Occasion Quotes

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I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.
Edgar Allan Poe
Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.
Bob Marley
In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion." [The Minotaur]
Albert Camus (The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays)
Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.
R.J. Palacio (Wonder (Wonder, #1))
[My mom's] funny that way, celebrating special occasions with blue food. I think it's her way of saying anything is possible. Percy can pass seventh grade. Waffles can be blue. Little miracles like that.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
Waiting for a special occasion to kill me? Christmas is coming.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.
Suzanne Weyn (Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Movie Novelization))
Did you just kiss me?" Will inquired. Magnus made a slip-second decision. "No." "I thought-" "On occasion the aftereffects of the painkilling spells can result in hallucinations of the most bizarre sort." "Oh," Will said. "How peculiar.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.
Mahatma Gandhi
Multiple experiments with spirit contact transmitted the name Matthew Edward Hall on several occasions. I predict this to be a very important future individual in humanities development. Possibly the second embodiment of Christ on Earth.
G.I. Gurdjieff (Gurdjieff's Early Talks 1914-1931: In Moscow, St. Petersburg, Essentuki, Tiflis, Constantinople, Berlin, Paris, London, Fontainebleau, New York, and Chicago)
Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.
Herman Melville (Moby-Dick)
He inclined his head at my dress. "What's the occasion?" "Homecoming," I said, twirling. "Like?" "Last I heard, Homecoming requires a date." "About that," I hedged. "I'm sort of...going with Scott. We both figure a high-school dance is the last place Hank will be patrolling." Patch smiled, but it was tight. "I take that back. If Hank wants to shoot Scott, he has my blessing.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Silence (Hush, Hush, #3))
Even on the most solemn occasions I got away without wearing socks and hid that lack of civilization in high boots
Albert Einstein
The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.
Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation)
Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.
Voltaire (Traité sur la tolérance, à l'occasion de la mort de Jean Calas (French Edition))
Don't save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.
Thomas S. Monson
Do not give way to useless alarm; though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
His voice is low and soft, a piece of silk you might keep in a drawer and pull out only on rare occasions, just to feel it between your fingers.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
I'll fight when needed, revel when there's an occasion, mourn when there is grief and die if my time comes...But I will not let anyone use me against my will.
Christopher Paolini (Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1))
When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness.
Bob Hope
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says "Morning, boys. How's the water?" And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes "What the hell is water?
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
A man who drinks too much on occasion is still the same man as he was sober. An alcoholic, a real alcoholic, is not the same man at all. You can't predict anything about him for sure except that he will be someone you never met before.
Raymond Chandler (The Long Goodbye (Philip Marlowe, #6))
Elsa decides that even if people she likes have been shits on earlier occasions, she has to learn to carry on liking them. You’d quickly run out of people if you had to disqualify all those who at some point have been shits.
Fredrik Backman (My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry)
if I see but one smile on your lips when we meet, occasioned by this or any other exertion of mine, I shall need no other happiness.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
When I am ..... completely myself, entirely alone... or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly. Whence and how these ideas come I know not nor can I force them.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sometimes words were cheap. They could be powerful, but in those rare occasions like now, words meant nothing.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Origin (Lux, #4))
He hooks a thumb in one of his belt loops and says, “How are you, Beatrice?” “Did you just call me Beatrice?” “Thought I would give it a try.” He smiles. “Not good?” “Maybe on special occasions only. Initiation days, Choosing Days …
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
It may...be judged indecent in me to come forward on this occasion; but when I see a fellow-creature about to perish through the cowardice of her pretended friends, I wish to be allowed to speak, that I may say what I know of her character.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
Most people in Atlanta don't have an accent. It's pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though," I add jokingly. "Fo' shiz," he replies in his polite English accent. I spurt orangey-red soup across the table. St. Clair gives a surprised ha-HA kind of laugh, and I'm laughing too, the painful kind like abdominal crunches. He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. "Fo'. Shiz." He repeats it solemnly. Cough cough. "Please don't ever stop saying that. It's too-" I gasp. "Much." "You oughtn't to have said that. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions." "My birthday is in February." Cough choke wheeze. "Please don't forget.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number- Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you Ye are many-they are few.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (The Masque of Anarchy: Written on Occasion of the Massacre at Manchester)
On the occasions that he did look up from the page, he would seem as though he were awakening from a dream.
Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1))
The insane, on occasion, are not without their charms.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Girls think they’re only allowed to wear dresses on formal occasions, but I like a woman who says, you know, I’m going over to see a boy who is having a nervous breakdown, a boy whose connection to the sense of sight itself is tenuous, and gosh dang it, I am going to wear a dress for him.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions.
Terry Pratchett (Feet of Clay (Discworld, #19; City Watch, #3))
Are you sure that being like everybody else will make you happy?" "I don't know any other way." "Let me show you." And then we're kissing. Or at least, I think we're kissing—I've only seen it done a couple of times, quick closed-mouth pecks at weddings or on formal occasions. But this isn't like anything I've ever seen, or imagined, or even dreamed: this is like music or dancing but better than both.
Lauren Oliver (Delirium (Delirium, #1))
There are occasions when a woman, no matter how weak and impotent in character she may be in comparison with a man, will yet suddenly become not only harder than any man, but even harder than anything and everything in the world.
Nikolai Gogol (Dead Souls)
There will be occasions in each of our lives when we will be called upon to explain or to defend our beliefs. When the time for performance arrives, the time for preparation is past.
Thomas S. Monson
My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension. Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.
Benjamin Franklin
On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's 70th birthday. "Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.
Albert Einstein
I'm allergic to family occasions. Sometimes I think we'd do better as dandelion seeds-no family, no history, just floating off into the world, each on our own piece of fluff.
Sophie Kinsella (Twenties Girl)
Learning how to think" really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot or will not exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
James D. Nicoll
In a person's lifetime there may be not more than half a dozen occasions that he can look back to in the certain knowledge that right then, at that moment, there was room for nothing but happiness in his heart.
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (Belles on Their Toes (Cheaper by the Dozen, #2))
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Eventually I fell asleep in the Rabies and Lycanthropy section. Woolsey bites on occasion, and I'm concerned.' - Magnus Bane
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Many public-school children seem to know only two dates—1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don't know what happened on either occasion.
Mark Twain
Why do people give each other flowers? To celebrate various important occasions, they’re killing living creatures? Why restrict it to plants? 'Sweetheart, let’s make up. Have this deceased squirrel.
Jerry Seinfeld
To live content with small means. To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion. To be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich. To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars, birds, babes, and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.
William Henry Channing
Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
W. Somerset Maugham
Words define us, they explain us, and, on occasion, they serve to control or isolate us.
Pip Williams (The Dictionary of Lost Words)
There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world's mortal insufficiency to us.
Marilynne Robinson (Gilead (Gilead, #1))
Don’t tempt me. Now, what are you wearing?” “A hoodie and drawstring pants too, I guess.”“Anything underneath?” “I don’t typically walk around without underwear.” “Typically?” “Only on special occasions.” “Christ. I meant under your hoodie
Michelle Hodkin (The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2))
Misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than malice and wickedness.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
You don't have to pick me up," I said in a rush. "Considering you have no idea where we're going and I have no intention of telling you, I'm quite sure that I do." "I can meet you somewhere centrally located." Noah sounded amused. "I promise to press my trousers before meeting your family. I'll even bring flowers for the occasion." "Oh, God. Please don't." I said. Maybe honesty is the best policy. "My family is going to screw with my life if you come over." I knew them far too well. "Congratulations-- you just made the prospect all the more enticing. What is your address?
Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1))
Were I a Roman Catholic, perhaps I should on this occasion vow to build a chapel to some saint, but as I am not, if I were to vow at all, it should be to build a light-house. [Letter to his wife, 17 July 1757, after narrowly avoiding a shipwreck; often misquoted as "Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."]
Benjamin Franklin (Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin Volume 2)
every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Bathsheba loved Troy in the way that only self-reliant women love when they abandon their self-reliance. When a strong woman recklessly throws away her strength she is worse than a weak woman who has never any strength to throw away. One source of her inadequacy is the novelty of the occasion. She has never had practice in making the best of such a condition. Weakness is doubly weak by being new.
Thomas Hardy (Far From the Madding Crowd)
If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
. . . The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.
