Old School Sayings Quotes

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My name is Percy Jackson. I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
I don’t know if I will have the time to write any more letters, because I might be too busy trying to participate. So, if this does end up being the last letter, I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school, and you helped me. Even if you didn’t know what I was talking about, or know someone who’s gone through it, you made me not feel alone. Because I know there are people who say all these things don’t happen. And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen. I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here, and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song, and that drive with the people who you love most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite.
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
I've apparently been the victim of growing up, which apparently happens to all of us at one point or another. It's been going on for quite some time now, without me knowing it. I've found that growing up can mean a lot of things. For me, it doesn't mean I should become somebody completely new and stop loving the things I used to love. It means I've just added more things to my list. Like for example, I'm still beyond obsessed with the winter season and I still start putting up strings of lights in September. I still love sparkles and grocery shopping and really old cats that are only nice to you half the time. I still love writing in my journal and wearing dresses all the time and staring at chandeliers. But some new things I've fallen in love with -- mismatched everything. Mismatched chairs, mismatched colors, mismatched personalities. I love spraying perfumes I used to wear when I was in high school. It brings me back to the days of trying to get a close parking spot at school, trying to get noticed by soccer players, and trying to figure out how to avoid doing or saying anything uncool, and wishing every minute of every day that one day maybe I'd get a chance to win a Grammy. Or something crazy and out of reach like that. ;) I love old buildings with the paint chipping off the walls and my dad's stories about college. I love the freedom of living alone, but I also love things that make me feel seven again. Back then naivety was the norm and skepticism was a foreign language, and I just think every once in a while you need fries and a chocolate milkshake and your mom. I love picking up a cookbook and closing my eyes and opening it to a random page, then attempting to make that recipe. I've loved my fans from the very first day, but they've said things and done things recently that make me feel like they're my friends -- more now than ever before. I'll never go a day without thinking about our memories together.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift)
I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone. How commonplace and stupid it would be if I had a friend now, sitting beside me, someone I had known at school, who would say: “By-the-way, I saw old Hilda the other day. You remember her, the one who was so good at tennis. She’s married, with two children.” And the bluebells beside us unnoticed, and the pigeons overhead unheard. I did not want anyone with me. Not even Maxim. If Maxim had been there I should not be lying as I was now, chewing a piece of grass, my eyes shut. I should have been watching him, watching his eyes, his expression. Wondering if he liked it, if he was bored. Wondering what he was thinking. Now I could relax, none of these things mattered. Maxim was in London. How lovely it was to be alone again.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school. 'But how?' we ask. Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.' There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith. My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out)
Because I love you.' There. I said it. I can't believe I actually said it. People cast around those words so carelessly. I always cringe whenever I hear kids say it while making out in the hall at school. I love you, babe. I love you, too. Here they're all of sixteen years old and convinced that they've found true love. I always thought I'd have more sense than that, a little more perspective. But here I am, saying it and meaning it.
Cynthia Hand (Unearthly (Unearthly, #1))
Tell me about school, NoahNoah," the old man says... "Our teacher made us write a story about what we want to be when we're big," Noah tells him. "What did you write?" "I wrote that I wanted to concentrate on being little first.
Fredrik Backman (And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer)
The whole time I pretend I have mental telepathy. And with my mind only, I’ll say — or think? — to the target, 'Don’t do it. Don’t go to that job you hate. Do something you love today. Ride a roller coaster. Swim in the ocean naked. Go to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot; even if it’s in the middle of the ocean you can go by boat. Eat some type of ethnic food you’ve never even heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being. Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose—allow smells to be your vision. Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreign film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take. Just don’t go back to thatmiserable place you go every day. Show me it’s possible to be an adult and also be happy. Please. This is a free country. You don’t have to keep doing this if you don’t want to. You can do anything you want. Be anyone you want. That’s what they tell us at school, but if you keep getting on that train and going to the place you hate I’m going to start thinking the people at school are liars like the Nazis who told the Jews they were just being relocated to work factories. Don’t do that to us. Tell us the truth. If adulthood is working some death-camp job you hate for the rest of your life, divorcing your secretly criminal husband, being disappointed in your son, being stressed and miserable, and dating a poser and pretending he’s a hero when he’s really a lousy person and anyone can tell that just by shaking his slimy hand — if it doesn’t get any better, I need to know right now. Just tell me. Spare me from some awful fucking fate. Please.
Matthew Quick (Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock)
Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about controlabout who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family." Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.
Stephen King
Rhyme is bullshit. Rhyme says that everything works out in the end. All harmony and order. When I see a rhyme in a poem, I know I'm being lied to. Go ahead, laugh! It's true—rhyme's a completely bankrupt device. It's just wishful thinking. Nostalgia.
Tobias Wolff (Old School)
I don't mean to be like some old guy from the olden days who says, "I walked thirty miles to school every morning, so you kids should too." That's a statement born of envy and resentment. What I'm saying is something quite different. What I'm saying is that by having very little, I had it good. Children need a sense of pulling their own weight, of contributing to the family in some way, and some sense of the family's interdependence. They take pride in knowing that they're contributing. They learn responsibility and discipline through meaningful work. The values developed within a family that operates on those principles then extend to the society at large. By not being quite so indulged and "protected" from reality by overflowing abundance, children see the bonds that connect them to others.
Sidney Poitier (The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography)
Although he was an ancient Viking, Viktor wasn’t “old school” as the younger vampires called it. Viktor embraced everything modern, and that included automatic handguns with custom made wooden bullets and quirky sayings like, “That’s right, bitches! Who’s your bad-dy?
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (Accidentally Married to...a Vampire? (Accidentally Yours, #2))
First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away. But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bedsheets around corners.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
I read in the papers here a while back some teachers came across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they'd been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So think about that. Because a lot of the time when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I'm gettin old. That it's one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I've got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.
Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men)
I told him what my dad had said. That got him laughing and as we pulled into the school parking lot, even the sight of Rafe waiting for me only made him roll his eyes. We got out. I glanced at Daniel. He sighed. "Go on." "You sound like you're giving a five-year-old permission to play with an unsuitable friend." "If the shoe fits..." I flipped him off. "Watch it or I won't marry you," he said. "Truck of no truck." I laughed and jogged over to Rafe. "Did he just say...?" Rafe began.
Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1))
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)
Everyone up here had two stories : the life before and the life now. If you wanted to pray to a weirdo god or live in a school bus or marry a goose, no one in Alaska was going to say crap to you. No one cared if you had an old car on your deck, let alone a rusted fridge. Any Life that could be imagined could be lived up here.
Kristin Hannah (The Great Alone)
You are born, go to school, and attend university in search of a husband. You get married - even if he is the worse man in the world - just so that others can't say no one wants you. You have children, grow old, and spend the end of your days watching passersby from a chair on the sidewalk, pretending to know everything about life yet unable to silence the voice in your heart that says: "You could try something else.
Paulo Coelho (The Spy)
However, the majority of women are neither harlots nor courtesans; nor do they sit clasping pug dogs to dusty velvet all through the summer afternoon. But what do they do then? and there came to my mind’s eye one of those long streets somewhere south of the river whose infinite rows are innumerably populated. With the eye of the imagination I saw a very ancient lady crossing the street on the arm of a middle-aged woman, her daughter, perhaps, both so respectably booted and furred that their dressing in the afternoon must be a ritual, and the clothes themselves put away in cupboards with camphor, year after year, throughout the summer months. They cross the road when the lamps are being lit (for the dusk is their favourite hour), as they must have done year after year. The elder is close on eighty; but if one asked her what her life has meant to her, she would say that she remembered the streets lit for the battle of Balaclava, or had heard the guns fire in Hyde Park for the birth of King Edward the Seventh. And if one asked her, longing to pin down the moment with date and season, but what were you doing on the fifth of April 1868, or the second of November 1875, she would look vague and say that she could remember nothing. For all the dinners are cooked; the plates and cups washed; the children sent to school and gone out into the world. Nothing remains of it all. All has vanished. No biography or history has a word to say about it. And the novels, without meaning to, inevitably lie. All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be recorded, I said, addressing Mary Carmichael as if she were present; and went on in thought through the streets of London feeling in imagination the pressure of dumbness, the accumulation of unrecorded life, whether from the women at the street corners with their arms akimbo, and the rings embedded in their fat swollen fingers, talking with a gesticulation like the swing of Shakespeare’s words; or from the violet-sellers and match-sellers and old crones stationed under doorways; or from drifting girls whose faces, like waves in sun and cloud, signal the coming of men and women and the flickering lights of shop windows. All that you will have to explore, I said to Mary Carmichael, holding your torch firm in your hand.
Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)
The business of scepticism is to be dangerous. Scepticism challenges established institutions. If we teach everybody, including, say, high school students, habits of sceptical thought, they will probably not restrict their scepticism to UFOs, aspirin commercials and 35,000-year-old channellees. Maybe they’ll start asking awkward questions about economic, or social, or political, or religious institutions. Perhaps they’ll challenge the opinions of those in power. Then where would we be?
Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
My old school, St Stella’s, only goes to Year Ten and most of my friends now go to Pius Senior College, but my mother wouldn’t allow it because she says the girls there leave with limited options and she didn’t bring me up to have limitations placed upon me. If you know my mother, you’ll sense there’s an irony there, based on the fact that she is the Queen of the Limitation Placers in my life.
Melina Marchetta (Saving Francesca)
interviews showed me that successful people are playing an entirely different game. They don’t flood the job market with résumés, hoping that some employer will grace them with an interview. They network. They email a friend of a friend to make sure their name gets the look it deserves. They have their uncles call old college buddies. They have their school’s career service office set up interviews months in advance on their behalf. They have parents tell them how to dress, what to say, and whom to schmooze. That
J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis)
I don’t ex­pect you to un­der­stand,” Adam says. “You’re still the eight-​year-​old sit­ting in school, sit­ting in church, be­liev­ing ev­ery­thing you’re told. You re­mem­ber pic­tures in books. They planned how you’d live your whole life. You’re still asleep.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
When I was a schoolboy in England, the old bound volumes of Kipling in the library had gilt swastikas embossed on their covers. The symbol's 'hooks' were left-handed, as opposed to the right-handed ones of the Nazi hakenkreuz, but for a boy growing up after 1945 the shock of encountering the emblem at all was a memorable one. I later learned that in the mid-1930s Kipling had caused this 'signature' to be removed from all his future editions. Having initially sympathized with some of the early European fascist movements, he wanted to express his repudiation of Hitlerism (or 'the Hun,' as he would perhaps have preferred to say), and wanted no part in tainting the ancient Indian rune by association. In its origin it is a Hindu and Jainas symbol for light, and well worth rescuing.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
Old Spice           Every Sunday afternoon he dresses in his old army uniform, tells you the name of every man he killed. His knuckles are unmarked graves.   Visit him on a Tuesday and he will describe the body of every woman he could not save. He’ll say she looked like your mother and you will feel a storm in your stomach.   Your grandfather is from another generation– Russian degrees and a school yard Cuban national anthem, communism and religion. Only music makes him cry now.   He married his first love, her with the long curls down to the small of her back. Sometimes he would pull her to him, those curls wrapped around his hand like rope.   He lives alone now. Frail, a living memory reclining in a seat, the room orbiting around him. You visit him but never have anything to say. When he was your age he was a man. You retreat into yourself whenever he says your name.   Your mother’s father, “the almost martyr, can load a gun under water in under four seconds.   Even his wedding night was a battlefield. A Swiss knife, his young bride, his sobs as he held Italian linen between her legs.   His face is a photograph left out in the sun, the henna of his beard, the silver of his eyebrows the wilted handkerchief, the kufi and the cane.   Your grandfather is dying. He begs you Take me home yaqay, I just want to see it one last time; you don’t know how to tell him that it won’t be anything like the way he left it.
Warsan Shire (Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth)
HOME no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well your neighbors running faster than you breath bloody in their throats the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory is holding a gun bigger than his body you only leave home when home won’t let you stay. no one leaves home unless home chases you fire under feet hot blood in your belly it’s not something you ever thought of doing until the blade burnt threats into your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets sobbing as each mouthful of paper made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back. you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land no one burns their palms under trains beneath carriages no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled means something more than journey. no one crawls under fences no one wants to be beaten pitied no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, because prison is safer than a city of fire and one prison guard in the night is better than a truckload of men who look like your father no one could take it no one could stomach it no one skin would be tough enough the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage messed up their country and now they want to mess ours up how do the words the dirty looks roll off your backs maybe because the blow is softer than a limb torn off or the words are more tender than fourteen men between your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home told you to quicken your legs leave your clothes behind crawl through the desert wade through the oceans drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
Warsan Shire
If the old saying is true, that what one generation learns in school is the philosophy of the next, then the philosophy of the next generation will be totalitarianism.
John Whitehead
Dum walks backwards, talking to us. “We’re going back to high school where our survival instincts are at their finest.” “If you get the urge to graffiti the walls or beat up your old math teacher,” says Dee, “do it where the birds can’t see you.
Susan Ee (World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2))
Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt kept an evening school in the village; that is to say, she was a ridiculous old woman of limited means and unlimited infirmity, who used to go to sleep from six to seven every evening, in the society of youth who paid two pence per week each, for the improving opportunity of seeing her do it.
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
I begin to call Morrie “Coach,” the way I used to address my high school track coach. Morrie likes the nickname. “Coach,” he says. “All right, I’ll be your coach. And you can be my player. You can play all the lovely parts of life that I’m too old for now.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Parents embraced “Sesame Street” for several reasons, among them that it assuaged their guilt over the fact that they could not or would not restrict their children’s access to television. “Sesame Street” appeared to justify allowing a four- or five-year-old to sit transfixed in front of a television screen for unnatural periods of time. Parents were eager to hope that television could teach their children something other than which breakfast cereal has the most crackle. At the same time, “Sesame Street” relieved them of the responsibility of teaching their pre-school children how to read—no small matter in a culture where children are apt to be considered a nuisance.... We now know that “Sesame Street” encourages children to love school only if school is like “Sesame Street.” Which is to say, we now know that “Sesame Street” undermines what the traditional idea of schooling represents.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
It's ridiculous. Here I sit in my little room, I, Brigge, who have got to be twenty-eight years old and about whom no one knows. I sit here and am nothing. And yet this nothing begins to think and thinks, up five flights of stairs, these thoughts on a gray Paris afternoon: Is it possible, this nothing thinks, that one has not yet seen, recognized, and said anything real and important? Is it possible that one has had thousands of years of time to look, reflect, and write down, and that one has let the millennia pass away like a school recess in which one eats one's sandwich and an apple? Yes, it is possible. ...Is it possible that in spite of inventions and progress, in spite of culture, religion, and worldly wisdom, that one has remained on the surface of life? Is it possible that one has even covered this surface, which would at least have been something, with an incredibly dull slipcover, so that it looks like living-room furniture during the summer vacation? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that the whole history of the world has been misunderstood? Is it possible that the past is false because one has always spoken of its masses, as if one was telling about a coming together of many people, instead of telling about the one person they were standing around, because he was alien and died? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one believed one has to make up for everything that happened before one was born? Is it possible one would have to remind every single person that he arose from all earlier people so that he would know it, and not let himself be talked out of it by the others, who see it differently? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that all these people know very precisely a past that never was? Is it possible that everything real is nothing to them; that their life takes its course, connected to nothing, like a clock in an empty room? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that one knows nothing about girls, who are nevertheless alive? Is it possible that one says "the women", "the children", "the boys", and doesn't suspect (in spite of all one's education doesn't suspect) that for the longest time these words have no longer had a plural, but only innumerable singulars? Yes, it is possible. Is it possible that there are people who say "God" and think it is something they have in common? Just look at two schoolboys: one buys himself a knife, and the same day his neighbor buys one just like it. And after a week they show each other their knives and it turns out that they bear only the remotest resemblance to each other-so differently have they developed in different hands (Well, the mother of one of them says, if you boys always have to wear everything out right away). Ah, so: is it possible to believe that one could have a God without using him? Yes, it is possible. But, if all this is possible, has even an appearance of possibility-then for heaven's sake something has to happen. The first person who comes along, the one who has had this disquieting thought, must begin to accomplish some of what has been missed; even if he is just anyone, not the most suitable person: there is simply no one else there. This young, irrelevant foreigner, Brigge, will have to sit himself down five flights up and write, day and night, he will just have to write, and that will be that.
Rainer Maria Rilke (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge)
On Bring-Your-Dad-to-School Day Who are all these fucking parents who can take a day off? If I'm taking a day off, I ain't gonna spend it sitting at some tiny desk with a bunch of eleven-year-olds.
Justin Halpern (Sh*t My Dad Says)
On the first day of November last year, sacred to many religious calendars but especially the Celtic, I went for a walk among bare oaks and birch. Nothing much was going on. Scarlet sumac had passed and the bees were dead. The pond had slicked overnight into that shiny and deceptive glaze of delusion, first ice. It made me remember sakes and conjure a vision of myself skimming backward on one foot, the other extended; the arms become wings. Minnesota girls know that this is not a difficult maneuver if one's limber and practices even a little after school before the boys claim the rink for hockey. I think I can still do it - one thinks many foolish things when November's bright sun skips over the entrancing first freeze. A flock of sparrows reels through the air looking more like a flying net than seventy conscious birds, a black veil thrown on the wind. When one sparrow dodges, the whole net swerves, dips: one mind. Am I part of anything like that? Maybe not. The last few years of my life have been characterized by stripping away, one by one, loves and communities that sustain the soul. A young colleague, new to my English department, recently asked me who I hang around with at school. "Nobody," I had to say, feeling briefly ashamed. This solitude is one of the surprises of middle age, especially if one's youth has been rich in love and friendship and children. If you do your job right, children leave home; few communities can stand an individual's most pitiful, amateur truth telling. So the soul must stand in her own meager feathers and learn to fly - or simply take hopeful jumps into the wind. In the Christian calendar, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, a day honoring not only those who are known and recognized as enlightened souls, but more especially the unknowns, saints who walk beside us unrecognized down the millennia. In Buddhism, we honor the bodhisattvas - saints - who refuse enlightenment and return willingly to the wheel of karma to help other beings. Similarly, in Judaism, anonymous holy men pray the world from its well-merited destruction. We never know who is walking beside us, who is our spiritual teacher. That one - who annoys you so - pretends for a day that he's the one, your personal Obi Wan Kenobi. The first of November is a splendid, subversive holiday. Imagine a hectic procession of revelers - the half-mad bag lady; a mumbling, scarred janitor whose ravaged face made the children turn away; the austere, unsmiling mother superior who seemed with great focus and clarity to do harm; a haunted music teacher, survivor of Auschwitz. I bring them before my mind's eye, these old firends of my soul, awakening to dance their day. Crazy saints; but who knows what was home in the heart? This is the feast of those who tried to take the path, so clumsily that no one knew or notice, the feast, indeed, of most of us. It's an ugly woods, I was saying to myself, padding along a trail where other walkers had broken ground before me. And then I found an extraordinary bouquet. Someone had bound an offering of dry seed pods, yew, lyme grass, red berries, and brown fern and laid it on the path: "nothing special," as Buddhists say, meaning "everything." Gathered to formality, each dry stalk proclaimed a slant, an attitude, infinite shades of neutral. All contemplative acts, silences, poems, honor the world this way. Brought together by the eye of love, a milkweed pod, a twig, allow us to see how things have been all along. A feast of being.
Mary Rose O'Reilley (The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd)
when she was 7, a boy pushed her on the playground she fell headfirst into the dirt and came up with a mouthful of gravel and lines of blood chasing each other down her legs when she told her teacher what happened, she laughed and said ‘boys will be boys honey don’t let it bother you he probably just thinks you’re cute’ but the thing is, when you tell a little girl who has rocks in her teeth and scabs on her knees that hurt and attention are the same you teach her that boys show their affection through aggression and she grows into a young woman who constantly mistakes the two because no one ever taught her the difference ‘boys will be boys’ turns into ‘that’s how he shows his love’ and bruises start to feel like the imprint of lips she goes to school with a busted mouth in high school and says she was hit with a basketball instead of his fist the one adult she tells scolds her ‘you know he loses his temper easily why the hell did you have to provoke him?’ so she shrinks folds into herself, flinches every time a man raises his voice by the time she’s 16 she’s learned her job well be quiet, be soft, be easy don’t give him a reason but for all her efforts, he still finds one ‘boys will be boys’ rings in her head ‘boys will be boys he doesn’t mean it he can’t help it’ she’s 7 years old on the playground again with a mouth full of rocks and blood that tastes like copper love because boys will be boys baby don’t you know that’s just how he shows he cares she’s 18 now and they’re drunk in the split second it takes for her words to enter his ears they’re ruined like a glass heirloom being dropped between the hands of generations she meant them to open his arms but they curl his fists and suddenly his hands are on her and her head hits the wall and all of the goddamn words in the world couldn’t save them in this moment she touches the bruise the next day boys will be boys aggression, affection, violence, love how does she separate them when she learned so early that they’re inextricably bound, tangled in a constant tug-of-war she draws tally marks on her walls ratios of kisses to bruises one entire side of her bedroom turns purple, one entire side of her body boys will be boys will be boys will be boys when she’s 20, a boy touches her hips and she jumps he asks her who the hell taught her to be scared like that and she wants to laugh doesn’t he know that boys will be boys? it took her 13 years to unlearn that lesson from the playground so I guess what I’m trying to say is i will talk until my voice is hoarse so that my little sister understands that aggression and affection are two entirely separate things baby they exist in different universes my niece can’t even speak yet but I think I’ll start with her now don’t ever accept the excuse that boys will be boys don’t ever let him put his hands on you like that if you see hate blazing in his eyes don’t you ever confuse it with love baby love won’t hurt when it comes you won’t have to hide it under long sleeves during the summer and the only reason he should ever reach out his hand is to hold yours
Fortesa Latifi
If I were the Devil . . . I mean, if I were the Prince of Darkness, I would of course, want to engulf the whole earth in darkness. I would have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree, so I should set about however necessary to take over the United States. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. In the ears of the young marrieds, I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you. I would caution them not to be extreme in religion, in patriotism, in moral conduct. And the old, I would teach to pray. I would teach them to say after me: “Our Father, which art in Washington” . . . If I were the devil, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull an uninteresting. I’d threaten T.V. with dirtier movies and vice versa. And then, if I were the devil, I’d get organized. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. And I’d tranquilize the rest with pills. If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine yound intellects but neglect to discipline emotions . . . let those run wild. I would designate an athiest to front for me before the highest courts in the land and I would get preachers to say “she’s right.” With flattery and promises of power, I could get the courts to rule what I construe as against God and in favor of pornography, and thus, I would evict God from the courthouse, and then from the school house, and then from the houses of Congress and then, in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and I would deify science because that way men would become smart enough to create super weapons but not wise enough to control them. If I were Satan, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg, and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. If I were the devil, I would take from those who have and I would give to those who wanted, until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. And then, my police state would force everybody back to work. Then, I could separate families, putting children in uniform, women in coal mines, and objectors in slave camps. In other words, if I were Satan, I’d just keep on doing what he’s doing. (Speech was broadcast by ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey on April 3, 1965)
Paul Harvey
She will not sit down after, when we all collapse on the mats, our sweaty limbs crisscrossing. She will not sit down, will not let the steel slip from between her shoulders. She has so much pride that, even if I’m weary of her, of her fighting ways, her gauntlet-tossing, I can’t say there isn’t something else that beams in me. An old ember licked to fresh fire again. Beth, the old Beth, before high school, before Ben Trammel, all the boys and self-sorrow, the divorce and the adderall and the suspensions.
Megan Abbott (Dare Me)
When you are old, at evening candle-lit beside the fire bending to your wool, read out my verse and murmur, "Ronsard writ this praise for me when I was beautiful." And not a maid but, at the sound of it, though nodding at the stitch on broidered stool, will start awake, and bless love's benefit whose long fidelities bring Time to school. I shall be thin and ghost beneath the earth by myrtle shade in quiet after pain, but you, a crone, will crouch beside the hearth mourning my love and all your proud disdain. And since what comes to-morrow who can say? Live, pluck the roses of the world to-day.
Pierre de Ronsard (Sonnets pour Hélène)
The next morning I told Mom I couldn't go to school again. She asked what was wrong. I told her, “The same thing that’s always wrong.” “You’re sick?” “I'm sad.” “About Dad?” “About everything.” She sat down on the bed next to me, even though I knew she was in a hurry. “What's everything?” I started counting on my fingers: “The meat and dairy products in our refrigerator, fistfights, car accidents, Larry–” “Who's Larry?” “The homeless guy in front of the Museum of Natural History who always says ‘I promise it’s for food’ after he asks for money.” She turned around and I zipped her dress while I kept counting. “How you don’t know who Larry is, even though you probably see him all the time, how Buckminster just sleeps and eats and goes to the bathroom and has no ‘raison d’etre’, the short ugly guy with no neck who takes tickets at the IMAX theater, how the sun is going to explode one day, how every birthday I always get at least one thing I already have, poor people who get fat because they eat junk food because it’s cheaper…” That was when I ran out of fingers, but my list was just getting started, and I wanted it to be long, because I knew she wouldn't leave while I was still going. “…domesticated animals, how I have a domesticated animal, nightmares, Microsoft Windows, old people who sit around all day because no one remembers to spend time with them and they’re embarrassed to ask people to spend time with them, secrets, dial phones, how Chinese waitresses smile even when there’s nothing funny or happy, and also how Chinese people own Mexican restaurants but Mexican people never own Chinese restaurants, mirrors, tape decks, my unpopularity in school, Grandma’s coupons, storage facilities, people who don’t know what the Internet is, bad handwriting, beautiful songs, how there won’t be humans in fifty years–” “Who said there won't be humans in fifty years?” I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?” She looked at her watch and said, “I'm optimistic.” “Then I have some bed news for you, because humans are going to destroy each other as soon as it becomes easy enough to, which will be very soon.” “Why do beautiful songs make you sad?” “Because they aren't true.” “Never?” “Nothing is beautiful and true.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
She'd laugh at odd times as we talked and this flustered me pleasantly and made me laugh too, as if we both understood something we couldn't say.
Tobias Wolff (Old School)
I don't have a choice sahib. Artho hi kanya parakeeya eva father used to say" "What does it mean?" "It means a girl is another man's property and she is held in trust by her parents.
Ranjani Ramachandran (Fourteen Urban Folklore)
The story of declining school quality across the twentieth century is, for the most part, a fable,” says social scientist Richard Rothstein, whose book The Way We Were? cites a series of similar attacks on American education, moving backward one decade at a time.3 Each generation invokes the good old days, during which, we discover, people had been doing exactly the same thing.
Alfie Kohn (The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting)
Does God exist? Unlike many people, this had not been the great inner debate of her life. Under the old Communist regime, the official line in schools had been that life ended with death, and she had gotten used to the idea. On the other hand, her parents’ generation and her grandparents’ generation still went to church, said prayers, and went on pilgrimages, and were utterly convinced that God listened to what they said. At twenty-four, having experienced everything she could experience—and that was no small achievement—Veronika was almost certain that everything ended with death. That is why she had chosen suicide: freedom at last. Eternal oblivion. In her heart of hearts, though, there was still a doubt: What if God did exist? Thousands of years of civilization had made of suicide a taboo, an affront to all religious codes: Man struggles to survive, not to succumb. The human race must procreate. Society needs workers. A couple has to have a reason to stay together, even when love has ceased to exist, and a country needs soldiers, politicians and artists. If God exists, and I truly don’t believe he does, he will know that there are limits to human understanding. He was the one who created this confusion in which there is poverty, injustice, greed, and loneliness. He doubtless had the best of intentions, but the results have proved disastrous; if God exists, he will be generous with those creatures who chose to leave this Earth early, and he might even apologize for having made us spend time here. To hell with taboos and superstitions. Her devout mother would say: “God knows the past, the present, and the future.” In that case, he had placed her in this world in the full knowledge that she would end up killing herself, and he would not be shocked by her actions. Veronika began to feel a slight nausea, which became rapidly more intense.
Paulo Coelho (Veronika Decides to Die)
Ave! Duci novo, similis duci seneci”,’ murmured Mr Slant, drily as only a zombie can manage. ‘Or, as we used to say at school, “Ave! Bossa nova, similis bossa seneca!”’ He gave a little schoolmasterly laugh. He felt at home with dead languages. ‘Of course, grammatically that is completely—’ ‘And that means . . . ?’ said Madam. ‘Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss,’ muttered Dr Follett.
Terry Pratchett (Night Watch (Discworld, #29))
there was a sort of embarrassment about storytelling that struck home powerfully about one hundred years ago, at the beginning of modernism. We see a similar reaction in painting and in music. It's a preoccupation suddenly with the surface rather than the depth. So you get, for example, Picasso and Braque making all kinds of experiments with the actual surface of the painting. That becomes the interesting thing, much more interesting than the thing depicted, which is just an old newspaper, a glass of wine, something like that. In music, the Second Viennese School becomes very interested in what happens when the surface, the diatonic structure of the keys breaks down, and we look at the notes themselves in a sort of tone row, instead of concentrating on things like tunes, which are sort of further in, if you like. That happened, of course, in literature, too, with such great works as James Joyce's Ulysses, which is all about, really, how it's told. Not so much about what happens, which is a pretty banal event in a banal man's life. It's about how it's told. The surface suddenly became passionately interesting to artists in every field about a hundred years ago. In the field of literature, story retreated. The books we talked about just now, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair -- their authors were the great storytellers as well as the great artists. After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's..." So there was a great split that took place. Story retreated, as it were, into genre fiction-into crime fiction, into science fiction, into romantic fiction-whereas the high-art literary people went another way. Children's books held onto the story, because children are rarely interested in surfaces in that sort of way. They're interested in what-happened and what-happened next. I found it a great discipline, when I was writing The Golden Compass and other books, to think that there were some children in the audience. I put it like that because I don't say I write for children. I find it hard to understand how some writers can say with great confidence, "Oh, I write for fourth grade children" or "I write for boys of 12 or 13." How do they know? I don't know. I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story. Your interest really is not in excluding people and saying to some of them, "No, you can't come, because it's just for so-and-so." My interest as a storyteller is to have as big an audience as possible. That will include children, I hope, and it will include adults, I hope. If dogs and horses want to stop and listen, they're welcome as well.
Philip Pullman
name is Percy Jackson. I’m twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York. Am I a troubled kid? Yeah. You could say that.
Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes (A Percy Jackson and the Olympians Guide))
With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally 'bright,' did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn't it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind. Who knows who might be the target of a well-read man? Me? I won't stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world [...] there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior: official censors, judges and executors.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Eight-year-old Jimmy comes home from school with a note from his teacher that says, “Jimmy stole a pencil from the student sitting next to him.” Jimmy’s father is furious. He goes to great lengths to lecture Jimmy and let him know how upset and disappointed he is, and he grounds the boy for two weeks. “And just wait until your mother comes home!” he tells the boy ominously. Finally he concludes, “Anyway, Jimmy, if you needed a pencil, why didn’t you just say something? Why didn’t you simply ask? You know very well that I can bring you dozens of pencils from work.
Dan Ariely (The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves)
My father and I look up and then at each other. I can feel my heart separate from the rest of my body. I want to hand it to frothing old man in front of me and say, take it. It's yours, because it has always been yours, if not for your sperm, your food, and the school fees that you pay on my behalf, then who and where would I be? Nothing. I am because you are. I say nothing. Each word I search for flies from my brain before I can send it off my tongue.
