Nine Days Quotes

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It doesn't have to be on Valentine's Day. It doesn't have to be by the time you turn eighteen or thirty-three or fifty-nine. It doesn't have to conform to whatever is usual. It doesn't have to be kismet at once, or rhapsody by the third date. It just has to be. In time. In place. In spirit. It just has to be.
David Levithan
When God Created Mothers" When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of "overtime" when the angel appeared and said. "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one." And God said, "Have you read the specs on this order?" She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts...all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands." The angel shook her head slowly and said. "Six pairs of hands.... no way." It's not the hands that are causing me problems," God remarked, "it's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have." That's on the standard model?" asked the angel. God nodded. One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, 'What are you kids doing in there?' when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word." God," said the angel touching his sleeve gently, "Get some rest tomorrow...." I can't," said God, "I'm so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick...can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger...and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower." The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. "It's too soft," she sighed. But tough!" said God excitedly. "You can imagine what this mother can do or endure." Can it think?" Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise," said the Creator. Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model." It's not a leak," said the Lord, "It's a tear." What's it for?" It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride." You are a genius, " said the angel. Somberly, God said, "I didn't put it there.
Erma Bombeck (When God Created Mothers)
Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have given me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli- I will forgive you.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
If I had my life to live over... Someone asked me the other day if I had my life to live over would I change anything. My answer was no, but then I thought about it and changed my mind. If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I'd have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten popcorn in the "good" living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored. I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted. I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream. I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for a day. I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn't show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime. When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more I love yous ... more I'm sorrys ... more I'm listenings ... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.
Erma Bombeck (Eat Less Cottage Cheese And More Ice Cream Thoughts On Life From Erma Bombeck)
Wrongly chosen, wrongly slain, A hero Valhalla cannot contain. Nine days hence the sun must go east, Ere Sword of Summer unbinds the beast.
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Emerson, I am trying to live, as you said we must, the examined life. But there are days I wish there was less in my head to examine, not to speak of the busy heart.
Mary Oliver (Red Bird)
And how many hours a day did you do lessons?' said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject. Ten hours the first day,' said the Mock Turtle: 'nine the next, and so on.' What a curious plan!' exclaimed Alice. That's the reason they're called lessons,' the Gryphon remarked: 'because they lessen from day to day.
Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass)
Love doesn’t have to be on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to be by the time you turn eighteen or thirty-three or fifty-nine. It doesn’t have to conform to whatever is usual. It doesn’t have to be kismet at once, or rhapsody by the third day. It just has to be. In time. In place. In spirt. It just has to be.
David Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories)
Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
And let’s face it people, no one is ever honest with you about child birth. Not even your mother.       “It’s a pain you forget all about once you have that sweet little baby in your arms.”     Bullshit.   I CALL BULLSHIT.   Any friend, cousin, or nosey-ass stranger in the grocery store that tells you it’s not that bad is a lying sack of shit.   Your vagina is roughly the size of the girth of a penis.   It has to stretch and open andturn into a giant bat cave so the life-sucking human you’ve been growing for nine months can angrily claw its way out.   Who in their right mind would do that willingly?   You’re just walking along one day and think to yourself, “You know, I think it’s time I turn my vagina into an Arby’s Beef and Cheddar (minus the cheddar) and saddle myself down for a minimum of eighteen years to someone who will suck the soul and the will to live right out of my body so I’m a shell of the person I used to be and can’t get laid even if I pay for it.
Tara Sivec (Seduction and Snacks (Chocolate Lovers, #1))
She was a girl who for a ringing phone dropped exactly nothing. She looked as if her phone had been ringing continually ever since she had reached puberty.
J.D. Salinger (Nine Stories)
I’ve gone cold turkey. Completely. I haven’t even jerked off. Not once. In nine frigging days. I think the buildup of semen is starting to affect my brain. Like sugar to a diabetic.
Emma Chase (Tangled (Tangled, #1))
The Quiet World In an effort to get people to look into each other’s eyes more, and also to appease the mutes, the government has decided to allot each person exactly one hundred and sixty-seven words, per day. When the phone rings, I put it to my ear without saying hello. In the restaurant I point at chicken noodle soup. I am adjusting well to the new way. Late at night, I call my long distance lover, proudly say I only used fifty-nine today. I saved the rest for you. When she doesn’t respond, I know she’s used up all her words, so I slowly whisper I love you thirty-two and a third times. After that, we just sit on the line and listen to each other breathe.
Jeffrey McDaniel (Forgiveness Parade)
Archer, is there a servant girl in my fortress you haven't taken to bed? I announce you're leaving and within minutes two of them are at each other's throats, and another is crying her eyes out in the scullery. Honestly. You've been here all of nine days." - Roen, "Fire
Kristin Cashore (Fire (Graceling Realm, #2))
The Lake Isle of Innisfree I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee, And live alone in the bee-loud glade. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
W.B. Yeats (The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats)
I am a seeker of knowledge!’ Odin announced. ‘This has always been true. I hung from the World Tree for nine days and nights, racked with pain, in order to discover the secret of runes. I stood in line in a blizzard for six days to discover the sorcery of the smartphone.’ ‘What?’ I muttered. Blitzen coughed. ‘Just roll with it.
Rick Riordan (The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1))
When they killed him, Mother wouldn't hold her peace, so they slit her throat. I was stupid then, being only nine, and I fought to save them both. But the thorns held me tight. I've learned to appreciate thorns since. The thorns taught me the game. They let me understand what all those grim and serious men who've fought the Hundred War have yet to learn. You can only win the game when you understand that it IS a game. Let a man play chess, and tell him that every pawn is his friend. Let him think both bishops holy. Let him remember happy days in the shadows of his castles. Let him love his queen. Watch him loose them all.
Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #1))
I think you're a dangerous, corrupt, lying piece of nine-day-old mosquito shit.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
My grandmother is a little Cuban woman who cooks all day and speaks Spanish. Your grandmother watches pay-per-view porn." "She used to watch the Weather Channel, but she said there wasn't enough action." -Ranger and Stephanie
Janet Evanovich (To the Nines (Stephanie Plum, #9))
Did you see more glass?
J.D. Salinger (Nine Stories)
Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o'clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There's no hurry, for there's nowhere to go and nothing to buy...and no money to buy it with.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Who was this person who could hack a man to pieces one day and save a kitten the next?
Beth Flynn (Nine Minutes (Nine Minutes, #1))
You asked me how old I am. I was born roughly nine centuries ago. I’ve lived for more than three hundred thousand days. And you made this one my favorite one of all." -Uilleam MacRieve ~
Kresley Cole (MacRieve (Immortals After Dark, #13))
There would be no cloud-nine days without rock-bottom moments left below.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
Each spice has a special day to it. For turmeric it is Sunday, when light drips fat and butter-colored into the bins to be soaked up glowing, when you pray to the nine planets for love and luck.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (The Mistress of Spices)
Angel, getting you off is ninety-nine percent of the fun for me.