Thomas Jefferson (Letters of Thomas Jefferson)
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
Abraham Lincoln
Consciousness expresses itself through creation. This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. On many an occasion when I am dancing, I have felt touched by something sacred.In those moments, I felt my spirit soar and become one with everything that exists. I become the stars and the moon. I become the lover and the beloved. I become thevictor and the vanquished. I become the master and the slave. I become the singer and the song. I become the knower and the known. I keep on dancing then it is the eternal dance or creation. The creator and creation merge into one wholeness of joy. I keep on dancing...and dancing...and dancing. Until there is only...the dance.
Michael Jackson
The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.
Adam Smith (An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations)
It’s the leftover humans. The survivors. They’re the ones I can’t stand to look at, although on many occasions I still fail. I deliberately seek out the colors to keep my mind off them, but now and then, I witness the ones who are left behind, crumbling among the jigsaw puzzle of realization, despair, and surprises. They have punctured hearts. They have beaten lungs. Which in turn brings me to the subject I am telling you about tonight, or today, or whatever the hour and color. It’s the story of one of those perpetual survivors –an expert at being left behind.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
What I've learnt - to my cost - on several occasions in my life, is that people will put up with all manner of bad behaviour so long as you're giving them what they want. They'll laugh and get into it and enjoy the anecdotes and the craziness and the mayhem as long as you're going your job well, but the minute you're not, you're fucked. They'll wipe their hands of you without a second glance.
Russell Brand (My Booky Wook)
It still took years for me to let go of learned pattern's of behavior that negated my capacity to give and receive love. One pattern that made the practice of love especially difficult was my constantly choosing to be with men who were emotionally wounded, who were not that interested in loving, even though they desired to be loved. I wanted to know love but was afraid to be intimate. By choosing men who were not interested in being loving, I was able to practice giving love but always within an unfufilling context. Naturally, my need to receive love was not met. I got what I was accustomed to getting. Care and affection, usually mingled with a degree of unkindness, neglect, and on some occasions, out right cruelty.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
Amy adored both the new look and the new person it allowed her to be. Following the photo shoot, she wore her bruises to the dry cleaner and the grocery store. Most people nervously looked away, but on the rare occasions someone would ask what happened, my sister would smile as brightly as possible, saying, 'I'm in love. Can you believe it? I'm finally, totally in love, and I feel great.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
When the clergy addressed General Washington on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never on any occasion said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to declare publicly whether he was a Christian or not. They did so. However [Dr. Rush] observed the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly except that, which he passed over without notice... I know that Gouverneur Morris, who pretended to be in his secrets & believed himself to be so, has often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system than he himself did. {The Anas, February 1, 1800, written shortly after the death of first US president George Washington}
Thomas Jefferson (The Complete Anas of Thomas Jefferson)
I'm a girl." When Deryn opened her eyes, the lady boffin was staring at her with no change of expression. "Indeed," she said. Deryn's mouth feel open. "You mean you...Did you barking know?" "I had no idea at all. But I make it a policy never to appear surprised." Dr. Barlow sighed, staring out the window. "Though on this occasion, it is proving rather more demanding than usual. A girl, you say? And you're quite certain?
Scott Westerfeld (Goliath (Leviathan, #3))
... We are Nephilim; we fight our own battles." "That's not precisely true, is it?" said a velvety voice. It was Magnus Bane, wearing a long and glittering coat, multiple hoops in his ears, and a roguish expression. Clary had no idea where he'd come from. "You lot have used the help of warlocks on more than one occasion in the past, and paid handsomely for it too." Malachi scowled. "I don't remember the Clave inviting you into the Glass City, Magnus Bane." "They didn't," Magnus said. "Your wards are down." "Really?" the Consul's voice dripped sarcasm. "I hadn't noticed." Magnus looked concerned. "That's terrible. Someone should have told you." He glanced at Luke. "Tell him the wards are down.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
It is obvious that art cannot teach anyone anything, since in four thousand years humanity has learnt nothing at all. We should long ago have become angels had we been capable of paying attention to the experience of art, and allowing ourselves to be changed in accordance with the ideals it expresses. Art only has the capacity, through shock and catharsis, to make the human soul receptive to good. It’s ridiculous to imagine that people can be taught to be good…Art can only give food – a jolt – the occasion – for psychical experience.