Uzodinma Iweala (Speak No Evil)
To Arendt’s point about post-revolution stability deriving from pre-revolutionary experience in self government, it’s worth remembering that two of Henry’s less chatty fellow burgesses became the first and third presidents of the United States. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, referring to the masterminds of the 2013 government shutdown and no doubt alluding to the freshman senator who was its ringleader, told me, “Experience is terribly important. You’ll notice that the congressmen who want to hold up the government are all junior people and new to the game. And of course they will say, ‘Oh, it’s Washington cynicism, where they all compromise and work out backroom deals.’ But that’s actually how democracy works.” Which is exactly how government operations resumed on October 17, 2013: a bipartisan group of old-school senators with the combined age of Stonehenge started hashing out a bargain drafted by third-term moderate Republican Susan Collins of Maine, who, prior to her election sixteen years earlier, had spent twelve years working behind the scenes as a legislative aide to her predecessor.
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
You know what I think? I think the reason high school sucks is because it feels so small. Like a too-tight turtleneck, " Noah says. "And even if you are brave enough to molt, there's all these people around you still, like, holding up and showing you your old skin.
Julie Buxbaum (Hope and Other Punchlines)
My blind adoration of Omi was devoid of any element of conscious criticism, and still less did I have anything like a moral viewpoint where he was concern. Whenever I tried to capture the amorphous mass of my adoration within the confines of analysis, it would already have disappeared. If there be such a thing as love that has neither duration nor progress, this was precisely my emotion. The eyes through which I saw Omi were always those of a 'first glance' or, if I may say so, of the 'primeval glance'. It was purely an unconscious attitude on my part, a ceaselesseffort to protect my fourteen-yesr-old purity from the process of erosion. Could this have been love? Grant it to be one form of love, for even though at first glance it seemed to retain its pristine form forever, simply repeating that form over and over again, it too had its own unique sort of debasement and decay. And it was a debasement more evil than that of any normal kind of love. Indeed, of all the kinds of decay in this world, decadent purity is the most malignant. Nevertheless, in my unrequited love for Omi, in this the first love I encountered in life, I seemed like a baby bird keeping its truly innocent animal lusts hidden under its wing. I was being tempted, not by the desire of possession, but simply by unadorned temptation itself. To say the least, while at school, particularly during a boring class, I could not take my eyes off Omi's profile. What more could I have done when I did not know that to love is both to seek and to be sought? For me love was nothing but a dialogue of little riddles, with no answers given. As for my spirit of adoration, I never even imagined it to be a thing that required some sort of answer.
Yukio Mishima (Confessions of a Mask)
Ah, this feels just like the old times... I still miss you and the others, you know, and life at school and those times when two or more of us would sit up talking far too late into the night. Which is not to say I would give up my present life to return there, but... Well, even happy choices involve some sacrifice. And most of us, I suppose, would like to both have our cake and eat it if only it were possible
Mary Balogh (Simply Magic (Simply Quartet #3))
My birth certificate says: Female Negro Mother: Mary Anne Irby, 22, Negro Father: Jack Austin Woodson, 25, Negro In Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King Jr. is planning a march on Washington, where John F. Kennedy is president. In Harlem, Malcolm X is standing on a soapbox talking about a revolution. Outside the window of University Hospital, snow is slowly falling. So much already covers this vast Ohio ground. In Montgomery, only seven years have passed since Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus. I am born brown-skinned, black-haired and wide-eyed. I am born Negro here and Colored there and somewhere else, the Freedom Singers have linked arms, their protests rising into song: Deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall overcome someday. and somewhere else, James Baldwin is writing about injustice, each novel, each essay, changing the world. I do not yet know who I’ll be what I’ll say how I’ll say it . . . Not even three years have passed since a brown girl named Ruby Bridges walked into an all-white school. Armed guards surrounded her while hundreds of white people spat and called her names. She was six years old. I do not know if I’ll be strong like Ruby. I do not know what the world will look like when I am finally able to walk, speak, write . . . Another Buckeye! the nurse says to my mother. Already, I am being named for this place. Ohio. The Buckeye State. My fingers curl into fists, automatically This is the way, my mother said, of every baby’s hand. I do not know if these hands will become Malcolm’s—raised and fisted or Martin’s—open and asking or James’s—curled around a pen. I do not know if these hands will be Rosa’s or Ruby’s gently gloved and fiercely folded calmly in a lap, on a desk, around a book, ready to change the world . . .
Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming)
1.There are no rules, because life is made up of too many rules as it is 2.But there are three "guidelines" (which sounds less rigid than "rules"): a)No using our phones to get us there. We have to do this strictly old-school, which means learning to read actual maps b)We alternate choosing places to go, but we also have to be willing to go where the road takes us. This means the grand, the small, the bizarre, the poetic, the beautiful, the ugly, the surprising. Just like life. But absolutely, unconditionally, resolutely nothing ordinary. c)At each site, we leave something almost like an offering. It can be our own private game of geocaching( "the recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website"), only not a game, and just for us. The rules of geocaching say "takes something, leave something." The way I figure it, we stand to get something out of each place, so why not give something back? Also, it's a way to prove we've been there, and a way to leave a part of us behind.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
We take it for granted that life moves forward. You build memories; you build momentum.You move as a rower moves: facing backwards. You can see where you've been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It's hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way. Avenoir. You'd see your memories approaching for years, and watch as they slowly become real. You’d know which friendships will last, which days are important, and prepare for upcoming mistakes. You'd go to school, and learn to forget. One by one you'd patch things up with old friends, enjoying one last conversation before you meet and go your separate ways. And then your life would expand into epic drama. The colors would get sharper, the world would feel bigger. You'd become nothing other than yourself, reveling in your own weirdness. You'd fall out of old habits until you could picture yourself becoming almost anything. Your family would drift slowly together, finding each other again. You wouldn't have to wonder how much time you had left with people, or how their lives would turn out. You'd know from the start which week was the happiest you’ll ever be, so you could relive it again and again. You'd remember what home feels like, and decide to move there for good. You'd grow smaller as the years pass, as if trying to give away everything you had before leaving. You'd try everything one last time, until it all felt new again. And then the world would finally earn your trust, until you’d think nothing of jumping freely into things, into the arms of other people. You'd start to notice that each summer feels longer than the last. Until you reach the long coasting retirement of childhood. You'd become generous, and give everything back. Pretty soon you’d run out of things to give, things to say, things to see. By then you'll have found someone perfect; and she'll become your world. And you will have left this world just as you found it. Nothing left to remember, nothing left to regret, with your whole life laid out in front of you, and your whole life left behind.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
When I was eleven or twelve, we had this real old guy as a Sunday school teacher. Mom said he'd been in some war: Iraq, Vietnam … I forget. Anyway, almost every class he'd say, "There are no atheists in foxholes, kids." At the time, it was just weird. What did we know about either atheists or foxholes? Nothing. But I sort of understood it now.
Mike Mullin (Ashfall (Ashfall, #1))
Kevin", his father began, "I've been thinking about it – I guess I was kind of carried away. It's just that I've waited so long for my old school to make it to the Regionals... I suppose I was living it vicariously through you. Keith says you're not going to fail, after all. Is that right?" "Looks like I'll make it. I know it's hard to believe..." "Yes, it is. I was hoping you could get a football scholarship, you know. Something to waive the entrance requirements, because I don't know what college would take you-" "Yeah. Thanks a lot Dad," Kevin said sarcastically. He already knew what his father thought of him and didn't need to be reminded yet again. "Oh, come on. You know perfectly well that you're too stupid to-" "That's not what my boyfriend says. Oh, by the way, Dad – I'm a faggot. Did I mention that?" "... Kevin – get your stuff, and get out." "Gladly.
Failte (The Girl For Me)
We've met before - a thousand times. I am the girl the world forgets. It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time. A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger. No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit - you will never remember who I am. That makes my life tricky. It also makes me dangerous...
Claire North (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)
pissing in jars, they had never been handed a fifteen-year-old Kotex product by the school nurse. But they trusted me and Paula, so I’m proud to say we made
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
Geez. I was worried about this when the Murphys eyed each other. Do they suspect? And, if a five-year-old knows I say weird things, how will I ever blend in at school?
Shel Delisle (Winging It! (Confessions of an Angel-In-Training, #1))
daughter of the servants.” “Gee, you must have been lonely, Judge, having nobody to play with.” “I played with Sam Westing—chess. Hour after hour I sat staring down at that chessboard. He lectured me, he insulted me, and he won every game.” The judge thought of their last game: She had been so excited about taking his queen, only to have the master checkmate her in the next move. Sam Westing had deliberately sacrificed his queen and she had fallen for it. “Stupid child, you can’t have a brain in that frizzy head to make a move like that.” Those were the last words he ever said to her. The judge continued: “I was sent to boarding school when I was twelve. My parents visited me at school when they could, but I never set foot in the Westing house again, not until two weeks ago.” “Your folks must have really worked hard,” Sandy said. “An education like that costs a fortune.” “Sam Westing paid for my education. He saw that I was accepted into the best schools, probably arranged for my first job, perhaps more, I don’t know.” “That’s the first decent thing I’ve heard about the old man.” “Hardly decent, Mr. McSouthers. It was to Sam Westing’s advantage to have a judge in his debt. Needless to say, I have excused myself from every case remotely connected with
Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game)
The only thing we can depend on in life is that everything changes. The seasons, our partners, what we want and need. We hold hands with our high school friends and swear to never lose touch, and then we do. We scrape ice off our cars and feel like winter will never end, and it does. We stand in the bathroom and look at our face and say, “Stop getting old, face. I command you!” and it doesn’t listen. Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
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)
What prevents a woman from walking out of an abusive relationship? Old-school feminists will speak about economic independence. A woman is free if she has the money to support herself. With a job, she will find her feet. If she has a job, it will miraculously solve all her problems. A job will give her community. One day she will walk into the office, and they will ask her about the bruise above her eyebrow and she will say she walked into a wall, but they will know it is her husband hitting her, and they will wrap her up in a protective embrace.
Meena Kandasamy (When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife)
My diary. Little Ginny’s been writing in it for months and months, telling me all her pitiful worries and woes — how her brothers tease her, how she had to come to school with secondhand robes and books, how” — Riddle’s eyes glinted — “how she didn’t think famous, good, great Harry Potter would ever like her. . . .” All the time he spoke, Riddle’s eyes never left Harry’s face. There was an almost hungry look in them. “It’s very boring, having to listen to the silly little troubles of an eleven-year-old girl,” he went on. “But I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me. No one’s ever understood me like you, Tom. . . . I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in. . . . It’s like having a friend I can carry around in my pocket. . . .” Riddle laughed, a high, cold laugh that didn’t suit him. It made the hairs stand up on the back of Harry’s neck. “If I say it myself, Harry, I’ve always been able to charm the people I needed. So Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted. . . . I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets. I grew powerful, far more powerful than little Miss Weasley. Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul back into her . . .
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
What the gods are supposed to be, what the priests are commissioned to say, is not a sensational secret like what those running messengers of the Gospel had to say. Nobody else except those messengers has any Gospel; nobody else has any good news; for the simple reason that nobody else has any news. Those runners gather impetus as they run. Ages afterwards they still speak as if something had just happened. They have not lost the speed and momentum of messengers; they have hardly lost, as it were, the wild eyes of witnesses. In the Catholic Church, which is the cohort of the message, there are still those headlong acts of holiness that speak of something rapid and recent; a self-sacrifice that startles the world like a suicide. But it is not a suicide; it is not pessimistic; it is still as optimistic as St. Francis of the flowers and birds. It is newer in spirit than the newest schools of thought; and it is almost certainly on the eve of new triumphs. For these men serve a mother who seems to grow more beautiful as new generations rise up and call her blessed. We might sometimes fancy that the Church grows younger as the world grows old.
G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man)
What is the age of the soul of man? As she hath the virtue of the chameleon to change her hue at every new approach, to be gay with the merry and mournful with the downcast, so too is her age changeable as her mood. No longer is Leopold, as he sits there, ruminating, chewing the cud of reminiscence, that staid agent of publicity and holder of a modest substance in the funds. He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself. That young figure of then is seen, precociously manly, walking on a nipping morning from the old house in Clambrassil street to the high school, his booksatchel on him bandolierwise, and in it a goodly hunk of wheaten loaf, a mother's thought. Or it is the same figure, a year or so gone over, in his first hard hat (ah, that was a day!), already on the road, a fullfledged traveller for the family firm, equipped with an orderbook, a scented handkerchief (not for show only), his case of bright trinketware (alas, a thing now of the past!), and a quiverful of compliant smiles for this or that halfwon housewife reckoning it out upon her fingertips or for a budding virgin shyly acknowledging (but the heart? tell me!) his studied baisemoins. The scent, the smile but more than these, the dark eyes and oleaginous address brought home at duskfall many a commission to the head of the firm seated with Jacob's pipe after like labours in the paternal ingle (a meal of noodles, you may be sure, is aheating), reading through round horned spectacles some paper from the Europe of a month before. But hey, presto, the mirror is breathed on and the young knighterrant recedes, shrivels, to a tiny speck within the mist. Now he is himself paternal and these about him might be his sons. Who can say? The wise father knows his own child. He thinks of a drizzling night in Hatch street, hard by the bonded stores there, the first. Together (she is a poor waif, a child of shame, yours and mine and of all for a bare shilling and her luckpenny), together they hear the heavy tread of the watch as two raincaped shadows pass the new royal university. Bridie! Bridie Kelly! He will never forget the name, ever remember the night, first night, the bridenight. They are entwined in nethermost darkness, the willer and the willed, and in an instant (fiat!) light shall flood the world. Did heart leap to heart? Nay, fair reader. In a breath 'twas done but - hold! Back! It must not be! In terror the poor girl flees away through the murk. She is the bride of darkness, a daughter of night. She dare not bear the sunnygolden babe of day. No, Leopold! Name and memory solace thee not. That youthful illusion of thy strength was taken from thee and in vain. No son of thy loins is by thee. There is none to be for Leopold, what Leopold was for Rudolph.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
The cool thing about being a middle-aged woman is that they asked me if I wanted the security guard inside of the room or outside of the room, and I said, “Outside.” And the guard said, “You’ll be locked in, there’ll be no way for you to get out.” And I turned around and there was 21 guys looking at me. There’s something about being a middle-aged woman that just totally… I can rock the Auntie Lynda or grandma thing now. [Impersonating an old woman] “Now, you sit down! I don’t care about those tattoos! You just sit down.” [Laughter.] I really loved it. These are the people that I would venture to say probably went to public schools, probably went to difficult public schools, and now they’re in prison. Their ability to focus and write these stories was amazing; I mean their stories are.… I think the same thing that can get somebody in prison is the same thing that could make them a really good writer. Impulse control. There’s no, “Is this a bad convenience store to rob?” [Laughter.] “Is this a bad sentence?
Lynda Barry
Those clothes are Susie's,' my father said calmly when he reached him. Buckley looked down at my blackwatch dress that he held in his hand. My father stepped closer, took the dress from my brother, and then, without speaking, he gathered the rest of my clothes, which Buckley had piled on the lawn. As he turned in silence toward the house, hardly breathing, clutching my clothes to him, it sparked. I was the only one to see the colors. Just near Buckley's ears and on the tips of his cheeks and chin he was a little orange somehow, a little red. Why can't I use them?' he asked. It landed in my father's back like a fist. Why can't I use those clothes to stake my tomatoes?' My father turned around. He saw his son standing there, behind him the perfect plot of muddy, churned-up earth spotted with tiny seedlings. 'How can you ask me that question?' You have to choose. It's not fair,' my brother said. Buck?' My father held my clothes against his chest. I watched Buckley flare and light. Behind him was the sun of the goldenrod hedge, twice as tall as it had been at my death. I'm tired of it!' Buckley blared. 'Keesha's dad died and she's okay?' Is Keesha a girl at school?' Yes!' My father was frozen. He could feel the dew that had gathered on his bare ankles and feet, could feel the ground underneath him, cold and moist and stirring with possibility. I'm sorry. When did this happen?' That's not the point, Dad! You don't get it.' Buckley turned around on his heel and started stomping the tender tomato shoots with his foot. Buck, stop!' my father cried. My brother turned. You don't get it, Dad,' he said. I'm sorry,' my father said. These are Susie's clothes and I just... It may not make sense, but they're hers-something she wore.' ... You act like she was yours only!' Tell me what you want to say. What's this about your friend Keesha's dad?' Put the clothes down.' My father laid them gently on the ground. It isn't about Keesha's dad.' Tell me what it is about.' My father was now all immediacy. He went back to the place he had been after his knee surgery, coming up out of the druggie sleep of painkillers to see his then-five-year-old son sitting near him, waiting for his eyes to flicker open so he could say, 'Peek-a-boo, Daddy.' She's dead.' It never ceased to hurt. 'I know that.' But you don't act that way.' Keesha's dad died when she was six. Keesha said she barely even thinks of him.' She will,' my father said. But what about us?' Who?' Us, Dad. Me and Lindsey. Mom left becasue she couldn't take it.' Calm down, Buck,' my father said. He was being as generous as he could as the air from his lungs evaporated out into his chest. Then a little voice in him said, Let go, let go, let go. 'What?' my father said. I didn't say anything.' Let go. Let go. Let go. I'm sorry,' my father said. 'I'm not feeling very well.' His feet had grown unbelievably cold in the damp grass. His chest felt hollow, bugs flying around an excavated cavity. There was an echo in there, and it drummed up into his ears. Let go. My father dropped down to his knees. His arm began to tingle on and off as if it had fallen asleep. Pins and needles up and down. My brother rushed to him. Dad?' Son.' There was a quaver in his voice and a grasping outward toward my brother. I'll get Grandma.' And Buckley ran. My father whispered faintly as he lay on his side with his face twisted in the direction of my old clothes: 'You can never choose. I've loved all three of you.
Alice Sebold
When Jeff Greene was in second grade, seven and a half years old, he got home from school one Tuesday afternoon in early March, and found a note from his mother, saying that she had gone away and would not be coming back.
Cynthia Voigt (A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Cycle, #3))
If you have a really good ideas, one thing you dont need is a fucking gun. An iPad is a kind of a cool thing. They don't need to threaten you with fines to get you to buy one do they? The moment the government says they're gonna force you to do something, you know its a bad idea. If someone invites you on a date with chloroform, an old sofa, and a windowless van, it's not a date. So, the fact that ObamaCare, welfare state, military industrial complex, public schools - you name it. The fact that it has to be imposed at gunpoint is a clue that it's shit. Recognize that when there is a gun to your face, there is not a very advantageous human being on the other end.
Stefan Molyneux
Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I’m told. Not doing it the second time I’m told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow. Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I’m old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don’t know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn’t fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that’s not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I’m called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV’s volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I’m going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly’s doll’s hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don’t grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don’t see until it’s too late. Giving my mother’s good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine’s Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don’t fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don’t like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth’s eating a candy bar I didn’t pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn’t put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.
Bob Thurber (Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel)
The foretelling, Elias,” the Augur says. “The future given to the Augurs in visions. That is the reason we built this school. That is the reason you are here. Do you know the story?” The story of Blackcliff’s origin was the first thing I learned as a Yearling: Five hundred years ago, a warrior brute named Taius united the fractured Martial clans and swept down from the north, crushing the Scholar Empire and taking over most of the continent. He named himself Emperor and established his dynasty. He was called the Masked One, for the unearthly silver mask he wore to scare the hell out of his enemies. But the Augurs, considered holy even then, saw in their visions that Taius’s line would one day fail. When that day came, the Augurs would choose a new Emperor through a series of physical and mental tests: the Trials. For obvious reasons, Taius didn’t appreciate this prediction, but the Augurs must have threatened to strangle him with sheep gut, because he didn’t make a peep when they raised Blackcliff and began training students here. And here we all are, five centuries later, masked just like Taius the First, waiting for the old devil’s line to fail so one of us can become the shiny new Emperor. I’m not holding my breath. Generations of Masks have trained and served and died without a whisper of the Trials. Blackcliff may have started out as a place to prepare the future Emperor, but now it’s just a training ground for the Empire’s deadliest asset. “I know the story,” I say in response to the Augur’s question. But I don’t believe a word of it, since it’s mythical horse dung.
Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1))
Or should I have said that I wanted to die, not in the sense of wanting to throw myself off of that train bridge over there, but more like wanting to be asleep forever because there isn’t any making up for killing women or even watching women get killed, or for that matter killing men and shooting them in the back and shooting them more times than necessary to actually kill them and it was like just trying to kill everything you saw sometimes because it felt like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone and knowing from being taught your whole life that there is no making up for what you are doing, you’re taught that your whole life, but then even your mother is so happy and proud because you lined up your sign posts and made people crumple and they were not getting up ever and yeah they might have been trying to kill you too, so you say, What are you goona do?, but really it doesn’t matter because by the end you failed at the one good thing you could have done, and the one person you promised would live is dead, and you have seen all things die in more manners than you’d like to recall and for a while the whole thing fucking ravaged your spirit like some deep-down shit, man, that you didn’t even realize you had until only the animals made you sad, the husks of dogs filled with explosives and old arty shells and the fucking guts of everything stinking like metal and burning garbage and you walk around and the smell is deep down into you now and you say, How can metal be so on fire? and Where is all this fucking trash coming from? and even back home you’re getting whiffs of it and then that thing you started to notice slipping away is gone and now it’s becoming inverted, like you have bottomed out in your spirit but yet a deeper hole is being dug because everybody is so fucking happy to see you, the murderer, the fucking accomplice, that at-bare-minimum bearer of some fucking responsibility, and everyone wants to slap you on the back and you start to want to burn the whole goddamn country down, you want to burn every yellow ribbon in sight, and you can’t explain it but it’s just, like, Fuck you, but then you signed up to go so it’s your fault, really, because you went on purpose, so you are in the end doubly fucked, so why not just find a spot and curl up and die and let’s make it as painless as possible because you are a coward and, really, cowardice got you into this mess because you wanted to be a man and people made fun of you and pushed you around in the cafeteria and the hallways in high school because you liked to read books and poems sometimes and they’d call you a fag and really deep down you know you went because you wanted to be a man and that’s never gonna happen now and you’re too much of a coward to be a man and get it over with so why not find a clean, dry place and wait it out with it hurting as little as possible and just wait to go to sleep and not wake up and fuck ‘em all.
Kevin Powers (The Yellow Birds)
We scoffed at the kids who weren't like us, the ones who already talked about careers, or bliddy mortgages and pensions. Kids wanting to be old before they were young. Kids wanting to be dead before they'd lived. They were digging their own graves, building the walls of their own damn jails. Us, we hung to our youth. We were footloose, fancy free. We said we'd never grow boring and old. We plundered charity shops for vintage clothes. We bought battered Levis and gorgeous faded velvet stuff from Attica in High Bridge. We wore coloured boots, hemp scarves from Gaia. We read Baudelaire and Byron. We read our poems to each other. We wrote songs and posted them on YouTube. We formed bands. We talked of the amazing journeys we'd take together once school was done. Sometimes we paired off, made couples that lasted for a little while, but the group was us. We hung together. We could say anything to each other. We loved each other.
David Almond (A Song for Ella Grey)
And we were in our thirties. Well into the Age of Boredom, when nothing is new. Now, I’m not being self-pitying; it’s simply true. Newness, or whatever you want to call it, becomes a very scarce commodity after thirty. I think that’s unfair. If I were in charge of the human life span, I’d make sure to budget newness much more selectively, to ration it out. As it is now, it’s almost used up in the first three years of life. By then you’ve seen for the first time, tasted for the first time, held something for the first time. Learned to walk, talk, go to the bathroom. What have you got to look forward to that can compare with that? Sure, there’s school. Making friends. Falling in love. Learning to drive. Sex. Learning to trade. That has to carry you for the next twenty-five years. But after that? What’s the new excitement? Mastering your home computer? Figuring out how to work CompuServe? “Now, if it were up to me, I’d parcel out. So that, say, at thirty-five we just learned how to go on the potty. Imagine the feeling of accomplishment! They’d have office parties. "Did you hear? The vice president in charge of overseas development just went a whole week without his diaper. We’re buying him a gift." It’d be beautiful.
Phoef Sutton (Fifteen Minutes to Live)
Until… Chase stood. The restaurant, which had been a loud rumble, suddenly quieted. Everything after that happened in slow motion. All of our family and friends faded away as the man I love got down on one knee. I heard and saw nothing but him. “I had this whole thing to say planned out in my head, but the minute I saw your face, I completely forgot every word. So I’m just going to wing it here. Reese Elizabeth Annesley, since the first time I laid eyes on you on that bus in middle school, I’ve been crazy about you.” I smiled and shook my head. “You got the crazy part right.” Chase took my hand, and it was then I noticed his was shaking. My cocky, always-confident bossman was nervous. If it was possible, I fell a little more in love with him in that moment. I squeezed his hand, offering reassurance, and he steadied. That’s what we did for each other. I was the balance to his unsteadiness. He was the courage to my fear. He continued. “Maybe it wasn’t a school bus or middle school, but I fell hard for you in the hall, that much I’m sure of. From the moment I saw your beautiful face light up that dark hallway a year ago, I was done. I didn’t even care that we were both on dates with other people, I just needed to be closer to you any way I could. Since then, you’ve distracted me every day whether you’re near me or not. You brought me back to life, and there’s nothing I want to do more than build that life with you. I want to be the man to look under your bed every night and wake up next to you in it every morning. You’ve changed me. When I’m with you, I’m myself, only a better version, because you make me want to be a better man. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and I want it to start yesterday. So, please tell me you’ll be my wife because I’ve already been waiting for you my entire life, and I don’t want to wait any more.” I pressed my forehead to his as tears streamed down my face. “You know I’m going to be even crazier once we live together, and probably even worse when we have our own family. Three locks might turn to seven, and doing my check in that big house of yours is going to take a long time. It might get old and tiring. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to change any of that.” Chase reached behind me and bunched my hair into his hand, cupping it along with the nape of my neck. “I don’t want you to change. Not any of it. I love everything about you. There’s not a single thing I’d change if I could. Well, except your last name.
Vi Keeland (Bossman)
As I make the ten-minute drive into town, I curse O’Shea for forcing this volunteer gig on me and ponder the authenticity of voodoo dolls. Eventually I decide it doesn’t matter if they’re real or not. It’d still be fun to poke needles into a teeny doll version of Frank O’Shea. Once it starts falling apart from all the holes, I can use the head as a stress ball. At a red light, I shoot a quick text to my teammate Fitzy—Hey, do u know how 2 make a voodoo doll? His response doesn’t come until I reach the small arena across the street from the school. Him: I’d think u were fcking with me, but the question is stupid enuff to feel legit. No idea how to make v-doll. Can prolly use any old doll? Challenge will be finding a voodoo witch to link it to your target. Me: That makes sense. Him: Does it?? Me: Voodoo implies magic, hexes, etc. I don’t think any doll would work. Otherwise every doll is a v-doll, right? Him: Right. Me: Anyway. Thx. Thought u might know. Him: Why the fuck would *I* know? Me: Ur into all those fantasy role-play games. U know magic. Him: I’m not Harry Potter, ffs. Me: HP is a nerd. Ur a nerd. Ergo, ur a boy wizard. He sends a middle-finger emoji, then says, Bday beers at Malone’s 2nite. U still down? Me: Yup. Him: C U ltr
Elle Kennedy (The Score (Off-Campus, #3))
What do you know about me, Isabeau?" He leaned forward, and I forced myself to stay still instead of shying away. He was so close that I could smell the subtle notes of his cologne: musk and wood with a hint of leather. What did he want me to say? That everyone said he was an ogre? Or that they all wanted to sleep with him anyway? "I..." "Go on. You won't hurt my feelings." He was still smiling, slight dimples visible in both cheeks. The sight was destracting, to say the least. "I know that you're the youngest CEO and partner in the company's history, and I know that you earned the spot by working your way up after graduate school instead of using your inheritance as a crutch." "Everyone knows that. What do you know about me? The real stuff. None of this press release bullshit." I looked down at my hands, anything not to have to look up at his face so close to me. "Um. People say... they say that you're scary. And that your assistants don't last long." He laughed, a deep, warm sound that seemed to fill up the office. I glanced up to see him smirking at me. I relaxed my grip on the desk a little. Maybe I wasn't being fired after all. "What else do they say?" Oh, God. He can't possibly want me to tell him everything. Does he? The look on his face confirmed that he did. It was clear by the way he looked at me that I wasn't leaving this office until I gave him exactly what he wanted. "They say. Um... They say that you're very, uh, good looking... and impossible to please." "Oh they do, do they?" He sat back, and tented his fingers beneath his chin. "Well, do you agree with them? Do you think I'm scary, handsome and woefully unsatisfied?" My mouth dropped open, and I quickly closed it with a snap. "Yes. I mean, no! I mean, I don't know..." He stood, then, and leaned in close, towering over me. "You were right the first time." Anxiety coursed through me, but I have to admit, being this close to him, smelling his scent and feeling the heat radiating off his body, it made me wonder what it would be like to be in his arms. To be his. To be owned by him... His face was almost touching mine when he whispered to me. "I am unsatisfied, Isabeau. I want you to be my new assistant. Will you do that for me? Will you be at my beck and call?" My breath left me as his words sunk in. When I finally regained it, I felt like I was trembling from head to toe. His beck and call. "Wh-what about your old assistant?" Mr. Drake leaned back again and took my chin in his hand, forcing my eyes to his. "What about her? I want you." His touch on my skin was electric. Are we still talking about business? "Yes, Mr. Drake." His thumb stroked my cheek for the briefest of moments, and then he released me, breathless, and wondering what I'd just agreed to.
Delilah Fawkes (At His Service (The Billionaire's Beck and Call, #1))
Often the circumstances in which we lost our self-esteem were relationships distinguished by a steeply unequal power balance. Our spellcasters were parents. Teachers. Bullies. So-called friends. Strangers. Romantic partners. Cliques. Coworkers. Your spellcaster was the mean first grader. Or the psycho in the dark. Or the town, school, Scout troop, spiritual community, family, neighborhood that did not understand your type, whatever that type was. Your spellcaster could even be society at large, that nameless, faceless "them" with boundless power and a thousand biases. And it became unbearable to be the bullied one, the hounded one, the outcast and excluded one. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, the old saying goes. Others hated us, or appeared to. We joined 'em.