Sylvia Day (Entwined with You (Crossfire, #3))
You will never be a hero. You were never meant to be a hero." Hero. that one word made Aru lift her chin. It made her think of Mini and Boo, her mom, and all the incredible things she herself had done in just nine days. Breaking the lamp hadn't been heroic... but everything else? Fighting for people she cared about and doing everything it took to fix her mistake? That was heroism. Vajra became a spear in her hand. "I already am. And it's heroine.
Roshani Chokshi (Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava, #1))
One day soon, you’ll hear a car pull up to your curb, an engine cut out. You’ll hear footsteps coming up your front walk. Like they did for Edward Wayne Edwards, twenty-nine years after he killed Timothy Hack and Kelly Drew, in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Like they did for Kenneth Lee Hicks, thirty years after he killed Lori Billingsley, in Aloha, Oregon. The doorbell rings. No side gates are left open. You’re long past leaping over a fence. Take one of your hyper, gulping breaths. Clench your teeth. Inch timidly toward the insistent bell. This is how it ends for you. “You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark,” you threatened a victim once. Open the door. Show us your face. Walk into the light.
Michelle McNamara (I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer)
The best part was now. That was what she would take with her from her journeys through the ages: He was worth everything to her and she was worth everything to him. The only way to experience that deep level of their love was to enter each new moment together, as if time were made of clouds. And if it came down to it these next nine days, Luce knew that she and Daniel would risk everything for their love.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
Sunday just came down like a nine-pound hammer ... it was tainted with the closing-in feeling of the loss of freedom. Because after the sun went down, it came back up on Monday morning. And you had to go to work five more days. And it sucked.
Larry Brown (A Miracle of Catfish)
LADY LAZARUS I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it-- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?-- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot-- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart-- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash-- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there-- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air. -- written 23-29 October 1962
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
But how?" my students ask. "How do you actually do it?" You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind -- a scene, a locale, a character, whatever -- and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.
Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird)
He still loved her—and every moment that he didn’t have her hurt him deeply. That was why he’d spent the past nine days with a shadow of her soul, why he’d sought to reset the entire universe to have her back.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
Twelve days, eight hours, and nine minutes. I spent every second thinking of you.” Josh’s lips brushed against mine as he spoke. “I thought I knew what I wanted before. Becoming a doctor, chasing the next high. Being the most popular, most liked person in the room. I thought those things would make me happy, and they did. Temporarily. But you…” He rested his forehead against mine. “You’re the only thing that could make me happy forever.
Ana Huang (Twisted Hate (Twisted, #3))
Sometimes your life changes so slowly and imperceptibly that you don't notice it at all until one day you wake up and think, 'How did I get here?' But other times, life changes in an instant with a lightning stroke of good or bad luck with glorious or tragic consequences.
Liane Moriarty (Nine Perfect Strangers)
Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're fucked.
George Carlin
If for nine years I have possessed a goodly apple that is rotten at the core and discover its rottenness only in nine years and six months less four days, isn't it true to say that for nine years I possessed a goodly apple?
Ford Madox Ford (The Good Soldier)
The wind is knocked out of me; and when I look up, I see Nine spitting blood out. He's grinning. "Are you crazy?" I ask. "You're enjoying this?" "I've been locked up for over a year. This is the best day of my life!
Pittacus Lore (The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2))
Winter glanced over at Moon, for the nine thousandth time that day,
Tui T. Sutherland (Winter Turning (Wings of Fire, #7))
Last night we told you that none of the angels remember where we landed when we fell," Daniel said. "Yeah, about that... How's it possible?" Shelby said. "You'd think that kind of thing would leave an impression on the old memorizer." Cam's face reddened. "You try falling for nine days through multiple dimensions and trillions of miles, landing on your face, breaking your wings, rolling around concussed for who knows how long, wandering the desert for decades looking for any clue as to who or what or where you are - then talk to me about the old memorizer.
Lauren Kate (Rapture (Fallen, #4))
We have become ninety-nine percent money mad. The method of living at home modestly and within our income, laying a little by systematically for the proverbial rainy day which is due to come, can almost be listed among the lost arts.
George Washington Carver
We’d been back together for four days. I thought that was pretty much the definition of ‘too soon’. Then again, we’d known each other for thirty-nine years and that was undeniably the definition of ‘about fucking time’.
Kristen Ashley (For You (The 'Burg, #1))
I've loved him for a decade. And I had him for one day before I made a complete and utter mess of things. Or he did. I'm still not sure about that.
Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1))
West Wind #2 You are young. So you know everything. You leap into the boat and begin rowing. But listen to me. Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without any doubt, I talk directly to your soul. Listen to me. Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to me. There is life without love. It is not worth a bent penny, or a scuffed shoe. It is not worth the body of a dead dog nine days unburied. When you hear, a mile away and still out of sight, the churn of the water as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life toward it.
Mary Oliver (West Wind)
Not to me," I said. Kafka wrote his first story in one night. Stendhal wrote The Charterhouse of Parma in forty-nine days. Melville wrote Moby- Dick in sixteen months. Flaubert spent five years on Madame Bovary. Musil worked for eighteen years on The Man Without Qualities and died before he could finish. Do we care about any of that now?
Paul Auster (The Brooklyn Follies)
A while ago?” Anaxantis asked. “Yes, he raped me a while ago. Exactly nine months and two days ago. What's that? Nine months or nine minutes. It's the same. And it is in the past, you say? Then why is it still happening, every day, every time I close my eyes? Every time I hear someone behind me, and I don't know who it is? How is it that I get an almost irresistible urge to kill anyone who happens to touch me unexpectedly? Tell me, Hemarchidas, how do I forgive, let alone forget, something that is still happening, that keeps happening over and over? How? How do I do that?
Andrew Ashling (The Invisible Chains - Part 1: Bonds of Hate (Dark Tales of Randamor the Recluse #1))
Don't wait for the muse. As I've said, he's a hardheaded guy who's not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn't the Ouija board or the spirit-world we're talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon. or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
You think so?" The boy looked down at his cross-legged form. He was sitting straight-backed, legs folded neatly in the manner of an Egyptian scribe. "It's two thousand, one hundred and twenty-nine years since Ptolemy died," he said. "He was fourteen. Eight world empires have risen up and fallen away since that day, and I still carry his face. Who do you think's the lucky one?
Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate (Bartimaeus, #3))
My first semester I had only nine students. Hoping they might view me as professional and well prepared, I arrived bearing name tags fashioned in the shape of maple leaves.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
Nine years, and you've never had a day off sick, never used all your annual leave. That's dedication, you know. It's not easy to find these days." "It's not dedication," I said. "I simply have a very robust constitution and no one to go on holiday with.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
And then there is that day when all around, all around you hear the dropping of the apples, one by one, from the trees. At first it is one here and one there, and then it is three and then it is four and then nine and twenty, until the apples plummet like rain, fall like horse hoofs in the soft, darkening grass, and you are the last apple on the tree; and you wait for the wind to work you slowly free from your hold upon the sky, and drop you down and down. Long before you hit the grass you will have forgotten there ever was a tree, or other apples, or a summer, or green grass below, You will fall in darkness...
