New York Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to New York Life. Here they are! All 200 of them:

If you stay, I'll do whatever you want. I'll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I'll do that, too. I was talking to Liz and she said maybe coming back to your old life would be too painful, that maybe it'd be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I'd do it. I can lose you like that if I don't lose you today. I'll let you go. If you stay.
Gayle Forman (If I Stay (If I Stay, #1))
My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus." [The Science of Second-Guessing (New York Times Magazine Interview, December 12, 2004)]
Stephen Hawking
When you look at what C.S. Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. At one point, the old professor says, ‘It’s all in Plato’ — meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second-rate copy of something much better. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife. [The New York Times interview, 2000]
Philip Pullman
Just because life is hard, and always ends in a bad way, doesn't mean that all stories have to, even if that's what they tell us in school and in the New York Times Review. In fact, it's a good thing that stories are as different as we are, one from another.
James Patterson (Sundays at Tiffany's)
Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you'll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce. And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn't really. And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along. Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved.
Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York: The Shooting Script)
I’m going to kill myself. I should go to Paris and jump off the Eiffel Tower. I’ll be dead. you know, in fact, if I get the Concorde, I could be dead three hours earlier, which would be perfect. Or wait a minute. It -- with the time change, I could be alive for six hours in New York but dead three hours in Paris. I could get things done, and I could also be dead.
Woody Allen
But lost chances are as much a part of life as chances taken, and a story cannot dwell on what might have been.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
New York is strange in the summer. Life goes on as usual but it’s not, it’s like everyone is just pretending, as if everyone has been cast as the star in a movie about their life, so they’re one step removed from it. And then in September it all gets normal again.
Peter Cameron (Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You)
I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while.
Amy Thomas (Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate))
In the end, each life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he’s there, he’s not really there.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97: Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself. Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone. Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's. Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out. Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself. No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling. To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books or this battle or that bridge – none of that tells us very much.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
Life in New York was like being in a giant bookstore: all these trillions of paths and possibilities drawing dreamers into the city's beating heart, saying, I make no promises but I offer many doors.
Emily Henry (Book Lovers)
Every life has a soundtrack. There is a tune that makes me think of the summer I spent rubbing baby oil on my stomach in pursuit of the perfect tan. There's another that reminds me of tagging along with my father on Sunday morning to pick up the New York Times. There's the song that reminds me of using fake ID to get into a nightclub; and the one that brings back my cousin Isobel's sweet sixteen, where I played Seven Minutes in Heaven with a boy whose breath smelled like tomato soup. If you ask me, music is the language of memory.
Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home)
So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together. In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the page: I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me. Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page. Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a FRIEND… I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest, open to this most recent assurance. In the morning when I wake up, I can still smell a faint trace of depression’s lingering smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, he got up and left. And his buddy loneliness beat it, too.
Elizabeth Gilbert
You have to trust or you're only living half a life.
J.D. Robb (New York to Dallas (In Death, #33))
It's an exceptional thing to have someone in your life who knows and understands you so well. Who loves who you are. A very exceptional thing.
J.D. Robb (New York to Dallas (In Death, #33))
I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this. [Cormac McCarthy's Venomous Fiction, New York Times, April 19, 1992]
Cormac McCarthy
In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake. In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake. The O'Reilly Factor. So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times." Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas! Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
When we are young... we often experience things in the present with a nostalgia-in-advance, but we seldom guess what we will truly prize years from now.
Edmund White (City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and 70s)
I could hear everything, together with the hum of my hotel neon. I never felt sadder in my life. LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; New York gets godawful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle.
Jack Kerouac (On the Road)
We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft
Mary Schmich (Wear Sunscreen: A Primer for Real Life)
There are people you know all your life who never really make a difference to who you are; others arrive for a short time and change everything.
Miranda Dickinson (Fairytale of New York)
Just because life is hard and always ends in a bad way doesn't mean that all stories have to. Even if that's what they tell us in school and the New York Book Review.
James Patterson (Sundays at Tiffany's)
Cut off as I am, it is inevitable that I should sometimes feel like a shadow walking in a shadowy world. When this happens I ask to be taken to New York City. Always I return home weary but I have the comforting certainty that mankind is real flesh and I myself am not a dream.
Helen Keller (Midstream: My Later Life)
I swear to you, Zane. I thought what I was doing was right. I searched for you after I left New York. You were out of my reach. When Burns read me in, the only thing I could think of was that it was the only way of getting back to you. Being partnered with you full-time, being able . . . being able to see you every day, to have you in my life. When he said you might need protecting, it was the only thing I heard. I swear to you. All I wanted from the day I left you in that hospital was you. To be back there with you.
Abigail Roux (Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run, #7))
Alec Lightwood, eldest son of the Shadowhunters who ran the New York Institute, had turned up on Magnus’s doorstep, thanked him for saving his life, and asked him out while turning fifteen shades between puce and mauve. In response Magnus had promptly lost his mind, kissed him, and made a date for Friday.
Cassandra Clare (The Course of True Love [and First Dates] (The Bane Chronicles #10))
The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.
E.B. White
I had a choice. I was Louisa Clark from New York or Louisa Clark from Stortfold. Or there might be a whole other Louisa I hadn’t yet met. The key was making sure that anyone you allowed to walk beside you didn’t get to decide which you were, and pin you down like a butterfly in a case. The key was to know that you could always somehow find a way to reinvent yourself again.
Jojo Moyes (Still Me (Me Before You, #3))
Never presume to know a person based on the one dimensional window of the internet. A soul can’t be defined by critics, enemies or broken ties with family or friends. Neither can it be explained by posts or blogs that lack facial expressions, tone or insight into the person’s personality and intent. Until people “get that”, we will forever be a society that thinks Beautiful Mind was a spy movie and every stranger is really a friend on Facebook.
Shannon L. Alder
I did not see anything [New York 1886] to help my people. I could see that the Wasichus [white man] did not care for each other the way our people did before the nation's hoop was broken. They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe were starving. This could not be better than the old ways of my people.
Black Elk (Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux)
I began to like New York, the racy, adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and women and machines gives to the restless eye. I like to walk up Fifth Avenue and pick out romantic women from the crowd and imagine that in a few minutes I was going to enter their lives, and no one would ever know or disapprove. Sometimes, in my mind, I followed them to their apartments on the corners of hidden streets, and they turned and smiled back at me before they faded through a door into warm darkness. At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others—poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner—young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
I thought that once I got to this city nothing could ever catch up with me because I could remake my life daily. Once that had made me feel infinite. Now I was certain I would never learn. Being remade was the same thing as being constantly undone.
Stephanie Danler (Sweetbitter)
Probably everything in my life comes back to a feeling of abandonment, and this city never abandons you.
Ann Douglas
So I went to New York City to be born again. It was and remains easy for most Americans to go somewhere else and start anew. I wasn't like my parents. I didn't have any supposedly sacred piece of land or shoals of friends to leave behind. Nowhere has the number zero been of more philisophical value than in the United States.... and when the [train] plunged into a tunnel under New York City, with it's lining of pipes and wires, I was out of the womb and into the birth canal.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life.” Oliver Sacks
Bill Hayes (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me)
Impossible is Nothing,” it said. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
Elna Baker (The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance)
Every true New Yorker believes with all his heart that when a New Yorker is tired of New York, he is tired of life.
Robert Moses
The Romans move east from New York. They advance in your camp, and nothing can slow them down. "Nothing can slow them down," Leo mused. "I wonder..." "What?" Jason asked. Leo looked at the dwarfs. "I'll make you a deal." Akmon's eyes lit up. "Thirty percent?" "We'll leave you all the treasure," Leo said, "except the stuff that belongs to us, and the astrolabe, and this book, which we'll take back to the dude in Venice." "But he'll destroy us!" Passolos wailed. "We won't say where we got it," Leo promised. "And we won't kill you. We'll let you go free." "Uh, Leo...?" Jason asked nervously. Akmon squealed in delight. "I knew you were as smart at Hercules! I will call you Black Bottom, the Sequel!" "You, no thanks," Leo said. "But in return for us sparing your lives, you have to do something for us. I'm going to send you somewhere to steal from some people, harass them, make life hard for them any way you can. You have to follow my directions exactly. You have to swear on the River Styx." "We swear!" Passalos said. "Stealing from people is our specialty!" "I love harassment!" Akmon agreed. "Where are we going?" Leo grinned. "Ever heard of New York?
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4))
That was when I first observed a phenomenon I now call the "New York Slide": you offer your words to try to communicate and connect with someone, but your words just hit a brick wall the person has erected to ward off human contact- the words slide down it and roll away.
Kelly Cutrone (If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)
A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines. The island of Manhattan is without any doubt the greatest human concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain elusive.
E.B. White (Here Is New York)
I love Val. I love my job and my New York. I have no doubts that they were the right choices for me. And at the same time, I know that right choices by definition are the means by which life crystallizes loss.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
To care about words, to have a stake in what is written, to believe in the power of books - this overwhelms the rest, and beside it one's life becomes very small.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
It was one of those perfect New York October afternoons, when the explosion of oranges and yellows against the bright blue sky makes you feel like your life is passing through your fingers, that you've felt this autumn-feeling before and you'll probably get to feel it again, but one day you won't anymore, because you'll be dead.
Sarah Dunn (Secrets to Happiness)
New York City in life was much like New York City in death. It was still hard to get a cab, for example.
Colson Whitehead (Zone One)
People get addicted to feeling offended all the time because it gives them a high; being self-righteous and morally superior feels good. As political cartoonist Tim Kreider put it in a New York Times op-ed: “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
I tend to think that everything counts. In the end, each life is no more than the sum of contingent facts, a chronicle of chance intersections, of flukes, of random events that divulge nothing but their own lack of purpose.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
Have you ever experienced a beauty of soul, an esthetic grace, that was so intense it made you want to cry?" From Central Park Song ( A Screenplay )
Zack Love (Stories and Scripts: an Anthology)
There were thousands of women in New York alone who could replace me in his life, but there was only one Gideon Cross.
Sylvia Day (Bared to You (Crossfire, #1))
Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life.
Irving Berlin
I took my coffee into the dining room and settled down with the morning paper. A woman in New York had had twins in a taxi. A woman in Ohio had just had her seventeenth child. A twelve-year-old girl in Mexico had given birth to a thirteen-pound boy. The lead article on the woman's page was about how to adjust the older child to the new baby. I finally found an account of an axe murder on page seventeen, and held my coffee cup up to my face to see if the steam might revive me.
Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages)
Nothing so reminds you like the sea that the enemy of life is not death but loneliness.
Wayne Johnston (The Navigator of New York)
Music is everywhere,” Maude said softly. “It is in the water, in the wind’s hum, in the bird’s cry, in the boat’s horn. Rhythm surrounds us. That is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Anna Adams (A French Girl in New York (The French Girl, #1))
She loved the way her city always sounded like it was celebrating.
Sarah Pekkanen (These Girls)
in the end, each life is irreducible to anything other than itself. Which is as much as to say: lives make no sense.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
I even tried to usher her into this century by explaining that wearing rainbows didn’t automatically mean a person was gay. The Lucky Charms leprechaun was not necessarily a homosexual. The Care Bear with the rainbow on his tummy did not have a life partner. He didn’t even have genitals. (6)
Elna Baker (The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance)
I don't hate it here," she said automatically. Surprising herself, she realized that as much as she'd been trying to convince herself otherwise, she was telling the truth. "It's just that I don't belong here." He gave her a meloncholy smile. "If it's any consolation, when I was growing up, I didn't feel like I belonged here, either. I dreamed about going to New York. But it's strange, because when I finally escaped this place, I ended up missing it more than I thought I would. There's something about the ocean that just calls to me.
Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song)
I close my eyes. An image flashes—emerging from the van with Julian after our escape from New York City; believing, in that moment, that we had escaped the worst, that life would begin again for us. Instead life has only grown harder.
Lauren Oliver (Requiem (Delirium, #3))
Tad's mission in life is to have more fun than anyone else in New York City, and this involves a lot of moving around, since there is always the likelihood that where you aren't is more fun than where you are.
Jay McInerney (Bright Lights, Big City)
That period had been the peak of his life, though he had not realized it then. It had gone by without time for reflection, ending while he was still thinking things were going to get better.
Leonard Gardner (Fat City (New York Review Books Classics))
Existence was bigger than just life. It was everyone's life all together, and even if you lived in Buffalo, New York and had never been more than ten miles from home, you were part of the puzzle, too. It didn't matter how small your life was.