Anneli Rufus (Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself)
See that guy over there?" I nod toward a man in jean shorts and a Budweiser T-shirt. "Am I that obvious?" St. Clair squints at him. "Obviously what? Balding? Overweight? Tasteless?" "American." He sighs melodramtically. "Honestly, Anna. You must get over this." "I just don't want to offend anyone. I hear they offend easily." "You're not offending anyone except me right now." "What about her?" I point to a middle-aged woman in khaki shorts and a knit top with stars and stripes on it.She has a camera strapped to her belt and is arguing with a man in a bucket hat. Her husband,I suppose. "Completely offensive." "I mean,am I as obvious as her?" "Considering she's wearing the American flag, I'd venture a no on that one." He bites his thumbnail. "Listen.I think I have a solution to your problem, but you'll have to wait for it. Just promise you'll stop asking me to compare you to fifty-year-old women,and I'll take care of everything." "How? With what? A French passport?" He snorts. "I didn't say I'd make you French." I open my mouth to protest, but he cuts me off. "Deal?" "Deal," I say uncomfortably. I don't care for surprises. "But it better be good." "Oh,it's good." And St. Clair looks so smug that I'm about to call him on it, when I realize I can't see our school anymore. I don't believe it.He's completely distracted me.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Bloody rain” says Mr Chivers Bouncing a basketball On the one dry patch of court bloody rain” he nods to our Sports class And gives us the afternoon off. Bloody rain all right As Annabel and I run to Megalong Creek hut Faster than we ever have in Chivers’s class And the exercise we have in mind We’ve been training for all year But I doubt if old Chivers Will give us a medal if he ever finds out. We high jump into the hut And strip down Climb under the blankets And cheer the bloody rain As it does a lap or two Around the mountain While Annabel and me Embrace like winners should Like good sports do As Mr. Chivers sips his third coffee And twitches his bad knee From his playing days While miles away Annabel and I Score a convincing victory And for once in our school life The words “Physical Education” Make sense…
Steven Herrick (Kissing Annabel: Love, Ghosts, and Facial Hair; A Place Like This)
We talk of the callousness of the young. ‘Children can be so cruel,’ we say. But only those who are concerned with others can be cruel. Children are both careless and carefree in their connections with others. For one nine-year-old to think passingly about the non-swimming agonies of another would be ridiculous. There were contemporaries of mine at prep school who laboured and tortured themselves over their absolute failure to understand the rudiments of sentence structure: the nominative and accusative in Latin and Greek, the concept of an indirect object, the ablative absolute and the sequence of tenses – these things kept them awake at night. There were others who tossed in insomniac misery because of their fatness, freckledness or squintedness. I don’t remember, I don’t remember because I didn’t care. Only my own agony mattered.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir #1))
An elementary school student asked me the NOT “politically correct” question, “Is an idiot smarter than a moron?” I had to Google it because I was afraid to respond in today’s PC society and didn’t want to offend him, his parents, or anyone else. Here’s what I found. Technically, a moron is smarter than an idiot. An imbecile is also smarter than an idiot. Although today the words are considered insulting and derogatory, prior to the 1960s they were widely used as actual psychology terms associated with intelligence on an IQ test. An IQ between: 00-25 = Idiot 26-50 = Imbecile 51-70 = Moron Explaining all of this to a nine year old with an IQ of 130 made me feel like society has turned all adults into one of the above, myself included. When I told him that I’m afraid to openly say it, the nine year old said, “Adults are idiots!
Ray Palla (H: Infidels of Oil)
I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed. Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation. We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men? I was in a class of nine- and ten-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives. The teacher tried to catch my eye, thinking I would approve of this rubbish. This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing. It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not. It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests. Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did.
Doris Lessing
I have to tell you about these things from the past, because they are so important. The really important things usually lie in the distant past. And until you know about them, if you'll forgive my saying so, you will always to some extent a mere newcomer in my life. When I was at High School my favourite pastime was walking. Or rather, loitering. If we are talking about my adolescence, it's the more accurate word. Systematically, one by one, I explored all the districts of Pest. I relished the special atmosphere of every quarter and every street. Even now I can still find the same delight in houses that I did then. In this respect I've never grown up. Houses have so much to say to me. For me, they are what Nature used to be to the poets - or rather, what the poets thought of as Nature. But best of all I loved the Castle Hill District of Buda. I never tired of its ancient streets. Even in those days old things attracted me more than new ones. For me the deepest truth was found only in things suffused with the lives of many generations, which hold the past as permanently as mason Kelemen's wife buried in the high tower of Deva.
Antal Szerb
One chance. One night.” “One night,” she says slowly. “For…” She doesn’t even finish the sentence. Sixteen-year-old Skye never said the word sex, and couldn’t refer to it without blushing. It appears that twenty eight-year-old Skye is the same. “Fireworks,” I whisper, trying not to scare her. “With me.
Sarina Bowen (Fireworks (True North, #6))
If I beat my grandmother to death to-morrow in the middle of Battersea Park, you may be perfectly certain that people will say everything about it except the simple and fairly obvious fact that it is wrong. Some will call it insane; that is, will accuse it of a deficiency of intelligence. This is not necessarily true at all. You could not tell whether the act was unintelligent or not unless you knew my grandmother. Some will call it vulgar, disgusting, and the rest of it; that is, they will accuse it of a lack of manners. Perhaps it does show a lack of manners; but this is scarcely its most serious disadvantage. Others will talk about the loathsome spectacle and the revolting scene; that is, they will accuse it of a deficiency of art, or æsthetic beauty. This again depends on the circumstances: in order to be quite certain that the appearance of the old lady has definitely deteriorated under the process of being beaten to death, it is necessary for the philosophical critic to be quite certain how ugly she was before. Another school of thinkers will say that the action is lacking in efficiency: that it is an uneconomic waste of a good grandmother. But that could only depend on the value, which is again an individual matter. The only real point that is worth mentioning is that the action is wicked, because your grandmother has a right not to be beaten to death. But of this simple moral explanation modern journalism has, as I say, a standing fear. It will call the action anything else—mad, bestial, vulgar, idiotic, rather than call it sinful.
G.K. Chesterton (All Things Considered)
One of my greatest fears is family decline.There’s an old Chinese saying that “prosperity can never last for three generations.” I’ll bet that if someone with empirical skills conducted a longitudinal survey about intergenerational performance, they’d find a remarkably common pattern among Chinese immigrants fortunate enough to have come to the United States as graduate students or skilled workers over the last fifty years. The pattern would go something like this: • The immigrant generation (like my parents) is the hardest-working. Many will have started off in the United States almost penniless, but they will work nonstop until they become successful engineers, scientists, doctors, academics, or businesspeople. As parents, they will be extremely strict and rabidly thrifty. (“Don’t throw out those leftovers! Why are you using so much dishwasher liquid?You don’t need a beauty salon—I can cut your hair even nicer.”) They will invest in real estate. They will not drink much. Everything they do and earn will go toward their children’s education and future. • The next generation (mine), the first to be born in America, will typically be high-achieving. They will usually play the piano and/or violin.They will attend an Ivy League or Top Ten university. They will tend to be professionals—lawyers, doctors, bankers, television anchors—and surpass their parents in income, but that’s partly because they started off with more money and because their parents invested so much in them. They will be less frugal than their parents. They will enjoy cocktails. If they are female, they will often marry a white person. Whether male or female, they will not be as strict with their children as their parents were with them. • The next generation (Sophia and Lulu’s) is the one I spend nights lying awake worrying about. Because of the hard work of their parents and grandparents, this generation will be born into the great comforts of the upper middle class. Even as children they will own many hardcover books (an almost criminal luxury from the point of view of immigrant parents). They will have wealthy friends who get paid for B-pluses.They may or may not attend private schools, but in either case they will expect expensive, brand-name clothes. Finally and most problematically, they will feel that they have individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and therefore be much more likely to disobey their parents and ignore career advice. In short, all factors point to this generation
Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)
Where I lived at Pencey, I lived in the Ossenburger Memorial Wing of the new dorms. It was only for juniors and seniors. I was a junior. My roommate was a senior. It was named after this guy Ossenburger that went to Pencey. He made a pot of dough in the undertaking business after he got out of Pencey. What he did, he started these undertaking parlors all over the country that you could get members of your family buried for about five bucks apiece. You should see old Ossenburger. He probably just shoves them in a sack and dumps them in the river. Anyway, he gave Pencey a pile of dough, and they named our wing alter him. The first football game of the year, he came up to school in this big goddam Cadillac, and we all had to stand up in the grandstand and give him a locomotive—that's a cheer. Then, the next morning, in chapel, he made a speech that lasted about ten hours. He started off with about fifty corny jokes, just to show us what a regular guy he was. Very big deal. Then he started telling us how he was never ashamed, when he was in some kind of trouble or something, to get right down his knees and pray to God. He told us we should always pray to God—talk to Him and all—wherever we were. He told us we ought to think of Jesus as our buddy and all. He said he talked to Jesus all the time. Even when he was driving his car. That killed me. I can just see the big phony bastard shifting into first gear and asking Jesus to send him a few more stiffs. The only good part of his speech was right in the middle of it. He was telling us all about what a swell guy he was, what a hotshot and all, then all of a sudden this guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart. It was a very crude thing to do, in chapel and all, but it was also quite amusing. Old Marsalla. He damn near blew the roof off. Hardly anybody laughed out loud, and old Ossenburger made out like he didn't even hear it, but old Thurmer, the headmaster, was sitting right next to him on the rostrum and all, and you could tell he heard it. Boy, was he sore. He didn't say anything then, but the next night he made us have compulsory study hall in the academic building and he came up and made a speech. He said that the boy that had created the disturbance in chapel wasn't fit to go to Pencey. We tried to get old Marsalla to rip off another one, right while old Thurmer was making his speech, but be wasn't in the right mood.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
How old is she now?” “Oh, she’s twenty now.” She hesitated. She was obligated to end our little chat with a stylized flourish. The way it’s done in serial television. So she wet her little bunny mouth, sleepied her eyes, widened her nostrils, patted her hair, arched her back, stood canted and hip-shot, huskied her voice and said, “See you aroun’, huh?” “Sure, Marianne. Sure.” Bless them all, the forlorn little rabbits. They are the displaced persons of our emotional culture. They are ravenous for romance, yet settle for what they call making out. Their futile, acne-pitted men drift out of high school into a world so surfeited with unskilled labor there is competition for bag-boy jobs in the supermarkets. They yearn for security, but all they can have is what they make for themselves, chittering little flocks of them in the restaurants and stores, talking of style and adornment, dreaming of the terribly sincere stranger who will come along and lift them out of the gypsy life of the two-bit tip and the unemployment, cut a tall cake with them, swell them up with sassy babies, and guide them masterfully into the shoal water of the electrified house where everybody brushes after every meal. But most of the wistful rabbits marry their unskilled men, and keep right on working. And discover the end of the dream. They have been taught that if you are sunny, cheery, sincere, group-adjusted, popular, the world is yours, including barbecue pits, charge plates, diaper service, percale sheets, friends for dinner, washer-dryer combinations, color slides of the kiddies on the home projector, and eternal whimsical romance—with crinkly smiles and Rock Hudson dialogue. So they all come smiling and confident and unskilled into a technician’s world, and in a few years they learn that it is all going to be grinding and brutal and hateful and precarious. These are the slums of the heart. Bless the bunnies. These are the new people, and we are making no place for them. We hold the dream in front of them like a carrot, and finally say sorry you can’t have any. And the schools where we teach them non-survival are gloriously architectured. They will never live in places so fine, unless they contract something incurable.
John D. MacDonald (The Deep Blue Good-By)
Nothing she says or does would surprise me.” Gideon faced the helm once more, putting his back to Barnaby. He wasn’t about to go anywhere near Sara again, not the way he was feeling now. Let Barnaby deal with her today. “Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean it’s nothing to worry about. You’ve got more schooling than I have, but isn’t Lysistrata the play where the women refuse to have relations with their husbands until the men agree to stop going to war?” With a groan, Gideon clenched the wheel. Lysistrata was among the many words of literature his father had forced down his throat once he was old enough to read. “Yes. But don’t try to tell me she’s teaching them that. It’s Greek, for god’s sake. They wouldn’t understand a word, even if she knew it well enough to recite it.” “She knows it well enough to give them a free translation, I assure you. When I left her she was telling them the story with great enthusiasm.” Barnaby reached for the helm when Gideon swung away from it with an oath. “I should never have taken her aboard,” he grumbled as he strode for the ladder. “I should have sent her back to England gagged and bound!
Sabrina Jeffries (The Pirate Lord)
A man who knows everything”. This, reportedly, was my reply to a school teacher asking me what I’d like to become when I grow up. I was eight years old, or thereabouts, and what I wanted to say was “professor”, but, still not knowing everything, I had forgotten that word. And what I really meant was “scientist”, someone who unravels the secrets of the fundamental Laws of Nature.
Gerard 't Hooft
I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie. I remember how much I used to stutter. I remember the first time I saw television. Lucille Ball was taking ballet lessons. I remember Aunt Cleora who lived in Hollywood. Every year for Christmas she sent my brother and me a joint present of one book. I remember a very poor boy who had to wear his sister's blouse to school. I remember shower curtains with angel fish on them. I remember very old people when I was very young. Their houses smelled funny. I remember daydreams of being a singer all alone on a big stage with no scenery, just one spotlight on me, singing my heart out, and moving my audience to total tears of love and affection. I remember waking up somewhere once and there was a horse staring me in the face. I remember saying "thank you" in reply to "thank you" and then the other person doesn't know what to say. I remember how embarrassed I was when other children cried. I remember one very hot summer day I put ice cubes in my aquarium and all the fish died. I remember not understanding why people on the other side of the world didn't fall off.
Joe Brainard (I Remember)
We went through the Happy Valley to the little cove. The azaleas were finished now, the petals lay brown and crinkled on the moss. The bluebells had not faded yet, they made a solid carpet in the woods above the valley, and the young bracken was shooting up, curling and green. The moss smelt rich and deep, and the bluebells were earthy, bitter. I lay down in the long grass beside the bluebells with my hands behind my head, and Jasper at my side. He looked down at me panting, his face foolish, saliva dripping from his tongue and his heavy jowl. There were pigeons somewhere in the trees above. It was very peaceful and quiet. I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone. How commonplace and stupid it would be if I had a friend now, sitting beside me, someone I had known at school, who would say “By the way, I saw old Hilda the other day. You remember her, the one who was so good at tennis. She’s married, with two children.” And the bluebells beside us unnoticed, and the pigeons overhead unheard. I did not want anyone with me. Not even Maxim. If Maxim had been there I should not be lying as I was now, chewing a piece of grass, my eyes shut. I should have been watching him, watching his eyes, his expression. Wondering if he liked it, if he was bored. Wondering what he was thinking. Now I could relax, none of these things mattered. Maxim was in London. How lovely it was to be alone again. No, I did not mean that. It was disloyal, wicked. It was not what I meant. Maxim was my life and my world. I got up from the bluebells and called sharply to Jasper. We set off together down the valley to the beach. The tide was out, the sea very calm and remote. It looked like a great placid lake out there in the bay. I could not imagine it rough now, any more than I could imagine winter in summer. There was no wind, and the sun shone on the lapping water where it ran into the little pools in the rocks.
Daphne du Maurier (Rebecca)
Telegraph Road A long time ago came a man on a track Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back And he put down his load where he thought it was the best Made a home in the wilderness He built a cabin and a winter store And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore And the other travellers came riding down the track And they never went further, no, they never went back Then came the churches, then came the schools Then came the lawyers, then came the rules Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads And the dirty old track was the telegraph road Then came the mines - then came the ore Then there was the hard times, then there was a war Telegraph sang a song about the world outside Telegraph road got so deep and so wide Like a rolling river ... And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze People driving home from the factories There's six lanes of traffic Three lanes moving slow ... I used to like to go to work but they shut it down I got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found Yes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles They can always fly away from this rain and this cold You can hear them singing out their telegraph code All the way down the telegraph road You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights When life was just a bet on a race between the lights You had your head on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hair Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care But believe in me baby and I'll take you away From out of this darkness and into the day From these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rain From the anger that lives on the streets with these names 'Cos I've run every red light on memory lane I've seen desperation explode into flames And I don't want to see it again ... From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed All the way down the telegraph road
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits - 1982-91)
He had plans, but his hopes for higher education, like all his others, were built on “mights.” He might go hang out somewhere, with someone. He might get a job and earn some money. He might go to college, a really old school with gray stone buildings and an enormous library. He was thinking of applying next year. Maybe the year after. He wasn’t thinking about application deadlines. That sort of detail wasn’t a part of his plan. Not at the moment. And why tell his mother about this anyway? It would rekindle her expectations, and she’d only start riding him again. Better to let it be. When his dad came home, they’d sort it out together. His mother retreated into her world, Silas into his. What a family, his mother would say, but until now, Silas had never realized that they weren’t really much of one. The names of the days retreated from them both, and soon after the school term ended, Silas was no longer sure what day of the week it was. Every morning when he woke up, he missed his father more keenly than the night before, but the details and differences of each day blurred and eventually vanished. For Silas, the passage of time became a longing ache in his heart that grew daily worse.
Ari Berk (Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1))
WALTER (Gathering him up in his arms) You know what, Travis? In seven years you going to be seventeen years old. And things is going to be very different with us in seven years, Travis. … One day when you are seventeen I’ll come home—home from my office downtown somewhere— TRAVIS You don’t work in no office, Daddy. WALTER No—but after tonight. After what your daddy gonna do tonight, there’s going to be offices—a whole lot of offices.… TRAVIS What you gonna do tonight, Daddy? WALTER You wouldn’t understand yet, son, but your daddy’s gonna make a transaction … a business transaction that’s going to change our lives. … That’s how come one day when you ’bout seventeen years old I’ll come home and I’ll be pretty tired, you know what I mean, after a day of conferences and secretaries getting things wrong the way they do … ’cause an executive’s life is hell, man—(The more he talks the farther away he gets) And I’ll pull the car up on the driveway … just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white walls—no—black tires. More elegant. Rich people don’t have to be flashy … though I’ll have to get something a little sportier for Ruth—maybe a Cadillac convertible to do her shopping in. … And I’ll come up the steps to the house and the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he’ll say, “Good evening, Mr. Younger.” And I’ll say, “Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?” And I’ll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we’ll kiss each other and she’ll take my arm and we’ll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you. … All the great schools in the world! And—and I’ll say, all right son—it’s your seventeenth birthday, what is it you’ve decided? … Just tell me where you want to go to school and you’ll go. Just tell me, what it is you want to be—and you’ll be it. … Whatever you want to be—Yessir! (He holds his arms open for TRAVIS) YOU just name it, son … (TRAVIS leaps into them) and I hand you the world!
Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun)
Will suddenly remembered that a boy at his old school had had a mum like Fiona - not exactly like her, because it seemed to Will that Fiona was a peculiarly contemporary creation, with her seventies albums, her eighties politics and her nineties foot lotion, but certainly a sixties equivalent of Fiona. Stephen Fullick's mother had a thing about TV, that it turned people into androids, so they didn't have a set in the house. 'Did you see Thund...' Will would say every Monday morning and then remember and blush, as if the TV were a parent who had just died. And what good had that done Stephen Fullick? He was not, as far as Will was aware, a visionary poet, or a primitive painter; he was probably stuck in some provincial solicitor's office, like everyone else from school. He had endured years of pity for no discernible purpose.
Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
Do you understand me, good people? Do you understand now why it is not as easy as it used to be to sit behind that desk and learn only what Oom Dawie has decided I must know? My head is rebellious. It refuses now to remember when the Dutch landed, and the Huguenots landed, and the British landed. It has already forgotten when the old Union become the proud young Republic. But it does know what happened in Kliptown in 1955, in Sharpville on 21st March, 1960, and in Soweto on the 16th of June 1976. Do you? Better find out because those are dates your children will have to learn one day. We don't need the Zolile classrooms any more. We know now what they really are ... traps which have been carefully set to catch our minds, our souls. No, good people. e have woken up at last.We have found another school ... the streets, the little rooms, the funeral parlours of the location ... anywhere the people meet and whisper names we have been told to forget, the dates of events they try to tell us never happened, and the speeches they try to say were never made. Those are the lessons we are eager and proud to learn, because they are lessons about our history, about our heroes. But the time for whispering them is past. Tomorrow we start shouting. AMANDLA!
Athol Fugard (My Children! My Africa! (TCG Edition))
Uh, now let me tell you about what's new. We found another set of drawings, always nice, AND A FOXY HEAD! Which we think could be authentic! Then again, it might just be another crappy cosplay. And we found a Desk fan, very old school, metal though, so watch the fingers! Uh, heh! Uhm, right now the place is basically just, you know, FLASHING LIGHTS and SPOOKY PROPS. I honestly thought we'd have more by now, uh so if we don't have anything really cool by next week, we may have to suit you up in a Freddy suit, and make you walk around saying: "BOOO!" Hehe. Uh, but you know like I said, were trying to track down, a good lead right now. Uh, some guy who helped design one of the buildings, said there was like, an extra room that got boarded up..? Or something like that.  So! Were gonna take a peak, and see what we can find. Uh, for now just get comfortable with the new
Andrew Mills (Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Ultimate Strategy Guide, Walkthrough, Secrets, Tips and Tricks)
Say you've just read Faulkner's 'Barn Burning'. Like the son in the story, you've sensed the faults in your father's character. Thinking about them makes you uncomfortable, left alone you'd probably close the book and move on to other thoughts. But instead you are taken in hand by a tall, brooding man with a distinguished limp who involves you and a roomful of other boys in the consideration of what it means to be a son. The loyalty that is your duty and your worth and your problem. The goodness of loyalty and its difficulties and snares, how loyalty might also become betrayal - of the self and the world outside the circle of blood. You've never had this conversation before, not with anyone. And even as its happening you understand that just as your father's troubles with the world - emotional frailty, self-doubt, incomplete honesty - will not lead him to set it on fire, your own loyalty will never be the stuff of tragedy. You will not turn bravely and painfully from your father, as the boy in the story does, but foresake him, without regret. And as you accept that separation, it seems to happen; your father's sad, fleshy face grows vague, and you blink it away and look up to where your teachers leans against his desk, one hand in a coat pocket, the other rubbing his bum knee as he listens desolately to the clever bore behind you saying something about bird imagery.
Tobias Wolff (Old School)
It's an old story," Julia says, leaning back in her chair. "Only for me, it's new. I went to school for industrial design. All my life I've been fascinated by chairs - I know it sounds silly, but it's true. Form meets purpose in a chair. My parents thought I was crazy, but somehow I convinced them to pay my way to California. To study furniture design. I was all excited at first. It was totally unlike me to go so far away from home. But I was sick of the cold and sick of the snow. I figured a little sun might change my life. So I headed down to L.A. and roomed with a friend of an ex-girlfriend of my brother's. She was an aspiring radio actress, which meant she was home a lot. At first, I loved it. I didn't even let the summer go by. I dove right into my classes. Soon enough, I learned I couldn't just focus on chairs. I had to design spoons and toilet-bowl cleaners and thermostats. The math never bothered me, but the professors did. They could demolish you in a second without giving you a clue if how to rebuild. I spent more and more time in the studio, with other crazed students who guarded their projects like toy-jealous kids. I started to go for walks. Long walks. I couldn't go home because my roommate was always there. The sun was too much for me, so I'd stay indoors. I spent hours in supermarkets, walking aisle to aisle, picking up groceries and then putting them back. I went to bowling alleys and pharmacies. I rode buses that kept their lights on all night. I sat in Laundromats because once upon a time Laundromats made me happy. But now the hum of the machines sounded like life going past. Finally, one night I sat too long in the laundry. The woman who folded in the back - Alma - walked over to me and said, 'What are you doing here, girl?' And I knew that there wasn't any answer. There couldn't be any answer. And that's when I knew it was time to go.
David Levithan (Are We There Yet?)
I usually enjoy setting up a new kitchen, but this has become a joyless and highly charged task. My mother and I each have our own set of kitchen boxes, which means that if there are two cheese graters between us, only one will make it into a cupboard. The other will be put back in a box or given to Goodwill. Each such little decision has the weight of a Middle East negotiation. While her kitchenware is serviceable, I’m a sucker for the high end: All-Clad saucepans and Emile Henry pie dishes. Before long, I’m shaking my head at pretty much everything my mother removes from her San Diego boxes. She takes each rejected item as a personal slight – which in fact it is. I begrudge her even her lightweight bowls, which she can lift easily with her injured hand. Here she is, a fragile old woman barely able to bend down as she peers into a low cupboard, looking for a place where she can share life with her grown daughter. At such a sight my heart should be big, but it’s small, so small that when I see her start stuffing her serving spoons into the same drawer as my own sturdy pieces, lovingly accumulated over the years, it makes me crazy. Suddenly I’m acting out decades of unvoiced anger about my mother’s parenting, which seems to be materializing in the form of her makeshift collection of kitchenware being unpacked into my drawers. When I became a mother myself, I developed a self-righteous sense of superiority to my mother: I was better than my mother, for having successfully picked myself up and dusted myself off, for never having lain in bed for days on end, too blotto to get my child off to school or even to know if it was a school day. By sheer force of will and strength of character, I believed, I had risen above all that she succumbed to and skirted all that I might have inherited. This, of course, is too obnoxiously smug to say in words. So I say it with flatware.
Katie Hafner (Mother Daughter Me)
There’s more deceit and dishonesty. In 1950, I was fourteen years old and applied for a work permit for an after-school job. One of the requirements was to obtain a Social Security card. In bold letters on my Social Security card, which I still possess, are the words “For Social Security Purposes—Not For Identification.” That’s because earlier Americans feared that their Social Security number would become an identity number. According to the Social Security Administration website, “this legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning in 1972.” That statement assumes we’re idiots. We’re asked to believe that the sole purpose of the removal was for design purposes. Apparently, the fact that our Social Security number had become a major identification tool, to be used in every aspect of our lives, had nothing to do with the SSA’s getting rid of the legend saying “For Social Security Purposes—Not For Identification.” I
Walter E. Williams (American Contempt for Liberty (Hoover Institution Press Publication Book 661))
Mid-Term Break I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home. In the porch I met my father crying— He had always taken funerals in his stride— And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow. The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram When I came in, and I was embarrassed By old men standing up to shake my hand And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'. Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest, Away at school, as my mother held my hand In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs. At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses. Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him For the first time in six weeks. Paler now, Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple, He lay in the four-foot box as in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear. A four-foot box, a foot for every year.
Seamus Heaney
New Rule: Conservatives have to stop rolling their eyes every time they hear the word "France." Like just calling something French is the ultimate argument winner. As if to say, "What can you say about a country that was too stupid to get on board with our wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed war in Iraq?" And yet an American politician could not survive if he uttered the simple, true statement: "France has a better health-care system than we do, and we should steal it." Because here, simply dismissing an idea as French passes for an argument. John Kerry? Couldn't vote for him--he looked French. Yeah, as a opposed to the other guy, who just looked stupid. Last week, France had an election, and people over there approach an election differently. They vote. Eighty-five percent turned out. You couldn't get eighty-five percent of Americans to get off the couch if there was an election between tits and bigger tits and they were giving out free samples. Maybe the high turnout has something to do with the fact that the French candidates are never asked where they stand on evolution, prayer in school, abortion, stem cell research, or gay marriage. And if the candidate knows about a character in a book other than Jesus, it's not a drawback. The electorate doesn't vote for the guy they want to have a croissant with. Nor do they care about private lives. In the current race, Madame Royal has four kids, but she never got married. And she's a socialist. In America, if a Democrat even thinks you're calling him "liberal," he grabs an orange vest and a rifle and heads into the woods to kill something. Royal's opponent is married, but they live apart and lead separate lives. And the people are okay with that, for the same reason they're okay with nude beaches: because they're not a nation of six-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts. They have weird ideas about privacy. They think it should be private. In France, even mistresses have mistresses. To not have a lady on the side says to the voters, "I'm no good at multitasking." Like any country, France has its faults, like all that ridiculous accordion music--but their health care is the best in the industrialized world, as is their poverty rate. And they're completely independent of Mid-East oil. And they're the greenest country. And they're not fat. They have public intellectuals in France. We have Dr. Phil. They invented sex during the day, lingerie, and the tongue. Can't we admit we could learn something from them?
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
A note about me: I do not think stress is a legitimate topic of conversation, in public anyway. No one ever wants to hear how stressed out anyone else is, because most of the time everyone is stressed out. Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am isn’t conversation. It’ll never lead anywhere. No one is going to say, “Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.” This is entirely because my parents are immigrant professionals, and talking about one’s stress level was just totally outlandish to them. When I was three years old my mom was in the middle of her medical residency in Boston. She had been a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Nigeria, but in the United States she was required to do her residency all over again. She’d get up at 4:00 a.m. and prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for my brother and me, because she knew she wouldn’t be home in time to have dinner with us. Then she’d leave by 5:30 a.m. to start rounds at the hospital. My dad, an architect, had a contract for a building in New Haven, Connecticut, which was two hours and forty-five minutes away. It would’ve been easier for him to move to New Haven for the time of the construction of the building, but then who would have taken care of us when my mom was at the hospital at night? In my parents’ vivid imaginations, lack of at least one parent’s supervision was a gateway to drugs, kidnapping, or at the very minimum, too much television watching. In order to spend time with us and save money for our family, my dad dropped us off at school, commuted the two hours and forty-five minutes every morning, and then returned in time to pick us up from our after-school program. Then he came home and boiled us hot dogs as an after-school snack, even though he was a vegetarian and had never eaten a hot dog before. In my entire life, I never once heard either of my parents say they were stressed. That was just not a phrase I grew up being allowed to say. That, and the concept of “Me time.
Mindy Kaling (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns))
PROLOGUE   Zoey “Wow, Z, this is a seriously awesome turnout. There are more humans here than fleas on an old dog!” Stevie Rae shielded her eyes with her hand as she looked around at the newly lit-up campus. Dallas was a total jerk, but we all admitted that the twinkling lights he’d wrapped around the trunks and limbs of the old oaks gave the entire campus a magickal, fairy-like glow. “That is one of your more disgusting bumpkin analogies,” Aphrodite said. “Though it’s accurate. Especially since there are a bunch of city politicians here. Total parasites.” “Try to be nice,” I said. “Or at least try to be quiet.” “Does that mean your daddy, the mayor, is here?” Stevie Rae’s already gawking eyes got even wider. “I suppose it does. I caught a glimpse of Cruella De Vil, a.k.a. She Who Bore Me, not long ago.” Aphrodite paused and her brows went up. “We should probably keep an eye on the Street Cats kittens. I saw some cute little black and white ones with especially fluffy fur.” Stevie Rae sucked air. “Ohmygoodness, your mamma wouldn’t really make a kitten fur coat, would she?” “Faster than you can say Bubba’s drinkin’ and drivin’ again,” Aphrodite mimicked Stevie Rae’s Okie twang. “Stevie Rae—she’s kidding. Tell her the truth,” I nudged Aphrodite. “Fine. She doesn’t skin kittens. Or puppies. Just baby seals and democrats.” Stevie Rae’s brow furrowed. “See, everything is fine. Plus, Damien’s at the Street Cats booth, and you know he’d never let one little kitten whisker be hurt—let alone a whole coat,” I assured my BFF, refusing to let Aphrodite mess up our good mood. “Actually, everything is more than fine. Check out what we managed to pull off in a little over a week.” I sighed in relief at the success of our event and let my gaze wander around the packed school grounds. Stevie Rae, Shaylin, Shaunee, Aphrodite, and I were manning the bake sale booth (while Stevie Rae’s mom and a bunch of her PTA friends moved through the crowd with samples of the chocolate chip cookies we were selling, like, zillions of). From our position near Nyx’s statue, we had a great view of the whole campus. I could see a long line at Grandma’s lavender booth. That made me smile. Not far from Grandma, Thanatos had set up a job application area, and there were a bunch of humans filling out paperwork there. In the center of the grounds there were two huge silver and white tents draped with more of Dallas’s twinkling lights. In one tent Stark and Darius and the Sons of Erebus Warriors were demonstrating weaponry. I watched as Stark was showing a young boy how to hold a bow. Stark’s gaze lifted from the kid and met mine. We shared a quick, intimate smile
P.C. Cast (Revealed (House of Night #11))
You want to leave the moat, to go back to the room; you’re already turning and trying to find the door, covered with fake leather, in the steep wall of the moat, but the master succeeds in grabbing your hand and, looking straight in your eyes, says: Your assignment: describe the jaw of a crocodile, the tongue of a hummingbird, the steeple of the New Maiden Convent, a shoot of bird cherry, the bend of the Lethe, the tail of any village dog, a night of love, mirages over hot asphalt, the bright midday in Berezov, the face of a flibbertigibbet, the garden of hell, compare the termite colony to the forest anthill, the sad fate of leaves to the serenade of a Venetian gondolier, and transform a cicada into a butterfly, turn rain into hail, day into night, give us today our daily bread, make a sibilant out of a vowel, prevent the crash of the train whose engineer is asleep, repeat the thirteenth labor of Hercules, give a smoke to a passerby, explain youth and old age, sing a song about a bluebird bringing water in the morn, turn your face to the north, to the Novgorodian barbicans, and then describe how the doorman knows it is snowing outside, if he sits in the foyer all day, talks to the elevator operator, and does not look out the window because there is no window; yes, tell how exactly, and in addition, plant in your orchard a white rose of the winds, show it to the teacher Pavel and, if he likes it, give the white rose to the teacher Pavel, pin the flower to his cowboy shirt or to his dacha hat, bring joy to the man who departed to nowhere, make your old pedagogue—a joker, a clown, and a wind-chaser—happy.