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
After a great blow, or crisis, after the first shock and then after the nerves have stopped screaming and twitching, you settle down to the new condition of things and feel that all possibility of change has been used up. You adjust yourself, and are sure that the new equilibrium is for eternity. . . But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over, for the story which we think is over is only a chapter in a story which will not be over, and it isn't the game that is over, it is just an inning, and that game has a lot more than nine innings. When the game stops it will be called on account of darkness. But it is a long day.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
Forty-nine thousand, two hundred and seventy-five days since I last kissed you,” he said. “And I thought of you every single one of them. You do not have to remind me of the Tessa I loved. You were my first love and you will be my last one. I have never forgotten you. I have never not thought of you.
Cassandra Clare (After the Bridge (The Infernal Devices, #3.5))
Love at first sight may not apply when you're nine and eleven, but I feel like I've always known she was my purpose in the truest sense of the word. My be-all, end-all. From the very first moment, all clear sandals and soft curls, all shy smiles in the hallway on her first day, and I sounded like such an idiot when I tried to talk to her, because somewhere inside I knew then. I knew she was incomparable.
YellowBella (Dusty)
All problems with writing and performing come from fear. Fear of exposure, fear of weakness, fear of lack of talent, fear of looking like a fool for trying, for even thinking you could write in the first place. It's all fear. If we didn't have fear, imagine the creativity in the world. Fear holds us back every step of the way. A lot of studies say that despite all our fears in this country - death, war, guns, illness - our biggest fear is public speaking. What I am doing right now. And when people are asked to identify which kind of public speaking they are most afraid of, they check the improvisation box. So improvisation is the number-one fear in America. Forget a nuclear winter or an eight-point nine earthquake or another Hitler. It's improv. Which is funny, because aren't we just improvising all day long? Isn't our whole life just one long improvisation? What are we so scared of?
Lily King (Writers & Lovers)
As well, they used their B-52 bombers to drop thousands of tons of bombs which included napalm and cluster bombs. In a particularly vile attack, they used poisonous chemicals on our base regions of Xuyen Moc, the Minh Dam and the Nui Thi Vai mountains. They sprayed their defoliants over jungle, and productive farmland alike. They even bull-dozed bare, both sides along the communication routes and more than a kilometre into the jungle adjacent to our base areas. This caused the Ba Ria-Long Khanh Province Unit to send out a directive to D445 and D440 Battalions that as of 01/November/1969, the rations of both battalions would be set at 27 litres of rice per man per month when on operations. And 25 litres when in base or training. So it was that as the American forces withdrew, their arms and lavish base facilities were transferred across to the RVN. The the forces of the South Vietnamese Government were with thereby more resources but this also created any severe maintenance, logistic and training problems. The Australian Army felt that a complete Australian withdrawal was desirable with the departure of the Task Force (1ATF), but the conservative government of Australia thought that there were political advantages in keeping a small force in south Vietnam. Before his election, in 1964, Johnston used a line which promised peace, but also had a policy of war. The very same tactic was used by Nixon. Nixon had as early as 1950 called for direction intervention by American Forces which were to be on the side of the French colonialists. The defoliants were sprayed upon several millions of hectares, and it can best be described as virtual biocide. According to the figure from the Americans themselves, between the years of 1965 to 1973, ten million Vietnamese people were forced to leave their villages ad move to cities because of what the Americans and their allies had done. The Americans intensified the bombing of whole regions of Laos which were controlled by Lao patriotic forces. They used up to six hundred sorties per day with many types of aircraft including B52s. On 07/January/1979, the Vietnamese Army using Russian built T-54 and T-59 tanks, assisted by some Cambodian patriots liberated Phnom Penh while the Pol Pot Government and its agencies fled into the jungle. A new government under Hun Sen was installed and the Khmer Rouge’s navy was sunk nine days later in a battle with the Vietnamese Navy which resulted in twenty-two Kampuchean ships being sunk.
Michael G. Kramer (A Gracious Enemy)
Principal Brill, those costumes were made by my mother. My mother, who has stage four small-cell lung cancer. My mother, who will never watch her little boy celebrate another Halloween again. My mother, who will more than likely experience a year of 'lasts'. Last Christmas. Last birthday. Last Easter. And if God is willing, her last Mother's Day. My mother, who when asked by her nine-year-old son if he could be her cancer for Halloween, had no choice but to make him the best cancerous tumor-riden lung costume she could. So if you think it's so offensive, I suggest you drive them home yourself and tell my mother to her face. Do you need my address?
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
When your stomach turns somersaults every time you see your love interest, when you can go without eating for half a day because you can't think of anything else, and when the sound of her voice blocks out every possible distraction each time you hear it...then logic's role becomes a very minor one.
Erik Tomblin (The Space Between)
But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away "blindly" so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
I figured being a bed salesman was a job of biblically bad paradox. I mean, here he was, forced to stand for eight or nine hours a day, and the whole time he’s surrounded by beds. And not only that, he’s surrounded by shoppers who see the beds and can’t help but think, Man, I’d love to lie down on that bed for a second. So not only does he have to stop himself from lying down, but he has to stop everyone else from doing it, too. I knew if I were him, I would be desperate for human company.
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
Nine-year-old Laila rose from bed, as she did most mornings, hungry for the sight of her friend Tariq. This morning, however, she knew there would be no Tariq sighting. - How long will you be gone? - She’d asked when Tariq had told her that his parents were taking him south, to the city of Ghazni, to visit his paternal uncle. - Thirteen days - Thirteen days? - It’s not so long. You’re making a face, Laila. - I am not. - You’re not going to cry, are you? - I am not going to cry! Not over you. Not in a thousand years. She’d kicked at his shin, not his artificial but his real one, and he’d playfully whacked the back of her head. Thirteen days. Almost two weeks. And, just five days in, Laila had learned a fundamental truth about time: Like the accordion on which Tariq’s father sometimes played old Pashto songs, time stretched and contracted depending on Tariq’s absence or presence.
Khaled Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns)
What the hell does it all mean anyhow? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nothing comes to anything. And yet, there's no shortage of idiots to babble. Not me. I have a vision. I'm discussing you. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your newspapers. The TV. Everybody's happy to talk. Full of misinformation. Morality, science, religion, politics, sports, love, your portfolio, your children, health. Christ, if I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live, I don't wanna live. I hate goddamn fruits and vegetables. And your omega 3's, and the treadmill, and the cardiogram, and the mammogram, and the pelvic sonogram, and oh my god the-the-the colonoscopy, and with it all the day still comes where they put you in a box, and its on to the next generation of idiots, who'll also tell you all about life and define for you what's appropriate. My father committed suicide because the morning newspapers depressed him. And could you blame him? With the horror, and corruption, and ignorance, and poverty, and genocide, and AIDS, and global warming, and terrorism, and-and the family value morons, and the gun morons. "The horror," Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, "the horror." Lucky Kurtz didn't have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh... then he'd see some horror. But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go "Oh my God, the horror," and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do. It's overwhelming!