Paul Auster (The Brooklyn Follies)
I slipped in and out of consciousness as time stretched and flowed around me. Dreams and reality blurred, but I liked the dreams better. Noah was in them. I dreamed of us, walking hand in hand down a crowded street in the middle of the day. We were in New York. I was in no rush—I could walk with him forever—but Noah was. He pulled me alongside him, strong and determined and not smiling. Not today. We wove among the people, somehow not touching a single one. The trees were green and blossoming. It was spring, almost summer. A strong wind shook a few steadfast flowers off of the branches and into our path. We ignored them. Noah led me into Central Park. It was teeming with human life. Bright colored picnic blankets burst across the lawn, the pale, outstretched forms of people wriggling over them like worms in fruit. We passed the reservoir, the sun reflecting off its surface, and then the crowd began to thicken. They funneled into a throbbing mass as we strode up a hill, over and through. Until we could see them all below us, angry and electric. Noah reached into his bag. He pulled out the little cloth doll, my grandmother’s. The one we burned.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
I want to feel like I'm making a difference in this world. And I want some time for living rather than just working. Life is for living, isn't it? It can't be all just for working
Zack Love (The Doorman)
I remember reading a fascinating article in the New York Times Magazine once where this guy said... Every woman has the exact love life she wants
Elizabeth Young
We had no desire to live in Istanbul, nor in Paris or New York. Let them have their discos and dollars, their skycrapers and supersonics transports. Let them have their radios and their color TV, hey, we have ours, don't we? But we have something they don't have. Heart. We have heart. Look, look how the light of life seeps into my very heart
Orhan Pamuk (The New Life)
She missed the built environment of New York City. It was only in an urban landscape, amid straight lines and architecture, that she could situate herself in human time and history. She missed people. She missed human intrigue, drama and power struggles. She needed her own species, not to talk to, necessarily, but just to be among, as a bystander in a crowd or an anonymous witness.
Ruth Ozeki (A Tale for the Time Being)
Anxiety was not an emotion I could ever remember feeling when I went out in New York, and I wondered why tonight felt so different. Maybe it was because I no longer had a boyfriend or fiance. I suddenly recognized that there was safety in having someone, as well as a lack of pressure to shine. Ironically, this had cultivated a certain free-spiritedness that had, in turn, allowed me to be the life of the party and hoard the affection of additional men....But that had all changed. I didn't have a boyfriend, a perfect figure, or alcohol-induced outrageousness to fall back on.
Emily Giffin (Something Blue (Darcy & Rachel, #2))
New York was populated by the ambitious. It was often the only thing that everyone here had in common. Ambition
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Bluebird: How about this? If you don't show me I won't like you anymore Wolf: That logic is cruel but sound. You asked for this Wolf: macncheeseme.com Bluebird: Is this...is this an app for finding emergency mac and cheese Wolf: Life Spider-Man, I am only looking out for the citizens of New York
Emma Lord (Tweet Cute)
Now here's the heavy irony. So I went back to New York to become a librarian. To actually seek out this thing I've been fleeing all my life. and (here it comes): a librarian is just not that easy to become...Apparently there's a whole filing system and annotating system and stamping system and God knows what you have to learn before you qualify.
Elaine Dundy (The Dud Avocado)
Of course. I am well aware that the streets of New York are not safe, but then there is no longer any place in the world which is safe. One cannot live in perpetual fear, one has to be as prudent as possible, and get on with life. - A Severed Wasp
Madeleine L'Engle
One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes--I can't even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there's a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life.
Frank O'Hara
I don't know what to do about him, Sammy." (Jackie) "It's not what you do about him. It's what you do with him. Grab him by those big, manly arms that I'm assuming he has, and show him what New York has to offer.
Ali Novak (My Life with the Walter Boys (My Life with the Walter Boys #1))
Everyone has their own New York in the heart, place where there is hope for everybody.
T.A
On one side, the mass of a mountain. A life I know. On the other, the universe of the clouds, so full of unknown that it seems empty to us. Too much space.
Philippe Petit (To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers)
I'm in love with New York. It matches my mood. I'm not overwhelmed. It is the suitable scene for my ever ever heightened life. I love the proportions, the amplitude, the brilliance, the polish, the solidity. I look up at Radio City insolently and love it. It's all great, and Babylonian. Broadway at night. Cellophane. The newness. The vitality. True, it is only physical. But it's inspiring. Just bring your own contents, and you create a sparkle of the highest power. I'm not moved, not speechless. I stand straight, tough and I meet the impact. I feel the glow and the dancing in everything. The radio music in the taxis, scientific magic, which can all be used lyrically. That's my last word. Give New York to a poet. He can use it. It can be poetized. Or maybe that's mania of mine, to poetize. I live lightly, smoothly, actively, ears or eyes wide open, alert, oiled! I feel the glow and the dancing in every thing and the tempo is like that of my blood. I'm at once beyond, over and in New York, tasting it fully.
Anaïs Nin
I was lucky to live in New York when it was dangerous and edgy and cheap enough to play host to young, penniless artists. That was the era of "coffee shops" as they were defined in New York—cheap restaurants open round the clock where you could eat for less than it would cost to cook at home. That was the era of ripped jeans and dirty T-shirts, when the kind of people who are impressed by material signs of success were not the people you wanted to know.
Edmund White (City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and 70s)
In the trees the night wind stirs, bringing the leaves to life, endowing them with speech; the electric lights illuminate the green branches from the under side, translating them into a new language.
E.B. White
Wait,” said Ragnor, and he started to snigger. “Is this about your Nephilim boyfriend?” “Our relationship is as yet undefined,” said Magnus with dignity. Then he clutched the phone and hissed, “And how do you know private details about my personal life with Alexander?” “Ooooh, Alexander,” Ragnor said in a singsong voice. “I know all about it. Raphael called and told me.” “Raphael Santiago,” said Magnus, thinking darkly of the current leader of the New York vampire clan, “has a black ungrateful heart, and one day he will be punished for this treachery.
Cassandra Clare (What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (The Bane Chronicles, #8))
Meanwhile the temperature is getting hotter and hotter so no one can think clearly. No one perceives. No one cares. Insane madness come out like life is a terrific party.
Kathy Acker (Eurydice in the Underworld)
Tom Paine has almost no influence on present-day thinking in the United States because he is unknown to the average citizen. Perhaps I might say right here that this is a national loss and a deplorable lack of understanding concerning the man who first proposed and first wrote those impressive words, 'the United States of America.' But it is hardly strange. Paine's teachings have been debarred from schools everywhere and his views of life misrepresented until his memory is hidden in shadows, or he is looked upon as of unsound mind. We never had a sounder intelligence in this Republic. He was the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible. Where Washington performed Paine devised and wrote. The deeds of one in the Weld were matched by the deeds of the other with his pen. Washington himself appreciated Paine at his true worth. Franklin knew him for a great patriot and clear thinker. He was a friend and confidant of Jefferson, and the two must often have debated the academic and practical phases of liberty. I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles. Although the present generation knows little of Paine's writings, and although he has almost no influence upon contemporary thought, Americans of the future will justly appraise his work. I am certain of it. Truth is governed by natural laws and cannot be denied. Paine spoke truth with a peculiarly clear and forceful ring. Therefore time must balance the scales. The Declaration and the Constitution expressed in form Paine's theory of political rights. He worked in Philadelphia at the time that the first document was written, and occupied a position of intimate contact with the nation's leaders when they framed the Constitution. Certainly we may believe that Washington had a considerable voice in the Constitution. We know that Jefferson had much to do with the document. Franklin also had a hand and probably was responsible in even larger measure for the Declaration. But all of these men had communed with Paine. Their views were intimately understood and closely correlated. There is no doubt whatever that the two great documents of American liberty reflect the philosophy of Paine. ...Then Paine wrote 'Common Sense,' an anonymous tract which immediately stirred the fires of liberty. It flashed from hand to hand throughout the Colonies. One copy reached the New York Assembly, in session at Albany, and a night meeting was voted to answer this unknown writer with his clarion call to liberty. The Assembly met, but could find no suitable answer. Tom Paine had inscribed a document which never has been answered adversely, and never can be, so long as man esteems his priceless possession. In 'Common Sense' Paine flared forth with a document so powerful that the Revolution became inevitable. Washington recognized the difference, and in his calm way said that matters never could be the same again. It must be remembered that 'Common Sense' preceded the declaration and affirmed the very principles that went into the national doctrine of liberty. But that affirmation was made with more vigor, more of the fire of the patriot and was exactly suited to the hour... Certainly [the Revolution] could not be forestalled, once he had spoken. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
It is a bit of a cliché to characterize life as a rambling journey on which we can alter our course at any given time--by the slightest turn of the wheel, the wisdom goes, we influence the chain of events and thus recast our destiny with new cohorts, circumstances, and discoveries. But for the most of us, life is nothing like that. Instead, we have a few brief periods when we are offered a handful of discrete options. Do I take this job or that job? In Chicago or New York? Do I join this circle of friends or that one, and with whom do I go home at the end of the night? And does one make time for children now? Or later? Or later still? In that sense, life is less like a journey than it is a game of honeymoon bridge. In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions--we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made shape our lives for decades to come.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
Standing in the nordic nook of the kitchen, I can gaze down at the flimsy-limbed joggers heading south towards the Park. It's nearly as bad as New York. Some of these gasping fatsos, these too-little-too-late artists, they look as though they're running up rising ground, climbing ground. My generation, we started all this. Before, everyone was presumably content to feel like death the whole time. Now they want to feel terrific for ever.
Martin Amis (Money)
I have every confidence that you’ll find a way to end my life before I stain the world with evil.” Rebellion in those eyes. “We die,” she said, “we die together. That’s the deal.” He thought about his final thoughts as he’d fallen with her in New York, her body broken in his arms, her voice less than a whisper in his mind. He hadn’t considered holding onto his eternity for a second, had chosen to die with her, with his hunter. That she would choose to do the same . . . His hands clenched. “We die,” he repeated, “we die together.” A moment of utter silence, the sense of something being locked into place.
Nalini Singh (Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2))
I don't think immediate tragedy is a very good source of art. It can be, but too often it's raw and painful and un-dealt-with. Sometimes art can be a really good escape from the intolerable, and a good place to go when things are bad, but that doesn't mean you have to write directly about the bad thing; sometimes you need to let time pass, and allow the thing that hurts to get covered with layers, and then you take it out, like a pearl, and you make art out of it. When my father died, on the plane from his funeral in the UK back to New York, still in shock, I got out my notebook and wrote a script. It was a good place to go, the place that script was, and I went there so deeply and so far that when we landed Maddy had to tap me on the arm to remind me that I had to get off the plane now. (She says I looked up at her, puzzled, and said "But I want to find out what happens next.") It was where I went and what I did to cope, and I was amazed, some weeks later when I pulled out that notebook to start typing, to find that I'd written pretty much the entire script in that six hour journey.
Neil Gaiman
Talent is everything. If you've got talent, nothing else matters. You can screw up your personal life something terrible. So what. If you've got talent, it's there in reserve. Anybody who has talent they know they have it and that's it. It's what makes you what you are. It tells you you're you. Talent is everything; sanity is nothing. I'm convinced of it. I think I had something once. I showed promise, didn't I? But I was too sane. I couldn't make the leap out of my own soul into the soul of the universe. That's the leap they all made. From Blake to Rimbaud. I don't write anything but checks. I read science fiction. I go on business trips to South Bend and Rochester. The one in Minnesota. Not Rochester, New York. Rochester, Minnesota. I couldn't make the leap.
Don DeLillo (Americana)
In theory, sure, Gregor could still go home. Pack up his three-year-old sister, Boots, get his mom out of the hospital, where she was recovering from the plague, and have his bat, Ares, fly them back up to the laudry room of their appartment building in New York City. Ares, his bond, who saved his life numerous times and who had had nothing but suffering since he had met Gregor. He tried to imagine the parting. "Well, Ares, it's been great. I'm heading home now. I know by leaving I'm completely dooming to annihilation everbody who's helped me down here, but I'm really not up for this whole war thing anymore. So, fly you high, you know?" Like that would ever happen.
Suzanne Collins (Gregor and the Code of Claw (Underland Chronicles, #5))
I could simply kill you now, get it over with, who would know the difference? I could easily kick you in, stove you under, for all those times, mean on gin, you rammed words into my belly. (p. 52)
Barbara Blatner
Start spreading the news, I'm leaving today. I want to be a part of it. New York... New York..." New York, New York - Fred Ebb/John Kander
Karla M. Nashar (Bellamore: A Beautiful Love To Remember)
oh. she heard it too-no waters coursing, canyon empty, sun soundless- and the beast your life nowhere hiding (p. 103)
Barbara Blatner (The Still Position: A Verse Memoir of My Mother's Death)
I'm homeless, and I'm an alcoholic. But I have a dream.' 'What's that?' 'I wanna go fishing.
Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York)
...she could not stick by the golden mean...was always anxious to experiment in extremes...to find out what was enough by indulging herself in too much." (Gordon Lameyer)
Elizabeth Winder (Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953)
And today is really the happiest day of your life, because today you woke up and stumbled across the shadow of your soul in broad daylight." From Central Park Song: a Screenplay
Zack Love (Stories and Scripts: an Anthology)
Altogether, if I had to pick one place to hang out anywhere, from New York to Cape Town and Australia to Hong Kong, a bookstore would be it.
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
Doug: Either straighten out your life or drink more coffee. And from what I heard about you, Id do the latte.
Joseph Cognard (Written for You)
At long last, I had found myself vulnerable to the worst of New York City, because at 44 my life was not so different from the way it was at 24.