Sasha Sokolov (A School for Fools)
I think there’s something about certain people’s chosen ‘lifestyle’ which ages them. I can’t explain it any other way. Leaving school, building a career, getting old before their time as they take on more and more stress lacks that one essential element that we had oodles of as youngsters, and that’s fun. We had lively, buoyant and animated fun. We were carefree at an age when you’re supposed to be carefree. We were breezy, jaunty and happy-go-lucky. The flip side of this is that at times it may make some of us feel as if we’re outsiders. People occasionally talk about us in hushed tones, whispering that we’re a bit of a lone wolf, or at times a loose cannon. They don’t want to say it to our faces because every now and again we can be a little bit unpredictable. But they look at us with a strange curiosity, because in comparison – although they’re often very successful at ‘fitting in’ – they lead lives that are drab, dreary and monotonous. They’re not unruly like the Carefree Scamps. We have a divine spark of unruliness within us. And it’s that unruliness which has kept us young.
Karl Wiggins (Wrong Planet - Searching for your Tribe)
choose too fast just to be done with it? I do that sometimes. I can’t help myself. I hate to shop. But are these shoes really that bad? Bad enough so the kids at school will laugh and say, “Nice shoes, Hatcher. Where’d you find them . . . in the trash?” Should I try on another pair? Should I wait to see what Fudge chooses and then . . . Wait a minute, I told myself. I can’t believe I’m thinking this way, as if my five-year-old brother knows more about cool than me. Since when is he the expert on cool? Since when is he the expert on anything? “Make
Judy Blume (Double Fudge (Fudge, #5))
My God,” she says. “I feel like I’ve gone through a car wash.” I laugh, or force myself to, because it’s not something I’d normally laugh at. “What about you?” she says to Scottie. “How did you make out?” “I’m a boy,” Scottie says. “Look at me.” Sand has gotten into the bottom of her suit, creating a huge bulge. She scratches at the bulge. “I’m going to go to work now,” she says. I think she’s impersonating me and that Mrs. Speer is getting an unrealistic, humiliating glimpse. “Scottie,” I say. “Take that out.” “It must be fun to have girls,” Mrs. Speer says. She looks at the ocean, and I see that she’s looking at Alex sunbathing on the floating raft. Sid leans over Alex and puts his mouth to hers. She raises a hand to his head, and for a moment I forget it’s my daughter out there and think of how long it has been since I’ve been kissed or kissed like that. “Or maybe you have your hands full,” Mrs. Speer says. “No, no,” I say. “It’s great,” and it is, I suppose, though I feel like I’ve just acquired them and don’t know yet. “They’ve been together for ages.” I gesture to Alex and Sid. I don’t understand if they’re a couple or if this is how all kids in high school act these days. Mrs. Speer looks at me curiously, as if she’s about to say something, but she doesn’t. “And boys.” I gesture to her little dorks. “They must keep you busy.” “They’re a handful. But they’re at such a fun age. It’s such a joy.” She gazes out at her boys. Her expression does little to convince me that they’re such a joy. I wonder how many times parents have these dull conversations with one another and how much they must hide. They’re so goddamn hyper, I’d do anything to inject them with a horse tranquilizer. They keep insisting that I watch what they can do, but I truly don’t give a fuck. How hard is it to jump off a diving board? My girls are messed up, I want to say. One talks dirty to her own reflection. Did you do that when you were growing up? “Your girls seem great, too,” she says. “How old are they?” “Ten and eighteen. And yours?” “Ten and twelve.” “Oh,” I say. “Great.” “Your younger one sure is funny,” she says. “I mean, not funny. I meant entertaining.” “Oh, yeah. That’s Scottie. She’s a riot.
Kaui Hart Hemmings (The Descendants)
Poem for My Father You closed the door. I was on the other side, screaming. It was black in your mind. Blacker than burned-out fire. Blacker than poison. Outside everything looked the same. You looked the same. You walked in your body like a living man. But you were not. would you not speak to me for weeks would you hang your coat in the closet without saying hello would you find a shoe out of place and beat me would you come home late would i lose the key would you find my glasses in the garbage would you put me on your knee would you read the bible to me in your smoking jacket after your mother died would you come home drunk and snore would you beat me on the legs would you carry me up the stairs by my hair so that my feet never touch the bottom would you make everything worse to make everything better i believe in god, the father almighty, the maker of heaven, the maker of my heaven and my hell. would you beat my mother would you beat her till she cries like a rabbit would you beat her in a corner of the kitchen while i am in the bathroom trying to bury my head underwater would you carry her to the bed would you put cotton and alcohol on her swollen head would you make love to her hair would you caress her hair would you rub her breasts with ben gay until she stinks would you sleep in the other room in the bed next to me while she sleeps on the pull-out cot would you come on the sheet while i am sleeping. later i look for the spot would you go to embalming school with the last of my mother's money would i see your picture in the book with all the other black boys you were the handsomest would you make the dead look beautiful would the men at the elks club would the rich ladies at funerals would the ugly drunk winos on the street know ben pretty ben regular ben would your father leave you when you were three with a mother who threw butcher knives at you would he leave you with her screaming red hair would he leave you to be smothered by a pillow she put over your head would he send for you during the summer like a rich uncle would you come in pretty corduroys until you were nine and never heard from him again would you hate him would you hate him every time you dragged hundred pound cartons of soap down the stairs into white ladies' basements would you hate him for fucking the woman who gave birth to you hate him flying by her house in the red truck so that other father threw down his hat in the street and stomped on it angry like we never saw him (bye bye to the will of grandpa bye bye to the family fortune bye bye when he stompled that hat, to the gold watch, embalmer's palace, grandbaby's college) mother crying silently, making floating island sending it up to the old man's ulcer would grandmother's diamonds close their heartsparks in the corner of the closet yellow like the eyes of cockroaches? Old man whose sperm swims in my veins, come back in love, come back in pain.
Toi Derricotte
The intelligent want self-control; children want candy. —RUMI INTRODUCTION Welcome to Willpower 101 Whenever I mention that I teach a course on willpower, the nearly universal response is, “Oh, that’s what I need.” Now more than ever, people realize that willpower—the ability to control their attention, emotions, and desires—influences their physical health, financial security, relationships, and professional success. We all know this. We know we’re supposed to be in control of every aspect of our lives, from what we eat to what we do, say, and buy. And yet, most people feel like willpower failures—in control one moment but overwhelmed and out of control the next. According to the American Psychological Association, Americans name lack of willpower as the number-one reason they struggle to meet their goals. Many feel guilty about letting themselves and others down. Others feel at the mercy of their thoughts, emotions, and cravings, their lives dictated by impulses rather than conscious choices. Even the best-controlled feel a kind of exhaustion at keeping it all together and wonder if life is supposed to be such a struggle. As a health psychologist and educator for the Stanford School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program, my job is to help people manage stress and make healthy choices. After years of watching people struggle to change their thoughts, emotions, bodies, and habits, I realized that much of what people believed about willpower was sabotaging their success and creating unnecessary stress. Although scientific research had much to say that could help them, it was clear that these insights had not yet become part of public understanding. Instead, people continued to rely on worn-out strategies for self-control. I saw again and again that the strategies most people use weren’t just ineffective—they actually backfired, leading to self-sabotage and losing control. This led me to create “The Science of Willpower,” a class offered to the public through Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program. The course brings together the newest insights about self-control from psychology, economics, neuroscience, and medicine to explain how we can break old habits and create healthy habits, conquer procrastination, find our focus, and manage stress. It illuminates why we give in to temptation and how we can find the strength to resist. It demonstrates the importance of understanding the limits of self-control,
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
But Emma resists all of Galen's reasonings, based on the fact that it doesn't "feel right." Speaking of things that don't feel right... He pulls his new SUV into her driveway, the excitement sloshing in his stomach like high tide. As he steps out, he notices how much he likes sliding down instead of hoisting himself up from a little compact death trap. He's almost glad Rayna tied the red car around a tree-except that she and Emma could have gotten hurt. He shakes his head, crunching across the gravel of Emma's driveway in his suede Timberlands. Even over that, he hears the thud of his heart. Is it faster than usual? He's never noticed it before, so he can't tell. Shrugging it off as paranoia, he knocks on the door then folds his hands in front of him. I shouldn't be doing this. This is wrong. She could still belong to Grom. But when Emma answers the door, everything seems right again. Her little purple dress makes the violet in her eyes jump out at him. "Sorry," she says. "Mom threw a fit when I tried to leave the house in jeans. She's old-school I guess. You know. 'Thou must dress up for the movies,' says the woman who doesn't even own a dress." "She did me a favor," he says, then shoves his hands in his pockets. More like she did me in.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Stop,” Jesse said. I stared up at him, almost panting with fear. “Stop, beloved,” he said more gently, and took up my clenched fist with both hands. “I’ve upset you, and I shouldn’t have. I don’t want you to dread yourself. I don’t want you to dread what is to come. Like I said, you’re exceptional, so there may be nothing to worry about at all. But whatever happens, whatever you face, I’ll face it with you. Do you hear?” “How can you say it? It nearly happened on the roof today. You can’t know-“ “I will be with you. We’re together now, and the universe knows I won’t let you make your sacrifice alone. Dragon protects star. Star adores dragon. An age-old axiom. Simple as that.” I looked down at our hands, both of his curled over mine. I unclenched my fist. Blood from the thorn smeared my skin. “The universe,” I muttered. “The same universe that has produced the Kaiser and bedbugs and Chloe Pemington. How reassuring.” With the same absolute concentration he might have shown for turning flowers into gold, Jesse Holms smoothed out my fingers between his, wiping away the blood. He turned my hand over and lifted it to his lips. His next words fell soft as velvet into the heart of my palm. “Those nights, in the sweetest dark, we shared our dreams. That’s you answer. I was stitched into yours, and you were stitched into mind, and that was real, I promise you.” I felt his lips curve into a smile. The unbelievably sensual, ticklish scuff of his whiskers. “Very good dreams they were, too,” he added. It was no use trying to cling to mortification or fear. He was holding my hand. He was smiling at me past the cup of my fingers, and although I couldn’t see it, the shape of it against my skin was beyond tantalizing, rough and masculine. I was a creature gone hot and cold and light-headed with pleasure. I wanted to snatch back my hand and I wanted him to go on touching me like this forever. I wanted to walk with him back to his cottage, to his bed, and to hell with the Germans and school and all the rest of the world. But he looked up suddenly. “They’re searching for you,” he said, releasing me at once, moving away. They were. I heard my name being called by a variety of voices in a variety of tones, all of them still inside the castle, none of them sounding happy. “Go on.” With a few quick steps, Jesse was less than a shadow, retreating into the black wall of the woods. “Don’t get into trouble. And, Lora?” “Yes?” There was hushed laughter in his voice. “Until we can see each other again, do us both a favor. Keep away from rooftops.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
I suppose the real reason Ginny Weasley's like this is because she opened her heart and spilled all her secrets to an invisible stranger." "What are you talking about?" said Harry. "The diary," said Riddle. "My diary. Little Ginny's been writing in it for months and months, telling me all her pitiful worries and woes- how her brothers tease her, how she had come to school with secondhand robes and books, how"- Riddle's eyes glinted- "how she didn't think famous, good, great Harry Potter would ever like her..." All the time he spoke, Riddle's eyes never left Harry's face. There was an almost hungry look in them. "It's very boring, having to listen to the silly little troubles of an eleven-year-old girl," he went on. "But I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me. No one's ever understood me like you, Tom... I'm so glad I've got this diary to confide in.... It's like having a friend I can carry around in my pocket...." Riddle laughed, a high, cold laugh that didn't suit him. It made the hairs stand up on the back of Harry's neck. "If I say it myself, Harry, I've always been able to charm the people I needed. So Ginny poured out her soul to me, and her soul happened to be exactly what I wanted.... I grew stronger and stronger on a diet of her deepest fears, her darkest secrets. I grew powerful, more powerful than little Miss Weasley. Powerful enough to start feeding Miss Weasley a few of my secrets, to start pouring a little of my soul into her..." "What d'you mean?" said Harry, whose mouth had gone dry. "Haven't you guessed yet, Harry Potter?" said Riddle softly. "Ginny Weasley opened the Chamber of Secrets. She strangled the school roosters and daubed threatening messages on the walls. She set the Serpent of Slytherin on four Mudbloods, and the Squib's cat." "No," Harry whispered. "Yes," said Riddle, calmly. "Of course, she didn't know what she was doing at first. It was very amusing. I wish you could have seen her new diary entries... far more interesting, they became... Dear Tom," he recited, watching Harry's horrified face, "I think I'm losing my memory. There are rooster feathers all over my robes and I don't know how they got there. Dear Tom, I can't remember what I did on the night of Halloween, but a cat was attacked and I've got paint all down my front. Dear Tom, Percy keeps telling me I'm pale and I'm not myself. I think he suspects me.... There was another attack today and I don't know where I was. Tom, what am I going to do? I think I'm going mad.... I think I'm the one attacking everyone, Tom!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
If, when you say whiskey, you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacles of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degredation and despair, shame and helplessness and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it with all my power. But if, when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the stuff that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty morning; if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrows, if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm, to build highways, hospitals, and schools, then certainly I am in favor of it.
Adam Rogers (Proof: The Science of Booze)
When do you wish to go?” “Early to-morrow morning, sir.” “Well, you must have some money; you can’t travel without money, and I daresay you have not much: I have given you no salary yet. How much have you in the world, Jane?” he asked, smiling. I drew out my purse; a meagre thing it was. “Five shillings, sir.” He took the purse, poured the hoard into his palm, and chuckled over it as if its scantiness amused him. Soon he produced his pocket-book: “Here,” said he, offering me a note; it was fifty pounds, and he owed me but fifteen. I told him I had no change. “I don’t want change; you know that. Take your wages.” I declined accepting more than was my due. He scowled at first; then, as if recollecting something, he said— “Right, right! Better not give you all now: you would, perhaps, stay away three months if you had fifty pounds. There are ten; is it not plenty?” “Yes, sir, but now you owe me five.” “Come back for it, then; I am your banker for forty pounds.” “Mr. Rochester, I may as well mention another matter of business to you while I have the opportunity.” “Matter of business? I am curious to hear it.” “You have as good as informed me, sir, that you are going shortly to be married?” “Yes; what then?” “In that case, sir, Adèle ought to go to school: I am sure you will perceive the necessity of it.” “To get her out of my bride’s way, who might otherwise walk over her rather too emphatically? There’s sense in the suggestion; not a doubt of it. Adèle, as you say, must go to school; and you, of course, must march straight to—the devil?” “I hope not, sir; but I must seek another situation somewhere.” “In course!” he exclaimed, with a twang of voice and a distortion of features equally fantastic and ludicrous. He looked at me some minutes. “And old Madam Reed, or the Misses, her daughters, will be solicited by you to seek a place, I suppose?” “No, sir; I am not on such terms with my relatives as would justify me in asking favours of them—but I shall advertise.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
He always wants to know everything about school, but not like other adults, who only want to know if Noah is behaving. Grandpa wants to know if the school is behaving. It hardly ever is. “Our teacher made us write a story about what we want to be when we’re big,” Noah tells him. “What did you write?” “I wrote that I wanted to concentrate on being little first.” “That’s a very good answer.” “Isn’t it? I would rather be old than a grown-up. All grown-ups are angry, it’s just children and old people who laugh.” “Did you write that?” “Yes.” “What did your teacher say?” “She said I hadn’t understood the task.” “And what did you say?” “I said she hadn’t understood my answer.
Fredrik Backman (And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer)
I dream that someone in space says to me: So let us rush, then, to see the world. It is shaped like an egg, covered with seas and continents, warmed and lighted by the sun. It has churches of indescribable beauty, raised to gods that have never been seen; cities whose distant roofs and smokestacks will make your heart leap; ballparks and comfortable auditoriums in which people listen to music of the most serious import; to celebrate life is recorded. Here the joy of women’s breasts and backsides, the colors of water, the shapes of trees, athletes, dreams, houses, the shapes of ecstasy and dismay, the shape even of an old shoe, are celebrated. Let us rush to see the world. They serve steak there on jet planes, and dance at sea. They have invented musical instruments to express love, peaceableness; to stir the finest memories and aspirations. They have invented games to catch the hearts of young men. They have ceremonies to exalt the love of men and women. They make their vows to music and the sound of bells. They have invented ways to heat their houses in the winter and cool them in the summer. They have even invented engines to cut their grass. They have free schools for the pursuit of knowledge, pools to swim in, zoos, vast manufactories of all kinds. They explore space and the trenches of the sea. Oh, let us rush to see this world.
John Cheever (The Journals of John Cheever)
So if pundits were throwing up their hands even during the Eisenhower era about schools on the decline and students who could barely read and write, the obvious question is this: When exactly was that golden period distinguished by high standards? The answer, of course, is that it never existed. “The story of declining school quality across the twentieth century is, for the most part, a fable,” says social scientist Richard Rothstein, whose book The Way We Were? cites a series of similar attacks on American education, moving backward one decade at a time.3 Each generation invokes the good old days, during which, we discover, people had been doing exactly the same thing.
Alfie Kohn (The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom About Children and Parenting)
They asked me to tell you what it was like to be twenty and pregnant in 1950 and when you tell your boyfriend you’re pregnant, he tells you about a friend of his in the army whose girl told him she was pregnant, so he got all his buddies to come and say, “We all fucked her, so who knows who the father is?” And he laughs at the good joke…. What was it like, if you were planning to go to graduate school and get a degree and earn a living so you could support yourself and do the work you loved—what it was like to be a senior at Radcliffe and pregnant and if you bore this child, this child which the law demanded you bear and would then call “unlawful,” “illegitimate,” this child whose father denied it … What was it like? […] It’s like this: if I had dropped out of college, thrown away my education, depended on my parents … if I had done all that, which is what the anti-abortion people want me to have done, I would have borne a child for them, … the authorities, the theorists, the fundamentalists; I would have born a child for them, their child. But I would not have born my own first child, or second child, or third child. My children. The life of that fetus would have prevented, would have aborted, three other fetuses … the three wanted children, the three I had with my husband—whom, if I had not aborted the unwanted one, I would never have met … I would have been an “unwed mother” of a three-year-old in California, without work, with half an education, living off her parents…. But it is the children I have to come back to, my children Elisabeth, Caroline, Theodore, my joy, my pride, my loves. If I had not broken the law and aborted that life nobody wanted, they would have been aborted by a cruel, bigoted, and senseless law. They would never have been born. This thought I cannot bear. What was it like, in the Dark Ages when abortion was a crime, for the girl whose dad couldn’t borrow cash, as my dad could? What was it like for the girl who couldn’t even tell her dad, because he would go crazy with shame and rage? Who couldn’t tell her mother? Who had to go alone to that filthy room and put herself body and soul into the hands of a professional criminal? – because that is what every doctor who did an abortion was, whether he was an extortionist or an idealist. You know what it was like for her. You know and I know; that is why we are here. We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out. May all of you shine very bright and steady, today and always.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Let me tell you a joke, Rora said. Mujo wakes up one day, after a long night of drinking, and asks himself what the meaning of life is. He goes to work, but realizes that is not what life is or should be. He decides to read some philosophy and for years studies everything from the old Greeks onward, but can't find the meaning of life. Maybe it's the family, he thinks, so he spends time with his wife, Fata, and the kids, but finds no meaning in that and so he leaves them. He thinks, Maybe helping others is the meaning of life, so he goes to medical school, graduates with flying colors, goes to Africa to cure malaria and transplants hearts, but cannot discover the meaning of life. He thinks, maybe it's the wealth, so he becomes a businessman, starts making money hand over fist, millions of dollars, buys everything there is to buy, but that is not what life is about. Then he turns to poverty and humility and such, so he gives everything away and begs on the streets, but still he cannot see what life is. He thinks maybe it is literature: he writes novel upon novel, but the more he writes the more obscure the meaning of life becomes. He turns to God, lives the life of a dervish, reads and contemplates the Holy Book of Islam - still, nothing. He studies Christianity, then Judaism, then Buddhism, then everything else - no meaning of life there. Finally, he hears about a guru living high up in the mountains somewhere in the East. The guru, they say, knows what the meaning of life is. So Mujo goes east, travels for years, walks roads, climbs the mountain, finds the stairs that lead up to the guru. He ascends the stairs, tens of thousands of them, nearly dies getting up there. At the top, there are millions of pilgrims, he has to wait for months to get to the guru. Eventually it is his turn, he goes to a place under a big tree, and there sits the naked guru, his legs crossed, his eyes closed, meditating, perfectly peaceful - he surely knows the meaning of life, Mujo says: I have dedicated my life to discovering the meaning of life and I have failed, so I have come to ask you humbly, O Master, to divulge the secret to me. The guru opens his eyes, looks at Mujo, and calmly says, My friend, life is a river. Mujo stares at him for a long time, cannot believe what he heard. What's life again? Mujo asks. Life is a river, the guru says. Mujo nods and says, You turd of turds, you goddamn stupid piece of shit, you motherfucking cocksucking asshole. I have wasted my life and come all this way for you to tell me that life is a fucking river. A river? Are you kidding me? That is the stupidest, emptiest fucking thing I have ever heard. Is that what you spent your life figuring out? And the guru says, What? It is not a river? Are you saying it is not a river?
Aleksandar Hemon (The Lazarus Project)
I never understood those commercials with the parents celebrating the end of summer. Now I understand that around mid-August, all the summer camps are over and you’ve run out of constructive things to do with your kid and you are desperate to get them out of the house. You’ve grown tired of your four-year-old pointing to words and asking, “What does this say?” Apparently it’s not okay to respond to them with, “It says, ‘Learn how to read.’ ” You don’t want to get rid of your children, but you do want to get rid of them for a couple of hours a day. School seems like a perfect solution. Your precious child will learn something, and most important, you will be able to use the bathroom in peace.
Jim Gaffigan (Dad Is Fat)
Things I worried about on the bus: a snapshot of an anxious brain . . . Is that car slowing down? Is someone going to get out and kidnap me? It is slowing down. What if someone asks for directions? What if—Oh. They’re just dropping someone off. The bus is late. What if it doesn’t arrive? What if I’m late getting to school? Did I turn my straighteners off ? What if the bus isn’t running today and no one told me? Where’s the—oh. There’s the bus. Oh crap is that Rowan from Biology? What if he sees me? What if he wants to chat? Hide. Okay, he hasn’t seen me. He hasn’t seen me. What if he did see me and now he thinks I’m weird for not saying hi? Did I remember to clean out Rita’s bowl properly? What if she gets sick? One day Rita will die. One day I’ll die. One day everyone will die. What if I die today and everyone sees that my bra has a hole in it? What if the bus crashes? Where are the exits? Why is there an exit on the ceiling? What if that headache Dad has is a brain tumor? Would I live with Mum all the time if Dad died? Why am I thinking about my living arrangements instead of how horrible it would be if Dad died? What’s wrong with me? What if Rhys doesn’t like me? What if he does? What if we get together and we split up? What if we get together and don’t split up and then we’re together forever until we die? One day I’ll die. Did I remember to turn my straighteners off ? Yes. Yes. Did I? Okay my stop’s coming up. I need to get off in about two minutes. Should I get up now? Will the guy next to me get that I have to get off or will I have to ask him to move? But what if he’s getting off too and I look like a twat? What if worrying kills brain cells? What if I never get to go to university? What if I do and it’s awful? Should I say thank you to the driver on the way off ? Okay, get up, move toward the front of the bus. Go, step. Don’t trip over that old man’s stick. Watch out for the stick. Watch out for the—shit. Did anyone notice that? No, no one’s looking at me. But what if they are? Okay, doors are opening, GO! I didn’t say thank you to the driver. What if he’s having a bad day and that would have made it better? Am I a bad person? Yeah but did I actually turn my straighteners off ?
Sara Barnard (A Quiet Kind of Thunder)
First memory: a man at the back door is saying, I have real bad news, sweat is dripping off his face, Garbert's been shot, noise from my mother, I run to her room behind her, I'm jumping on the canopied bed while she cries, she's pulling out drawers looking for a handkerchief, Now, he's all right, the man say, they think, patting her shoulder, I'm jumping higher, I'm not allowed, they think he saved old man Mayes, the bed slats dislodge and the mattress collapses. My mother lunges for me. Many traveled to Reidsville for the event, but my family did not witness Willis Barnes's electrocution, From kindergarten through high school, Donette, the murderer's daughter, was in my class. We played together at recess. Sometimes she'd spit on me.
Frances Mayes (Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir)
She has so much pride that, even if I'm weary of her, of her fighting ways, her gauntlet-tossing, I can't say there isn't something else that beams in me. An old ember licked to fresh fire again. Beth, the old Beth, before high school, before Ben Trammel, all the boys and self-sorrow, the divorce and the adderall and the suspensions. That Beth at the bike racks, third grade, her braids dangling, her chin up, fists knotted around a pair of dull scissors, peeling into Brady Carr's tire. Brady Carr, who shoved me off the spinabout, tearing a long strip of skin from my ankle to my knee. Tugging the rubber from his tire, her fingernails ripped red, she looked up at me, grinning wide, front-teeth gapped and wild heroic. How could you ever forget that?
Megan Abbott (Dare Me)
We're in her bedroom,and she's helping me write an essay about my guniea pig for French class. She's wearing soccer shorts with a cashmere sweater, and even though it's silly-looking, it's endearingly Meredith-appropriate. She's also doing crunches. For fun. "Good,but that's present tense," she says. "You aren't feeding Captain Jack carrot sticks right now." "Oh. Right." I jot something down, but I'm not thinking about verbs. I'm trying to figure out how to casually bring up Etienne. "Read it to me again. Ooo,and do your funny voice! That faux-French one your ordered cafe creme in the other day, at that new place with St. Clair." My bad French accent wasn't on purpose, but I jump on the opening. "You know, there's something,um,I've been wondering." I'm conscious of the illuminated sign above my head, flashing the obvious-I! LOVE! ETIENNE!-but push ahead anyway. "Why are he and Ellie still together? I mean they hardly see each other anymore. Right?" Mer pauses, mid-crunch,and...I'm caught. She knows I'm in love with him, too. But then I see her struggling to reply, and I realize she's as trapped in the drama as I am. She didn't even notice my odd tone of voice. "Yeah." She lowers herself slwoly back to the floor. "But it's not that simple. They've been together forever. They're practically an old married couple. And besides,they're both really...cautious." "Cautious?" "Yeah.You know.St. Clair doesn't rock the boat. And Ellie's the same way. It took her ages to choose a university, and then she still picked one that's only a few neighborhoods away. I mean, Parsons is a prestigious school and everything,but she chose it because it was familiar.And now with St. Clair's mom,I think he's afraid to lose anyone else.Meanwhile,she's not gonna break up with him,not while his mom has cancer. Even if it isn't a healthy relationship anymore." I click the clicky-button on top of my pen. Clickclickclickclick. "So you think they're unhappy?" She sighs. "Not unhappy,but...not happy either. Happy enough,I guess. Does that make sense?" And it does.Which I hate. Clickclickclickclick. It means I can't say anything to him, because I'd be risking our friendship. I have to keep acting like nothing has changed,that I don't feel anything ore for him than I feel for Josh.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Why, all our art treasures of to-day are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago. I wonder if there is real intrinsic beauty in the old soup-plates, beer-mugs, and candle-snuffers that we prize so now, or if it is only the halo of age glowing around them that gives them their charms in our eyes. The “old blue” that we hang about our walls as ornaments were the common every-day household utensils of a few centuries ago; and the pink shepherds and the yellow shepherdesses that we hand round now for all our friends to gush over, and pretend they understand, were the unvalued mantel-ornaments that the mother of the eighteenth century would have given the baby to suck when he cried. Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow-pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd? Will the white cups with the gold rim and the beautiful gold flower inside (species unknown), that our Sarah Janes now break in sheer light-heartedness of spirit, be carefully mended, and stood upon a bracket, and dusted only by the lady of the house? That china dog that ornaments the bedroom of my furnished lodgings. It is a white dog. Its eyes blue. Its nose is a delicate red, with spots. Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility. I do not admire it myself. Considered as a work of art, I may say it irritates me. Thoughtless friends jeer at it, and even my landlady herself has no admiration for it, and excuses its presence by the circumstance that her aunt gave it to her. But in 200 years’ time it is more than probable that that dog will be dug up from somewhere or other, minus its legs, and with its tail broken, and will be sold for old china, and put in a glass cabinet. And people will pass it round, and admire it. They will be struck by the wonderful depth of the colour on the nose, and speculate as to how beautiful the bit of the tail that is lost no doubt was. We, in this age, do not see the beauty of that dog. We are too familiar with it. It is like the sunset and the stars: we are not awed by their loveliness because they are common to our eyes. So it is with that china dog. In 2288 people will gush over it. The making of such dogs will have become a lost art. Our descendants will wonder how we did it, and say how clever we were. We shall be referred to lovingly as “those grand old artists that flourished in the nineteenth century, and produced those china dogs.” The “sampler” that the eldest daughter did at school will be spoken of as “tapestry of the Victorian era,” and be almost priceless. The blue-and-white mugs of the present-day roadside inn will be hunted up, all cracked and chipped, and sold for their weight in gold, and rich people will use them for claret cups; and travellers from Japan will buy up all the “Presents from Ramsgate,” and “Souvenirs of Margate,” that may have escaped destruction, and take them back to Jedo as ancient English curios.