Andrei Tarkovsky
I’ve been told that I cannot change shit, so I might as well stop torturing myself. My emotions are ridiculed and branded as childish. I have been told that the world has given up on my people. I have been told, and realise that on many occasions, I myself am viewed as an outcast by some of those suffering. I’ve been confronted and my answer is always the same: I care even in my most fucked-up moments. I care even when gates of shit pour open to drown me; I care because I am a citizen of the world.
Asaad Almohammad (An Ishmael of Syria)
Our children will be born of our actions. Our accidents will become their destinies. Oh, the actions will remain. It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend. When the fat lady is singing. When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling. In that moment our actions will define us. And it makes no difference whether you are being watched by Allah, Jesus, Buddah, or whether you are not. On cold days a man can see his breath, on a hot day he can't. On both occasions, the man breathes.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.
James Baldwin (Sonny's Blues)
And I submit that this is what the real, no-shit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. That is being taught how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" — the constant, gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
He gave her a sly, sideways look. "Did you bring it?" "My list? Heavens, no. What can you be thinking?" His smile widened. "I brought mine." Daphne gasped. "You didn't!" "I did. Just to torture Mother. I'm going peruse it right in front of her, pull out my quizzing glass—" "You don't have a quizzing glass." He grinned—the slow, devastatingly wicked smile that all Bridgerton males seemed to possess. "I bought one just for this occasion." "Anthony, you absolutely cannot. She will kill you. And then, somehow, she'll find a way to blame me." "I'm counting on it.
Julia Quinn (The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1))
On more than one occasion I have been ready to abandon my whole life for love. To alter everything that makes sense to me and to move into a different world where the only known will be the beloved. Such a sacrifice must be the result of love... or is it that the life itself was already worn out? I had finished with that life, perhaps, and could not admit it, being stubborn or afraid, or perhaps did not known it, habit being a great binder. I think it is often so that those most in need of change choose to fall in love and then throw up their hands and blame it all on fate. But it is not fate, at least, not if fate is something outside of us; it is a choice made in secret after nights of longing. ... I may be cynical when I say that very rarely is the beloved more than a shaping spirit for the lover's dreams... To be a muse may be enough. The pain is when the dreams change, as they do, as they must. Suddenly the enchanted city fades and you are left alone again in the windy desert. As for your beloved, she didn't understand you. The truth is, you never understood yourself.
Jeanette Winterson (Sexing the Cherry)
If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I am not interested in or open to your feedback. There are a million cheap seats in the world today filled with people who will never be brave with their own lives, but will spend every ounce of energy they have hurling advice and judgement at those of us trying to dare greatly. Their only contributions are criticism, cynicism, and fear-mongering. If you're criticizing from a place where you're not also putting yourself on the line, I'm not interested in your feedback.
Brené Brown
You know the old saying: 'one riot, one Ranger.'" The saying stemmed from a legendary event in the past. A minor fief had risen up against their cruel and avaricious lord, with hundreds of people surrounding his mano house, threatening to burn it to the ground. The panicked nobleman's message for help was answered by the arrival of a single Ranger. Aghast, the nobleman confronted the solitary figure. They sent one Ranger?" he said incredulously. "One man?" How many riots do you have?" the Ranger replied. On this occasion, however, Duncan was not inclined to be swayed by a legend. "I have a new saying," he replied. "One daughter, two Rangers." Two and a half," Will corrected him. The King couldn't help smiling at the eager young face before him. Don't sell yourself short," he said. "Two and three-quarters.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
When I tell you not to marry without love, I do not advise you to marry for love alone: there are many, many other things to be considered. Keep both heart and hand in your own possession, till you see good reason to part with them; and if such an occasion should never present itself, comfort your mind with this reflection, that though in single life your joys may not be very many, your sorrows, at least, will not be more than you can bear. Marriage may change your circumstances for the better, but, in my private opinion, it is far more likely to produce a contrary result.
Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)
There are four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and lunatics…Cretins don’t even talk; they sort of slobber and stumble…Fools are in great demand, especially on social occasions. They embarrass everyone but provide material for conversation…Fools don’t claim that cats bark, but they talk about cats when everyone else is talking about dogs. They offend all the rules of conversation, and when they really offend, they’re magnificent…Morons never do the wrong thing. They get their reasoning wrong. Like the fellow who says that all dogs are pets and all dogs bark, and cats are pets, too, therefore cats bark…Morons will occasionally say something that’s right, but they say it for the wrong reason…A lunatic is easily recognized. He is a moron who doesn’t know the ropes. The moron proves his thesis; he has logic, however twisted it may be. The lunatic on the other hand, doesn’t concern himself at all with logic; he works by short circuits. For him, everything proves everything else. The lunatic is all idée fixe, and whatever he comes across confirms his lunacy. You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense, by his flashes of inspiration, and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars…There are lunatics who don’t bring up the Templars, but those who do are the most insidious. At first they seem normal, then all of a sudden…
Umberto Eco (Foucault’s Pendulum)
I Choose Love... No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves. I Choose Joy... I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God. I Choose Peace... I will live forgiven. I will forgive so I may live. I Choose Patience... I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so, Rather complain that the wait is to long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage. I Choose Kindness... I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for that is how God has treated me. I Choose Goodness... I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness. I Choose Faithfulness... Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My friends will not question my word. And my family will not question my love. I Choose Gentleness... Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself. I Choose Self-Control... I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then when this day is done I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
Max Lucado
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Whatever life you lead you must put your soul in it--to make any sort of success in it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can't always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you're very ready to do; but there's another thing that's still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. That doesn't suit you at all--you're too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views--that's your great illusion, my dear. But we can't. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
What are my options?" "You could read obscure poetry while I play the triangle, I suppose. Or we can smother ourselves in peanut butter and howl at the moon. Use your imagination." "Fine,"I said. "You take my hand and back up toward the bed." "Excellent choice. What then?" "You sit down, and pull me down with you." "Where are you?" he asked. "You pull me onto your lap." "Where are your legs?" "Around your waist." "Well," Noah said, his voice slightly rough. "This is getting interesting. So I'm on the edge of your bed. I'm holding you on my lap as you straddle me. My arms are around you, bracing you there so you don't fall. What am I wearing?"... "What do you usually wear to bed?" I asked. Noah said nothing. I opened my eyes to an arched brow and a devious grin. Oh my God. "Close. Your. Eyes," he said. I did. "Now, where were we?" "I was straddling you," I said. "Right. And I'm wearing..." "Drawstring pants." "Those are quite thin, you know." I'm aware. ... "Right," he said. "So what are you wearing?" "I don't know. A space suit. Who cares?" "I think this should be as vivid as possible," he said. "For you," he clarified, and I chuckled. "Eyes closed," he reminded me. "I'm going to have to institute a punishment for each time I have to tell you." "What did you have in mind?" "Don't tempt me. Now, what are you wearing?" "A hoodie and drawstring pants too, I guess." "Anything underneath?" "I don't typically walk around without underwear." "Typically?" "Only on special occasions." "Christ. I meant under your hoodie." "A tank top, I guess." "What color?" "White tank. Black hoodie. Gray pants. I'm ready to move on now." I felt him nearer, his words close to my ear. "To the part where I lean back and pull you down with me?" Yes. "Over me," he said. Fuck. "The part where I tell you that I want to feel the softness of the curls at the nape of your neck? To know what your hipbone would feel like against my mouth?" he murmured against my skin. "To memorize the slope of your navel and the arch of your neck and the swell of your-
Michelle Hodkin (The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2))
London The Institute Year of Our Lord 1878 “Mother, Father, my chwaer fach, It’s my seventeenth birthday today. I know that to write to you is to break the law, I know that I will likely tear this letter into pieces when it is finished. As I have done on all my birthdays past since I was twelve. But I write anyway, to commemorate the occasion - the way some make yearly pilgrimages to a grave, to remember the death of a loved one. For are we not dead to each other? I wonder if when you woke this morning you remembered that today, seventeen years ago, you had a son? I wonder if you think of me and imagine my life here in the Institute in London? I doubt you could imagine it. It is so very different from our house surrounded by mountains, and the great clear blue sky and the endless green. Here, everything is black and gray and brown, and the sunsets are painted in smoke and blood. I wonder if you worry that I am lonely or, as Mother always used to, that I am cold, that I have gone out into the rain again without a hat? No one here worries about those details. There are so many things that could kill us at any moment; catching a chill hardly seems important. I wonder if