Elizabeth Wurtzel
The danger of prolonged despair is its tendency to cloud the gift of a new beginning that every tomorrow offers. --Anissa's Redemption
Zack Love
Stephen Herondale would have killed me if he’d ever met me. I would not have been safe living among people like you, or like him. I am the wife and mother of warriors who fought and died and never dishonored themselves as you have. I have worn gear, wielded blades, and slain demons, and all I wished was to overcome evil so that I could live and be happy with those I loved. I’d hoped I had made this a better, safer world for my children. Because of Valentine’s Circle, the Herondale line, the line that was my son’s children’s children, is finished. That happened through you and your Circle and your husband. Stephen Herondale died with hate in his heart and the blood of my people on his hands. I can imagine no more horrible way for mine and Will’s line to end. I will have to carry for the rest of my life the wound of what Valentine’s Circle has done to me, and I will live forever.
Cassandra Clare (The Last Stand of the New York Institute (The Bane Chronicles, #9))
I wonder if this is the way it will be next year if I come to New York, or wherever I go—me trying to concentrate on college, on life, when all I’m doing is thinking about him. I wonder if he’ll come with me, or if our built-in ending is high school.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
I had a ritual—and having any ritual sounded so mature that I told everyone about it, even the regulars. On my days off I woke up late and went to the coffee shop and had a cappuccino and read. Then around five p.m., when the light was failing, I would take out a bottle of dry sherry and pour myself a glass, take out a jar of green olives, put on Miles Davis, and read the wine atlas. I didn't know why it felt so luxurious, but one day I realized that ritual was why I had moved to New York—to eat olives and get tipsy and read about Nebbiolo while the sun set. I had created a life that was bent in service to all my personal cravings.
Stephanie Danler (Sweetbitter)
I lived in New York for eleven and a half years and I don't think anybody ever asked me about my religion. I never even thought about it. Now, all of a sudden, it was the big thing in my life.
Judy Blume (Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret)
Youth is marked by a breathtaking novelty that diminishes with each year of age - until life becomes a delusive struggle to break routines, escape the ordinary, and rediscover the joy of discovery.
Zack Love (City Solipsism)
He found himself remembering how on one summer morning they two had started from New York in search of happiness. They had never expected to find it, perhaps, yet in itself that quest had been happier than anything he expected forevermore. Life, it seemed, must be a setting up of props around one - otherwise it was disaster. There was no rest, no quiet. He had been futile in longing to drift and dream, no one drifted except to maelstroms, no one dreamed, without his dreams becoming fantastic nightmares of indecision and regret.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Beautiful and Damned)
Michael, this is an order from your mistress. Tell me what you want. Now.” “I want Griffin.” The words came out immediately. She had trained him too well. “I want Griffin so much it hurts. I love him, Nora. I have never felt anything like this before. And it’s absolutely stupid because he’s rich and he’s perfect and amazing and I’m a nobody. I’m a nobody, and I’m in love with someone I can’t be with. He’s so beautiful. I can’t stop looking at him, I can’t stop thinking about him. I dream about him at night. And he’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. And I want to touch him so much. I want to touch his face and that fucking perfect hair of his. And his lips and his chest and his arms— and I think about those arms around me, and it’s humiliating how much I want that. And, God, I want to live in his bed. I want to spend the rest of my life underneath him. I want to feel him on top of me and inside me. And I want submit to him. I want to go down on my knees in front of him. I want to call him sir and wear his collar and kiss his fucking feet if he told me to. And I want to walk down the busiest street in New York with him holding hands so the entire world can see us together and know that I belong to him. I love Griffin, Nora. I’m in love with him. And I can’t be with him. But that’s… that’s it.” Michael turned his head and buried it a little deeper into the cleft of Nora’s neck and shoulder. He wanted to stay there so he wouldn’t have to look her or anyone in the eyes ever again. “You won’t tell him, will you?” “She doesn’t have to.
Tiffany Reisz (The Angel (The Original Sinners, #2))
In New York, he would live for them, but in San Francisco, he could live for himself. And though he does not like to think about it, though he in fact avoids the subject pathologically, he allows himself to think it now: What if the woman on Hester Street is right, and the next few years are his last? The mere thought turns his life a different color; it makes everything feel urgent, glittering, precious.
Chloe Benjamin (The Immortalists)
She was restless. She drove a little too fast, swam a little too far offshore. She hitchhiked. She skied recklessly. While Sylvia's rabid perfectionism was very real, she was far from the good-girl persona she worked so hard to cultivate.
Elizabeth Winder (Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953)
I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.
Nora Ephron (I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
I'm drawn to write about upstate New York in the way in which a dreamer might have recurring dreams. My childhood and girlhood were spent in upstate New York, in the country north of Buffalo and West of Rochester. So this part of New York state is very familiar to me and, with its economic difficulties, has become emblematic of much of American life.
Joyce Carol Oates
In the 1970s in New York everyone slept till noon.
Edmund White (City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and 70s)
I am burning. I have to live, I have to sing, I want to transform myself into a thousand different characters and carry their life with me onto the stage where it's so bright and so dark at the same time, just knowing there are three thousand people out there longing to be swept away by the passion that's about to flood out from scarlet curtains, to this I consecrate my body and my soul, I can give no more than all of myself, I feel my heart is a throbbing engine and my voice is the valve, like a wailing train, it has to sing or blow up, there's too much fuel, too much fire, and what am I to do with this voice if I can't let it out, it's not just singing. I am here as a speck, but I don't feel scared or about to be blown away, I feel like all New York is a warm embrace just waiting to enfold me. I am in love. But not with a person. I am passionately in love with my life.
Ann-Marie MacDonald (Fall on Your Knees)
I suppose it’s a cliché to say you’re glad to be alive, that life is short, but to say you’re glad to be not dead requires a specific intimacy with loss that comes only with age or deep experience. One has to know not simply what dying is like, but to know death itself, in all its absoluteness. After all, there are many ways to die—peacefully, violently, suddenly, slowly, happily, unhappily, too soon. But to be dead—one either is or isn’t. The same cannot be said of aliveness, of which there are countless degrees. One can be alive but half-asleep or half-noticing as the years fly, no matter how fully oxygenated the blood and brain or how steadily the heart beats. Fortunately, this is a reversible condition. One can learn to be alert to the extraordinary and press pause—to memorize moments of the everyday.
Bill Hayes (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me)
New Yorkers love the bigness -- the skyscrapers, the freedom, the lights. But they also love it when they can carve out some smallness for themselves. When the guy at the corner store knows which newspaper you want. When the barista has your order ready before you open your mouth. When you start to recognize the people in your orbit, and you know that, say, if you're waiting for the subway at eight fifteen on the dot, odds are the redhead with the red umbrella is going to be there too.
David Levithan (Invisibility)
That was the first important discovery I made about Betty: she was desperately isolated, and she survived this isolation only by virtue of the sustaining myth that her intimate life was being lived elsewhere. Her friends, her circle of acquaintances, were not here, but elsewhere, in New York, in Texas, in the past. In fact, everything of importance was elsewhere. It was at this time that I first began to suspect that for Betty there was no “here” there.
Irvin D. Yalom (Love's Executioner)
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.
Freeman Dyson (Infinite in All Directions)
People don't dream all their lives of escaping the hellish countries they live in and pay their life savings to underworld types for the privilege of being locked up in a freezing, filthy, stinking container ship and hauled like cargo for weeks until they finally arrive in Moscow or Beijing or Baghdad or Kabul. People risk their lives to come here---to New York. The greatest city in the world, where dreams become reality.
Sean Hannity (Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism)
People think that they can love only when they find a worthy partner—nonsense! You will never find one. People think they will love only when they find a perfect man or a perfect woman. Nonsense! You will never find them, because perfect women and perfect men don’t exist. And if they exist, they won’t bother about your love. They will not be interested. I have heard about a man who remained a bachelor his whole life because he was in search of a perfect woman. When he was seventy, somebody asked, “You have been traveling and traveling—from New York to Kathmandu, from Kathmandu to Rome, from Rome to London you have been searching. Could you not find a perfect woman? Not even one?” The old man became very sad. He said, “Yes, once I did. One day, long ago, I came across a perfect woman.” The inquirer said, “Then what happened? Why didn’t you get married?” Sadly, the old man said, “What to do? She was looking for a perfect man.
Osho (Being in Love: How to Love with Awareness and Relate Without Fear)
They don't believe in anything either. You and your like are trying to make a war with the help of people who just aren't interested." "They don't want communism." "They want enough rice," I said. "They don't want to be shot at. They want one day to be much the same as another. They don't want our white skins around telling them what they want." "If Indochina goes--" "I know that record. Siam goes. Malaya goes. Indonesia goes. What does 'go' mean? If I believed in your God and another life, I'd bet my future harp against your golden crown that in five hundred years there may be no New York or London, but they'll be growing paddy in these fields, they'll be carrying their produce to market on long poles, wearing their pointed hats. The small boys will be sitting on the buffaloes. I like the buffaloes, they don't like our smell, the smell of Europeans.
Graham Greene (The Quiet American)
An eleven-year-old girl was raped by eighteen men. The suspects ranged in age from middle schoolers to a twenty-seven-year-old. There are pictures and videos. Her life will never be the same. The New York Times, however, would like you to worry about those boys, who will have to live with this for the rest of their lives, and the poor, poor town. That is not simply the careless language of sexual violence. It is the criminal language of sexual violence.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist: Essays)
Closure is an illusion, the winking of the eye of a storm. Nothing is completely resolved in life, nothing is perfect. The important thing is to keep living because only by living can you see what happens next." - on Murakami's ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage' in The New York Times
Patti Smith
However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass. Do they know what they’re missing? Uh huh.
Frank O'Hara
The only dream I ever had was the dream of New York itself, and for me, from the minute I touched down in this city, that was enough. It became the best teacher I ever had. If your mother is anything like mine, after all, there are a lot of important things she probably didn't teach you: how to use a vibrator; how to go to a loan shark and pull a loan at 17 percent that's due in thirty days; how to hire your first divorce attorney; what to look for in a doula (a birth coach) should you find yourself alone and pregnant. My mother never taught me how to date three people at the same time or how to interview a nanny or what to wear in an ashram in India or how to meditate. She also failed to mention crotchless underwear, how to make my first down payment on an apartment, the benefits of renting verses owning, and the difference between a slant-6 engine and a V-8 (in case I wanted to get a muscle car), not to mention how to employ a team of people to help me with my life, from trainers to hair colorists to nutritionists to shrinks. (Luckily, New York became one of many other moms I am to have in my lifetime.) So many mothers say they want their daughters to be independent, but what they really hope is that they'll find a well-compensated banker or lawyer and settle down between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-eight in Greenwich, Darien, or That Town, USA, to raise babies, do the grocery shopping, and work out in relative comfort for the rest of their lives. I know this because I employ their daughters. They raise us to think they want us to have careers, and they send us to college, but even they don't really believe women can be autonomous and take care of themselves.
Kelly Cutrone (If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You)
On the morning of Friday, July first, I had a low-paying job at a waning publisher and a dwindling circle of semi-acquaintances. On Friday, July eighth, I had one foot in the door of Condé Nast and the other in the door of the Knickerbocker Club—the professional and social circles that would define the next thirty years of my life. That’s how quickly New York City comes about—like a weather vane—or the head of a cobra. Time tells which.
Amor Towles (Rules of Civility)
You and I. We are both immigrants. We both know it is hard to find your place in this world. You want to make your life better, work hard in country that is not your own - you make new life, new friends, find new love. You get to become new person! But is never a simple thing, never without cost.
Jojo Moyes (Still Me (Me Before You, #3))
New York! I say New York, let black blood flow into your blood. Let it wash the rust from your steel joints, like an oil of life Let it give your bridges the curve of hips and supple vines. Now the ancient age returns, unity is restored, The recociliation of the Lion and Bull and Tree Idea links to action, the ear to the heart, sign to meaning. See your rivers stirring with musk alligators And sea cows with mirage eyes. No need to invent the Sirens. Just open your eyes to the April rainbow And your eyes, especially your ears, to God Who in one burst of saxophone laughter Created heaven and earth in six days, And on the seventh slept a deep Negro sleep.
Léopold Sédar Senghor (The Collected Poetry)
Isn’t it something,” Hettie said softly, “what ol’ New York really is? We come here to be free and find life’s worse here than back home. The white folks here just color it different. They don’t mind you sitting next to ’em on the subway, or riding the bus in the front seat, but if you asks for the same pay, or wants to live next door, or get so beat down you don’t wanna stand up and sing about how great America is, they’ll bust down on you so hard pus’ll come out your ears.
James McBride (Deacon King Kong)
In the good mystery there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not significant, it has the potential to be so - which amounts to the same thing. The world of the book comes to life, seething with possibilities, with secrets and contradictions. Since everything seen or said, even the slightest, most trivial thing, can bear a connection to the outcome of the story, nothing must be overlooked. Everything becomes essence; the center of the book shifts with each event that propels it forward. The center, then, is everywhere, and no circumference can be drawn until the book has come to its end.
Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy)
All over the city lights were coming on in the purple-blue dusk. The street lights looked delicate and frail, as though they might suddenly float away from their lampposts like balloons. Long twirling ribbons of light, red, green, violet, were festooned about the doorways of drugstores and restaurants--and the famous electric signs of Broadway had come to life with glittering fish, dancing figures, and leaping fountains, all flashing like fire. Everything was beautiful. Up in the deepening sky above the city the first stars appeared white and rare as diamonds.