Jerome K. Jerome (Complete Works of Jerome K. Jerome)
She makes you look too little and you make her look too big. You’re from two different planets and you’re not meant to be standing together. She claps as if she’s meeting a five-year-old and I don’t like it when girls are taller than me. “Hello, Joseph,” she says, overenunciating. “I am Peach and this is my home.” “Nice to meet you,” I say and she looks me up and down. Cunt. “I love you already for not being pretentious,” she says. “And thank you for not bringing any wine or anything. This girl is family to me. No gifts allowed.” You are, of course, aghast. “Omigod, Peach, I completely flaked.” She looks down on you literally. “Sweetie, I just said I love it. And besides, the last thing we need is more cheap wine.” You are acting like you committed a felony and she looks at me like I’m the delivery guy waiting for a tip. “I’m stealing our girl for two minutes, Joseph.” You allow her to steal you and I really must look like the fucking delivery guy as I stand here, not knowing anyone, not being known. No girls are coming on to me and maybe I don’t look good in here. The only certainty is that I hate this Peach as much as I knew I would, and she hates me right back. She knows how to work you, Beck. You are apologizing for no wine, for not bringing Lynn and Chana, for not taking better care of your purse. And she is forgiving, stroking your back, telling you not to worry. I’m invisible to you in her presence, just like everyone else. Peach Is . . . in the way. I look around but nobody wants to say hi to me. It’s like they can smell the public school on me.
Caroline Kepnes (You (You, #1))
Is she really old enough to have crushes on boys? I feel like she’s too young for all that.” “I had crushes on boys when I was nine,” I tell him. I’m still thinking about Kitty. I wonder how I can make it so she isn’t mad at me anymore. Somehow I don’t think snickerdoodles will cut it this time. “Who?” Josh asks me. “Who what?” Maybe if I can somehow convince Daddy to buy her a puppy… “Who was your first crush?” “Hmm. My first real crush?” I had kindergarten and first- and second-grade crushes aplenty, but they don’t really count. “Like the first one that really mattered?” “Sure.” “Well…I guess Peter Kavinsky.” Josh practically gags. “Kavinsky? Are you kidding me? He’s so obvious. I thought you’d be into someone more…I don’t know, subtle. Peter Kavinsky’s such a cliché. He’s like a cardboard cutout of a ‘cool guy’ in a movie about high school.” I shrug. “You asked.” “Wow,” he says, shaking his head. “Just…wow.” “He used to be different. I mean, he was still very Peter, but less so.” When Josh looks unconvinced, I say, “You’re a boy, so you can’t understand what I’m talking about.” “You’re right. I don’t understand!” “Hey, you’re the one who had a crush on Ms. Rothschild!” Josh turns red. “She was really pretty back then!” “Uh-huh.” I give him a knowing look. “She was really ‘pretty.’” Our across-the-street neighbor Ms. Rothschild used to mow her lawn in terry-cloth short shorts and a string bikini top. The neighborhood boys would conveniently come and play in Josh’s yard on those days. “Anyway, Ms. Rothschild wasn’t my first crush.” “She wasn’t?” “No. You were.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
An elementary school student asked me the NOT politically correct question, “Is an idiot smarter than a moron?” I had to Google it because I was afraid to respond in today’s PC society and didn’t want to offend him, his parents, or anyone else. Here’s what I found. Technically, a moron is smarter than an idiot. An imbecile is also smarter than an idiot. Although today the words are considered insulting and derogatory, prior to the 1960s they were widely used as actual psychology terms associated with intelligence on an IQ test. An IQ between: 00-25 = Idiot 26-50 = Imbecile 51-70 = Moron Explaining all of this to a nine year old with an IQ of 130 made me feel like society has turned all adults into one of the above, myself included. When I told him that I’m afraid to openly say it, the nine year old said, “Adults are idiots!
Ray Palla (H: Infidels of Oil)
When I was a kid, growing up during the 1970s, I used to read a lot of horror and science fiction. I graduated from comic books to paperbacks around the time I first entered my teens. And I want to say that what 99% of that stuff tells you about supposed encounters with the unknown is a formulaic convention. No one faints like a chicken-shit or else reaches for their weapon like Arnie Schwarzenegger in the face of something so utterly terrifying there isn’t even a name for it. What those writers don’t know is what happens in an encounter with the outside is this: that the moment slows down to such an extent that time itself simply stands still in your head. I suppose that fact doesn’t make for good characterisation. It’s incommunicable. I think they call it the numinous. I once did a semester in creative writing back after graduating, around the decade King was outselling every other author on the planet, but could never make the grade. Still, I read a lot of the best attempts. Maybe that’s why someone like Lovecraft, or Machen, or one of the old-school writers of that stuff I used to read had almost pulled it off. They were no good at characterisation and tended to use ciphers, presenting the phenomenon itself as the main protagonist, because it was the way things are when you encounter it. The thing empties you, draining out any semblance of normalcy, no matter what your history is, or what you think you’re all about. Real horror consists not of the worst thing in the world you can imagine happening, but in encountering some abomination you cannot possibly imagine, something even worse than fear: a shard of absolute outsideness. Human characters become shadows, just shadows.
Mark Samuels (The Prozess Manifestations)
But if, when you say whiskey, you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the stuff that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty morning; if you mean the drink that enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrows, if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm, to build highways, hospitals, and schools, then certainly I am in favor of it.
Adam Rogers (Proof: The Science of Booze)
They got to the classroom she and Jay shared this period, but it wasn’t Grady’s class. Instead of walking on, Grady paused. “Violet, can I talk to you for a minute?” His deep voice surprised her again. “Yeah, okay,” Violet agreed, curious about what he might have to say to her. Jay stopped and waited too, but when Grady didn’t say anything, it became clear that he’d meant he wanted to talk to her . . . alone. Jay suddenly seemed uncomfortable and tried to excuse himself as casually as he could. “I’ll see you inside,” he finally said to Violet. She nodded to him as he left. Violet was a little worried that the bell was going to ring and she’d be tardy again, but her curiosity had kicked up a notch when she realized that Grady didn’t want Jay to hear what he had to say, and that far outweighed her concern for late slips. When they were alone, and Grady didn’t start talking right away, Violet prompted him. “What’s going on?” She watched him swallow, and his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down along the length of his throat. It was strange to see her old guy friends in this new light. He’d always been a good-looking kid, but now he looked like a man . . . even though he still acted like a boy. He shifted back and forth, and if she had taken the time to think about it, she would have realized that he was nervous. But she misread his discomfort altogether. She thought that, like her, he was worried about being late. “Do you want to talk after school? I could meet you in the parking lot.” “No. No. Now’s good.” He ran his hand through his hair in a discouraged gesture. He took a deep breath, but his voice was still shaking when he spoke. “I . . . I was wondering . . .” He looked Violet right in the eye now, and suddenly she felt very nervous about where this might be going. She was desperately wishing she hadn’t let Jay leave her here alone. “I was wondering if you’re planning to go to Homecoming,” Grady finally blurted out. She stood there, looking at him, feeling trapped by the question and not sure what she was going to say. The bell rang, and both of them jumped. Violet was grateful for the excuse, and she clung to it like a life preserver. Her eyes were wide, and she pointed to the door behind her. “I gotta . . . can we . . .” She pointed again, and she knew she looked and sounded like an idiot, incapable of coherent speech. “Can we talk after school?” Grady seemed relieved to have been let off the hook for the moment. “Sure. Yeah. I’ll talk to you after school.” He left without saying good-bye, and Violet, thankful herself, tried to slip into her classroom unnoticed. But she had no such luck. The teacher marked her tardy, and everyone in class watched as she made her way to her seat beside Jay’s. Her face felt flushed and hot. “What was that all about?” Jay asked in a loud whisper. She still felt like her head was reeling. She had no idea what she was going to say to Grady when school was out. “I think Grady just asked me to Homecoming,” she announced to Jay. He looked at her suspiciously. “The game?” Violet cocked her head to the side and gave him a look that told him to be serious. “No, I’m pretty sure he meant the dance,” Violet clarified, exasperated by the obtuse question. Jay frowned at her. “What did you say?” “I didn’t say anything. The bell rang and I told him we’d have to talk later.” The teacher glanced their way, and they pretended not to be talking to each other.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
i. You’re in fourth grade and it’s autumn and your teacher is handing out catalogs, bright yellow paper pamphlets that crinkle like autumn leaves. You are ravenous, willing the ink to manifest itself into something palpable, pages and pages of words for you to consume, bright covers binding stories of people and places and things you’ve never encountered. The other students shove their already-crumpled copies into their Take-Home folders. ii. You’re in fourth grade and it’s winter and last night the books tumbled off your shelf like the falling snow outside, swelling and piling and overtaking everything—too much stuff, no place to put it all. Your favorite subject in school is Reading, and you can’t understand why no one else seems quite as delighted. It’s all made-up, see? you tell them, even the real stuff. They stare at you, bewildered, as you skip ahead in the enormous anthology of short stories, anxious to find something else that satisfies, trying to ignore the bored mumbles of the two boys next to you. Your other favorite subject is Silent Reading. iii. You’re in fourth grade and it’s spring which means chirping birds and blooming flowers and it’s old news, really, because every time you crack the spine on a new stack of yellowed pages you feel reborn. Your teacher says there won’t be Reading today, there’s something special instead, and your heart sinks as she leads the murmuring class down to the gym, light-up sneakers squeaking on the scuffed tiles. You get there and it’s not the gym, it’s Eden, shelves and shelves of vibrant covers vying for your attention. You’re torn between shoving your old, well-loved favorites under the noses of your disinterested friends and searching for new words to devour. You’re a prospector sifting for riches in the middle of the GOLD Rush, you’re a miner in a cave, you run the titles over your tongue like lollipops, wishing you could just swallow them whole. iv. You’ve finished fourth grade and it’s summer and you giggle when you get the letter in the mail reminding all students to finish one book by the end of break. You already finished one book the first day of vacation, and another the day after that. You still can’t understand why nobody else seems to get it—reading is not a hobby or a chore or a subject, it’s a lifestyle, a method of transportation, a communication that speaks directly to the soul. You decide that the only option is to become a writer when you grow up, and write a book that will fill the parts of people they didn’t even know were empty. You will write a book that they will want to read, and then they will understand.
Anonymous
Five actors playing allotted parts on a set stage; and now he, for whom no part had been written, had walked onto the stage unexpectedly, because one of the players had turned rebel, as she had once before. He threw everything out of focus, and them into a fever. The heat and intensity of these flying questions was enough to make a man with even partially trained clairvoyant faculties feel as if he sat in a room filled with flashing fireflies. He took warning and withdrew himself to a cold inner isolation, as he knew how to do, even while laughing and talking with surface ease. It would not do to let his mind become clouded with emotion; or open any door of his imagination. But the impressions that came across that safer inner distance did not make his companions seem less dramatic, more normal: they were still out of focus. Something about the picture was distorted, even to a clear vision. The sense of evil was as strong as ever although the lurking Presence seemed to have retreated into a far background. He saw presently what the distortion was. Their modern figures were somehow incongruous in the old house, not at home. Like actors who had somehow got onto the wrong stage, onto sets with which their voices and costumes clashed. Interlopers. Or else-actors of an old school dressed up in an unbecoming masquerade. Witch House was an old house. Not old as other houses are old, that remain beds of the continuous stream of life, of marriages and births and deaths, of children crying and children laughing, where the past is only part of the pattern, root of the present and the future. Joseph de Quincy, dead nearly a quarter of a thousand years, was still its master: he had been strong, so strong that no later personality could dim or efface him here where he had set his seal. "He left his evil here when he could no longer stay himself," Carew thought. "As a man with diphtheria leaves germs on the things he has handled, the bed he has lain in. Thoughts are tangible things; on their own plane they breed like germs and, unlike germs, they do not die. He may have forgotten; he may even walk the earth in other flesh, but what he has left here lives." As probably it had been meant to do. For the man whose malignance, swollen with the contributions of the centuries, still ensouled these walls would not have cared to build a house or found a family except as a means to an end. Witch House was set like a mold, steeped in ritual atmosphere as a temple. Dangerous business, for who could say that such a temple would not find a god? There are low, non-human beings that coalesce with and feed on such leftover forces: lair in them.
Evangeline Walton (Witch House)
This kind of parenting was typical in much of Asia—and among Asian immigrant parents living in the United States. Contrary to the stereotype, it did not necessarily make children miserable. In fact, children raised in this way in the United States tended not only to do better in school but to actually enjoy reading and school more than their Caucasian peers enrolled in the same schools. While American parents gave their kids placemats with numbers on them and called it a day, Asian parents taught their children to add before they could read. They did it systematically and directly, say, from six-thirty to seven each night, with a workbook—not organically, the way many American parents preferred their children to learn math. The coach parent did not necessarily have to earn a lot of money or be highly educated. Nor did a coach parent have to be Asian, needless to say. The research showed that European-American parents who acted more like coaches tended to raise smarter kids, too. Parents who read to their children weekly or daily when they were young raised children who scored twenty-five points higher on PISA by the time they were fifteen years old. That was almost a full year of learning. More affluent parents were more likely to read to their children almost everywhere, but even among families within the same socioeconomic group, parents who read to their children tended to raise kids who scored fourteen points higher on PISA. By contrast, parents who regularly played with alphabet toys with their young children saw no such benefit. And at least one high-impact form of parental involvement did not actually involve kids or schools at all: If parents simply read for pleasure at home on their own, their children were more likely to enjoy reading, too. That pattern held fast across very different countries and different levels of family income. Kids could see what parents valued, and it mattered more than what parents said. Only four in ten parents in the PISA survey regularly read at home for enjoyment. What if they knew that this one change—which they might even vaguely enjoy—would help their children become better readers themselves? What if schools, instead of pleading with parents to donate time, muffins, or money, loaned books and magazines to parents and urged them to read on their own and talk about what they’d read in order to help their kids? The evidence suggested that every parent could do things that helped create strong readers and thinkers, once they knew what those things were. Parents could go too far with the drills and practice in academics, just as they could in sports, and many, many Korean parents did go too far. The opposite was also true. A coddled, moon bounce of a childhood could lead to young adults who had never experienced failure or developed self-control or endurance—experiences that mattered as much or more than academic skills. The evidence suggested that many American parents treated their children as if they were delicate flowers. In one Columbia University study, 85 percent of American parents surveyed said that they thought they needed to praise their children’s intelligence in order to assure them they were smart. However, the actual research on praise suggested the opposite was true. Praise that was vague, insincere, or excessive tended to discourage kids from working hard and trying new things. It had a toxic effect, the opposite of what parents intended. To work, praise had to be specific, authentic, and rare. Yet the same culture of self-esteem boosting extended to many U.S. classrooms.
Amanda Ripley (The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way)
Lincoln was raised in the thick of Old School Calvinism. In Kentucky and Indiana, his parents belonged to a fire-breathing sect called Separate Baptism, in which congregants heard—in the tradition of Jonathan Edward’s famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”—that they were bound for eternal hellfire, and nothing they could do or say or think would change their fate. Preachers did allow that a chosen few were ordained for grace and would be saved, but these fortunate ones had been selected by God before time began. As one Baptist preacher in Lincoln’s Kentucky explained it, “Long before the morning stars sang together . . . the Almighty looked down upon the ages yet unborn, as it were, in review before him, and selected one here and another there to enjoy eternal life and left the rest to the blackness of darkness forever.” Such Baptist ministers were so intense that it has been said that they “out-Calvined Calvin.
Joshua Wolf Shenk (Lincoln's Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness)
In any case, it is not as if the ‘light’ inspection is in any sense preferable for staff than the heavy one. The inspectors are in the college for the same amount of time as they were under the old system. The fact that there are fewer of them does nothing to alleviate the stress of the inspection, which has far more to do with the extra bureaucratic window-dressing one has to do in anticipation of a possible observation than it has to do with any actual observation itself. The inspection, that is to say, corresponds precisely to Foucault’s account of the virtual nature of surveillance in Discipline And Punish. Foucault famously observes there that there is no need for the place of surveillance to actually be occupied. The effect of not knowing whether you will be observed or not produces an introjection of the surveillance apparatus. You constantly act as if you are always about to be observed. Yet, in the case of school and university inspections, what you will be graded on is not primarily your abilities as a teacher so much as your diligence as a bureaucrat. There are other bizarre effects. Since OFSTED is now observing the college’s self-assessment systems, there is an implicit incentive for the college to grade itself and its teaching lower than it actually deserves. The result is a kind of postmodern capitalist version of Maoist confessionalism, in which workers are required to engage in constant symbolic self-denigration. At one point, when our line manager was extolling the virtues of the new, light inspection system, he told us that the problem with our departmental log-books was that they were not sufficiently self-critical. But don’t worry, he urged, any self-criticisms we make are purely symbolic, and will never be acted upon; as if performing self-flagellation as part of a purely formal exercise in cynical bureaucratic compliance were any less demoralizing.
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
A businessman buys a business and tries to operate it. He does everything that he knows how to do but just cannot make it go. Year after year the ledger shows red, and he is not making a profit. He borrows what he can, has a little spirit and a little hope, but that spirit and hope die and he goes broke. Finally, he sells out, hopelessly in debt, and is left a failure in the business world. A woman is educated to be a teacher but just cannot get along with the other teachers. Something in her constitution or temperament will not allow her to get along with children or young people. So after being shuttled from one school to another, she finally gives up, goes somewhere and takes a job running a stapling machine. She just cannot teach and is a failure in the education world. I have known ministers who thought they were called to preach. They prayed and studied and learned Greek and Hebrew, but somehow they just could not make the public want to listen to them. They just couldn’t do it. They were failures in the congregational world. It is possible to be a Christian and yet be a failure. This is the same as Israel in the desert, wandering around. The Israelites were God’s people, protected and fed, but they were failures. They were not where God meant them to be. They compromised. They were halfway between where they used to be and where they ought to be. And that describes many of the Lord’s people. They live and die spiritual failures. I am glad God is good and kind. Failures can crawl into God’s arms, relax and say, “Father, I made a mess of it. I’m a spiritual failure. I haven’t been out doing evil things exactly, but here I am, Father, and I’m old and ready to go and I’m a failure.” Our kind and gracious heavenly Father will not say to that person, “Depart from me—I never knew you,” because that person has believed and does believe in Jesus Christ. The individual has simply been a failure all of his life. He is ready for death and ready for heaven. I wonder if that is what Paul, the man of God, meant when he said: [No] other foundation can [any] man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he should receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). I think that’s what it means, all right. We ought to be the kind of Christian that cannot only save our souls but also save our lives. When Lot left Sodom, he had nothing but the garments on his back. Thank God, he got out. But how much better it would have been if he had said farewell at the gate and had camels loaded with his goods. He could have gone out with his head up, chin out, saying good riddance to old Sodom. How much better he could have marched away from there with his family. And when he settled in a new place, he could have had “an abundant entrance” (see 2 Pet. 1:11). Thank God, you are going to make it. But do you want to make it in the way you have been acting lately? Wandering, roaming aimlessly? When there is a place where Jesus will pour “the oil of gladness” on our heads, a place sweeter than any other in the entire world, the blood-bought mercy seat (Ps. 45:7; Heb. 1:9)? It is the will of God that you should enter the holy of holies, live under the shadow of the mercy seat, and go out from there and always come back to be renewed and recharged and re-fed. It is the will of God that you live by the mercy seat, living a separated, clean, holy, sacrificial life—a life of continual spiritual difference. Wouldn’t that be better than the way you are doing it now?
A.W. Tozer (The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience)
Patriotism comes from the same Latin word as father. Blind patriotism is collective transference. In it the state becomes a parent and we citizens submit our loyalty to ensure its protection. We may have been encouraged to make that bargain from our public school education, our family home, religion, or culture in general. We associate safety with obedience to authority, for example, going along with government policies. We then make duty, as it is defined by the nation, our unquestioned course. Our motivation is usually not love of country but fear of being without a country that will defend us and our property. Connection is all-important to us; excommunication is the equivalent of death, the finality we can’t dispute. Healthy adult loyalty is a virtue that does not become blind obedience for fear of losing connection, nor total devotion so that we lose our boundaries. Our civil obedience can be so firm that it may take precedence over our concern for those we love, even our children. Here is an example: A young mother is told by the doctor that her toddler is allergic to peanuts and peanut oil. She lets the school know of her son’s allergy when he goes to kindergarten. Throughout his childhood, she is vigilant and makes sure he is safe from peanuts in any form. Eighteen years later, there is a war and he is drafted. The same mother, who was so scrupulously careful about her child’s safety, now waves goodbye to him with a tear but without protest. Mother’s own training in public school and throughout her life has made her believe that her son’s life is expendable whether or not the war in question is just. “Patriotism” is so deeply ingrained in her that she does not even imagine an alternative, even when her son’s life is at stake. It is of course also true that, biologically, parents are ready to let children go just as the state is ready to draft them. What a cunning synchronic-ity. In addition, old men who decide on war take advantage of the timing too. The warrior archetype is lively in eighteen-year-olds, who are willing to fight. Those in their mid-thirties, whose archetype is being a householder and making a mark in their chosen field, will not show an interest in battlefields of blood. The chiefs count on the fact that young braves will take the warrior myth literally rather than as a metaphor for interior battles. They will be willing to put their lives on the line to live out the collective myth of societies that have not found the path of nonviolence. Our collective nature thus seems geared to making war a workable enterprise. In some people, peacemaking is the archetype most in evidence. Nature seems to have made that population smaller, unfortunately. Our culture has trained us to endure and tolerate, not to protest and rebel. Every cell of our bodies learned that lesson. It may not be virtue; it may be fear. We may believe that showing anger is dangerous, because it opposes the authority we are obliged to appease and placate if we are to survive. This explains why we so admire someone who dares to say no and to stand up or even to die for what he believes. That person did not fall prey to the collective seduction. Watching Jeopardy on television, I notice that the audience applauds with special force when a contestant risks everything on a double-jeopardy question. The healthy part of us ardently admires daring. In our positive shadow, our admiration reflects our own disavowed or hidden potential. We, too, have it in us to dare. We can stand up for our truth, putting every comfort on the line, if only we can calm our long-scared ego and open to the part of us that wants to live free. Joseph Campbell says encouragingly, “The part of us that wants to become is fearless.” Religion and Transference Transference is not simply horizontal, from person to person, but vertical from person to a higher power, usually personified as God. When
David Richo (When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds That Sabotage Our Relationships)
And now there’s another thing you got to learn,” said the Ape. “I hear some of you are saying I’m an Ape. Well, I’m not. I’m a Man. If I look like an Ape, that’s because I’m so very old: hundreds and hundreds of years old. And it’s because I’m so old that I’m so wise. And it’s because I’m so wise that I’m the only one Aslan is ever going to speak to. He can’t be bothered talking to a lot of stupid animals. He’ll tell me what you’ve got to do, and I’ll tell the rest of you. And take my advice, and see you do it in double quick time, for he doesn’t mean to stand any nonsense.” There was dead silence except for the noise of a very young badger crying and its mother trying to make it keep quiet. “And now here’s another thing,” the Ape went on, fitting a fresh nut into its cheek, “I hear some of the horses are saying, Let’s hurry up and get this job of carting timber over as quickly as we can, and then we’ll be free again. Well, you can get that idea out of your heads at once. And not only the Horses either. Everybody who can work is going to be made to work in future. Aslan has it all settled with the King of Calormen—The Tisroc, as our dark faced friends the Calormenes call him. All you Horses and Bulls and Donkeys are to be sent down into Calormen to work for your living—pulling and carrying the way horses and such-like do in other countries. And all you digging animals like Moles and Rabbits and Dwarfs are going down to work in The Tisroc’s mines. And—” “No, no, no,” howled the Beasts. “It can’t be true. Aslan would never sell us into slavery to the King of Calormen.” “None of that! Hold your noise!” said the Ape with a snarl. “Who said anything about slavery? You won’t be slaves. You’ll be paid—very good wages too. That is to say, your pay will be paid into Aslan’s treasury and he will use it all for everybody’s good.” Then he glanced, and almost winked, at the chief Calormene. The Calormene bowed and replied, in the pompous Calormene way: “Most sapient Mouthpiece of Aslan, The Tisroc (may-he-live-forever) is wholly of one mind with your lordship in this judicious plan.” “There! You see!” said the Ape. “It’s all arranged. And all for your own good. We’ll be able, with the money you earn, to make Narnia a country worth living in. There’ll be oranges and bananas pouring in—and roads and big cities and schools and offices and whips and muzzles and saddles and cages and kennels and prisons—Oh, everything.” “But we don’t want all those things,” said an old Bear. “We want to be free. And we want to hear Aslan speak himself.” “Now don’t you start arguing,” said the Ape, “for it’s a thing I won’t stand. I’m a Man: you’re only a fat, stupid old Bear. What do you know about freedom? You think freedom means doing what you like. Well, you’re wrong. That isn’t true freedom. True freedom means doing what I tell you.” “H-n-n-h,” grunted the Bear and scratched its head; it found this sort of thing hard to understand.
C.S. Lewis (The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7))
At their best, old-fashioned military academies saved students from delinquency. At their worst, they drove boys to it by subjecting them to a culture that valued dominance, violence, and subversion of authorities. The experience is brilliantly told in Pat Conroy’s novel The Lords of Discipline, which depicts life at a military college similar to The Citadel in South Carolina. Although Conroy writes with both dismay and affection, others have offered a more scathing evaluation of these places. In his memoir, Breakshot, former mobster Kenny Gallo noted that his military boarding-school experience transformed him from “a disorderly brat into an orderly outlaw.” Recalling his career at Army and Navy Academy in California, Gallo writes, “I guess you could say my ‘normal’ social development stopped at military school when I was thirteen; I stopped developing as a healthy adult citizen and, first out of self defense and then out of pleasure, began honing my skills as a predator.”7 As
Michael D'Antonio (Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success)
When Benjamin Bloom studied his 120 world-class concert pianists, sculptors, swimmers, tennis players, mathematicians, and research neurologists, he found something fascinating. For most of them, their first teachers were incredibly warm and accepting. Not that they set low standards. Not at all, but they created an atmosphere of trust, not judgment. It was, “I’m going to teach you,” not “I’m going to judge your talent.” As you look at what Collins and Esquith demanded of their students—all their students—it’s almost shocking. When Collins expanded her school to include young children, she required that every four-year-old who started in September be reading by Christmas. And they all were. The three- and four-year-olds used a vocabulary book titled Vocabulary for the High School Student. The seven-year-olds were reading The Wall Street Journal. For older children, a discussion of Plato’s Republic led to discussions of de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Orwell’s Animal Farm, Machiavelli, and the Chicago city council. Her reading list for the late-grade-school children included The Complete Plays of Anton Chekhov, Physics Through Experiment, and The Canterbury Tales. Oh, and always Shakespeare. Even the boys who picked their teeth with switchblades, she says, loved Shakespeare and always begged for more. Yet Collins maintained an extremely nurturing atmosphere. A very strict and disciplined one, but a loving one. Realizing that her students were coming from teachers who made a career of telling them what was wrong with them, she quickly made known her complete commitment to them as her students and as people. Esquith bemoans the lowering of standards. Recently, he tells us, his school celebrated reading scores that were twenty points below the national average. Why? Because they were a point or two higher than the year before. “Maybe it’s important to look for the good and be optimistic,” he says, “but delusion is not the answer. Those who celebrate failure will not be around to help today’s students celebrate their jobs flipping burgers.… Someone has to tell children if they are behind, and lay out a plan of attack to help them catch up.” All of his fifth graders master a reading list that includes Of Mice and Men, Native Son, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Joy Luck Club, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Separate Peace. Every one of his sixth graders passes an algebra final that would reduce most eighth and ninth graders to tears. But again, all is achieved in an atmosphere of affection and deep personal commitment to every student. “Challenge and nurture” describes DeLay’s approach, too. One of her former students expresses it this way: “That is part of Miss DeLay’s genius—to put people in the frame of mind where they can do their best.… Very few teachers can actually get you to your ultimate potential. Miss DeLay has that gift. She challenges you at the same time that you feel you are being nurtured.
Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success)
So these Kings and Queens entered the thicket, and before they had gone a score of paces, they all remembered that the thing they had seen was called a lamppost, and before they had gone twenty more, they noticed that they were making their way not through branches but through coats. And next moment they all came tumbling out of a wardrobe door into the empty room, and they were no longer Kings and Queens in their hunting array but just Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy in their old clothes. It was the same day and the same hour of the day on which they had all gone into the wardrobe to hide. Mrs. Macready and the visitors were still talking I the passage; but luckily they never came into the empty room and so the children weren’t caught. And that would have been the very end of the story if it hadn’t been that they felt they really must explain to the Professor why four of the coats out of his wardrobe were missing. And the Professor, who was a very remarkable man, didn’t tell them not to be silly or not to tell lies, but believed the whole story. “No,” he said, “I don’t think it will be any good trying to go back through the wardrobe door to get the coats. You won’t get into Narnia again by that route. Nor would the coats be much use by now if you did! Eh? What’s that? Yes, of course you’ll get back to Narnia again someday. Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice. Indeed, don’t try to get there at all. It’ll happen when you’re not looking for it. And don’t talk too much about it even among yourselves. And don’t mention it to anyone else unless you find that they’ve had adventures of the same sort themselves. What’s that? How will you know? Oh, you’ll know all right. Odd things they say--even their looks--will let the secret out. Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?” And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right, it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.
C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe)
I wish I had asked myself when I was younger. My path was so tracked that in my 8th-grade yearbook, one of my friends predicted— accurately— that four years later I would enter Stanford as a sophomore. And after a conventionally successful undergraduate career, I enrolled at Stanford Law School, where I competed even harder for the standard badges of success. The highest prize in a law student’s world is unambiguous: out of tens of thousands of graduates each year, only a few dozen get a Supreme Court clerkship. After clerking on a federal appeals court for a year, I was invited to interview for clerkships with Justices Kennedy and Scalia. My meetings with the Justices went well. I was so close to winning this last competition. If only I got the clerkship, I thought, I would be set for life. But I didn’t. At the time, I was devastated. In 2004, after I had built and sold PayPal, I ran into an old friend from law school who had helped me prepare my failed clerkship applications. We hadn’t spoken in nearly a decade. His first question wasn’t “How are you doing?” or “Can you believe it’s been so long?” Instead, he grinned and asked: “So, Peter, aren’t you glad you didn’t get that clerkship?” With the benefit of hindsight, we both knew that winning that ultimate competition would have changed my life for the worse. Had I actually clerked on the Supreme Court, I probably would have spent my entire career taking depositions or drafting other people’s business deals instead of creating anything new. It’s hard to say how much would be different, but the opportunity costs were enormous. All Rhodes Scholars had a great future in their past. the best paths are new and untried. will this business still be around a decade from now? business is like chess. Grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca put it well: to succeed, “you must study the endgame before everything else. The few who knew what might be learned, Foolish enough to put their whole heart on show, And reveal their feelings to the crowd below, Mankind has always crucified and burned. Above all, don’t overestimate your own power as an individual. Founders are important not because they are the only ones whose work has value, but rather because a great founder can bring out the best work from everybody at his company. That we need individual founders in all their peculiarity does not mean that we are called to worship Ayn Randian “prime movers” who claim to be independent of everybody around them. In this respect, Rand was a merely half-great writer: her villains were real, but her heroes were fake. There is no Galt’s Gulch. There is no secession from society. To believe yourself invested with divine self-sufficiency is not the mark of a strong individual, but of a person who has mistaken the crowd’s worship—or jeering—for the truth. The single greatest danger for a founder is to become so certain of his own myth that he loses his mind. But an equally insidious danger for every business is to lose all sense of myth and mistake disenchantment for wisdom.
