There was a girl, and her uncle sold her.
Neil Gaiman (American Gods (American Gods, #1))
I don't want to ruin our friendship and what we have but I cannot for another minute stand in front of you without you knowing exactly how I feel. Because I can't see past you. You are everything to me.
Elizabeth Eulberg (Take a Bow)
The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.
Søren Kierkegaard (Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard)
In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, one who is constantly critical of you, one who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor. Life is tough enough without the person who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy. In this person's care, you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure.
Jeffrey R. Holland
If she could have anything in the world, he'd asked her, what would it be?
She'd answered that one without hesitation: a best friend. She hastily added, a truly, seriously best friend; one that I couldn't wait to talk to first thing in the morning as soon as I woke up, and one that I still wanted to be talking to, right up to the last minute before I went to sleep.
He'd smiled faintly. You mean a soul mate, he'd thought but not said.
Karen Marie Moning (Spell of the Highlander (Highlander, #7))
Some days, I listen to that clock ticking in the hallway. Then I think of all the ticks, all the minutes, all the hours and days and weeks and months and years waiting for me. All of it without you. And I can’t breathe then, like someone’s stepping on my heart. I get so weak. So weak I just want to collapse somewhere.
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
We've made a beautiful mess of things lately, haven't we?" He flashed that sexy crooked smile at me, which made my heart flutter.
"But it's our crazy story," "It's been ours, only ours. There's been a lot of romance, sometimes way too much drama..." "very memorable comedy, a few pulse-racing action scenes..."
"We've also had our fair share of suspense and raw terror, and unfortunately gut-wrenching heartache too."
"I think we've covered it all, everything except fo being captured by aliens!"
"But through it all you've loved me unconditionally, and I know how fortunate I am to have your love. I don't want to live without you, not for one more minute, not for one more second. I want to spend the rest of my days living my story with you...only you."
"It is here that I fell in love with you"
"And as fate would have it, it is here that I humbly kneel before you and ask you to be my wife.
Tina Reber (Love Unscripted (Love, #1))
The minute I told you to spread your legs and you did it, you were mine. When I told you to beg for it and you did, you were mine. When you put your hands behind your back without being told, I owned you.
C.D. Reiss (Submit (Songs of Submission, #3))
All I know is that every minute without him feels interminably long, like I’m waiting, just waiting for him to come back to me.
Jenny Han (P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #2))
You always forget that it's impossible to grieve every minute of the day. You always forget that a mourning period can include laughter, but just because it's there it won't mean that you're really okay.
Katie Heaney (Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date)
After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn't understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
Can You Imagine?
For example, what the trees do
not only in lightening storms
or the watery dark of a summer's night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now - whenever
we're not looking. Surely you can't imagine
they don't dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade - surely you can't imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can't imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.
I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently.
Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease.
I want to leave a mark.
But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.
(Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.)
We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other.
Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.
People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm.
The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invented anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox.
After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark blue and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar.
A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse.
What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
And put me down right this minute or I'll scream bloody murder, then do the job for real!"
"I already hid all the electrical appliances, and I'm not taking a shower without locking you in the closet first.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Nobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3))
Addy, living one day without you would never be for the best. I want you every minute of every day. Forever. I love you.
Lauren Hammond (Insanity (Asylum, #1))
I love you much it hurts. I ache for you in my soul. Please… I can’t live without you. I want to be with you every minute of every day. I want to marry you and make a life with you. I want to raise Noah and be a family together. Please… please say you want to be with me forever.
Katie Ashley (The Proposal (The Proposition, #2))
Rumors are born with legs that can run a mile in less than a minute.
Rumors eat up dreams without condiments.
Rumors do not have expiration dates.
Rumors can be deadly.
Rumors can get you killed.
Tiffany D. Jackson (Monday's Not Coming)
You can argue that it's a different world now than the one when Matthew Shepard was killed, but there is a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance. It's the distance between moving into the cul-de-sac and having your next door neighbor trust you to keep an eye on her preschool daughter for a few minutes while she runs out to the post office. It's the chasm between being invited to a colleague's wedding with your same-sex partner and being able to slow-dance without the other guests whispering.
Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home)
I'm returning to Boston tomorrow but before I go I wanted to write this letter to you. All the thoughts and feelings that have been bubbling up inside me are finally overflowing from this pen and I'm leaving this letter for you so that you don't feel that I'm putting you under any great pressure. I understand that you will need to take your time trying to decide on what I am about to say.
I no what's going on, Rosie. You're my best friend and I can see the sadness in your eyes. I no that Greg isn't away working for the weekend. You never could lie to me; you were always terrible at it. Your eyes betray you time and time again. Don't pretend that everything is perfect because I see it isn't. I see that Greg is a selfish man who has absolutely no idea just how lucky he is and it makes me sick.
He is the luckiest man in the world to have you, Rosie, but he doesn't deserve you and you deserve far better. You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you're doing, where you are, who you're with and if you're OK. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and who can protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who can make you happy, really happy, dancing-on-air happy. Someone who should have taken the chance to be with you years ago instead of becoming scared and being too afraid to try.
I am not scared any more, Rosie. I am not afraid to try. I no what the feeling was at your wedding - it was jealousy. My heart broke when I saw the woman I love turning away from me to walk down the aisle with another man, a man she planned to spend the rest of her life with. It was like a prison sentence for me - years stretching ahead without me being able to tell you how I feel or hold you how I wanted to.
Twice we've stood beside each other at the altar, Rosie. Twice. And twice we got it wrong. I needed you to be there for my wedding day but I was too stupid to see that I needed you to be the reason for my wedding day.
I should never have let your lips leave mine all those years ago in Boston. I should never have pulled away. I should never have panicked. I should never have wasted all those years without you. Give me a chance to make them up to you. I love you, Rosie, and I want to be with you and Katie and Josh. Always.
Please think about it. Don't waste your time on Greg. This is our opportunity. Let's stop being afraid and take the chance. I promise I'll make you happy.
All my love,
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
I waited here while you talked to Sorcha, who, by the way, is crazy. Now you are off to the mortal world where the crazier one is? ... I was there, Devlin. Bananach could've killed you, and really? We've been bound together for like five minutes and you're suddenly darting off into danger without me. I don't think so.
Melissa Marr (Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely, #4))
I don’t want any more insults. I’d like to experience three whole minutes in your presence before you lay into me again…and we really should make sure the tools are all locked up. (Acheron)
(He pulled the sleeve of his jacket back to look at his watch.)
Let me start timing… (Acheron)
(She opened her mouth to respond, but he held his hand up.)
Wait for it. We got two minutes and fifty-give seconds to go. (Acheron)
I’m not that bad. (Tory)
Yeah…you’re not standing in my shoes. (Acheron)
And judging by the ungodly size of them, I don’t think there are many people who could. (Tory)
We almost made it to thirty seconds without an insult. I think we just set a new record. (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
Two lords and an archduke had asked her to marry them, and so, she wrote to me in outrage, had Solya.
Can you imagine? I told him I thought he was a lunatic, and he said he would live in hope. Alosha laughed for ten minutes without stopping except to cough when I told her . . .
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
...he followed you into the staff room and didn't come back for twenty minutes and when he did come back, he looked like he'd been mauled by a woman who'd been locked in an empty room without a vibrator, or a man for ten years"!
Now, I’m gonna kiss you ‘coz I’ve been without those sweet lips while you play stupid little bullshit games with me. I won’t be without for another minute. Open your lips, baby, and kiss me.
Bella Jewel (Hell's Knights (The MC Sinners, #1))
Then you don't know. You can't know what it feels like to meet a person and suddenly know without a doubt that the whole purpose of your life so far-every choice you made, every twist of fate along the way-was just a journey to get you to that person. My life started when I met Clea. Every minute without her is just killing time until we can be together again.
Hilary Duff (Devoted (Elixir, #2))
Bronwyn: Well, I'd like to try. I f you want to. Not because we're thrown together in this weird situation and I think you're hot, altough I do. But because you're smart, and funny, and you do the right thing more often than you give youerself credit for. I like your horrible taste in movies and the way you never sugarcoat anything and the fact that you have an actual lizard. I'd be proud to be your girlfriend, even in a nonoffical capacity while we're, you know, being investigated for murder. Plus, I can't go more than a few minutes without wanting to kis you, so - there's that.
Nate: You're doing better than me. I never stop thinking about kissing you.
Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1))
What about you, America?” Kriss asked.
The only one who really caught my eye was Aspen, and after feeling that ache for him, this felt kind of stupid. I dodged the question.
“I don’t know. They’re all kind of nice.”
“Kind of nice?” Celeste echoed. “You have to be kidding! These are some of the best-looking guys I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s only a bunch of boys without their shirts on,” I countered. “Yeah, why don’t you enjoy it for a minute before it’s just the three of us you have to look at,” she said snippily.
“Whatever. Maxon looks just as good without his shirt on as any of those guys.
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
The confusion is not my invention. We cannot listen to a conversation for five minutes without being aware of the confusion. It is all around us and our only chance now is to let it in. The only chance of renovation is to open our eyes and see the mess. It is not a mess you can make sense of.
I can’t change the past, Tate. I wish I could, because I’d go back and relive every day that I existed without you, and I’d make sure that you smiled.” My eyes burned with regret, and I saw the pools in her beautiful blues, too. “Every minute of my future belongs to you.
Penelope Douglas (Until You (Fall Away, #1.5))
Taking pity on me, Carissa kept her voice low. “You were calling out for Daemon.”I dropped my face in my hands and moaned. “Oh, God.”
Lesa giggled. “It was kind of cute.”
A minute before the tardy bell rang, I felt an all-too-familiar warmth on my neck and glanced up. Daemon swaggered into class. Textbook-less as usual. He had a notebook, but I don’t think he ever wrote anything in it. I was beginning to suspect our math teacher was an alien, because how else would Daemon get away with not doing a damn thing in class? He passed by without so much as a look.
I twisted around in my chair. “I need to talk to you.”
He slid into his desk chair. “Okay.”
“In private,” I whispered.
His expression didn’t change as he leaned back in his chair. “Meet me in the library at lunch. No one really goes in there. You know, with all those books and stuff.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Onyx (Lux, #2))
There is no time to reallocate the turkeys.” Without missing a beat, he blurts out, “Bring them to the house.” “Where? Are you hiding a turkey habitat up your ass, son? Where, in our historically protected house, am I going to put a couple of turkeys until I pardon them tomorrow?” “Put them in my room. I don’t care.” She outright laughs. “No.” “How is it different from a hotel room? Put the turkeys in my room, Mom.” “I’m not putting the turkeys in your room.” “Put the turkeys in my room.” “No.” “Put them in my room, put them in my room, put them in my room—” That night, as Alex stares into the cold, pitiless eyes of a prehistoric beast of prey, he has a few regrets. THEY KNOW, he texts Henry. THEY KNOW I HAVE ROBBED THEM OF FIVE-STAR ACCOMMODATIONS TO SIT IN A CAGE IN MY ROOM, AND THE MINUTE I TURN MY BACK THEY ARE GOING TO FEAST ON MY FLESH.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
Alot can happen in eleven minutes. Decker can run two miles in eleven minutes. I once wrote an English essay in ten. And God knows Carson Levine can talk a girl out of her clothes in less then half that time.
Eleven minutes might as well be eternity underwater. It only takes three minutes without air for loss consciousness. Permanent brain damange begins at four minutes. And then, when the oxygen runs out, full cardiac arrest occurs. Death is possible at five minutes. Probable at seven. Definite at ten.
Decker pulled me out at eleven.
Megan Miranda (Fracture (Fracture, #1))
You ask if I regret our engagement.
No. I regret every minute that you're out of my sight. I regret every step that doesn't bring me closer to you.
My last thought each night is that you should be in my arms. There is no peace or pleasure in my empty bed, where I sleep with you only in dreams and wake to curse the dawn.
If I had the right, I would forbid you to go anywhere without me. Not out of selfishness, but because being apart from you is like trying to live without breathing.
Think on that. You've stolen my very breath, cariad. And now I'm left to count the days until I take it back from you, kiss by kiss.
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
Maybe we should go by tube', he said.
A taxi'll come', she said. 'I'm in no hurry'.
She remembered something a woman in Paris had told her once. A woman in her forties, much married, elegant, a little world-weary. There is nothing easier in this world, this woman had claimed, than getting a man to kiss you. Oh really? Eva had said, so how do you do that? Just stand close to a man, the woman has said, very close, as close as you can without touching - he will kiss you in one minute or two. It's inevitable. For them it's like an instinct - they can't resist. Infaillible.
So Eva stood close to Romer in the doorway of the shop on Frith Street as he shooted and waved at the passing cars moving down the dark street, hoping one of them might be a taxi.
We're out of luck', he said, turning, to find Eva standing very close to him, her face lifted.
I'm in no hurry', she said.
He reached for her and kissed her.
William Boyd (Restless)
Bunny Slippers watched my appraisal for at least a full
minute before clasping his hands and resting them on the table.
“You stand in the doorway, clothes sticking to you like you just
got out of the shower and didn’t dry off.” I hadn’t dried off
actually. “Your hair is wet like it’s been raining, but it’s near
ninety outside. You glare at me for a good ten minutes before
you come over. Sit across from me in my booth, without an
invitation. Don’t introduce yourself. Don’t say hello. You
announce you’re not gay, but that I made you gay, and I am
Well, when he said it like that.
Dani Alexander (Shattered Glass (Shattered Glass, #1))
They left like you knew they would. They went away and you fell like a stone. All the way to the bottom of your room. I see you, yes I see you. Sitting in your chair, hating every minute of it. Falling like a stone without even moving. It hurt you to know that you were right about all the shit you wanted to be wrong about. They always leave you. You put yourself in the right place to get left.
Henry Rollins (The First Five)
didn’t want to hurt you and I didn’t want to wreck my life and I did both and I’m sorry I was ever born, and will you please sit down here and let me hold you for a minute, because I don’t think I can make it without you
Kaje Harper (Breaking Cover (Life Lessons, #2))
I haven't known you for long, I don't even know what your favorite color is or your favorite song, but…I know every detail and curve of your face and the way your eyes sparkle when you smile. I know that you put your hands to your chest when you laugh and the adorable way you fiddle with your fingers when you're nervous. I think of you every minute of every day. I've realized I can't live my life without you in it. I want you. Only you.
Nicole Gulla (The Lure of the Moon (The Scripter Trilogy, #1))
If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
- to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less lima beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Of course that I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,
If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!
I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,
If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
- and I know that I am dying …
Jorge Luis Borges
I am a book.
Sheaves pressed from the pulp of oaks and pines
a natural sawdust made dingy from purses, dusty
Steamy and anxious, abused and misused,
kissed and cried over,
smeared, yellowed, and torn,
loved, hated, scorned.
I am a book.
I am a book that remembers,
days when I stood proud in good company
When the children came, I leapt into their arms,
when the women came, they cradled me against their soft breasts,
when the men came, they held me like a lover,
and I smelled the sweet smell of cigars and brandy as we sat together in leather chairs,
next to pool tables, on porch swings, in rocking chairs,
my words hanging in the air like bright gems, dangling,
then forgotten, I crumbled,
dust to dust.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
a book brand-new, sprung from the loins of ancient fathers clothed in tweed,
born of mothers in lands of heather and coal soot.
A family too close to see the blood on its hands,
too dear to suffering, to poison, to cold steel and revenge,
deaf to the screams of mortal wounding,
amused at decay and torment,
a family bred in the dankest swamp of human desires.
I am a tale of woe and secrets,
I am a mystery.
I am intrigue, anxiety, fear,
I tangle in the night with madmen, spend my days cloaked in black,
hiding from myself, from dark angels,
from the evil that lurks within
and the evil we cannot lurk without.
I am words of adventure,
of faraway places where no one knows my tongue,
of curious cultures in small, back alleys, mean streets,
the crumbling house in each of us.
I am primordial fear, the great unknown,
I am life everlasting.
I touch you and you shiver, I blow in your ear and you follow me,
down foggy lanes, into places you've never seen,
to see things no one should see,
to be someone you could only hope to be.
I ride the winds of imagination on a black-and-white horse,
to find the truth inside of me, to cure the ills inside of you,
to take one passenger at a time over that tall mountain,
across that lonely plain to a place you've never been
where the world stops for just one minute
and everything is right.
I am a mystery.
-Rides a Black and White Horse
Life can’t be divided into chapters...only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath.
I need one of those chapter breaks. I just want to catch my breath, but I have no idea how.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Then what are you doing here, Luce?" he asked, his voice elevating. "You want time? You want space? Fine. I gave that to you. But then you keep throwing yourself back into my life whenever the hell you choose. No warning. No apology, No permanence. You show up at my front door and sneak out the back without so much as a goodbye," he continued, never taking his eyes off of me. "You couldn't take the up and down. The roller coaster was going to kill you. You know what I can't take? You in and back out of my life before I even knew you were there in the first place. You looking at me the way you are now and then able to turn your back and walk away five minutes later." His hands clenched over my cheek before he lowered it. "That is what will kill me. I can't live wondering if you're still mine to claim.
Nicole Williams (Clash (Crash, #2))
And do you know, do you know that mankind can live without the Englishman, it can live without Germany, it can live only too well without the Russian man, it can live without science, without bread, and it only cannot live without beauty, for then there would be nothing at all to do in the world! The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here. Science itself would not stand for a minute without beauty
Elementary, my dear Watson."
"That's a misquotation, by the way," I countered without thinking. Which might've made more of an impact if I'd stopped grinning like a cretin.
"See? Ten minutes and you already know I read Sherlock Holmes. Just imagine what you could discover if we went out on a real date.
Ramona Wray (Hex: A Witch and Angel Tale)
Pain? Yes, of course. Racing without pain is not racing. But the pleasure of being ahead outweighed the pain a million times over. To hell with the pain. What's six minutes of pain compared to the pain they're going to feel for the next six months or six decades. You never forget your wins and losses in this sport. YOU NEVER FORGET.
Brad Alan Lewis (Assault on Lake Casitas)
Maxon, I hope you find someone you can't love without. I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it's like to have to try and live without them."
Maxon's face was a shallow echo of my own pain. He looked absolutely brokenhearted for me. More than that, he looked angry.
"I'm sorry, America. I don't..." His face shifted a little. "Is this a good time to pat your shoulder?"
His uncertainty made me smile. "Yes. Now would be a great time."
He seemed as skeptically as he'd been the other day, but instead of just patting my shoulder, he leaned in and tentatively wrapped his arms around me.
"I only really ever hug my mother. Is this okay?" he asked.
I laughed. "It's hard to get a hug wrong."
After a minute, I spoke again. "I know what you mean, though. I don't really hug anyone besides my family."
I felt so drained after the long day of dressing and the Report and dinner and talking. It was nice to have Maxon just hold me, sometimes even patting my hair. He wasn't as lost as he seemed. He patiently waited for my breathing to slow, and when it did, he pulled back to look at me.
"America, I promise you I'll keep you here until the last possible moment. I understand that they want me to narrow the Elite down to three and then choose. But I swear to you, I'll make it to two and keep you here until then. I won't make you leave a moment before I have to. Or the moment you're ready. Whichever comes first."
"I know we just met, but I think you're wonderful. And it bothers me to see you hurt. If he were here, I'd...I'd..." Maxon shook with frustration, then sighed. "I'm so sorry, America."
He pulled me back in, and I rested my head on his broad shoulder. I knew Maxon would keep his promises. So I settled into perhaps the last place I ever thought I'd find genuine comfort.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
I went to bed without reading, instead staring out my window with the curtains drawn, wondering about boys. Why did they behave so oddly? One minute their teasing was relentless, and then bam!― they’d stun you with a thoughtful gesture. Either way, their actions made you want to cry. Maybe that was the intent.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Dandelions: The Disappearance of Annabelle Fancher)
Close your eyes,” Marcus said, his hand moving to her bottom in a circling caress. He brushed his mouth over her forehead and her fragile eyelids. “Rest. You’ll need to regain your strength… because once we’re married, I won’t be able to leave you alone. I’ll want to love you every hour, every minute of the day.” He nestled her more closely against him. “There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your smile… no sound sweeter than your laughter… no pleasure greater than holding you in my arms. I realized today that I could never live without you, stubborn little hellion that you are. In this life and the next, you’re my only hope of happiness. Tell me, Lillian, dearest love… how can you have reached so far inside my heart?” He paused to kiss her damp silken skin… and smiled as the wisp of a feminine snore broke the peaceful silence.
Lisa Kleypas (It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2))
The day i met Cameron,the pieces started to flow into place,and the night that Cameron kissed me,the day that he sat next to me and told that he loved me,that was when the last piece of me were snapped into place.Every other second,minute,hour that i spent with Cameron after that moment made the last piece of my puzzle grow stronger,so that it made the damaged,the broken pieces become insignificant-mere background noise.But Cameron had taken the last piece of the puzzle with him,and a black hole was all that was left in its stead.How do you recover from that? How do you survive?You don't, I resolved.There's no coming back from that permanent void left inside of you.You become a shell,going through the motions without emotion,like a robot,while the rest of me was wherever Cameron was...
Julie Hockley (Crow's Row (Crow's Row, #1))
So your desire is to do nothing? Well, you shall not have a week, a day, an hour, free from oppression. You shall not be able to lift anything without agony. Every passing minute will make your muscles crack. What is feather to others will be a rock to you. The simplest things will become difficult. Life will become monstrous about you. To come, to go, to breathe, will be so many terrible tasks for you. Your lungs will feel like a hundred-pound weight.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Lydia came back to bed. We didn't kiss each other. We weren't going to have sex. I felt weary. I listened to the crickets. I don't know how much time went by. I was almost asleep, not quite, when Lydia suddenly sat straight up in bed. And she screamed. It was a loud scream. "What is it?" I asked. "Be quiet." I waited. Lydia sat there without moving, for what seemed to be about ten minutes. Then she fell back on her pillow. "I saw God," she said, "I just saw God." "Listen, you bitch, you are going to drive me crazy!
Charles Bukowski (Women)
I love you," he writes again and again. "I can't bear to live without you. I'm counting the minutes until I see you." The words he uses are the idioms of popular songs and poems in the newspaper. And mine to him are no less cliched. I puzzle over the onionskin, trying to spill my heart onto the page. But I can only come up with the same words, in the same order, and hope the depth of feeling beneath them gives them weight and substance. I love you. I miss you. Be careful. Be safe.
Christina Baker Kline (Orphan Train)
and there you go - i was alone, without love, for eight years. and it took me about twenty minutes - over a cappuchino and an egg salad sandwich - to fall in love with him.
Elizabeth Noble (Things I Want My Daughters to Know)
Because, what does it mean, to say that things aren't going well? Compared to what? You can say: compared to how things were going a couple of hours ago, or a couple of years ago. But that's not the point. If two cars are speeding towards a brick wall with no brakes, and one car hits the wall moments before the other, you can't spend those moments saying that the second car is much better off than the first.
Death and disaster are at our shoulders every second of our lives, trying to get at us. Missing, a lot of the time. A lot of miles on the motorway without a front wheel blow-out. A lot of viruses that slither through our bodies without snagging. A lot of pianos that fall a minute after we've passed. Or a month, it makes no difference.