Elizabeth Enright (The Saturdays (The Melendy Family, #1))
A person only gets to move to New York City for the first time in her life once, Angela, and it’s a pretty big deal. Perhaps this idea doesn’t hold any romance for you, since you are a born New Yorker. Maybe you take this splendid city of ours for granted. Or maybe you love it more than I do, in your own unimaginably intimate way. Without a doubt, you were lucky to be raised here. But you never got to move here—and for that, I am sorry for you. You missed one of life’s great experiences. New York City in 1940! There will never be another New York like that one. I’m not defaming all the New Yorks that came before 1940, or all the New Yorks that came after 1940. They all have their importance. But this is a city that gets born anew in the fresh eyes of every young person who arrives here for the first time. So that city, that place—newly created for my eyes only—will never exist again. It is preserved forever in my memory like an orchid trapped in a paperweight. That city will always be my perfect New York.
Elizabeth Gilbert
The daughter of Lithuanian immigrants, born with a precocious scientific intellect and a thirst for chemical knowledge, Elion had completed a master's degree in chemistry from New York University in 1941 while teaching high school science during the day and preforming her research for her thesis at night and on the weekends. Although highly qualified, talented, and driven, she had been unable to find a job in an academic laboratory. Frustrated by repeated rejections, she had found a position as a supermarket product supervisor. When Hitchings found Trudy Elion, who would soon become on of the most innovative synthetic chemists of her generation (and a future Nobel laureate), she was working for a food lab in New York, testing the acidity of pickles and the color of egg yolk going into mayonnaise. Rescued from a life of pickles and mayonnaise…
Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer)
Love is a source of anxiety until it is source of boredom; only friendship feeds the spirit. Love raises great expectations in us that it never satisfies; the hopes based on friendship are milder and in the present, and they exist only because they've already been rewarded. Love is a script about just a few repeated themes we have a hard time following, though we make every effort to conform to its tone. Friendship is a permis de séjour that enables us to go anywhere and do anything exactly as our whims dictate.
Edmund White (City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and 70s)
They were learning that New York had another life, too — subterranean, like almost everything that was human in the city — a life of writers meeting in restaurants at lunchtime or in coffee houses after business hours to talk of work just started or magazines unpublished, and even to lay modest plans for the future. Modestly they were beginning to write poems worth the trouble of reading to their friends over coffee cups. Modestly they were rebelling once more.
Malcolm Cowley (Exile's Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s)
New skin, a new land! And a land of liberty, if that is possible! I chose the geology of a land that was new to me, and that was young, virgin, and without drama, that of America. I traveled in America, but instead of romantically and directly rubbing the snakeskin of my body against the asperities of its terrain, I preferred to peel protected within the armor of the gleaming black crustacean of a Cadillac which I gave Gala as a present. Nevertheless all the men who admire and the women who are in love with my old skin will easily be able to find its remnants in shredded pieces of various sizes scattered to the winds along the roads from New York via Pittsburgh to California. I have peeled with every wind; pieces of my skin have remained caught here and there along my way, scattered through that "promised land" which is America; certain pieces of this skin have remained hanging in the spiny vegetation of the Arizona desert, along the trails where I galloped on horseback, where I got rid of all my former Aristotelian "planetary notions." Other pieces of my skin have remained spread out like tablecloths without food on the summits of the rocky masses by which one reaches the Salt Lake, in which the hard passion of the Mormons saluted in me the European phantom of Apollinaire. Still other pieces have remained suspended along the "antediluvian" bridge of San Francisco, where I saw in passing the ten thousand most beautiful virgins in America, completely naked, standing in line on each side of me as I passed, like two rows of organ-pipes of angelic flesh with cowrie-shell sea vulvas.
Salvador Dalí (The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí)
To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometers in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the port holes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity.
Michael Denton (Evolution: A Theory In Crisis)
Our grief is not a cry for war. "That's how New Yorkers feel," the driver said. "They know what bombing looks like, and they know the hell it is. But outside New York, people will feel guilty because they weren't here. They'll be yelling for revenge out of guilt and ignorance. Sure, we all want to catch the criminals, but only people who weren't in New York will want to bomb another country and repeat what happened here.
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
I’m kind of hoping it will end like this. You made me happy. Very happy. But…you deserve everything. Wife, kids, a white picket fence.” “And I’ll have all of it. With you.” “You know that can’t happen with me.” “Then it can’t happen with anyone. There won’t be a next Rosie. And there won’t be another story like ours. This is it, Rose LeBlanc. And this is us. If there is no you, then there is no me.” “You know, I always hated Romeo and Juliet . The play. The movie. The very idea. It was tragic, all right. Tragically stupid. I mean, they were what? Thirteen? Sixteen? What a waste of life, to kill yourself because your family wouldn’t let you get hitched. But Romeo and Juliet were right. I was the next eleven years killing myself slowly while I grieved for you. Then you came back, and I still thought it was just a fascination. But now that I know…” “Now that I know that it can only ever be you, you’re going to get better for me so Earth won’t explode. Can you do that, Sirius? I promise not to leave this room until you get out. Not even for a shower. Not even to get you your chocolate chip cookies. I’ll get someone to drive all the way to New York and bring them for you.” “I love you.” Rosie’s tears curtained her vision. “I love you, Baby LeBlanc,” I said. “So fucking much. You taught me how to love. How well did I do?” “A-plus,” she whispered. “You aced it. Can you promise me something?” “Anything.” “ Live .” “Not without you.” “And have kids. Lots of them. They’re fun.” “Rosie…” “I’m not afraid. I got what I wanted from this life. You .” “Rosie.” “I love you, Earth. You were good to me.” “Rose!” Her eyes closed, the door opened, the sound on her monitor went off, and my heart disintegrated. Piece. By piece. By piece.
L.J. Shen (Ruckus (Sinners of Saint, #2))
A block or two west of the new City of Man in Turtle Bay there is an old willow tree that presides over an interior garden. It is a battered tree, long suffering and much climbed, held together by strands of wire but beloved of those who know it. In a way it symbolizes the city: life under difficulties, growth against odds, sap-rise in the midst of concrete, and the steady reaching for the sun. Whenever I look at it nowadays, and feel the cold shadow of the planes, I think: "This must be saved, this particular thing, this very tree." If it were to go, all would go -- this city, this mischevious and marvelous monument which not to look upon would be like death.
E.B. White (Here Is New York)
One of the few freedoms that we have as human beings that cannot be taken away from us is the freedom to assent to what is true and to deny what is false. Nothing you can give me is worth surrendering that freedom for. At this moment I'm a man with complete tranquillity...I've been a real estate developer for most of my life, and I can tell you that a developer lives with the opposite of tranquillity, which is perturbation. You're perturbed about something all the time. You build your first development, and right away you want to build a bigger one, and you want a bigger house to live in, and if it ain't in Buckhead, you might as well cut your wrists. Soon's you got that, you want a plantation, tens of thousands of acres devoted solely to shooting quail, because you know of four or five developers who've already got that. And soon's you get that, you want a place on Sea Island and a Hatteras cruiser and a spread northwest of Buckhead, near the Chattahoochee, where you can ride a horse during the week, when you're not down at the plantation, plus a ranch in Wyoming, Colorado, or Montana, because truly successful men in Atlanta and New York all got their ranches, and of course now you need a private plane, a big one, too, a jet, a Gulfstream Five, because who's got the patience and the time and the humility to fly commercially, even to the plantation, much less out to a ranch? What is it you're looking for in this endless quest? Tranquillity. You think if only you can acquire enough worldly goods, enough recognition, enough eminence, you will be free, there'll be nothing more to worry about, and instead you become a bigger and bigger slave to how you think others are judging you.
Tom Wolfe (A Man in Full)
It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man’s proper stature—and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life its meaning—and it is those few that I have always sought to address. The rest are no concern of mine; it is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray: it is their own souls. AYN RAND New York, May 1968
Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead)
Here's the thing about New York, the thing I love most: there is no such substance as silence. If you ever stop talking, and he stops talking, the city takes over for you. A siren forms a distant parabola of sound. A door slams. The old couple in 4A argues over who will answer the telephone. The young lovers in 2C reach an animalistic climax. A million other lives play out on your doorstep, and not one of them gives a damn about your little problems. Life goes on and on and on.
Beatriz Williams (The Secret Life of Violet Grant (Schuyler Sisters #1))
She was struck by the selfish thought that this was not fair to her. That she’d been in the middle of a different story, one that had nothing to do with this. She was a person who was finding her daughter, making things right with her daughter, and there was no room in that story for the idiocy of extreme religion, the violence of men she’d never met. Just as she’d been in the middle of a story about divorce when the towers fell in New York City, throwing everyone’s careful plans to shit. Just as she’d once been in a story about raising her own brother, growing up with her brother in the city on their own, making it in the world, when the virus and the indifference of greedy men had steamrolled through. She thought of Nora, whose art and love were interrupted by assassination and war. Stupid men and their stupid violence, tearing apart everything good that was ever built. Why couldn’t you ever just go after your life without tripping over some idiot’s dick?
Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers)
Someone has already taken out a Minolta cellular phone and called for a car, and then, when I'm not really listening, watching instead someone who looks remarkably like Marcus Halberstam paying a check, someone asks, simply, not in relation to anything, "Why? " and though I'm very proud that I have cold blood and that I can keep my nerve and do what I'm supposed to do, I catch something, then realize it: Why? and automatically answering, out of the blue, for no reason, just opening my mouth, words coming out, summarizing for the idiots: "Well, though I know I should have done that instead of not doing it, I'm twenty-seven for Christ sakes and this is, uh, how life presents itself in a bar or in a club in New York, maybe anywhere, at the end of the century and how people, you know, me, behave, and this is what being Pat rick means to me, I guess, so, well, yup, uh..." and this is followed by a sigh, then a slight shrug and another sigh, and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry's is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes' color are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT.
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Shakespeare 'never owned a book,' a writer for the New York Times gravely informed readers in one doubting article in 2002. The statement cannot actually be refuted, for we know nothing about his incidental possessions. But the writer might just as well have suggested that Shakespeare never owned a pair of shoes or pants. For all the evidence tells us, he spent his life naked from the waist down, as well as bookless, but it is probably that what is lacking is the evidence, not the apparel or the books.
Bill Bryson (Shakespeare: The World as Stage)
Now that the book is out in the world, I’m amazed all over again at what my friend did for me in prompting me to ditch realism for a more magical approach. In some ways, the Golem and the Jinni are the ultimate immigrants. They aren’t just new to New York or America; they’re new to people. Like those around them, they wrestle with issues of religion versus doubt and duty versus self-determination—but as inescapable aspects of their own otherworldly natures. For seven years I’ve lived with their questions, arguments, and adventures, and it’s been one of the greatest gifts of my life.
Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1))
The city had seemed like a great place to discover who you are. It just seemed that there was a lot to experience here, as if all you had to do was show up and the city would take care of the rest, making sure you got the education, the maturing, the wising-up you needed. Its crowds, the noise, the endlessness of it all, the perpetual motion, felt exciting then—revealing—just the deep end I needed to jump into. There is something unique about New York, some quality, some matchless, pertinent combination of promise and despair, wizardry and counterfeit, abundance and depletion, that stimulates and allows for a reckoning to occur—maybe even forces it. The city pulls back the curtain on who you are; it tests you and shows you what you are made of in a way that has become iconic in our popular culture, and with good reason.
Sari Botton (Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York)
An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths. As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be. It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting. One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower. And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on. So it goes. And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment. Rome passed into the past, and became New York. Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love. ("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
Because life is robust, Because life is bigger than equations, stronger than money, stronger than guns and poison and bad zoning policy, stronger than capitalism, Because Mother Nature bats last, and Mother Ocean is strong, and we live inside our mothers forever, and Life is tenacious and you can never kill it, you can never buy it, So Life is going to dive down into your dark pools, Life is going to explode the enclosures and bring back the commons, O you dark pools of money and law and quantitudinal stupidity, you oversimple algorithms of greed, you desperate simpletons hoping for a story you can understand, Hoping for safety, hoping for cessation of uncertainty, hoping for ownership of volatility, O you poor fearful jerks, Life! Life! Life! Life is going to kick your ass.
Kim Stanley Robinson (New York 2140)
I flip through the book, one of his top three, without question, to the last horrifying chapter: ‘A Stronger Loving World'. To the only panel he's circled. Oscar-who never defaced a book in his life-circled one panel three times in the same emphatic pen he used to write his last letters home. The panel where Adrian Veidt and Dr. Manhattan are having their last convo. After the mutant brain has destroyed New York City; after Dr. Manhattan has murdered Rorschach; after Veidt's plan has succeeded in ‘saving the world'. Veidt says: ‘I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end'. And Manhattan, before fading from our Universe, replies: ‘In the end? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends'.
Junot Díaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)
Don't be scared by the word authority. Believing things on authority only means believing them because you've been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine per cent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I haven't seen it myself. I couldn't prove by abstract reasoning that there must be such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary man believes in the Solar System, atoms, evolution, and the circulation of the blood on authority -because the scientists say so. Every historical statement in the world is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Armada. None of us could prove them by pure logic as you prove a thing in mathematics. We believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them: in fact, on authority. A man who jibbed at authority in other things as some people do in religion would have to be content to know nothing all his life.