Peter Thiel (Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future)
When I think about it, I have to say that by 1919 even the Hitler Youth had almost been formed. For example, in our school class we had started a club called the Rennbund Altpreussen (Old Prussia Athletics Club), and took as its motto “Anti-Spartacus, for Sport and Politics.” The politics consisted in occasionally beating up a few unfortunates, who were in favor of the revolution, on the way to school. Sports were the main occupation. We organized athletics championships in the school grounds or public stadia. These gave us the pleasurable sensation of being decidedly anti-Spartacist. We felt very important and patriotic, and ran races for the fatherland. What was that, if not an embryonic Hitler Youth? In truth, certain characteristics later added by Hitler’s personal idiosyncrasies were lacking, anti-Semitism for one. Our Jewish schoolmates ran with the same anti-Spartacist and patriotic zeal as everyone else. Indeed, our best runner was Jewish. I can testify that they did nothing to undermine national unity. During
Sebastian Haffner (Defying Hitler: A Memoir)
You whom I could not save, Listen to me. Can we agree Kevlar backpacks shouldn’t be needed for children walking to school? Those same children also shouldn’t require a suit of armor when standing on their front lawns, or snipers to watch their backs as they eat at McDonalds. They shouldn’t have to stop to consider the speed of a bullet or how it might reshape their bodies. But one winter, back in Detroit, I had one student who opened a door and died. It was the front door to his house, but it could have been any door, and the bullet could have written any name. The shooter was thirteen years old and was aiming at someone else. But a bullet doesn’t care about “aim,” it doesn’t distinguish between the innocent and the innocent, and how was the bullet supposed to know this child would open the door at the exact wrong moment because his friend was outside and screaming for help. Did I say I had “one” student who opened a door and died? That’s wrong. There were many. The classroom of grief had far more seats than the classroom for math though every student in the classroom for math could count the names of the dead. A kid opens a door. The bullet couldn’t possibly know, nor could the gun, because “guns don’t kill people,” they don’t have minds to decide such things, they don’t choose or have a conscience, and when a man doesn’t have a conscience, we call him a psychopath. This is how we know what type of assault rifle a man can be, and how we discover the hell that thrums inside each of them. Today, there’s another shooting with dead kids everywhere. It was a school, a movie theater, a parking lot. The world is full of doors. And you, whom I cannot save, you may open a door and enter a meadow, or a eulogy. And if the latter, you will be mourned, then buried in rhetoric. There will be monuments of legislation, little flowers made from red tape. What should we do? we’ll ask again. The earth will close like a door above you. What should we do? And that click you hear? That’s just our voices, the deadbolt of discourse sliding into place.
Matthew Olzmann
More often, I’d meet people like Brett Favre. Not literally like Brett Favre, in the sense that they were forty-year-old football players, but that they were people who loved Wisconsin but couldn’t find a way to make it work there, took off for NewYork, crashed and burned, and then found a home for themselves here in the City of Lakes. Minneapolis is where the drama queens and burnouts and weirdos and misfits of the rural and suburban Upper Midwest wind up. It’s a city full of people who, though they’d never say it, secretly suspect they don’t belong here, that they’re not Minneapolis enough, because they didn’t go to a city high school, or because they didn’t hang out at First Avenue when they were teenagers, or because they came from the suburbs, or from outstate.They came from the Iron Range or Fargo–Moorhead or Bloomington or White Bear Lake or Collegeville, or from Chicago or California or the Pacific Northwest or Mexico or Somalia. Wherever they came from, Minneapolis is their home now, and it belongs to them. It belongs to us.
Andy Sturdevant (Potluck Supper with Meeting to Follow: Essays)
One sees more and more that folk either have head religion or dead religion, or a very shallow view of the real thing. It seems these days the average evangelist offers too much for too little. A shallow repentance, if that is what it can be called, is accepted and then the person is guaranteed immunity from divine justice, eternal security, escape from hell, and the title deed to a first class mansion in heaven. What a travesty of the real thing. May God pity us. Newsweek has reported that six prominent Americans have been converted to Christianity recently. But none mentioned conviction of sin or of receiving Christ as Lord. So I see more than ever the weakness of modern evangelism. We get folks to walk an aisle and say a sinner’s prayer to ask forgiveness. But when do sinners, who are rebels against God, ever cry for mercy? Mercy, like repentance, is a dirty word with most evangelists. The old school view of evangelism is that people did not come to an altar for five minutes and leave, but would stay seeking the face of God until they had a real breakthrough.
Mack Tomlinson (In Light of Eternity, The Life of Leonard Ravenhill)
A second reason why it is hard to choose what is essential in the moment is as simple as an innate fear of social awkwardness. The fact is, we as humans are wired to want to get along with others. After all, thousands of years ago when we all lived in tribes of hunter gatherers, our survival depended on it. And while conforming to what people in a group expect of us – what psychologists call normative conformity – is no longer a matter of life and death, the desire is still deeply ingrained in us.7 This is why, whether it’s an old friend who invites you to dinner or a boss who asks you to take on an important and high-profile project, or a neighbour who begs you to help with the school cake sale, the very thought of saying no literally brings us physical discomfort. We feel guilty. We don’t want to let someone down. We are worried about damaging the relationship. But these emotions muddle our clarity. They distract us from the reality of the fact that either we can say no and regret it for a few minutes, or we can say yes and regret it for days, weeks, months, or even years.
Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less)
When we came out of the cookhouse, we found the boy's father, the Indian man who had been grazing the horses in the pasture, waiting for us. He wanted someone to tell his troubles to. He looked about guardedly, afraid that the Señora might overhear him. 'Take a look at me' he said. I don't even know how old I am. When I was young, the Señor brought me here. He promised to pay me and give me a plot of my own. 'Look at my clothes' he said, pointing to the patches covering his body. 'I can't remember how many years I've been wearing them. I have no others. I live in a mud hut with my wife and sons. They all work for the Señor like me. They don't go to school. They don't know how to read or write; they don't even speak Spanish. We work for the master, raise his cattle and work his fields. We only get rice and plantains to eat. Nobody takes care of us when we are sick. The women here have their babies in these filthy huts.' 'Why don't you eat meat or at least milk the cows?' I asked. 'We aren't allowed to slaughter a cow. And the milk goes to the calves. We can't even have chicken or pork - only if an animal gets sick and dies. Once I raised a pig in my yard' he went on. 'She had a litter of three. When the Señor came back he told the foreman to shoot them. That's the only time we ever had good meat.' 'I don't mind working for the Señor but I want him to keep his promise. I want a piece of land of my own so I can grow rice and yucca and raise a few chickens and pigs. That's all.' 'Doesn't he pay you anything?' Kevin asked. 'He says he pays us but he uses our money to buy our food. We never get any cash. Kind sirs, maybe you can help me to persuade the master . Just one little plot is all I want. The master has land, much land.' We were shocked by his tale. Marcus took out a notebook and pen. 'What's his name?'. He wrote down the name. The man didn't know the address. He only knew that the Señor lived in La Paz. Marcus was infuriated. 'When I find the owner of the ranch, I'll spit right in his eye. What a lousy bastard! I mean, it's really incredible'. 'That's just the way things are,' Karl said. 'It's sad but there's nothing we can do about it.
Yossi Ghinsberg (Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival)
September could not even say it was beautiful. It was ever so much bigger and grander than beautiful. She had a feeling stuck in her and she could not name it. It bobbed up and down in her heart like a crystal bottle with a message inside—but she could not get out the stopper. Many years later, folk whose names you and I studied in school went up to the roof of our world and looked down. Perhaps they could name the feeling for her. It’s something like suddenly stepping out of your own skin and seeing yourself from the outside, seeing the body you live in the way it looks to the stars and the sun and the sky and everyone who knows you, without mirrors or photographs or reflections in shop windows. You look at that silly old place you’ve been walking around in and forgetting to brush your teeth or braid your hair neatly and it is nothing like you thought, but somehow, someway, better than you ever hoped it could be. If you want to know a secret—and I do love to tell you secrets when no one else can hear—you cannot grow up at all until you’ve done it, not if you are a little girl nor a whole species.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
New Rule: Democrats must get in touch with their inner asshole. I refer to the case of Van Jones, the man the Obama administration hired to find jobs for Americans in the new green industries. Seems like a smart thing to do in a recession, but Van Jones got fired because he got caught on tape saying Republicans are assholes. And they call it news! Now, I know I'm supposed to be all reinjected with yes-we-can-fever after the big health-care speech, and it was a great speech--when Black Elvis gets jiggy with his teleprompter, there is none better. But here's the thing: Muhammad Ali also had a way with words, but it helped enormously that he could also punch guys in the face. It bothers me that Obama didn't say a word in defense of Jones and basically fired him when Glenn Beck told him to. Just like dropped "end-of-life counseling" from health-care reform because Sarah Palin said it meant "death panels" on her Facebook page. Crazy morons make up things for Obama to do, and he does it. Same thing with the speech to schools this week, where the president attempted merely to tell children to work hard and wash their hands, and Cracker Nation reacted as if he was trying to hire the Black Panthers to hand out grenades in homeroom. Of course, the White House immediately capitulated. "No students will be forced to view the speech" a White House spokesperson assured a panicked nation. Isn't that like admitting that the president might be doing something unseemly? What a bunch of cowards. If the White House had any balls, they'd say, "He's giving a speech on the importance of staying in school, and if you jackasses don't show it to every damn kid, we're cutting off your federal education funding tomorrow." The Democrats just never learn: Americans don't really care which side of an issue you're on as long as you don't act like pussies When Van Jones called the Republicans assholes, he was paying them a compliment. He was talking about how they can get things done even when they're in the minority, as opposed to the Democrats , who can't seem to get anything done even when they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and Bruce Springsteen. I love Obama's civility, his desire to work with his enemies; it's positively Christlike. In college, he was probably the guy at the dorm parties who made sure the stoners shared their pot with the jocks. But we don't need that guy now. We need an asshole. Mr. President, there are some people who are never going to like you. That's why they voted for the old guy and Carrie's mom. You're not going to win them over. Stand up for the seventy percent of Americans who aren't crazy. And speaking of that seventy percent, when are we going to actually show up in all this? Tomorrow Glenn Beck's army of zombie retirees descending on Washington. It's the Million Moron March, although they won't get a million, of course, because many will be confused and drive to Washington state--but they will make news. Because people who take to the streets always do. They're at the town hall screaming at the congressman; we're on the couch screaming at the TV. Especially in this age of Twitters and blogs and Snuggies, it's a statement to just leave the house. But leave the house we must, because this is our last best shot for a long time to get the sort of serious health-care reform that would make the United States the envy of several African nations.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Where do you think you're going? I turn to see him, Cameron's dad. He is tall, a lot taller than my mom and most of the teachers at school, and has Cameron's big eyes. I recognize you, he says, studying me with a smile. You're Cam's little girlfriend. He's got a picture of you in his room. He sounds nicer now. Maybe he's just a regular dad, maybe what I heard him saying to Cameron before wasn't really mean, maybe it was like a joke. I don't know how fathers are. Mine's been gone since I was two years old. Maybe they are like this-a little scary and big but mostly teasing. But then he says: I guess my little guy is a chubby chaser, huh? Well at least he's not a fairy. Tears come to my eyes and my face is hot. I pull the hem of my T-shirt down to cover the part of my stomach that always pokes out, white and lumpy. It's baby fat, my mom says, baby fat that is also on the tops of my knees and inside my thighs that rub together and under my chin. She says I'll grow out of it. I don't want to be here. It's only one step to the door. And then Cameron is standing there, behind his father, looking at me and I can't leave him. I can't leave him here alone.
Sara Zarr (Sweethearts)
no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well your neighbors running faster than you breath bloody in their throats the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory is holding a gun bigger than his body you only leave home when home won’t let you stay. no one leaves home unless home chases you fire under feet hot blood in your belly it’s not something you ever thought of doing until the blade burnt threats into your neck and even then you carried the anthem under your breath only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet sobbing as each mouthful of paper made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back. you have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land no one burns their palms under trains beneath carriages no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled means something more than journey. no one crawls under fences no one wants to be beaten pitied no one chooses refugee camps or strip searches where your body is left aching or prison, because prison is safer than a city of fire and one prison guard in the night is better than a truckload of men who look like your father no one could take it no one could stomach it no one skin would be tough enough the go home blacks refugees dirty immigrants asylum seekers sucking our country dry niggers with their hands out they smell strange savage messed up their country and now they want to mess ours up how do the words the dirty looks roll off your backs maybe because the blow is softer than a limb torn off or the words are more tender than fourteen men between your legs or the insults are easier to swallow than rubble than bone than your child body in pieces. i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun and no one would leave home unless home chased you to the shore unless home told you to quicken your legs leave your clothes behind crawl through the desert wade through the oceans drown save be hunger beg forget pride your survival is more important no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear saying- leave, run away from me now i dont know what i’ve become but i know that anywhere is safer than here
Warsan Shire
Old Phoebe said something then, but I couldn't hear her. She had the side of her mouth right smack on the pillow, and I couldn't hear her. "What?" I said. "Take your mouth away. I can't hear you with your mouth that way." "You don't like anything that's happening." It made me even more depressed when she said that. "Yes I do. Yes I do. Sure I do. Don't say that. Why the hell do you say that?" "Becuase you don't. You don't like any schools. You don't like a million things. You don't." "I do! That's where you're wrong - that's exactly where you're wrong! Why the hell do you have to say that?" I said. Boy, was she depressing me. "Because you don't," she said. "Name one thing." "One thing? One thing I like?" I said. "Okay." The trouble was, I couldn't concentrate too hot. Sometimes it's hard to concentrate. "One thing I like a lot you mean? I asked her. She didn't answer me, though. She was in a cockeyed position way the hell over the other side of the bed. She was about a thousand miles away. "C'mon, answer me," I said. "One thing I like a lot, or one thing I just like?" "You like a lot." "All right," I said. But the trouble was, I couldn't concentrate.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
The girls changing in the gym watched her from the other side of the room the first time she went in, and one of the nuns was sitting there as well, just because Stella was there. They took her into a meeting in school and she had to say in advance that she wasn't a lesbian, or they wouldn't have let her even try to use the girls' changing room. They asked her if she was still a Christian. She explained that her family are not religious. They asked her what she knew of damnation. She asked them what they knew of autonomy. They asked her how she knew that word. She asked if they had met her mother. They said they would pray for her. She said it was not necessary. They asked if she might feel different in a few months, or if perhaps she would simply change for gym in the janitor's cupboard. She said she'd felt like this her whole life and no amount of praying was going to change it and she could use the janitor's cupboard to change, but she was a person, not a broom. They said she needed to find Jesus. She asked if it was like finding Wally? Only one nun knew what she meant. That little drawing in those old comic strips her mum had, when you look for the dweeby guy in the stripy hat.
Jenni Fagan (The Sunlight Pilgrims)
A nice lady opens the door on Peachtree Street and she’s got one of those faces that feels familiar like you’ve known her all her life. She buys a bunch of colored paper for her daughter who likes to draw. You ask how old her daughter is and she is four years younger than you. You ask what school she went to and she says that she kept her at home. You see her daughter peek at you from the hall and you think that maybe she was born wrong too. You figure she has never left this house. And you want to get her out of it. The next week you ask the woman if you can visit with her daughter. She brings you down the hall and into the sun room where her daughter is drawing. She’s quiet for a while and then she looks up and tells you she likes to sit in here and watch the birds outside. The light falls in on her hair like beach sunshine in the movies. There’s plants growing all around her. It’s like a jungle and you sit in the wicker chair across from her and wait for her to talk to you, like she’s a magical animal behind all the vines and leaves. All you can figure is that she’s just very, very shy. You think maybe you would have been this way too if you didn’t grow up in such a loud family.
Ashleigh Bryant Phillips (Sleepovers)
Princess, stop walking and just talk to me.” “Why? So you can let me know again how much of a slut you think I am?” “I don’t,” he let out a half-growl, half-sigh, “I don’t think you’re a slut. You just caught me on a bad day.” “Let me guess Chase, you hurt me because you were just so damn mad … am I right?” I threw his line from a month ago back in his face and he paled. His hand came up and brushed my hair back, holding it away from my face as he stared into my eyes, “This is why I told you I would never be good enough for you, all I do is hurt you Princess.” “This isn’t about you being, or not being good enough for me. I just want to be your friend, and you’re making that impossible.” Friend, he mouthed and scratched his head before grabbing a fistful of hair, “Okay, fine, we’re friends. But I need you to stop approaching me around my house and at school.” “What? Then that puts us exactly where we’ve been the last three weeks, that doesn’t change anything.” “It needs to be that way.” He released both his hair and mine at the same time and turned away for a second before facing me again, “Sundays are the only day I get you. Those are the only days when you’re here with me.” I opened my mouth but he stopped me, “No, I know you’re not here for me … but you’re here. And he’s not.” He bent his knees so we were eye to eye, “I need these days with you Harper. But every other day, you’re his and it’s not a good idea for us to be around each other then. So stay away. Please.” “Chase …” “If you think acting like you don’t exist isn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done, you’re wrong. I hate not talking to you, I hate not bickering like we’re an old married couple and I hate not spending every day right next to you. But this is how it has to be, Brandon hates me, and Princess trust me when I say he has every reason to. So if after everything I’ve done to you, you’ll still even consider being my friend, then it has to be Sundays only.” “Brandon won’t care if we’re friends.” Okay I wasn’t entirely sure that was true. He smiled and shook his head, “I know you’re not that naïve. Now go have lunch with Mom and Bree, then get your ass back here so I can have my few stolen hours with you.” I walked toward the entryway but stopped after a few feet, “Chase?” “Yeah Princess?” Looking over my shoulder, I held his gaze, “Will you please stop hurting me … in every way?” Chase closed the distance and pulled me into a tight hug, “Go eat sweetheart.” That
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
That’s your ghoul, isn’t it?” asked Harry, who had never actually met the creature that sometimes disrupted the nightly silence. “Yeah, it is,” said Ron, climbing the ladder. “Come and have a look at him.” Harry followed Ron up the few short steps into the tiny attic space. His head and shoulders were in the room before he caught sight of the creature curled up a few feet from him, fast asleep in the gloom with its large mouth wide open. “But it . . . it looks . . . do ghouls normally wear pajamas?” “No,” said Ron. “Nor have they usually got red hair or that number of pustules.” Harry contemplated the thing, slightly revolted. It was human in shape and size, and was wearing what, now that Harry’s eyes became used to the darkness, was clearly an old pair of Ron’s pajamas. He was also sure that ghouls were generally rather slimy and bald, rather than distinctly hairy and covered in angry purple blisters. “He’s me, see?” said Ron. “No,” said Harry. “I don’t.” “I’ll explain it back in my room, the smell’s getting to me,” said Ron. They climbed back down the ladder, which Ron returned to the ceiling, and rejoined Hermione, who was still sorting books. “Once we’ve left, the ghoul’s going to come and live down here in my room,” said Ron. “I think he’s really looking forward to it—well, it’s hard to tell, because all he can do is moan and drool—but he nods a lot when you mention it. Anyway, he’s going to be me with spattergroit. Good, eh?” Harry merely looked his confusion. “It is!” said Ron, clearly frustrated that Harry had not grasped the brilliance of the plan. “Look, when we three don’t turn up at Hogwarts again, everyone’s going to think Hermione and I must be with you, right? Which means the Death Eaters will go straight for our families to see if they’ve got information on where you are.” “But hopefully it’ll look like I’ve gone away with Mum and Dad; a lot of Muggle-borns are talking about going into hiding at the moment,” said Hermione. “We can’t hide my whole family, it’ll look too fishy and they can’t all leave their jobs,” said Ron. “So we’re going to put out the story that I’m seriously ill with spattergroit, which is why I can’t go back to school. If anyone comes calling to investigate, Mum or Dad can show them the ghoul in my bed, covered in pustules. Spattergroit’s really contagious, so they’re not going to want to go near him. It won’t matter that he can’t say anything, either, because apparently you can’t once the fungus has spread to your uvula.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Come for a walk, dear. The air will do you good." Raoul thought that she would propose a stroll in the country, far from that building which he detested as a prison whose jailer he could feel walking within the walls... the jailer Erik... But she took him to the stage and made him sit on the wooden curb of a well, in the doubtful peace and coolness of a first scene set for the evening's performance. On another day, she wandered with him, hand in hand, along the deserted paths of a garden whose creepers had been cut out by a decorator's skillful hands. It was as though the real sky, the real flowers, the real earth were forbidden her for all time and she condemned to breathe no other air than that of the theatre. An occasional fireman passed, watching over their melancholy idyll from afar. And she would drag him up above the clouds, in the magnificent disorder of the grid, where she loved to make him giddy by running in front of him along the frail bridges, among the thousands of ropes fastened to the pulleys, the windlasses, the rollers, in the midst of a regular forest of yards and masts. If he hesitated, she said, with an adorable pout of her lips: "You, a sailor!" And then they returned to terra firma, that is to say, to some passage that led them to the little girls' dancing-school, where brats between six and ten were practicing their steps, in the hope of becoming great dancers one day, "covered with diamonds..." Meanwhile, Christine gave them sweets instead. She took him to the wardrobe and property-rooms, took him all over her empire, which was artificial, but immense, covering seventeen stories from the ground-floor to the roof and inhabited by an army of subjects. She moved among them like a popular queen, encouraging them in their labors, sitting down in the workshops, giving words of advice to the workmen whose hands hesitated to cut into the rich stuffs that were to clothe heroes. There were inhabitants of that country who practiced every trade. There were cobblers, there were goldsmiths. All had learned to know her and to love her, for she always interested herself in all their troubles and all their little hobbies. She knew unsuspected corners that were secretly occupied by little old couples. She knocked at their door and introduced Raoul to them as a Prince Charming who had asked for her hand; and the two of them, sitting on some worm-eaten "property," would listen to the legends of the Opera, even as, in their childhood, they had listened to the old Breton tales.
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
I am here because I worked too hard and too long not to be here. But although I told the university that I would walk across the stage to take my diploma, I won’t. At age fifty-seven, I’m too damned old, and I’d look ridiculous in this crowd. From where I’m standing in the back of the hall, I can see that I am at least two decades older than most of the parents of these kids in their black caps and gowns. So I’ll graduate with this class, but I won’t walk across the stage and collect my diploma with them; I’ll have the school send it to my house. I only want to hear my name called. I’ll imagine what the rest would have been like. When you’ve had a life like mine, you learn to do that, to imagine the good things. The ceremony is about to begin. It’s a warm June day and a hallway of glass doors leading to the parking lot are open, the dignitaries march onto the stage, a janitor slams the doors shut, one after the other. That banging sound. It’s Christmas Day 1961 and three Waterbury cops are throwing their bulk against our sorely overmatched front door. They are wearing their long woolen blue coats and white gloves and they swear at the cold. They’ve finally come for us, in the dead of night, to take us away, just as our mother said they would.
John William Tuohy (No Time to Say Goodbye: A Memoir of a Life in Foster Care.)
Oskar Schell: My father died at 9-11. After he died I wouldn't go into his room for a year because it was too hard and it made me want to cry. But one day, I put on heavy boots and went in his room anyway. I miss doing taekwondo with him because it always made me laugh. When I went into his closet, where his clothes and stuff were, I reached up to get his old camera. It spun around and dropped about a hundred stairs, and I broke a blue vase! Inside was a key in an envelope with black written on it and I knew that dad left something somewhere for me that the key opened and I had to find. So I take it to Walt, the locksmith. I give it to Stan, the doorman, who tells me keys can open anything. He gave me the phone book for all the five boroughs. I count there are 472 people with the last name black. There are 216 addresses. Some of the blacks live together, obviously. I calculated that if I go to 2 every Saturday plus holidays, minus my hamlet school plays, my minerals, coins, and comic convention, it's going to take me 3 years to go through all of them. But that's what I'm going to do! Go to every single person named black and find out what the key fits and see what dad needed me to find. I made the very best possible plan but using the last four digits of each phone number, I divide the people by zones. I had to tell my mother another lie, because she wouldn't understand how I need to go out and find what the key fits and help me make sense of things that don't even make sense like him being killed in the building by people that didn't even know him at all! And I see some people who don't speak English, who are hiding, one black said that she spoke to God. If she spoke to god how come she didn't tell him not to kill her son or not to let people fly planes into buildings and maybe she spoke to a different god than them! And I met a man who was a woman who a man who was a woman all at the same time and he didn't want to get hurt because he/she was scared that she/he was so different. And I still wonder if she/he ever beat up himself, but what does it matter? Thomas Schell: What would this place be if everyone had the same haircut? Oskar Schell: And I see Mr. Black who hasn't heard a sound in 24 years which I can understand because I miss dad's voice that much. Like when he would say, "are you up yet?" or... Thomas Schell: Let's go do something. Oskar Schell: And I see the twin brothers who paint together and there's a shed that has to be clue, but it's just a shed! Another black drew the same drawing of the same person over and over and over again! Forest black, the doorman, was a school teacher in Russia but now says his brain is dying! Seamus black who has a coin collection, but doesn't have enough money to eat everyday! You see olive black was a gate guard but didn't have the key to it which makes him feel like he's looking at a brick wall. And I feel like I'm looking at a brick wall because I tried the key in 148 different places, but the key didn't fit. And open anything it hasn't that dad needed me to find so I know that without him everything is going to be alright. Thomas Schell: Let's leave it there then. Oskar Schell: And I still feel scared every time I go into a strange place. I'm so scared I have to hold myself around my waist or I think I'll just break all apart! But I never forget what I heard him tell mom about the sixth borough. That if things were easy to find... Thomas Schell: ...they wouldn't be worth finding. Oskar Schell: And I'm so scared every time I leave home. Every time I hear a door open. And I don't know a single thing that I didn't know when I started! It's these times I miss my dad more than ever even if this whole thing is to stop missing him at all! It hurts too much. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll do something very bad.
Eric Roth
Okay,like I could write about being new to this school and feeling really self-conscious already, you know, 'cause I'm new and haven't really gotten my growth spurt yet...in any capacity." This gets a few chuckles and I plow forward. "Then,at this meeting, maybe some cool, hot jock is sitting next to me and asks me to stand up, only to have the entire classroom staring at me as I say, 'But I am standing up!' Except,you know, funnier." A few kids giggle and the big guy next to me grunts, "Pretty funny." I smile over at my new comrade and smack his massive shoulder like we're old friends.I'm going to have to get his name. "I mean, obviously it'd be better than that. But I just think it'd be good comif relief," I add, doing what my dad calls laying it on thick. "And we could put it near the pet obits to balance out all the high-school-is-depressing-enough vibes!" Now the laughs are easy and everyone's smiling, and I feel myself loosen up a bit. Just like Mom and Dad with cheerleading, these folks are cracking under my spell, and I start really amping up the drama. "And I know I couldn't use 'Traumarama' as a title since Seventeen already does, but I'm thinking 'Trauma and Drama-Terrible Tales of Teenagedom,' or something like that, with some real-life gossip mixed in.
Alecia Whitaker (The Queen of Kentucky)
Melinda Pratt rides city bus number twelve to her cello lesson, wearing her mother's jean jacket and only one sock. Hallo, world, says Minna. Minna often addresses the world, sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. Bus number twelve is her favorite place for watching, inside and out. The bus passes cars and bicycles and people walking dogs. It passes store windows, and every so often Minna sees her face reflection, two dark eyes in a face as pale as a winter dawn. There are fourteen people on the bus today. Minna stands up to count them. She likes to count people, telephone poles, hats, umbrellas, and, lately, earrings. One girl, sitting directly in front of Minna, has seven earrings, five in one ear. She has wisps of dyed green hair that lie like forsythia buds against her neck. There are, Minna knows, a king, a past president of the United States, and a beauty queen on the bus. Minna can tell by looking. The king yawns and scratches his ear with his little finger. Scratches, not picks. The beauty queen sleeps, her mouth open, her hair the color of tomatoes not yet ripe. The past preside of the United States reads Teen Love and Body Builder's Annual. Next to Minna, leaning against the seat, is her cello in its zippered canvas case. Next to her cello is her younger brother, McGrew, who is humming. McGrew always hums. Sometimes he hums sentences, though most often it comes out like singing. McGrew's teachers do not enjoy McGrew answering questions in hums or song. Neither does the school principal, Mr. Ripley. McGrew spends lots of time sitting on the bench outside Mr. Ripley's office, humming. Today McGrew is humming the newspaper. First the headlines, then the sports section, then the comics. McGrew only laughs at the headlines. Minna smiles at her brother. He is small and stocky and compact like a suitcase. Minna loves him. McGrew always tells the truth, even when he shouldn't. He is kind. And he lends Minna money from the coffee jar he keeps beneath his mattress. Minna looks out the bus window and thinks about her life. Her one life. She likes artichokes and blue fingernail polish and Mozart played too fast. She loves baseball, and the month of March because no one else much likes March, and every shade of brown she has ever seen. But this is only one life. Someday, she knows, she will have another life. A better one. McGrew knows this, too. McGrew is ten years old. He knows nearly everything. He knows, for instance, that his older sister, Minna Pratt, age eleven, is sitting patiently next to her cello waiting to be a woman.
Patricia MacLachlan (The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt)
My friend Jeannette Armstrong says, "We all have cultural, learned behavior systems that have become embedded in our subconscious. These systems act as filters for the way we see the world. They affect our behaviors, our speech patterns and gestures, the words we use, and also the way we gather our thinking. We have to find ways to challenge that continuously. To see things from a different perspective is one of the most difficult things we have to do." She continues, " I have to constantly school myself in the deconstruction of what I believe and perceive to be the way things are, to continuously break down in my own mind what I believe and continuously add to my knowledge and understanding. In other words, never to be satisfied that I'm satisfied. That sounds like I'm dissatisfied, but it doesn't mean that. It means never to be complacent and think I've come to a conclusion about things, to always question my own thinking. I always say to my writing class to start with and hold on to the attitude of saying bullshit to everything. And to be joyful and happy in the process. Because most of the time it's fear that creates old behaviors and old conflicts. It's not necessarily that we believe those things, but we know them and so we continue those patterns and behaviors because they're familiar
Derrick Jensen (Walking on Water: Reading, Writing, and Revolution)
Porridge is our soup, our grits, our sustenance, so it's pretty much the go-to for breakfast. For the first time, I ate with a bunch of other Taiwanese-Chinese kids my age who knew what the hell they were doing. Even at Chinese school, there were always kids that brought hamburgers, shunned chopsticks, or didn't get down with the funky shit. They were like faux-bootleg-Canal Street Chinamen. That was one of the things that really annoyed me about growing up Chinese in the States. Even if you wanted to roll with Chinese/Taiwanese kids, there were barely any around and the ones that were around had lost their culture and identity. They barely spoke Chinese, resented Chinese food, and if we got picked on by white people on the basketball court, everyone just looked out for themselves. It wasn't that I wanted people to carry around little red books to affirm their "Chinese-ness," but I just wanted to know there were other people that wanted this community to live on in America. There was on kid who wouldn't eat the thousand-year-old eggs at breakfast and all the other kids started roasting him. "If you don't get down with the nasty shit, you're not Chinese!" I was down with the mob, but something left me unsettled. One thing ABCs love to do is compete on "Chinese-ness," i.e., who will eat the most chicken feet, pig intestines, and have the highest SAT scores. I scored high in chick feet, sneaker game, and pirated good, but relatively low on the SAT. I had made National Guild Honorable Mention for piano when I was around twelve and promptly quit. My parents had me play tennis and take karate, but ironically, I quit tennis two tournaments short of being ranked in the state of Florida and left karate after getting my brown belt. The family never understood it, but I knew what I was doing. I didn't want to play their stupid Asian Olympics, but I wanted to prove to myself that if I did want to be the stereotypical Chinaman they wanted, I could. (189) I had become so obsessed with not being a stereotype that half of who I was had gone dormant. But it was also a positive. Instead of following the path most Asian kids do, I struck out on my own. There's nature, there's nurture, and as Harry Potter teaches us, there's who YOU want to be. (198) Everyone was in-between. The relief of the airport and the opportunity to reflect on my trip helped me realize that I didn't want to blame anyone anymore, Not my parents, not white people, not America. Did I still think there was a lot wrong with the aforementioned? Hell, yeah, but unless I was going to do something about it, I couldn't say shit. So I drank my Apple Sidra and shut the fuck up. (199)
Eddie Huang (Fresh Off the Boat)
In the chapter entitled “You Can’t Pray a Lie” in Twain’s beloved novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck Finn has helped hide Miss Watson’s runaway slave, Jim. But Huck thought he was committing a sin in helping a runaway slave. Huck had learned in Sunday school “that people that acts as I’d been acting … goes to everlasting fire.” So in an act of repentance in order to save his soul, Huck wrote a note to Miss Watson and told her where she could find her runaway slave. Now Huck was ready to pray his “sinner’s prayer” and “get saved.” I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off but laid the paper down and set there thinking—thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world and the only he’s got now; and then I happened to look around and see the paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: “All right, then, I’ll go to hell”—and tore it up. It was awful thoughts and awful words but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming.1 Huck Finn had been shaped by the Christianity he’d found in his Missouri Sunday school—a Christianity focused on heaven in the afterlife while preserving the status quo of the here and now. Huck thought that helping Jim escape from slavery was a sin, because that’s what he had been taught. He knew he couldn’t ask God to forgive him until he was ready to “repent” and betray Jim. Huck didn’t want to go to hell; he wanted to be saved. But Huck loved his friend more, so he was willing to go to hell in order to save his friend from slavery.
