My Drafts Are Like Quotes

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When I asked my da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I'd have no doubt. And I didn't. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself 'Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weights as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
My first feeling was that there was no way to continue. Writing isn't like math;in math, two plus two always equals four no matter what your mood is like. With writing, the way you feel changes everything.
Stephenie Meyer (Midnight Sun [2008 Draft])
Because I wanted you." He turned from the window to face me. "More than I ever wanted anything in my life," he added softly. I continued staring at him, dumbstruck. Whatever I had been expecting, it wasn't this. Seeing my openmouthed expression, he continued lightly. "When I asked my da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I'd have no doubt. And I didn't. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, 'Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman'" I started toward him, and he backed away, talking rapidly. "I said to myself, 'She's mended ye twice in as many hours, me lad; life amongst the MacKenzies being what it is, it might be as well to wed a woman as can stanch a wound and set broken bones.' And I said to myself, 'Jamie, lad, if her touch feels so bonny on your collarbone, imagine what it might feel like lower down...'" He dodged around a chair. "Of course, I thought it might ha' just been the effects of spending four months in a monastery, without benefit of female companionship, but then that ride through the dark together"--he paused to sigh theatrically, neatly evading my grab at his sleeve--"with that lovely broad arse wedged between my thighs"--he ducked a blow aimed at his left ear and sidestepped, getting a low table between us--"and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest"--a small metal ornament bounced off his own head and went clanging to the floor--"I said to myself..." He was laughing so hard at this point that he had to gasp for breath between phrases. "Jamie...I said...for all she's a Sassenach bitch...with a tongue like an adder's ...with a bum like that...what does it matter if she's a f-face like a sh-sh-eep?" I tripped him neatly and landed on his stomach with both knees as he hit the floor with a crash that shook the house. "You mean to tell me that you married me out of love?" I demanded. He raised his eyebrows, struggling to draw in breath. "Have I not...just been...saying so?
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Muhammad Ali
Make me an offer, " I said at last. "Write it up, and give me a point-by-point outline of why you're a good would-be suitor. " He started to laugh, then saw my face. "Seriously? That's like homework. There's a reason I'm not in college. " I snapped my fingers. "Get to it, Ivashkov. I want to see you put in a good day's work. " I expected a joke or a brush-off until later, but instead, he said, "Okay. " "Okay?" "Yep. I'm going to go back to my room right now to start drafting my assignment. " I stared incredulously as he reached for his coat. I had never seen Adrian move that fast when any kind of labor was involved. Oh no. What had I gotten myself into?
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said that you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
(...) When I asked my Da how ye knew which was the right woman, he told me when the time came, I'd have no doubt. And I didn't. When I woke in the dark under that tree on the road to Leoch, with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, 'Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
Both of my hands were on his chest. They had a mind of their own. I claimed no responsibility for them. Daemon kissed like he was a man starving for water, taking long, breathless drafts. When his hands slid...under my shirt, it was as though he reached deep inside me, warming every cell, filling evry dark space within me. Touching him, kissing him, was like having a fever all over again. I was on fire. My body burned. The world burned. Sparks flew. Against his mouth, I moaned.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Onyx (Lux, #2))
Ideas come at any moment -- except when you demand them. Most ideas come while I'm physically active, at the gym, with friends, gardening, so I always carry pen and paper. My first draft is always written in longhand. But once the first dozen chapters, more like short stories, are written, then momentum builds until I can't leave the project until it's done.
Chuck Palahniuk
All good writers write [terrible first drafts.] This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. . . I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
In Plaster I shall never get out of this! There are two of me now: This new absolutely white person and the old yellow one, And the white person is certainly the superior one. She doesn't need food, she is one of the real saints. 
At the beginning I hated her, she had no personality -- She lay in bed with me like a dead body 
And I was scared, because she was shaped just the way I was 
 Only much whiter and unbreakable and with no complaints. I couldn't sleep for a week, she was so cold. I blamed her for everything, but she didn't answer. 
I couldn't understand her stupid behavior! 
When I hit her she held still, like a true pacifist. 
Then I realized what she wanted was for me to love her: She began to warm up, and I saw her advantages. 

Without me, she wouldn't exist, so of course she was grateful. 
I gave her a soul, I bloomed out of her as a rose 
Blooms out of a vase of not very valuable porcelain, And it was I who attracted everybody's attention, 
Not her whiteness and beauty, as I had at first supposed. 
I patronized her a little, and she lapped it up -- 
You could tell almost at once she had a slave mentality. 

I didn't mind her waiting on me, and she adored it. 
In the morning she woke me early, reflecting the sun 
From her amazingly white torso, and I couldn't help but notice 
Her tidiness and her calmness and her patience: She humored my weakness like the best of nurses, 
Holding my bones in place so they would mend properly. In time our relationship grew more intense. 

She stopped fitting me so closely and seemed offish. 
I felt her criticizing me in spite of herself, 
As if my habits offended her in some way. She let in the drafts and became more and more absent-minded. 
And my skin itched and flaked away in soft pieces 
Simply because she looked after me so badly. Then I saw what the trouble was: she thought she was immortal. She wanted to leave me, she thought she was superior, 
And I'd been keeping her in the dark, and she was resentful -- Wasting her days waiting on a half-corpse! 
And secretly she began to hope I'd die. Then she could cover my mouth and eyes, cover me entirely, 
And wear my painted face the way a mummy-case Wears the face of a pharaoh, though it's made of mud and water. 

I wasn't in any position to get rid of her. She'd supported me for so long I was quite limp -- I had forgotten how to walk or sit, So I was careful not to upset her in any way 
Or brag ahead of time how I'd avenge myself. Living with her was like living with my own coffin: Yet I still depended on her, though I did it regretfully. I used to think we might make a go of it together -- 
After all, it was a kind of marriage, being so close. 
Now I see it must be one or the other of us. She may be a saint, and I may be ugly and hairy, 
But she'll soon find out that that doesn't matter a bit. I'm collecting my strength; one day I shall manage without her, 
And she'll perish with emptiness then, and begin to miss me. --written 26 Feburary 1961
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
I was not the one she was destined to say yes to. It was someone else, someone human and warm. And I could not let myself hunt him down and kill him, because she deserved him. Whoever it was. It really didn't matter if I left, because Bella could never see me the way I wished she could. Never see me someone worthy of love. Never. Could a dead, frozen heart break? It felt like mine would. "Edward," she mumbled softly. She was dreaming of me. Could a dead, frozen heart beat again? It felt like mine was about to. I would always love this fragile human girl, for the rest of my limitless existence.
Stephenie Meyer (Midnight Sun [2008 Draft])
But with Katrina—was it romantic when you instinctively knew someone’s very existence fascinated you, made you grateful? Finding it romantic would be missing the point, like valuing the sun because it was bright. I’m glad for the light, but really, I’m grateful for the fact it sustains life on Earth. Not that Katrina sustains my life on Earth. I— No. Inelegant metaphor. It’s over with Katrina.
Emily Wibberley (The Roughest Draft)
Dear Madam Vorsoisson, I am sorry. This is the eleventh draft of this letter. They’ve all started with those three words, even the horrible version in rhyme, so I guess they stay. You once asked me never to lie to you. All right, so. I’ll tell you the truth now even if it isn’t the best or cleverest thing, and not abject enough either. I tried to be the thief of you, to ambush and take prisoner what I thought I could never earn or be given. You were not a ship to be hijacked, but I couldn’t think of any other plan but subterfuge and surprise. Though not as much of a surprise as what happened at dinner. The revolution started prematurely because the idiot conspirator blew up his secret ammo dump and lit the sky with his intentions. Sometimes these accidents end in new nations, but more often they end badly, in hangings and beheadings. And people running into the night. I can’t be sorry that I asked you to marry me, because that was the one true part in all the smoke and rubble, but I’m sick as hell that I asked you so badly. Even though I’d kept my counsel from you, I should have at least had the courtesy to keep it from others as well, till you’d had the year of grace and rest you’d asked for. But I became terrified that you’d choose another first. So I used the garden as a ploy to get near you. I deliberately and consciously shaped your heart’s desire into a trap. For this I am more than sorry, I am ashamed. You’d earned every chance to grow. I’d like to pretend I didn’t see it would be a conflict of interest for me to be the one to give you some of those chances, but that would be another lie. But it made me crazy to watch you constrained to tiny steps, when you could be outrunning time. There is only a brief moment of apogee to do that, in most lives. I love you. But I lust after and covet so much more than your body. I wanted to possess the power of your eyes, the way they see form and beauty that isn’t even there yet and draw it up out of nothing into the solid world. I wanted to own the honor of your heart, unbowed in the vilest horrors of Komarr. I wanted your courage and your will, your caution and your serenity. I wanted, I suppose, your soul, and that was too much to want. I wanted to give you a victory. But by their essential nature triumphs can’t be given. They must be taken, and the worse the odds and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the honor. Victories can’t be gifts. But gifts can be victories, can’t they. It’s what you said. The garden could have been your gift, a dowry of talent, skill, and vision. I know it’s too late now, but I just wanted to say, it would have been a victory most worthy of our House. Yours to command, Miles Vorkosigan
Lois McMaster Bujold (A Civil Campaign (Vorkosigan Saga, #12))
Then it happened. One night as the rain beat on the slanted kitchen roof a great spirit slipped forever into my life. I held his book in my hands and trembled as he spoke to me of man and the world, of love and wisdom, pain and guilt, and I knew I would never be the same. His name was Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky. He knew more of fathers and sons than any man in the world, and of brothers and sisters, priests and rogues, guilt and innocence. Dostoyevsky changed me. The Idiot, The Possessed, The Brothers Karamazov, The Gambler. He turned me inside out. I found I could breathe, could see invisible horizons. The hatred for my father melted. I loved my father, poor, suffering, haunted wretch. I loved my mother too, and all my family. It was time to become a man, to leave San Elmo and go out into the world. I wanted to think and feel like Dostoyevsky. I wanted to write. The week before I left town the draft board summoned me to Sacramento for my physical. I was glad to go. Someone other than myself could make my decisions. The army turned me down. I had asthma. Inflammation of the bronchial tubes. “That’s nothing. I’ve always had it.” “See your doctor.” I got the needed information from a medical book at the public library. Was asthma fatal? It could be. And so be it. Dostoyevsky had epilepsy, I had asthma. To write well a man must have a fatal ailment. It was the only way to deal with the presence of death.
John Fante (The Brotherhood of the Grape)
In my opinion, the best time to be alive is always right now. People are aways whining about how they were born in the wrong century, but they really haven't thought things through. They picture the old castle they wish they could live in, but they don't think about the drafts in the winter or the pitch darkness at night, or all the spiders and the lice. They can't imagine the everyday pain of a life without movies or recorded music or... or... Interet videos about cats. And don't even get me started on women who idealize the past. Do you have any idea what it was like to be a woman even a hundred years ago? Horrible! And a hundred years before that, the situation practically defies description. We might as well have been slaves. Trussed up in hoop skirts and corsets, married off like racehorses. Good riddance to history, I say!
Tommy Wallach (Thanks for the Trouble)
Like you, my boy, I am a Scientific Humanist and feel no need for the aid of the supernatural.
Harry Harrison (A Stainless Steel Trio: A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born, The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted, The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues)
My bowel movements were like a German train -- enormous and loud, but also regular.
Phil Gaimon (Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While))
I’m a work in progress. Maybe I always will be. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a final draft, and I’m not sure I want to. The search for myself is becoming my favorite part of my new journey.
Colleen Hoover (Regretting You)
The ticking was gone from my mind and all was quiet everywhere in the world and I held the curtain like I held the sound of the bullets going into the draft horse, his favourite, in the barn, one two three, and I stood at the window in Stevie’s jacket and looked and waited and still the rain kept coming down outside one two three and I was thinking oh what a small sky for so much rain.