Woody Allen
You'll come to my grave? To tell me your problems?" My problems? "Yes.' And you'll give me answers? "I'll give you what I can. Don't I always?" I picture his grave, on the hill, overlooking the pond, some little nine foot piece of earth where they will place him, cover him with dirt, put a stone on top. Maybe in a few weeks? Maybe in a few days? I see myself sitting there alone, arms across my knees, staring into space. It won't be the same, I say, not being able to hear you talk. "Ah, talk . . . " He closes his eyes and smiles. "Tell you what. After I'm dead, you talk. And I'll listen.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Standing there, watching them, it occurred to me that when Hitler watched Joe and the boys fight their way back from the rear of the field to sweep ahead of Italy and Germany seventy-five years ago, he saw, but did not recognize, heralds of his doom. He could not have known that one day hundreds of thousands of boys just like them, boys who shared their essential natures—decent and unassuming, not privileged or favored by anything in particular, just loyal, committed, and perseverant—would return to Germany dressed in olive drab, hunting him down.
Daniel James Brown (The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics)
Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer's day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flies in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men's stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three o'clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Listen, now, you're going to die, Ray-mond K. K. K. Hessel, tonight. You might die in one second or in one hour, you decide. So lie to me. Tell me the first thing off the top of your head. Make something up. I don't give a shit. I have a gun. Finally, you were listening and coming out of the little tragedy in your head. Fill in the blank. What does Raymond Hessel want to be when he grows up? Go home, you said you just wanted to go home, please. No shit, I said. But after that, how did you want to spend your life? If you could do anything in the world. Make something up. You didn't know. Then you're dead right now, I said. I said, now turn your head. Death to commence in ten, in nine, in eight. A vet, you said. You want to be a vet, a veterinarian. You could be in school working your ass off, Raymond Hessel, or you could be dead. You choose. I stuffed your wallet into the back of your jeans. So you really wanted to be an animal doctor. I took the saltwater muzzle of the gun off one cheek and pressed it against another. Is that what you've always wanted to be, Dr. Raymond K. K. K. K. Hessel, a veterinarian?... So, I said, go back to school. If you wake up tomorrow morning, you find a way to get back into school. I have your license. I know who you are. I know where you live. I'm keeping your license, and I'm going to check on you, mister Raymond K. Hessel. In three months, and then six months, and then a year, and if you aren't back in school on your way to being a veterinarian, you will be dead... Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you've ever eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your life.
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club)
Everyone would remember Peter for nineteen minutes of his life, but what about the other nine million? Lacy would be the keeper of those, because it was the only way for that part of Peter to stay alive. For every recollection of him that involved a bullet or a scream, she would have a hundred others: of a little boy splashing in a pond, or riding a bicycle for the first time, or waving from the top of a jungle gym. Of a kiss good night, or a crayoned Mother's Day card, or a voice off-key in the shower. She would string them together - the moments when her child had been just like other people's. She would wear them, precious pearls, every day of her life; because if she lost them, then the boy she had loved and raised and known would really be gone.
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)
Dear Willem: I’ve been trying to forget about you and our day in Paris for nine months now, but as you can see, it’s not going all that well. I guess more than anything, I want to know, did you just leave? If you did, it’s okay. I mean it’s not, but if I can know the truth, I can get over it. And if you didn’t leave, I don’t know what to say. Except I’m sorry that I did. I don’t know what your response will be at getting this letter, like a ghost from your past. But no matter what happened, I hope you’re okay.
Gayle Forman (Just One Day (Just One Day, #1))
They shoot the white girl first, but the rest they can take their time. No need to hurry out here. They are 17 miles from a town which has 90 miles between it and any other. Hiding places will be plentiful in the convent, but there is time, and the day has just begun. They are nine. Over twice the number of the women, they are obliged to stampede or kill, and they have the paraphernalia for either requirement--rope, a palm leaf cross, handcuffs, mace, and sunglasses, along with clean, handsome guns.
Toni Morrison (Paradise)
Concerning trees and leaves... there's a real power here. It is amazing that trees can turn gravel and bitter salts into these soft-lipped lobes, as if I were to bite down on a granite slab and start to swell, bud and flower. Every year a given tree creates absolutely from scratch ninety-nine percent of its living parts. Water lifting up tree trunks can climb one hundred and fifty feet an hour; in full summer a tree can, and does, heave a ton of water every day. A big elm in a single season might make as many as six million leaves, wholly intricate, without budging an inch; I couldn't make one. A tree stands there, accumulating deadwood, mute and rigid as an obelisk, but secretly it seethes, it splits, sucks and stretches; it heaves up tons and hurls them out in a green, fringed fling. No person taps this free power; the dynamo in the tulip tree pumps out even more tulip tree, and it runs on rain and air.
Annie Dillard
Say the planet is born at midnight and it runs for one day. First there is nothing. Two hours are lost to lava and meteors. Life doesn’t show up until three or four a.m. Even then, it’s just the barest self-copying bits and pieces. From dawn to late morning—a million million years of branching—nothing more exists than lean and simple cells. Then there is everything. Something wild happens, not long after noon. One kind of simple cell enslaves a couple of others. Nuclei get membranes. Cells evolve organelles. What was once a solo campsite grows into a town. The day is two-thirds done when animals and plants part ways. And still life is only single cells. Dusk falls before compound life takes hold. Every large living thing is a latecomer, showing up after dark. Nine p.m. brings jellyfish and worms. Later that hour comes the breakout—backbones, cartilage, an explosion of body forms. From one instant to the next, countless new stems and twigs in the spreading crown burst open and run. Plants make it up on land just before ten. Then insects, who instantly take to the air. Moments later, tetrapods crawl up from the tidal muck, carrying around on their skin and in their guts whole worlds of earlier creatures. By eleven, dinosaurs have shot their bolt, leaving the mammals and birds in charge for an hour. Somewhere in that last sixty minutes, high up in the phylogenetic canopy, life grows aware. Creatures start to speculate. Animals start teaching their children about the past and the future. Animals learn to hold rituals. Anatomically modern man shows up four seconds before midnight. The first cave paintings appear three seconds later. And in a thousandth of a click of the second hand, life solves the mystery of DNA and starts to map the tree of life itself. By midnight, most of the globe is converted to row crops for the care and feeding of one species. And that’s when the tree of life becomes something else again. That’s when the giant trunk starts to teeter.