Brian Zahnd (A Farewell to Mars: An Evangelical Pastor's Journey Toward the Biblical Gospel of Peace)
Globalization has shipped products at a faster rate than anything else; it’s moved English into schools all over the world so that now there is Dutch English and Filipino English and Japanese English. But the ideologies stay in their places. They do not spread like the swine flu, or through sexual contact. They spread through books and films and things of that nature. The dictatorships of Latin America used to ban books, they used to burn them, just like Franco did, like Pope Gregory IX and Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Now they don’t have to because the best place to hide ideologies is in books. The dictatorships are mostly gone—Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay. The military juntas. Our ideologies are not secrets. Even the Ku Klux Klan holds open meetings in Alabama like a church. None of the Communists are still in jail. You can buy Mao’s red book at the gift shop at the Museum of Communism. I will die soon, in the next five to ten years. I have not seen progress during my lifetime. Our lives are too short and disposable. If we had longer life expectancies, if we lived to 200, would we work harder to preserve life or, do you think that when Borges said, ‘Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in immortality, but the veneration paid to the first century of life is proof that they truly believe in only those hundred years, for they destine all the rest, throughout eternity, to rewarding or punishing what one did when alive,’ we would simply alter it to say ‘first two centuries’? I have heard people say we are living in a golden age, but the golden age has passed—I’ve seen it in the churches all over Latin America where the gold is like glue. The Middle Ages are called the Dark Ages but only because they are forgotten, because the past is shrouded in darkness, because as we lay one century of life on top of the next, everything that has come before seems old and dark—technological advances provide the illusion of progress. The most horrendous tortures carried out in the past are still carried out today, only today the soldiers don’t meet face to face, no one is drawn and quartered, they take a pill and silently hope a heart attack doesn’t strike them first. We are living in the age of dissociation, speaking a government-patented language of innocence—technology is neither good nor evil, neither progress nor regress, but the more advanced it becomes, the more we will define this era as the one of transparent secrets, of people living in a world of open, agile knowledge, oceans unpoliced—all blank faces, blank minds, blank computers, filled with our native programming, using electronic appliances with enough memory to store everything ever written invented at precisely the same moment we no longer have the desire to read a word of it.
John M. Keller (Abracadabrantesque)
You’re back,” I said, refusing to embarrass myself further by getting angry. “I took Tag home. He had big plans to train for his next fight old school, like Rocky, but discovered that it’s a little more appealing in the movies. Plus, I don’t do a very good Apollo Creed.” “Tag’s a fighter?” “Yeah. Mixed martial arts stuff. He’s pretty good.” “Huh.” I didn’t know what else to say. I didn’t know anything about the sport. “Didn’t Apollo Creed die in one of the movies?” “Yeah. The black guy always dies at the hands of the white man.” I rolled my eyes, and he grinned, making me grin with him before I remembered that I was embarrassed and ticked off that he had kissed me and left town. It felt a little too much like the past. The grin slipped from my face and I turned away, busying myself shaking out the saddle blankets. “So why did you come back?” I kept my eyes averted. He was quiet for a minute, and I bit my lips so I wouldn’t start to babble into the awkward silence. “The house needs more work,” he replied at last. “And I’m thinking of changing my name.” My head shot up, and I met his smirk with confusion. “Huh?” “I heard there was this new law in Georgia. Nobody named Moses can even visit. So I’m thinking a name change is in order.” I just shook my head and laughed, both embarrassed and pleased at his underlying meaning. “Shut up, Apollo,” I said, and it was his turn to laugh.
Amy Harmon (The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses, #1))
screeched. “Dirty, rotten pigs!” The smell was overpowering. Sammy just stood there, hidden under his raincoats. Mrs. Jewls wrote Sammy’s name under the word DISCIPLINE. “Send him home on the kindergarten bus,” said Joy. “Not with me,” said Todd. Mrs. Jewls held her nose, walked up to Sammy, and removed his raincoat. She threw it out the window. But he had on still another one. Sammy hissed. “Hey, old windbag, watch where you throw my good clothes!” Mrs. Jewls put a check next to Sammy’s name on the blackboard. Then she took off another raincoat and threw it out the window. The smell got worse, for he had on still another one. Sammy began to laugh. His horrible laugh was even worse than his horrible voice. When Sammy first came into the room, he was four feet tall. But after Mrs. Jewls removed six of his raincoats, he was only three feet tall. And there were still more raincoats to go. Mrs. Jewls circled his name and removed another coat. She threw it out the window. Then she put a triangle around the circle and threw another one of his coats outside. She kept doing this until Sammy was only one-and-a-half feet high. With every coat she took off, Sammy’s laugh got louder and the smell got worse. Some of the children held their ears. Others could hold only one ear because they were holding their nose with the other hand. It was hard to say which was worse, the laugh or the smell.
Louis Sachar (Sideways Stories from Wayside School (Wayside School, #1))
Tonight, however, Dickens struck him in a different light. Beneath the author’s sentimental pity for the weak and helpless, he could discern a revolting pleasure in cruelty and suffering, while the grotesque figures of the people in Cruikshank’s illustrations revealed too clearly the hideous distortions of their souls. What had seemed humorous now appeared diabolic, and in disgust at these two favourites he turned to Walter Pater for the repose and dignity of a classic spirit. But presently he wondered if this spirit were not in itself of a marble quality, frigid and lifeless, contrary to the purpose of nature. ‘I have often thought’, he said to himself, ‘that there is something evil in the austere worship of beauty for its own sake.’ He had never thought so before, but he liked to think that this impulse of fancy was the result of mature consideration, and with this satisfaction he composed himself for sleep. He woke two or three times in the night, an unusual occurrence, but he was glad of it, for each time he had been dreaming horribly of these blameless Victorian works… It turned out to be the Boy’s Gulliver’s Travels that Granny had given him, and Dicky had at last to explain his rage with the devil who wrote it to show that men were worse than beasts and the human race a washout. A boy who never had good school reports had no right to be so morbidly sensitive as to penetrate to the underlying cynicism of Swift’s delightful fable, and that moreover in the bright and carefully expurgated edition they bring out nowadays. Mr Corbett could not say he had ever noticed the cynicism himself, though he knew from the critical books it must be there, and with some annoyance he advised his son to take out a nice bright modern boy’s adventure story that could not depress anybody. Mr Corbett soon found that he too was ‘off reading’. Every new book seemed to him weak, tasteless and insipid; while his old and familiar books were depressing or even, in some obscure way, disgusting. Authors must all be filthy-minded; they probably wrote what they dared not express in their lives. Stevenson had said that literature was a morbid secretion; he read Stevenson again to discover his peculiar morbidity, and detected in his essays a self-pity masquerading as courage, and in Treasure Island an invalid’s sickly attraction to brutality. This gave him a zest to find out what he disliked so much, and his taste for reading revived as he explored with relish the hidden infirmities of minds that had been valued by fools as great and noble. He saw Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë as two unpleasant examples of spinsterhood; the one as a prying, sub-acid busybody in everyone else’s flirtations, the other as a raving, craving maenad seeking self-immolation on the altar of her frustrated passions. He compared Wordsworth’s love of nature to the monstrous egoism of an ancient bellwether, isolated from the flock.
Margaret Irwin (Bloodstock and Other Stories)
emmersmacks: Hold on emmersmacks: Wait emmersmacks: So you stood up for him? MirkerLurker: Yeah. emmersmacks: . . . Im failing to see the issue here E emmersmacks: Did they hurt you?? MirkerLurker: No . . . not really. Just took my sketchbook and threw it around a little. MirkerLurker: Okay look I know it doesn’t sound that bad MirkerLurker: But, like, you don’t understand the way this guy looks at me. He’s one of those where it’s like, “Why are you even standing in front of me, you’re uglier than the stuff I crap out after eating too muchChipotle.” 3:19 p.m. (Apocalypse_Cow has joined the message) Apocalypse_Cow: i feel like i came in at a bad time. i’ll go. emmersmacks: E is having a crisis Apocalypse_Cow: crisis over what? MirkerLurker: Just this stupid new kid at school who may or may not be a fanficwriter for Monstrous Sea and who definitely thinks I am the scum of the earth. emmersmacks: Why would he think that?? You stood up for him MirkerLurker: I don’t know! Because I emasculated him, probably. Or something. Max, I need advice from someone who’s felt emasculated. Apocalypse_Cow: why would you immediately assume i’ve felt emasculated before? MirkerLurker: Because you’re the only male here. Apocalypse_Cow: if you want to know if some guys feel emasculated when a girl stands up to a bully for them, then unfortunately i must say that yes, that does happen. Apocalypse_Cow: BUT NOT ME. Apocalypse_Cow: LET IT BE KNOWN THAT MAX CHOPRA HAS NEVER FELT EMASCULATED. Apocalypse_Cow: but really, did this guy say something to you? why feel so bad about it? MirkerLurker: He didn’t say ANYTHING. That’s the problem! MirkerLurker: He just stood there and wouldn’t even look at me. emmersmacks: Did you say anything MirkerLurker: . . . No. emmersmacks: Well emmersmacks: E emmersmacks: There you might have a problem Apocalypse_Cow: you’re getting schooled in social skills by a twelve-year-old in college. how does that feel emmersmacks: Im fourteen not twelve emmersmacks: Asshole Apocalypse_Cow: wait, he left a note in your sketchbook? what did it say? MirkerLurker: It said thanks, and that the pictures were good. emmersmacks: OH MY GOD emmersmacks: THATS WHY HE DIDNT TALK MirkerLurker: What? emmersmacks: HE WAS TOO NERVOUS emmersmacks: AW HE LIKES YOU E MirkerLurker: I really really doubt that. MirkerLurker: Like, I mean, REALLY doubt it. MirkerLurker: He’s not exactly the kind of guy that’s usually interested in me. Apocalypse_Cow: what kind of guy is usually interested in you? MirkerLurker: The kind I make up in my head. Apocalypse_Cow: wooooooooooooooooooooooow Apocalypse_Cow: woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow Apocalypse_Cow: woooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow Apocalypse_Cow: do you want me to go ahead and fill your house with cats right now, or do you want to put that off for a few years? MirkerLurker: Har har
Francesca Zappia (Eliza and Her Monsters)
Yes, but what about the firemen, then?” asked Montag. “Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
Is Joanna Gaines here? We have a warrant here for her arrest,” the officer said. It was the tickets. I knew it. And I panicked. I picked up my son and I hid in the closet. I literally didn’t know what to do. I’d never even had a speeding ticket, and all of a sudden I’m thinking, I’m about to go to prison, and my child won’t be able to eat. What is this kid gonna do? I heard Chip say, “She’s not here.” Thankfully, Drake didn’t make a peep, and the officer believed him. He said, “Well, just let her know we’re looking for her,” and they left. Jo’s the most conservative girl in the world. She had never even been late for school. I mean, this girl was straitlaced. So now we realize there’s a citywide warrant out for her arrest, and we’re like, “Oh, crap.” In her defense, Jo had wanted to pay those tickets off all along, and I was the one saying, “No way. I’m not paying these tickets.” So we decided to try to make it right. We called the judge, and the court clerk told us, “Okay, you have an appointment at three in the afternoon to discuss the tickets. See you then.” We wanted to ask the judge if he could remove a few of them for us. “The fines for our dogs “running at large” on our front porch just seemed a bit excessive. We arrived at the courthouse, and Chip was carrying Drake in his car seat. I couldn’t carry it because I was still recovering from Drake’s delivery. We got inside and spoke to a clerk. They looked at the circumstances and decided to switch all the tickets into Chip’s name. Those dogs were basically mine, and it didn’t make sense to have the tickets in her name. But as soon as they did that, this police officer walked over and said, “Hey, do you mind emptying out all of your pockets?” I got up and cooperated. “Absolutely. Yep,” I said. I figured it was just procedure before we went in to see the judge. Then he said, “Yeah, you mind taking off your belt?” I thought, That’s a little weird. Then he said, “Do you mind turning around and putting your hands behind your back?” They weren’t going to let us talk to the judge at all. The whole thing was just a sting to get us to come down there and be arrested. They arrested Chip on the spot. And I’m sitting there saying, “I can’t carry this baby in his car seat. What am I supposed to do?” I started bawling. “You can’t take him!” I cried. But they did. They took him right outside and put him in the back of a police car. Now I feel like the biggest loser in the world. I’m in the back of a police car as my crying wife comes out holding our week-old baby. I’m walking out, limping, and waving to him as they drive away. And I can’t even wave because my hands are cuffed behind my back. So here I am awkwardly trying to make a waving motion with my shoulder and squinching my face just to try to make Jo feel better. It was just the most comical thing, honestly. A total joke. To take a man to jail because his dogs liked to walk around a neighborhood, half of which he owns? But it sure wasn’t funny at the time. I was flooded with hormones and just could not stop crying. They told me they were taking my husband to the county jail. Luckily we had a buddy who was an attorney, so I called him. I was clueless. “I’ve never dated a guy that’s been in trouble, and now I’ve got a husband that’s in jail.
Joanna Gaines (The Magnolia Story)
to say that I saw ways to connect with Americans that Barack and his West Wing advisers didn’t fully recognize, at least initially. Rather than doing interviews with big newspapers or cable news outlets, I began sitting down with influential “mommy bloggers” who reached an enormous and dialed-in audience of women. Watching my young staffers interact with their phones, seeing Malia and Sasha start to take in news and chat with their high school friends via social media, I realized there was opportunity to be tapped there as well. I crafted my first tweet in the fall of 2011 to promote Joining Forces and then watched it zing through the strange, boundless ether where people increasingly spent their time. It was a revelation. All of it was a revelation. With my soft power, I was finding I could be strong. If reporters and television cameras wanted to follow me, then I was going to take them places. They could come watch me and Jill Biden paint a wall, for example, at a nondescript row house in the Northwest part of Washington. There was nothing inherently interesting about two ladies with paint rollers, but it baited a certain hook. It brought everyone to the doorstep of Sergeant Johnny Agbi, who’d been twenty-five years old and a medic in Afghanistan when his transport helicopter was attacked, shattering his spine, injuring his brain, and requiring a long rehabilitation at Walter Reed. His first floor was now being retrofitted to accommodate his wheelchair—its doorways widened, its kitchen sink lowered—part of a joint effort between a nonprofit called Rebuilding Together and the company that owned Sears and Kmart. This was the thousandth such home they’d renovated on behalf of veterans in need. The cameras caught all of it—the soldier, his house, the goodwill and energy being poured in.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
What’s the most frightening thing to a child? The pain of being the outsider, of looking ridiculous to others, of being teased or picked on in school. Every child burns with fear at the prospect. It’s a primal instinct: to belong. McDonald’s has surely figured this out—along with what specific colors appeal to small children, what textures, and what movies or TV shows are likely to attract them to the gray disks of meat. They feel no compunction harnessing the fears and unarticulated yearnings of small children, and nor shall I. “Ronald has cooties,” I say—every time he shows up on television or out the window of the car. “And you know,” I add, lowering my voice, “he smells bad, too. Kind of like … poo!” (I am, I should say, careful to use the word “alleged” each and every time I make such an assertion, mindful that my urgent whisperings to a two-year-old might be wrongfully construed as libelous.) “If you hug Ronald … can you get cooties?” asks my girl, a look of wide-eyed horror on her face. “Some say … yes,” I reply—not wanting to lie—just in case she should encounter the man at a child’s birthday party someday. It’s a lawyerly answer—but effective. “Some people talk about the smell, too… I’m not saying it rubs off on you or anything—if you get too close to him—but…” I let that hang in the air for a while. “Ewwww!!!” says my daughter. We sit in silence as she considers this, then she asks, “Is it true that if you eat a hamburger at McDonald’s it can make you a ree-tard? I laugh wholeheartedly at this one and give her a hug. I kiss her on the forehead reassuringly. “Ha. Ha. Ha. I don’t know where you get these ideas!” I may or may not have planted that little nugget a few weeks ago, allowing her little friend Tiffany at ballet class to “overhear” it as I pretended to talk on my cell phone.
Anthony Bourdain (Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook)
Variations on a tired, old theme Here’s another example of addict manipulation that plagues parents. The phone rings. It’s the addict. He says he has a job. You’re thrilled. But you’re also apprehensive. Because you know he hasn’t simply called to tell you good news. That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. Then comes the zinger you knew would be coming. The request. He says everybody at this company wears business suits and ties, none of which he has. He says if you can’t wire him $1800 right away, he won’t be able to take the job. The implications are clear. Suddenly, you’ve become the deciding factor as to whether or not the addict will be able to take the job. Have a future. Have a life. You’ve got that old, familiar sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. This is not the child you gladly would have financed in any way possible to get him started in life. This is the child who has been strung out on drugs for years and has shown absolutely no interest in such things as having a conventional job. He has also, if you remember correctly, come to you quite a few times with variations on this same tired, old story. One variation called for a car so he could get to work. (Why is it that addicts are always being offered jobs in the middle of nowhere that can’t be reached by public transportation?) Another variation called for the money to purchase a round-trip airline ticket to interview for a job three thousand miles away. Being presented with what amounts to a no-choice request, the question is: Are you going to contribute in what you know is probably another scam, or are you going to say sorry and hang up? To step out of the role of banker/victim/rescuer, you have to quit the job of banker/victim/rescuer. You have to change the coda. You have to forget all the stipulations there are to being a parent. You have to harden your heart and tell yourself parenthood no longer applies to you—not while your child is addicted. Not an easy thing to do. P.S. You know in your heart there is no job starting on Monday. But even if there is, it’s hardly your responsibility if the addict goes well dressed, badly dressed, or undressed. Facing the unfaceable: The situation may never change In summary, you had a child and that child became an addict. Your love for the child didn’t vanish. But you’ve had to wean yourself away from the person your child has become through his or her drugs and/ or alcohol abuse. Your journey with the addicted child has led you through various stages of pain, grief, and despair and into new phases of strength, acceptance, and healing. There’s a good chance that you might not be as healthy-minded as you are today had it not been for the tribulations with the addict. But you’ll never know. The one thing you do know is that you wouldn’t volunteer to go through it again, even with all the awareness you’ve gained. You would never have sacrificed your child just so that you could become a better, stronger person. But this is the way it has turned out. You’re doing okay with it, almost twenty-four hours a day. It’s just the odd few minutes that are hard to get through, like the ones in the middle of the night when you awaken to find that the grief hasn’t really gone away—it’s just under smart, new management. Or when you’re walking along a street or in a mall and you see someone who reminds you of your addicted child, but isn’t a substance abuser, and you feel that void in your heart. You ache for what might have been with your child, the happy life, the fulfilled career. And you ache for the events that never took place—the high school graduation, the engagement party, the wedding, the grandkids. These are the celebrations of life that you’ll probably never get to enjoy. Although you never know. DON’T LET    YOUR KIDS  KILL  YOU  A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children PART 2
Charles Rubin (Don't let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children)
Dear Peter K, First of all I refuse to call you Kavinsky. You think you’re so cool, going by your last name all of a sudden. Just so you know, Kavinsky sounds like the name of an old man with a long white beard. Did you know that when you kissed me, I would come to love you? Sometimes I think yes. Definitely yes. You know why? Because you think EVERYONE loves you, Peter. That’s what I hate about you. Because everyone does love you. Including me. I did. Not anymore. Here are all your worst qualities: You burp and you don’t say excuse me. You just assume everyone else will find it charming. And if they don’t, who cares, right? Wrong! You do care. You care a lot about what people think of you. You always take the last piece of pizza. You never ask if anyone else wants it. That’s rude. You’re so good at everything. Too good. You could’ve given other guys a chance to be good, but you never did. You kissed me for no reason. Even though I knew you liked Gen, and you knew you liked Gen, and Gen knew you liked Gen. But you still did it. Just because you could. I really want to know: Why would you do that to me? My first kiss was supposed to be something special. I’ve read about it, what it’s supposed to feel like00fireworks and lightning bolts and the sound of waves crashing in your ears. I didn’t have any of that. Thanks to you it was as unspecial as a kiss could be. The worst part of it is, that stupid nothing kiss is what made me start liking you. I never did before. I never even thought about you before. Gen has always said that you are the best-looking boy in our grade, and I agreed, because sure, you are. But I still didn’t see the allure of you. Plenty of people are good-looking. That doesn’t make them interesting or intriguing or cool. Maybe that’s why you kissed me. To do mind control on me, to make me see you that way. It worked. Your little trick worked. From then on, I saw you. Up close, your face wasn’t so much handsome as beautiful. How many beautiful boys have you ever seen? For me it was just one. You. I think it’s a lot to do with your lashes. You have really long lashes. Unfairly long. Even though you don’t deserve it, fine, I’ll go into all the things I like(d) about you: One time in science, nobody wanted to be partners with Jeffrey Suttleman because he has BO, and you volunteered like it was no big deal. Suddenly everybody thought Jeffrey wasn’t so bad. You’re still in chorus, even though all the other boys take band and orchestra now. You even sing solos. And you dance, and you’re not embarrassed. You were the last boy to get tall. And now you’re the tallest, but it’s like you earned it. Also, when you were short, no one even cared that you were short--the girls still liked you and the boys still picked you first for basketball in gym. After you kissed me, I liked you for the rest of seventh grade and most of eighth. It hasn’t been easy, watching you with Gen, holding hands and making out at the bus stop. You probably make her feel very special. Because that’s your talent, right? You’re good at making people feel special. Do you know what it’s like to like someone so much you can’t stand it and know that they’ll never feel the same way? Probably not. People like you don’t have to suffer through those kinds of things. It was easier after Gen moved and we stopped being friends. At least then I didn’t have to hear about it. And now that the year is almost over, I know for sure that I am also over you. I’m immune to you now, Peter. I’m really proud to say that I’m the only girl in this school who has been immunized to the charms of Peter Kavinsky. All because I had a really bad dose of you in seventh grade and most of eighth. Now I never ever have to worry about catching you again. What a relief! I bet if I did ever kiss you again, I would definitely catch something, and it wouldn’t be love. It would be an STD! Lara Jean Song
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
My wife and I have had the joy of working with thousands of college students and have engaged in countless conversations with them about what they’re going to do as they approach graduation. Up to that point, they had felt safe and secure knowing they were simply coming back to campus for another year of school. But now that they were being kicked out of the nest, they felt a strong need to pray, get counsel, pursue options, and make decisions. As I chat with these twenty-one to twenty-five-year olds, I love to pose an unusual question. “If you could do anything with your life, what would you want to do? Just for a moment, free your mind from school loans or parents’ wishes or boyfriend pressure. Put no constraints or parameters on it. Write down what you would love to do with your life if you got to choose.” There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue those! Most have never allowed their mind or heart to think that broadly or freely. They’ve been conditioned to operate under some set of exterior expectations or self-imposed limitations. A few have sat there so long staring at that blank sheet, I thought they might pass out! They finally get an inspirational thought, and begin enthusiastically scribbling something. They finish with a smile, pass it over to me, and I take a look. Nine out of ten times I pass it back to them, look deep into their eyes and quietly say, “Go do this.” There is a reason they feel so excited about the specific direction, cause, or vocation they wrote down. It’s because God is the One who put it in their heart. “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). “Are you delighting yourself in the Lord?” I ask the graduating senior. “I am certainly seeking to,” they reply. “Well then,” I respond, “you’ve just written down the desires of your heart. So, go for it.” Too simplistic or idealistic? I probably do have a more “wide-open” view of helping a person discover God’s direction for their life, but I believe this exercise strikes at the core of understanding what each of us were designed to do.
Steve Shadrach (The God Ask: A Fresh, Biblical Approach to Personal Support Raising)
Local Teen Adopted Finds Adoptive Family Within 24 Hours of 18th Birthday The final chapter of a family tragedy was written yesterday at the county courthouse when Cynthia and Tom Lemry signed formal adoption papers, gaining custody of Sarah Byrnes less than 24 hours before her 18th birthday. Local readers will remember Ms. Byrnes as the youngster whose face and hands were purposely burned on a hot wood stove by her father 15 years ago. The incident came to light this past February after Virgil Byrnes assaulted another teenager, 18-year-old Eric Calhoune, with a hunting knife. “Better late than never,” said Cynthia Lemry, a local high school teacher and swimming coach, in a statement to the press. “If someone had stepped up for this young lady a long time ago, years of heartache could have been avoided. She’s a remarkable human being, and we’re honored to have her in our family.” “I guess they’re just in the nick of time to pay my college tuition,” the new Sarah Lemry said with a smile. Also attending the ceremony were Eric Calhoune, the victim of Virgil Byrnes’s attack; Sandy Calhoune, the boy’s mother and a frequent columnist for this newspaper; Carver Milddleton, who served time on an assault charge against Virgil Byrnes in a related incident; the Reverend John Ellerby, controversial Episcopalian minister whose support of female clergy and full homosexual rights has frequently focused a spotlight on him in his 15-year stay at St. Mark’s; and his son, Steve Ellerby, who describes himself as “a controversial Episcopalian preacher’s kid.” Sarah Lemry confirmed that following the burning 15 years ago, her father refused her opportunities for reconstructive surgery, saying her condition would teach her to “be tough.” She refused comment on further torturous physical abuse allegations, for which, among other charges, Byrnes has been found guilty in superior court and sentenced to more than 20 years in the state penitentiary at Walla Walla. When asked if she would now seek the reconstructive surgery she was so long denied, Sarah Lemry again smiled and said, “I don’t know. It’d be a shame to change just when I’m getting used to it.
Chris Crutcher (Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes)
Things I worried about on the bus: a snapshot of an anxious brain . . . Is that car slowing down? Is someone going to get out and kidnap me? It is slowing down. What if someone asks for directions? What if—Oh. They’re just dropping someone off. The bus is late. What if it doesn’t arrive? What if I’m late getting to school? Did I turn my straighteners off ? What if the bus isn’t running today and no one told me? Where’s the—oh. There’s the bus. Oh crap is that Rowan from Biology? What if he sees me? What if he wants to chat? Hide. Okay, he hasn’t seen me. He hasn’t seen me. What if he did see me and now he thinks I’m weird for not saying hi? Did I remember to clean out Rita’s bowl properly? What if she gets sick? One day Rita will die. One day I’ll die. One day everyone will die. What if I die today and everyone sees that my bra has a hole in it? What if the bus crashes? Where are the exits? Why is there an exit on the ceiling? What if that headache Dad has is a brain tumor? Would I live with Mum all the time if Dad died? Why am I thinking about my living arrangements instead of how horrible it would be if Dad died? What’s wrong with me? What if Rhys doesn’t like me? What if he does? What if we get together and we split up? What if we get together and don’t split up and then we’re together forever until we die? One day I’ll die. Did I remember to turn my straighteners off ? Yes. Yes. Did I? Okay my stop’s coming up. I need to get off in about two minutes. Should I get up now? Will the guy next to me get that I have to get off or will I have to ask him to move? But what if he’s getting off too and I look like a twat? What if worrying kills brain cells? What if I never get to go to university? What if I do and it’s awful? Should I say thank you to the driver on the way off ? Okay, get up, move toward the front of the bus. Go, step. Don’t trip over that old man’s stick. Watch out for the stick. Watch out for the—shit. Did anyone notice that? No, no one’s looking at me. But what if they are? Okay, doors are opening, GO! I didn’t say thank you to the driver. What if he’s having a bad day and that would have made it better? Am I a bad person?
Sara Barnard (A Quiet Kind of Thunder)
I was a country kid who went to a public school, and she was more of a middle-class girl who attended a private school. I was into hunting and fishing, and she liked drama and singing in the choir at school and church. Our lives up until that point were totally different. But Missy and I had a very deep spiritual connection, and I thought our mutual love for the Lord might be our biggest strength in sustaining our relationship. Even though Missy was so different from me, I found her world to be very interesting. Looking back, perhaps another reason I decided to give our relationship a chance was because of my aunt Jan’s bizarre premonition about Missy years earlier. My dad’s sister Jan had helped bring him to the Lord, and she taught the fourth grade at OCS. One of her students was Missy, and they went to church together at White’s Ferry Road Church. When I was a kid we attended a small church in the country, but occasionally we visited White’s Ferry with my aunt Jan and her husband. One Sunday, Missy walked by us as we were waiting in the pew. “Let me tell you something,” Jan told me as she pointed at me and then Missy. “That’s the girl you’re going to marry.” Missy was nine years old. To say that was one of the dumbest things I’d ever heard would be an understatement. I love my aunt Jan, but she has a lot in common with her brother Si. They talk a lot, are very animated, and even seem crazy at times. However, they love the Lord and have great hearts. I actually never thought about it again until she reminded me of that day once Missy and I started getting serious. Freaky? A bit. Bizarre? Definitely! Was she right? Absolutely, good call! Missy still isn’t sure what my aunt Jan saw in her. Missy: What did Jan see in me at nine years old? Well, you’ll have to ask her about that. She was the only teacher in my academic history from whom I ever received a smack. She announced a rule to the class one day that no one could touch anyone else’s possessions at any time (due to a recent rash of kids messing with other people’s stuff). The next day, I moved some papers around on one of my classmates’ desks before school, and he tattled on me. Because of her newly pronounced rule, she took me to the girls’ bathroom and gave me a whack on the rear. At the time, I certainly would have never thought she had picked me out to marry her nephew!