Colum McCann (Everything in This Country Must)
In my younger days dodging the draft, I somehow wound up in the Marine Corps. There's a myth that Marine training turns baby-faced recruits into bloodthirsty killers. Trust me, the Marine Corps is not that efficient. What it does teach, however, is a lot more useful. The Marine Corps teaches you how to be miserable. This is invaluable for an artist. Marines love to be miserable. Marines derive a perverse satisfaction in having colder chow, crappier equipment, and higher casualty rates than any outfit of dogfaces, swab jockeys, or flyboys, all of whom they despise. Why? Because these candy-asses don't know how to be miserable. The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation. The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell." Page 68
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle)
Honestly, I think every single word I’ve written since the day I met you has in some way been leading up to this. To you. To say you changed my life is the kind of understatement I could never permit myself to put in writing—you changed my entire world. You reached inside me with your words and your stories and wrote yourself onto my own soul. Before you, I was whole. I was one being, one heart. Now, I’m half of everything and greater for it. I’m in love with you. I know we can’t be together. Not yet. But if you tell me you feel even remotely the same way, then we will. Maybe you’ve never considered it, but I find it hard to believe that my feelings, screaming in my head night and day, leaking into my writing with a vulnerability that would embarrass me if your eyes weren’t the ones reading them, sound only like a whisper to you.
Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Roughest Draft)
I never once thought I wanted to be a soldier. I wanted to be a teacher. As soon as I left college, though, they sent me my draft notice, stuck me in officers training, and I ended up on the continent for twelve years. My life went by like a dream.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
That was fantastic," Alvarez said. "I want to do it again. Next year, maybe, when my legs grow back." "Stop being such a baby," Laila said. "Ignore her," Alvarez said to Neil. "She's just sour because she lost nine goals in forty-five minutes. Don't know why, not like it's a new personal record or—ohhh, it is. Ouch, that's gotta sting a bit. So much for being first-draft.
Nora Sakavic (The King's Men (All for the Game, #3))
Allen Ginsberg instructs: "First thought, best thought." Oh, to have my every spontaneous thought count as poetry! No draft after draft like a draft horse. Clayton Eshleman, laughing, said, "'First thought best thought' is not 'First word best word ' Ginsberg does rewrite. I'm sure he does.
Maxine Hong Kingston (To Be the Poet (The William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in American Studies))
Hey, Meg," she said without preamble. I need you to write a letter of recommendation for me. I'm applying for grad school." Meghann screamed into the phone. "Oh, my God! I'm so proud of you. I'm hanging up now; I have to draft a letter that makes my best friend sound like da Vinci in a bra and panties.
Kristin Hannah (Distant Shores)
I started the first drafts of the book during my sophomore year of college. I wasn’t thinking at all about kids at the time. But I was thinking. A lot. About everything. I wish I could capture that head-space again; everything meant something to me in college. Every leaf, every sound, every lecture, every textbook. It’s like I was on drugs, 24/7. I am glad I was able to pair that ceaseless pondering with plenty of time to write. What came of that time was the first draft of the novel, a lengthy, unnecessarily angst-driven pile of crap. Years later, with Zoloft, I approached the novel with a more level head, and came away with a much, much better novel. My advice to writers, I suppose, is write your novel when you feel like shit; edit when you feel great.
Caleb J. Ross (Stranger Will)
DFW: I think there are different people on the page than in real life. I do six to eight drafts of everything that I do. Um, I am probably not the smartest writer going. But I also--and I know, OK, this is gonna fit right into the persona--I work really really hard. I'm really--you give me twenty-four hours? If we'd done this interview through the mail? I could be really really really smart. I'm not all that fast. And I'm really self-conscious. And I get confused really easily. When I'm in a room by myself alone, and have enough time, I can be really really smart. And people are different that way. You know what I mean? I may not--I don't think I'm quite as smart, one-on-one with people, when I'm self-conscious, and I'm really really confused. And it's like, My dream would be for you to write this up, and then to send it to me, and I get to rewrite all my quotes to you. Which of course you'll never do...
David Lipsky (Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Road Trip with David Foster Wallace)
--How I Was Visited By Messengers-- Something clicked in the clock on the wall, and I was visited by messengers. at first, I did not realize that I was visited by messengers. instead, I thought that something was wrong with the clock. but then I saw that the clock worked just fine, and probably told the correct time. then I noticed that there was a draft in the room. and then it shocked me: what kind of thing could, at the same time, cause a clock to click and a draft to start in the room? I sat down on a chair next to the divan and looked at the clock, thinking about that. the big hand was on the number nine, and the little one on the four, therefore, it was a quarter till four. there was a calendar on the wall below the clock, and its leafs were flipping, as if there was a strong wind in my room. my heart was beating very fast and I was so scared it almost made me collapse. "i should have some water," I said. on the table next to me was a pitcher with water. I reached out and took the pitcher. "water should help," I said and looked at the water. it was then that I realized that I had been visited by messengers, and that I could not tell them apart from the water. I was scared to drink the water, because I could, by accident, drink a messenger. what does that mean? nothing. one can only drink liquids. could the messengers be liquid? no. then, I can drink the water, there is nothing to be afraid of. but I couldn't find the water. I walked around the room and looked for the water. I tried putting a belt in my mouth, but it was not the water. I put the calendar in my mouth -- that also was not the water. I gave up looking for the water and started to look for the messengers. but how could I find them? what do they look like? I remembered that I could not distinguish them from the water, therefore, they must look like water. but what does water look like? I was standing and thinking. I do not know for how long I stood and thought, but suddenly I came to. "there is the water," I thought. but that wasn't the water and instead I got an itch in my ear. I looked under the cupboard and under the bed, hoping that there I might find the water or the messengers. but under the cupboard, in a pile of dust, I found a little ball, half eaten by a dog, and under the bed I found some pieces of glass. under the chair I found a half-eaten steak, I ate it and it made me feel better. it wasn't drafty anymore, the clock was ticking steadily, telling the time: a quarter till four. "well, this means the messengers are gone," I said quietly and started to get dressed, since I had a visit to make. -August 22, 1937
Daniil Kharms
Besides, I had learnt nothing at all of Indian law. I had not the slightest idea of Hindu and Mahomedan Law. I had not even learnt how to draft a plaint, and felt completely at sea. I had heard of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta as one who roared like a lion in law courts. How, I wondered, could he have learnt the art in England?
Mahatma Gandhi (My Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi)
I am a wordy writer, and often churn out pages on end without advancing the plot a jot. Hence I try to take my cue from a childhood impatience with any device that doesn't get somewhere. Even in his sprightly youth, Clippity had a problem with running in place—just like my first drafts—when the surface was too slick. As a kid, I was ingenious enough to smear green Plasticine on his rear hooves. Thus I discovered the importance of traction, as handy a concept in literature as for wind-up toys.
Lionel Shriver
On death row, in some ways, I feel like I did become the astronaut of my childhood aspirations. I live suspended, distant and hyperaware of all existence. I’m alien, yet affiliated, living like a satellite, away from all that I have ever known. I know more about human life now that I have moved my research on planetary existence from the streets of Harlem and Philadelphia to my Spartan spaceship of four cement walls, steel commode, and a cot. The space travelers of my felonious legion are drafted from our streets, vulnerable and afraid, some innocent, some guilty, all trained and broken in this system. We are sensitive scientists of the soul who stumble into a laboratory of the self we can’t figure out how to escape. We spend our days rereading our star maps, trying to understand how we ended up at this unintended destination. The solitude of these walls allows us the time to explore the vastness inside of us in ways that our survival on planet Earth never could. I don’t glorify this irony.
Junauda Petrus (The Stars and the Blackness Between Them)
It's like okay, guys, we get it, life is futile, existing is a tragedy. Smile for once, oh my God.
Riley Redgate (Final Draft)
I have drafts about your neck on my lips like a library has shelves. It was all in vain and you were all in my veins.
Dominic Riccitello
Writing is, like gender or dominatricing, a kind of performance. But the craft of writing is primarily an art of making decisions. I often like to terrorize my students by insisting that every single notation—every piece of punctuation, every word, every paragraph break—in a piece of writing is a decision. You know when something is done, I tell them (they always want to know how to know when something is done), when you know the argument for every single choice, when not a single apostrophe has slipped by uninterrogated, when every word has been swapped for its synonym and then recovered. I don’t mean to take the fun out of creation, or even to impose my own laborious process on them, but I actually believe this. Not in the first draft, or even the fifth, but by the end, I want to have stripped as many tics and defaults, as many blind choices as is in my power. I want to be awake to all my choices.
Melissa Febos (Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative)
It seems ironic, expecting the unexpected, like she had fabricated pieces of her story to make it more interesting. Considering my boredom with the current version, I can't imagine the first draft.
Kayla Krantz (The Council (Witch's Ambitions Trilogy #1))
My thoughts keep vacillating between the draft that feels more like a gust in this sizes-too-big hospital gown, and Dr. Milligan's proposal that I'll live to be a 175 years old. This is getting a little weird, even under the circumstances. I'm hundreds of miles from home, half naked in a room with two guys I barely know. Taken out of context, I'd have to question my common sense. Heck, even in context.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Other people had religion to give them a connection to eternity, and good luck to them, but religion was too narrow for her, too unforgiving, too literal. Literature encompassed everything, forbade nothing, endorsed nothing. Writers, like scientists, had the greatest respect for the world as it truly was. Their job wasn't to judge but to examine, to experiment, draft after draft, century after century.
Kate Grenville (One Life: My Mother's Story)
Try flying any plane with a baby if you want a sense of what it must have been like to be a leper in the fourteenth century, but try the shuttle for the ultimate in shunning. All those men in suits, looking at you as if your baby is going to throw up over their speech drafts; all those men in suits who used to look at me with respect when I pulled out my American Express gold card, now barely able to conceal their contempt for me and my portable Wet Ones.
Nora Ephron (Heartburn)
PRONUNCIATION GUIDE: Ailith: A-lith ("noble war"; "ascending, rising") Andriana: An-dree-ana, or Dree, for "Dri" ("warrior") Asher: Ash-er ("happy one") Azarel: Ah-zah-rell ("helper") Bellona: Bell-oh-na ("warlike") Chaza'el: Chazah-ell ("one who sees") Kapriel: Kah-pree-ell (variant of "warrior") Keallach: Key-lock ("battle") Killian: Kill-ee-un ("little warrior"--though he's not so little in my novel!) Raniero: Rah-near-oh ("wise warrior") Ronan: Row-nun ("little seal"; I know. Not as cool, right? But he was named Duncan at first draft and I had to change it due to publisher request, and "Ronan" sounded like a medieval, cool warrior name to me. I overlooked the real translation in favor of the man he became in my story. And that guy, to my mind, is more like a warrior, with the spray of the sea upon his face as he takes on the storm--which is like a seal!) Tressa: Tre-sah ("late summer") Vidar: Vee-dar ("forest warrior")
Lisa Tawn Bergren (Season of Wonder (The Remnants, #1))
I’m not a man, I can’t earn a living, buy new things for my family. I have acne and a small peter. I’m not a man. I don’t like football, boxing and cars. I like to express my feeling. I even like to put an arm around my friend’s shoulder. I’m not a man. I won’t play the role assigned to me- the role created by Madison Avenue, Playboy, Hollywood and Oliver Cromwell, Television does not dictate my behavior. I’m not a man. Once when I shot a squirrel I swore that I would never kill again. I gave up meat. The sight of blood makes me sick. I like flowers. I’m not a man. I went to prison resisting the draft. I do not fight when real men beat me up and call me queer. I dislike violence. I’m not a man. I have never raped a woman. I don’t hate blacks. I do not get emotional when the flag is waved. I do not think I should love America or leave it. I think I should laugh at it. I’m not a man. I have never had the clap. I’m not a man. Playboy is not my favorite magazine. I’m not a man. I cry when I’m unhappy. I’m not a man. I do not feel superior to women I’m not a man. I don’t wear a jockstrap. I’m not a man. I write poetry. I’m not a man. I meditate on peace and love. I’m not a man. I don’t want to destroy you
Harold Norse
I asked my dad once if his high school teachers began treating kids differently during Vietnam, when they knew some of their students would be drafted and sent to war. I was curious because for sure we’d started treating our military kids differently after 9/11. He just shrugged and changed the subject, like he always did. And that was okay with me. He’d go back and change a lot of things if he could; and like everyone else, I’d give anything to go back to the day before 9/11—but all we can do is move forward.