you knew that I could hear you that day you came for me, when I was twelve. I crawled under the bed to block out the sound of you crying my name, but I heard you. I heard mother call for her fach, her little one. I bit my hands until they bled but I did not come down. And, eventually, Charlotte convinced you to go away. I thought you might come again but you never did. Herondales are stubborn like that. I remember the great sighs of relief you would both give each time the Council came to ask me if I wished to join the Nephilim and leave my family, and each time I said no and I send them away. I wonder if you knew I was tempted by the idea of a life of glory, of fighting, of killing to protect as a man should. It is in our blood - the call to the seraph and the stele, to marks and to monsters. I wonder why you left the Nephilim, Father? I wonder why Mother chose not to Ascend and to become a Shadowhunter? Is it because you found them cruel or cold? I have no fathom side. Charlotte, especially, is kind to me, little knowing how much I do not deserve it. Henry is mad as a brush, but a good man. He would have made Ella laugh. There is little good to be said about Jessamine, but she is harmless. As little as there is good to say about her, there is as much good to say about Jem: He is the brother Father always thought I should have. Blood of my blood - though we are no relation. Though I might have lost everything else, at least I have gained one thing in his friendship. And we have a new addition to our household too. Her name is Tessa. A pretty name, is it not? When the clouds used to roll over the mountains from the ocean? That gray is the color of her eyes. And now I will tell you a terrible truth, since I never intend to send this letter. I came here to the Institute because I had nowhere else to go. I did not expect it to ever be home, but in the time I have been here I have discovered that I am a true Shadowhunter. In some way my blood tells me that this is what I was born to do.If only I had known before and gone with the Clave the first time they asked me, perhaps I could have saved Ella’s life. Perhaps I could have saved my own. Your Son, Will
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
You are a man of extreme passion, a hungry man not quite sure where his appetite lies, a deeply frustrated man striving to project his individuality against a backdrop of rigid conformity. You exist in a half-world suspended between two superstructures, one self-expression and the other self-destruction. You are strong, but there is a flaw in your strength, and unless you learn to control it the flaw will prove stronger than your strength and defeat you. The flaw? Explosive emotional reaction out of all proportion to the occasion. Why? Why this unreasonable anger at the sight of others who are happy or content, this growing contempt for people and the desire to hurt them? All right, you think they're fools, you despise them because their morals, their happiness is the source of your frustration and resentment. But these are dreadful enemies you carry within yourself--in time destructive as bullets. Mercifully, a bullet kills its victim. This other bacteria, permitted to age, does not kill a man but leaves in its wake the hulk of a creature torn and twisted; there is still fire within his being but it is kept alive by casting upon it faggots of scorn and hate. He may successfully accumulate, but he does not accumulate success, for he is his own enemy and is kept from truly enjoying his achievements.
Truman Capote (In Cold Blood)
In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise. When there are wars, where there are divided allegiances, where there are temptations to be resisted, objects of love to be fought for or defended - there, obviously, nobility and heroism have some sense. But there aren't any wars nowadays. The greatest care is taken to prevent you from loving anyone too much. There's no such thing as a divided allegiance; you're so conditioned that you can't help doing what you ought to do. And what you ought to do is on the whole so pleasant, so many of the natural impulses are allowed free play, that there really aren't any temptations to resist. And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there's always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there's always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your mortality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears - that's what soma is.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
Good. Item seven. The had had and that that problem. Lady Cavendish, weren’t you working on this?’ Lady Cavendish stood up and gathered her thoughts. ‘Indeed. The uses of had had and that that have to be strictly controlled; they can interrupt the imaginotransference quite dramatically, causing readers to go back over the sentence in confusion, something we try to avoid.’ ‘Go on.’ ‘It’s mostly an unlicensed-usage problem. At the last count David Copperfield alone had had had had sixty three times, all but ten unapproved. Pilgrim’s Progress may also be a problem due to its had had/that that ratio.’ ‘So what’s the problem in Progress?’ ‘That that had that that ten times but had had had had only thrice. Increased had had usage had had to be overlooked, but not if the number exceeds that that that usage.’ ‘Hmm,’ said the Bellman, ‘I thought had had had had TGC’s approval for use in Dickens? What’s the problem?’ ‘Take the first had had and that that in the book by way of example,’ said Lady Cavendish. ‘You would have thought that that first had had had had good occasion to be seen as had, had you not? Had had had approval but had had had not; equally it is true to say that that that that had had approval but that that other that that had not.’ ‘So the problem with that other that that was that…?’ ‘That that other-other that that had had approval.’ ‘Okay’ said the Bellman, whose head was in danger of falling apart like a chocolate orange, ‘let me get this straight: David Copperfield, unlike Pilgrim’s Progress, had had had, had had had had. Had had had had TGC’s approval?’ There was a very long pause. ‘Right,’ said the Bellman with a sigh, ‘that’s it for the moment. I’ll be giving out assignments in ten minutes. Session’s over – and let’s be careful out there.