So unless we're going to get down on our knees and give thanks every time disaster misses, it makes no sense to moan when it strikes. Us, or anyone else. Because we're not comparing it with anything.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
You are the last Five left in the competition, yes? Do you think that hurts your chances of becoming the princess?"
The word sprang from my lips without thought. "No!"
"Oh, my! You do have a spirit there!" Gavril seemed pleased to have gotten such an enthusiastic response. "So you think you'll beat out all the others, then? Make it to the end?"
I thought better of myself. "No, no. It's not like that. I don't think I'm better than any of the other girls; they're all amazing. It's just...I don't think Maxon would do that, just discount someone because of their caste."
I heard a collective gasp. I ran over the sentence in my head. It took me a minute to catch my mistake: I'd called him Maxon. Saying that to another girl behind closed doors was one thing, but to say his name without the word "Prince" in front of it was incredibly informal in public.
And I'd said it on live television.
I looked to see if Maxon was angry. He had a calm smile on his face. So he wasn't mad...but I was embarrassed. I blushed fiercely.
"Ah, so it seems you really have gotten to know our prince. Tell me, what do you think of Maxon?"
I ahd thought of several answers while I was waiting for my turn. I was going to make fun of his laugh or talk about the pet name he wanted his wife to call him. It seemed like the only way to save the situation was to get back the comedy. But as I lifted my eyes to make one of my comments, I saw Maxon's face.
He really wanted to know.
And I couldn't poke fun at him, not when I had a chance to say what I'd really started to think now that he was my friend. I couldn't joke about the person who'd saved me from facing absolute heartbreak at home, who fed my family boxes of sweets, who ran to me worried that I was hurt if I asked for him.
A month ago, I had looked at the TV and seen a stiff, distant, boring person-someone I couldn't imagine anyone loving. And while he wasn't anything close to the person I did love, he was worthy of having someone to love in his life.
"Maxon Schreave is the epitome of all things good. He is going to be a phenomenal king. He lets girls who are supposed to be wearing dresses wear jeans and doesn't get mad when someone who doesn't know him clearly mislabels him." I gave Gavril a keen look, and he smiled. And behind him, Maxon looked intrigued. "Whoever he marries will be a lucky girl. And whatever happens to me, I will be honored to be his subject."
I saw Maxon swallow, and I lowered my eyes.
"America Singer, thank you so much." Gavril went to shake my hand. "Up next is Miss Tallulah Bell."
I didn't hear what any of the girls said after me, though I stared at the two seats. That interview had become way more personal than I'd intended it to be. I couldn't bring myself to look at Maxon. Instead I sat there replaying my words again and again in my head.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
They’re plotting against you. (Jaden)
Your best friends, fool, who do you think? The Easter Bunny or the assholes who brought you here? FYI, they’re planning to feed you to the gallu so that they can control your powers without your fighting them. If I were you, I’d be gone five minutes ago. (Jaden)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dream Warrior (Dream-Hunter #4; Dark-Hunter #17))
Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are requiered for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude - the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are good in the chrysalis.
Like what, baby? Like that you miss me?” She started to protest but he cut her off. “Do not say a word. Just listen a minute, if you can. I miss you too, like a fucking phantom limb, do you understand? You are a crucial, functioning part of me, always will be. But I get it. I’m a shit. I won’t deny. But I’ll never, ever be happy or complete without you.
Liz Crowe (Sweat Equity (Stewart Realty, #2))
A hint of annoyance hardened Sicarius’s dark eyes, and Books imagined him thinking, I can’t leave for five minutes without you getting into trouble…
Lindsay Buroker (Dark Currents (The Emperor's Edge, #2))
I've spent the last three months learning how me without you feels, and I've hated every minute. I never want to do it again.
Georgia Cates (Beauty from Surrender (Beauty, #2))
You didn’t ask for a priest.” “Whether I’ve been good or bad, I don’t think God will be fooled by a last-minute change of heart.
Ken Follett (World Without End (Kingsbridge, #2))
Manage me, I am a mess, swept under the rug of yesterday’s home improvement, a whimsical urge tossed aside for the easy reassurance of home and comfort. I am the photograph tucked away as a book-mark, in a book left half unread, once reopened to find memories crawling back into peripheral sight, faded, creased and lonely. I long to be admired, long to be held, torn and laughed at, laughed with, like a distant relative or an old friend breathing in their last breath. I missed the moment when time collapsed and memory was erased, replaced by finicky social experiments, lost in the blur of intoxication, sucked through multi-colored bendy-straws, making way for a spinning world where hub-caps stood still, but our vision didn’t. If I could leave you with only one thing, it would be small, foldable, and made from trees, with a few careless words, scribbled in blue; Take a minute to learn me, take a moment to love me, because I need your love to live,and without it, I am nothing.
A minute or two more and Orlant disengaged, and swore. 'Are you going to fight me or not?'
You said we were sparring,' said Damen, neutrally.
Orlant flung down his sword, took two steps off to one of the watching men, and pulled from its sheath thirty inches of polished steel straightsword, which without preamble he returned to swing with killing speed at Damen's neck.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
A woman in her thirties came to see me. As she greeted me, I could sense the pain behind her polite and superficial smile. She started telling me her story, and within one second her smile changed into a grimace of pain. Then, she began to sob uncontrollably. She said she felt lonely and unfulfilled.
There was much anger and sadness. As a child she had been abused by a physically violent father. I saw quickly that her pain was not caused by her present life circumstances but by an extraordinarily heavy pain-body. Her pain-body had become the filter through which she viewed her life situation.
She was not yet able to see the link between the emotional pain and her thoughts, being completely identified with both. She could not yet see that she was feeding the pain-body with her thoughts. In other words, she lived with the burden of a deeply unhappy self. At some level, however, she must have realized that her pain originated within herself, that she was a burden to herself. She was ready to awaken, and this is why she had come.
I directed the focus of her attention to what she was feeling inside her body and asked her to sense the emotion directly, instead of through the filter of her unhappy thoughts, her unhappy story. She said she had come expecting me to show her the way out of her unhappiness, not into it.
Reluctantly, however, she did what I asked her to do. Tears were rolling down her face, her whole body was shaking. “At this moment, this is what you feel.” I said. “There is nothing you can do about the fact that at this moment this is what you feel. Now, instead of wanting this moment to be different from the way it is, which adds more pain to the pain that is already there, is it possible for you to completely accept that this is what you feel right now?”
She was quiet for a moment. Suddenly she looked impatient, as if she was about to get up, and said angrily, “No, I don't want to accept this.” “Who is speaking?” I asked her. “You or the unhappiness in you? Can you see that your unhappiness about being unhappy is just another layer of unhappiness?” She became quiet again. “I am not asking you to do anything. All I'm asking is that you find out whether it is possible for you to allow those feelings to be there. In other words, and this may sound strange, if you don't mind being unhappy, what happens to the unhappiness? Don't you want to find out?”
She looked puzzled briefly, and after a minute or so of sitting silently, I suddenly noticed a significant shift in her energy field. She said, “This is weird. I 'm still unhappy, but now there is space around it. It seems to matter less.”
This was the first time I heard somebody put it like that: There is space around my unhappiness. That space, of course, comes when there is inner acceptance of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.
I didn't say much else, allowing her to be with the experience. Later she came to understand that the moment she stopped identifying with the feeling, the old painful emotion that lived in her, the moment she put her attention on it directly without trying to resist it, it could no longer control her thinking and so become mixed up with a mentally constructed story called “The Unhappy Me.” Another dimension had come into her life that transcended her personal past – the dimension of Presence. Since you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story, this was the end of her unhappiness. It was also the beginning of the end of her pain-body. Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.
When our session came to an end, it was fulfilling to know that I had just witnessed the arising of Presence in another human being. The very reason for our existence in human form is to bring that dimension of consciousness into this world. I had also witnessed a diminishment of the pain-body, not through fighting it but through bringing the light of consciousness to it.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
If you were in a bar, would you ever go up to a guy or girl and repeat the word "hey" without getting a response? Would you ever go up to a woman you met two minutes ago and beg her to show you one of your boobs? And do you really want to bone someone who responds to this?
Aziz Ansari (Modern Romance)
I should have learned mindfulness, and it’s too late now because it’s no good learning it when you’re already in crisis: you have to start when things are good. But only the very, very oddest would think, Hey, my life is perfect. I know! I’ll sit and waste twenty minutes Observing My Thoughts without Judgement.
Marian Keyes (The Break)
What is to be done with the millions of facts that bear witness that men, consciously, that is fully understanding their real interests, have left them in the background and have rushed headlong on another path, to meet peril and danger, compelled to this course by nobody and by nothing, but, as it were, simply disliking the beaten track, and have obstinately, wilfully, struck out another difficult, absurd way, seeking it almost in the darkness. So, I suppose, this obstinacy and perversity were pleasanter to them than any advantage...
The fact is, gentlemen, it seems there must really exist something that is dearer to almost every man than his greatest advantages, or (not to be illogical) there is a most advantageous advantage (the very one omitted of which we spoke just now) which is more important and more advantageous than all other advantages, for the sake of which a man if necessary is ready to act in opposition to all laws; that is, in opposition to reason, honour, peace, prosperity -- in fact, in opposition to all those excellent and useful things if only he can attain that fundamental, most advantageous advantage which is dearer to him than all. "Yes, but it's advantage all the same," you will retort. But excuse me, I'll make the point clear, and it is not a case of playing upon words. What matters is, that this advantage is remarkable from the very fact that it breaks down all our classifications, and continually shatters every system constructed by lovers of mankind for the benefit of mankind. In fact, it upsets everything...
One's own free unfettered choice, one's own caprice, however wild it may be, one's own fancy worked up at times to frenzy -- is that very "most advantageous advantage" which we have overlooked, which comes under no classification and against which all systems and theories are continually being shattered to atoms. And how do these wiseacres know that man wants a normal, a virtuous choice? What has made them conceive that man must want a rationally advantageous choice? What man wants is simply independent choice, whatever that independence may cost and wherever it may lead. And choice, of course, the devil only knows what choice.
Of course, this very stupid thing, this caprice of ours, may be in reality, gentlemen, more advantageous for us than anything else on earth, especially in certain cases… for in any circumstances it preserves for us what is most precious and most important -- that is, our personality, our individuality. Some, you see, maintain that this really is the most precious thing for mankind; choice can, of course, if it chooses, be in agreement with reason… It is profitable and sometimes even praiseworthy. But very often, and even most often, choice is utterly and stubbornly opposed to reason ... and ... and ... do you know that that, too, is profitable, sometimes even praiseworthy?
I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! …And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don't know?
You will scream at me (that is, if you condescend to do so) that no one is touching my free will, that all they are concerned with is that my will should of itself, of its own free will, coincide with my own normal interests, with the laws of nature and arithmetic. Good heavens, gentlemen, what sort of free will is left when we come to tabulation and arithmetic, when it will all be a case of twice two make four? Twice two makes four without my will. As if free will meant that!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be linked unto a system of gears where teeth have been filed off at random. Such snaggle-toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even by a substandard libido, whirls with the jerky, noisy, gaudy pointlessness of a cuckoo clock in Hell.
The boss G-man concluded wrongly that there were no teeth on the gears in the mind of Jones. 'You're completely crazy,' he said.
Jones wasn't completely crazy. The dismaying thing about classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, thought mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.
Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and twenty-three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year.
The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases.
The wilful filling off a gear teeth, the wilful doing without certain obvious pieces of information -
That was how a household as contradictory as one composed of Jones, Father Keeley, Vice-Bundesfuehrer Krapptauer, and the Black Fuehrer could exist in relative harmony -
That was how my father-in-law could contain in one mind an indifference toward slave women and love fora a blue vase -
That was how Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse-carriers -
That was how Nazi Germany sense no important difference between civilization and hydrophobia -
That is the closest I can come to explaining the legions, the nations of lunatics I've seen in my time.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
Life can't be divided into chapters...only minutes. The events of your life are all crammed together one minute right after the other without any time lapses or blank pages or chapter breaks because no matter what happens life just keeps going and moving forward and words keep flowing and truths keep spewing whether you like it or not and life never lets you pause and just catch your fucking breath.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Without thinking it through, I reached out and took her hand in mine, wrapping our fingers around each other’s. Kisa gasped and said, “Luka, what are you doing?”
I shrugged. “Holding your hand.”
“Why?” Kisa whispered, staring at my thumb stroking her skin. She was so soft.
“Because I have to,” I answered honestly, and she seemed to stop breathing for several minutes before exhaling, her long eyelashes fluttering when she looked at me.
“Okay,” she whispered, and something warm spread in my chest and down to my stomach. “I…I like it.”
I smiled and Kisa blushed again. “Me too. I’m going to hold your hand all the time now. I’m never going to let go.
Tillie Cole (Raze (Scarred Souls, #1))
Well.” I’m quiet for a few seconds, weighing whether I’m about to make a giant mistake. Probably, but I plow ahead anyway. “I’d like to try. If you want to. Not because we’re thrown together in this weird situation and I think you’re hot, although I do. But because you’re smart, and funny, and you do the right thing more often than you give yourself credit for. I like your horrible taste in movies and the way you never sugarcoat anything and the fact that you have an actual lizard. I’d be proud to be your girlfriend, even in a nonofficial capacity while we’re, you know, being investigated for murder. Plus, I can’t go more than a few minutes without wanting to kiss you, so—there’s that.
Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1))
But death is extraordinarily like life when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Freedom from the Known)
If a continental youth wants to declare his love to a girl, he kneels down, tells her that she is the sweetest, the most charming and ravishing person in the world, that she has something in her, something peculiar and individual which only a few hundred thousand other women have and that he would be unable to live one more minute without her. Often, to give a little more emphasis to the statement, he shoots himself on the spot. This is a normal, week-day declaration of love in the more temperamental continental countries. In England the boy pats his adored one on the back and says softly: ‘I don’t object to you, you know.’ If he is quite mad with passion, he may add: ‘I rather fancy you, in fact.
George Mikes (How to Be a Brit)
Still, Lindsay stops getting dressed, even though he's only half-done, because he gets this urge to ambush the kid with a hug. Just that, nothing else. He wraps his arms around Valentine's skinny body and pulls him close and rests his cheek on the still-damp hair and inhales the cherry-almond scent of his shampoo, and Valentine says, "Oh!" in a really odd way, like he's just read a particularly interesting fact on the back of a Penguin biscuit wrapper. Lindsay's got his eyes shut but he can feel the kid's hands creeping up his bare arms, over his shoulders. One stays there and the other comes to rest on the back of his neck, fingers playing idly with the ends of his hair, and several minutes pass without sound or movement, just the gentle thud of heartbeats.
"What's that for?" Valentine asks, when Lindsay finally lets him go.
"Don't know. Nothing. Just seemed the kind of thing you'd like. BAM, surprise ninja cuddles.
Richard Rider (Stockholm Syndrome (Stockholm Syndrome, #1))
This time we weren’t disturbed either by traveling through time or a cheeky gargoyle demon. While “Hallelujah” was running, the kiss was gentle and careful, but then Gideon buried both hands in my hair and held me very close. It wasn’t a gentle kiss anymore, and my reaction surprised me. I suddenly felt very soft and lightweight, and my arms went around Gideon’s neck of their own accord. I had no idea how, but at some point in the next few minutes, still kissing without a break, we landed on the green sofa, and we went on kissing there until Gideon abruptly sat up and looked at his watch.
“Like I said, it really is a shame I’m not allowed to kiss you anymore,” he remarked rather breathlessly. The pupils of his eyes looked huge, and his cheeks were definitely flushed.
I wondered what I looked like myself. As I’d temporarily mutated into some kind of human blancmange, there was no way I could get out of my half-lying position. And I realized, with horror, that I had no idea how much time had passed since Bon Jovi stopped singing “Hallelujah.” Ten minutes? Half an hour? Anything was possible.
Gideon looked at me, and I thought I saw something like bewilderment in his eyes.
“We’d better collect our things,” he said at last. “And you need to do something about your hair—it looks as if some idiot has been digging both hands into it and dragging you down on a sofa. Whoever’s back there waiting for us will put two and two together—oh, my God, don’t look at me like that.”
“As if you couldn’t move.”
“But I can’t,” I said, perfectly seriously. “I’m a blancmange. You’ve turned me into blancmange.”
A brief smile brightened Gideon’s face, and then he jumped up and began stowing my school things in my bag. “Come along, little blancmange. Stand up.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
Oh, look, the lights are so pretty,” I said dreamily, having just noticed
I smiled at the way the lights were dancing overhead, pink and yellow and
blue. I felt some pressure on my arm and thought, I should look over and see
what’s going on, but then the thought was gone, sliding away like Jell-O off a
hot car hood.
“Yeah. I’m here.”
I struggled to focus on him. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I peered up at him, trying to see
past the too-bright lights.
“You’d be fine,” he muttered.
“No,” I said, suddenly struck by how unfine I would be. “I would be totally
unfine. Totally.” It seemed very urgent that he understand this.
Again I felt some tugging on my arm, and I really wondered what that was
about. Was Ella’s mom going to start this procedure any time soon?
“It’s okay. Just relax.” He sounded stiff and nervous. “Just...relax. Don’t
try to talk.”
“I don’t want my chip anymore,” I explained groggily, then frowned.
“Actually, I never wanted that chip.”
“Okay,” said Fang. “We’re taking it out.”
“I just want you to hold my hand.”
“I am holding your hand.”
“Oh. I knew that.” I drifted off for a few minutes, barely aware of
anything, but feeling Fang’s hand still in mine.
“Do you have a La-Z-Boy somewhere?” I roused myself to ask, every word an
“Um, no,” said Ella’s voice, somewhere behind my head.
“I think I would like a La-Z-Boy,” I mused, letting my eyes drift shut
again. “Fang, don’t go anywhere.”
“I won’t. I’m here.”
“Okay. I need you here. Don’t leave me.”
“Fang, Fang, Fang,” I murmured, overwhelmed with emotion. “I love you. I
love you sooo much.” I tried to hold out my arms to show how much, but I
couldn’t move them.
“Oh, jeez,” Fang said, sounding strangled.
James Patterson (Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3))
Just look at your mind for a few minutes. You will see that it is like a flea, constantly hopping to and fro. You will see that thoughts arise without any reason, without any connection. Swept along by the chaos of every moment, we are the victims of the fickleness of our mind.
Sogyal Rinpoche (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot around the neck with a triumphant sigh: ça y est. But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday.
Fermina Daza was in the kitchen tasting the soup for supper when she heard Digna Pardo's horrified shriek and the shouting of the servants and then of the entire neighborhood. She dropped the tasting spoon and tried to run despite the invincible weight of her age, screaming like a madwoman without knowing yet what had happened under the mango leaves, and her heart jumped inside her ribs when she saw her man lying on his back in the mud, dead to this life but still resisting death's final blow for one last minute so that she would have time to come to him. He recognized her despite the uproar, through his tears of unrepeatable sorrow at dying without her, and he looked for her for the last and final time with eyes more luminous, more grief-stricken, more grateful that she had ever seen them in the half century of a shared life, and he managed to say to her with his last breath:
"Only God knows how much I loved you.
Gabriel García Márquez (Love in the Time of Cholera)
The experience of listening to an hour's music you barely know in a dead language you do not understand is a strange falling and rising experience. For minutes at a time you are walking deep into it, you seem to understand. Then, without knowing how or when exactly, you discover you have wandered away, bored or tired from the effort, and now you are nowhere near the music.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
'I've been privileged to occasionally hear you sing in the shower and thought--what a voice. With a reasonable amount of training, it might actually be a voice I could listen to for more than a few minutes without getting a migraine.'
Barbara Elsborg (With or Without Him)
While they waited, Ronan decided to finally take up the task of teaching Adam how to drive a stick shift. For several minutes, it seemed to be going well, as the BMW had an easy clutch, Ronan was brief and to the point with his instruction, and Adam was a quick study with no ego to get in the way.
From a safe vantage point beside the building, Gansey and Noah huddled and watched as Adam began to make ever quicker circles around the parking lot. Every so often their hoots were audible through the open windows of the BMW.
Then—it had to happen eventually—Adam stalled the car. It was a pretty magnificent beast, as far as stalls went, with lots of noise and death spasms on the part of the car. From the passenger seat, Ronan began to swear at Adam. It was a long, involved swear, using every forbidden word possible, often in compound-word form. As Adam stared at his lap, penitent, he mused that there was something musical about Ronan when he swore, a careful and loving precision to the way he fit the words together, a black-painted poetry. It was far less hateful sounding than when he didn’t swear.
Ronan finished with, “For the love of . . . Parrish, take some care, this is not your mother’s 1971 Honda Civic.”
Adam lifted his head and said, “They didn’t start making the Civic until ’73.”
There was a flash of fangs from the passenger seat, but before Ronan truly had time to strike, they both heard Gansey call warmly, “Jane! I thought you’d never show up. Ronan is tutoring Adam in the ways of manual transmissions.”
Blue, her hair pulled every which way by the wind, stuck her head in the driver’s side window. The scent of wildflowers accompanied her presence. As Adam catalogued the scent in the mental file of things that made Blue attractive, she said brightly, “Looks like it’s going well. Is that what that smell is?”
Without replying, Ronan climbed out of the car and slammed the door.
Noah appeared beside Blue. He looked joyful and adoring, like a Labrador retriever. Noah had decided almost immediately that he would do anything for Blue, a fact that would’ve needled Adam if it had been anyone other than Noah.
Blue permitted Noah to pet the crazy tufts of her hair, something Adam would have also liked to do, but felt would mean something far different coming from him.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers.
One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him.
She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two travelled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird.
But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains!
And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.
And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.”
The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage.
She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”
However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest.
The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.
One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds.
If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.
Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door.
“Why have you come?” she asked Death.
“So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied.
“If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.
Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
I'm so sorry. God, baby. What were you doing? You . . . God." He took a shaky breath. "You couldn't breathe. He hit you so hard and you went down and fuck, sweetheart. I've never been that scared in my life."
I was able to breathe again without pain and I had to fix this. This wasn't Green's fault. I didn't know he wasn't going to be able to stop. I thought he would stop from hitting Krit if I was in front of him. "He was gonna hit you," I said, wincing from the pain in my throat.
Krit went still a minute, and then his hold on me tightened.
Abbi Glines (Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7))
She felt as if she had been crying without end for minutes now.
Yet this parting, this final farewell ...
Aelin looked at Chaol and Dorian and sobbed. Opened her arms to them, and wept as they held each other.
“I love you both,” she whispered. “And no matter what may happen, no matter how far we may be, that will never change.”
“We will see you again,” Chaol said, but even his voice was thick with tears.
“Together,” Dorian breathed, shaking. “We’ll rebuild this world together.”
She couldn’t stand it, this ache in her chest. But she made herself pull away and smile at their tear-streaked faces, a hand on her heart. “Thank you for all you
have done for me.”
Dorian bowed his head. “Those are words I’d never thought I’d hear from you.”
She barked a rasping laugh, and gave him a shove. “You’re a king now. Such
insults are beneath you.”
He grinned, wiping at his face.
Aelin smiled at Chaol, at his wife waiting beyond him. “I wish you every happiness,” she said to him. To them both.
Such light shone in Chaol’s bronze eyes—that she had never seen before.
“We will see each other again,” he repeated.