C.S. Lewis (The Case for Christianity)
Like you?” My face twisted in abhorrence, spitting the words like they were revolting. Her eyes widened. I shook my head, a dark chuckle on my lips. “You think I fucking like you? Are you kidding me here? I don’t like you. I love you. Even that’s an under-fucking-statement. I live for you. I breathe for you. I will die for you. It. Has. Always. Been. You. Ever since I saw your sorry ass for the first time on that threshold and you fucking poked me in the chest like I was a toy. We’ve been apart for ten years, Rose LeBlanc, and not even one day has passed without me thinking of you. And not just in passing. You know, the occasional she-could-have-been-a-g reat-fuck. I mean really taking my time to think about you. Wondering what you looked like. Where youwere. What you were doing. Who you were with. I stalked you on Facebook. And Twitter—which, by the way, you need to deactivate because you never once bothered to tweet—but you aren’t exactly a social media animal. I asked about you. Every time I was in town. And once I realized you were in New York with Millie…” “Rosie, I bought a new penthouse in TriBeca a few months before you moved into our building.” “Why are you telling me this?” She blinked away her tears, but fresh ones rolled down to replace them time. “Because I had to sell it and lost a shit-ton of money the moment I realized you were going to be my neighbor if I stayed in my current place. Real talk, Rosie, you are all I ever wanted. Even when you wanted me to be with your sister. She was a comforting candle. You were the dazzling sun. I’d lived in the dark—for your selfish ass. And if you think I’m going to settle for something , you’re dead wrong. I am taking everything . We will have kids, Rose LeBlanc. We will have a wedding. And we will have joy and vacations and days where we just fuck and days where we just fight and days where we just live. Because this is life, Baby LeBlanc, and I love the fuck out of you, so I’m going to give you the best one there is. Got it?
L.J. Shen (Ruckus (Sinners of Saint, #2))
There’s something about New York City that gives you permission to just be. There’s no need for pretense, no need for masks. You can be real, without risk. The buildings are your protectors, the streets are your tethers. The people…you will never see them again. Even when they’re right in front of you, you don’t see them. Not really. Just as they don’t really see you. New York is beautifully anonymous.
Jessica Verdi (My Life After Now)
One time I listened to Farmer give a talk on HIV to a class at the Harvard School of Public Health, and in the midst of reciting data, he mentioned the Haitian phrase “looking for life, destroying life,” Then he explained, “It’s an expression Haitians use if a poor woman selling mangoes falls off a truck and dies.” I felt as if for that moment I could see a little way into his mind, It seemed like a place of hyperconnectivity, At moments like that, I thought that what he wanted was to erase both time and geography, connecting all parts of his life and tying them instrumentally to a world in which he saw intimate, inescapable connections between the gleaming corporate offices of Paris and New York and a legless man lying on the mud floor of a hut in the remotest part of remote Haiti. Of all the world’s errors, he seemed to feel, the most fundamental was the “erasing” of people, the “hiding away” of suffering. “My big struggle is how people can not care, erase, not remember.
Tracy Kidder (Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World)
I tend to forget or rather, rarely cash in on — like coupons piling up — the proximity of people. If I wanted, I could walk a few blocks and find a friend, a friend who is likely experiencing coincidental gloom, blahs, and Sunday doom, because if there’s one thing I know to be true about New York friendships: they are intervened time and again by emotional kismet. Stupid, unprecedented quantities of it. We’re all just here, bungling this imitation of life, finding new ways of becoming old friends.
Durga Chew-Bose
But for a long time, and probably far too long, I had a secret wish: the adolescently romantic idea that there was someone out there for me; someone I hadn't met yet who would ask me on a date and make sense of my life. I harbored the hope, I'm now embarrassed to admit, that like a girl in a Lifetime movie, I would look into someone's eyes and find a reflection of my inner life. But sometime between my teenage years and the first years in New York, that idea had pretty well evaporated. I'd grown up.
Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)
My trip to the former Yugoslavia had opened the world for me, and my hunger for the world. In doing so, it undid the contained, safe borders of my existence. Suddenly a woman weeping over her lost son in an image on the front page of The New York Times was no longer a theoretical entity. She was real, a woman I might have met, might have known. I was connected to her. I could no longer divorce myself from her pain, her suffering. Initially this was overwhelming. I had nightmares. I felt restless and wrong in my comforting life in America. Everything seemed absurd and pointless. I came to understand why we block out the pain and atrocities of others. That pain, if we allow it to enter us, makes our lives impossible. It forces us to examine our own values and reality. It insists that we be responsible for others. It thrusts us into the messy world where there are no easy solutions or reasons, only struggles and questions. It creates great fissures in the landscape of our insulated, so-called safe reality. Fissures that, once split open, can never close again. It compels us to act.
Eve Ensler
he started by selling his Porsche Boxster and buying a Toyota Prius in its place.4 “I don’t want to live the life of a Boxster,” he told the New York Times, “because when you get a Boxster you wish you had a 911, and you know what people who have 911s wish they had? They wish they had a Ferrari.” That’s a lesson we can all learn: the more we have, the more we want. And the only cure is to break the cycle of relativity.
Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions)
When Seymour and I were five and three, Les and Bessie played on the same bill for a couple of weeks with Joe Jackson -- the redoubtable Joe Jackson of the nickel-plated trick bicycle that shone like something better than platinum to the very last row of the theater. A good many years later, not long after the outbreak of the Second World War, when Seymour and I had just recently moved into a small New York apartment of our own, our father -- Les, as he'll be called hereafter -- dropped in on us one evening on his way home from a pinochle game. He quite apparently had held very bad cards all afternoon. He came in, at any rate, rigidly predisposed to keep his overcoat on. He sat. He scowled at the furnishings. He turned my hand over to check for cigarette-tar stains on my fingers, then asked Seymour how many cigarettes he smoked a day. He thought he found a fly in his highball. At length, when the conversation -- in my view, at least -- was going straight to hell, he got up abruptly and went over to look at a photograph of himself and Bessie that had been newly tacked up on the wall. He glowered at it for a full minute, or more, then turned around, with a brusqueness no one in the family would have found unusual, and asked Seymour if he remembered the time Joe Jackson had given him, Seymour, a ride on the handle bars of his bicycle, all over the stage, around and around. Seymour, sitting in an old corduroy armchair across the room, a cigarette going, wearing a blue shirt, gray slacks, moccasins with the counters broken down, a shaving cut on the side of his face that I could see, replied gravely and at once, and in the special way he always answered questions from Les -- as if they were the questions, above all others, he preferred to be asked in his life. He said he wasn't sure he had ever got off Joe Jackson's beautiful bicycle.
J.D. Salinger (Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction)
French Louis Seymour of the West Canada Creek, who knew how to survive all alone in a treacherous wilderness, and Mr. Alfred G. Vanderbilt of New York City and Raquette Lake, who was richer than God and traveled in his very own Pullman car, and Emmie Hubbard of the Uncas Road, who painted the most beautiful pictures when she was drunk and burned them in her woodstove when she was sober, were all ten times more interesting to me than Milton's devil or Austen's boy-crazy girls or that twitchy fool of Poe's who couldn't think of any place better to bury a body than under his own damn floor.
Jennifer Donnelly (A Northern Light)
Romantic obsession is my first language. I live in a world of fantasies, infatuations and love poems. Sometimes I wonder if the yearning I’ve felt for others was more of a yearning for yearning itself. I’ve pined insatiably and repeatedly: for strangers, new lovers, unrequited flames. While the subjects changed, that feeling always remained. Perhaps, then, I have not been so infatuated with the people themselves, but with the act of longing. from “Life without Longing,” The New York Times (9 February 2019)
Melissa Broder
New York may end up being no more than a scrim, a spectral film that is none other than our craving for romance—romance with life, with masonry, with memory, sometimes romance with nothing at all. This longing goes out to the city and from the city comes back to us. Call it narcissism. Or call it passion. It has its flare-ups, its cold nights, its sudden lurches, and its embraces. It is our life finally revealed to us in the most lifeless hard objects we'll ever cast eyes on: concrete, steel, stonework. Our need for intimacy and love is so powerful that we'll look for them and find them in asphalt and soot.
André Aciman (Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere)
We’re all good when we want to be, otherwise we’re fucking animals. There’s no VIP room in reality, and there is no reality in this city. You can’t Google the answers. People talke about being on the ride of your life—THIS IS YOUR LIFE. Whatever you need to know, you already know. Imagine what it is to be in another country, another landscape—heat, insects, fear. Imagine watching someone right in front of you trip on a wire, step on a mine, blow their body to shreds, in mid-sentences, mid-cigarette. Imagine yourself splattered with human flesh. Imagine talking to that boy for the five minutes when he is profoundly conscious of the fact that he is not goingt to make it home. Imagine the difference between that and being in upstate New York, drinking beer, trying to get laid, and spending the summer as lifeguard at Lake George. Imagine zipping your friends into body bags. Tell me why anyone ever thought this was a good idea. How could anyone not be angry? You’d have to be insane.” --Nic Thompson
A.M. Homes (This Book Will Save Your Life)
I appreciate the fact that you have one redeeming quality, Jack, but that is all it is. Just a hint of redemption with six years of disappointment. No matter what you do,, it will never make up for what happened between us. I will never trust you. I will never again be comfortable around you. I will never look at you or think of you without considering the destruction you have train wrecked through my life. I wish you the very best in your future, because without you in my life I think I might finally have a future. And as angry as I am with what you have put me through, I am so very glad that we are now at this moment. This moment means I can move on the bigger and better things without you constantly weighing on my shoulders. I will never again turn a corner in New York terrified that I will run into you and even more terrified that I won't. I can go into any coffee shop I want. I can hope for love again. A love that will be more than anything you ever attempted to give me. Because the love I am looking for will be reciprocted one hundred and ten percent. There will never be another someone to distract our affections, because YOU will not be in the picture. *****So, as sad as this day is for me, as I am losing a part of myself with the loss of you, it is really just the beginning for me. It is like cutting off the spoiled part to get the juicy center. So, I would appreciate it this time, if you did not try and contact me. Because, as I'm sure you know, I deserve much better. I want everything this time around, and I deserve it!*****
K.A. Linde (Avoiding Commitment (Avoiding, #1))
But the fantasy kingdom and trappings of success soon lost their luster, as I discovered that the most prestigious and remunerative of my resume's way stations was also the most tedious and unfulfilling I had ever experienced. This paradox only made me more morose about modernity. Why was I going to watch my hairline recede in front of two-thousand-line spreadsheets staring at me from cold, glowing monitors? Why was everyone in my office apparently so happy to be spending so many hours there, when the things they really cared about - people, pets, pastimes - were all relegated to a few photographs on their desks? That seemed to be the formula: spend the best years of your life in an office with photos of what you really care about.
Zack Love (The Doorman)
It was a grungy, dangerous, bankrupt city without normal services most of the time. The garbage piled up and stank during long strikes of the sanitation workers. A major blackout led to days and days of looting. We gay guys wore whistles around our necks so we could summon help from other gay men when we were attacked on the streets by gangs living in the projects between Greenwich Village and the West Side leather bars...The upside was that the city was inexpensive…
Edmund White (City Boy: My Life in New York in the 1960s and 70s)
Humans, like all mammals, are heat engines; surviving means having to continually cool off, as panting dogs do. For that, the temperature needs to be low enough for the air to act as a kind of refrigerant, drawing heat off the skin so the engine can keep pumping. At seven degrees of warming, that would become impossible for portions of the planet’s equatorial band, and especially the tropics, where humidity adds to the problem. And the effect would be fast: after a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out. At eleven or twelve degrees Celsius of warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat. Things almost certainly won’t get that hot anytime soon, though some models of unabated emissions do bring us that far eventually, over centuries. But at just five degrees, according to some calculations, whole parts of the globe would be literally unsurvivable for humans. At six, summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the United States east of the Rockies would suffer more from heat than anyone, anywhere, in the world today. New York City would be hotter than present-day Bahrain, one of the planet’s hottest spots, and the temperature in Bahrain “would induce hyperthermia in even sleeping humans.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Six month of sitting home, six month of doing absolutely nothing but watching TV, going out, sleeping, getting drunk and sleeping again. Oh no, wait, I was busy with something, I was doing some renovations in my new apartment. Which legally became mine only a month ago. Yep, that's what all my life has been about, spontaneous decisions and living in the moment. Because right now technically I'm a 25-year-old illegal immigrant from Russia, four years in New York, no papers, no work authorization, no work itself. Only a crazy life filled with restaurants, shops, beauty salons, clubs and restaurants again. How is it all possible? Very simple. I used to be a stripper.