Jasper Fforde (The Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next, #3))
A child's reading is guided by pleasure, but his pleasure is undifferentiated; he cannot distinguish, for example, between aesthetic pleasure and the pleasures of learning or daydreaming. In adolescence we realize that there are different kinds of pleasure, some of which cannot be enjoyed simultaneously, but we need help from others in defining them. Whether it be a matter of taste in food or taste in literature, the adolescent looks for a mentor in whose authority he can believe. He eats or reads what his mentor recommends and, inevitably, there are occasions when he has to deceive himself a little; he has to pretend that he enjoys olives or War and Peace a little more than he actually does. Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity. Few of us can learn this without making mistakes, without trying to become a little more of a universal man than we are permitted to be. It is during this period that a writer can most easily be led astray by another writer or by some ideology. When someone between twenty and forty says, apropos of a work of art, 'I know what I like,'he is really saying 'I have no taste of my own but accept the taste of my cultural milieu', because, between twenty and forty, the surest sign that a man has a genuine taste of his own is that he is uncertain of it. After forty, if we have not lost our authentic selves altogether, pleasure can again become what it was when we were children, the proper guide to what we should read.
W.H. Auden (The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
Consider the capacity of the human body for pleasure. Sometimes, it is pleasant to eat, to drink, to see, to touch, to smell, to hear, to make love. The mouth. The eyes. The fingertips, The nose. The ears. The genitals. Our voluptific faculties (if you will forgive me the coinage) are not exclusively concentrated here. The whole body is susceptible to pleasure, but in places there are wells from which it may be drawn up in greater quantity. But not inexhaustibly. How long is it possible to know pleasure? Rich Romans ate to satiety, and then purged their overburdened bellies and ate again. But they could not eat for ever. A rose is sweet, but the nose becomes habituated to its scent. And what of the most intense pleasures, the personality-annihilating ecstasies of sex? I am no longer a young man; even if I chose to discard my celibacy I would surely have lost my stamina, re-erecting in half-hours where once it was minutes. And yet if youth were restored to me fully, and I engaged again in what was once my greatest delight – to be fellated at stool by nymphet with mouth still blood-heavy from the necessary precautions – what then? What if my supply of anodontic premenstruals were never-ending, what then? Surely, in time, I should sicken of it. “Even if I were a woman, and could string orgasm on orgasm like beads on a necklace, in time I should sicken of it. Do you think Messalina, in that competition of hers with a courtesan, knew pleasure as much on the first occasion as the last? Impossible. “Yet consider. “Consider pain. “Give me a cubic centimeter of your flesh and I could give you pain that would swallow you as the ocean swallows a grain of salt. And you would always be ripe for it, from before the time of your birth to the moment of your death, we are always in season for the embrace of pain. To experience pain requires no intelligence, no maturity, no wisdom, no slow working of the hormones in the moist midnight of our innards. We are always ripe for it. All life is ripe for it. Always.