Then he and Dorian turned toward their horses, toward the bright day beyond the castle gates. Toward their kingdom to the south. Shattered now, but not forever.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves.20 That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self.
It is particularly noteworthy that our fantasy self tends to be very visual, whereas our actual experiences are corporeal. In the fantasy, you observe a scene in your mind’s eye or on the computer screen. You see yourself standing on a tropical beach, the blue sea behind you, a big smile on your face, one hand holding a cocktail, the other arm around your lover’s waist. Paradise. What the picture does not show is the annoying fly that bites your leg, the cramped feeling in your stomach from eating that rotten fish soup, the tension in your jaw as you fake a big smile, and the ugly fight the happy couple had five minutes ago. If we could only feel what the people in the photos felt while taking them!
Hence if you really want to understand yourself, you should not identify with your Facebook account or with the inner story of the self. Instead, you should observe the actual flow of body and mind. You will see thoughts, emotions and desires appear and disappear without much reason and without any command from you, just as different winds blow from this or that direction and mess up your hair. And just as you are not the winds, so also you are not the jumble of thoughts, emotions and desires you experience, and you are certainly not the sanitised story you tell about them with hindsight.
You experience all of them, but you don’t control them, you don’t own them, and you are not them. People ask ‘Who am I?’ and expect to be told a story. The first thing you need to know about yourself, is that you are not a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
I have to tell you I love living in a world without clocks. The shackles are gone. I'm a puppy unleashed in a meadow of time. As I watched the sun come up this morning, I felt a new sense of kinship with it. Something primitive stirred inside me, something that remembers the rising sun by itself, before there were minutes and schedules and calendars, before there were even words like "morning.
Jerry Spinelli (Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2))
Haley took a deep breath and said,“I’m gay.”“You’re gay?” the obnoxious guy who’d been sniffing around her and bugging the heck out of her in line for the past ten minutes repeated. “Are you sure?”“Yes, I’m sure.”He looked thoughtful for a moment. “Well, do you think the two of you would want to-“
“No,” she said firmly.
“But what if I-“
“Come on, you won’t let me finish. I have this camera-“
“It would be fun-“
“But what if-“
“She said no,”Jason said as he cut in line and threw his arm around her shoulders in that lazy way of his.
“Hey! I thought you said you were gay!” the man said accusingly.Without missing a beat Jason said, “She is. I’m just her bitch.
I had zero idea of what I was doing.. I honestly had no idea where to start. All I knew was I had something I craved to say.. I wanted to create art that lived on longer than I do. Perseverance and teaching yourself, every day through stress and hard work proves shit really does progress without you realizing. One minute you're an amateur, knowing nothing, not even the basics. The next you can put pen to paper, write a song, and create art in such little time! It's crazy beautiful.
Two small figures were beating against the rock; the girl had fainted and lay on the the boy's arm. With a last effort Peter pulled her up the rock and then lay down beside her. Even as he also fainted he saw that the water was raising, He knew that they would soon be drowned, but he could do no more.
As they lay side by side a mermaid caught Wendy by the feet, and began pulling her softly into the water. Peter feeling her slip from him, woke with a start, and was just in time to draw her back. But he had to tell her the truth.
"We are on the rock, Wendy," he said, "but it is growing smaller. Soon the water will be over it."
She did not understand even now.
"We must go," she said, almost brightly.
"Yes," he answered faintly.
"Shall we swim or fly, Peter?"
He had to tell her.
"Do you think you could swim or fly as far as the island, Wendy, without my help?"
She had to admit she was too tired.
"What is it?" she asked, anxious about him at once.
"I can't help you, Wendy. Hook wounded me. I can neither fly nor swim."
"Do you mean we shall both be downed?"
"Look how the water is raising."
They put their hands over their eyes to shut out the sight. They thought they would soon be no more. As they sat thus something brushed against Peter as light as a kiss, and stayed there, as if to say timidly, "Can I be of any us?" It was the tail of a kite, which Michael had made some days before. It had torn itself out of his hand and floated away.
"Michael's kite," Peter said without interest, but the next moment he had seized the tail, and was pulling the kite towards him.
"It lifted Michael off the ground," he cried; "why should it not carry you?"
"Both of us!"
"It can't left two; Michael and Curly tried."
"Let us draw lots," Wendy said bravely.
"And you a lady; never." Already he had tied the tail round her. She clung to him; she refused to go without him; but with a "Good-bye, Wendy." he pushed her from the rock; and in a few minutes she was borne out of his sight. Peter was alone on the lagoon.
The rock was very small now; soon it would be submerged. Pale rays of light tiptoed across the waters; and by and by there was to be heard a sound at once the most musical and the most melancholy in the world: the mermaids calling to the moon.
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
Diesel was about to place the cockroach on the casket, and my purse rocked out with “Thriller” again.
“Excuse me,” I said. And I answered my phone.
“I’m beginning to appreciate Hatchet,” Wulf said to Diesel.
Diesel smiled. “She has her moments. And she makes cupcakes.”
I disconnected and stuffed my phone into my pocket.
“Well?” Diesel asked.
“It was Glo. Her broom ran away again.”
“I would appreciate it if we could get on with this without more interruption,” Wulf said in his eerily quiet voice, his eyes riveted on mine.
“Lighten up,” I said to Wulf. “Glo lost her broom again. This is a big deal for her. And what have we got here anyway…a dead guy and a Stone. Do you think they can wait for three minutes longer?”
Diesel gave a bark of laughter, and Wulf looked like her was trying hard not to sigh.
- Diesel, Lizzy, and Wulf, page 306-307.
Janet Evanovich (Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1))
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))
Well, Killick, I trust you are not rushing into matrimony without due consideration? Matrimony is a very serious thing.’ ‘Oh no, sir. I considered of it: I considered of it, why, the best part of twenty minutes. There was three to choose on, and this here –’ looking fondly at his purchase – ‘was the pick of the bunch.
Patrick O'Brian (Desolation Island (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 5) (Aubrey & Maturin series))
Not one word about proposals, no matter how much she pushes,” I told my friends. “No matter what she says or how loud she cries, don’t try to throw that up as a distraction.”
Gabriel’s lips twitched. “I don’t think it’s going to be that bad. It’s one woman against five supernatural creatures... And Zeb.”
“You laugh because you haven’t heard my mother’s thirty-minute verbal dissertation on appropriate seasonal flower choices. We’re better off letting her yell at us for being dirty, premarital fornicators.
Molly Harper (Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring (Jane Jameson, #3.5))
like your horrible taste in movies and the way you never sugarcoat anything and the fact that you have an actual lizard. I’d be proud to be your girlfriend, even in a nonofficial capacity while we’re, you know, being investigated for murder. Plus, I can’t go more than a few minutes without wanting to kiss you, so—there’s that.
Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1))
Everyone in America is extremely concerned with hydration. Go more than five minutes without drinking, and you’ll surely be discovered behind a potted plant, dried out like some escaped hermit crab. When I was young no one would think to bring a bottle of water into a classroom. I don’t think they even sold bottled water. We survived shopping trips without it, and funerals. Now, though, you see people with those barrels that Saint Bernards carry around their necks in cartoons, lugging them into the mall and the movie theater, then hogging the fountains in order to refill them. Is that really necessary?
David Sedaris (Calypso)
There's your problem," Leo announced.
Jason scratched his head. "Uh.... what are we looking at?"
Leo thought it was pretty obvious, but Piper looked confused too.
"Okay," Leo sighed, " you want the full explanation or the short explanation?"
"Short," Piper and Jason said in unison.
Leo gestured to the empty core. "The syncopator goes here. It's a multi-access gyro-valve to regulate flow. The doxen glass tubes on the outside? Those are filled with powerful,dangerous stuff. That glowing red one is Lemnos fire from my dad's forges. This murky stuff here? That's water from the River Styx. The stuff in the tubes is going to power the ship, right? Like radioactive rods in a nuclear reactor. But the mix ratio has to be controlled, and the timer is already operational.... That means without the syncopator, this stuff is all going to vent into the chamber at the same time, in sixty-five minutes. At that point, we'll get a very nasty reaction."
Jason and Piper stared at him. Leo wondered if he'd been speaking English. Sometimes when he was agitated he slipped into Spanish, like his mom used to do in her workshop. But he was pretty sure he'd used English.
"Um..." Piper cleared her throat." Could you make the short explanation shorter?"
Leo palm-smacked his forehead. "Fine. One hour. Fluids mix. Bunker goes ka-boom. One square mile of forest tuns into a smoking crater."
"Oh," Piper said in a small voice. "Can't you just..... turn it off?"
"Gee, I didn't think of that!" Leo said. "Let me just hit this switch and - No, Piper. I can't turn it off.
Rick Riordan (The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus))
Men learn to regard rape as a moment in time; a discreet episode with a beginning, middle, and end. But for women, rape is thousands of moments that we fold into ourselves over a lifetime.
Its' the day that you realize you can't walk to a friend's house anymore or the time when your aunt tells you to be nice because the boy was just 'stealing a kiss.' It's the evening you stop going to the corner store because, the night before, a stranger followed you home. It's the late hour that a father or stepfather or brother or uncle climbs into your bed. It's the time it takes you to write an email explaining that you're changing your major, even though you don't really want to, in order to avoid a particular professor. It's when you're racing to catch a bus, hear a person demand a blow job, and turn to see that it's a police officer. It's the second your teacher tells you to cover your shoulders because you'll 'distract the boys, and what will your male teachers do?' It's the minute you decide not to travel to a place you've always dreamed about visiting and are accused of being 'unadventurous.' It's the sting of knowing that exactly as the world starts expanding for most boys, it begins to shrink for you. All of this goes on all day, every day, without anyone really uttering the word rape in a way that grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, and friends will hear it, let alone seriously reflect on what it means.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
... the first few minutes of a person's death are the most vitally important minutes of opportunity for a necromancer, [so] Cabal added, "Look, I have to go. Without the necessary chemicals, we'll lose whatever wits are still floating around his cooling brain. The only more immediate alternative that I can think of is a Tantric ritual involving necrophiliac sodomy and, frankly, I don't think my back is up to it. So, if you will excuse me?
Jonathan L. Howard (Johannes Cabal the Detective (Johannes Cabal, #2))
Not long ago you are in a room where someone asks the philosopher Judith Butler what makes language hurtful. You can feel everyone lean in. Our very being exposes us to the address of another, she answers. We suffer from the condition of being addressable. Our emotional openness, she adds, is carried by our addressability. Language navigates this. For so long you thought the ambition of racist language was to denigrate and erase you as a person. After considering Butler’s remarks, you begin to understand yourself as rendered hypervisible in the face of such language acts. Language that feels hurtful is intended to exploit all the ways that you are present. Your alertness, your openness, and your desire to engage actually demand your presence, your looking up, your talking back, and, as insane as it is, saying please. Standing outside the conference room, unseen by the two men waiting for the others to arrive, you hear one say to the other that being around black people is like watching a foreign film without translation. Because you will spend the next two hours around the round table that makes conversing easier, you consider waiting a few minutes before entering the room.
Claudia Rankine (Citizen: An American Lyric)
Well, I think I laid down my sunshade first,'said Mrs. Twining reflectively. 'Ah, that doesn't interest you. I told Finch that I wanted to tidy my hair (a euphemism for "powder my nose", of course), and would show myself out on to the terrace.'
'And you did in fact powder your nose, Mrs. Twining, at the mirror over the fireplace?'
'Most thoroughly,' she agreed.
'How long did that take you?'
She looked rather amused. 'When a woman powders her nose, Inspector, she loses count of time. My own estimate would be a moment or two; almost any man, I feel, would probably say, ages.'
'Were you as long, perhaps, as five minutes?'
'I hope not. Let us say three - without prejudice.
Georgette Heyer (The Unfinished Clue)
If I could believe," said Rhoda, "that I should grow old in pursuit and change, I should be rid of my fear: nothing persists. One moment does not lead to another. The door opens and the tiger leaps. You do not see me come...I cannot make one moment merge in the next. To me they are all violent, all separate; and if I fall under the shock of the leap of the moment you will be on me, tearing me to pieces. I have no end in view. I do not know how to run minute to minute, and hour to hour, solving them by some natural force until they make the whole and indivisible mass that you call life. Because you have an end in view--one person, is it, to sit beside, an idea is it, your beauty is it? I do not know--your days and hours pass like the boughs of forest trees and the smooth green of forest rides to a hound running in the scent...
But since I wish above all things to have lodgment, I pretend, as I go upstairs lagging behind Jinny and Susan, to have an end in view. I pull on my stockings as I see them pull on theirs. I wait for you to speak and then speak like you. I am drawn here across London to a particular spot, to a particular place, not to see you or you or you, but to light my fire at the general blaze of you who love wholly, indivisibly, and without caring in the moment.
I need to give you one last bit of advice in the off chance this rather extraordinary and enviable situation in which you find yourself is actually true- that somehow you've fallen deep down into a Cordova story. I stared back at him. Be the good guy, he said. How do I know I'm the good guy? He pointed at me, nodding. A very wise question. You don't. Most bad guys think they're good. But there are a few signifiers. You'll be miserable. You'll be hated. You'll fumble around in the dark, alone and confused. You'll have little insight as to the true nature of things, not until the very last minute, and only if you have the stamina and the madness to go to the very, very end. But most importantly- and critically- you will act without regard for yourself. You'll be motivated by something that has nothing to do with the ego. You'll do it for justice. For grace. For love. Those large rather heroic qualities only the good have the strength to carry on their shoulders. And you'll listen.
Marisha Pessl (Night Film)
I wrote in my journal about how good I felt when I was not living under Ed’s control. Then, when I really felt like giving up, I read these pages and realized that I was striving for in recovery was a real possibility. I thought about these experiences and used them as encouragement to keep moving forward. Even one minute of freedom was proof that I was getting better. At first, these times were few and far between. Now, these moments are connected; they are my life
Jenni Schaefer (Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too)
Have I said anything I started out to say about being good? God, I don’t know. A stranger is shot in the street, you hardly move to help. But if half an hour before, you spent just ten minutes with the fellow and knew a little about him and his family, you might just jump in front of his killer and try to stop it. Really knowing is good. Not knowing, or refusing to know, is bad, or amoral, at least. You can’t act if you don’t know. Acting without knowing takes you right off the cliff.
He also tried to block the doorway when she left him. My mother ducked under his arm, ran to her car, and drove away. I remember thinking that this was somehow romantic, as it pinpointed the actual memory of my mother's departure, something you don't see a lot of in television. Real people don't slam doors without opening them five minutes later because it's raining and they forgot their umbrella. They don't stop dead in their tracks because they realize they're in love with their best friend.They don't say, "I'm leaving you, Jack," and fade to a paper towel commercial.
Sloane Crosley (I Was Told There'd Be Cake: Essays)
He matters to me, too."
"I know he does."
"He didn't." Phillip pulled out his hammer to nail the laps. "Not as much as he did to you. Not enough. It's different now."
"I know that, too." For the next few minutes they worked in tandem, without words. "You stood up for him anyway," Cam added when the plank was in place. "Even when he didn't matter enough."
"I did it for Dad."
"We all did it for Dad. Now we're doing it for Seth.
Nora Roberts (Inner Harbor (Chesapeake Bay Saga, #3))
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle. The tortoise is a ground-living creature. It is impossible to live nearer the ground without being under it. Its horizons are a few inches away. It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce. It has survived while the rest of evolution flowed past it by being, on the whole, no threat to anyone and too much trouble to eat. And then there is the eagle. A creature of the air and high places, whose horizons go all the way to the edge of the world. Eyesight keen enough to spot the rustle of some small and squeaky creature half a mile away. All power, all control. Lightning death on wings. Talons and claws enough to make a meal of anything smaller than it is and at least take a hurried snack out of anything bigger. And yet the eagle will sit for hours on the crag and survey the kingdoms of the world until it spots a distant movement and then it will focus, focus, focus on the small shell wobbling among the bushes down there on the desert. And it will leap… And a minute later the tortoise finds the world dropping away from it. And it sees the world for the first time, no longer one inch from the ground but five hundred feet above it, and it thinks: what a great friend I have in the eagle. And then the eagle lets go. And almost always the tortoise plunges to its death. Everyone knows why the tortoise does this. Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off. No one knows why the eagle does this. There’s good eating on a tortoise but, considering the effort involved, there’s much better eating on practically anything else. It’s simply the delight of eagles to torment tortoises. But of course, what the eagle does not realize is that it is participating in a very crude form of natural selection. One day a tortoise will learn how to fly.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
A Babylonian in 1750 BCE would have had to labor fifty hours to spend one hour reading his cuneiform tablets by a sesame-oil lamp. In 1800, an Englishman had to toil for six hours to burn a tallow candle for an hour. (Imagine planning your family budget around that—you might settle for darkness.) In 1880, you’d need to work fifteen minutes to burn a kerosene lamp for an hour; in 1950, eight seconds for the same hour from an incandescent bulb; and in 1994, a half-second for the same hour from a compact fluorescent bulb—a 43,000-fold leap in affordability in two centuries. And the progress wasn’t finished: Nordhaus published his article before LED bulbs flooded the market. Soon, cheap, solar-powered LED lamps will transform the lives of the more than one billion people without access to electricity, allowing them to read the news or do their homework without huddling around an oil drum filled with burning garbage.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
I was thinking, and realised how simple my goal has been— just to be me! I didn't want to be a good person and change the world; I just wanted to be me! Against all odds, I wanted to make sure that I turned out as myself and not into my family, my society, my religion... I wanted to make sure that I turned into me! But then after that first realisation, I made a second realisation; and that is, that becoming yourself against all odds is probably the highest attainment you could ever dream of or hope for! After all, the minute we are born, we are born into a world that isn't interested in making us who we are; but rather, is interested in making us who they think we are supposed to be! It is a most courageous act to become yourself, no matter what! And you can move mountains and change the world without trying to! As long as you fight for you!
C. JoyBell C.
That night our new husbands took us quickly. They took us calmly. They took us gently, but firmly, and without saying a word. They assumed we were the virgins the matchmakers had promised them we were and they took us with exquisite care. Now let me know if it hurts.
They took us flat on our backs on the bare floor of the Minute Motel. They took us downtown, in second-rate rooms at the Kumamoto Inn. They took us in the best hotels in San Francisco that a yellow man could set foot in at the time. The Kinokuniya Hotel. The Mikado. The Hotel Ogawa. They took us for granted and assumed we would do for them whatever it was we were told. Please turn toward the wall and drop down on your hands and knees (...)
They took us violently, with their fists, whenever we tried to resist. They took us even though we bit them. They took us even though we hit them (...).
They took us cautiously, as though they were afraid we might break. You’re so small. They took us coldly but knowledgeably — In 20 seconds you will lose all control —
and we knew there had been many others before us. They took us as we stared up blankly at the ceiling and waited for it to be over, not realizing that it would not be over for years.
Julie Otsuka (The Buddha in the Attic)
What of that woman you’ve found?” the Mace asked. “Does she offer no relief at all?”
Pen laughed without humor. “Ten minutes of relief, every time.”
“We can find another shield, you know,” the Mace told him. “Several of them are ready. Elston would jump at the chance.”
“No. It would be a greater torment to be out of the room than in.”
“You say that now, but think, Pen. Think about when she takes a husband, or even just a man for the night. How will you feel then, being right outside the door?”
“She may not take either.
Erika Johansen (The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2))
On the morning of our second day, we were strolling down the Champs-Elysées when a bird shit on his head. ‘Did you know a bird’s shit on your head?’ I asked a block or two later.
Instinctively Katz put a hand to his head, looked at it in horror – he was always something of a sissy where excrement was concerned; I once saw him running through Greenwood Park in Des Moines like the figure in Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ just because he had inadvertently probed some dog shit with the tip of his finger – and with only a mumbled ‘Wait here’ walked with ramrod stiffness in the direction of our hotel. When he reappeared twenty minutes later he smelled overpoweringly of Brut aftershave and his hair was plastered down like a third-rate Spanish gigolo’s, but he appeared to have regained his composure. ‘I’m ready now,’ he announced.
Almost immediately another bird shit on his head. Only this time it really shit. I don’t want to get too graphic, in case you’re snacking or anything, but if you can imagine a pot of yoghurt upended onto his scalp, I think you’ll get the picture. ‘Gosh, Steve, that was one sick bird,’ I observed helpfully.
Katz was literally speechless. Without a word he turned and walked stiffly back to the hotel, ignoring the turning heads of passers-by. He was gone for nearly an hour. When at last he returned, he was wearing a windcheater with the hood up. ‘Just don’t say a word,’ he warned me and strode past. He never really warmed to Paris after that.
Bill Bryson (Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe)
I'm speaking to you man to man," he said, "not doctor to patient. How much longer can you continue denying yourself? You can't live without warmth." "Warmth?" I said, sending him a 'shut up' message. "Yes. Sexual expression. David, you don't even masturbate." We were silent for at least a minute. My intrigues huddled within me like guerilla warriors, hiding behind other thoughts. Finally, I thought of something to say: "If we're going to talk man to man and not doctor to patient, then I don't think you should charge me for this hour.
Scott Spencer (Endless Love)
He coiled himself neatly and waited without fidgeting, as was polite; but at length, when Majestatis showed no signs of waking—after ten minutes, or perhaps five—very nearly five—Temeraire coughed; then he coughed again, a little more emphatically, and Majestatis sighed and said, without opening his eyes, “So you are not leaving, I suppose?”
“Oh,” Temeraire said, his ruff prickling, “I thought you were only sleeping, not ignoring me deliberately; I will go at once.”
“Well, you might as well stay now,” Majestatis said, lifting his head and yawning himself away. “I don’t bother to wake up if it isn’t important enough to wait for, that’s all.
Naomi Novik (Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5))
Exactly, my dear sir, as the radio for ten minutes together projects the most lovely music without regard into the most impossible places, into respectable drawing rooms and attics and into the midst of chattering, guzzling, yawning and sleeping listeners, and exactly as it strips this music of its sensuous beauty, spoils and scratches and slimes it and yet cannot altogether destroy its spirit, just so does life, the so-called reality, deal with the sublime picture-play of the world and make a hurley-burley of it. It makes its unappetizing tone-slime of the most magic orchestral music. Everywhere it obtrudes its mechanism, its activity, its dreary exigencies and vanity between the ideal and the real, between orchestra and ear. All life is so, my child, and we must let it be so: and, if we are not asses, laugh at it. It little becomes people like you to be critics of radio or of life either. Better learn to listen first! Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.
Suicide by train is also popular in many developed countries. Without ready access to firearms, suicidal people often turn to trains. —Der Spiegel, July 27, 2011
Once it happens you can’t remember
how you started out: innocent,
barreling into the tunnel,
shooting out at each station
like a dolphin out of a dim green pool.
Pneumatic doors inhale open, puff shut,
lock with a solid thump.
Up and down the line, fifty times a day,
it’s a long slow song. You
feel the rumble as much as hear it.
In your dim green trance
the words retain wonder:
Vorsicht, Türe werden geschloßen.
Caution, the doors are closing.
Then the first time:
someone decides darkness will answer,
hides out in the tunnel,
steps out in front of the train
like he knows where he’s going,
steps out at you, dying at you,
knowing you can’t stop in time.