Ellie Midwood (The New York Doll)
I feel to that the gap between my new life in New York and the situation at home in Africa is stretching into a gulf, as Zimbabwe spirals downwards into a violent dictatorship. My head bulges with the effort to contain both worlds. When I am back in New York, Africa immediately seems fantastical – a wildly plumaged bird, as exotic as it is unlikely. Most of us struggle in life to maintain the illusion of control, but in Africa that illusion is almost impossible to maintain. I always have the sense there that there is no equilibrium, that everything perpetually teeters on the brink of some dramatic change, that society constantly stands poised for some spasm, some tsunami in which you can do nothing but hope to bob up to the surface and not be sucked out into a dark and hungry sea. The origin of my permanent sense of unease, my general foreboding, is probably the fact that I have lived through just such change, such a sudden and violent upending of value systems. In my part of Africa, death is never far away. With more Zimbabweans dying in their early thirties now, mortality has a seat at every table. The urgent, tugging winds themselves seem to whisper the message, memento mori, you too shall die. In Africa, you do not view death from the auditorium of life, as a spectator, but from the edge of the stage, waiting only for your cue. You feel perishable, temporary, transient. You feel mortal. Maybe that is why you seem to live more vividly in Africa. The drama of life there is amplified by its constant proximity to death. That’s what infuses it with tension. It is the essence of its tragedy too. People love harder there. Love is the way that life forgets that it is terminal. Love is life’s alibi in the face of death. For me, the illusion of control is much easier to maintain in England or America. In this temperate world, I feel more secure, as if change will only happen incrementally, in manageable, finely calibrated, bite-sized portions. There is a sense of continuity threaded through it all: the anchor of history, the tangible presence of antiquity, of buildings, of institutions. You live in the expectation of reaching old age. At least you used to. But on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, those two states of mind converge. Suddenly it feels like I am back in Africa, where things can be taken away from you at random, in a single violent stroke, as quick as the whip of a snake’s head. Where tumult is raised with an abruptness that is as breathtaking as the violence itself.
Peter Godwin (When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa)
he lacked the sort of ambition that JB and Jude had, ...that always made him think a fraction of them was already living in some imagined future, the contours of which were crystallized only to them. JB's ambition was fueled by a lust for that future, for his speedy arrival to it; Jude's , he thought, was motivated more by a fear that if he didn't move forward, he would somehow slip back to his past, the life he had left and about which he would tell none of them. And it wasn't only Jude and JB who possessed this quality: New York was populated by the ambitious. It was often the only thing that everyone here had in common. Ambition and atheism: "Ambition is my only religion," JB had told him... Only here did you feel compelled to somehow justify anything short of rabidity for your career; only here did you have to apologize for having faith in something other than yourself.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Y'know — Babylon once had two million people in it, and all we know about 'em is the names of the kings and some copies of wheat contracts . . . and contracts for the sale of slaves. Yet every night all those families sat down to supper, and the father came home from his work, and the smoke went up the chimney,— same as here. And even in Greece and Rome, all we know about the real life of the people is what we can piece together out of the joking poems and the comedies they wrote for the theatre back then. So I'm going to have a copy of this play put in the cornerstone and the people a thousand years from now'll know a few simple facts about us — more than the Treaty of Versailles and the Lind-bergh flight. See what I mean? So — people a thousand years from now — this is the way we were in the provinces north of New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. — This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying. Said by the Stage Manager
Thornton Wilder (Our Town)
Once upon a time there was a small-town girl who lived in a small world. She was perfectly happy, or at least she told herself she was. Like many girls, she loved to try different looks, to be someone she wasn't. But, like too many girls, life had chipped away at her until, instead of finding what truly suited her, she camouflaged herself, hid the bits that made her different. For a while she let the world bruise her until she decided it was safer not to be herself at all. There are so many versions of ourselves we can choose to be. Once, my life was destined to be measured out in the most ordinary of steps. I learnt differently from a man who refused to accept the version of himself he'd been left with, and an old lady who saw, conversely, that she could transform herself, right up to a point when many people would have said there was nothing left to be done. I had a choice. I was Louisa Clark from New York, or Stortfold. Or there might be a whole other Louisa I hadn't met yet. The key was making sure that anyone you allowed to walk beside you didn't get to decide which you were, and pin you down like a butterfly in a case. The key was to know that you could always somehow find a way to reinvent yourself again.
Jojo Moyes (Still Me (Me Before You, #3))
She took a shaky swallow of wine. “She didn’t know me. When we were face-to-face again, and she looked right at me. She didn’t know me.” “Did that hurt you?” “No. I don’t know. I couldn’t think. I just know that for a minute I was nothing again. Like they—she—took everything from me. Roarke, my badge, my life, myself. For a minute it was just gone because she was there. I can’t be nothing again.” “You could never be nothing.” Roarke spoke in a voice of barely controlled rage. “You’re what you made yourself against the impossible. Even when you were helpless they couldn’t destroy what you are. You’re a miracle. You’re my miracle, and you’ll never be anything else.
J.D. Robb (New York to Dallas (In Death, #33))
During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? (Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A 1934 Symposium published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941; from Einstein's Out of My Later Years, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970, pp. 26-27.)
Albert Einstein
If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not 'studying a profession,' for he does not postpone his life, but lives already.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nature and Selected Essays)
You’re with a girl. She’s brown-haired and side-swept. I imagine that she’s the kind of girl who can easily shop for jean shorts, and speaks kindly more often than not. She seems like the kind of girl who hates New York City because it wreaks havoc on her shoes (really she just thinks it’s a big and scary place), but once had the time of her life in Spain on a backpacking trip when she was 23. Her gaze is focused on the embracing couple as near strangers capable of judgement. She stands bolted next to you like you’re her anchor in the social storm. You two seem finely matched… but what do I know? (Nothing at all.) I accidentally saw a picture of you and it reminded me that I was dating a man rightfully shaking his fist at God, while trying to hold my hand with the other. I was reminded of how fiercely we tried to hold our relationship together, and how devastated and relieved we were in its destruction. There’s water under that bridge. I accidentally saw a picture of you. No big deal. I wrote about it.
Joy Wilson
I was near-delirious. Gazing up at the pillared skyline, I knew that I was surveying a tremendous work of man. Buying myself a drink in the smaller warrens below, in all their ethnic variety (and willingness to keep odd and late hours, and provide plentiful ice cubes, and free matchbooks in contrast to English parsimony in these matters), I felt the same thing in a different way. The balance between the macro and the micro, the heroic scale and the human scale, has never since ceased to fascinate and charm me. Evelyn Waugh was in error when he said that in New York there was a neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistook for energy. There was, rather, a tensile excitement in that air which made one think—made me think for many years—that time spent asleep in New York was somehow time wasted. Whether this thought has lengthened or shortened my life I shall never know, but it has certainly colored it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Why does this magnificent applied science which saves work and makes life easier bring us so little happiness? The simple answer runs: because we have not yet learned to make sensible use of it. In war it serves that we may poison and mutilate each other. In peace it has made our lives hurried and uncertain. Instead of freeing us in great measure from spiritually exhausting labor, it has made men into slaves of machinery, who for the most part complete their monotonous long day's work with disgust and must continually tremble for their poor rations. It is not enough that you should understand about applied science in order that your work may increase man's blessings. Concern for the man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavours; [..] concern for the great unsolved problems of the organization of labor and the distribution of goods in order that the creations of our mind shall be a blessing and not a curse to mankind. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. - From a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology, in "Einstein Sees Lack in Applying Science", The New York Times (16 February 1931)
Albert Einstein
I can't pretend it isn't about my life, she said to me once, it is m life. It's a difficult thing to live in a country that has erased your past. She fell silent, and the sensation created by her words -- I remember experiencing it as a subtle shift in the air pressure of the room -- deepened in the silence, so that all we could hear was the going and coming outside my office door. She had closed her eyes for a moment, as though she had fallen asleep. But then she continued, her shut eyelids now trembling. There are almost no Native Americans in New York City, and very few in all of the Northeast. It isn't right that people are not terrified by this because this is a terrifying thing that happened to a vast population. And it's not in the past, it is still with us today:; at least, it's still with me.
Teju Cole
I waited in vain for someone like me to stand up and say that the only thing those of us who don't believe in god have to believe is in other people and that New York City is the best place there ever was for a godless person to practice her moral code. I think it has to do with the crowded sidewalks and subways. Walking to and from the hardware store requires the push and pull of selfishness and selflessness, taking turns between getting out of someone's way and them getting out of yours, waiting for a dog to move, helping a stroller up steps, protecting the eyes from runaway umbrellas. Walking in New York is a battle of the wills, a balance of aggression and kindness. I'm not saying it's always easy. The occasional "Watch where you're going, bitch" can, I admit, put a crimp in one's day. But I believe all that choreography has made me a better person. The other day, in the subway at 5:30, I was crammed into my sweaty, crabby fellow citizens, and I kept whispering under my breath "we the people, we the people" over and over again, reminding myself we're all in this together and they had as much right - exactly as much right - as I to be in the muggy underground on their way to wherever they were on their way to.
Sarah Vowell (The Partly Cloudy Patriot)
So how does she know? If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll quit the band, go with you to New York. But if you need me to go away, I’ll do that, too. Maybe coming back to your old life would just be too painful, maybe it’d be easier for you to erase us. And that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay. That was my vow. And it’s been my secret. My burden. My shame. That I asked her to stay. That she listened... I wasn’t about to tell her about the promise I’d made. A promise that in the end, I was forced to keep. But she knew. No wonder she hates me. In a weird way, it’s a relief. I’m so tired of carrying this secret around. I’m so tired of feeling bad for making her live and feeling angry at her for living without me and feeling like a hypocrite for the whole mess.
Gayle Forman (Where She Went (If I Stay, #2))
She was perhaps seventeen when it happened. She was in Central Park, in New York. It was too warm for such an early spring day, and the hammered brown slopes had a dusting of green of precisely the consistency of that morning's hoarfrost on the rocks. But the frost was gone and the grass was brave and tempted some hundreds of pairs of feet from the asphalt and concrete to tread on it. Hers were among them. The sprouting soil was a surprise to her feet, as the air was to her lungs. Her feet ceased to be shoes as she walked, her body was consciously more than clothes. It was the only kind of day which in itself can make a city-bred person raise his eyes. She did. For a moment she felt separated from the life she lived, in which there was no fragrance, no silence, in which nothing ever quite fit nor was quite filled. In that moment the ordered disapproval of the buildings around the pallid park could not reach her; for two, three clean breaths it no longer mattered that the whole wide world really belongs to images projected on a screen; to gently groomed goddesses in these steel-and-glass towers; that it belonged, in short, always, always to someone else.
Theodore Sturgeon (E Pluribus Unicorn)
We are the last generation that can experience true wilderness. Already the world has shrunk dramatically. To a Frenchman, the Pyrenees are “wild.” To a kid living in a New York City ghetto, Central Park is “wilderness,” the way Griffith Park in Burbank was to me when I was a kid. Even travelers in Patagonia forget that its giant, wild-looking estancias are really just overgrazed sheep farms. New Zealand and Scotland were once forested and populated with long-forgotten animals. The place in the lower forty-eight states that is farthest away from a road or habitation is at the headwaters of the Snake River in Wyoming, and it’s still only twenty-five miles. So if you define wilderness as a place that is more than a day’s walk from civilization, there is no true wilderness left in North America, except in parts of Alaska and Canada. In a true Earth-radical group, concern for wilderness preservation must be the keystone. The idea of wilderness, after all, is the most radical in human thought—more radical than Paine, than Marx, than Mao. Wilderness says: Human beings are not paramount, Earth is not for Homo sapiens alone, human life is but one life form on the planet and has no right to take exclusive possession. Yes, wilderness for its own sake, without any need to justify it for human benefit. Wilderness for wilderness. For bears and whales and titmice and rattlesnakes and stink bugs. And…wilderness for human beings…. Because it is home. —Dave Foreman, Confessions of an Eco-Warrior We need to protect these areas of unaltered wildness and diversity to have a baseline, so we never forget what the real world is like—in perfect balance, the way nature intended the earth to be. This is the model we need to keep in mind on our way toward sustainability.
Yvon Chouinard (Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman)
Magnus, his silver mask pushed back into his hair, intercepted the New York vampires before they could fully depart. Alec heard Magnus pitch his voice low. Alec felt guilty for listening in, but he couldn’t just turn off his Shadowhunter instincts. “How are you, Raphael?” asked Magnus. “Annoyed,” said Raphael. “As usual.” “I’m familiar with the emotion,” said Magnus. “I experience it whenever we speak. What I meant was, I know that you and Ragnor were often in contact.” There was a beat, in which Magnus studied Raphael with an expression of concern, and Raphael regarded Magnus with obvious scorn. “Oh, you’re asking if I am prostrate with grief over the warlock that the Shadowhunters killed?” Alec opened his mouth to point out the evil Shadowhunter Sebastian Morgenstern had killed the warlock Ragnor Fell in the recent war, as he had killed Alec’s own brother. Then he remembered Raphael sitting alone and texting a number saved as RF, and never getting any texts back. Ragnor Fell. Alec felt a sudden and unexpected pang of sympathy for Raphael, recognizing his loneliness. He was at a party surrounded by hundreds of people, and there he sat texting a dead man over and over, knowing he’d never get a message back. There must have been very few people in Raphael’s life he’d ever counted as friends. “I do not like it,” said Raphael, “when Shadowhunters murder my colleagues, but it’s not as if that hasn’t happened before. It happens all the time. It’s their hobby. Thank you for asking. Of course one wishes to break down on a heart-shaped sofa and weep into one’s lace handkerchief, but I am somehow managing to hold it together. After all, I still have a warlock contact.” Magnus inclined his head with a slight smile. “Tessa Gray,” said Raphael. “Very dignified lady. Very well-read. I think you know her?” Magnus made a face at him. “It’s not being a sass-monkey that I object to. That I like. It’s the joyless attitude. One of the chief pleasures of life is mocking others, so occasionally show some glee about doing it. Have some joie de vivre.” “I’m undead,” said Raphael. “What about joie de unvivre?” Raphael eyed him coldly. Magnus gestured his own question aside, his rings and trails of leftover magic leaving a sweep of sparks in the night air, and sighed. “Tessa,” Magnus said with a long exhale. “She is a harbinger of ill news and I will be annoyed with her for dumping this problem in my lap for weeks. At least.” “What problem? Are you in trouble?” asked Raphael. “Nothing I can’t handle,” said Magnus. “Pity,” said Raphael. “I was planning to point and laugh. Well, time to go. I’d say good luck with your dead-body bad-news thing, but . . . I don’t care.” “Take care of yourself, Raphael,” said Magnus. Raphael waved a dismissive hand over his shoulder. “I always do.