Jesus I. Aldapuerta (The Eyes: Emetic Fables from the Andalusian De Sade)
Gareth sucked in a breath. Hyacinth’s brother wasn’t going to make this easy on him. But that didn’t matter. He had vowed to do this right, and he would not be cowed. He looked up, meeting the viscount’s dark eyes with steady purpose. “I would like to marry Hyacinth,” he said. And then, because the viscount did not say anything, because he didn’t even move, Gareth added, “Er, if she’ll have me.” And then about eight things happened at once. Or perhaps there were merely two or three, and it just seemed like eight, because it was all so unexpected. First, the viscount exhaled, although that did seem to understate the case. It was more of a sigh, actually—a huge, tired, heartfelt sigh that made the man positively deflate in front of Gareth. Which was astonishing. Gareth had seen the viscount on many occasions and was quite familiar with his reputation. This was not a man who sagged or groaned. His lips seemed to move through the whole thing, too, and if Gareth were a more suspicious man, he would have thought that the viscount had said, “Thank you, Lord.” Combined with the heavenward tilt of the viscount’s eyes, it did seem the most likely translation. And then, just as Gareth was taking all of this in, Lord Bridgerton let the palms of his hands fall against the desk with surprising force, and he looked Gareth squarely in the eye as he said, “Oh, she’ll have you. She will definitely have you.” It wasn’t quite what Gareth had expected. “I beg your pardon,” he said, since truly, he could think of nothing else. “I need a drink,” the viscount said, rising to his feet. “A celebration is in order, don’t you think?” “Er…yes?” Lord Bridgerton crossed the room to a recessed bookcase and plucked a cut-glass decanter off one of the shelves. “No,” he said to himself, putting it haphazardly back into place, “the good stuff, I think.” He turned to Gareth, his eyes taking on a strange, almost giddy light. “The good stuff, wouldn’t you agree?” “Ehhhh…” Gareth wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. “The good stuff,” the viscount said firmly. He moved some books to the side and reached behind to pull out what looked to be a very old bottle of cognac. “Have to keep it hidden,” he explained, pouring it liberally into two glasses. “Servants?” Gareth asked. “Brothers.” He handed Gareth a glass. “Welcome to the family.
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for language, you’re a deft hand at plotting, and your books seem to have an enormous amount of attention to detail put into them. You’re so good you could write anything. Why write fantasy? Pratchett: I had a decent lunch, and I’m feeling quite amiable. That’s why you’re still alive. I think you’d have to explain to me why you’ve asked that question. O: It’s a rather ghettoized genre. P: This is true. I cannot speak for the US, where I merely sort of sell okay. But in the UK I think every book— I think I’ve done twenty in the series— since the fourth book, every one has been one the top ten national bestsellers, either as hardcover or paperback, and quite often as both. Twelve or thirteen have been number one. I’ve done six juveniles, all of those have nevertheless crossed over to the adult bestseller list. On one occasion I had the adult best seller, the paperback best-seller in a different title, and a third book on the juvenile bestseller list. Now tell me again that this is a ghettoized genre. O: It’s certainly regarded as less than serious fiction. P: (Sighs) Without a shadow of a doubt, the first fiction ever recounted was fantasy. Guys sitting around the campfire— Was it you who wrote the review? I thought I recognized it— Guys sitting around the campfire telling each other stories about the gods who made lightning, and stuff like that. They did not tell one another literary stories. They did not complain about difficulties of male menopause while being a junior lecturer on some midwestern college campus. Fantasy is without a shadow of a doubt the ur-literature, the spring from which all other literature has flown. Up to a few hundred years ago no one would have disagreed with this, because most stories were, in some sense, fantasy. Back in the middle ages, people wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing in Death as a character who would have a role to play in the story. Echoes of this can be seen in Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, which hark back to a much earlier type of storytelling. The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest works of literature, and by the standard we would apply now— a big muscular guys with swords and certain godlike connections— That’s fantasy. The national literature of Finland, the Kalevala. Beowulf in England. I cannot pronounce Bahaghvad-Gita but the Indian one, you know what I mean. The national literature, the one that underpins everything else, is by the standards that we apply now, a work of fantasy. Now I don’t know what you’d consider the national literature of America, but if the words Moby Dick are inching their way towards this conversation, whatever else it was, it was also a work of fantasy. Fantasy is kind of a plasma in which other things can be carried. I don’t think this is a ghetto. This is, fantasy is, almost a sea in which other genres swim. Now it may be that there has developed in the last couple of hundred years a subset of fantasy which merely uses a different icongraphy, and that is, if you like, the serious literature, the Booker Prize contender. Fantasy can be serious literature. Fantasy has often been serious literature. You have to fairly dense to think that Gulliver’s Travels is only a story about a guy having a real fun time among big people and little people and horses and stuff like that. What the book was about was something else. Fantasy can carry quite a serious burden, and so can humor. So what you’re saying is, strip away the trolls and the dwarves and things and put everyone into modern dress, get them to agonize a bit, mention Virginia Woolf a few times, and there! Hey! I’ve got a serious novel. But you don’t actually have to do that. (Pauses) That was a bloody good answer, though I say it myself.
Terry Pratchett