Now each time the doors close,
they seal you in. You are a human bullet
shot into the tunnels, hoping no one
will block the light far ahead,
each station one minute’s reprieve.
No,” said Tuck calmly. “Not now. Your time’s not now. But dying’s part of the wheel, right there next to being born. You can’t pick out the pieces you like and leave the rest. Being part of the whole thing, that’s the blessing. But it’s passing us by, us Tucks. Living’s heavy work, but off to one side, the way we are, it’s useless, too. It don’t make sense. If I knowed how to climb back on the wheel, I’d do it in a minute. You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.
Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting)
Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say:
When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.
When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs.
When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her.
When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen.
When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her.
When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away.
Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words.
If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong.
These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole.
Without it, there are tatters.
It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending.
These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could.
A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste.
I love you,
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
The higher Christian churches...come at God with an unwarranted air of professionalism, with authority and pomp, as though they knew what they were doing, as though people in themselves were an appropriate set of creatures to have dealings with God. I often think of the set pieces of liturgy as certain words which people have successfully addressed to God without their getting killed. In the high churches they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a strand of scaffolding who have long since forgotten the danger. If God were to blast such a congregation to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it any minute.
Annie Dillard (Holy the Firm)
Robin Hood. To a Friend.
No! those days are gone away,
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Ofthe leaves of many years:
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
No, the bugle sounds no more,
And the twanging bow no more;
Silent is the ivory shrill
Past the heath and up the hill;
There is no mid-forest laugh,
Where lone Echo gives the half
To some wight, amaz'd to hear
Jesting, deep in forest drear.
On the fairest time of June
You may go, with sun or moon,
Or the seven stars to light you,
Or the polar ray to right you;
But you never may behold
Little John, or Robin bold;
Never one, of all the clan,
Thrumming on an empty can
Some old hunting ditty, while
He doth his green way beguile
To fair hostess Merriment,
Down beside the pasture Trent;
For he left the merry tale,
Messenger for spicy ale.
Gone, the merry morris din;
Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
Idling in the "grene shawe";
All are gone away and past!
And if Robin should be cast
Sudden from his turfed grave,
And if Marian should have
Once again her forest days,
She would weep, and he would craze:
He would swear, for all his oaks,
Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
Have rotted on the briny seas;
She would weep that her wild bees
Sang not to her---strange! that honey
Can't be got without hard money!
So it is; yet let us sing
Honour to the old bow-string!
Honour to the bugle-horn!
Honour to the woods unshorn!
Honour to the Lincoln green!
Honour to the archer keen!
Honour to tight little John,
And the horse he rode upon!
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood!
Honour to maid Marian,
And to all the Sherwood clan!
Though their days have hurried by
Let us two a burden try.
Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without that darkness, there would only be a blur. Which is to say that a full-length movie consists of half an hour or an hour of pure darkness that goes unseen. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theater gazing together at a deep imaginative night. It is the terra incognita of film, the dark continent on every map. In a similar way, a runner’s every step is a leap, so that for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For those brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet, like leaks, but hover below them like doubles, as they do with birds, whose shadows crawl below them, caressing the surface of the earth, growing and shrinking as their makers move nearer or farther from that surface. For my friends who run long distances, these tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; by their own power they hover above the earth for many minutes, perhaps some significant portion of an hour or perhaps far more for the hundred-mile races. We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in bites too small to be measured.
Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)
When I got to school the next morning I had stepped only
one foot in the quad when he spotted me and nearly tackled me to the ground. “Jamie!” he hollered, rushing across the lawn without caring the least
bit about the scene he was creating.
The next thing I knew, my feet were off the ground and I was squished so tightly in Ryan’s arms that I could barely breathe.
“Okay, Ryan?” I coughed in a hushed tone. “This is exactly the kind of thing that can get you killed.”
“I don’t care, I’m not letting go. Don’t ever disappear like that again!” he scolded, but his voice was more relieved than angry. “It’s been days! You
had your mother worried sick!”
“My mother?” I questioned sarcastically.
Ryan laughed as he finally set me back on my feet. “Okay, fine, me too.” He still wouldn’t let go of me, though. He was gripping my arms while he
looked at me with those eyes, and that smile… You know, being all Ryan-ish. And then, when I got lost in the moment, he totally took advantage of
how whipped I was and he kissed me. The jerk. He just pulled my face to his right then and there, in the middle of a crowded quad full of students,
where I could have accidentally unleashed an electrical storm at any moment. And okay, maybe I liked it, and maybe I even needed it, but still! You
can’t just go kissing Jamie Baker whenever you want, even if you are Ryan Miller!
“Ryan!” I yelled as soon as I was able to pull away from him—which admittedly took a minute.
“I’m sorry.” Ryan laughed with this big dopey grin on his face and then kissed me some more.
I had to push him away from me. “Don’t be sorry, just stop!” I realized I was screaming at him when I felt a hundred different pairs of eyes on me. I
tried to ignore the audience that Ryan seemed oblivious to and dropped the audio a few decibels. “I wasn’t kidding when I said this has to stop.
Look, I will be your friend. I want to be your friend. But that’s it.
We can’t be anything more. It’ll never work.”
Ryan watched me for a minute and then whispered, “Don’t do that.” I was shocked to hear the sudden emotion in his voice. “Don’t give up.”
It was hopeless.
“Fine!” I snapped. “I’ll be your stupid girlfriend!”
Big shocker, me giving Ryan his way, I know. But let’s face it—it’s just what I do best. I had to at least act a little tough, though. “But!” I said in the
harshest voice I was capable of. “You can’t ever touch me unless I say. No more tackling me, and especially no more surprise kissing.” He actually
laughed at my request. “No promises.”
Stupid, cocky boyfriend.
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?”
Ryan got this big cheesy smile on his face and said, “Crazy about you.”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Would you be serious for a minute? Why do you insist on putting your life in danger?”
“Because I like you.”
His stupid grin was infectious. I wanted to be angry, but how could I with him looking at me like that?
“I’m not worth it, you know,” I said stubbornly. “I have issues. I’m unstable.”
“You’re cute when you’re unstable,” Ryan said, “and I like your issues.” The stupid boy was straight-up giddy now. But he was so cute that I cracked
a smile despite myself. “You really are crazy,” I muttered.
Kelly Oram (Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker, #1))
Each time I wondered at how any of them could ever consider that life would be better without them, and then I remembered that it’s the same thing I struggle with when my brain tries to kill me. And so they’ve saved me too. That’s why I continue to talk about mental illness, even at the cost of scaring people off or having people judge me. I try to be honest about the shame I feel because with honesty comes empowerment. And also, understanding. I know that if I go out on a stage and have a panic attack, I can duck behind the podium and hide for a minute and no one is going to judge me. They already know I’m crazy. And they still love me in spite of it. In fact, some love me because of it. Because there is something wonderful in accepting someone else’s flaws, especially when it gives you the chance to accept your own and see that those flaws are the things that make us human. I do worry that one day other kids will taunt my daughter when they’re old enough to read and know my story. Sometimes I wonder if the best thing to do is just to be quiet and stop waving the banner of “fucked up and proud of it,” but I don’t think I’ll put down this banner until someone takes it away from me. Because quitting might be easier, but it wouldn’t be better.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
You ask if I regret our engagement.
No. I regret every minute that you’re out of my sight. I regret every step that doesn’t bring me closer to you.
My last thought each night is that you should be in my arms. There is no peace or pleasure in my empty bed, where I sleep with you only in dreams and wake to curse the dawn.
If I had the right, I would forbid you to go anywhere without me. Not out of selfishness, but because being apart from you is like trying to live without breathing.
Think on that. You’ve stolen my very breath, cariad. And now I’m left to count the days until I take it back from you, kiss by kiss.
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
I'm like a machine being run over its RPM limit: The bearings are overheating - a minute longer, and the metal is going to melt and start dripping and that'll be the end of everything. I need a quick splash of cold water, logic. I pour it on in buckets, but the logic hisses on the hot bearings and dissipates in the air as a fleeting white mist.
Well, of course, it's clear that you can't establish a function without taking into account what its limit is. And it's also clear that what I felt yesterday, that stupid "dissolving in the universe," if you take it to its limit, is death. Because that's exactly what death is - the fullest possible dissolving of myself into the universe. Hence, if we let L stand for love and D for death, then L = f (D), i.e., love and death...
Yevgeny Zamyatin (We)
Why hadn’t he realized this before? Everyone knew that if you divided reality
by expectation, you got a happiness quotient. But when you inverted the equation-expectation
divided by reality-you didn’t get the opposite of happiness. What you got, Lewis realized, was hope.
Pure logic: Assuming reality was constant, expectation had to be greater than reality to create
optimism. On the other hand, a pessimist was someone with expectations lower than reality, a
fraction of diminishing returns. The human condition meant that this number approached zero
without reaching it-you never really completely gave up hope; it might come flooding back at any
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)
After everything they did to you, how can you stand me?" Neil asked...He gestured between them knowing Andrew would understand. "How is this okay?"
"It isn't a this," Andrew said.
"That's not what I'm asking. You know it isn't-Andrew wait!" he insisted but Andrew was turning away like he couldn't hear Neil anymore.
Neil reached for him, unwilling to let him leave without a real answer.
"No," Andrew said and Neil's hand froze a breath from Andrew's arm.
Andrew went still as well and they stood for a minute in awful silence.
Finally, Andrew looked back at him, but for a moment, Neil didn't know who he was looking at. In the space of one breath, Andrew's expression went so dark Neil almost retreated. Then Andrew was back, as calm and uncaring as always and he caught Neil's wrist to push his hand to his side. He dug his fingers in before letting go, not quite hard enough to hurt and said, "that's why."
Neil stopped when Andrew told him to. I wasn't much but it was more than enough.
Nora Sakavic (The King's Men (All for the Game, #3))
Here’s how to get started: 1. Sit still and stay put . Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, or sit cross-legged on a cushion. Sit up straight and rest your hands in your lap. It’s important not to fidget when you meditate—that’s the physical foundation of self-control. If you notice the instinct to scratch an itch, adjust your arms, or cross and uncross your legs, see if you can feel the urge but not follow it. This simple act of staying still is part of what makes meditation willpower training effective. You’re learning not to automatically follow every single impulse that your brain and body produce. 2. Turn your attention to the breath. Close your eyes or, if you are worried about falling asleep, focus your gaze at a single spot (like a blank wall, not the Home Shopping Network). Begin to notice your breathing. Silently say in your mind “inhale” as you breathe in and “exhale” as you breathe out. When you notice your mind wandering (and it will), just bring it back to the breath. This practice of coming back to the breath, again and again, kicks the prefrontal cortex into high gear and quiets the stress and craving centers of your brain . 3. Notice how it feels to breathe, and notice how the mind wanders. After a few minutes, drop the labels “inhale/exhale.” Try focusing on just the feeling of breathing. You might notice the sensations of the breath flowing in and out of your nose and mouth. You might sense the belly or chest expanding as you breathe in, and deflating as you breathe out. Your mind might wander a bit more without the labeling. Just as before, when you notice yourself thinking about something else, bring your attention back to the breath. If you need help refocusing, bring yourself back to the breath by saying “inhale” and “exhale” for a few rounds. This part of the practice trains self-awareness along with self-control. Start with five minutes a day. When this becomes a habit, try ten to fifteen minutes a day. If that starts to feel like a burden, bring it back down to five. A short practice that you do every day is better than a long practice you keep putting off to tomorrow. It may help you to pick a specific time that you will meditate every day, like right before your morning shower. If this is impossible, staying flexible will help you fit it in when you can.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
Some things you carry around inside you as though they were part of your blood and bones, and when that happens, there’s nothing you can do to forget
…But I had never been much of a believer. If anything, I believed that things got worse before they got better. I believed good people suffered... people who have faith were so lucky; you didn’t want to ruin it for them. You didn’t want to plant doubt where there was none. You had to treat suck individuals tenderly and hope that some of whatever they were feeling rubs off on you
Those who love you will love you forever, without questions or boundaries or the constraints of time. Daily life is real, unchanging as a well-built house. But houses burn; they catch fire in the middle of the night.
The night is like any other night of disaster, with every fact filtered through a veil of disbelief. The rational world has spun so completely out of its orbit, there is no way to chart or expect what might happen next
At that point, they were both convinced that love was a figment of other people’s imaginations, an illusion fashioned out of smoke and air that really didn’t exist
Fear, like heat, rises; it drifts up to the ceiling and when it falls down it pours out in a hot and horrible rain
True love, after all, could bind a man where he didn’t belong. It could wrap him in cords that were all but impossible to break
Fear is contagious. It doubles within minutes; it grows in places where there’s never been any doubt before
The past stays with a man, sticking to his heels like glue, invisible and heartbreaking and unavoidable, threaded to the future, just as surely as day is sewn to night
He looked at girls and saw only sweet little fuckboxes, there for him to use, no hearts involved, no souls, and, most assuredly no responsibilities.
Welcome to the real world. Herein is the place where no one can tell you whether or not you’ve done the right thing.
I could tell people anything I wanted to, and whatever I told them, that would be the truth as far as they were concerned. Whoever I said I was, well then, that’s who id be
The truths by which she has lived her life have evaporated, leaving her empty of everything except the faint blue static of her own skepticism. She has never been a person to question herself; now she questions everything
Something’s, are true no matter how hard you might try to bloc them out, and a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told
You were nothing more than a speck of dust, good-looking dust, but dust all the same
Some people needed saving
She doesn’t want to waste precious time with something as prosaic as sleep. Every second is a second that belongs to her; one she understands could well be her last
Why wait for anything when the world is so cockeyed and dangerous? Why sit and stare into the mirror, too fearful of what may come to pass to make a move?
At last she knows how it feels to take a chance when everything in the world is at stake, breathless and heedless and desperate for more
She’ll be imagining everything that’s out in front of them, road and cloud and sky, all the elements of a future, the sort you have to put together by hand, slowly and carefully until the world is yours once more
Alice Hoffman (Blue Diary)
What is Destiny?
Is it a doctrine formulated by aristocrats and philosophers arguing that there is some unseen driving force predicting the outcomes of every minuscule and life altering moment in one's life? Or is it the artistry illustrated by those under-qualifed and over-eager to give their future meaning and their ambitions hope?
Is it a declaration by those who refuse to accept that we are alone in this universe, spinning randomly through a matrix of accidental coincidences? Or is it the assumptions made by those who concede that there is a divine plan or pre-ordained path for each human being,regardless of their current station?
I think destiny is a bit of a tease....
It's syndical taunts and teases mock those naive enough to believe in its black jack dealing of inevitable futures. Its evolution from puppy dogs and ice cream to razor blades and broken mirrors characterizes the fickle nature of its sordid underbelly. Those relying on its decisive measures will fracture under its harsh rules. Those embracing the fact that life happens at a million miles a minute will flourish in its random grace.
Destiny has afforded me the most magical memories and unbelievably tragic experiences that have molded and shaped my life into what it is today...beautiful.
I fully accept the mirage that destiny promises and the reality it can produce. Without the invisible momentum carried with its sincere fabrication of coming attraction, destiny is the covenant we rely on to get ourselves through the day.
To the destiny I know awaits me, I thank you in advance.
Don't cry because it's over....smile because it happened.
Ivan Rusilko (Dessert (The Winemaker's Dinner, #3))
Who could say that human nature can endure such a trial without slipping into madness? Why this ghastly, needless outrage? Perhaps there is a man to whom the death sentence was read and who was allowed to suffer and then told, ‘Go, You are pardoned.’ Perhaps such a man could tell us something. This was the agony and the horror of which Christ told too. No, you cannot treat a man like that.
…Think! When there is torture there is pain and wounds, physical agony, and all this distracts the mind from mental suffering, so that one is tormented only by the wounds until the moment of death. But the most terrible agony many not be in the wounds themselves but in knowing for certain that within an hour, then within ten minutes, then within half a minute, now at this very instant – your soul will leave your body and you will no longer be a person, and that is certain; the worst thing is that it is certain.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Idiot)
Sadhana Look around. Among your family, coworkers, and friends, can you see how everyone has different levels of perception? Just observe this closely. If you know a few people who seem to have a greater clarity of perception than others, watch how they conduct their body. They often have a certain poise without practice. But just a little practice can make an enormous difference. If you sit for just a few hours a day with your spine erect, you will see that it will have an unmistakable effect on your life. You will now begin to understand what I mean by the geometry of your existence. Just the way you hold your body determines almost everything about you. Another way of listening to life is paying attention to it experientially, not intellectually or emotionally. Choose any one thing about yourself: your breath, your heartbeat, your pulse, your little finger. Just pay attention to it for eleven minutes at a time. Do this at least three times a day. Keep your attention on any sensation, but feel free to continue doing whatever you are doing. If you lose attention, it doesn’t matter. Simply refocus your attention. This practice will allow you to move from mental alertness to awareness. You will find the quality of your life experience will begin to change.
Sadhguru (Inner Engineering: A Yogi's Guide to Joy)
Apology Letter from the Brain
Hey there. I’m sorry. OK? But can I say something? Look. I admit I wasn’t perfect. No one is perfect. That’s a fact. Speaking of facts, don’t you think we all need to take a minute and decide who is right and who is wrong? Every side is different; it’s just that my side seems more right. I’m not just saying that because it’s my side. I think a lot of other people would agree with me, given the chance. If I upset you in some way, please know that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t know how sensitive you were. It’s obvious I can set you off very easily. That’s not an insult; it’s just an observation. I think it would help if we talked about this more and argued about who was telling the truth. I would like to see you in person and tell you how the situation has affected me. I may use this opportunity to bring up other times you have hurt me in the past. If possible, I would like to hurt you back. Either way, I want to be in control. Until then, take care. And please, remember I reached out first.
Apology Letter from the Heart
Hey there. I’m sorry. I’ve found it hard to tell you this, and I realize my apology may be too little or come too late. It is important for me to let you know that I am sorry for what I did or said or didn’t do or say. I was wrong. I make mistakes. I HATE that I made one with you. I’m reaching out because life goes by so fast and I just don’t want my one life to go by without expressing this to you. I want to do and be better. This apology is yours. Feel free to do whatever you want with it. My hope is that it gives you comfort, but my goal is that it doesn’t cause you any pain. Again, I am TRULY sorry. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
P.S. I’m sorry.
When he was finished, he set his plate down, looked at me, and raised an eyebrow.
I leaned forward and whispered angrily, “I am not going to sit on your lap, so don’t get your hopes up, Mister.”
He still waited until I picked up a fork and took a few bites. I speared a bite of macadamia nut crusted ruby snapper and said, “Whew. Time’s up. Isn’t it? The clock is ticking. You must be sweating it, huh? I mean, you could turn any second.”
He just took a bite of curried lamb and then some saffron rice and sat there chewing as cool as a cucumber.
I watched him closely for a full two minutes and then folded up my napkin.
“Okay, I give. Why are you acting so smug and confident? When are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
He wiped his mouth carefully and took a sip of water. “What’s going on, my prema, is that the curse has been lifted.”
My mouth dropped open. “What? If it was lifted, why were you a tiger for the last two days?”
“Well, to be clear, the curse is not completely gone. I seem to have been granted a partial removal of the curse.”
“Partial? Partial meaning what, exactly?”
“Partial, meaning a certain number of hours per day. Six hours to be exact.”
I recited the prophecy in my mind and remembered that there were four sides to the monolith, and four times six was…”Twenty-four.”
He paused. “Twenty-four what?”
“Well, six hours makes sense because there are four gifts to obtain for Durga and four sides of the monolith. We’ve only completed one of the tasks, so you only get six hours.”
He smiled. “I guess I get to keep you around then, at least until the other tasks are finished.”
I snorted. “Don’t hold your breath, Tarzan. I might not need to be present for the other tasks. Now that you’re a man part of the time, you and Kishan can resolve this problem yourselves, I’m sure.”
He cocked his head and narrowed his eyes at me. “Don’t underestimate your level of…involvement, Kelsey. Even if you weren’t needed anymore to break the curse, do you think I’d simply let you go? Let you walk out of my life without a backward glance?”
I nervously began toying with my food and decided to say nothing. That was exactly what I’d been planning to do.
Something had changed. The hurt and confused Ren that made me feel guilty for rejecting him in Kishkindha was gone. He was now supremely confident, almost arrogant, and very sure of himself.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Long after the celebrations were over, as she was fixing him a late-night snack in her lodge—their lodge, she asked without looking at him, “Are you sure you’re okay with being a member of both packs? I mean, you don’t feel like you’ve betrayed Trey?” It would be stupid, but she could understand it.
From his seat at the kitchen table, he replied, “Hmm.” He had no idea what she’d asked. Come on, did she really expect him to understand a word she said when she was strolling around in nothing but a tank top and a pair of boy shorts? It was one of the hottest things ever and gave him little peaks of that ass he loved. It didn’t matter that he’d been inside her only twenty minutes ago. He could never get enough of her.
Confused by his response, she looked over her shoulder . . . and rolled her eyes. “Could you stop ogling my ass for just one second?”
Suzanne Wright (Dark Instincts (The Phoenix Pack, #4))
But it's all a matter of taste, you say. It's true that among the perfumes reckoned good or great, there are some that will move you more than others, and some that will leave you entirely cold or even sickened, because either they won't say what you're longing to hear or they say what you never want to hear again. All the same, when considering perfume as an art, it's possible to appreciate when something is done exceptionally well.
If you've tried several perfumes, you know things can go wrong. Many compositions smell great in the first few minutes, then fade rapidly to a murmur or an unpleasant twang you can never quite wash off. Some seem to attack with what feels like an icepick in the eye. Others smell nice for an hour in the middle but boring at start and finish. Some veer uncomfortably sweet, and some fall to pieces, with various parts hanging there in the air but not really cooperating in any useful way. Some never get around to being much of anything at all. The way you can love a person for one quality despite myriad faults, you can sometimes love a perfume for one particular moment or effect, even if the rest is trash. Yet in the thousands of perfumes that exist, some express their ideas seamlessly and eloquently from top to bottom and give a beautiful view from any angle. A rare subset of them always seem to have something new and interesting to say, even if you encounter them daily. Those are the greats. By these criteria, one can certainly admire a perfume without necessarily loving it. Love, of course, is personal (but best when deserved).
Tania Sanchez (Perfumes: The Guide)
Okay, so first we get you a new computer and then a Facebook page. Priorities, you know," he said, typing in Kyle's password.
"What would I do without you--"
"Found her," he interrupted. "She's at Carrie's OK Bar. It's downtown."
"What the hell is Carrie's OK Bar?"
"It's a karaoke bar. Travis, come on."
"Wait, how do you know she's there?"
"She checked in there about twenty minutes ago."
"What does that mean?"
"Oh. Right. Since you left, it's become very important that we all constantly know each other's thoughts, locations, and birthdays."
"That's really stupid. Except for in this one very specific situation. I can't go if her fiancé's there, though. That would be too weird."
"How do you know?"
"Because she put 'Girls' Night' with about five exclamation points after it."
"Are people just asking to be murdered?"
"Pretty much. So are we going?