Cassandra Clare (The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1))
You see, Monsieur, it's worth everything, isn't it, to keep one's intellectual liberty, not to enslave one's powers of appreciation, one's critical independence? It was because of that that I abandoned journalism, and took to so much duller work: tutoring and private secretaryship. There is a good deal of drudgery, of course; but one preserves one's moral freedom, what we call in French one's quant a soi. And when one hears good talk one can join in it without compromising any opinions but one's own; or one can listen, and answer it inwardly. Ah, good conversation--there's nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing. And so I have never regretted giving up either diplomacy or journalism--two different forms of the same self-abdication." He fixed his vivid eyes on Archer as he lit another cigarette. "Voyez-vous, Monsieur, to be able to look life in the face: that's worth living in a garret for, isn't it? But, after all, one must earn enough to pay for the garret; and I confess that to grow old as a private tutor--or a `private' anything--is almost as chilling to the imagination as a second secretaryship at Bucharest. Sometimes I feel I must make a plunge: an immense plunge. Do you suppose, for instance, there would be any opening for me in America-- in New York?
Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence)
Seeing the name Hillary in a headline last week—a headline about a life that had involved real achievement—I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy 'experience'—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim 'worked' well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton's memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York. Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking. Indeed, a spokeswoman for Sen. Clinton named Jennifer Hanley phrased it like this in a statement in October 2006, conceding that the tale was untrue but nonetheless charming: 'It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.' Perfect. It worked, in other words, having been coined long after Sir Edmund became a bankable celebrity, but now its usefulness is exhausted and its untruth can safely be blamed on Mummy.
Christopher Hitchens
Since the dawn of time, several billion human (or humanlike) beings have lived, each contributing a little genetic variability to the total human stock. Out of this vast number, the whole of our understanding of human prehistory is based on the remains, often exceedingly fragmentary, of perhaps five thousand individuals. You could fit it all into the back of a pickup truck if you didn't mind how much you jumbled everything up, Ian Tattersall, the bearded and friendly curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, replied when I asked him the size of the total world archive of hominid and early human bones. The shortage wouldn't be so bad if the bones were distributed evenly through time and space, but of course they are not. They appear randomly, often in the most tantalizing fashion. Homo erectus walked the Earth for well over a million years and inhabited territory from the Atlantic edge of Europe to the Pacific side of China, yet if you brought back to life every Homo erectus individual whose existence we can vouch for, they wouldn't fill a school bus. Homo habilis consists of even less: just two partial skeletons and a number of isolated limb bones. Something as short-lived as our own civilization would almost certainly not be known from the fossil record at all. In Europe, Tattersall offers by way of illustration, you've got hominid skulls in Georgia dated to about 1.7 million years ago, but then you have a gap of almost a million years before the next remains turn up in Spain, right on the other side of the continent, and then you've got another 300,000-year gap before you get a Homo heidelbergensis in Germany and none of them looks terribly much like any of the others. He smiled. It's from these kinds of fragmentary pieces that you're trying to work out the histories of entire species. It's quite a tall order. We really have very little idea of the relationships between many ancient species which led to us and which were evolutionary dead ends. Some probably don't deserve to be regarded as separate species at all.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
I treasure ruefully some memories of W.H. Auden that go back to the middle 1960s, when he arrived in New Haven to give a reading of his poems at Ezra Stiles College. We had met several times before, in New York City and at Yale, but were only acquaintances. The earlier Auden retains my interest, but much of the frequently devotional poetry does not find me. Since our mutual friend John Hollander was abroad, Auden phoned to ask if he might stay with my wife and me, remarking of his dislike of college guest suites. The poet arrived in a frayed, buttonless overcoat, which my wife insisted on mending. His luggage was an attache case containing a large bottle of gin, a small one of vermouth, a plastic drinking cup, and a sheaf of poems. After being supplied with ice, he requested that I remind him of the amount of his reading fee. A thousand dollars had been the agreed sum, a respectable honorarium more than forty years ago. He shook his head and said that as a prima donna he could not perform, despite the prior arrangement. Charmed by this, I phoned the college master - a good friend - who cursed heartily but doubled the sum when I assured him that the poet was as obdurate as Lady Bracknell in 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. Informed of this yielding, Auden smiled sweetly and was benign and brilliant at dinner, then at the reading, and as he went to bed after we got home.
Harold Bloom (The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life)
America's industrial success produced a roll call of financial magnificence: Rockefellers, Morgans, Astors, Mellons, Fricks, Carnegies, Goulds, du Ponts, Belmonts, Harrimans, Huntingtons, Vanderbilts, and many more based in dynastic wealth of essentially inexhaustible proportions. John D. Rockefeller made $1 billion a year, measured in today's money, and paid no income tax. No one did, for income tax did not yet exist in America. Congress tried to introduce an income tax of 2 percent on earnings of $4,000 in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Income tax wouldn't become a regular part of American Life until 1914. People would never be this rich again. Spending all this wealth became for many a more or less full-time occupation. A kind of desperate, vulgar edge became attached to almost everything they did. At one New York dinner party, guests found the table heaped with sand and at each place a little gold spade; upon a signal, they were invited to dig in and search for diamonds and other costly glitter buried within. At another party - possibly the most preposterous ever staged - several dozen horses with padded hooves were led into the ballroom of Sherry's, a vast and esteemed eating establishment, and tethered around the tables so that the guests, dressed as cowboys and cowgirls, could enjoy the novel and sublimely pointless pleasure of dining in a New York ballroom on horseback.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Now the evening's at its noon, its meridian. The outgoing tide has simmered down, and there's a lull-like the calm in the eye of a hurricane - before the reverse tide starts to set in. The last acts of the three-act plays are now on, and the after-theater eating places are beginning to fill up with early comers; Danny's and Lindy's - yes, and Horn & Hardart too. Everybody has got where they wanted to go - and that was out somewhere. Now everybody will want to get back where they came from - and that's home somewhere. Or as the coffee-grinder radio, always on the beam, put it at about this point: 'New York, New York, it's a helluva town, The Bronx is up, the Battery's down, And the people ride around in a hole in the ground. Now the incoming tide rolls in; the hours abruptly switch back to single digits again, and it's a little like the time you put your watch back on entering a different time zone. Now the buses knock off and the subway expresses turn into locals and the locals space themselves far apart; and as Johnny Carson's face hits millions of screens all at one and the same time, the incoming tide reaches its crest and pounds against the shore. There's a sudden splurge, a slew of taxis arriving at the hotel entrance one by one as regularly as though they were on a conveyor belt, emptying out and then going away again. Then this too dies down, and a deep still sets in. It's an around-the-clock town, but this is the stretch; from now until the garbage-grinding trucks come along and tear the dawn to shreds, it gets as quiet as it's ever going to get. This is the deep of the night, the dregs, the sediment at the bottom of the coffee cup. The blue hours; when guys' nerves get tauter and women's fears get greater. Now guys and girls make love, or kill each other or sometimes both. And as the windows on the 'Late Show' title silhouette light up one by one, the real ones all around go dark. And from now on the silence is broken only by the occasional forlorn hoot of a bogged-down drunk or the gutted-cat squeal of a too sharply swerved axle coming around a turn. Or as Billy Daniels sang it in Golden Boy: While the city sleeps, And the streets are clear, There's a life that's happening here. ("New York Blues")
Cornell Woolrich (Night and Fear: A Centenary Collection of Stories)
New Rule: Death isn’t always sad. This week, the Reverend Jerry Falwell died, and millions of Americans asked, “Why? Why, God? Why…didn’t you take Pat Robertson with him?” I don’t want to say Jerry was disliked by the gay community, but tonight in New York City, at exactly eight o’clock, Broadway theaters along the Great White Way turned their lights up for two minutes. I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I think we can make an exception, because speaking ill of the dead was kind of Jerry Falwell’s hobby. He’s the guy who said AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality and that 9/11 was brought on by pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the ACLU—or, as I like to call them, my studio audience. It was surreal watching people on the news praise Falwell, followed by a clip package of what he actually said—things like: "Homosexuals are part of a vile and satanic system that will be utterly annihilated." "If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being." "Feminists just need a man in the house." "There is no separation of church and state." And, of course, everyone’s favorite: "The purple Teletubby is gay." Jerry Falwell found out you could launder your hate through the cover of “God’s will”—he didn’t hate gays, God does. All Falwell’s power came from name-dropping God, and gay people should steal that trick. Don’t say you want something because it’s your right as a human being—say you want it because it’s your religion. Gay men have been going at things backward. Forget civil right, and just make gayness a religion. I mean, you’re kneeling anyway. And it’s easy to start a religion. Watch, I’ll do it for you. I had a vision last night. The Blessed Virgin Mary came to me—I don’t know how she got past the guards—and she told me it’s time to take the high ground from the Seventh-day Adventists and give it to the twenty-four-hour party people. And that what happens in the confessional stays in the confessional. Gay men, don’t say you’re life partners. Say you’re a nunnery of two. “We weren’t having sex,officer. I was performing a very private mass.Here in my car. I was letting my rod and my staff comfort him.” One can only hope that as Jerry Falwell now approaches the pearly gates, he is met there by God Himself, wearing a Fire Island muscle shirt and nut-hugger shorts, saying to Jerry in a mighty lisp, “I’m not talking to you.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
The Defendant: I am pleading guilty your honors but I'm doing it because I think it would be a waste of money to have a trial over five dollars worth of crack. What I really need is a drug program because I want to turn my life around and the only reason I was doing what I was doing on the street was to support my habit. The habit has to be fed your honors as you know and I believe in working for my money. I could be out there robbing people but I'm not and I've always worked even though I am disabled. And not always at this your honors, I used to be a mail carrier back in the day but then I started using drugs and that was all I wanted to do. So I'm taking this plea to save the city of New York and the taxpayers money because I can't believe that the DA, who I can see is a very tall man, would take to trial a case involving five dollars worth of crack, especially knowing how much a trial of that nature would cost. But I still think that I should get a chance to do a drug program because I've never been given that chance in any of my cases and the money that will be spent keeping me in jail could be spent addressing my real problem which is that I like, no need, to smoke crack every day and every chance I get, and if I have to point people to somebody who's selling the stuff so I can get one dollar and eventually save up enough to buy a vial then smoke it immediately and start saving up for my next one that I'll gladly do that, and I'll do it even though I know it could land me in jail for years because the only thing that matters at that moment is getting my next vial and I am not a Homo-sapiens-sexual your honors but if I need money to buy crack I will suck. . . .