Tucker Elliot (The Day Before 9/11)
But this face, my face, like all faces, is not only a collection of traces- it's also the first draft of a future face... In my young face I instinctively read a first wrinkle of doubt, a first smile of indifference: lines of a story I'll rewrite and understand on a future reading.
Valeria Luiselli (Papeles falsos)
My best advice about writer’s block is: the reason you’re having a hard time writing is because of a conflict between the GOAL of writing well and the FEAR of writing badly. By default, our instinct is to conquer the fear, but our feelings are much, much, less within our control than the goals we set, and since it’s the conflict BETWEEN the two forces blocking you, if you simply change your goal from “writing well” to “writing badly,” you will be a veritable fucking fountain of material, because guess what, man, we don’t like to admit it, because we’re raised to think lack of confidence is synonymous with paralysis, but, let’s just be honest with ourselves and each other: we can only hope to be good writers. We can only ever hope and wish that will ever happen, that’s a bird in the bush. The one in the hand is: we suck. We are terrified we suck, and that terror is oppressive and pervasive because we can VERY WELL see the possibility that we suck. We are well acquainted with it. We know how we suck like the backs of our shitty, untalented hands. We could write a fucking book on how bad a book would be if we just wrote one instead of sitting at a desk scratching our dumb heads trying to figure out how, by some miracle, the next thing we type is going to be brilliant. It isn’t going to be brilliant. You stink. Prove it. It will go faster. And then, after you write something incredibly shitty in about six hours, it’s no problem making it better in passes, because in addition to being absolutely untalented, you are also a mean, petty CRITIC. You know how you suck and you know how everything sucks and when you see something that sucks, you know exactly how to fix it, because you’re an asshole. So that is my advice about getting unblocked. Switch from team “I will one day write something good” to team “I have no choice but to write a piece of shit” and then take off your “bad writer” hat and replace it with a “petty critic” hat and go to town on that poor hack’s draft and that’s your second draft. Fifteen drafts later, or whenever someone paying you starts yelling at you, who knows, maybe the piece of shit will be good enough or maybe everyone in the world will turn out to be so hopelessly stupid that they think bad things are good and in any case, you get to spend so much less time at a keyboard and so much more at a bar where you really belong because medicine because childhood trauma because the Supreme Court didn’t make abortion an option until your unwanted ass was in its third trimester. Happy hunting and pecking!
Dan Harmon
In his early twenties, a man started collecting paintings, many of which later became famous: Picasso, Van Gogh, and others. Over the decades he amassed a wonderful collection. Eventually, the man’s beloved son was drafted into the military and sent to Vietnam, where he died while trying to save his friend. About a month after the war ended, a young man knocked on the devastated father’s door. “Sir,” he said, “I know that you like great art, and I have brought you something not very great.” Inside the package, the father found a portrait of his son. With tears running down his cheeks, the father said, “I want to pay you for this.ℍ “No,” the young man replied, “he saved my life. You don’t owe me anything.ℍ The father cherished the painting and put it in the center of his collection. Whenever people came to visit, he made them look at it. When the man died, his art collection went up for sale. A large crowd of enthusiastic collectors gathered. First up for sale was the amateur portrait. A wave of displeasure rippled through the crowd. “Let’s forget about that painting!” one said. “We want to bid on the valuable ones,” said another. Despite many loud complaints, the auctioneer insisted on starting with the portrait. Finally, the deceased man’s gardener said, “I’ll bid ten dollars.ℍ Hearing no further bids, the auctioneer called out, “Sold for ten dollars!” Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But then the auctioneer said, “And that concludes the auction.” Furious gasps shook the room. The auctioneer explained, “Let me read the stipulation in the will: “Sell the portrait of my son first, and whoever buys it gets the entire art collection. Whoever takes my son gets everything.ℍ It’s the same way with God Almighty. Whoever takes his Son gets everything.
Jimmy Carter (Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President)
The next morning, on the way to school in Peter’s car, I steal a look at his profile. “I like how you’re so smooth,” I say. “Like a baby.” “I could grow a beard if I wanted to,” he says, touching his chin. “A thick one.” Fondly I say, “No, you couldn’t. But maybe one day, when you’re a man.” He frowns. “I am a man. I’m eighteen!” I scoff, “You don’t even pack your own lunches. Do you even know how to do laundry?” “I’m a man in all the ways that count,” he boasts, and I roll my eyes. “What would you do if you were drafted to go to war?” I ask. “Uh…aren’t college kids given a pass on that? Does the draft even still exist?” I don’t know the answers to either of these questions, so I barrel forward. “What would you do if I got pregnant right now?” “Lara Jean, we’re not even having sex. That would be the immaculate conception.” “If we were?” I press. He groans. “You and your questions!
Jenny Han (Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3))
I was sitting on the bench outside his barn, reading an old copy of Our Man in Havana from his shelf. It turned out that I still loved reading. I loved that a novelist on the payroll of MI6 had dreamed up a hapless vacuum-cleaner salesman, drafted into the Secret Intelligence Service so that he might better fund the extravagant lifestyle of his beautiful daughter. I loved that I could read about this man for hours and never once pause to overthink my own life. I loved that, with a book in my hand and no urgent need to be anywhere, or to be doing anything, I felt like a Sarah I’d entirely forgotten.
Rosie Walsh (Ghosted)
I looked at the sofa. I wanted to lie down on it and close my eyes. I wanted him to just do the therapy to me, suck it out of me while I slept. I wanted a complete overhaul. I wanted new limbs. I wanted a new neck to hold up a whole new head. I wanted to be hypnotized, brainwashed, monitored, imploded, reconstituted, turned invisible. turned inside out, and cured. I wanted my organs replaced with all new organs, no scars. I wanted him to hover over me and infuse the stew of me with clear insights and shiny bits. I wanted all this change to happen while I lay semi-dozing, in a state of beauty and receptivity, quietly thrumming, on the couch. But it wasn’t a lie-down kind of a couch. It was a forward-facing, upright, massive ship of a thing – a sofa for adults, for work, for serious conversation, maybe for reading John Steinbeck or drafting torts. There had never been a free association on this sofa in its entire life.
Heather Sellers (You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face Blindness, and Forgiveness)
Many political scientists used to assume that people vote selfishly, choosing the candidate or policy that will benefit them the most. But decades of research on public opinion have led to the conclusion that self-interest is a weak predictor of policy preferences. Parents of children in public school are not more supportive of government aid to schools than other citizens; young men subject to the draft are not more opposed to military escalation than men too old to be drafted; and people who lack health insurance are not more likely to support government-issued health insurance than people covered by insurance.35 Rather, people care about their groups, whether those be racial, regional, religious, or political. The political scientist Don Kinder summarizes the findings like this: “In matters of public opinion, citizens seem to be asking themselves not ‘What’s in it for me?’ but rather ‘What’s in it for my group?’ ”36 Political opinions function as “badges of social membership.”37
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
While I was washing my face, I began to cry. The tears mingled easily with the cold water, in the luminous, dripping crimson of my cupped fingers, and at first I wasn't aware that I was crying at all. The sobs were regular and emotionless, as mechanical as the dry heaves which had stopped only a moment earlier; there was no reason for them, they had nothing to do with me. I brought my head up and looked at my weeping reflection in the mirror with a kind of detached interest. What does this mean? I thought. I looked terrible. Nobody else was falling apart; yet here I was, shaking all over and seeing bats like Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend. A cold draft was blowing in the window. I felt shaky but oddly refreshed. I ran myself a hot bath, throwing in a good handful of Judy's bath salts, and when I got out and put on my clothes I felt quite myself again. Nihil sub sole novum, I thought as I walked back down the hail to my room. Any action, in the fullness of time, sinks to nothingness...
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
I still get plenty anxious. The weird thing, and the unpleasant surprise for me, of proceeding well into the middle, perhaps even post-prime of my career is that writing books has not got any easier. And that doesn't seem fair. I mean, I've been doing it so surely I should be getting better at it, at least a little bit blasé... And it seems to be working absolutely the opposite. This book [Big Brother] I had no confidence in the entirety of its composition, and I only decided I liked it when I finished the very final draft. This means I'm in a state of semi-misery for a long time. And I can't blithely seem either that's some little game I'm playing with myself because, you know, you can easily come along and you don't like what's you're writing for good reason. Right? So, yeah, it's very anxious making, I don't think it's so much the becoming a little more successful, I think it's becoming slightly more aware of how much has already been written, and just becoming less self-impressed as the years go by. More impressed with some people who are better than I am, but... It doesn't wow me that I can write a sentence any more. It has to be a really good sentence. And... I think that's what potentially leads to paralysis in late career, is a kind of killing humility. Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC, on June 11, 2013
Lionel Shriver
My laboratory is a place where I write. I have become proficient at producing a rare species of prose capable of distilling ten years of work by five people into six published pages, written in a language that very few people can read and that no one ever speaks. This writing relates the details of my work with the precision of a laser scalpel, but its streamlined beauty is a type of artifice, a size-zero mannequin designed to showcase the glory of a dress that would be much less perfect on any real person. My papers do not display the footnotes that they have earned, the table of data that required painstaking months to redo when a graduate student quit, sneering on her way out that she didn’t want a life like mine. The paragraph that took five hours to write while riding on a plane, stunned with grief, flying to a funeral that I couldn’t believe was happening. The early draft that my toddler covered in crayon and applesauce while it was still warm from the printer. Although my publications contain meticulous details of the plants that did grow, the runs that went smoothly, and the data that materialized, they perpetrate a disrespectful amnesia against the entire gardens that rotted in fungus and dismay, the electrical signals that refused to stabilize, and the printer ink cartridges that we secured late at night through nefarious means. I
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
4. Or else: Rough draft of a letter I think of you, often sometimes I go back into a cafe, I ist near the door, I order a coffee I arrange my packet of cigarettes, a box of matches, a writing pad, my felt-pen on the fake marble table I Spend a long time stirring my cup of coffee with the teasspoon (yet I don't put any sugar in my coffee, I drink it allowing the sugar to melt in my mouth, like the people of North, like the Russians and Poles when they drink tea) I pretend to be precoccupied, to be reflecting, as if I had a decision to make At the top and to the right of the sheet of paaper, I inscribe the date, sometimes the place, sometimes the time, I pretend to be writing a letter I write slowly, very slowly, as slowly as I can, I trace, I draw each letter, each accent, I check the punctuation marks I stare attentively at a small notice, the price-list for ice-creams, at a piece of ironwork, a blind, the hexagonal yellow ashtray (in actual fact, it's an equilaterial triangle, in the cutoff corners of which semi-circular dents have been made where cigarettes can be rested) (...) Outside there's a bit of sunlight the cafe is nearly empty two renovatior's men are having a rum at the bar, the owner is dozing behind his till, the waitress is cleaning the coffee machine I am thinking of you you are walking in your street, it's wintertime, you've turned up your foxfur collar, you're smiling, and remote (...)
Georges Perec
In my younger days dodging the draft, I somehow wound up in the Marine Corps. There's a myth that Marine training turns baby-faced recruits into bloodthirsty killers. Trust me, the Marine Corps is not that efficient. What it does teach, however, is a lot more useful. The Marine Corps teaches you how to be miserable. This is invaluable for an artist. Marines love to be miserable. Marines derive a perverse satisfaction from having colder chow, crappier equipment, and higher casualty rates than any outfit of dogfaces, swab jockeys or flyboys, all of whom they despise. Why? Because these candy-asses don't know how to be miserable. The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation. The artist must be like that Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much. We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her. (Although when I mentioned this to my priest friend Tom, he said you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.)
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)
When I asked my Da how ye knew which was the right women, he told me when the time came, I'd have no doubt. And I didn't. When I woke in the dark under that fruit tree on the road to Leoch with you sitting on my chest, cursing me for bleeding to death, I said to myself, "Jamie Fraser, for all ye canna see what she looks like, and for all she weighs as much as a good draft horse, this is the woman.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
In my opinion, the best time to be alive is always right now. People are aways whining about how they were born in the wrong century, but they really haven't thought things through. They picture the old castle they wish they could live in, but they don't think about the drafts in the winter or the pitch darkness at night, or all the spiders and the lice. They can't imagine the everyday pain of a life without antibiotics or anesthetics. The tedium of a world without movies or recorded music or... or... Internet videos about cats. And don't even get me started on women who idealize the past. Do you have any idea what it was like to be a woman even a hundred years ago? Horrible! And a hundred years before that, the situation practically defies description. We might as well have been slaves. Trussed up in hoop skirts and corsets, married off like racehorses. Good riddance to history, I say!