John Corey Whaley (Noggin)
Because what does it mean, to say that things aren't going well? Compared to what? You can say: compared to how things were going a couple of hours ago, or a couple of years ago. But that's not the point. If two cars are speeding towards a brick wall with no brakes, and one car hits the wall moments before the other, you can't spend those moments saying the second car is much better off than the first. Death and disaster are at our shoulders every second of our lives, trying to get at us. Missing, a lot of the time. A lot of miles on the motorway without a front wheel blow-out. A lot of viruses that slither through our bodies without snagging. A lot of pianos that fall a minute after we've passed. Or a month, it makes no difference. So unless we're going to get down on our knees and give thanks every time disaster misses, it makes no sense to moan when it strikes. Us, or anyone else. Because we're not comparing it with anything. And anyway, we're all dead, or never born, and the whole thing really is a dream
There, you see. That's a funny side.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
Always lost, always striking out in the wrong direction, always going around in circles. You have suffered from a life-long inability to orient yourself in space, and even in New York, the easiest of cities to negotiate, the city where you have spent the better part of your adulthood, you often run into trouble. Whenever you take the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan (assuming you have boarded the correct train and are not traveling deeper into Brooklyn), you make a special point to stop for a moment to get your bearings once you have climbed the stairs to the street, and still you will head north instead of south, go east instead of west, and even when you try to outsmart yourself, knowing that your handicap will set you going the wrong way and therefore, to rectify the error, you do the opposite of what you were intending to do, go left instead of right, go right instead of left, and still you find yourself moving in the wrong direction, no matter how many adjustments you have made. Forget tramping alone in the woods. You are hopelessly lost within minutes, and even indoors, whenever you find yourself in an unfamiliar building, you will walk down the wrong corridor or take the wrong elevator, not to speak of smaller enclosed spaces such as restaurants, for whenever you go to the men’s room in a restaurant that has more than one dining area, you will inevitably make a wrong turn on your way back and wind up spending several minutes searching for your table. Most other people, your wife included, with her unerring inner compass, seem to be able to get around without difficulty. They know where they are, where they have been, and where they are going, but you know nothing, you are forever lost in the moment, in the void of each successive moment that engulfs you, with no idea where true north is, since the four cardinal points do not exist for you, have never existed for you. A minor infirmity until now, with no dramatic consequences to speak of, but that doesn’t mean a day won’t come when you accidentally walk off the edge of a cliff.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
I’ve experienced a lot in my life. I’ve been in bloody battles. I’ve been with friends who were killed. I’ve seen terrible things done to man and beast, but I’ve never felt afraid.
“I’ve been troubled. I’ve also been uneasy and tense. I’ve been in mortal danger, but I’ve never experienced that cold-sweat kind of fear, the kind that eats a man alive, brings him to his knees, and makes him beg. In fact, I always prided myself on being above that. I thought that I’d suffered through and seen so much that nothing could scare me anymore. That nothing could bring me to that point.”
He brushed a brief kiss on my neck. “I was wrong. When I found you and saw that…that thing trying to kill you, I was enraged. I destroyed it without hesitation.”
“The Kappa were terrifying.”
“I wasn’t afraid of the Kappa. I was afraid…that I’d lost you. I felt an unquenchable, gut-wrenching, corrosive fear. It was unbearable. The most agonizing part was realizing that I didn’t want to live anymore if you were gone and knowing there was nothing I could do about it. I would be stuck forever in this miserable existence without you.”
I heard every word he said. It pierced through me, and I knew I would have felt the same way if our places had been reversed. But I told myself that his heartfelt declaration was just a reflection of the tense pressure we’d been under. The little love plant in my heart was grasping at each wispy thought, absorbing his words like sweet drops of morning dew. But I chastised my heart and shoved the tender expressions of affection elsewhere, determined to be unaffected by them.
“It’s okay. I’m here. You don’t need to be afraid. I’m still around to help you break the curse,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.
He squeezed my waist and whispered softly, “Breaking the curse didn’t matter to me anymore. I thought you were dying.”
I swallowed and tried to be flippant. “Well, I didn’t. See? I lived to argue with you another day. Now don’t you wish it had gone the other way?”
His arms stiffened and he threatened, “Don’t ever say that, Kells.”
After a second of hesitation, I said, “Well, thank you. Thank you for saving me.”
He pulled me close, and I allowed myself a minute, just a minute, to lie back against him and enjoy it.
I had almost died after all. I deserved some kind of reward for surviving, didn’t I?
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Her partner now drew near, and said, "That gentleman would have put me out of patience, had he stayed with you half a minute longer. He has no business to withdraw the attention of my partner from me. We have entered into a contract of mutual agreeableness for the space of an evening, and all our agreeableness belongs solely to each other for that time. Nobody can fasten themselves on the notice of one, without injuring the rights of the other. I consider a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours."
But they are such very different things!"
-- That you think they cannot be compared together."
To be sure not. People that marry can never part, but must go and keep house together. People that dance only stand opposite each other in a long room for half an hour."
And such is your definition of matrimony and dancing. Taken in that light certainly, their resemblance is not striking; but I think I could place them in such a view. You will allow, that in both, man has the advantage of choice, woman only the power of refusal; that in both, it is an engagement between man and woman, formed for the advantage of each; and that when once entered into, they belong exclusively to each other till the moment of its dissolution; that it is their duty, each to endeavour to give the other no cause for wishing that he or she had bestowed themselves elsewhere, and their best interest to keep their own imaginations from wandering towards the perfections of their neighbours, or fancying that they should have been better off with anyone else. You will allow all this?"
Yes, to be sure, as you state it, all this sounds very well; but still they are so very different. I cannot look upon them at all in the same light, nor think the same duties belong to them."
In one respect, there certainly is a difference. In marriage, the man is supposed to provide for the support of the woman, the woman to make the home agreeable to the man; he is to purvey, and she is to smile. But in dancing, their duties are exactly changed; the agreeableness, the compliance are expected from him, while she furnishes the fan and the lavender water. That, I suppose, was the difference of duties which struck you, as rendering the conditions incapable of comparison."
No, indeed, I never thought of that."
Then I am quite at a loss. One thing, however, I must observe. This disposition on your side is rather alarming. You totally disallow any similarity in the obligations; and may I not thence infer that your notions of the duties of the dancing state are not so strict as your partner might wish? Have I not reason to fear that if the gentleman who spoke to you just now were to return, or if any other gentleman were to address you, there would be nothing to restrain you from conversing with him as long as you chose?"
Mr. Thorpe is such a very particular friend of my brother's, that if he talks to me, I must talk to him again; but there are hardly three young men in the room besides him that I have any acquaintance with."
And is that to be my only security? Alas, alas!"
Nay, I am sure you cannot have a better; for if I do not know anybody, it is impossible for me to talk to them; and, besides, I do not want to talk to anybody."
Now you have given me a security worth having; and I shall proceed with courage.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
He gave her one. “It is totally unfair,” he said in his most severe voice, “to engage in a snowball fight when only one combatant can make snowballs.” He waited, loving the way her eyes sparkled. “Well?” Even without reading the thoughts beneath it, he could tell her touch was filled with laughter. Daemon bent down, gathered some snow, and learned how to make a snowball from snow too fluffy to pack. This, too, was similar to a basic lesson in Craft—creating a ball of witchlight—yet it required a subtler, more intrinsic knowledge of Craft than he’d ever known anyone to have. “Did the Priest teach you how to do this?” he asked as he straightened up, delighted with the perfect snowball in his hand. Jaenelle stared at him, aghast. Then she laughed. “Noooo.” She quickly cocked her arm and hit him in the chest with her snowball. The next few minutes were all-out war, each of them pelting the other as fast as they could make snowballs. When it was over, Daemon was peppered with clumps of white. He leaned over, resting his hands on his knees. “I leave the field to you, Lady,” he panted. “As well you should,” she replied tartly. Daemon looked up, one eyebrow rising.
Anne Bishop (Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels, #1))
I'm sorry I was less than you deserve, Tex, but I'm afraid I can't let you walk away from this. You see, it's too good, too rare to give up. I said in the cafeteria you weren't my girlfriend, and you weren't." I paused, watching her face twist with shock again. "You were my everything. Still are, baby. You wanted me to make you feel beautiful, but there's no one half as pretty as you are in the whole goddamn world. Please ..." My voice broke, and I bent the knee, like I'd always planned to.
"Don't break my heart so soon after putting it back together."
The air was thick in the auditorium as everyone held their breath. I was pretty sure for every second that ticked without her reaction, I lost an entire year of my life. Silver lining: a full minute of that, and I'd drop dead and wouldn't have to witness my own, very open disgrace.
Finally, Grace found her voice. "On your feet, St. Claire," she whispered under her breath. "A king doesn't bow to others."
I got up and scooped her up, giving people something to look at and talk about for years in this godforsaken town, pressing a dirty kiss to her lips and almost breaking her jaw in the process.
"He does for his queen.
L.J. Shen (Playing with Fire)
It’s public knowledge. It’s not my problem you just found out,” his mother is saying, pacing double-time down a West Wing corridor. “You mean to tell me,” Alex half shouts, jogging to keep up, “every Thanksgiving, those stupid turkeys have been staying in a luxury suite at the Willard on the taxpayers’ dime?” “Yes, Alex, they do—” “Gross government waste!” “—and there are two forty-pound turkeys named Cornbread and Stuffing in a motorcade on Pennsylvania Avenue right now. There is no time to reallocate the turkeys.” Without missing a beat, he blurts out, “Bring them to the house.” “Where? Are you hiding a turkey habitat up your ass, son? Where, in our historically protected house, am I going to put a couple of turkeys until I pardon them tomorrow?” “Put them in my room. I don’t care.” She outright laughs. “No.” “How is it different from a hotel room? Put the turkeys in my room, Mom.” “I’m not putting the turkeys in your room.” “Put the turkeys in my room.” “No.” “Put them in my room, put them in my room, put them in my room—” That night, as Alex stares into the cold, pitiless eyes of a prehistoric beast of prey, he has a few regrets. THEY KNOW, he texts Henry. THEY KNOW I HAVE ROBBED THEM OF FIVE-STAR ACCOMMODATIONS TO SIT IN A CAGE IN MY ROOM, AND THE MINUTE I TURN MY BACK THEY ARE GOING TO FEAST ON MY FLESH. Cornbread stares emptily back at him from inside a huge crate next to Alex’s couch. A farm vet comes by once every few hours to check on them. Alex keeps asking if she can detect a lust for blood. From the en suite, Stuffing releases another ominous gobble.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
For those who have walked through the fires of hell and rather than fall to its flames, have emerged battered, but victorious. In the immortal words of Ovid: Quin ninc quoque frigidus artus, dum loquor, horror habet, parsque est meminisse doloris- Even now while I tell it, cold horror envelops me and my pains return the minute I think of it. We can never escape the pain of our pasts, or the flashbacks that assault us when we dare to let our thoughts drift unattended, but we can choose to not let it ruin the future we, alone, can build for ourselves.
And for those who are currently trapped in a bad situation. May you find the resolute strength it takes to free yourself, and to finally see the beauty that lives inside you. You are resplendent, and you deserve respect and love. Don't let the minions of hatred or cruelty define you, or steal away your own humanity. When our compassion and ability to love and appreciate others go, then our bullies and oppressors have truly won, for it is not they who are harmed, but rather we who lose our souls and hearts to the same miserable bitterness that causes them to lash out against us. The cycle can be broken- it must be broken, even though the path is never easy or without cost. Yet victory is made sweeter when you know it came from within you, without violent retribution. The best revenge is to leave them mired in their hateful misery while you learn to bask in the warmth of self-esteem and happiness. Never forget that broken wings can and do heal in time, and that those scarred wings can carry the eagle to the top of the highest mountain.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Born of Silence (The League: Nemesis Rising #5))
One went to the door of the Beloved and knocked.
A voice asked: “Who is there?” He answered: “It is I.”
The voice said: “There is no room here for me and thee.”
The door was shut.
After a year of solitude and deprivation
this man returned to the door of the Beloved.
A voice from within asked: “Who is there?”
The man said: “It is Thou.”
The door was opened for him.
The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
they’re in each other all along.
Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test.
When your chest is free of your limiting ego,
Then you will see the ageless Beloved.
You can not see yourself without a mirror;
Look at the Beloved, He is the brightest mirror.
Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky
And you lift me up out of the two worlds.
I want your sun to reach my raindrops,
So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.
There is a candle in the heart of man, waiting to be kindled.
In separation from the Friend, there is a cut waiting to be
O, you who are ignorant of endurance and the burning
fire of love–
Love comes of its own free will, it can’t be learned
in any school.
There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.
With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.
There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,
and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.
This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.
Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual . . . Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
But there is an unbounded pleasure to be had in the possession of a young, newly blossoming soul! It is like a flower, from which the best aroma evaporates when meeting the first ray of the sun; you must pluck it at that minute, breathing it in until you’re satisfied, and then throw it onto the road: perhaps someone will pick it up! I feel this insatiable greed, which swallows everything it meets on its way. I look at the suffering and joy of others only in their relation to me, as though it is food that supports the strength of my soul. I myself am not capable of going mad under the influence of passion. My ambition is stifled by circumstances, but it has manifested itself in another way, for ambition is nothing other than a thirst for power, and my best pleasure is to subject everyone around me to my will, to arouse feelings of love, devotion and fear of me—is this not the first sign and the greatest triumph of power? Being someone’s reason for suffering while not being in any position to claim the right—isn’t this the sweetest nourishment for our pride? And what is happiness? Sated pride. If I considered myself to be better, more powerful than everyone in the world, I would be happy. If everyone loved me, I would find endless sources of love within myself. Evil spawns evil. The first experience of torture gives an understanding of the pleasure in tormenting others. An evil idea cannot enter a person’s head without his wanting to bring it into reality: ideas are organic creations, someone once said. Their birth gives them form immediately, and this form is an action. The person in whom most ideas are born is the person who acts most. Hence a genius, riveted to his office desk, must die or lose his mind, just as a man with a powerful build who has a sedentary life and modest behavior will die from an apoplectic fit. Passions are nothing other than the first developments of an idea: they are a characteristic of the heart’s youth, and whoever thinks to worry about them his whole life long is a fool: many calm rivers begin with a noisy waterfall, but not one of them jumps and froths until the very sea. And this calm is often the sign of great, though hidden, strength. The fullness and depth of both feeling and thought will not tolerate violent upsurges. The soul, suffering and taking pleasure, takes strict account of everything and is always convinced that this is how things should be. It knows that without storms, the constant sultriness of the sun would wither it. It is infused with its own life—it fosters and punishes itself, like a child. And it is only in this higher state of self-knowledge that a person can estimate the value of divine justice.
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
*One clue that there’s something not quite real about sequential time the way you experience it is the various paradoxes of time supposedly passing and of a so-called ‘present’ that’s always unrolling into the future and creating more and more past behind it. As if the present were this car—nice car by the way—and the past is the road we’ve just gone over, and the future is the headlit road up ahead we haven’t yet gotten to, and time is the car’s forward movement, and the precise present is the car’s front bumper as it cuts through the fog of the future, so that it’s now and then a tiny bit later a whole different now, etc. Except if time is really passing, how fast does it go? At what rate does the present change? See? Meaning if we use time to measure motion or rate—which we do, it’s the only way you can—95 miles per hour, 70 heartbeats a minute, etc.—how are you supposed to measure the rate at which time moves? One second per second? It makes no sense. You can’t even talk about time flowing or moving without hitting up against paradox right away. So think for a second: What if there’s really no movement at all? What if this is all unfolding in the one flash you call
the present, this first, infinitely tiny split-second of impact when the speeding car’s front bumper’s just starting to touch the abutment, just before the bumper crumples and displaces the front end and you go violently forward and the steering column comes back at your chest as if shot out of something enormous? Meaning that what if in fact this now is infinite and never really passes in the way your mind is supposedly wired to understand pass, so that not only your whole life but every single humanly conceivable way to describe and account for that life has time to flash like neon shaped into those connected cursive letters that businesses’ signs and windows love so much to use through your mind all at once in the literally immeasurable instant between impact and death, just as you start forward to meet the wheel at a rate no belt ever made could restrain—THE END."
footnote ("Good Old Neon")
David Foster Wallace (Oblivion: Stories)
What kind of soldier are you that you’re going to just sit in a cell while the world is thrown into chaos? Do you not understand what could happen if those weapons fall into the wrong hands? How could you be so selfish? (Syd)
I’m selfish? Look, Agent Westbrook, your daddy’s a Boston stockbroker. I’m a death broker. I’m sure you don’t lecture Daddy on finance, so don’t even try to lecture me on assassination politics. I know all about them. Some bureaucratic ass-wipe sitting in a pristine office that’s totally isolated from the rest of the world decides the son of King Oomp-Loomp is a threat. He then hands down orders to people like me to go off King Oomp-Loompa’s son. Like an idiot, I do what he says without question. I hunt my target down, using information that is mostly bullshit and unreliable, gathered by someone like you who assured me it was correct as the time. But hey, if it changes minute by minute, and God forbid we pass that along to you. So me and my spotter lie in the grass, sand, or snow for days on end, cramped and hungry, never able to move more than a millimeter an hour until I have that one perfect shot I’ve been waiting for days. I take it, and then we lie there like pieces of dirt until we can inch our way back to safety, where hopefully the helicopter team will remember that they were supposed to retrieve us. Have you any idea of the nerves it takes to do what I do? To lie there on the ground while other armed men search for you? Have them step on you and not be able to even breathe or wince because if you do, it’s not only your life, but the life of your spotter? Do you know what it’s like to have the brains of your best friend spayed into your face and not be able to render aid to him because you know he’s dead and if you do, you’ll be killed too? I have been into the bowels of hell and back, Miz Westbrook. I have stared down the devil and made him sweat. So don’t tell me I don’t take this seriously. (Steele)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Bad Attitude (B.A.D. Agency #1))
Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I’m told. Not doing it the second time I’m told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow.
Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I’m old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don’t know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn’t fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that’s not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I’m called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV’s volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I’m going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly’s doll’s hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don’t grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don’t see until it’s too late. Giving my mother’s good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine’s Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don’t fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don’t like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth’s eating a candy bar I didn’t pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn’t put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.
Bob Thurber (Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel)
Yes, I know what you mean about writing and writers. We seem to have lost the target. Writers seem to write to be known as writers. They don’t write because something is driving them toward the edge. I look back at when Pound, T. S. Eliot, e. e. Cummings, Jeffers, Auden, Spender were about. Their work cracked right through the paper, set it on fire. Poems became events, explosions. There was a high excitement. Now, for decades there has seemed to be this lull, almost a practiced lull, as if dullness indicated genius. And if a new talent came along it was only a flash, a few poems, a thin book and then he or she was sanded down, ingested into the quiet nothingness. Talent without durability is a god damned crime. It means they went to the soft trap, it means they believed the praise, it means they settled short. A writer is not a writer because he has written some books. A writer is not a writer because he teaches literature. A writer is only a writer if he can write now, tonight, this minute. We have too many x-writers who type. Books fall from my hand to the floor. They are total crap. I think we have just blown away half a century to the stinking winds. Yes,
Charles Bukowski (On Writing)
in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual . . . Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
By the time she’d run full circle, reaching her house, her T-shirt was saturated in sweat, and she felt relaxed from head to toe.
It was the car in the driveway, and the man-boy perched on the hood waiting for her, that made her lose some of her newfound tranquility.
He was grinning at her in a way that made her legs feel like they were made her legs feel like they were made of nothing more solid then gelatin. They might have even quivered from something other than her early-morning run.
“What are you doing here?” she asked as she slowed from a jog to a walk and places her hands on her hips. It would take her a few minutes to get her breathing back to normal. Longer if he kept smiling at her like that.
He shrugged. “I couldn’t sleep. What about you?”
She opted for the obvious and filled her voice with as much sarcasm as she could. “I live here, actually.”
“Ha-ha, smart-ass. I was asking if maybe you couldn’t sleep too.” He shook his head at her wisecrack. “You know, since you were running at six-thirty in the morning? I was gonna see if you wanted to go for a walk or something.” He eyes her up and down, looking a little disappointed as he hopped down from the car’s hood. “But it looks like you already went without me. That’s okay, it was a long shot anyway.”
Violet didn’t like the way she was suddenly so eager to be near him. Even though they’d been nearly inseparable for the past ten years, it now felt urgent to keep him close.
“All right, let’s go.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
And we were in our thirties. Well into the Age of Boredom, when nothing is new. Now, I’m not being self-pitying; it’s simply true. Newness, or whatever you want to call it, becomes a very scarce commodity after thirty. I think that’s unfair. If I were in charge of the human life span, I’d make sure to budget newness much more selectively, to ration it out. As it is now, it’s almost used up in the first three years of life. By then you’ve seen for the first time, tasted for the first time, held something for the first time. Learned to walk, talk, go to the bathroom. What have you got to look forward to that can compare with that? Sure, there’s school. Making friends. Falling in love. Learning to drive. Sex. Learning to trade. That has to carry you for the next twenty-five years. But after that? What’s the new excitement? Mastering your home computer? Figuring out how to work CompuServe? “Now, if it were up to me, I’d parcel out. So that, say, at thirty-five we just learned how to go on the potty. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment! They’d have office parties. "Did you hear? The vice president in charge of overseas development just went a whole week without his diaper. We’re buying him a gift." It’d be beautiful.
Phoef Sutton (Fifteen Minutes to Live)
Perspective - Use It or Lose It. If you turned to this page, you're forgetting that what is going on around you is not reality. Think about that.
Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.
You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them.
Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.
Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah.
Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.
The simplest questions are the most profound.
Where were you born?
Where is your home?
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change.
Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.
There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.
Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.
Then be sure of one thing:
The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't.
A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.
You are never given a wish without being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.
Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.
If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
The world is your exercise-book, the pages on which you do your sums.
It is not reality, although you can express reality there if you wish. You are also free to write nonsense, or lies, or to tear the pages.
Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.
In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.
The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."
The truth you speak has no past and no future. It is, and that's all it needs to be.
Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.
Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
You're going to die a horrible death, remember. It's all good training, and you'll enjoy it more if you keep the facts in mind.
Take your dying with some seriousness, however. Laughing on the way to your execution it not generally understood by less advanced lifeforms, and they'll call you crazy.
Everything above may be wrong!
This distinction between headspace and the emotion of happiness is an important one. For some reason we’ve come to believe that happiness should be the default setting in life and, therefore, anything different is somehow wrong. Based on this assumption we tend to resist the source of unhappiness – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s usually at this stage that things get complicated. Life can begin to feel like a chore, and an endless struggle to chase and maintain that feeling of happiness. We get hooked on the temporary rush or pleasure of a new experience, whatever that is, and then need to feed it the whole time. It doesn’t matter whether we feed it with food, drink, drugs, clothes, cars, relationships, work, or even the peace and quiet of the countryside. If we become dependent on it for our happiness, then we’re trapped. What happens when we can’t have it any more? And what happens when the excitement wears off? For many, their entire life revolves around this pursuit of happiness. Yet how many people do you know who are truly happy? And by that I mean, how many people do you know who have that unshakeable sense of underlying headspace? Has this approach of chasing one thing after the next worked for you in terms of giving you headspace? It’s as if we rush around creating all this mental chatter in our pursuit of temporary happiness, without realising that all the noise is simply drowning out the natural headspace that is already there, just waiting to be acknowledged.