Sergio de la Pava (A Naked Singularity)
Always lost, always striking out in the wrong direction, always going around in circles. You have suffered from a life-long inability to orient yourself in space, and even in New York, the easiest of cities to negotiate, the city where you have spent the better part of your adulthood, you often run into trouble. Whenever you take the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan (assuming you have boarded the correct train and are not traveling deeper into Brooklyn), you make a special point to stop for a moment to get your bearings once you have climbed the stairs to the street, and still you will head north instead of south, go east instead of west, and even when you try to outsmart yourself, knowing that your handicap will set you going the wrong way and therefore, to rectify the error, you do the opposite of what you were intending to do, go left instead of right, go right instead of left, and still you find yourself moving in the wrong direction, no matter how many adjustments you have made. Forget tramping alone in the woods. You are hopelessly lost within minutes, and even indoors, whenever you find yourself in an unfamiliar building, you will walk down the wrong corridor or take the wrong elevator, not to speak of smaller enclosed spaces such as restaurants, for whenever you go to the men’s room in a restaurant that has more than one dining area, you will inevitably make a wrong turn on your way back and wind up spending several minutes searching for your table. Most other people, your wife included, with her unerring inner compass, seem to be able to get around without difficulty. They know where they are, where they have been, and where they are going, but you know nothing, you are forever lost in the moment, in the void of each successive moment that engulfs you, with no idea where true north is, since the four cardinal points do not exist for you, have never existed for you. A minor infirmity until now, with no dramatic consequences to speak of, but that doesn’t mean a day won’t come when you accidentally walk off the edge of a cliff.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
I prayed to a mystery. Sometimes I was simply aware of the mystery. I saw a flash of it during a trip to New York that David and I took before we were married. We were walking on a busy sidewalk in Manhattan. I don't remember if it was day or night. A man with a wound on his forehead came toward us. His damp, ragged hair might have been clotted with blood, or maybe it was only dirt. He wore deeply dirty clothes. His red, swollen hands, cupped in half-fists, swung loosely at his sides. His eyes were focused somewhere past my right shoulder. He staggered while he walked. The sidewalk traffic flowed around him and with him. He was strange and frightening, and at the same time he belonged on the Manhattan sidewalk as much as any of us. It was that paradox -- that he could be both alien and resident, both brutalized and human, that he could stand out in the moving mass of people like a sea monster in a school of tuna and at the same time be as much at home as any of us -- that stayed with me. I never saw him again, but I remember him often, and when I do, I am aware of the mystery. Years later, I was out on our property on the Olympic Peninsula, cutting a path through the woods. This was before our house was built. After chopping through dense salal and hacking off ironwood bushes for an hour or so, I stopped, exhausted. I found myself standing motionless, intensely aware of all of the life around me, the breathing moss, the chattering birds, the living earth. I was as much a part of the woods as any millipede or cedar tree. At that moment, too, I was aware of the mystery. Sometimes I wanted to speak to this mystery directly. Out of habit, I began with "Dear God" and ended with "Amen". But I thought to myself, I'm not praying to that old man in the sky. Rather, I'm praying to this thing I can't define. It was sort of like talking into a foggy valley. Praying into a bank of fog requires alot of effort. I wanted an image to focus on when I prayed. I wanted something to pray *to*. but I couldn't go back to that old man. He was too closely associated with all I'd left behind.
Margaret D. McGee
There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane -- as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout -- there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremists have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans. Faith-based violence was present long before Osama bin Laden, and it ill be with us long after his demise. Religious zealots like bin Laden, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara, and Dan Lafferty are common to every age, just as zealots of other stripes are. In any human endeavor, some fraction of its practitioners will be motivated to pursue that activity with such concentrated focus and unalloyed passion that it will consume them utterly. One has to look no further than individuals who feel compelled to devote their lives to becoming concert pianists, say, or climbing Mount Everest. For some, the province of the extreme holds an allure that's irresistible. And a certain percentage of such fanatics will inevitably fixate on the matters of the spirit. The zealot may be outwardly motivated by the anticipation of a great reward at the other end -- wealth, fame, eternal salvation -- but the real recompense is probably the obsession itself. This is no less true for the religious fanatic than for the fanatical pianist or fanatical mountain climber. As a result of his (or her) infatuation, existence overflows with purpose. Ambiguity vanishes from the fanatic's worldview; a narcissistic sense of self-assurance displaces all doubt. A delicious rage quickens his pulse, fueled by the sins and shortcomings of lesser mortals, who are soiling the world wherever he looks. His perspective narrows until the last remnants of proportion are shed from his life. Through immoderation, he experiences something akin to rapture. Although the far territory of the extreme can exert an intoxicating pull on susceptible individuals of all bents, extremism seems to be especially prevalent among those inclined by temperament or upbringing toward religious pursuits. Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off. Anything can happen. Absolutely anything. Common sense is no match for the voice of God...
Jon Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith)
Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry, -- determined to make a day of it. Why should we knock under and go with the stream? Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses. If the engine whistles, let it whistle till it is hoarse for its pains. If the bell rings, why should we run? We will consider what kind of music they are like. Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through church and state, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d'appui, below freshet and frost and fire, a place where you might found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer, but a Realometer, that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business. Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore-paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
In 1970, Alix Kates Shulman, a wife, mother, and writer who had joined the Women's Liberation Movement in New York, wrote a poignant account of how the initial equality and companionship of her marriage had deteriorated once she had children. "[N]ow I was restricted to the company of two demanding preschoolers and to the four walls of an apartment. It seemed unfair that while my husband's life had changed little when the children were born, domestic life had become the only life I had." His job became even more demanding, requiring late nights and travel out of town. Meanwhile it was virtually impossible for her to work at home. "I had no time for myself; the children were always there." Neither she nor her husband was happy with the situation, so they did something radical, which received considerable media coverage: they wrote up a marriage agreement... In it they asserted that "each member of the family has an equal right to his/her own time, work, values and choices... The ability to earn more money is already a privilege which must not be compounded by enabling the larger earner to buy out of his/her duties and put the burden on the one who earns less, or on someone hired from outside." The agreement insisted that domestic jobs be shared fifty-fifty and, get this girls, "If one party works overtime in any domestic job, she/he must be compensated by equal work by the other." The agreement then listed a complete job breakdown... in other worde, the agreement acknowledged the physical and the emotional/mental work involved in parenting and valued both. At the end of the article, Shulman noted how much happier she and her husband were as a result of the agreement. In the two years after its inception, Shulman wrote three children's books, a biography and a novel. But listen, too, to what it meant to her husband, who was now actually seeing his children every day. After the agreement had been in effect for four months, "our daughter said one day to my husband, 'You know, Daddy, I used to love Mommy more than you, but now I love you both the same.
Susan J. Douglas (The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women)
Every generation of children instinctively nests itself in nature, no matter matter how tiny a scrap of it they can grasp. In a tale of one city child, the poet Audre Lord remembers picking tufts of grass which crept up through the paving stones in New York City and giving them as bouquets to her mother. It is a tale of two necessities. The grass must grow, no matter the concrete suppressing it. The child must find her way to the green, no matter the edifice which would crush it. "The Maori word for placenta is the same word for land, so at birth the placenta is buried, put back in the mothering earth. A Hindu baby may receive the sun-showing rite surya-darsana when, with conch shells ringing to the skies, the child is introduced to the sun. A newborn child of the Tonga people 'meets' the moon, dipped in the ocean of Kosi Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. Among some of the tribes of India, the qualities of different aspects of nature are invoked to bless the child, so he or she may have the characteristics of earth, sky and wind, of birds and animals, right down to the earthworm. Nothing is unbelonging to the child. "'My oldest memories have the flavor of earth,' wrote Frederico García Lorca. In the traditions of the Australian deserts, even from its time in the womb, the baby is catscradled in kinship with the world. Born into a sandy hollow, it is cleaned with sand and 'smoked' by fire, and everything -- insects, birds, plants, and animals -- is named to the child, who is told not only what everything is called but also the relationship between the child and each creature. Story and song weave the child into the subtle world of the Dreaming, the nested knowledge of how the child belongs. "The threads which tie the child to the land include its conception site and the significant places of the Dreaming inherited through its parents. Introduced to creatures and land features as to relations, the child is folded into the land, wrapped into country, and the stories press on the child's mind like the making of felt -- soft and often -- storytelling until the feeling of the story of the country is impressed into the landscape of the child's mind. "That the juggernaut of ants belongs to a child, belligerently following its own trail. That the twitch of an animal's tail is part of a child's own tale or storyline, once and now again. That on the papery bark of a tree may be written the songline of a child's name. That the prickles of a thornbush may have dynamic relevance to conscience. That a damp hollow by the riverbank is not an occasional place to visit but a permanent part of who you are. This is the beginning of belonging, the beginning of love. "In the art and myth of Indigenous Australia, the Ancestors seeded the country with its children, so the shimmering, pouring, circling, wheeling, spinning land is lit up with them, cartwheeling into life.... "The human heart's love for nature cannot ultimately be concreted over. Like Audre Lord's tufts of grass, will crack apart paving stones to grasp the sun. Children know they are made of the same stuff as the grass, as Walt Whitman describes nature creating the child who becomes what he sees: There was a child went forth every day And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became... The early lilacs became part of this child... And the song of the phoebe-bird... In Australia, people may talk of the child's conception site as the origin of their selfhood and their picture of themselves. As Whitman wrote of the child becoming aspects of the land, so in Northern Queensland a Kunjen elder describes the conception site as 'the home place for your image.' Land can make someone who they are, giving them fragments of themselves.
Jay Griffiths (A Country Called Childhood: Children and the Exuberant World)
Catarina hooked her hand around Magnus’s elbow and hauled him away, like a schoolteacher with a misbehaving student. They entered a narrow alcove around the corner, where the music and noise of the party was muffled. She rounded on him. “I recently treated Tessa for wounds she said were inflicted on her by members of a demon-worshipping cult,” Catarina said. “She told me you were, and I quote, ‘handling’ the cult. What’s going on? Explain.” Magnus made a face. “I may have had a hand in founding it.” “How much of a hand?” “Well, both.” Catarina bristled. “I specifically told you not to do that!” “You did?” Magnus said. A bubble of hope grew within him. “You remember what happened?” She gave him a look of distress. “You don’t?” “Someone took all my memories around the subject of this cult,” said Magnus. “I don’t know who, or why.” He sounded more desperate than he would’ve liked, more desperate than he wanted to be. His old friend’s face was full of sympathy. “I don’t know anything about it,” she said. “I met up with you and Ragnor for a brief vacation. You seemed troubled, but you were trying to laugh it off, the way you always do. You and Ragnor said you had a brilliant idea to start a joke cult. I told you not to do it. That’s it.” He, Catarina, and Ragnor had taken many trips together, over the centuries. One memorable trip had gotten Magnus banished from Peru. He had always enjoyed those adventures more than any others. Being with his friends almost felt like having a home. He did not know if there would ever be another trip. Ragnor was dead, and Magnus might have done something terrible. “Why didn’t you stop me?” he asked. “You usually stop me!” “I had to take an orphan child across an ocean to save his life.” “Right,” said Magnus. “That’s a good reason.” Catarina shook her head. “I took my eyes off you for one second.” She had worked in mundane hospitals in New York for decades. She saved orphans. She healed the sick. She’d always been the voice of reason in the trio that was Ragnor, Catarina, and Magnus. “So I planned with Ragnor to start a joke cult, and I guess I did it. Now the joke cult is a real cult, and they have a new leader. It sounds like they’re mixed up with a Greater Demon.” Even to Catarina, he wouldn’t say the name of his father. “Sounds like the joke has gotten a little out of hand,” Catarina said dryly. “Sounds like I’m the punch line.
Cassandra Clare (The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1))
On the labour front in 1919 there was an unprecedented number of strikes involving many millions of workers. One of the lager strikes was mounted by the AF of L against the United States Steel Corporation. At that time workers in the steel industry put in an average sixty-eight-hour week for bare subsistence wages. The strike spread to other plants, resulting in considerable violence -- the death of eighteen striking workers, the calling out of troops to disperse picket lines, and so forth. By branding the strikers Bolsheviks and thereby separating them from their public support, the Corporation broke the strike. In Boston, the Police Department went on strike and governor Calvin Coolidge replaced them. In Seattle there was a general strike which precipitated a nationwide 'red scare'. this was the first red scare. Sixteen bombs were found in the New York Post Office just before May Day. The bombs were addressed to men prominent in American life, including John D. Rockefeller and Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. It is not clear today who was responsible for those bombs -- Red terrorists, Black anarchists, or their enemies -- but the effect was the same. Other bombs pooped off all spring, damaging property, killing and maiming innocent people, and the nation responded with an alarm against Reds. It was feared that at in Russia, they were about to take over the country and shove large cocks into everyone's mother. Strike that. The Press exacerbated public feeling. May Day parades in the big cities were attacked by policemen, and soldiers and sailors. The American Legion, just founded, raided IWW headquarters in the State of Washington. Laws against seditious speech were passed in State Legislatures across the country and thousands of people were jailed, including a Socialist Congressman from Milwaukee who was sentenced to twenty years in prison. To say nothing of the Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 which took care of thousands more. To say nothing of Eugene V. Debs. On the evening of 2 January 1920, Attorney General Palmer, who had his eye on the White House, organized a Federal raid on Communist Party offices throughout the nation. With his right-hand assistant, J. Edgar Hoover, at his right hand, Palmer effected the arrest of over six thousand people, some Communist aliens, some just aliens, some just Communists, and some neither Communists nor aliens but persons visiting those who had been arrested. Property was confiscated, people chained together, handcuffed, and paraded through the streets (in Boston), or kept in corridors of Federal buildings for eight days without food or proper sanitation (in Detroit). Many historians have noted this phenomenon. The raids made an undoubted contribution to the wave of vigilantism winch broke over the country. The Ku Klux Klan blossomed throughout the South and West. There were night raidings, floggings, public hangings, and burnings. Over seventy Negroes were lynched in 1919, not a few of them war veterans. There were speeches against 'foreign ideologies' and much talk about 'one hundred per cent Americanism'. The teaching of evolution in the schools of Tennessee was outlawed. Elsewhere textbooks were repudiated that were not sufficiently patriotic. New immigration laws made racial distinctions and set stringent quotas. Jews were charged with international conspiracy and Catholics with trying to bring the Pope to America. The country would soon go dry, thus creating large-scale, organized crime in the US. The White Sox threw the Series to the Cincinnati Reds. And the stage was set for the trial of two Italian-born anarchists, N. Sacco and B. Vanzetti, for the alleged murder of a paymaster in South Braintree, Mass. The story of the trial is well known and often noted by historians and need not be recounted here. To nothing of World War II--
E.L. Doctorow (The Book of Daniel)