Tommy Wallach (Thanks for the Trouble)
And I can't stop thinking about Pighead. I wish I could talk to him and he'd talk back. Use some sort of spirit-world sign language. Make the lights flicker, or if that's too hard, he could cause a draft in my apartment. Or maybe it's easier to come back in a dream. Maybe he could visit me there. The only problem with that is that I'd always think it was just a dream. So maybe he needs to learn how to turn street lamps off when I walk beneath them. If that's too tricky, maybe he could just make them blink. I keep talking to him but I don't hear anything. Maybe it's too soon. Maybe there's a holding area or something. A process. Like going through customs with a dog. How it has to stay in quarantine for a few weeks before you can take it home. Maybe it's like that. Or maybe you just die and that's it. Maybe there is nothing else. Maybe your body heat simply evaporates and adds another billionth of a degree of heat to the world.
Augusten Burroughs (Dry)
At some time during the process, [of writing] I came up with a therapeutic device. After each draft I would tear up the pages and feed the paper to a worm compost I keep in my garage. A few months later, those painful pages were dirt that nourished my yard, which I could walk with bare feet. It was a real and tangible connection to that larger immensity. I liked to remind myself that the same process is going to happen to me when I'm done, when I die and nature tears me up...
Ryan Holiday (Ego Is the Enemy)
Let them talk more munitions and airplanes and battleships and tanks and gases why of course we’ve got to have them we can’t get along without them how in the world could we protect the peace if we didn’t have them? Let them form blocs and alliances and mutual assistance pacts and guarantees of neutrality. Let them draft notes and ultimatums and protests and accusations. But before they vote on them before they give the order for all the little guys to start killing each other let the main guy rap his gavel on my case and point down at me and say here gentlemen is the only issue before this house and that is are you for this thing here or are you against it. And if they are against it why goddam them let them stand up like men and vote. And if they are for it let them be hanged and drawn and quartered and paraded through the streets in small chopped up little bits and thrown out into the fields where no clean animal will touch them and let their chunks rot there and may no green thing ever grow where they rot. Take me into your churches your great towering cathedrals that have to be rebuilt every fifty years because they are destroyed by war. Carry me in my glass box down the aisles where kings and priests and brides and children at their confirmation have gone so many times before to kiss a splinter of wood from a true cross on which was nailed the body of a man who was lucky enough to die. Set me high on your altars and call on god to look down upon his murderous little children his dearly beloved little children. Wave over me the incense I can’t smell. Swill down the sacramental wine I can’t taste. Drone out the prayers I can’t hear. Go through the old holy gestures for which I have no legs and no arms. Chorus out the hallelujas I can’t sing. Bring them out loud and strong for me your hallelujas all of them for me because I know the truth and you don’t you fools. You fools you fools you fools…
Dalton Trumbo (Johnny Got His Gun)
THE SPEED OF TIME VARIED, fast or slow, depending on the depth of my sleep. I became very sensitive to the taste of the water from the tap. Sometimes it was cloudy and tasted of soft minerals. Other times it was gassy and tasted like somebody’s bad breath. My favorite days were the ones that barely registered. I’d catch myself not breathing, slumped on the sofa, staring at an eddy of dust tumbling across the hardwood floor in the draft, and I’d remember that I was alive for a second, then fade back out.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
And now it is said of me That my love is nothing because I have borne no children, Or because I have fathered none; That I twisted the twig in my hands And cut the blossom free too soon from the seed; That I lay across the fire, And snuffed it dead sooner than draft or rain. But I have turned away, and drawn myself Upright to walk along the room alone. Across the dark the spines of cactus plants Remind me how I go—aloof, obscure, Indifferent to the words the children chalk Against my house and down the garden walls. They cannot tear the garden out of me, Nor smear my love with names. Love is a cliff, A clear, cold curve of stone, mottled by stars, smirched by the morning, carved by the dark sea Till stars and dawn and waves can slash no more, Till the rock’s heart is found and shaped again. I keep the house and say no words, the evening Falls like a petal down the shawl of trees. I light the fire and see the blossom dance On air alone; I will not douse that flame, That searing flower; I will burn in it. I will not banish love to empty rain. For I know that I am asked to hate myself For their sweet sake Who sow the world with child. I am given to burn on the dark fire they make With their sly voices. But I have burned already down to bone. There is a fire that burns beyond the names Of sludge and filth of which this world is made. Agony sears the dark flesh of the body, And lifts me higher than the smoke, to rise Above the earth, above the sacrifice; Until my soul flares outward like a blue Blossom of gas fire dancing in mid-air: Free of the body’s work of twisted iron.
James Wright
I was not a soldier; I was a factory worker drafted to be a guard at ‘the ‘house of special purpose’. I did not have reason to kill any of the Romanovs. Most of the young guards, the other boys from the factory, felt as I did. We did not hate the Imperial family; to the contrary, we regarded them with respect. Many of the boys still held to the religious belief that the tsar was divine, an emissary of God himself. In the case of the young grand duchesses; we had never seen such beautiful girls. Even the house maids liked the girls as the sisters did not put on any airs but even assisted the maids in their housecleaning duties. The grand duchesses darned their own socks and made up their beds. All save the eldest sister, the sad looking blond one, were open and friendly. I speak for most of the boys who guarded the four grand duchesses when I say the last thing on this earth that we wished was to harm these girls. Kill them? It was unthinkable. I was 17 when I began my guard duty at the great house once known as the Ipatiev Mansion, but which the Bolsheviks renamed ‘The House of Special Purpose.
Laura Rose (The Passion of Marie Romanov)
Give me the unedited draft of why you’ve never had a girlfriend. Blurt it out.” “Because… So many reasons. Because I’m seventeen. Because I don’t mind being alone. I like it actually. I’ve been surrounded by teenagers who are always in and out of these dramatic, toxic relationships and that’s never held any appeal for me. I want what my parents have. Extraordinary love.” “You understand that you’re missing out on a lot of awesome stuff by choosing to be that way, though, right? Sometimes you don’t know things are going to be extraordinary until they are.
Krystal Sutherland (Our Chemical Hearts)
I was so fortunate. I was able to bury my gloom in beauty anytime I wanted. So could my peers. They could simple say a word, draft a check, and their land would overflow with the hope of nature. But it wasn’t so for people like this man. He would have to wait at the gates for the buds to blossom, never allowed to walk among them or smell the ricinus scent of boxwoods mingled with the honey clove of the roses. Something about the reality of that deprivation felt terribly wrong. Some folk who needed the healing of the wild beauty were the most barred from it.
Joy Callaway (All the Pretty Places)
You snuck past me, didn’t you?” Ian accused. “I knew I hadn’t gone to sleep.” Sam understood what Ian was doing: giving Ryland time to assimilate the danger to his son and come to terms with it. He deliberately drew attention away from their leader. “Many times, as a matter of fact,” Azami said, willing to sacrifice herself so that Ryland could take a moment to recover and hold his child close. “I tweaked your chin once.” Ian rubbed his chin, glaring at her. “You did. I felt it. A draft hit me and it felt like someone pulled a hair from my chin.” “I was red and I couldn’t resist. You really need to shave,” Azami pointed out. “What’s with that little red fuzz on your chin anyway? Is it some sort of statement I don’t understand?” “Statement?” Ian flared, stroking the tiny little red vee on his chin. “This is manly, woman. Don’t you know that?” Azami gave a slight bow, lowering her lashes and chin demurely, but not before Sam caught the sparkle in her eyes. “Forgive me, Ian, I did not know a man of your stature needed fuzz to be manly. I can only plead ignorance of this custom.” The men snickered and nudged Ian, Tucker reaching out to touch the red fuzz. Ian punched his arm away.
Christine Feehan (Samurai Game (GhostWalkers, #10))
I wish I had asked myself when I was younger. My path was so tracked that in my 8th-grade yearbook, one of my friends predicted— accurately— that four years later I would enter Stanford as a sophomore. And after a conventionally successful undergraduate career, I enrolled at Stanford Law School, where I competed even harder for the standard badges of success. The highest prize in a law student’s world is unambiguous: out of tens of thousands of graduates each year, only a few dozen get a Supreme Court clerkship. After clerking on a federal appeals court for a year, I was invited to interview for clerkships with Justices Kennedy and Scalia. My meetings with the Justices went well. I was so close to winning this last competition. If only I got the clerkship, I thought, I would be set for life. But I didn’t. At the time, I was devastated. In 2004, after I had built and sold PayPal, I ran into an old friend from law school who had helped me prepare my failed clerkship applications. We hadn’t spoken in nearly a decade. His first question wasn’t “How are you doing?” or “Can you believe it’s been so long?” Instead, he grinned and asked: “So, Peter, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that clerkship?” With the benefit of hindsight, we both knew that winning that ultimate competition would have changed my life for the worse. Had I actually clerked on the Supreme Court, I probably would have spent my entire career taking depositions or drafting other people’s business deals instead of creating anything new. It’s hard to say how much would be different, but the opportunity costs were enormous. All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past. the best paths are new and untried. will this business still be around a decade from now? business is like chess. Grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca put it well: to succeed, “you must study the endgame before everything else. The few who knew what might be learned, Foolish enough to put their whole heart on show, And reveal their feelings to the crowd below, Mankind has always crucified and burned. Above all, don’t overestimate your own power as an individual. Founders are important not because they are the only ones whose work has value, but rather because a great founder can bring out the best work from everybody at his company. That we need individual founders in all their peculiarity does not mean that we are called to worship Ayn Randian “prime movers” who claim to be independent of everybody around them. In this respect, Rand was a merely half-great writer: her villains were real, but her heroes were fake. There is no Galt’s Gulch. There is no secession from society. To believe yourself invested with divine self-sufficiency is not the mark of a strong individual, but of a person who has mistaken the crowd’s worship—or jeering—for the truth. The single greatest danger for a founder is to become so certain of his own myth that he loses his mind. But an equally insidious danger for every business is to lose all sense of myth and mistake disenchantment for wisdom.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
I’ve bought a town house,” said Oswald. “In Aphrany. A huge black and white timbered monstrosity. The kind a very rich merchant lives in.” “Why in god’s name?” asked Mason. “Because Fenella once said she likes them,” said Oswald. “In a purely throw-away conversation. But for some reason, every word she speaks is seared on my brain.” Roland cleared his throat. “Bit impulsive for you, isn’t it?” “A bit?” echoed Oswald. “I forced the King to sign annulment papers to an eight-year marriage. Simply because I feel sick to my stomach at the idea of her ever belonging to another man. And the worst of it is, that the annulment is the least drastic course of action that occurred to me. For the last three months, in my head I have been drawing up legal papers to sue Thane for the eight years he spent at my wife’s side, masquerading in my rightful place. In her life, in her heart and in her bed.” He heard his voice shake with anger and realized his brothers must too. Taking a deep breath, he continued more evenly. “Each time I mentally draft the petition, I request a more severe punishment befitting of his crime.” “What kind of punishments?” asked Mason with interest, sitting back in his seat. Oswald blew out a shaky breath. “In the latest version, it was beheading.