Andy Puddicombe (Get Some Headspace: 10 minutes can make all the difference)
This afternoon, being on Fair Haven Hill, I heard the sound of a saw, and soon after from the Cliff saw two men sawing down a noble pine beneath, about forty rods off. I resolved to watch it till it fell, the last of a dozen or more which were left when the forest was cut and for fifteen years have waved in solitary majesty over the sprout-land. I saw them like beavers or insects gnawing at the trunk of this noble tree, the diminutive manikins with their cross-cut saw which could scarcely span it. It towered up a hundred feet as I afterward found by measurement, one of the tallest probably in the township and straight as an arrow, but slanting a little toward the hillside, its top seen against the frozen river and the hills of Conantum. I watch closely to see when it begins to move. Now the sawers stop, and with an axe open it a little on the side toward which it leans, that it may break the faster. And now their saw goes again. Now surely it is going; it is inclined one quarter of the quadrant, and, breathless, I expect its crashing fall. But no, I was mistaken; it has not moved an inch; it stands at the same angle as at first. It is fifteen minutes yet to its fall. Still its branches wave in the wind, as it were destined to stand for a century, and the wind soughs through its needles as of yore; it is still a forest tree, the most majestic tree that waves over Musketaquid. The silvery sheen of the sunlight is reflected from its needles; it still affords an inaccessible crotch for the squirrel’s nest; not a lichen has forsaken its mast-like stem, its raking mast,—the hill is the hulk. Now, now’s the moment! The manikins at its base are fleeing from their crime. They have dropped the guilty saw and axe. How slowly and majestic it starts! as it were only swayed by a summer breeze, and would return without a sigh to its location in the air. And now it fans the hillside with its fall, and it lies down to its bed in the valley, from which it is never to rise, as softly as a feather, folding its green mantle about it like a warrior, as if, tired of standing, it embraced the earth with silent joy, returning its elements to the dust again. But hark! there you only saw, but did not hear. There now comes up a deafening crash to these rocks , advertising you that even trees do not die without a groan. It rushes to embrace the earth, and mingle its elements with the dust. And now all is still once more and forever, both to eye and ear.
I went down and measured it. It was about four feet in diameter where it was sawed, about one hundred feet long. Before I had reached it the axemen had already divested it of its branches. Its gracefully spreading top was a perfect wreck on the hillside as if it had been made of glass, and the tender cones of one year’s growth upon its summit appealed in vain and too late to the mercy of the chopper. Already he has measured it with his axe, and marked off the mill-logs it will make. And the space it occupied in upper air is vacant for the next two centuries. It is lumber. He has laid waste the air. When the fish hawk in the spring revisits the banks of the Musketaquid, he will circle in vain to find his accustomed perch, and the hen-hawk will mourn for the pines lofty enough to protect her brood. A plant which it has taken two centuries to perfect, rising by slow stages into the heavens, has this afternoon ceased to exist. Its sapling top had expanded to this January thaw as the forerunner of summers to come. Why does not the village bell sound a knell? I hear no knell tolled. I see no procession of mourners in the streets, or the woodland aisles. The squirrel has leaped to another tree; the hawk has circled further off, and has now settled upon a new eyrie, but the woodman is preparing [to] lay his axe at the root of that also.
Henry David Thoreau (The Journal, 1837-1861)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story.
Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen.
You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten.
Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene.
Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point.
If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience.
Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are.
You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself.
People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited?
Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body.
Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person.
Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value.
You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again.
Cover the entire room with eye contact.
When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often.
When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said.
Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in.
After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in.
Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence.
Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.”
The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten.
Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes.
Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept.
Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words.
Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic.
If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story.
PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible.
Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow.
If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit.
Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them.
Never apologize on stage.
If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
We’ve made a beautiful mess of things lately, haven’t we?” He flashed that sexycrooked smile at me, which made my heart flutter.I nodded, agreeing with him.“But it’s our crazy story,” he stated. “It’s been ours, only ours. There’s been a lot of romance, sometimes way too much drama…” He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “Verymemorable comedy, a few pulse-racing action scenes...”He shrugged and sighed.“We’ve also had our fair share of suspense and raw terror, and unfortunately gut-wrenching heartache too.“I think we’ve covered it all, everything except for being captured by aliens!”I couldn’t help but chuckle.“But through it all you’ve loved me, unconditionally, and I know how fortunate I amto have your love.“I don’t want to live without you, not for one more minute, not for one more second.I want to spend the rest of my days living my story with you… only you.”He walked to the edge and jumped off the table, landing in front of me.“It is here that I fell in love with you,” Ryan whispered, taking my hands in his.He dropped down on one knee.“And as fate would have it, it is
that I humbly kneel before you and ask you to be my wife.“Taryn Lynn Mitchell, will you marry me?” His glistening eyes, so blue, so full of emotion, gazed up at me… waiting patiently for my reply.Only one word rang through my heart.“Yes!” I nodded emphatically. My salted tears dripped across my lips. I said yes over and over again.
Tina Reber (Love Unscripted (Love, #1))
The left and right sides of the brain also process the imprints of the past in dramatically different ways.2 The left brain remembers facts, statistics, and the vocabulary of events. We call on it to explain our experiences and put them in order. The right brain stores memories of sound, touch, smell, and the emotions they evoke. It reacts automatically to voices, facial features, and gestures and places experienced in the past. What it recalls feels like intuitive truth—the way things are. Even as we enumerate a loved one’s virtues to a friend, our feelings may be more deeply stirred by how her face recalls the aunt we loved at age four.3 Under ordinary circumstances the two sides of the brain work together more or less smoothly, even in people who might be said to favor one side over the other. However, having one side or the other shut down, even temporarily, or having one side cut off entirely (as sometimes happened in early brain surgery) is disabling. Deactivation of the left hemisphere has a direct impact on the capacity to organize experience into logical sequences and to translate our shifting feelings and perceptions into words. (Broca’s area, which blacks out during flashbacks, is on the left side.) Without sequencing we can’t identify cause and effect, grasp the long-term effects of our actions, or create coherent plans for the future. People who are very upset sometimes say they are “losing their minds.” In technical terms they are experiencing the loss of executive functioning. When something reminds traumatized people of the past, their right brain reacts as if the traumatic event were happening in the present. But because their left brain is not working very well, they may not be aware that they are reexperiencing and reenacting the past—they are just furious, terrified, enraged, ashamed, or frozen. After the emotional storm passes, they may look for something or somebody to blame for it. They behaved the way they did way because you were ten minutes late, or because you burned the potatoes, or because you “never listen to me.” Of course, most of us have done this from time to time, but when we cool down, we hopefully can admit our mistake. Trauma interferes with this kind of awareness, and, over time, our research demonstrated why.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Like a child, I close my eyes as if they can't see me either. The fire from the kiss broadcasts itself all over me in the form of a full-body blush.
Galen laughs. "There it is," he says, running his thumb over my bottom lip. "That is my favorite color. Wow."
I'm going to kill him. "Galen. Please. Come. With. Me," I coke out. Gliding past him, my bare feet slap against the tile until I'm stomping on carpet in the hallway, then up the stairs.
I can tell by the prickles on my skin that he's following like a good dead fish. As I reach the ladder to the uppermost level, I nod to him to keep following before I hoist myself up. Pacing the room until he gets through the trap door, I count more Mississipis than I've ever counted in my whole life.
He closes the door and locks it shut but makes no move to come closer. Still, for a person who's about to die, he seems more amused than he should. I point my finger at him, but can't decide what to accuse him of first, so I put it back down.
After several moments of this, he breaks the silence. "Emma, calm down."
"Don't tell me what to do, Highness." I dare him with my eyes to call me "boo."
Instead of the apology I'm looking for, his eyes tell me he's considering kissing me again, right now.
Which is meant to distract me. Tearing my gaze from his mouth, I stride to the window seat and move the mountains of pillows on it. Making myself comfortable, I lean my head against the window. He knows as well as I do that if we had a special spot, this would be it. For me to sit here without him is the worst kind of snub. In the reflection, I see him run his hand through his hair and cross his arms. After a few more minutes, he shifts his weight to the other leg.
He knows what I want. He knows what will earn him entrance to the window seat and my good graces. I don't know if it's Royal blood or manly pride that keeps him from apologizing, but his extended delay just makes me madder. Now I won't accept an apology. Now, he must grovel.
I toss a satisfied smirk into the reflection only to find he's not there anymore. His hand closes around my arm and he jerks me up against him. His eyes are stormy, intense. "You think I'm going to apologize for kissing you?" he murmurs.
"I. Yes. Uh-huh." Don't look at his mouth! Say something intelligent. "We don't have any clothes on." Fan-flipping-tastic. I meant to say he shouldn't kiss me in front of everyone, especially half naked.
"Mmm," he says, pulling me closer. Brushing his lips against my ear, he says, "I did happen to notice that. Which is why I shouldn't have followed you up here.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
I had recently read to my dismay that they have started hunting moose again in New England. Goodness knows why anyone would want to shoot an animal as harmless and retiring as the moose, but thousands of people do—so many, in fact, that states now hold lotteries to decide who gets a permit. Maine in 1996 received 82,000 applications for just 1,500 permits. Over 12,000 outof-staters happily parted with a nonrefundable $20 just to be allowed to take part in the draw. Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old. That’s all there is to it. Without doubt, the moose is the most improbable, endearingly hopeless creature ever to live in the wilds. Every bit of it—its spindly legs, its chronically puzzled expression, its comical oven-mitt antlers—looks like some droll evolutionary joke. It is wondrously ungainly: it runs as if its legs have never been introduced to each other. Above all, what distinguishes the moose is its almost boundless lack of intelligence. If you are driving down a highway and a moose steps from the woods ahead of you, he will stare at you for a long minute (moose are notoriously shortsighted), then abruptly try to run away from you, legs flailing in eight directions at once. Never mind that there are several thousand square miles of forest on either side of the highway. The moose does not think of this. Clueless as to what exactly is going on, he runs halfway to New Brunswick before his peculiar gait inadvertently steers him back into the woods, where he immediately stops and takes on a startled expression that says, “Hey—woods. Now how the heck did I get here?” Moose are so monumentally muddle-headed, in fact, that when they hear a car or truck approaching they will often bolt out of the woods and onto the highway in the curious hope that this will bring them to safety. Amazingly, given the moose’s lack of cunning and peculiarly-blunted survival instincts, it is one of the longest-surviving creatures in North America. Mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, wolves, caribou, wild horses, and even camels all once thrived in eastern North America alongside the moose but gradually stumbled into extinction, while the moose just plodded on. It hasn’t always been so. At the turn of this century, it was estimated that there were no more than a dozen moose in New Hampshire and probably none at all in Vermont. Today New Hampshire has an estimated 5,000 moose, Vermont 1,000, and Maine anywhere up to 30,000. It is because of these robust and growing numbers that hunting has been reintroduced as a way of keeping them from getting out of hand. There are, however, two problems with this that I can think of. First, the numbers are really just guesses. Moose clearly don’t line up for censuses. Some naturalists think the population may have been overstated by as much as 20 percent, which means that the moose aren’t being so much culled as slaughtered. No less pertinent is that there is just something deeply and unquestionably wrong about killing an animal that is so sweetly and dopily unassuming as a moose. I could have slain this one with a slingshot, with a rock or stick—with a folded newspaper, I’d almost bet—and all it wanted was a drink of water. You might as well hunt cows.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
There's not much to say about loneliness, for it's not a broad subject. Any child, alone in her room, can journey across its entire breadth, from border to border, in an hour.
Though not broad, our subject is deep. Loneliness is deeper than the ocean. But here, too, there is no mystery. Our intrepid child is liable to fall quickly to the very bottom without even trying. And since the depths of loneliness cannot sustain human life, the child will swim to the surface again in short order, no worse for wear.
Some of us, though, can bring breathing aids down with us for longer stays: imaginary friends, drugs and alcohol, mind-numbing entertainment, hobbies, ironclad routine, and pets. (Pets are some of the best enablers of loneliness, your own cuddlesome Murphy notwithstanding.) With the help of these aids, a poor sap can survive the airless depths of loneliness long enough to experience its true horror -- duration.
Did you know, Myren Vole, that when presented with the same odor (even my own) for a duration of only several minutes, the olfactory nerves become habituated -- as my daughter used to say -- to it and cease transmitting its signal to the brain?
Likewise, most pain loses its edge in time. Time heals all -- as they say. Even the loss of a loved one, perhaps life's most wrenching pain, is blunted in time. It recedes into the background where it can be borne with lesser pains. Not so our friend loneliness, which grows only more keen and insistent with each passing hour. Loneliness is as needle sharp now as it was an hour ago, or last week.
But if loneliness is the wound, what's so secret about it? I submit to you, Myren Vole, that the most painful death of all is suffocation by loneliness. And by the time I started on my portrait of Jean, I was ten years into it (with another five to go). It is from that vantage point that I tell you that loneliness itself is the secret. It's a secret you cannot tell anyone. Why?
Because to confess your loneliness is to confess your failure as a human being. To confess would only cause others to pity and avoid you, afraid that what you have is catching. Your condition is caused by a lack of human relationship, and yet to admit to it only drives your possible rescuers farther away (while attracting cats).
So you attempt to hide your loneliness in public, to behave, in fact, as though you have too many friends already, and thus you hope to attract people who will unwittingly save you. But it never works that way. Your condition is written all over your face, in the hunch of your shoulders, in the hollowness of your laugh. You fool no one.
Believe me in this; I've tried all the tricks of the lonely man.
David Marusek (Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1))
Still lying on the ground, half tingly, half stunned, I held my left hand in front of my face and lightly spread my fingers, examining what Marlboro Man had given me that morning. I couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful ring, or a ring that was a more fitting symbol of my relationship with Marlboro Man. It was unadorned, uncontrived, consisting only of a delicate gold band and a lovely diamond that stood up high--almost proudly--on its supportive prongs. It was a ring chosen by a man who, from day one, had always let me know exactly how he felt. The ring was a perfect extension of that: strong, straightforward, solid, direct. I liked seeing it on my finger. I felt good knowing it was there.
My stomach, though, was in knots. I was engaged. Engaged. I was ill-prepared for how weird it felt. Why hadn’t I ever heard of this strange sensation before? Why hadn’t anyone told me? I felt simultaneously grown up, excited, shocked, scared, matronly, weird, and happy--a strange combination for a weekday morning. I was engaged--holy moly. My other hand picked up the receiver of the phone, and without thinking, I dialed my little sister.
“Hi,” I said when Betsy picked up the phone. It hadn’t been ten minutes since we’d hung up from our last conversation.
“Hey,” she replied.
“Uh, I just wanted to tell you”--my heart began to race--“that I’m, like…engaged.”
What seemed like hours of silence passed.
“Bullcrap,” Betsy finally exclaimed. Then she repeated: “Bullcrap.”
“Not bullcrap,” I answered. “He just asked me to marry him. I’m engaged, Bets!”
“What?” Betsy shrieked. “Oh my God…” Her voice began to crack. Seconds later, she was crying.
A lump formed in my throat, too. I immediately understood where her tears were coming from. I felt it all, too. It was bittersweet. Things would change. Tears welled up in my eyes. My nose began to sting.
“Don’t cry, you butthead.” I laughed through my tears.
She laughed it off, too, sobbing harder, totally unable to suppress the tears. “Can I be your maid of honor?”
This was too much for me. “I can’t talk anymore,” I managed to squeak through my lips. I hung up on Betsy and lay there, blubbering on my floor.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
Brushing through my hair was usually bad enough after a shower. Letting it dry without brushing it was a terrible mistake. It was full of painful tangles, and I hadn’t made much progress when the door at the end of the veranda opened and Ren walked out. I squeaked in alarm and hid behind my hair. Perfect, Kells.
He was still barefoot, but had on khaki pants and a sky-blue button-down shirt that matched his eyes. The effect was magnetic, and here I was in flannel pajamas with giant tumbleweed hair.
He sat across from me and said, “Good evening, Kells. Did you sleep well?”
“Uh, yes. Did you?”
He grinned a dazzling white smile and nodded his head slightly. “Are you having trouble?” he asked and watched my detangling progress with an amused expression.
“Nope. I’ve got it all under control.”
I wanted to divert his attention away from my hair, so I said, “How’s your back and your, um, arm, I guess it would be?”
He smiled. “They’re completely fine. Thank you for asking.”
“Ren, why aren’t you wearing white? That’s all I’ve ever seen you wear. Is it because your white shirt was torn?”
He responded, “No, I just wanted to wear something different. Actually, when I change to a tiger and back, my white clothes reappear. If I changed to a tiger now and then switch back to a man again, my current clothes would be replaced with my old white ones.”
“Would they still be torn and bloody?”
“No. When I reappear, they’re clean and whole again.”
“Hah. Lucky for you. It would be pretty awkward if you ended up naked every time you changed.”
I bit my tongue as soon as the words came out and blushed a brilliant shade of red. Nice, Kells. Way to go. I covered up my verbal blunder by tugging my hair in front of my face and yanking through the tangles.
He grinned. “Yes. Lucky for me.”
I tugged the brush through my hair and winced. “That brings up another question.”
Ren rose and took the brush out of my hand.
“What…what are you doing?” I stammered.
“Relax. You’re too edgy.”
He had no idea.
Moving behind me, Ren picked up a section of my hair and started gently brushing through it. I was nervous at first, but his hands in my hair were so warm and soothing that I soon relaxed in the chair, closed my eyes, and leaned my head back.
After a minute of brushing, he pulled a lock away from my neck, leaned down by my ear, and whispered, “What was it you wanted to ask me?”
“Umm…what?” I mumbled disconcertingly.
“You wanted to ask me a question.”
“Oh, right. It was, uh-that feels nice.”
Did I say that out loud?
Ren laughed softly. “That’s not a question.”
Apparently, I did.
“Was it something about me changing into a tiger?”
“Oh, yes. I remember now. You can change back a forth several times per day, right? Is there a limit?”
“No. There’s no limit as long as I don’t remain human for more than a total of twenty-four minutes in a twenty-four hour day.” He moved to another section of hair. “Do you have any more questions, sundari?
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
lower her to my side and pull her against me so that her head is resting on my jacket. Her breath tastes like starburst and it makes me want to keep kissing her until I can identify every single flavor. Her hand touches my arm and she gives it a tight squeeze just as my tongue slips inside her mouth. That would be strawberry on the tip of her tongue. She keeps her hand on my arm, periodically moving it to the back of my head, then returning it to my arm. I keep my hand on her waist, never once moving it to touch any other part of her. The only thing we explore is each other’s mouths. We kiss without making another sound. We kiss until the alarm sounds off on my phone. Despite the noise, neither of us stops kissing. We don’t even hesitate. We kiss for another solid minute until the bell rings in the hallway outside and suddenly lockers are slamming shut and people are talking and everything about our moment is stolen from us by all the inconvenient external factors of school. I still my lips against hers, then slowly pull back. “I have to get to class,” she whispers. I nod, even though she can’t see me. “Me, too,” I reply. She begins to scoot out from beneath me. When I roll onto my back, I feel her move closer to me. Her mouth briefly meets mine one more time, then she pulls away and stands up. The second she opens the door, the light from the hallway pours in and I squeeze my eyes shut, throwing my arm over my face. I hear the door shut behind her and by the time I adjust to the brightness, the light is gone again. I sigh heavily. I also remain on the floor until my physical reaction to her subsides. I don’t know who the hell she was or why the hell she ended up here, but I hope to God she comes back. I need a whole hell of a lot more of that. • • • She didn’t come back the next day. Or the day after that. In fact, today marks exactly a week since she literally fell into my arms, and I’ve convinced myself that maybe that whole day was a dream. I did stay up most of the night before watching zombie movies with Chunk, but even though I was going on two hours of sleep, I don’t know that I would have been able to imagine that. My fantasies aren’t that fun. Whether she comes back or not, I still don’t have a fifth period and until someone calls me out on it, I’ll keep hiding out in here. I actually slept way too much last night, so I’m not tired. I pull my phone out to text Holder when the door to the closet begins to open. “Are you in here, kid?” I hear her whisper. My heart immediately picks up pace and I can’t tell if it’s that she came back or if it’s because the
Colleen Hoover (Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5))
Bring Cecily home,” he said curtly. “I won’t have her at risk, even in the slightest way.”
“I’ll take care of Cecily,” came the terse reply. “She’s better off without you in her life.”
Tate’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?” he asked, affronted.
“You know what I mean,” Holden said. “Let her heal. She’s too young to consign herself to spinsterhood over a man who doesn’t even see her.”
“Infatuation dies,” Tate said.
Holden nodded. “Yes, it does. Goodbye.”
“So does hero worship,” he continued, laboring the point.
“And that’s why after eight years, Cecily has had one raging affair after the other,” he said facetiously.
The words had power. They wounded.
“You fool,” Holden said in a soft tone. “Do you really think she’d let any man touch her except you?” He went to his office door and gestured toward the desk. “Don’t forget your gadget,” he added quietly.
Holden paused with his hand on the doorknob and turned. “What?”
Tate held the device in his hands, watching the lights flicker on it. “Mixing two cultures when one of them is all but extinct is a selfish thing,” he said after a minute. “It has nothing to do with personal feelings. It’s a matter of necessity.”
Holden let go of the doorknob and moved to stand directly in front of Tate. “If I had a son,” he said, almost choking on the word, “I’d tell him that there are things even more important than lofty principles. I’d tell him…that love is a rare and precious thing, and that substitutes are notoriously unfulfilling.”
Tate searched the older man’s eyes. “You’re a fine one to talk.”
Holden’s face fell. “Yes, that’s true.” He turned away.
Why should he feel guilty? But he did. “I didn’t mean to say that,” Tate said, irritated by his remorse and the other man’s defeated posture. “I can’t help the way I feel about my culture.”
“If it weren’t for the cultural difference, how would you feel about Cecily?”
Tate hesitated. “It wouldn’t change anything. She’s been my responsibility. I’ve taken care of her. It would be gratitude on her part, even a little hero worship, nothing more. I couldn’t take advantage of that. Besides, she’s involved with Colby.”
“And you couldn’t live with being the second man.”
Tate’s face hardened. His eyes flashed.
Holden shook his head. “You’re just brimming over with excuses, aren’t you? It isn’t the race thing, it isn’t the culture thing, it isn’t even the guardian-ward thing. You’re afraid.”
Tate’s mouth made a thin line. He didn’t reply.
“When you love someone, you give up control of yourself,” he continued quietly. “You have to consider the other person’s needs, wants, fears. What you do affects the other person. There’s a certain loss of freedom as well.” He moved a step closer. “The point I’m making is that Cecily already fills that place in your life. You’re still protecting her, and it doesn’t matter that there’s another man. Because you can’t stop looking out for her. Everything you said in this office proves that.” He searched Tate’s turbulent eyes. “You don’t like Colby Lane, and it isn’t because you think Cecily’s involved with him. It’s because he’s been tied to one woman so tight that he can’t struggle free of his love for her, even after years of divorce. That’s how you feel, isn’t it, Tate? You can’t get free of Cecily, either. But Colby’s always around and she indulges him. She might marry him in an act of desperation. And then what will you do? Will your noble excuses matter a damn then?