Richard Powers (The Overstory)
fMr. Oswald places the telescope on the desk in front of us. "This," he says proudly, "Is a Broadhurst. It was the most powerful telescope for backyard veiwing in its day." Which was when?" Lizzy asks. The nineteen thirties," he replies. "Isn't it a beauty? On a clear night, you could see the whole entire solar system with this one." Unable to stop myself, I blurt out, "My very energetic mother just served us nine pizzas." Lizzy gawks at me like I have two heads. "He's lost it; he's finally lost it. I knew this day would come." Mr. Ozwald chuckles. "Jeremy has just given us a mnemonic device for remembering the order of the planets.
Wendy Mass (Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life)
I was thankful that nobody was there to meet me at the airport. We reached Paris just as the light was fading. It had been a soft, gray March day, with the smell of spring in the air. The wet tarmac glistened underfoot; over the airfield the sky looked very high, rinsed by the afternoon's rain to a pale clear blue. Little trails of soft cloud drifted in the wet wind, and a late sunbeam touched them with a fleeting underglow. Away beyond the airport buildings the telegraph wires swooped gleaming above the road where passing vehicles showed lights already.
Mary Stewart (Nine Coaches Waiting)
I don’t know whether you have ever seen a map of a person’s mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting, but catch them trying to draw a map of a child’s mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There are zigzag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card, and these are probably roads on the island, for the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with sex elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose. It would be an easy map if that were all, but there is also first day at school, religion, fathers, the round pond, needle-work, murders, hangings, verbs that take the dative, chocolate-pudding day, getting into braces, say ninety-nine threepence for pulling out your tooth yourself, and so on, and either these are part of the island or they are another map showing through, and it is all rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still. Of course the Neverlands vary a good deal. John’s, for instance, had a lagoon with flamingos flying over it at which John was shooting, while Michael, who was very small, had a flamingo with lagoons flying over it. John lived in a boat turned upside down on the sands, Michael in a wigwam, Wendy in a house of leaves deftly sewn together. John had no friends, Michael had friends at night, Wendy had a pet wolf forsaken by its parents...
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
If I've learned anything in twenty-nine years, it's that every human being you see in the course of a day has a problem that's sucking up at least 70 percent of his or her radar. My gift - bad choice of words - is that I can look at you, him, her, them, whoever, and tell right away what is keeping them awake at night: money; feelings of insignificance; overwhelming boredom; evil children; job troubles; or perhaps death, in one of its many costumes, perched in the wings. What surprises me about humanity is that in the end such a narrow range of plights defines our moral lives.
Douglas Coupland (Hey Nostradamus!)
Happily for me, ninety-nine percent of all human life is spent simply repeating the same old actions, speaking the same tired clichés, moving like a zombie through the same steps of the dance we plodded through yesterday and the day before and the day before. It seems horribly dull and pointless-but it really makes a great deal of sense. After all, if you only have to follow the same path every day, you don't need to think at all. Considering how good humans are at any mental process more complicated than chewing, isn't that the best for everybody?
Jeff Lindsay (Double Dexter (Dexter, #6))
Maycomb was an old town, but it was a tired old town when I first knew it. In rainy weather the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then: a black dog suffered on a summer’s day; bony mules hitched to Hoover carts flicked flied in the sweltering shade of the live oaks on the square. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by night fall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of the stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, noting to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County. But it was a time of vague optimism for some of the people: Maycomb County had recently been told that it had nothing to fear but fear itself.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
we begin to notice besides our particular sinful act, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in the cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not creat the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.
C.S. Lewis
Haven't you noticed, too, on the part of nearly everyone you know, a growing rebellion against the present? And an increasing longing for the past? I have. Never before in all my long life have I heard so many people wish that they lived 'at the turn of the century,' or 'when life was simpler,' or 'worth living,' or 'when you could bring children into the world and count on the future,' or simply 'in the good old days.' People didn't talk that way when I was young! The present was a glorious time! But they talk that way now. For the first time in man's history, man is desperate to escape the present. Our newsstands are jammed with escape literature, the very name of which is significant. Entire magazines are devoted to fantastic stories of escape - to other times, past and future, to other worlds and planets - escape to anywhere but here and now. Even our larger magazines, book publishers and Hollywood are beginning to meet the rising demand for this kind of escape. Yes, there is a craving in the world like a thirst, a terrible mass pressure that you can almost feel, of millions of minds struggling against the barriers of time. I am utterly convinced that this terrible mass pressure of millions of minds is already, slightly but definitely, affecting time itself. In the moments when this happens - when the almost universal longing to escape is greatest - my incidents occur. Man is disturbing the clock of time, and I am afraid it will break. When it does, I leave to your imagination the last few hours of madness that will be left to us; all the countless moments that now make up our lives suddenly ripped apart and chaotically tangled in time. Well, I have lived most of my life; I can be robbed of only a few more years. But it seems too bad - this universal craving to escape what could be a rich, productive, happy world. We live on a planet well able to provide a decent life for every soul on it, which is all ninety-nine of a hundred human beings ask. Why in the world can't we have it? ("I'm Scared")
Jack Finney (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
Blue must be worn for protection. Moonstones were useful in connecting with the living, topaz to contact the dead. Copper, sacred to Venus, will call a man to you, and black tourmaline will eliminate jealousy. When it came to love, you must always be careful. If you dropped something belonging to the man you loved into a candle flame, then added pine needles and marigold flowers, he would arrive on your doorstep by morning, so you would do well to be certain you wanted him there. The most basic and reliable love potion was made from anise, rosemary, honey, and cloves boiled for nine hours on the back burner of the old stove. It had always cost $9.99 and was therefore called Love Potion Number Nine, which worked best on the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month.
Alice Hoffman (The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.2))
But then something happened, Ray, something amazing. Something... "That white cop sitting next to me? He took a long look at my mother when she came in, just like, absorbed her, and then without even turning to me, he just put his hand on my back, up between my neck and shoulder... "And all he did was squeeze. Give me a little squeeze of sympathy, then rubbed that same spot with his palm for maybe two, three seconds, and that was it. "But I swear to you, nobody, in my entire life up to that point had ever touched me with that kind of tenderness. I had never experienced a sympathetic hand like that, and Ray, it felt like lightning. "I mean, the guy did it without thinking, I'm sure. And when dinnertime rolled around he had probably forgotten all about it. Forgot about me, too, for that matter... But I didn't forget. "I didn't walk around thinking about it nonstop either, but something like seven years later when I was at community college? The recruiting officer for the PD came on campus for Career Day, and I didn't really like college all that much to begin with, so I took the test for the academy, scored high, quit school and never looked back. "And usually when I tell people why I became a cop I say because it would keep Butchie and Antoine out of my life, and there's some truth in that. "But I think the real reason was because that recruiting officer on campus that day reminded me, in some way, you know, conscious or not, of that housing cop who had sat on the bench with me when I was thirteen. "In fact, I don't think it, I know it. As sure as I'm standing here, I know I became a cop because of him. For him. To be like him. God as my witness, Ray. The man put his hand on my back for three seconds and it rerouted my life for the next twenty-nine years. "It's the enormity of small things... Adults, grown-ups, us, we have so much power... And sometimes when we find ourselves coming into contact with certain kinds of kids? Needy kids? We have to be ever so careful...