Alice Coldbreath (His Forsaken Bride (Vawdrey Brothers, #2))
The member of the Nazi hierarchy most gifted at solving problems of conscience was Himmler. He coined slogans, like the famous watchword of the S.S., taken from a Hitler speech before the S.S. in 1931, “My Honor is my Loyalty”—catch phrases which Eichmann called “winged words” and the judges “empty talk”—and issued them, as Eichmann recalled, “around the turn of the year,” presumably along with a Christmas bonus. Eichmann remembered only one of them and kept repeating it: “These are battles which future generations will not have to fight again,” alluding to the “battles” against women, children, old people, and other “useless mouths.” Other such phrases, taken from speeches Himmler made to the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen and the Higher S.S. and Police Leaders, were: “To have stuck it out and, apart from exceptions caused by human weakness, to have remained decent, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written.” Or: “The order to solve the Jewish question, this was the most frightening order an organization could ever receive.” Or: We realize that what we are expecting from you is “superhuman,” to be “superhumanly inhuman.” All one can say is that their expectations were not disappointed. It is noteworthy, however, that Himmler hardly ever attempted to justify in ideological terms, and if he did, it was apparently quickly forgotten. What stuck in the minds of these men who had become murderers was simply the notion of being involved in something historic, grandiose, unique (“a great task that occurs once in two thousand years”), which must therefore be difficult to bear. This was important, because the murderers were not sadists or killers by nature; on the contrary, a systematic effort was made to weed out all those who derived physical pleasure from what they did. The troops of the Einsatzgruppen had been drafted
Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil)
I spend hours in the bathroom with a magazine that has one thousand pictures of naked movie stars: Naked woman + right hand = happy happy joy joy Yep, that’s right, I admit that I masturbate. I’m proud of it. I’m good at it. I’m ambidextrous. If there were a Professional Masturbators League, I’d get drafted number one and make millions of dollars. And maybe you’re thinking, “Well, you really shouldn’t be talking about masturbation in public.” Well, tough, I’m going to talk about it because EVERYBODY does it. And EVERYBODY likes it. And if God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs. So I thank God for my thumbs. But,
Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian)
I got up to get another glass of water when Zac asked from his spot still at the stove, breaking up the two pounds of ground beef he’d added to the vegetables. “Vanny, were you gonna want me to help you with your draft list again this year?” I groaned. “I forgot. My brother just messaged me about it. I can’t let him win again this year, Zac. I can’t put up with his crap.” He raised his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I got you. Don’t worry about it.” “Thank—what?” Aiden had his glass halfway to his mouth and was frowning. “You play fantasy football?” he asked, referring to the online role-playing game that millions of people participated in. Participants got to build imaginary teams during a mock draft, made up of players throughout the league. I’d been wrangled into playing against my brother and some of our mutual friends about three years ago and had joined in ever since. Back then, I had no idea what the hell a cornerback was, much less a bye week, but I’d learned a lot since then. I nodded slowly at him, feeling like I’d done something wrong. The big guy’s brow furrowed. “Who was on your team last year?” I named the players I could remember, wondering where this was going and not having a good feeling about it. “What was your defensive team?” There it went. I slipped my hands under the counter and averted my eyes to the man at the stove, cursing him silently. “So you see…” The noise Zac tried to muffle was the most obvious snicker in the world. Asshole. “Was I not on your team?” I gulped. “So you see—” “Dallas wasn’t your team?” he accused me, sounding… well, I didn’t know if it was hurt or outraged, but it was definitely something. “Ahh…” I slid a look at the traitor who was by that point trying to muffle his laugh. “Zac helped me with it.” It was the thump that said Zac’s knees hit the floor. “Look, it isn’t that I didn’t choose you specifically. I would choose you if I could, but Zac said Minnesota—” “Minne-sota.” Jesus, he’d broken the state in two. The big guy, honest to God, shook his head. His eyes went from me to Zac in… yep, that was outrage. Aiden held out his hand, wiggling those incredibly long fingers. “Let me see it.” “See what?” “Your roster from last year.” I sighed and pulled my phone out of the fanny pack I still had around my waist, unlocking the screen and opening the app. Handing it over, I watched his face as he looked through my roster and felt guilty as hell. I’d been planning on choosing Dallas just because Aiden was on the team, but I really had let Zac steer me elsewhere. Apparently, just because you had the best defensive end in the country on your team, didn’t mean everyone else held up their end of the bargain. Plus, he’d missed almost the entire season. He didn’t have to take it so personally.
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
How, then, to proceed? My method is: I imagine a meter mounted in my forehead, with ‘P’ on this side (‘Positive’) and ‘N’ on this side (‘Negative’). I try to read what I’ve written uninflectedly, the way a first-time reader might (‘without hope and without despair’). Where’s the needle? Accept the result without whining. Then edit, so as to move the needle into the ‘P’ zone. Enact a repetitive, obsessive, iterative application of preference: watch the needle, adjust the prose, watch the needle, adjust the prose (rinse, lather, repeat), through (sometimes) hundreds of drafts. Like a cruiseship slowly turning, the story will start to alter course via those thousands of incremental adjustments.
George Sanders
Drafting green from a thousand trees shining on each bank of the river in the noonday sun, he threw down steps and made a little platform to stand on. "We", he declared, "are damaged but not dismayed, oppressed but no overwhelmed. We are the Broken, for when our oaths were tested, we broke them ourselves. We were despised: Here are my best friends. This world sees a bastard, an orphan, a hostage, a cripple, an idiot. I call them the Mighty. We - you - are outcasts all, the homeless driven from the lands where our mothers were buried. They have taken the light from our lives. Killed our loved ones, our friends. Taken our homes. Left us to wander as ghosts and feral dogs." [...] [...]"They have taken the light from us. Yes. But now they expect us to cower like dogs beaten and fade like shades forgotten. But I don't see dogs and shades here. Do they not know what they've begun? I see wolves. I see ghosts..." He looked around them as if they had forgotten who they were, and he was here to hold up a mirror for them that they might remember. "Have you forgotten? Have they made you, for this brief houyr, forget? Ghosts and Wolves hunt at night. They thin we cower, waiting for the light? Alone we are broken, bereaved, afraid. together we will hunt. In the darkness, we will usher them into the final darkness. Alone we were weak and frightened. That time is past. Together, today, we are the Nightbringers.
Brent Weeks (The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4))
Today, we’re talking about food stamps. Everyone speaks earnestly and academically about topics that have no effect on their daily lives. I don’t know if I’m alone in my experience—I can’t be the only one in here who doesn’t come from money—but from the conversation, it sure sounds like it. I nod and pretend that these things don’t matter to me, either. I pretend it doesn’t matter when the girl at the front of the class says that people on food stamps are lazy. I pretend I don’t care when someone talks about how they saw someone buying a fifth of vodka and a bag of candy with EBT. I nod and I smile and I try not to shiver. I tell myself it’s the draft, that it’s my drenched, mud-stained, no-longer-lucky sweater.
Courtney Milan (Trade Me (Cyclone, # 1))
Do you know how long I was waiting at the airport? Assuming someone in my family would come and get me? Looking at all the cars driving past, and none of them for me?” - J.J. “Uh . . . ,” Rodney said. “Did you tell anyone to pick you up at the airport?” “Of course I did!” J.J. exploded. “Do you think I would have just . . . just . . .” He trailed off, his expression changing from angry to thoughtful. “Actually, let me check one thing,” he said, pulling his phone out of his pocket and scrolling through it. “Huh,” he said after a moment. “You know, looks like that e-mail never made it out of drafts. Whoopsie.” He put his phone back in his pocket. “So hi!” He strode over to us, now smiling. “How’s it going, family?
Morgan Matson (Save the Date)
had spent more than a year writing a second draft of his book during the hours he wasn’t at one of his jobs. He worked late at night in a small room we’d converted to a study at the rear of our apartment—a crowded, book-strewn bunker I referred to lovingly as the Hole. I’d sometimes go in, stepping over his piles of paper to sit on the ottoman in front of his chair while he worked, trying to lasso him with a joke and a smile, to tease him back from whatever far-off fields he’d been galloping through. He was good-humored about my intrusions, but only if I didn’t stay too long. Barack, I’ve come to understand, is the sort of person who needs a hole, a closed-off little warren where he can read and write undisturbed. It’s like a hatch that opens directly onto the spacious skies of his brain. Time spent there seems to fuel him. In deference to this, we’ve managed to create some version of a hole inside every home we’ve ever lived in—any quiet corner or alcove will do. To this day, when we arrive at a rental house in Hawaii or on Martha’s Vineyard, Barack goes off looking for an empty room that can serve as the vacation hole. There, he can flip between the six or seven books he’s reading simultaneously and toss his newspapers on the floor. For him, the Hole is a kind of sacred high place, where insights are birthed and clarity comes to visit. For me, it’s an off-putting and disorderly mess. One requirement has always been that the Hole, wherever it is, have a door
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
I merely don't like drafts, or servants falling and breaking their ankles, making them incapable of serving me." "I understand completely." Her gaze held a decided glint of mischief. “You are, after all, an unrepentant and thoroughly irresponsible rogue.” “Something it would behoove you not to forget,” he growled, unnerved by her refusal to take him seriously. “How can I forget it when you work so hard to remind us of it?” “Damn it, Minerva-“ “I know, I know. You’re my scary big brother, and all that.” She waggled her fingers. “I’m off to bed. Don’t get into too much trouble before morning.” As she sauntered out laughing, he couldn’t prevent the smile tugging at his lips. God help any man who tried to make Minerva submit to his will. She would eat him alive and lick her fingers afterward.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
In the seventies I used to work in the bedroom of my flat at a little table. I worked in longhand with a fountain pen. I'd type out a draft, mark up the typescript, type it out again. Once I paid a professional to type a final draft, but I felt I was missing things I would have changed if I had done it myself. In the mid-eighties I was a grateful convert to computers. Word processing is more intimate, more like thinking itself. In retrospect, the typewriter seems a gross mechanical obstruction. I like the provisional nature of unprinted material held in the computer's memory - like an unspoken thought. I like the way sentences or passages can be endlessly reworked, and the way this faithful machine remembers all your little jottings and messages to yourself. Until, of course, it sulks and crashes.
Ian McEwan
To escape the throngs, we decided to see the new Neil Degrasse Tyson planetarium show, Dark Universe. It costs more than two movie tickets and is less than thirty minutes long, but still I want to go back and see it again, preferably as soon as possible. It was more visually stunning than any Hollywood special effect I’d ever seen, making our smallness as individuals both staggering and - strangely - rather comforting. Only five percent of the universe consists of ordinary matter, Neil tells us. That includes all matter - you, and me, and the body of Michael Brown, and Mork’s rainbow suspenders, and the letters I wrote all summer, and the air conditioner I put out on the curb on Christmas Day because I was tired of looking at it and being reminded of the person who had installed it, and my sad dying computer that sounds like a swarm of bees when it gets too hot, and the fields of Point Reyes, and this year’s blossoms which are dust now, and the drafts of my book, and Israeli tanks, and the untaxed cigarettes that Eric Garner sold, and my father’s ill-fitting leg brace that did not accomplish what he’d hoped for in terms of restoring mobility, and the Denver airport, and haunting sperm whales that sleep vertically, and the water they sleep in, and Mars and Jupiter and all of the stars we see and all of the ones we don’t. That’s all regular matter, just five percent. A quarter is “dark matter,” which is invisible and detectable only by gravitational pull, and a whopping 70 percent of the universe is made up of “dark energy,” described as a cosmic antigravity, as yet totally unknowable. It’s basically all mystery out there - all of it, with just this one sliver of knowable, livable, finite light and life. And did I mention the effects were really cool? After seeing something like that it’s hard to stay mad at anyone, even yourself.