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Here’s the short version of how to practice mindfuless: 1. Start with two minutes. For two minutes a day, direct your attention to your breath: the way the air comes into your body and your chest and belly expand, and the way the breath leaves your body and your chest and belly deflate. 2. The first thing that will happen is your mind will wander to something else. That’s normal. That’s healthy. That’s actually the point. Notice that your mind wandered, let those extraneous thoughts go—you can return to them as soon as the two minutes are up—and allow your attention to return to your breath. 3. Noticing that your mind wandered and then returning your attention to your breath is the real work of mindfulness. It’s not so much about paying attention to your breath as it is about noticing what you’re paying attention to without judgment, and making a choice about whether you want to pay attention to it. What you’re “mindful” of is both your breath and your attention to your breath. By practicing this skill of noticing what you’re paying attention to, you are teaching yourself to be in control of your brain, so that your brain is not in control of you. This regular two-minute practice will gradually result in periodic moments throughout the day when you notice what you’re paying attention to and then decide if that’s what you want to pay attention to right now, or if you want to pay attention to something else. What you pay attention to matters less than how you pay attention. This is a sideways strategy for weeding trauma out of your garden. It’s a way of simply noticing a weed and then deciding if you want to water it or not, pull it or not, fertilize it or not. The weed of trauma will gradually disappear as long as at least half the time you choose not to nurture it. And the more you choose to withdraw your protection from the trauma, the faster it will wither and die. Mindfulness is good for everyone and everything. It is to your mind what exercise and green vegetables are to your body. If you change only one thing in your life as a result of reading this book, make it this daily two-minute practice. The practice grants the opportunity to “cultivate deep respect for emotions,” differentiating their causes from their effects and granting you choice over how you manage them.
Emily Nagoski (Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life)
His eyes ran over her hungrily. “I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” he said, almost to himself, “the way it felt, back at my mother’s house. I was never so hungry for anyone, but it wasn’t completely physical, even then.” He frowned. “I want you, Cecily, and I hate myself for it.”
“What else is new?” She gestured toward the door. “Go home. And I hope you don’t sleep a wink.”
“I probably won’t,” he said ruefully. He moved toward the door, hesitating.
“Good night,” she said firmly, not moving.
He stood with his back to her, his spine very straight. “I can trace my ancestors back before the Mexican War in the early 1800s, pure Lakota blood, undiluted even by white settlement. There are so few of us left…”
She could have wept for what she knew, and he didn’t know. “You don’t have to explain it to me,” she said solemnly. “I know how you feel.”
“You don’t,” he bit off. He straightened again. “I’d die to have you, just once.” He turned, and the fire was in his eyes as they met hers, glittering across the room. “It’s like that for you, too.”
“It’s a corruption of the senses. You don’t love me,” she said quietly. “Without love, it’s just sex.”
He breathed deliberately, slowly. He didn’t want to ask. He couldn’t help it. “Something you know?”
“Yes. Something I know,” she said, lying with a straight face and a smile that she hoped was worldly. She was not going to settle for crumbs from him, stolen hours in his bed. Men were devious when desire rode them, even men like Tate. She couldn’t afford for him to know that she was incapable of wanting any man except him.
The words stung. They were meant to. He hesitated, only for a minute, before he jerked open the door and went out. Cecily closed her eyes and thanked providence that she’d had the good sense to deny herself what she wanted most in the world. Tate had said once that sex alone wasn’t enough. He was right. She repeated it, like a mantra, to her starving body until she finally fell asleep.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
You heard me. Let someone else send you to your blaze of glory. You're a speck, man. You're nothing. You're not worth the bullet or the mark on my soul for taking you out."
You trying to piss me off again, Patrick?" He removed Campbell Rawson from his shoulder and held him aloft.
I tilted my wrist so the cylinder fell into my palm, shrugged. "You're a joke, Gerry. I'm just calling it like I see it."
Absolutely." I met his hard eyes with my own. "And you'll be replaced, just like everything else, in maybe a week, tops. Some other dumb, sick shit will come along and kill some people and he'll be all over the papers, and all over Hard Copy and you'll be yesterday's news. Your fifteen minutes are up, Gerry. And they've passed without impact."
They'll remember this," Gerry said. "Believe me."
Gerry clamped back on the trigger. When he met my finger, he looked at me and then clamped down so hard that my finger broke.
I depressed the trigger on the one-shot and nothing happened.
Gerry shrieked louder, and the razor came out of my flesh, then swung back immediately, and I clenched my eyes shut and depressed the trigger frantically three times.
And Gerry's hand exploded.
And so did mine.
The razor hit the ice by my knee as I dropped the one shot and fire roared up the electrical tape and gasoline on Gerry's arm and caught the wisps of Danielle's hair.
Gerry threw his head back and opened his mouth wide and bellowed in ecstasy.
I grabbed the razor, could barely feel it because the nerves in my hand seemed to have stopped working.
I slashed into the electric tape at the end of the shotgun barrel, and Danielle dropped away toward the ice and rolled her head into the frozen sand.
My broken finger came back out of the shotgun and Gerry swung the barrels toward my head.
The twin shotgun bores arced through the darkness like eyes without mercy or soul, and I raised my head to meet them, and Gerry's wail filled my ears as the fire licked at his neck.
Good-bye, I thought. Everyone. It's been nice.
Oscar's first two shots entered the back of Gerry's head and exited through the center of his forehead and a third punched into his back.
The shotgun jerked upward in Gerry's flaming arm and then the shots came from the front, several at once, and Gerry spun like a marionette and pitched toward the ground. The shotgun boomed twice and punched holes through the ice in front of him as he fell.
He landed on his knees and, for a moment, I wasn't sure if he was dead or not. His rusty hair was afire and his head lolled to the left as one eye disappeared in flames but the other shimmered at me through waves of heat, and an amused derision shone in the pupil.
Patrick, the eye said through the gathering smoke, you still know nothing.
Oscar rose up on the other side of Gerry's corpse, Campbell Rawson clutched tight to his massive chest as it rose and fell with great heaving breaths. The sight of it-something so soft and gentle in the arms of something so thick and mountaineous-made me laugh.
Oscar came out of the darkness toward me, stepped around Gerry's burning body, and I felt the waves of heat rise toward me as the circle of gasoline around Gerry caught fire.
Burn, I thought. Burn. God help me, but burn.
Just after Oscar stepped over the outer edge of the circle, it erupted in yellow flame, and I found myself laughing harder as he looked at it, not remotely impressed.
I felt cool lips smack against my ear, and by the time I looked her way, Danielle was already past me, rushing to take her child from Oscar.
His huge shadow loomed over me as he approached, and I looked up at him and he held the look for a long moment.
How you doing, Patrick?" he said and smiled broadly.
And, behind him, Gerry burned on the ice.
And everything was so goddamned funny for some reason, even though I knew it wasn't. I knew it wasn't. I did. But I was still laughing when they put me in the ambulance.
If she’d known what a good shot you are,” he whispered past the unfamiliar tightness in his throat, “she’d never have dared.” His hand lifted to her wet cheek, holding it pressed against his chest. “You could always call her out, you know.” The spasmodic shaking in Elizabeth’s slender shoulders began to subside, and Ian added with forced tightness, “Better yet, Robert should stand in for you. He’s not as fine a shot as you are, but he’s a hell of a lot faster…”
A teary giggle escaped the girl in his arms, and Ian continued, “On the other hand, if you’re holding the pistol, you’ll have some choices to make, and they’re not easy…”
When he didn’t say more, Elizabeth drew a shaky breath. “What choices?” she finally whispered against his chest after a moment.
“What to shoot, for one thing,” he joked, stroking her back. “Robert was wearing Hessians, so I had a tassel for a target. I suppose, though, you could always shoot the bow off Valerie’s gown.”
Elizabeth’s shoulders gave a lurch, and a choked laugh escaped her.
Overwhelmed with relief, Ian kept his left arm around her and gently took her chin between his forefinger and thumb, tipping her face up to his. Her magnificent eyes were still wet with tears, but a smile was trembling on her rosy lips. Teasingly, he continued, “A bow isn’t much of a challenge for an expert marksman like you. I suppose you could insist that she hold up an earring between her fingers so you could shoot that instead.”
The image was so absurd that Elizabeth chuckled.
Without being conscious of what he was doing, Ian moved his thumb from her chin to her lower lip, rubbing lightly against its inviting fullness. He finally realized what he was doing and stopped.
Elizabeth saw his jaw tighten. She drew a shuddering breath, sensing he’d been on the verge of kissing her, and had just decided not to do it. After the last shattering minutes, Elizabeth no longer knew who was friend or foe, she only knew she’d felt safe and secure in his arms, and at that moment his arms were already beginning to loosen, and his expression was turning aloof. Not certain what she was going to say or even what she wanted, she whispered a single, shaky word, filled with confusion and a plea for understanding, her green eyes searching his: “Please-“
Ian realized what she was asking for, but he responded with a questioning lift of his brows.
“I-“ she began, uncomfortably aware of the knowing look in his eyes.
“Yes?” he prompted.
“I don’t know-exactly,” she admitted. All she knew for certain was that, for just a few minutes more, she would have liked to be in his arms.
“Elizabeth, if you want to be kissed, all you have to do is put your lips on mine.”
“You heard me.”
“Of all the arrogant-“
He shook his head in mild rebuke. “Spare me the maidenly protests. If you’re suddenly as curious as I am to find out if it was as good between us as it now seems in retrospect, then say so.” His own suggestion startled Ian, although having made it, he saw no great harm in exchanging a few kisses if that was what she wanted.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
There was a knock on the bedroom door and Romeo stiffened. “What!” he yelled.
“I hope no one’s naked, ‘cause I’m coming in!” Braeden hollered. A few seconds later, the door opened and he stepped inside. One of his hands covered his eyes.
“Is it safe?” he asked.
I giggled. “Is that a no for tacos?”
Romeo shook his head and rolled his eyes. “We’re dressed, man.”
Braeden dropped the hand over his eyes and he zeroed in on me. It took everything in me not to shrink back from embarrassment. He came across the carpeting and held out my glasses. “Here,” he said. “I figured you might need these.”
Ah, that explained why everything still looked so blurry.
I slid them on and smiled as my sight adjusted back to normal. I noticed Braeden was soaking wet.
“Oh!” I exclaimed. “You have to be freezing!”
I rushed around the room, pulling out clothes and socks and tossing them at Braeden’s feet. “Here! Put this stuff on.”
“She’s giving away your clothes, man,” Braeden said to Romeo.
“Chicks.” He sighed.
Braeden shook his head.
“You’re dripping on the carpet!” I reminded him.
He laughed and went in the bathroom to get dressed.
“Just leave your clothes with ours. I’ll wash them for you,” I yelled through the door.
He laughed. “Laundry service? Damn! I’m moving in.”
Romeo shook his head.
I yawned. This entire day was catching up to me. Romeo frowned. “I’ll make everyone leave…” He began.
“No!” I exclaimed. “This is your victory party! Go enjoy it. I’ll stay here.”
He seemed torn on what to do. Braeden came out wearing Romeo’s clothes (they fit him pretty well) and ran his eyes over me in concern. “You okay?”
I nodded. “Did you jump in the pool to get my glasses?”
“Actually, he jumped in the pool right after I did. In case I needed help towing you out.” Romeo corrected.
I glanced at Braeden for confirmation. He shrugged. “What kind of brother would I be if I let you drown?”
Without thought, I walked over and wrapped my arms around him. He seemed a little taken aback by my display of affection, but after a minute, he hugged me back. “Thank you,” I whispered.
“Anytime, tutor girl.” His voice was soft and his arms tightened around me just slightly. For all his witty humor, sarcastic one-liners, and jokes, Braeden was a really good guy. “We need to teach you to swim.” He observed.
I shuddered. “I know how to swim.”
“Well, you sank to the bottom like an anchor,” he grumbled.
Cambria Hebert (#Hater (Hashtag, #2))
I resolved to come right to the point. "Hello," I said as coldly as possible, "we've got to talk."
"Yes, Bob," he said quietly, "what's on your mind?" I shut my eyes for a moment, letting the raging frustration well up inside, then stared angrily at the psychiatrist.
"Look, I've been religious about this recovery business. I go to AA meetings daily and to your sessions twice a week. I know it's good that I've stopped drinking. But every other aspect of my life feels the same as it did before. No, it's worse. I hate my life. I hate myself."
Suddenly I felt a slight warmth in my face, blinked my eyes a bit, and then stared at him.
"Bob, I'm afraid our time's up," Smith said in a matter-of-fact style.
"Time's up?" I exclaimed. "I just got here."
"No." He shook his head, glancing at his clock. "It's been fifty minutes. You don't remember anything?"
"I remember everything. I was just telling you that these sessions don't seem to be working for me."
Smith paused to choose his words very carefully. "Do you know a very angry boy named 'Tommy'?"
"No," I said in bewilderment, "except for my cousin Tommy whom I haven't seen in twenty years..."
"No." He stopped me short. "This Tommy's not your cousin. I spent this last fifty minutes talking with another Tommy. He's full of anger. And he's inside of you."
"No, I'm not. Look. I want to take a little time to think over what happened today. And don't worry about this. I'll set up an emergency session with you tomorrow. We'll deal with it then."
This is Robert speaking. Today I'm the only personality who is strongly visible inside and outside. My own term for such an MPD role is dominant personality. Fifteen years ago, I rarely appeared on the outside, though I had considerable influence on the inside; back then, I was what one might call a "recessive personality." My passage from "recessive" to "dominant" is a key part of our story; be patient, you'll learn lots more about me later on. Indeed, since you will meet all eleven personalities who once roamed about, it gets a bit complex in the first half of this book; but don't worry, you don't have to remember them all, and it gets sorted out in the last half of the book. You may be wondering -- if not "Robert," who, then, was the dominant MPD personality back in the 1980s and earlier? His name was "Bob," and his dominance amounted to a long reign, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Since "Robert B. Oxnam" was born in 1942, you can see that "Bob" was in command from early to middle adulthood.
Although he was the dominant MPD personality for thirty years, Bob did not have a clue that he was afflicted by multiple personality disorder until 1990, the very last year of his dominance. That was the fateful moment when Bob first heard that he had an "angry boy named Tommy" inside of him. How, you might ask, can someone have MPD for half a lifetime without knowing it? And even if he didn't know it, didn't others around him spot it?
To outsiders, this is one of the most perplexing aspects of MPD. Multiple personality is an extreme disorder, and yet it can go undetected for decades, by the patient, by family and close friends, even by trained therapists. Part of the explanation is the very nature of the disorder itself: MPD thrives on secrecy because the dissociative individual is repressing a terrible inner secret. The MPD individual becomes so skilled in hiding from himself that he becomes a specialist, often unknowingly, in hiding from others. Part of the explanation is rooted in outside observers: MPD often manifests itself in other behaviors, frequently addiction and emotional outbursts, which are wrongly seen as the "real problem."
The fact of the matter is that Bob did not see himself as the dominant personality inside Robert B. Oxnam. Instead, he saw himself as a whole person. In his mind, Bob was merely a nickname for Bob Oxnam, Robert Oxnam, Dr. Robert B. Oxnam, PhD.
Robert B. Oxnam (A Fractured Mind: My Life with Multiple Personality Disorder)
Anna? Anna,are you there? I've been waiting in the lobby for fifteen minutes." A scrambling noise,and St. Clair curses from the floorboards. "And I see your light's off.Brilliant. Could've mentioned you'd decided to go on without me."
I explode out of bed. I overslept! I can't believe I overslept! How could this happen?
St. Clair's boots clomp away,and his suitcase drags heavily behind him. I throw open my door. Even though they're dimmed this time of night,the crystal sconces in the hall make me blink and shade my eyes.
St. Clair twists into focus.He's stunned. "Anna?"
"Help," I gasp. "Help me."
He drops his suitcase and runs to me. "Are you all right? What happened?"
I pull him in and flick on my light. The room is illuminated in its disheveled entirety. My luggage with its zippers open and clothes piled on top like acrobats. Toiletries scattered around my sink. Bedsheets twined into ropes. And me. Belatedly, I remember that not only is my hair crazy and my face smeared with zit cream,but I'm also wearing matching flannel Batman pajamas.
"No way." He's gleeful. "You slept in? I woke you up?"
I fall to the floor and frantically squish clothes into my suitcase.
"You haven't packed yet?"
"I was gonna finish this morning! WOULD YOU FREAKING HELP ALREADY?" I tug on a zipper.It catches a yellow Bat symbol, and I scream in frustration.
We're going to miss our flight. We're going to iss it,and it's my fault. And who knows when the next plane will leave, and we'll be stuck here all day, and I'll never make it in time for Bridge and Toph's show. And St. Clair's mom will cry when she has to go to the hospital without him for her first round of internal radiation, because he'll be stuck iin an airport on the other side of the world,and its ALL. MY FAULT.
"Okay,okay." He takes the zipper and wiggles it from my pajama bottoms. I make a strange sound between a moan and a squeal. The suitcase finally lets go, and St. Clair rests his arms on my shoulders to steady them. "Get dressed. Wipe your face off.I'll takecare of the rest."
Yes,one thing at a time.I can do this. I can do this.
He packs my clothes. Don't think about him touching your underwear. Do NOT think about him touching your underwear. I grab my travel outfit-thankfully laid out the night before-and freeze. "Um."
St. Clair looks up and sees me holding my jeans. He sputters. "I'll, I'll step out-"
"Turn around.Just turn around, there's not time!"
He quickly turns,and his shoulders hunch low over my suitcase to prove by posture how hard he is Not Looking.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
He was beautiful.
Whatever else he was, Sage was by far the most magnetic man I had ever seen. I had felt it in my dreams, and it was even more true in real life. I welcomed the chance to study him without his knowledge.
He glanced up, and I quickly closed my eyes, feigning sleep. Had he seen me? The scratching stopped. He was looking at me, I knew it. I held my breath and willed my eyes not to pop open and see if he was staring.
Finally the scratching started up again. I forced myself to slowly count to ten before I opened my eyelids the tiniest bit and peeked through my lashes.
Good-he wasn’t looking at me.
I opened my eyes a little wider. What was he doing? Moving only my eyes, I glanced down at the dirt floor in front of him…
…and saw a picture of me, fast asleep.
It was incredible. I could see his tools laid out beside the picture: rocks in several sizes and shapes, a couple of twigs…the most rudimentary materials, and yet what he was etching into the floor wouldn’t look out of place on an art gallery wall. It was beautiful…far more beautiful than I thought I actually looked in my sleep. Is that how he saw me?
Sage lifted his head again, and I shut my eyes. I imagined him studying me, taking careful note of my features and filtering them through his own senses. My heartbeat quickened, and it took all my willpower to remain still.
“You can keep pretending to be asleep if you’d like, but I don’t see a career for you as an actress,” he teased.
My eyes sprang open. Sage’s head was again bent over his etching, but a grin played on his face as he worked.
“You knew?” I asked, mortified.
Sage put a finger to his lips, glancing toward Ben. “About two minutes before you woke up, I knew,” he whispered. “Your breathing hanged.” He bent back over the drawing, then impishly asked, “Pleasant dreams?”
My heart stopped, and I felt myself blush bright crimson as I remembered our encounter in the bottom of the rowboat. I sent a quick prayer to whoever or whatever might be listening that I hadn’t re-enacted any of it in my sleep, then said as nonchalantly as possible, “I don’t know, I can’t remember what I dreamed about. Why?”
He swapped out the rock in his hand for one with a thinner edge and worked for another moment. “No reason…just heard my name.”
I hoped the dim moonlight shadowed the worst of my blush. “Your name,” I reiterated. “That’s…interesting. They say dreams sort out things that happen when we’re awake.”
“Hmm. Did you sort anything out?” he asked.
“Like I said, I can’t remember.”
I knew he didn’t believe me. Time to change the subject. I nodded to the etching. “Can I come look?
Hilary Duff (Elixir (Elixir, #1))
ON THE A TRAIN
There were no seats to be had on the A train last night, but I had a good grip on the pole at the end of one of the seats and I was reading the beauty column of the Journal-American, which the man next to me was holding up in front of him. All of a sudden I felt a tap on my arm, and I looked down and there was a man beginning to stand up from the seat where he was sitting. "Would you like to sit down?" he said. Well, I said the first thing that came into my head, I was so surprised and pleased to be offered a seat in the subway. "Oh, thank you very much," I said, "but I am getting out at the next station." He sat back and that was that, but I felt all set up and I thought what a nice man he must be and I wondered what his wife was like and I thought how lucky she was to have such a polite husband, and then all of a sudden I realized that I wasn't getting out at the next station at all but the one after that, and I felt perfectly terrible. I decided to get out at the next station anyway, but then I thought, If I get out at the next station and wait around for the next train I'll miss my bus and they only go every hour and that will be silly. So I decided to brazen it out as best I could, and when the train was slowing up at the next station I stared at the man until I caught his eye and then I said, "I just remembered this isn't my station after all." Then I thought he would think I was asking him to stand up and give me his seat, so I said, "But I still don't want to sit down, because I'm getting off at the next station." I showed him by my expression that I thought it was all rather funny, and he smiled, more or less, and nodded, and lifted his hat and put it back on his head again and looked away. He was one of those small, rather glum or sad men who always look off into the distance after they have finished what they are saying, when they speak. I felt quite proud of my strong-mindedness at not getting off the train and missing my bus simply because of the fear of a little embarrassment, but just as the train was shutting its doors I peered out and there it was, 168th Street. "Oh dear!" I said. "That was my station and now I have missed the bus!" I was fit to be fled, and I had spoken quite loudly, and I felt extremely foolish, and I looked down, and the man who had offered me his seat was partly looking at me, and I said, "Now, isn't that silly? That was my station. A Hundred and Sixty-eighth Street is where I'm supposed to get off." I couldn't help laughing, it was all so awful, and he looked away, and the train fidgeted along to the next station, and I got off as quickly as I possibly could and tore over to the downtown platform and got a local to 168th, but of course I had missed my bus by a minute, or maybe two minutes. I felt very much at a loose end wandering around 168th Street, and I finally went into a rudely appointed but friendly bar and had a martini, warm but very soothing, which cost me only fifty cents. While I was sipping it, trying to make it last to exactly the moment that would get me a good place in the bus queue without having to stand too long in the cold, I wondered what I should have done about that man in the subway. After all, if I had taken his seat I probably would have got out at 168th Street, which would have meant that I would hardly have been sitting down before I would have been getting up again, and that would have seemed odd. And rather grasping of me. And he wouldn't have got his seat back, because some other grasping person would have slipped into it ahead of him when I got up. He seemed a retiring sort of man, not pushy at all. I hesitate to think of how he must have regretted offering me his seat. Sometimes it is very hard to know the right thing to do.
I do not know whether it is an act of faithfulness to her or a betrayal of the dignity she never lost, to say that she had bitten her tongue, to say that there was blood flowing across her mouth and lips which my brother kept wiping away. I do not know whether I have the right to say, though I will do so, that her body was shaken with epileptic tremors and that she took enormous, terrifying breaths that went on and on until you could not believe she had the strength for them. I do not know whether, as we thought at the time, she could feel our hands on her forehead and cheek, or whether she had waited until we were both there to die.