Richard Price
His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.
Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
As heirs to a legacy more than two centuries old, it is understandable why present-day Americans would take their own democracy for granted. A president freely chosen from a wide-open field of two men every four years; a Congress with a 99% incumbency rate; a Supreme Court comprised of nine politically appointed judges whose only oversight is the icy scythe of Death -- all these reveal a system fully capable of maintaining itself. But our perfect democracy, which neither needs nor particularly wants voters, is a rarity. It is important to remember there still exist other forms of government in the world today, and that dozens of foreign countries still long for a democracy such as ours to be imposed on them.
Jon Stewart (America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction)
Harry: "Have you…" he began. "I mean, who … has anyone you known ever died?" "Yes," said Luna simply, "my mother. She was a quite extraordinary witch, you know, but she did like to experiment and one of her spells went rather badly wrong one day. I was nine." "I’m sorry," Harry mumbled. "Yes, it was rather horrible," said Luna conversationally. "I still feel very sad about it sometimes. But I’ve still got Dad. And anyway, it’s not as though I’ll never see Mum again, is it?" "Er – isn’t it?" said Harry uncertainly. She shook her head in disbelief. "Oh, come on. You heard them, just behind the veil, didn’t you?" " You mean…" "In that room in the archway. They were just lurking out of sight, that’s all, you heard them.
J.K. Rowling
My heart races and I look away. “Well I care. So, write it down. For nine weekends and eight thousand dollars, what's yours is mine including your friends.” I throw in a little sarcastic eye flutter. “We're going to be so head-over-heels-in-love. I can't wait to see how romantic you are!” “Oh no. I refuse to be your kind of bumper-sticker-romantic. Don't mistake me for Mr. Darcy.” I gasp. “You don't know Hunger Games or Forks, Washington, but you know Mr. Darcy? Start talking.” “Crap! My grandmother's a fan. She's tortured me since birth with Mr. Darcy. Thanks to her DVD collection, I can quote Jane Austen faster than the Elmo song.” I laugh, surprised again. “Prove it.” “Elizabeth, daaarling!” He's launched into a breathless English accent. “I love, love, love you, and I never want to be parted from you from this day forward. Pardon me, whilst I puke…” “No way!” I beam. “Let the contract state that I want the Mr. Darcy accent once a week!” I can't help but laugh again because he's shaking his head and laughing back.
Anne Eliot (Almost)
I know your race. It is made up of sheep. It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and follows the handful that makes the most noise. Sometimes the noisy handful is right, sometimes wrong; but no matter, the crowd follows it. The vast majority of the race, whether savage or civilized, are secretly kind-hearted and shrink from inflicting pain, but in the presence of the aggressive and pitiless minority they don't dare to assert themselves. Think of it! One kind-hearted creature spies upon another, and sees to it that he loyally helps in iniquities which revolt both of them. Speaking as an expert, I know that ninety- nine out of a hundred of your race were strongly against the killing of witches when that foolishness was first agitated by a handful of pious lunatics in the long ago. And I know that even to-day, after ages of transmitted prejudice and silly teaching, only one person in twenty puts any real heart into the harrying of a witch. And yet apparently everybody hates witches and wants them killed. Some day a handful will rise up on the other side and make the most noise--perhaps even a single daring man with a big voice and a determined front will do it--and in a week all the sheep will wheel and follow him, and witch-hunting will come to a sudden end. Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions are all based upon that large defect in your race--the individual's distrust of his neighbor, and his desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to stand well in his neighbor's eye. These institutions will always remain, and always flourish, and always oppress you, affront you, and degrade you, because you will always be and remain slaves of minorities. There was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
Mark Twain (The Mysterious Stranger)
But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different, as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given. Instead of this, a small number of persons, not more than eight or nine, are introduced as proxies for the whole world, to say they saw it, and all the rest of the world are called upon to believe it. But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I; and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
Old Deuteronomy's lived a long time; He's a Cat who has lived many lives in succession. He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme A long while before Queen Victoria's accession. Old Deuteronomy's buried nine wives And more – I am tempted to say, ninety-nine; And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives And the village is proud of him in his decline. At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy, When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall, The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well, of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My mind may be wandering, but I confess I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!" Old Deuteronomy sits in the street, He sits in the High Street on market day; The bullocks may bellow, the sheep they may bleat, But the dogs and the herdsman will turn them away. The cars and the lorries run over the kerb, And the villagers put up a notice: ROAD CLOSED — So that nothing untoward may chance to disturb Deuteronomy's rest when he feels so disposed Or when he's engaged in domestic economy: And the Oldest Inhabitant croaks: "Well of all … Things … Can it be … really! … No! … Yes! … Ho! hi! Oh, my eye! My sight's unreliable, but I can guess That the cause of the trouble is Old Deuteronomy!
T.S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats)
[Adapted and condensed Valedictorian speech:] I'm going to ask that you seriously consider modeling your life, not in the manner of the Dalai Lama or Jesus - though I'm sure they're helpful - but something a bit more hands-on, Carassius auratus auratus, commonly known as the domestic goldfish. People make fun of the goldfish. People don't think twice about swallowing it. Jonas Ornata III, Princeton class of '42, appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for swallowing the greatest number of goldfish in a fifteen-minute interval, a cruel total of thirty-nine. In his defense, though, I don't think Jonas understood the glory of the goldfish, that they have magnificent lessons to teach us. If you live like a goldfish, you can survive the harshest, most thwarting of circumstances. You can live through hardships that make your cohorts - the guppy, the neon tetra - go belly-up at the first sign of trouble. There was an infamous incident described in a journal published by the Goldfish Society of America - a sadistic five-year-old girl threw hers to the carpet, stepped on it, not once but twice - luckily she'd done it on a shag carpet and thus her heel didn't quite come down fully on the fish. After thirty harrowing seconds she tossed it back into its tank. It went on to live another forty-seven years. They can live in ice-covered ponds in the dead of winter. Bowls that haven't seen soap in a year. And they don't die from neglect, not immediately. They hold on for three, sometimes four months if they're abandoned. If you live like a goldfish, you adapt, not across hundreds of thousands of years like most species, having to go through the red tape of natural selection, but within mere months, weeks even. You give them a little tank? They give you a little body. Big tank? Big body. Indoor. Outdoor. Fish tanks, bowls. Cloudy water, clear water. Social or alone. The most incredible thing about goldfish, however, is their memory. Everyone pities them for only remembering their last three seconds, but in fact, to be so forcibly tied to the present - it's a gift. They are free. No moping over missteps, slip-ups, faux pas or disturbing childhoods. No inner demons. Their closets are light filled and skeleton free. And what could be more exhilarating than seeing the world for the very first time, in all of its beauty, almost thirty thousand times a day? How glorious to know that your Golden Age wasn't forty years ago when you still had all you hair, but only three seconds ago, and thus, very possibly it's still going on, this very moment." I counted three Mississippis in my head, though I might have rushed it, being nervous. "And this moment, too." Another three seconds. "And this moment, too." Another. "And this moment, too.