Summer Brennan
... They're really going to mash the world up this time, the damn fools. When I read that description of the victims of Nagasaki I was sick: "And we saw what first looked like lizards crawling up the hill, croaking. It got lighter and we could see that it was humans, their skin burned off, and their bodies broken where they had been thrown against something." Sounds like something out of a horror story. God save us from doing that again. For the United States did that. Our guilt. My country. No, never again. And then one reads in the papers "Second bomb blast in Nevada bigger than the first! " What obsession do men have for destruction and murder? Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled "enemy?" Weren't the Russians communists when they helped us slap down the Germans? And now. What could we do with the Russian nation if we bombed it to bits? How could we "rule" such a mass of foreign people - - - we, who don't even speak the Russian language? How could we control them under our "democratic" system, we, who even now are losing that precious commodity, freedom of speech? (Mr. Crockett," that dear man, was questioned by the town board. A supposedly "enlightened" community. All he is is a pacifist. That, it seems, is a crime.) Why do we send the pride of our young men overseas to be massacred for three dirty miles of nothing but earth? Korea was never divided into "North" and "South." They are one people; and our democracy is of no use to those who have not been educated to it. Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it. When I think of that little girl on the farm talking about her brother - "And he said all they can think of over there is killing those God-damn Koreans." What does she know of war? Of lizard-like humans crawling up a hillside? All she knows is movies and school room gossip. Oh, America's young, strong. So is Russia. And how they can think of atom-bombing each other, I don't know. What will be left? War will come some day now, with all the hothead leaders and articles "What If Women are Drafted?" Hell, I'd sooner be a citizen of Africa than see America mashed and bloody and making a fool of herself. This country has a lot, but we're not always right and pure. And what of the veterans of the first and second world wars? The maimed, the crippled. What good their lives? Nothing. They rot in the hospitals, and we forget them. I could love a Russian boy - and live with him. It's the living, the eating, the sleeping that everyone needs. Ideas don't matter so much after all. My three best friends are Catholic. I can't see their beliefs, but I can see the things they love to do on earth. When you come right down to it, I do believe in the freedom of the individual - but to kill off all the ones who could forge a strong nation? How foolish! Of what good - living and freedom without home, without family, without all that makes life?
Sylvia Plath
I attempt to chew the popcorn gag Dean just stuffed into my mouth, but a kernel gets sucked into the back of my throat. I hack over the bar--my hands splayed wide as I brace myself for impending death. Dean absentmindedly pat mys back because let's face it, I'm coughing so I'm breathing, but his swats are not helping. I beat my chest to try to prevent myself from asphyxiating as I grapple for my drink, which is woefully empty. I grab Dean's draft beer, but as soon as the golden liquid hits my tongue, I dry heave from the horrid taste. Holy shit! Kate's right, IPA beer tastes like poison! My face screws up in disgust as I force the liquid down my throat and suck in a big breath of cleansing air. With a pathetic whimper, I wave my hands in front of my face and search for a cocktail napkin. Mr. Mustache bartender is still balls deep in the blonde, so I'm forced to use the back of my hand to wipe the dribble off my chin. When I finally regain some semblance of composure I turn around to glower at Dean. "Your beer tastes like a skunk's ass.
Amy Daws (One Moment Please (Wait With Me, #3))
We talked about the speed trials, which were starting today. I said I was running in them, but not that it was about art. It wasn’t a lie. I was a Nevada girl and a motorcycle rider. I had always been interested in land speed records. I was bringing to that a New York deliberateness, abstract ideas about traces and speed, which wasn’t something Stretch needed to know about. It would make me seem like a tourist. Stretch said the motel owner’s son had a Corvette running but that he could not so much as check the oil or tire pressure, that mechanics worked on it and a driver raced it for him. “I have to fill out his racing form because he doesn’t know what ‘displacement’ means.” He laughed and then went quiet. “I never met a girl who rides Italian motorcycles,” he said. “It’s like you aren’t real.” He looked at my helmet, gloves, my motorcycle key, on his bureau. The room seemed to hold its breath, the motel curtain sucked against the glass by the draft of a partly opened window, a strip of sun wavering underneath the curtain’s hem, the light-blocking fabric holding back the outside world.
Rachel Kushner (The Flamethrowers)
WHENEVER I WOKE UP, night or day, I’d shuffle through the bright marble foyer of my building and go up the block and around the corner where there was a bodega that never closed. I’d get two large coffees with cream and six sugars each, chug the first one in the elevator on the way back up to my apartment, then sip the second one slowly while I watched movies and ate animal crackers and took trazodone and Ambien and Nembutal until I fell asleep again. I lost track of time in this way. Days passed. Weeks. A few months went by. When I thought of it, I ordered delivery from the Thai restaurant across the street, or a tuna salad platter from the diner on First Avenue. I’d wake up to find voice messages on my cell phone from salons or spas confirming appointments I’d booked in my sleep. I always called back to cancel, which I hated doing because I hated talking to people. Early on in this phase, I had my dirty laundry picked up and clean laundry delivered once a week. It was a comfort to me to hear the torn plastic bags rustle in the draft from the living room windows. I liked catching whiffs of the fresh laundry smell while I dozed off on the sofa.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
THE SPEED OF TIME VARIED, fast or slow, depending on the depth of my sleep. I became very sensitive to the taste of the water from the tap. Sometimes it was cloudy and tasted of soft minerals. Other times it was gassy and tasted like somebody’s bad breath. My favorite days were the ones that barely registered. I’d catch myself not breathing, slumped on the sofa, staring at an eddy of dust tumbling across the hardwood floor in the draft, and I’d remember that I was alive for a second, then fade back out. Achieving that state took heavy dosages of Seroquel or lithium combined with Xanax, and Ambien or trazodone, and I didn’t want to overuse those prescriptions. There was a fine mathematics for how to mete out sedation. The goal for most days was to get to a point where I could drift off easily, and come to without being startled. My thoughts were banal. My pulse was casual. Only the coffee made my heart work a bit harder. Caffeine was my exercise. It catalyzed my anxiety so that I could crash and sleep again. The movies I cycled through the most were The Fugitive, Frantic, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, and Burglar. I loved Harrison Ford and Whoopi Goldberg.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
How, then, to proceed? My method is: I imagine a meter mounted in my forehead, with “P” on this side (“Positive”) and “N” on this side (“Negative”). I try to read what I’ve written uninflectedly, the way a first-time reader might (“without hope and without despair”). Where’s the needle? Accept the result without whining. Then edit, so as to move the needle into the “P” zone. Enact a repetitive, obsessive, iterative application of preference: watch the needle, adjust the prose, watch the needle, adjust the prose (rinse, lather, repeat), through (sometimes) hundreds of drafts. Like a cruise ship slowly turning, the story will start to alter course via those thousands of incremental adjustments. The artist, in this model, is like the optometrist, always asking: Is it better like this? Or like this? The interesting thing, in my experience, is that the result of this laborious and slightly obsessive process is a story that is better than I am in “real life” – funnier, kinder, less full of crap, more empathetic, with a clearer sense of virtue, both wiser and more entertaining. And what a pleasure that is; to be, on the page, less of a dope than usual.
George Saunders
Bernadette flew up to look at houses. She called to say she had found the perfect place, the Straight Gate School for Girls, in Queen Anne. To anyone else, a crumbling reform school might seem an odd place to call home. But this was Bernadette, and she was enthusiastic. Bernadette and her enthusiasm were like a hippo and water: get between them and you’ll be trampled to death. We moved to Seattle. I was swallowed whole by Microsoft. Bernadette became pregnant and had the first of a series of miscarriages. After three years, she passed the first term. At the beginning of her second term, she was put on bed rest. The house, which was a blank canvas on which Bernadette was to work her magic, understandably languished. There were leaks, strange drafts, and the occasional weed pushing up through a floorboard. My concern was for Bernadette’s health—she didn’t need the stress of a remodel, she needed to stay put—so we wore parkas inside, rotated spaghetti pots when it rained, and kept a pair of pruning shears in a vase in the living room. It felt romantic. Our daughter, Bee, was born prematurely. She came out blue. She was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Maria Semple (Where'd You Go, Bernadette)
When did you decide to become an architect?” “When I was ten years old.” “Men don’t know what they want so early in life, if ever. You’re lying.” “Am I?” “Don’t stare at me like that! Can’t you look at something else? Why did you decide to be an architect?” “I didn’t know it then. But it’s because I’ve never believed in God.” “Come on, talk sense.” “Because I love this earth. That’s all I love. I don’t like the shape of things on this earth. I want to change them.” “For whom?” “For myself.” “How old are you?” “Twenty-two.” “Where did you hear all that?” “I didn’t.” “Men don’t talk like that at twenty-two. You’re abnormal.” “Probably.” “I didn’t mean it as a compliment.” “I didn’t either.” “Got any family?” “ No.” “Worked through school?” “Yes.” “At what?” “In the building trades.” “How much money have you got left?” “Seventeen dollars and thirty cents.” “When did you come to New York?” “Yesterday.” Cameron looked at the white pile under his fist. “God damn you,” said Cameron softly. “God damn you!” roared Cameron suddenly, leaning forward. “I didn’t ask you to come here! I don’t need any draftsmen! There’s nothing here to draft! I don’t have enough work to keep myself and my men out of the Bowery Mission! I don’t want any fool visionaries starving around here! I don’t want the responsibility. I didn’t ask for it. I never thought I’d see it again. I’m through with it. I was through with that many years ago. I’m perfectly happy with the drooling dolts I’ve got here, who never had anything and never will have and it makes no difference what becomes of them. That’s all I want. Why did you have to come here? You’re setting out to ruin yourself, you know that, don’t you? And I’ll help you to do it. I don’t want to see you. I don’t like you. I don’t like your face. You look like an insufferable egotist. You’re impertinent. You’re too sure of yourself. Twenty years ago I’d have punched your face with the greatest of pleasure. You’re coming to work here tomorrow at nine o’clock sharp.” “Yes,” said Roark, rising. “Fifteen dollars a week. That’s all I can pay you.” “Yes.” “You’re a damn fool. You should have gone to someone else. I’ll kill you if you go to anyone else. What’s your name?” “Howard Roark.” “If you’re late, I’ll fire you.” “Yes.” Roark extended his nand for the drawings. “Leave these here!” bellowed Cameron. “Now get out!
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
All Night, All Night Rode in the train all night, in the sick light. A bird Flew parallel with a singular will. In daydream's moods and attitudes The other passengers slumped, dozed, slept, read, Waiting, and waiting for place to be displaced On the exact track of safety or the rack of accident. Looked out at the night, unable to distinguish Lights in the towns of passage from the yellow lights Numb on the ceiling. And the bird flew parallel and still As the train shot forth the straight line of its whistle, Forward on the taut tracks, piercing empty, familiar -- The bored center of this vision and condition looked and looked Down through the slick pages of the magazine (seeking The seen and the unseen) and his gaze fell down the well Of the great darkness under the slick glitter, And he was only one among eight million riders and readers. And all the while under his empty smile the shaking drum Of the long determined passage passed through him By his body mimicked and echoed. And then the train Like a suddenly storming rain, began to rush and thresh-- The silent or passive night, pressing and impressing The patients' foreheads with a tightening-like image Of the rushing engine proceeded by a shaft of light Piercing the dark, changing and transforming the silence Into a violence of foam, sound, smoke and succession. A bored child went to get a cup of water, And crushed the cup because the water too was Boring and merely boredom's struggle. The child, returning, looked over the shoulder Of a man reading until he annoyed the shoulder. A fat woman yawned and felt the liquid drops Drip down the fleece of many dinners. And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified, At regular intervals, post after post Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees. And then the bird cried as if to all of us: 0 your life, your lonely life What have you ever done with it, And done with the great gift of consciousness? What will you ever do with your life before death's knife Provides the answer ultimate and appropriate? As I for my part felt in my heart as one who falls, Falls in a parachute, falls endlessly, and feel the vast Draft of the abyss sucking him down and down, An endlessly helplessly falling and appalled clown: This is the way that night passes by, this Is the overnight endless trip to the famous unfathomable abyss.
Delmore Schwartz
Navy Secretary Adams, a wealthy, polo-playing yachtsman, sent for Butler and delivered a blistering reprimand, declaring that he was doing so at the direct personal order of the President of the United States. Butler saw red. “This is the first time in my service of thirty-two years,” he snapped back, “that I’ve ever been hauled on the carpet and treated like an unruly schoolboy. I haven’t always approved of the actions of the administration, but I’ve always faithfully carried out my instructions. If I’m not behaving well it is because I’m not accustomed to reprimands, and you can’t expect me to turn my cheek meekly for official slaps!” “I think this will be all,” Adams said icily. “I don’t ever want to see you here again!” “You never will if I can help it!” Butler rasped, storming out of his office livid with anger. Just two days after his attack on the government’s gunboat diplomacy, which provoked a great public commotion, Undersecretary of State J. Reuben Clark privately submitted to Secretary of State Stimson the draft of a pledge that the United States would never again claim the right to intervene in the affairs of any Latin American country as an “international policeman.” The Clark Memorandum, which later became official policy—for a while at least—repudiated the (Theodore) Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that Smedley Butler had unmasked as raw gunboat diplomacy.