Jase Robertson (Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl)
Suddenly a violent noise leaped at them from no source that he could identify. He gasped in terror at what sounded like a man trying to gargle while fighting off a pack of wolves. “Shush!” said Ford. “Listen, it might be important.” “Im … important?” “It’s the Vogon captain making an announcement on the tannoy.” “You mean that’s how the Vogons talk?” “Listen!” “But I can’t speak Vogon!” “You don’t need to. Just put this fish in your ear.” Ford, with a lightning movement, clapped his hand to Arthur’s ear, and he had the sudden sickening sensation of the fish slithering deep into his aural tract. Gasping with horror he scrabbled at his ear for a second or so, but then slowly turned goggle-eyed with wonder. He was experiencing the aural equivalent of looking at a picture of two black silhouetted faces and suddenly seeing it as a picture of a white candlestick. Or of looking at a lot of colored dots on a piece of paper which suddenly resolve themselves into the figure six and mean that your optician is going to charge you a lot of money for a new pair of glasses. He was still listening to the howling gargles, he knew that, only now it had somehow taken on the semblance of perfectly straightforward English. This is what he heard … * Ford Prefect’s original name is only pronounceable in an obscure Betel-geusian dialect, now virtually extinct since the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758 which wiped out all the old Praxibetel communities on Betelgeuse Seven. Ford’s father was the only man on the entire planet to survive the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster, by an extraordinary coincidence that he was never able satisfactorily to explain. The whole episode is shrouded in deep mystery: in fact no one ever knew what a Hrung was nor why it had chosen to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven particularly. Ford’s father, magnanimously waving aside the clouds of suspicion that had inevitably settled around him, came to live on Betelgeuse Five, where he both fathered and uncled Ford; in memory of his now dead race he christened him in the ancient Praxibetel tongue. Because Ford never learned to say his original name, his father eventually died of shame, which is still a terminal disease in some parts of the Galaxy. The other kids at school nicknamed him Ix, which in the language of Betelgeuse Five translates as “boy who is not able satisfactorily to explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1))
What were she and Maxwell talking about at this moment? “I owe you an apology.” Archer came to stand beside him, also looking over the garden. “I shouldn’t have said what I did. It was very low of me.” Grey shrugged. “You’ve said worse.” “True, but those times I was right.” He laughed. “I’m not so sure you’re not right now as well.” “You’re many things, but I’ve never thought coward amongst them.” “That’s because you’re my younger brother. You’re not supposed to have an accurate opinion of my strengths and weaknesses.” “And as eldest, I suppose you do have an accurate accounting of my strengths and weaknesses, Tryst as well?” Grey turned his head with a brash grin. “Only your weaknesses. I haven’t ascertained if you have any strengths yet.” Thankfully his brother laughed. “Bastard,” he muttered. “Undoubtedly.” Then, with more seriousness, “I do know your weaknesses, Arch. You’ve a soft spot for a pretty face, especially one you think is in need of rescue.” Archer scoffed. “I haven’t tried to play anyone’s Lancelot since school.” “Be that as it may, I feel I should warn you away from Rose.” His brother stilled, arched a brow, and fixed him with a decidedly superior look. “Is this warning for my benefit or hers? Or perhaps your own?” Grey frowned. “For the benefit of everyone involved. She doesn’t need you to rescue her, and she’d only marry you because-“ “Because I remind her of you.” He grinned at Grey’s surprise. “Perhaps I do have an accurate understanding after all, brother.” Grey turned away. “Perhaps you do.” A hand came down on his shoulder. “Don’t worry yourself. I have no intention of taking advantage of Lady Rose. Even if I did fancy her, I’m not foolish enough to pursue a woman obviously interested in someone else, and I’m too lazy to attempt to change her mind. Maxwell on the other hand…” The ache in his jaw returned. “As long as he treats her as she deserves, I don’t care. In fact, I wish him all the good fortune in the world.” He could say that and actually mean it. “I promised her father I would see her happily situated. Her happiness is all that matters.” Archer fixed him with a pitying look. “If that were true, old man, you would have married her already. Maybe you should ask yourself what could possibly be more important than her happiness. I’m fairly certain there’s something, and it certainly isn’t your own.” Speechless, Grey said nothing as his brother walked away. Instead, he stood and stared once again out into the garden, his fingers tracing the jagged line of his scar.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
Ballad" Oh dream, why do you do me this way? Again, with the digging, again with the digging up. Once more with the shovels. Once more, the shovels full of dirt. The vault lid. The prying. The damp boards. Mother beside me. Like she’s an old hat at this. Like all she’s got left is curiosity. Like curiosity didn’t kill the red cat. Such a sweet, gentle cat it was. Here we go again, dream. Mother, wearing her take-out-the-garbage coat. I haven’t seen that coat in years. The coat she wore to pick me up from school early. She appeared at the back of the classroom, early. Go with your mother, teacher said. Diane, you are excused. I was a little girl. Already a famous actress. I looked at the other kids. I acted lucky. Though everyone knows what an early pick-up means. An early pick-up, dream. What’s wrong, I asked my mother. It is early spring. Bright sunlight. The usual birds. Air, teetering between bearable and unbearable. Cold, but not cold enough to shiver. Still, dream, I shiver. You know, my mother said. Her long garbage coat flying. There was a wind, that day. A wind like a scurrying grandmother, dusting. Look inside yourself, my mother said. You know why I have come for you. And still I acted lucky. Lucky to be out. Lucky to be out in the cold world with my mother. I’m innocent, I wanted to say. A little white girl, trying out her innocence. A white lamb, born into a cold field. Frozen almost solid. Brought into the house. Warmed all night with hair dryers. Death? I said. Smiling. Lucky. We’re barely to the parking lot. Barely to the car ride home. But the classroom already feels like the distant past. Long ago, my classmates pitying me. Arriving at this car full of uncles. Were they wearing suits? Death such a formal occasion. My sister, angry-crying next to me. Me, encountering a fragment of evil in myself. Evilly wanting my mother to say it. What? I asked, smiling. My lamb on full display at the fair. He’s dead! my sister said. Hit me in the gut with her flute. Her flute case. Her rental flute. He’s dead! Our father. Our father, who we were not supposed to know had been dying. He’s dead! The flute gleaming in its red case. Here, my mother said at home. She’d poured us each a small glass of Pepsi We normally couldn’t afford Pepsi. Lucky, I acted. He’s no longer suffering, my mother said. Here, she said. Drink this. The little bubbles flew. They bit my tongue. My evil persisted. What is death? I asked. And now, dream, once more you bring me my answer. Dig, my mother says. Pry, she says. I don’t want to see, dream. The lid so damp it crumbles under my hands. The casket just a drawerful of bones. A drawerful. Just bones and teeth. That one tooth he had. Crooked like mine.
Diane Seuss
It's funny, you know. We're free. We make choices. We weigh things in our minds, consider everything carefully, use all the tools of logic and education. And in the end, what we mostly do is what we have no choice but to do. Makes you think, why bother? But you bother because you do, that's why. Because you're a DNA-brand computer running Childhood 1.0 software. They update the software but the changes are always just around the edges. You have the brain you have, the intelligence, the talents, the strengths and weaknesses you have, from the moment they take you out of the box and throw away the Styrofoam padding. But you have the fears you picked up along the way. The terrors of age four or six or eight are never suspended, just layered over. The dread I'd felt so recently, a dread that should be so much greater because the facts had been so much more horrible, still could not diminish the impact of memories that had been laid down long years before. It's that way all through life, I guess. I have a relative who says she still gets depressed every September because in the back of her mind it's time for school to start again. She's my great-aunt. The woman is sixty-seven and still bumming over the first day of school five-plus decades ago. It's sad in a way because the pleasures of life get old and dated fast. The teenage me doesn't get the jolt the six-year-old me got from a package of Pop Rocks. The me I've become doesn't rush at the memories of the day I skated down a parking ramp however many years ago. Pleasure fades, gets old, gets thrown out with last year's fad. Fear, guilt, all that stuff stays fresh. Maybe that's why people get so enraged when someone does something to a kid. Hurt a kid and he hurts forever. Maybe an adult can shake it off. Maybe. But with a kid, you hurt them and it turns them, shapes them, becomes part of the deep, underlying software of their lives. No delete. I don't know. I don't know much. I feel like I know less all the time. Rate I'm going, by the time I'm twenty-one I won't know a damned thing. But still I was me. Had no choice, I guess. I don't know, maybe that's bull and I was just feeling sorry for myself. But, bottom line, I dried my eyes, and I pushed my dirty, greasy hair back off my face, and I started off down the road again because whatever I was, whoever I was, however messed up I might be, I wasn't leaving April behind. Maybe it was all an act programmed into me from the get-go, or maybe it grew up out of some deep-buried fear, I mean maybe at some level I was really just as pathetic as Senna thought I was. Maybe I was a fake. Whatever. Didn't matter. I was going back to the damned dragon, and then I was getting April out, and everything and everyone else could go screw themselves. One good thing: For now at least, I was done being scared.
K.A. Applegate
Alan, as per his usual routine, got up early and peeked into my rom to check on me. What he found were his teenage stepdaughter and her childhood sweetheart curled up in the same bed, sound asleep and draped all over each other. He hissed my name, alarmed: "Jenna!" "Wha-?" I sat straight up, immediately aware of what was happening and how it all looked. I clambered over Cameron, who was just coming to consciousness, and followed Alan into the kitchen. "It's nothing, I swear," I said in a whisper. If Mom wasn't up yet, I wanted to keep it that way. Alan shook his head. "It looks bad." He glanced toward my bedroom. "Was that Ethan? Tell him to come out here. I want to talk to him." "Um, it's not Ethan. It's Cameron." He put his hands to his head. "Jenna. Jenna." "I know. Is Mom awake?" "Not yet." I kept my voice low. "Can we talk by the fish tank?" He led, I followed. "He came to my window in the night," I explained. "He needed to talk. I let him in. It was me. It was my idea. It was all...nothing happened." "This isn't my area," Alan said, looking at the fish. "Your mom is supposed to do the tough stuff. We have a policy of laissez-faire when it comes to me and...this kind of thing." "Exactly. So," I said hopefully, "go make the coffee and we'll pretend nothing every happened." Cameron came into the room, his blanket wrapped around him. His hair was sticking up in the back, and his long eyelashes hooded sleepy eyes. "I just needed to talk to someone," he said to Alan. "Guess we fell asleep." "Uh-huh." Alan cast an anxious glance toward his and mom's bedroom and said, "You couldn't talk in the kitchen?" "We didn't think about it," I said. "That's how innocent it was, see?" Alan stared at us, still shaking his head. "Look, Cameron, just get out of here before Jenna's mom sees you. Okay?" He nodded. "I'll go get my boots." I breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, Alan." When Cameron shut my bedroom door, Alan said, "Jenna. This is the kind of situation that's very, very awkward, to say the least. If your mom were to find out, I would be in scalding hot water." "She won't. Thank you thank you thank you." "Now. I need my coffee." He shuffled off to the kitchen, ankles cracking. "I'm too old for this." Back in my room, I watched Cameron get ready to go, thinking about everything we'd talked about and what it meant. "Where do you live?" I asked. "I'll take you home." "I share a studio apartment with three other guys. It's a dump," he said, lacing up his boots. "How come you were sleeping in my car yesterday?" "Sometimes I don't want to be there." He pulled on his jacket. "I'll go straight to school, shower in the locker room. See you later." He started to open the window. "Wait," I said. "You can use the front door, you know. Just be quiet." "Okay." He paused on his way out of my room, looing back once to say, "Thanks.
Sara Zarr (Sweethearts)
Both C.K. and Bieber are extremely gifted performers. Both climbed to the top of their industry, and in fact, both ultimately used the Internet to get big. But somehow Bieber “made it” in one-fifteenth of the time. How did he climb so much faster than the guy Rolling Stone calls the funniest man in America—and what does this have to do with Jimmy Fallon? The answer begins with a story from Homer’s Odyssey. When the Greek adventurer Odysseus embarked for war with Troy, he entrusted his son, Telemachus, to the care of a wise old friend named Mentor. Mentor raised and coached Telemachus in his father’s absence. But it was really the goddess Athena disguised as Mentor who counseled the young man through various important situations. Through Athena’s training and wisdom, Telemachus soon became a great hero. “Mentor” helped Telemachus shorten his ladder of success. The simple answer to the Bieber question is that the young singer shot to the top of pop with the help of two music industry mentors. And not just any run-of-the-mill coach, but R& B giant Usher Raymond and rising-star manager Scooter Braun. They reached from the top of the ladder where they were and pulled Bieber up, where his talent could be recognized by a wide audience. They helped him polish his performing skills, and in four years Bieber had sold 15 million records and been named by Forbes as the third most powerful celebrity in the world. Without Raymond’s and Braun’s mentorship, Biebs would probably still be playing acoustic guitar back home in Canada. He’d be hustling on his own just like Louis C.K., begging for attention amid a throng of hopeful entertainers. Mentorship is the secret of many of the highest-profile achievers throughout history. Socrates mentored young Plato, who in turn mentored Aristotle. Aristotle mentored a boy named Alexander, who went on to conquer the known world as Alexander the Great. From The Karate Kid to Star Wars to The Matrix, adventure stories often adhere to a template in which a protagonist forsakes humble beginnings and embarks on a great quest. Before the quest heats up, however, he or she receives training from a master: Obi Wan Kenobi. Mr. Miyagi. Mickey Goldmill. Haymitch. Morpheus. Quickly, the hero is ready to face overwhelming challenges. Much more quickly than if he’d gone to light-saber school. The mentor story is so common because it seems to work—especially when the mentor is not just a teacher, but someone who’s traveled the road herself. “A master can help you accelerate things,” explains Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and career coach behind the bestseller The Success Principles. He says that, like C.K., we can spend thousands of hours practicing until we master a skill, or we can convince a world-class practitioner to guide our practice and cut the time to mastery significantly.
Shane Snow (Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success)
Their Graces bought me, you know. They’d acquired my brother Devlin the year before, and my mother, inspired by this development, threatened to publish all manner of lurid memoirs regarding His Grace.” Acquired her brother? As if he were a promising yearling colt or an attractive patch of ground? “You are going to burden me with the details of your family past, I take it?” “You are the man who glories in details.” Without the least rude inflection, she made it sound like a failing. “My point is that my mother sold me. She could just as easily have sold me to a brothel. It’s done all the time. Unlike your sisters, Mr. Hazlit, I do not take for granted the propriety with which I was raised. You may ignore it if you please; I will not.” She had such a lovely voice. Light, soft, lilting with a hint of something Gaelic or Celtic… exotic. The sound of her voice was so pretty, it almost disguised the ugliness of her words. “How old were you?” “Five, possibly six. It depends on whether I am truly Moreland’s by-blow or just a result of my mother’s schemes in his direction.” Six years old and sold to a brothel? The food he’d eaten threatened to rebel. “I’m… sorry.” For calling her a dollymop, for making her repeat this miserable tale, for what he was about to suggest. She turned her head to regard him, the slight sheen in her eyes making him sorrier still. Sorrier than he could recall being about anything in a long, long time. Not just guilty and ashamed, but full of regret—for her. The way he’d been full of regret for his sisters and powerless to do anything but support them in their solitary struggles. He shoved that thought aside, along with the odd notion that he should take Magdalene Windham’s hand in some laughable gesture of comfort. He passed her his handkerchief instead. “This makes the stated purpose of my call somewhat awkward.” “It makes just about everything somewhat awkward,” she said quietly. “Try a few years at finishing school when you’re the daughter of not just a courtesan—there are some of those, after all—but a courtesan who sells her offspring. I realized fairly early that my mother’s great failing was not a lack of virtue, but rather that she was greedy in her fall from grace.” “She exploited a child,” Hazlit said. “That is an order of magnitude different from parlaying with an adult male in a transaction of mutual benefit.” “Do you think so?” She laid his handkerchief out in her lap, her fingers running over his monogrammed initials. “Some might say she was protecting me, providing for me and holding the duke accountable for his youthful indiscretions.” Despite her mild tone, Hazlit didn’t think Miss Windham would reach those conclusions. She might long to, but she wouldn’t. By the age of six a child usually had the measure of her caretakers. And to think of Maggie Windham at six… big innocent green eyes, masses of red hair, perfect skin… in a brothel. “I
Grace Burrowes (Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal (The Duke's Daughters, #2; Windham, #5))
Are you Hilary Westfield?” She sounded like she hoped it wasn’t the case. Hilary nodded. “Oh. Well, I’m Philomena. I have to show you to your room.” Hilary looked wildly at Miss Greyson. “I’m Miss Westfield’s governess,” Miss Greyson said, to Hilary’s relief. Maybe talking politely to people like Philomena was something you learned at Miss Pimm’s, or maybe getting past Philomena was a sort of entrance exam. “Is there any chance we could see Miss Pimm? We’re old acquaintances. I used to go to school here, you see.” Miss Greyson smiled for the second time that day—the world was getting stranger and stranger by the minute—but Philomena didn’t smile back. “I’m terribly sorry,” said Philomena, “but Miss Pimm doesn’t receive visitors. You can leave Miss Westfield with me, and the porter will collect Miss Westfield’s bags.” She raised her eyebrows as the carriage driver deposited the golden traveling trunk on the doorstep. “I hope you have another pair of stockings in there.” “I do.” Hilary met Philomena’s stare. “I have nineteen pairs, in fact. And a sword.” Miss Greyson groaned and put her hand to her forehead. “Excuse me?” said Philomena. “I’m afraid Miss Westfield is prone to fits of imagination,” Miss Greyson said quickly. Philomena’s eyebrows retreated. “I understand completely,” she said. “Well, you have nothing to worry about. Miss Pimm’s will cure her of that nasty habit soon enough. Now, Miss Westfield, please come along with me.” Hilary and Miss Greyson started to follow Philomena inside. “Only students and instructors are permitted inside the school building,” said Philomena to Miss Greyson. “With all the thefts breaking out in the kingdom these days, one really can’t be too careful. But you’re perfectly welcome to say your good-byes outside.” Miss Greyson agreed and knelt down in front of Hilary. “A sword?” she whispered. “I’m sorry, Miss Greyson.” “All I ask is that you take care not to carve up your classmates. If I were not a governess, however, I might mention that the lovely Philomena is in need of a haircut.” Hilary nearly laughed, but she suspected it might be against the rules to laugh on the grounds of Miss Pimm’s, so she gave Miss Greyson her most solemn nod instead. “Now,” said Miss Greyson, “you must promise to write. You must keep up with the news of the day and tell me all about it in your letters. And you’ll come and visit me in my bookshop at the end of the term, won’t you?” “Of course.” Hilary’s stomach was starting to feel very strange, and she didn’t trust herself to say more than a few words at a time. This couldn’t be right; pirates were hardly ever sentimental. Then again, neither was Miss Greyson. Yet here she was, leaning forward to hug Hilary, and Hilary found herself hugging Miss Greyson back. “Please don’t tell me to be a good little girl,” she said. Miss Greyson sniffed and stood up. “My dear,” she said, “I would never dream of it.” She gave Hilary’s canvas bag an affectionate pat, nodded politely to Philomena, and walked down the steps and through the gate, back to the waiting carriage. “Come along,” said Philomena, picking up the lightest of Hilary’s bags. “And please don’t dawdle. I have lessons to finish.” HILARY FOLLOWED PHILOMENA through a maze of dark stone walls and high archways. From the inside, the building seemed more like a fortress
Caroline Carlson (Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #1))
A man decides to be a lawyer and spends years studying law and finally puts out his shingle. He soon finds something in his temperament that makes it impossible for him to make good as a lawyer. He is a complete failure. He is 50 years old, was admitted to the bar when he was 30, and 20 years later, he has not been able to make a living as a lawyer. As a lawyer, he is a failure. A businessman buys a business and tries to operate it. He does everything that he knows how to do but just cannot make it go. Year after year the ledger shows red, and he is not making a profit. He borrows what he can, has a little spirit and a little hope, but that spirit and hope die and he goes broke. Finally, he sells out, hopelessly in debt, and is left a failure in the business world. A woman is educated to be a teacher but just cannot get along with the other teachers. Something in her constitution or temperament will not allow her to get along with children or young people. So after being shuttled from one school to another, she finally gives up, goes somewhere and takes a job running a stapling machine. She just cannot teach and is a failure in the education world. I have known ministers who thought they were called to preach. They prayed and studied and learned Greek and Hebrew, but somehow they just could not make the public want to listen to them. They just couldn’t do it. They were failures in the congregational world. It is possible to be a Christian and yet be a failure. This is the same as Israel in the desert, wandering around. The Israelites were God’s people, protected and fed, but they were failures. They were not where God meant them to be. They compromised. They were halfway between where they used to be and where they ought to be. And that describes many of the Lord’s people. They live and die spiritual failures. I am glad God is good and kind. Failures can crawl into God’s arms, relax and say, “Father, I made a mess of it. I’m a spiritual failure. I haven’t been out doing evil things exactly, but here I am, Father, and I’m old and ready to go and I’m a failure.” Our kind and gracious heavenly Father will not say to that person, “Depart from me—I never knew you,” because that person has believed and does believe in Jesus Christ. The individual has simply been a failure all of his life. He is ready for death and ready for heaven. I wonder if that is what Paul, the man of God, meant when he said: [No] other foundation can [any] man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he should receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). I think that’s what it means, all right. We ought to be the kind of Christian that cannot only save our souls but also save our lives. When Lot left Sodom, he had nothing but the garments on his back. Thank God, he got out. But how much better it would have been if he had said farewell at the gate and had camels loaded with his goods. He could have gone out with his head up, chin out, saying good riddance to old Sodom. How much better he could have marched away from there with his family. And when he settled in a new place, he could have had “an abundant entrance
A.W. Tozer (The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience)
Olive,’ Mum said, stroking my fringe. ‘I need you to listen to me, and I need you to be brave.’ Opening my eyes again, I swallowed nervously. ‘What’s happened?’ ‘Your sister didn’t arrive at work today.’ Sukie was a typist for an insurance company in Clerkenwell. She said it was the dullest job ever. ‘Isn’t today Saturday, though?’ I asked. ‘She was due in to do overtime. No one’s seen her since she was with you and Cliff last night. She’s missing.’ ‘Missing?’ I didn’t understand. Mum nodded. The nurse added rather unhelpfully: ‘We’ve had casualties from all over London. It’s been chaos. All you can do is keep hoping for the best.’ It was obvious what she meant. I glanced at Mum, who always took the opposite view in any argument. But she stayed silent. Her hands, though, were trembling. ‘Missing isn’t the same as dead,’ I pointed out. Mum grimaced. ‘That’s true, and I’ve spoken to the War Office: Sukie’s name isn’t on their list of dead or injured but-’ ‘So she’s alive, then. She must be. I saw her in the street talking to a man,’ I said. ‘When she realised I’d followed her she was really furious about it.’ Mum looked at me, at the nurse, at the bump on my head. ‘Darling, you’re concussed. Don’t get overexcited now.’ ‘But you can’t think she’s dead.’ I insisted. ‘There’s no proof, is ther?’ ‘Sometimes it’s difficult to identify someone after…’ Mum faltered. I knew what she couldn’t say: sometimes if a body got blown apart there’d be nothing left to tie a name tag to. It was why we’d never buried Dad. Perhaps if there’d been a coffin and a headstone and a vicar saying nice things, it would’ve seemed more real. This felt different, though. After a big air raid the telephones were often down, letters got delayed, roads blocked. It might be a day or two before we heard from Sukie, and worried though I was, I knew she could look after herself. I wondered if it was part of Mum being ill, this painting the world black when it was grey. My head was hurting again so I lay back against the pillows. I was fed up with this stupid, horrid war. Eighteen months ago when it started, everyone said it’d be over before Christmas, but they were wrong. It was still going on, tearing great holes in people’s lives. We’d already lost Dad, and half the time these days it felt like Mum wasn’t quite here. And now Sukie – who knew where she was? I didn’t realise I was crying again until Mum touched my cheek. ‘It’s not fair,’ I said weakly. ‘War isn’t fair, I’m afraid,’ Mum replied. ‘You only have to walk through this hospital to see we’re not the only ones suffering. Though that’s just the top of the iceberg, believe me. There’s plenty worse going on in Europe.’ I remembered Sukie mentioning this too. She’d got really upset when she told me about the awful things happening to people Hitler didn’t like. She was in the kitchen chopping onions at the time so I wasn’t aware she was crying properly. ‘What sort of awful things?’ I’d asked her. ‘Food shortages, people being driven from their homes.’ Sukie took a deep breath, as if the list was really long. ‘People being attacked for no reason or sent no one knows where – Jewish people in particular. They’re made to wear yellow stars so everyone knows they’re Jews, and then barred from shops and schools and even parts of the towns where they live. It’s heartbreaking to think we can’t do anything about it.’ People threatened by soldiers. People queuing for food with stars on their coats. It was what I’d seen on last night’s newsreel at the cinema. My murky brain could just about remember those dismal scenes, and it made me even more angry. How I hated this lousy war. I didn’t know what I could do about it, a thirteen-year-old girl with a bump on her head. Yet thinking there might be something made me feel a tiny bit better.
Emma Carroll (Letters from the Lighthouse)
British / Pakistani ISIS suspect, Zakaria Saqib Mahmood, is arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of recruiting jihadists to fight in Syria • Local police named arrested Briton as Zakaria Saqib Mahmood, also known as Zak, living in 70 Eversleigh Road, Westham, E6 1HQ London • They suspect him of recruiting militants for ISIS in two Bangladeshi cities • He arrived in the country in February, having previously spent time in Syria and Pakistan • Suspected militant recruiter also recently visited Australia A forty year old Muslim British man has been arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of recruiting would-be jihadists to fight for Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq. The man, who police named as Zakaria Saqib Mahmood born 24th August 1977, also known as Zak, is understood to be of Pakistani origin and was arrested near the Kamalapur Railway area of the capital city Dhaka. He is also suspected of having attempted to recruit militants in the northern city of Sylhet - where he is understood to have friends he knows from living in Newham, London - having reportedly first arrived in the country about six months ago to scout for potential extremists. Militants: The British Pakistani man (sitting on the left) named as Zakaria Saqib Mahmood was arrested in Bangladesh. The arrested man has been identified as Zakaria Saqib Mahmood, sources at the media wing of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told local newspapers. He is believed to have arrived in Bangladesh in February and used social media websites including Facebook to sound out local men about their interest in joining ISIS, according Monirul Islam - joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police - who was speaking at a press briefing today. Zakaria has openly shared Islamist extremist materials on his Facebook and other social media links. An example of Zakaria Saqib Mahmood sharing Islamist materials on his Facebook profile He targeted Muslims from Pakistan as well as Bangladesh, Mr Islam added, before saying: 'He also went to Australia but we are yet to know the reason behind his trips'. Zakaria saqib Mahmood trip to Australia in order to recruit for militant extremist groups 'From his passport we came to know that he went to Pakistan where we believe he met a Jihadist named Rauf Salman, in addition to Australia during September last year to meet some of his links he recruited in London, mainly from his weekly charity food stand in East London, ' the DMP spokesperson went on to say. Police believes Zakaria Mahmood has met Jihadist member Rauf Salman in Pakistan Zakaria Saqib Mahmood was identified by the local police in Pakistan in the last September. The number of extremists he has met in this trip remains unknown yet. Zakaria Saqib Mahmood uses charity food stand as a cover to radicalise local people in Newham, London. Investigators: Dhaka Metropolitan Police believe Zakaria Saqib Mhamood arrived in Bangladesh in February and used social media websites including Facebook to sound out local men about their interest in joining ISIS The news comes just days after a 40-year-old East London bogus college owner called Sinclair Adamson - who also had links to the northern city of Sylhet - was arrested in Dhaka on suspicion of recruiting would-be fighters for ISIS. Zakaria Saqib Mahmood, who has studied at CASS Business School, was arrested in Dhaka on Thursday after being reported for recruiting militants. Just one day before Zakaria Mahmood's arrest, local police detained Asif Adnan, 26, and Fazle ElahiTanzil, 24, who were allegedly travelling to join ISIS militants in Syria, assisted by an unnamed Briton. It is understood the suspected would-be jihadists were planning to travel to a Turkish airport popular with tourists, before travelling by road to the Syrian border and then slipping across into the warzone.
Zakaria Zaqib Mahmood
I heard the fear in the first music I ever knew, the music that pumped from boom boxes full of grand boast and bluster. The boys who stood out on Garrison and Liberty up on Park Heights loved this music because it told them, against all evidence and odds, that they were masters of their own lives, their own streets, and their own bodies. I saw it in the girls, in their loud laughter, in their gilded bamboo earrings that announced their names thrice over. And I saw it in their brutal language and hard gaze, how they would cut you with their eyes and destroy you with their words for the sin of playing too much. “Keep my name out your mouth,” they would say. I would watch them after school, how they squared off like boxers, vaselined up, earrings off, Reeboks on, and leaped at each other. I felt the fear in the visits to my Nana’s home in Philadelphia. You never knew her. I barely knew her, but what I remember is her hard manner, her rough voice. And I knew that my father’s father was dead and that my uncle Oscar was dead and that my uncle David was dead and that each of these instances was unnatural. And I saw it in my own father, who loves you, who counsels you, who slipped me money to care for you. My father was so very afraid. I felt it in the sting of his black leather belt, which he applied with more anxiety than anger, my father who beat me as if someone might steal me away, because that is exactly what was happening all around us. Everyone had lost a child, somehow, to the streets, to jail, to drugs, to guns. It was said that these lost girls were sweet as honey and would not hurt a fly. It was said that these lost boys had just received a GED and had begun to turn their lives around. And now they were gone, and their legacy was a great fear. Have they told you this story? When your grandmother was sixteen years old a young man knocked on her door. The young man was your Nana Jo’s boyfriend. No one else was home. Ma allowed this young man to sit and wait until your Nana Jo returned. But your great-grandmother got there first. She asked the young man to leave. Then she beat your grandmother terrifically, one last time, so that she might remember how easily she could lose her body. Ma never forgot. I remember her clutching my small hand tightly as we crossed the street. She would tell me that if I ever let go and were killed by an onrushing car, she would beat me back to life. When I was six, Ma and Dad took me to a local park. I slipped from their gaze and found a playground. Your grandparents spent anxious minutes looking for me. When they found me, Dad did what every parent I knew would have done—he reached for his belt. I remember watching him in a kind of daze, awed at the distance between punishment and offense. Later, I would hear it in Dad’s voice—“Either I can beat him, or the police.” Maybe that saved me. Maybe it didn’t. All I know is, the violence rose from the fear like smoke from a fire, and I cannot say whether that violence, even administered in fear and love, sounded the alarm or choked us at the exit. What I know is that fathers who slammed their teenage boys for sass would then release them to streets where their boys employed, and were subject to, the same justice. And I knew mothers who belted their girls, but the belt could not save these girls from drug dealers twice their age. We, the children, employed our darkest humor to cope. We stood in the alley where we shot basketballs through hollowed crates and cracked jokes on the boy whose mother wore him out with a beating in front of his entire fifth-grade class. We sat on the number five bus, headed downtown, laughing at some girl whose mother was known to reach for anything—cable wires, extension cords, pots, pans. We were laughing, but I know that we were afraid of those who loved us most. Our parents resorted to the lash the way flagellants in the plague years resorted to the scourge.
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)