Marisha Pessl
In this he was like most Midwesterners. Directions are very important to them. They have an innate need to be oriented, even in their anecdotes. Any story related by a Midwesterner will wander off at some point into a thicket of interior monologue along the lines of "We were staying at a hotel that was eight blocks northeast of the state capital building. Come to think of it, it was northwest. And I think it was probably more like nine blocks. And this woman without any clothes on, naked as the day she was born except for a coonskin cap, came running at us from the southwest... or was it the southeast?" If there are two Midwesterns present and they both witnessed the incident, you can just about write off the anecdote because they will spend the rest of the afternoon arguing points of the compass and will never get back to the original story. You can always tell a Midwestern couple in Europe because they will be standing on a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection looking at a windblown map and arguing over which way is west. European cities, with their wandering streets and undisciplined alleys, drive Midwesterners practically insane.
Bill Bryson (The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America)
Dr. Bone Specialist came in, made me stand up and hobble across the room, checked my reflexes, and then made me lie down on the table. He bent my right knee this way and that, up and down, all the way out to the side and in. Then he did the same with my left leg. He ordered X rays then started to leave the room. I panicked. I MUST GET DRUGS. "What can I take for the pain?" I asked him before he got out the door. "You can take some over the counter ibuprofen," he suggested. "But I wouldn't take more than nine a day." I choked. Nine a day? I'd been popping forty. Nine a day? Like hell. I couldn't even go to the bathroom on my own, I hadn't slept in three weeks, and my normally sunny cheery disposition had turned into that of a very rabid dog. If I didn't get good drugs and get them now, it was straight to Shooter's World and then Walgreens pharmacy for me. "I don't think you understand," I explained. "I can't go to work. I have spent the last four days with my mother who is addicted to QVC, watching jewelry shows, doll shows and make-up shows. I almost ordered a beef-jerky maker! Give me something, or I'm going to use your calf muscles to make the first batch!" Without further ado, he hastily scribbled out a prescription for some codeine and was gone. I was happy. My mother, however, had lost the ability to speak.
Laurie Notaro (The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life)
Zen has been called the "religion before religion," which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something "greater" than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one's own true nature is "a way to lead you to your long lost home." To practice Zen means to realize one's existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To "rest in the present" is a state of magical simplicity...out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a 'Zen Buddhist', which is only another idea to be discarded like 'enlightenment,' and like 'the Buddha' and like 'God.
Peter Matthiessen (Nine-Headed Dragon River: Zen Journals, 1969-1982)
When she says margarita she means daiquiri. When she says quixotic she means mercurial. And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again," she means, "Put your arms around me from behind as I stand disconsolate at the window." He's supposed to know that. When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading, or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he is raking leaves in Ithaca or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate at the window overlooking the bay where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway. When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels drinking lemonade and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed where she remains asleep and very warm. When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks. When she says, "We're talking about me now," he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says, "Did somebody die?" When a woman loves a man, they have gone to swim naked in the stream on a glorious July day with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle of water rushing over smooth rocks, and there is nothing alien in the universe. Ripe apples fall about them. What else can they do but eat? When he says, "Ours is a transitional era," "that's very original of you," she replies, dry as the martini he is sipping. They fight all the time It's fun What do I owe you? Let's start with an apology Ok, I'm sorry, you dickhead. A sign is held up saying "Laughter." It's a silent picture. "I've been fucked without a kiss," she says, "and you can quote me on that," which sounds great in an English accent. One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it another nine times. When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the airport in a foreign country with a jeep. When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that she's two hours late and there's nothing in the refrigerator. When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake. She's like a child crying at nightfall because she didn't want the day to end. When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking: as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved. A thousand fireflies wink at him. The frogs sound like the string section of the orchestra warming up. The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.
David Lehman (When a Woman Loves a Man: Poems)
Commala-come-come There’s a young man with a gun. Young man lost his honey When she took it on the run. Commala-come-one! She took it on the run! Left her baby lonely But he baby ain’t done. Commala-come-coo The wind’ll blow ya through. Ya gotta go where ka’s wind blows ya Cause there’s nothin else to do. Commala-come-two! Nothin else to do! Gotta go where ka’s wind blows ya Cause there’s nothin else to do. Commala-come-key Can you tell me what ya see? Is it ghosts or just the mirror That makes ya wanna flee? Commala-come-three! I beg ya, tell me! Is it ghosts or just your darker self That makes ya wanna flee? Commala-come-ko Whatcha doin at my do’? If ya doan tell me now, my friend I’ll lay ya on de flo’. Commala-come-fo’! I can lay ya low! The things I’ve do to such as you You never wanna know. Commala-gin-jive Ain’t it grand to be alive? To look out on Discordia When the Demon Moon arrives. Commala-come-five! Even when the shadows rise! To see the world and walk the world Makes ya glad to be alive. Commala-mox-nix! You’re in a nasty fix! To take a hand in traitor’s glove Is to grasp a sheaf of sticks! Commala-come-six! Nothing there but thorns and sticks! When your find your hand in traitor’s glove You’re in a nasty fix. Commala-loaf-leaven! They go to hell or up to heaven! The the guns are shot and the fires hot, You got to poke em in the oven. Commala-come-seven! Salt and yow’ for leaven! Heat em up and knock em down And poke em in the oven. Commala-ka-kate You’re in the hands of fate. No matter if it’s real or not, The hour groweth late. Commala-come-eight! The hour groweth late! No matter what shade ya cast You’re in the hands of fate. Commala-me-mine You have to walk the line. When you finally get the thing you need It makes you feel so fine. Commala-come-nine! It makes ya feel fine! But if you’d have the thing you need You have to walk the line. Commala-come-ken It’s the other one again. You may know her name and face But that don’t make her your friend. Commala-come-ten! She is not your friend! If you let her get too close She’ll cut you up again! Commala-come-call We hail the one who made us all, Who made the men and made the maids, Who made the great and small. Commala-come-call! He made us great and small! And yet how great the hand of fate That rules us one and all. Commala-come-ki, There’s a time to live and one to die. With your back against the final wall Ya gotta let the bullets fly. Commala-come-ki! Let the bullets fly! Don’t ‘ee mourn for me, my lads When it comes my day to die. Commala-come-kass! The child has come at last! Sing your song, O sing it well, The child has come to pass. Commala-come-kass, The worst has come to pass. The Tower trembles on its ground; The child has come at last. Commala-come-come, The battle’s now begun! And all the foes of men and rose Rise with the setting sun.