Jules Archer (The Plot to Seize the White House: The Shocking True Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR)
TWO WEEKS after Oppenheimer wrote his June 16 memo summarizing the views of the science panel, Edward Teller came to him with a copy of a petition that was circulating throughout the Manhattan Project’s facilities. Drafted by Leo Szilard, the petition urged President Truman not to use atomic weapons on Japan without a public statement of the terms of surrender: “. . . the United States shall not resort to the use of atomic bombs in this war unless the terms which will be imposed upon Japan have been made public in detail and Japan knowing these terms has refused to surrender. . . .” Over the next few weeks, Szilard’s petition garnered the signatures of 155 Manhattan Project scientists. A counter-petition mustered only two signatures. In a separate July 12, 1945, Army poll of 150 scientists in the project, seventy-two percent favored a demonstration of the bomb’s power as against its military use without prior warning. Even so, Oppenheimer expressed real anger when Teller showed him Szilard’s petition. According to Teller, Oppie began disparaging Szilard and his cohorts: “What do they know about Japanese psychology? How can they judge the way to end the war?” These were judgments better left in the hands of men like Stimson and General Marshall. “Our conversation was brief,” Teller wrote in his memoirs. “His talking so harshly about my close friends and his impatience and vehemence greatly distressed me. But I readily accepted his decision. . . .
Kai Bird (American Prometheus)
Tiffany’s basket was on the table. It had a present in it, of course. Everyone knew you took a small present along when you went visiting, but the person you were visiting was supposed to be surprised when you gave it to her, and say things like “Oooh, you shouldn’t have.” “I brought you something,” said Tiffany, swinging the big black kettle onto the fire. “You’ve got no call to be bringing me presents, I’m sure,” said Granny sternly. “Yes, well,” said Tiffany, and left it at that. She heard Granny lift the lid of the basket. There was a kitten in it. “Her mother is Pinky, the Widow Cable’s cat,” said Tiffany, to fill the silence. “You shouldn’t have,” growled the voice of Granny Weatherwax. “It was no trouble.” Tiffany smiled at the fire. “I can’t be havin’ with cats.” “She’ll keep the mice down,” said Tiffany, still not turning around. “Don’t have mice.” Nothing for them to eat, thought Tiffany. Aloud, she said, “Mrs. Earwig’s got six big black cats.” In the basket, the white kitten would be staring up at Granny Weatherwax with the sad, shocked expression of all kittens. You test me, I test you, Tiffany thought. “I don’t know what I shall do with it, I’m sure. It’ll have to sleep in the goat shed,” said Granny Weatherwax. Most witches had goats. [...] When Tiffany left, later on, Granny Weatherwax said good-bye at the door and very carefully shut the kitten outside. Tiffany went across the clearing to where she’d tied up Miss Treason’s broomstick. But she didn’t get on, not yet. She stepped back up against a holly bush, and went quiet until she wasn’t there anymore, until everything about her said: I’m not here. Everyone could see pictures in the fire and in clouds. You just turned that the other way around. You turned off that bit of yourself that said you were there. You dissolved. Anyone looking at you would find you very hard to see. Your face became a bit of leaf and shadow, your body a piece of tree and bush. The other person’s mind would fill in the gaps. Looking like just another piece of holly bush, she watched the door. The wind had got up, warm but worrisome, shaking the yellow and red leaves off the sycamore trees and whirring them around the clearing. The kitten tried to bat a few of them out of the air and then sat there, making sad little mewling noises. Any minute now, Granny Weatherwax would think Tiffany had gone and would open the door and— “Forgot something?” said Granny by her ear. She was the bush. “’s very sweet. I just thought you might, you know, grow to like it,” said Tiffany, but she was thinking: Well, she could have got here if she ran, but why didn’t I see her? Can you run and hide at the same time? “Never you mind about me, my girl,” said the witch. “You run along back to Miss Treason and give her my best wishes, right now. But”—and her voice softened a little—“that was good hiding you did just then. There’s many as would not have seen you. Why, I hardly heard your hair growin’!” When Tiffany’s stick had left the clearing, and Granny Weatherwax had satisfied herself in other little ways that she had really gone, she went back inside, carefully ignoring the kitten again. After a few minutes, the door creaked open a little. It may have been just a draft. The kitten trotted inside...
Terry Pratchett (Wintersmith (Discworld, #35; Tiffany Aching, #3))
This is from Elizabeth,” it said. “She has sold Havenhurst.” A pang of guilt and shock sent Ian to his feet as he read the rest of the note: “I am to tell you that this is payment in full, plus appropriate interest, for the emeralds she sold, which, she feels, rightfully belonged to you.” Swallowing audibly, Ian picked up the bank draft and the small scrap of paper with it. On it Elizabeth herself had shown her calculation of the interest due him for the exact number of days since she’d sold the gems, until the date of her bank draft a week ago. His eyes ached with unshed tears while his shoulders began to rock with silent laughter-Elizabeth had paid him half a percent less than the usual interest rate. Thirty minutes later Ian presented himself to Jordan’s butler and asked to see Alexandra. She walked into the room with accusation and ire shooting from her blue eyes as she said scornfully, “I wondered if that note would bring you here. Do you have any notion how much Havenhurst means-meant-to her?” “I’ll get it back for her,” he promised with a somber smile. “Where is she?” Alexandra’s mouth fell open at the tenderness in his eyes and voice. “Where is she?” he repeated with calm determination. “I cannot tell you,” Alex said with a twinge of regret. “You know I cannot. I gave my word.” “Would it have the slightest effect,” Ian countered smoothly, “if I were to ask Jordan to exert his husbandly influence to persuade you to tell me anyway?” “I’m afraid not,” Alexandra assured him. She expected him to challenge that; instead a reluctant smile drifted across his handsome face. When he spoke, his voice was gentle. “You’re very like Elizabeth. You remind me of her.” Still slightly mistrustful of his apparent change of heart, Alex said primly, “I deem that a great compliment, my lord.” To her utter disbelief, Ian Thornton reached out and chucked her under the chin. “I meant it as one,” he informed her with a grin. Turning, Ian started for the door, then stopped at the sight of Jordan, who was lounging in the doorway, an amused, knowing smile on his face. “If you’d keep track of your own wife, Ian, you would not have to search for similarities in mine.” When their unexpected guest had left, Jordan asked Alex, “Are you going to send Elizabeth a message to let her know he’s coming for her?” Alex started to nod, then she hesitated. “I-I don’t think so. I’ll tell her that he asked where she is, which is all he really did.” “He’ll go to her as soon as he figures it out.” “Perhaps.” “You still don’t trust him, do you?” Jordan said with a surprised smile. “I do after this last visit-to a certain extent-but not with Elizabeth’s heart. He’s hurt her terribly, and I won’t give her false hopes and, in doing so, help him hurt her again.” Reaching out, Jordan chucked her under the chin as his cousin had done, then he pulled her into his arms. “She’s hurt him, too, you know.” “Perhaps,” Alex admitted reluctantly. Jordan smiled against her hair. “You were more forgiving when I trampled your heart, my love,” he teased. “That’s because I loved you,” she replied as she laid her cheek against his chest, her arms stealing around his waist. “And will you love my cousin just a little if he makes amends to Elizabeth?” “I might find it in my heart,” she admitted, “if he gets Havenhurst back for her.” “It’ll cost him a fortune if he tries,” Jordan chuckled. “Do you know who bought it?” “No, do you?” He nodded. “Philip Demarcus.” She giggled against his chest. “Isn’t he that dreadful man who told the prince he’d have to pay to ride in his new yacht up the Thames?” “The very same.” “Do you suppose Mr. Demarcus cheated Elizabeth?” “Not our Elizabeth,” Jordan laughed. “But I wouldn’t like to be in Ian’s place if Demarcus realizes the place has sentimental value to Ian. The price will soar.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
And yet, being surveilled with the intention of assault or rape is practically mundane, it happens so often. It’s such an ingrained part of the female experience that it doesn’t register as unusual. The danger of it, then, is in its routine, in how normalized it is for a woman to feel monitored, so much so that she might not know she’s in trouble until that invisible line is crossed from “typical patriarchy” to “you should run.” So now, when I drink, I’m far more cautious. I don’t like ordering draft beers from taps hidden from view. I don’t like pouring bottles into pint glasses. I don’t leave my drink with strangers, I don’t let people I don’t know order drinks for me without watching them do it, and I don’t drink excessively with people I don’t think I can trust with my sleepy body. I don’t turn my back on a cocktail, not just because I like drinking but because I can’t trust what happens to it when I’m not looking. The intersection of rape culture and surveillance culture means that being a guarded drinker is not only my responsibility, it is my sole responsibility. Any lapse in judgment could not only result in clear and present danger, but also set me up for a chorus of “Well, she should’ve known better.” The mistake we make is in thinking rape isn’t premeditated, that it happens by accident somehow, that you’re drunk and you run into a girl who’s also drunk and half-asleep on a bench and you sidle up to her and things get out of hand and before you know it, you’re being accused of something you’d never do. But men who rape are men who watch for the signs of who they believe they can rape. Rape culture isn’t a natural occurrence; it thrives thanks to the dedicated attention given to women in order to take away their security. Rapists exist on a spectrum, and maybe this attentive version is the most dangerous type: women are so used to being watched that we don’t notice when someone’s watching us for the worst reason imaginable. They have a plan long before we even get to the bar to order our first drink.
Scaachi Koul (One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter)
Catherine broke off as she saw something among the drafts of structures and landscapes and the pages of notes. A pencil sketch of a woman … a naked woman reclining on her side, light hair flowing everywhere. One slender thigh rested coyly over the other, partially concealing the delicate shadow of a feminine triangle. And there was an all-too-familiar pair of spectacles balanced on her nose. Catherine picked up the sketch with a trembling hand, while her heart lurched in hard strikes against her ribs. It took several attempts before she could speak, her voice high and airless. “That’s me.” Leo had lowered to the carpeted floor beside her. He nodded, looking rueful. His own color heightened until his eyes were startlingly blue in contrast. “Why?” she whispered. “It wasn’t meant to be demeaning,” he said. “It was for my own eyes, no one else’s.” She forced herself to look at the sketch again, feeling horribly exposed. In fact, she couldn’t have been more embarrassed had he actually been viewing her naked. And yet the rendering was far from crude or debasing. The woman had been drawn with long, graceful lines, the pose artistic. Sensuous. “You … you’ve never seen me like this,” she managed to say, before adding weakly, “Have you?” A self-deprecating smile touched his lips. “No, I haven’t yet descended to voyeurism.” He paused. “Did I get it right? It’s not easy, guessing what you look like beneath all those layers.” A nervous giggle struggled through her mortification. “If you did, I certainly wouldn’t admit it.” She put the sketch onto the pile, facedown. Her hand was shaking. “Do you draw other women this way?” she asked timidly. Leo shook his head. “I started with you, and so far I haven’t moved on.” Her flush deepened. “You’ve done other sketches like this? Of me unclothed?” “One or two.” He tried to look repentant. “Oh, please, please destroy them.” “Certainly. But honesty compels me to tell you that I’ll probably only do more. It’s my favorite hobby, drawing you naked.” Catherine moaned and buried her face in her hands. Her voice slipped out between the tense filter of her fingers. “I wish you would take up collecting something instead.