I did not say 'I am here'. I did not say anything. Her mouth was open wide, as in those portraits by Francis Bacon of caged prisoners in their final extremity. I watched and listened to those terrifying, rattling, hoarse breaths, wondering at the strength remaining in her aged body and at the violence it still had to endure. I looked over at my brother as if he might know, as if he might understand whether she had the strength to continue. He was stroking her forehead, whispering soundlessly to her, attempting even at this moment to reach behind the veil and find her.
If you believe that she knew we were there, if you believe--I cannot be sure--that she understood what her sons needed at that instant, her eyes which had been shut and which, by being closed, made her seem completely out of our reach, suddenly opened. Blue-grey eyes, staring up into the ceiling above her sons' heads, upwards, ever upwards, fixed like an exhausted swimmer on the shore. Then her eyes closed and she took the largest, most violent breath of all, and we watched and waited, stood and looked at each other, felt for her pulse and slowly, as seconds turned into minutes, realized that she would never breathe again.
There is only one reason to tell you this, to present the scene. It is to say that what happens can never be anticipated. What happens escapes anything you can ever say about it. What happens cannot be redeemed. It can never be anything other than what it is. We tell stories as if to refuse this truth, as if to say that we make our fate, rather than simply endure it. But in truth we make nothing. We live, and we cannot shape life. It is much too great for us, too great for any words. A writer must refuse to believe this, must believe there is nothing that cannot somehow be said. Yet there at last in her presence, in the unending unfolding of that silence, which still goes on, which I still expect to be broken by another drawing in of breath, I knew that all my words could only be in vain, and that all that I had feared and all that I had anticipated could only be lived--without their help or hers.
Michael Ignatieff (Scar Tissue)
Now,” Samite continued, “after Essel has just spent time warning you about generalities and how they often don’t apply, I’m going to use some. Because some generalities are true often enough that we have to worry about them. So here’s one: men will physically fight for status. Women, generally, are more clever. The why of it doesn’t matter: learned, innate, cultural, who cares? You see the chest-bumping, the name-calling, performing for their fellows, what they’re really doing is getting the juices flowing. That interval isn’t always long, but it’s long enough for men to trigger the battle juice. That’s the terror or excitation that leads people to fight or run. It can be useful in small doses or debilitating in large ones. Any of you have brothers, or boys you’ve fought with?” Six of the ten raised their hands. “Have you ever had a fight with them—verbal or physical—and then they leave and come back a little later, and they’re completely done fighting and you’re just fully getting into it? They look like they’ve been ambushed, because they’ve come completely off the mountain already, and you’ve just gotten to the top?” “Think of it like lovemaking,” Essel said. She was a bawdy one. “Breathe in a man’s ear and tell him to take his trousers off, and he’s ready to go before you draw your next breath. A woman’s body takes longer.” Some of the girls giggled nervously. “Men can switch on very, very fast. They also switch off from that battle readiness very, very fast. Sure, they’ll be left trembling, sometimes puking from it, but it’s on and then it’s off. Women don’t do that. We peak slower. Now, maybe there are exceptions, maybe. But as fighters, we tend to think that everyone reacts the way we do, because our own experience is all we have. In this case, it’s not true for us. Men will be ready to fight, then finished, within heartbeats. This is good and bad. “A man, deeply surprised, will have only his first instinctive response be as controlled and crisp as it is when he trains. Then that torrent of emotion is on him. We spend thousands of hours training that first instinctive response, and further, we train to control the torrent of emotion so that it raises us to a heightened level of awareness without making us stupid.” “So the positive, for us Archers: surprise me, and my first reaction will be the same as my male counterpart’s. I can still, of course, get terrified, or locked into a loop of indecision. But if I’m not, my second, third, and tenth moves will also be controlled. My hands will not shake. I will be able to make precision movements that a man cannot. But I won’t have the heightened strength or sensations until perhaps a minute later—often too late. “Where a man needs to train to control that rush, we need to train to make it closer. If we have to climb a mountain more slowly to get to the same height to get all the positives, we need to start climbing sooner. That is, when I go into a situation that I know may be hazardous, I need to prepare myself. I need to start climbing. The men may joke to break the tension. Let them. I don’t join in. Maybe they think I’m humorless because I don’t. Fine. That’s a trade I’m willing to make.” Teia and the rest of the girls walked away from training that day somewhat dazed, definitely overwhelmed. What Teia realized was that the women were deeply appealing because they were honest and powerful. And those two things were wed inextricably together. They said, I am the best in the world at what I do, and I cannot do everything. Those two statements, held together, gave them the security to face any challenge. If her own strengths couldn’t surmount an obstacle, her team’s strengths could—and she was unembarrassed about asking for help where she needed it because she knew that what she brought to the team would be equally valuable in some other situation.
Brent Weeks (The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2))
What did I do now?” He reluctantly pulled the car the curb.
I needed to get out of this car – like now. I couldn’t breathe.
I unbuckled and flung open the door.
“Thanks for the ride. Bye.”
I slammed the door shut and began down the sidewalk. Behind me, I heard the engine turn off and his door open and shut. I quickened my stride as James jogged up to me. I slowed down knowing I couldn’t escape his long legs anyway. Plus, I didn’t want to get home all sweaty and have to explain myself.
“What happened?” James asked, matching my pace.
“Leave me alone!” I snapped back. I felt his hand grab my elbow, halting me easily.
“Stop,” he ordered.
Damn it, he’s strong!
“What are you pissed about now?” He towered over me. I was trapped in front of him, if he tugged a bit, I’d be in his embrace.
“It’s so funny huh? I’m that bad? I’m a clown, I’m so funny!” I jerked my arm, trying to break free of his grip. “Let me go!”
“No!” He squeezed tighter, pulling me closer.
“Leave me alone!” I spit the words like venom, pulling my arm with all my might.
“What’s your problem?” James demanded loudly. His hand tightened on my arm with each attempt to pull away. My energy was dwindling and I was mentally exhausted. I stopped jerking my arm back, deciding it was pointless because he was too strong; there was no way I could pull my arm back without first kneeing him in the balls.
We were alone, standing in the dark of night in a neighborhood that didn’t see much traffic.
“Fireball?” he murmured softly.
“What?” I replied quietly, defeated.
Hesitantly, he asked, “Did I say something to make you sad?”
I wasn’t going to mention the boyfriend thing; there was no way.
“Yes,” I whimpered.
That’s just great, way to sound strong there, now he’ll have no reason not to pity you!
“I’m sorry,” came his quiet reply.
Well maybe ‘I’m sorry’ just isn’t good enough. The damage is already done!
“What can I do to make it all better?”
“There’s nothing you could–” I began but was interrupted by him pulling me against his body. His arms encircled my waist, holding me tight. My arms instinctively bent upwards, hands firmly planted against his solid chest. Any resentment I had swiftly melted away as something brand new took its place: pleasure.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him softly; his face was only a few inches from mine.
“What do you think you’re doing?” James asked back, looking down at my hands on his chest. I slowly slid my arms up around his neck.
I can’t believe I just did that!
Our bodies were plastered against one another; I felt a new kind of nervousness touch every single inch of my body, it prickled electrically.
“James,” I murmured softly.
“Fireball,” he whispered back.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I repeated; my brain felt frozen. My heart had stopped beating a mile a minute instead issuing slow, heavy beats.
James uncurled one of his arms from my waist and trailed it along my back to the base of my neck, holding it firmly yet delicately. Blood rushed to the very spot he was holding, heat filled my eyes as I stared at him.
“What are you doing?” My bewilderment was audible in the hush.
I wasn’t sure I had the capacity to speak anymore. That function had fled along with the bitch. Her replacement was a delicate flower that yearned to be touched and taken care of. I felt his hand shift on my neck, ever so slightly, causing my head to tilt up to him. Slowly, inch by inch, his face descended on mine, stopping just a breath away from my trembling lips.
I wanted it. Badly. My lips parted a fraction, letting a thread of air escape.
“Can I?” His breath was warm on my lips.
“Yeah,” I whispered back. He closed the distance until his lush lips covered mine.
My first kiss…damn!
His lips moved softly over mine. I felt his grip on my neck squeeze as his lips pressed deeper into
Sarah Tork (Young Annabelle (Y.A #1))
A brick could be used to show you how to live a richer, fuller, more satisfying life. Don’t you want to have fulfillment and meaning saturating your existence? I can show you how you can achieve this and so much more with just a simple brick. For just $99.99—not even an even hundred bucks, I’ll send you my exclusive life philosophy that’s built around a brick. Man’s used bricks to build houses for centuries. Now let one man, me, show you how a brick can be used to build your life up bigger and stronger than you ever imagined. But act now, because supplies are limited. This amazing offer won’t last forever. You don’t want to wake up in ten years to find yourself divorced, homeless, and missing your testicles because you waited even two hours too long to obtain this information. Become a hero today—save your life. Procrastination is only for the painful things in life. We prolong the boring, but why put off for tomorrow the exciting life you could be living today? If you’re not satisfied with the information I’m providing, I’m willing to offer you a no money back guarantee. That’s right, you read that wrong. If you are not 100% dissatisfied with my product, I’ll give you your money back. For $99.99 I’m offering 99.99%, but you’ve got to be willing to penny up that percentage to 100. Why delay? The life you really want is mine, and I’m willing to give it to you—for a price. That price is a one-time fee of $99.99, which of course everyone can afford—even if they can’t afford it. Homeless people can’t afford it, but they’re the people who need my product the most. Buy my product, or face the fact that in all probability you are going to end up homeless and sexless and unloved and filthy and stinky and probably even disabled, if not physically than certainly mentally. I don’t care if your testicles taste like peanut butter—if you don’t buy my product, even a dog won’t lick your balls you miserable cur. I curse you! God damn it, what are you, slow? Pay me my money so I can show you the path to true wealth. Don’t you want to be rich? Everything takes money—your marriage, your mortgage, and even prostitutes. I can show you the path to prostitution—and it starts by ignoring my pleas to help you. I’m not the bad guy here. I just want to help. You have some serious trust issues, my friend. I have the chance to earn your trust, and all it’s going to cost you is a measly $99.99. Would it help you to trust me if I told you that I trust you? Well, I do. Sure, I trust you. I trust you to make the smart decision for your life and order my product today. Don’t sleep on this decision, because you’ll only wake up in eight hours to find yourself living in a miserable future. And the future indeed looks bleak, my friend. War, famine, children forced to pimp out their parents just to feed the dog. Is this the kind of tomorrow you’d like to live in today? I can show you how to provide enough dog food to feed your grandpa for decades. In the future I’m offering you, your wife isn’t a whore that you sell for a knife swipe of peanut butter because you’re so hungry you actually considered eating your children. Become a hero—and save your kids’ lives. Your wife doesn’t want to spread her legs for strangers. Or maybe she does, and that was a bad example. Still, the principle stands. But you won’t be standing—in the future. Remember, you’ll be confined to a wheelchair. Mushrooms are for pizzas, not clouds, but without me, your life will atom bomb into oblivion. Nobody’s dropping a bomb while I’m around. The only thing I’m dropping is the price. Boom! I just lowered the price for you, just to show you that you are a valued customer. As a VIP, your new price on my product is just $99.96. That’s a savings of over two pennies (three, to be precise). And I’ll even throw in a jar of peanut butter for free. That’s a value of over $.99. But wait, there’s more! If you call within the next ten minutes, I’ll even throw in a blanket free of charge. . .
Jarod Kintz (Brick)
Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart.
Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air.
"Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures."
Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go."
She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go."
"I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually.
"Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go."
Their eyes locked in silent communion.
"God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him."
Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall."
Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him."
"Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back."
"I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it.
"Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me."
Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept.
Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go?
Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips.
They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go.
They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door.
Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever."
He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.
Robin Jones Gunn (Sweet Dreams (Christy Miller, #11))
I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel as I looked around the empty lot. I wavered on getting out when a giant lightning bolt painted a jagged streak across the rainy lavender-gray sky. Minutes passed and still he didn’t come out of the Three Hundreds’ building.
Damn it. Before I could talk myself out of it, I jumped out of the car, cursing at myself for not carrying an umbrella for about the billionth time and for not having waterproof shoes, and ran through the parking lot, straight through the double doors. As I stomped my feet on the mat, I looked around the lobby for the big guy. A woman behind the front desk raised her eyebrows at me curiously. “Can I help you with something?” she asked.
“Have you seen Aiden?”
Were there really that many Aidens? “Graves.”
“Can I ask what you need him for?”
I bit the inside of my cheek and smiled at the woman who didn’t know me and, therefore, didn’t have an idea that I knew Aiden. “I’m here to pick him up.”
It was obvious she didn’t know what to make of me. I didn’t exactly look like pro-football player girlfriend material in that moment, much less anything else. I’d opted not to put on any makeup since I hadn’t planned on leaving the house. Or real pants. Or even a shirt with the sleeves intact. I had cut-off shorts and a baggy T-shirt with sleeves that I’d taken scissors to. Plus the rain outside hadn’t done my hair any justice. It looked like a cloud of teal.
Then there was the whole we-don’t-look-anything-alike thing going on, so there was no way we could pass as siblings. Just as I opened my mouth, the doors that connected the front area with the rest of the training facility swung open. The man I was looking for came out with his bag over his shoulder, imposing, massive, and sweaty. Definitely surly too, which really only meant he looked the way he always did.
I couldn’t help but crack a little smile at his grumpiness. “Ready?”
He did his form of a nod, a tip of his chin.
I could feel the receptionist’s eyes on us as he approached, but I was too busy taking in Grumpy Pants to bother looking at anyone else. Those brown eyes shifted to me for a second, and that time, I smirked uncontrollably.
He glared down at me. “What are you smiling at?”
I shrugged my shoulders and shook my head, trying to give him an innocent look. “Oh, nothing, sunshine.”
He mouthed ‘sunshine’ as his gaze strayed to the ceiling.
We ran out of the building side by side toward my car. Throwing the doors open, I pretty much jumped inside and shivered, turning the car and the heater on. Aiden slid in a lot more gracefully than I had, wet but not nearly as soaked.
He eyed me as he buckled in, and I slanted him a look. “What?”
With a shake of his head, he unzipped his duffel, which was sitting on his lap, and pulled out that infamous off-black hoodie he always wore. Then he held it out.
All I could do was stare at it for a second. His beloved, no-name brand, extra-extra-large hoodie. He was offering it to me.
When I first started working for Aiden, I remembered him specifically giving me instructions on how he wanted it washed and dried. On gentle and hung to dry. He loved that thing. He could own a thousand just like it, but he didn’t. He had one black hoodie that he wore all the time and a blue one he occasionally donned.
“For me?” I asked like an idiot.
He shook it, rolling his eyes. “Yes for you. Put it on before you get sick. I would rather not have to take care of you if you get pneumonia.”
Yeah, I was going to ignore his put-out tone and focus on the ‘rather not’ as I took it from him and slipped it on without another word. His hoodie was like holding a gold medal in my hands. Like being given something cherished, a family relic. Aiden’s precious.
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
Is there a bird among them, dear boy?” Charity asked innocently, peering not at the things on the desk, but at his face, noting the muscle beginning to twitch at Ian’s tense jaw.
“Then they must be in the schoolroom! Of course,” she said cheerfully, “that’s it. How like me, Hortense would say, to have made such a silly mistake.”
Ian dragged his eyes from the proof that his grandfather had been keeping track of him almost from the day of his birth-certainly from the day when he was able to leave the cottage on his own two legs-to her face and said mockingly, “Hortense isn’t very perceptive. I would say you are as wily as a fox.”
She gave him a little knowing smile and pressed her finger to her lips. “Don’t tell her, will you? She does so enjoy thinking she is the clever one.”
“How did he manage to have these drawn?” Ian asked, stopping her as she turned away.
“A woman in the village near your home drew many of them. Later he hired an artist when he knew you were going to be somewhere at a specific time. I’ll just leave you here where it’s nice and quiet.” She was leaving him, Ian knew, to look through the items on the desk. For a long moment he hesitated, and then he slowly sat down in the chair, looking over the confidential reports on himself. They were all written by one Mr. Edgard Norwich, and as Ian began scanning the thick stack of pages, his anger at his grandfather for this outrageous invasion of his privacy slowly became amusement. For one thing, nearly every letter from the investigator began with phrases that made it clear the duke had chastised him for not reporting in enough detail. The top letter began,
I apologize, Your Grace, for my unintentional laxness in failing to mention that indeed Mr. Thornton enjoys an occasional cheroot…
The next one opened with,
I did not realize, Your Grace, that you would wish to know how fast his horse ran in the race-in addition to knowing that he won.
From the creases and holds in the hundreds of reports it was obvious to Ian that they’d been handled and read repeatedly, and it was equally obvious from some of the investigator’s casual comments that his grandfather had apparently expressed his personal pride to him:
You will be pleased to know, Your Grace, that young Ian is a fine whip, just as you expected…
I quite agree with you, as do many others, that Mr. Thornton is undoubtedly a genius…
I assure you, Your Grace, that your concern over that duel is unfounded. It was a flesh wound in the arm, nothing more.
Ian flipped through them at random, unaware that the barricade he’d erected against his grandfather was beginning to crack very slightly.
“Your Grace,” the investigator had written in a rare fit of exasperation when Ian was eleven,
“the suggestion that I should be able to find a physician who might secretly look at young Ian’s sore throat is beyond all bounds of reason. Even if I could find one who was willing to pretend to be a lost traveler, I really cannot see how he could contrive to have a peek at the boy’s throat without causing suspicion!”
The minutes became an hour, and Ian’s disbelief increased as he scanned the entire history of his life, from his achievements to his peccadilloes. His gambling gains and losses appeared regularly; each ship he added to his fleet had been described, and sketches forwarded separately; his financial progress had been reported in minute and glowing detail.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
ESTABLISHING A DAILY MEDITATION First select a suitable space for your regular meditation. It can be wherever you can sit easily with minimal disturbance: a corner of your bedroom or any other quiet spot in your home. Place a meditation cushion or chair there for your use. Arrange what is around so that you are reminded of your meditative purpose, so that it feels like a sacred and peaceful space. You may wish to make a simple altar with a flower or sacred image, or place your favorite spiritual books there for a few moments of inspiring reading. Let yourself enjoy creating this space for yourself. Then select a regular time for practice that suits your schedule and temperament. If you are a morning person, experiment with a sitting before breakfast. If evening fits your temperament or schedule better, try that first. Begin with sitting ten or twenty minutes at a time. Later you can sit longer or more frequently. Daily meditation can become like bathing or toothbrushing. It can bring a regular cleansing and calming to your heart and mind. Find a posture on the chair or cushion in which you can easily sit erect without being rigid. Let your body be firmly planted on the earth, your hands resting easily, your heart soft, your eyes closed gently. At first feel your body and consciously soften any obvious tension. Let go of any habitual thoughts or plans. Bring your attention to feel the sensations of your breathing. Take a few deep breaths to sense where you can feel the breath most easily, as coolness or tingling in the nostrils or throat, as movement of the chest, or rise and fall of the belly. Then let your breath be natural. Feel the sensations of your natural breathing very carefully, relaxing into each breath as you feel it, noticing how the soft sensations of breathing come and go with the changing breath. After a few breaths your mind will probably wander. When you notice this, no matter how long or short a time you have been away, simply come back to the next breath. Before you return, you can mindfully acknowledge where you have gone with a soft word in the back of your mind, such as “thinking,” “wandering,” “hearing,” “itching.” After softly and silently naming to yourself where your attention has been, gently and directly return to feel the next breath. Later on in your meditation you will be able to work with the places your mind wanders to, but for initial training, one word of acknowledgment and a simple return to the breath is best. As you sit, let the breath change rhythms naturally, allowing it to be short, long, fast, slow, rough, or easy. Calm yourself by relaxing into the breath. When your breath becomes soft, let your attention become gentle and careful, as soft as the breath itself. Like training a puppy, gently bring yourself back a thousand times. Over weeks and months of this practice you will gradually learn to calm and center yourself using the breath. There will be many cycles in this process, stormy days alternating with clear days. Just stay with it. As you do, listening deeply, you will find the breath helping to connect and quiet your whole body and mind. Working with the breath is an excellent foundation for the other meditations presented in this book. After developing some calm and skills, and connecting with your breath, you can then extend your range of meditation to include healing and awareness of all the levels of your body and mind. You will discover how awareness of your breath can serve as a steady basis for all you do.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)
It’s dark as a tomb in here,” she said, unable to see more than shadows. “Will you light the candles, please,” she asked, “assuming there are candles in here?”
“Aye, milady, right there, next to the bed.” His shadow crossed before her, and Elizabeth focused on a large, oddly shaped object that she supposed could be a bed, given its size.
“Will you light them, please?” she urged. “I-I can’t see a thing in here.”
“His lordship don’t like more’n one candle lit in the bedchambers,” the footman said. “He says it’s a waste of beeswax.”
Elizabeth blinked in the darkness, torn somewhere between laughter and tears at her plight. “Oh,” she said, nonplussed. The footman lit a small candle at the far end of the room and left, closing the door behind him. “Milady?” Berta whispered, peering through the dark, impenetrable gloom. “Where are you?”
“I’m over here,” Elizabeth replied, walking cautiously forward, her arms outstretched, her hands groping about for possible obstructions in her path as she headed for what she hoped was the outside wall of the bedchamber, where there was bound to be a window with draperies hiding its light.
“Where?” Berta asked in a frightened whisper, and Elizabeth could hear the maid’s teeth chattering halfway across the room.
“Here-on your left.”
Berta followed the sound of her mistress’s voice and let out a terrified gasp at the sight of the ghostlike figure moving eerily through the darkness, arms outstretched. “Raise your arm,” she said urgently, “so I’ll know ‘tis you.”
Elizabeth, knowing Berta’s timid nature, complied immediately. She raised her arm, which, while calming poor Berta, unfortunately caused Elizabeth to walk straight into a slender, fluted pillar with a marble bust upon it, and they both began to topple. “Good God!” Elizabeth burst out, wrapping her arms protectively around the pillar and the marble object upon it. “Berta!” she said urgently. “This is no time to be afraid of the dark. Help me, please. I’ve bumped into something-a bust and its stand, I think-and I daren’t let go of them until I can see how to set them upright. There are draperies over here, right in front of me. All you have to do is follow my voice and open them. Once we do, ‘twill be bright as day in here.”
“I’m coming, milady,” Berta said bravely, and Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief. “I’ve found them!” Berta cried softly a few minutes later. “They’re heavy-velvet they are, with another panel behind them.” Berta pulled one heavy panel back across the wall, and then, with renewed urgency and vigor, she yanked back the other and turned around to survey the room.
“Light as last!” Elizabeth said with relief. Dazzling late-afternoon sunlight poured into the windows directly in front of her, blinding her momentarily. “That’s much better,” she said, blinking. Satisfied that the pillar was quite sturdy enough to stand without her aid, Elizabeth was about to place the bust back upon it, but Berta’s cry stopped her.
“Saints preserve us!”
With the fragile bust clutched protectively to her chest Elizabeth swung sharply around. There, spread out before her, furnished entirely in red and gold, was the most shocking room Elizabeth had ever beheld: Six enormous gold cupids seemed to hover in thin air above a gigantic bed clutching crimson velvet bed draperies in one pudgy fist and holding bows and arrows in the other; more cupids adorned the headboard. Elizabeth’s eyes widened, first in disbelief, and a moment later in mirth. “Berta,” she breathed on a smothered giggle, “will you look at this place!
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))