Stephen King (Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower, #6))
THE LILIES This morning it was, on the pavement, When that smell hit me again And set the houses reeling. People passed like rain: (The way rain moves and advances over the hills) And it was hot, hot and dank, The smell like animals, strong, but sweet too. What was it? Something I had forgotten. I tried to remember, standing there, Sniffing the air on the pavement. Somehow I thought of flowers. Flowers! That bad smell! I looked: down lanes, past houses-- There, behind a hoarding, A rubbish-heap, soft and wet and rotten. Then I remembered: After the rain, on the farm, The vlei that was dry and paler than a stone Suddenly turned wet and green and warm. The green was a clash of music. Dry Africa became a swamp And swamp-birds with long beaks Went humming and flashing over the reeds And cicadas shrilling like a train. I took off my clothes and waded into the water. Under my feet first grass, then mud, Then all squelch and water to my waist. A faint iridescence of decay, The heat swimming over the creeks Where the lilies grew that I wanted: Great lilies, white, with pink streaks That stood to their necks in the water. Armfuls I gathered, working there all day. With the green scum closing round my waist, The little frogs about my legs, And jelly-trails of frog-spawn round the stems. Once I saw a snake, drowsing on a stone, Letting his coils trail into the water. I expect he was glad of rain too After nine moinths of being dry as bark. I don't know why I picked those lilies, Piling them on the grass in heaps, For after an hour they blackened, stank. When I left at dark, Red and sore and stupid from the heat, Happy as if I'd built a town, All over the grass were rank Soft, decaying heaps of lilies And the flies over them like black flies on meat...
Doris Lessing (Going Home)
Of the Three Rings that the Elves had preserved unsullied no open word was ever spoken among the Wise, and few even of the Eldar knew where they were bestowed. Yet after the fall of Sauron their power was ever at work, and where they abode there mirth also dwelt and all things were unstained by the griefs of time. Therefore ere the Third Age was ended the Elves perceived that the Ring of Sapphire was with Elrond, in the fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most brightly shone; whereas the Ring of Adamant was in the Land of Lórien where dwelt the Lady Galadriel. A queen she was of the woodland Elves, the wife of Celeborn of Doriath, yet she herself was of the Noldor and remembered the Day before days in Valinor, and she was the mightiest and fairest of all the Elves that remained in Middle-earth. But the Red Ring remained hidden until the end, and none save Elrond and Galadriel and Cirdan knew to whom it had been committed. Thus it was that in two domains the bliss and beauty of the Elves remained still undiminished while that Age endured: in Imladris; and in Lothlórien, the hidden land between Celebrant and Anduin, where the trees bore flowers of gold and no Orc or evil thing dared ever come. Yet many voices were heard among the Elves foreboding that, if Sauron should come again, then either he would find the Ruling Ring that was lost, or at the best his enemies would discover it and destroy it; but in either chance the powers of the Three must then fail and all things maintained by them must fade, and so the Elves should pass into the twilight and the Dominion of Men begin. And so indeed it has since befallen: the One and the Seven and the Nine are destroyed; and the Three have passed away, and with them the Third Age is ended, and the Tales of the Eldar in Middle-earth draw to then-close.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains. And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before. Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York--every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler's thumb. At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby's enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors-d'oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold. In the main hall a bar with a real brass rail was set up, and stocked with gins and liquors and with cordials so long forgotten that most of his female guests were too young to know one from another. By seven o'clock the orchestra has arrived, no thin five-piece affair, but a whole pitful of oboes and trombones and saxophones and viols and cornets and piccolos, and low and high drums. The last swimmers have come in from the beach now and are dressing up-stairs; the cars from New York are parked five deep in the drive, and already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colors, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names. The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light. Suddenly one of the gypsies, in trembling opal, seizes a cocktail out of the air, dumps it down for courage and, moving her hands like Frisco, dances out alone on the canvas platform. A momentary hush; the orchestra leader varies his rhythm obligingly for her, and there is a burst of chatter as the erroneous news goes around that she is Gilda Gray's understudy from the FOLLIES. The party has begun.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
New Rule: Not everything in America has to make a profit. If conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private, for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain." Now, I know what you're thinking: "But, Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes, and our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to fuck everything. It wasn't that long ago when a kid in America broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer in his ass, the doctor slapped some plaster on his ankle, and you were done. The bill was $1.50; plus, you got to keep the thermometer. But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean counter decided that hospitals could be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people who get sick, and stay sick, the higher their profit margins, which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O. Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy? And the forty-nine loser countries were they live longer than us? Oh, it's hardly worth it, they may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby, you're coughing up freedom. The problem with President Obama's health-care plan isn't socialism. It's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what's in it for Blue Cross Blue Shield. And it's not just medicine--prisons also used to be a nonprofit business, and for good reason--who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition, you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It's not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed. There used to be some things we just didn't do for money. Did you know, for example, there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said he didn't want World War II to create one millionaire, but I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7-Eleven. Which is wrong. We're Americans; we don't fight wars for money. We fight them for oil. And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up that used to be good when it was nonprofit: TV news. I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day. And I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
an empathic and patient listener, coaxing each of us through the maze of our feelings, separating out our weapons from our wounds. He cautioned us when we got too lawyerly and posited careful questions intended to get us to think hard about why we felt the way we felt. Slowly, over hours of talking, the knot began to loosen. Each time Barack and I left his office, we felt a bit more connected. I began to see that there were ways I could be happier and that they didn’t necessarily need to come from Barack’s quitting politics in order to take some nine-to-six foundation job. (If anything, our counseling sessions had shown me that this was an unrealistic expectation.) I began to see how I’d been stoking the most negative parts of myself, caught up in the notion that everything was unfair and then assiduously, like a Harvard-trained lawyer, collecting evidence to feed that hypothesis. I now tried out a new hypothesis: It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be. I was too busy resenting Barack for managing to fit workouts into his schedule, for example, to even begin figuring out how to exercise regularly myself. I spent so much energy stewing over whether or not he’d make it home for dinner that dinners, with or without him, were no longer fun. This was my pivot point, my moment of self-arrest. Like a climber about to slip off an icy peak, I drove my ax into the ground. That isn’t to say that Barack didn’t make his own adjustments—counseling helped him to see the gaps in how we communicated, and he worked to be better at it—but I made mine, and they helped me, which then helped us. For starters, I recommitted myself to being healthy. Barack and I belonged to the same gym, run by a jovial and motivating athletic trainer named Cornell McClellan. I’d worked out with Cornell for a couple of years, but having children had changed my regular routine. My fix for this came in the form of my ever-giving mother, who still worked full-time but volunteered to start coming over to our house at 4:45 in the morning several days a week so that I could run out to Cornell’s and join a girlfriend for a 5:00 a.m. workout and then be home by 6:30 to get the girls up and ready for their days. This new regimen changed everything: Calmness and strength, two things I feared I was losing, were now back. When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. Dinner each night was at 6:30. Baths were at 7:00, followed by books, cuddling, and lights-out at 8:00 sharp. The routine was ironclad, which put the weight of responsibility on Barack to either make it on time or not. For me, this made so much more sense than holding off dinner or having the girls wait up sleepily for a hug. It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with
Michelle Obama (Becoming)