Lisa Kleypas (Married By Morning (The Hathaways, #4))
...and the handsome jester, Devil’s Gold, is shaking his bead-covered rattle, making medicine and calling us by name. We are so tired from our long walk that we cannot but admire his gilded face and his yellow magic blanket. And, holding each other’s hands like lovers, we stoop and admire ourselves in the golden pool that flickers in the great campfire he has impudently built at the crossing of two streets in Heaven. But we do not step into the pool as beforetime. Our boat is beside us, it has overtaken us like some faithful tame giant swan, and Avanel whispers: “Take us where The Golden Book was written.” And thus we are up and away. The boat carries us deeper, down the valley. We find the cell of Hunter Kelly,— . St. Scribe of the Shrines. Only his handiwork remains to testify of him. Upon the walls of his cell he has painted many an illumination he afterward painted on The Golden Book margins and, in a loose pile of old torn and unbound pages, the first draft of many a familiar text is to be found. His dried paint jars are there and his ink and on the wall hangs the empty leather sack of Johnny Appleseed, from which came the first sowing of all the Amaranths of our little city, and the Amaranth that led us here. And Avanel whispers:—“I ask my heart: —Where is Hunter Kelly, and my heart speaks to me as though commanded: ‘The Hunter is again pioneering for our little city in the little earth. He is reborn as the humblest acolyte of the Cathedral, a child that sings tonight with the star chimes, a red-cheeked boy, who shoes horses at the old forge of the Iron Gentleman. Let us also return’.” It is eight o’clock in the evening, at Fifth and Monroe. It is Saturday night, and the crowd is pouring toward The Majestic, and Chatterton’s, and The Vaudette, and The Princess and The Gaiety. It is a lovely, starry evening, in the spring. The newsboys are bawling away, and I buy an Illinois State Register. It is dated March 1, 1920. Avanel of Springfield is one hundred years away. The Register has much news of a passing nature. I am the most interested in the weather report, that tomorrow will be fair. THE END - Written in Washington Park Pavilion, Springfield, Illinois.
Vachel Lindsay (The Golden Book of Springfield (Lost Utopias Series))
Learning to meditate helped too. When the Beatles visited India in 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I was curious to learn it, so I did. I loved it. Meditation has benefited me hugely throughout my life because it produces a calm open-mindedness that allows me to think more clearly and creatively. I majored in finance in college because of my love for the markets and because that major had no foreign language requirement—so it allowed me to learn what I was interested in, both inside and outside class. I learned a lot about commodity futures from a very interesting classmate, a Vietnam veteran quite a bit older than me. Commodities were attractive because they could be traded with very low margin requirements, meaning I could leverage the limited amount of money I had to invest. If I could make winning decisions, which I planned to do, I could borrow more to make more. Stock, bond, and currency futures didn’t exist back then. Commodity futures were strictly real commodities like corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs. So those were the markets I started to trade and learn about. My college years coincided with the era of free love, mind-expanding drug experimentation, and rejection of traditional authority. Living through it had a lasting effect on me and many other members of my generation. For example, it deeply impacted Steve Jobs, whom I came to empathize with and admire. Like me, he took up meditation and wasn’t interested in being taught as much as he loved visualizing and building out amazing new things. The times we lived in taught us both to question established ways of doing things—an attitude he demonstrated superbly in Apple’s iconic “1984” and “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” which were ad campaigns that spoke to me. For the country as a whole, those were difficult years. As the draft expanded and the numbers of young men coming home in body bags soared, the Vietnam War split the country. There was a lottery based on birthdates to determine the order of those who would be drafted. I remember listening to the lottery on the radio while playing pool with my friends. It was estimated that the first 160 or so birthdays called would be drafted, though they read off all 366 dates. My birthday was forty-eighth.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
Then I’ll sing, though that will likely have the child holding his ears and you running from the room.” This, incongruously, had her lips quirking up. “My father isn’t very musical. You hold the baby, I’ll sing.” She took the rocking chair by the hearth. Vim settled the child in his arms and started blowing out candles as he paced the room. “He shall feed his flock, like a shepherd…” More Handel, the lilting, lyrical contralto portion of the aria, a sweet, comforting melody if ever one had been written. And the baby was comforted, sighing in Vim’s arms and going still. Not deathly still, just exhausted still. Sophie sang on, her voice unbearably lovely. “And He shall gather the lambs in his arm… and gently lead those that are with young.” Vim liked music, he enjoyed it a great deal in fact—he just wasn’t any good at making it. Sophie was damned good. She had superb control, managing to sing quietly even as she shifted to the soprano verse, her voice lifting gently into the higher register. By the second time through, Vim’s eyes were heavy and his steps lagging. “He’s asleep,” he whispered as the last notes died away. “And my God, you can sing, Sophie Windham.” “I had good teachers.” She’d sung some of the tension and worry out too, if her more peaceful expression was any guide. “If you want to go back to your room, I can take him now.” He didn’t want to leave. He didn’t want to leave her alone with the fussy baby; he didn’t want to go back to his big, cold bed down the dark, cold hallway. “Go to bed, Sophie. I’ll stay for a while.” She frowned then went to the window and parted the curtain slightly. “I think it’s stopped snowing, but there is such a wind it’s hard to tell.” He didn’t dare join her at the window for fear a chilly draft might wake the child. “Come away from there, Sophie, and why haven’t you any socks or slippers on your feet?” She glanced down at her bare feet and wiggled long, elegant toes. “I forgot. Kit started crying, and I was out of bed before I quite woke up.” They shared a look, one likely common to parents of infants the world over. “My Lord Baby has a loyal and devoted court,” Vim said. “Get into bed before your toes freeze off.” She gave him a particularly unreadable perusal but climbed into her bed and did not draw the curtains. “Vim?” “Hmm?” He took the rocker, the lyrical triple meter of the aria still in his head. “Thank you.” He
Grace Burrowes (Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish (The Duke's Daughters, #1; Windham, #4))
MY PROCESS I got bullied quite a bit as a kid, so I learned how to take a punch and how to put up a good fight. God used that. I am not afraid of spiritual “violence” or of facing spiritual fights. My Dad was drafted during Vietnam and I grew up an Army brat, moving around frequently. God used that. I am very spiritually mobile, adaptable, and flexible. My parents used to hand me a Bible and make me go look up what I did wrong. God used that, as well. I knew the Word before I knew the Lord, so studying Scripture is not intimidating to me. I was admitted into a learning enrichment program in junior high. They taught me critical thinking skills, logic, and Greek Mythology. God used that, too. In seventh grade I was in school band and choir. God used that. At 14, before I even got saved, a youth pastor at my parents’ church taught me to play guitar. God used that. My best buddies in school were a druggie, a Jewish kid, and an Irish soccer player. God used that. I broke my back my senior year and had to take theatre instead of wrestling. God used that. I used to sleep on the couch outside of the Dean’s office between classes. God used that. My parents sent me to a Christian college for a semester in hopes of getting me saved. God used that. I majored in art, advertising, astronomy, pre-med, and finally English. God used all of that. I made a woman I loved get an abortion. God used (and redeemed) that. I got my teaching certification. I got plugged into a group of sincere Christian young adults. I took courses for ministry credentials. I worked as an autism therapist. I taught emotionally disabled kids. And God used each of those things. I married a pastor’s daughter. God really used that. Are you getting the picture? San Antonio led me to Houston, Houston led me to El Paso, El Paso led me to Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Leonard Wood led me back to San Antonio, which led me to Austin, then to Kentucky, then to Belton, then to Maryland, to Pennsylvania, to Dallas, to Alabama, which led me to Fort Worth. With thousands of smaller journeys in between. The reason that I am able to do the things that I do today is because of the process that God walked me through yesterday. Our lives are cumulative. No day stands alone. Each builds upon the foundation of the last—just like a stairway, each layer bringing us closer to Him. God uses each experience, each lesson, each relationship, even our traumas and tragedies as steps in the process of becoming the people He made us to be. They are steps in the process of achieving the destinies that He has encoded into the weave of each of our lives. We are journeymen, finding the way home. What is the value of the journey? If the journey makes us who we are, then the journey is priceless.
Zach Neese (How to Worship a King: Prepare Your Heart. Prepare Your World. Prepare the Way)
They went back into the great hall. The mood among the giants was more relaxed now, more jovial. 'Ah,' said Utgardaloki. 'Well, the failure of these two is perhaps understandable. But now, now we shall see something to impress us. Now is the turn of Thor, god of thunder, mightiest of heroes. Thor, whose deeds are sung across the worlds. Gods and mortals tell stories of your feats. Will you show us what you can do?' Thor stared at him. 'For a start, I can drink,' said Thor. 'There is no drink I cannot drain.' Utgardaloki considered this. 'Of course,' he said. 'Where is my cup-bearer?' The cup-bearer stepped forward. 'Bring me my special drinking horn.' The cup-bearer nodded and walked away, returning in moments with a long horn. It was longer than any drinking horn that Thor had ever seen, but he was not concerned. He was Thor, after all, and there was not drinking horn he could not drain. Runes and patterns were engraved on the side of the horn, and there was silver about the mouthpiece. 'It is the drinking horn of this castle,' said Utgardaloki. 'We have all emptied it here, in our time. The strongest and mightiest of us drain it all in one go; some of us, I admit it, take two attempts to drain it. I am proud to tell you that there is nobody here so weak, so disappointing, that it has taken them three drafts to finish it.' It was a long horn, but Thor was Thor, and he raised the brimming horn to his lips and began to drink. The mead of the giants was cold and salty, but he draink it down, draining the horn, drinking until his breath gave out and he could drink no longer. He expected to see the horn emptied, but it was as full as when he had begun to drink, or nearly as full. 'I had been led to believe that you were a better drinker than that,' said Utgardaloki drily. 'Still, I know you can finish it at a second draft, as we all do.' Thor took a deep breath, and he put his lips to the horn, and he drank deeply and drank well. He knew that he had to have emptied the horn this time, and yet when he lowered the horn from his lips, it had gone down by only the length of his thumb. The giants looked at Thor and they began to jeer, but he glared at them, and they were silent. 'Ah,' said Utgardaloki. 'So the tales of the mighty Thor are only tales. Well, even so, we will allow you to drink the horn dry on your third attempt. There cannot be much left in there, after all.' Thor raised the horn to his lips and he drank, and he drank like a good drinks, drank so long and so deeply that Loki and Thialfi simply stared at him in astonishment. But when he lowered the horn, the mead had gone down by only another knuckle's worth. 'I am done with this,' said Thor. 'And I am not convinced that it is only a little mead.
Neil Gaiman (Norse Mythology)
Here is my six step process for how we will first start with ISIS and then build an international force that will fight terrorism and corruption wherever it appears. “First, in dedication to Lieutenant Commander McKay, Operation Crapshoot commenced at six o’clock this morning. I’ve directed a handpicked team currently deployed in Iraq to coordinate a tenfold increase in aerial bombing and close air support. In addition to aerial support, fifteen civilian security companies, including delegations from our international allies, are flying special operations veterans into Iraq. Those forces will be tasked with finding and annihilating ISIS, wherever they walk, eat or sleep. I’ve been told that they can’t wait to get started. “Second, going forward, our military will be a major component in our battle against evil. Militaries need training. I’ve been assured by General McMillan and his staff that there is no better final training test than live combat. So without much more expenditure, we will do two things, train our troops of the future, and wipe out international threats. “Third, I have a message for our allies. If you need us, we will be there. If evil raises its ugly head, we will be with you, arm in arm, fighting for what is right. But that aid comes with a caveat. Our allies must be dedicated to the common global ideals of personal and religious freedom. Any supposed ally who ignores these terms will find themselves without impunity. A criminal is a criminal. A thief is a thief. Decide which side you’re on, because our side carries a big stick. “Fourth, to the religious leaders of the world, especially those of Islam, though we live with differing traditions, we are still one people on this Earth. What one person does always has the possibility of affecting others. If you want to be part of our community, it is time to do your part. Denounce the criminals who besmirch your faith. Tell your followers the true meaning of the Koran. Do not let the money and influence of hypocrites taint your religion or your people. We request that you do this now, respectfully, or face the scrutiny of America and our allies. “Fifth, starting today, an unprecedented coalition of three former American presidents, my predecessor included, will travel around the globe to strengthen our alliances. Much like our brave military leaders, we will lead from the front, go where we are needed. We will go toe to toe with any who would seek to undermine our good intentions, and who trample the freedoms of our citizens. In the coming days you will find out how great our resolve truly is. “Sixth, my staff is in the process of drafting a proposal for the members of the United Nations. The proposal will outline our recommendations for the formation of an international terrorism strike force along with an international tax that will fund ongoing anti-terrorism operations. Only the countries that contribute to this fund will be supported by the strike force. You pay to play.
C.G. Cooper (Moral Imperative (Corps Justice, #7))