Oleander Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Oleander. Here they are! All 100 of them:

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Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they'll make your soul impervious to the world's soft decay.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The phoenix must burn to emerge.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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In a perverse way, I was glad for the stitches, glad it would show, that there would be scars. What was the point in just being hurt on the inside? It should bloody well show.
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Janet Fitch
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Oleander time, she said. Lovers who kill each other now will blame it on the wind.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Isn't it funny. I'm enjoying my hatred so much more than I ever enjoyed love. Love is temperamental. Tiring. It makes demands. Love uses you, changes its mind. But hatred, now, that's something you can use. Sculpt. Wield. It's hard, or soft, however you need it. Love humiliates you, but Hatred cradles you.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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It's such a liability to love another person.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I hated labels anyway. People didn't fit in slots--prostitute, housewife, saint--like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The pearls weren't really white, they were a warm oyster beige, with little knots in between so if they broke, you only lost one. I wished my life could be like that, knotted up so that even if something broke, the whole thing wouldn't come apart.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Women always put men first. That's how everything got so screwed up.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Let me tell you a few things about regret...There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air in between, or each link separately as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I know what you are learning to endure. There is nothing to be done. Make sure nothing is wasted. Take notes. Remember it all, every insult, every tear. Tattoo it on the inside of your mind. In life, knowledge of poisons is essential. I've told you, nobody becomes an artist unless they have to.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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To know I was beautiful in his eyes made me beautiful.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Beauty was deceptive. I would rather wear my pain, my ugliness. I was torn and stitched. I was a strip mine, and they would just have to look. I hoped I made them sick. I hoped they saw me in their dreams.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I understood why she did it. At that moment I knew why people tagged graffiti on the walls of neat little houses and scratched the paint on new cars and beat up well-tended children. It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Just because a poet said something didn’t mean it was true, only that it sounded good.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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How vast was a human being's capacity for suffering. The only thing you could do was stand in awe of it. It wasn't a question of survival at all. It was the fullness of it, how much could you hold, how much could you care.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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...You know the mistrust of heights is the mistrust of self, you don't know whether you're going to jump.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific-chair, eye, stone- but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn't include all the meanings. In defining, they always left something out.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Don't turn over the rocks if you don't want to see the pale creatures who live under them.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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But I knew one more thing. That people who denied who they were or where they had been were in the greatest danger.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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If sinners were so unhappy, why would they prefer their suffering? But now I knew why. Without my wounds, who was I?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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When you started thinking it was easy, you were forgetting what it cost.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Panic was the worst thing. When you panicked, you couldn't see possibilities. Then came despair.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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And I realized as I walked through the neighborhood how each house could contain a completely different reality. In a single block, there could be fifty seperate worlds. Nobody ever really knew what was going on just next door.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I wanted to tell her not to entertain despair like this. Despaire wasn't a guest, you didn't play its favorite music, find it a comfortable chair. Despair was the enemy." -white oleander
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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It's all I ever really wanted, that revelation. The possibility of fixed stars.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I don't let anyone touch me," I finally said. Why not?" Why not? Because I was tired of men. Hanging in doorways, standing too close, their smell of beer or fifteen-year-old whiskey. Men who didn't come to the emergency room with you, men who left on Christmas Eve. Men who slammed the security gates, who made you love them then changed their minds. Forests of boys, their ragged shrubs full of eyes following you, grabbing your breasts, waving their money, eyes already knocking you down, taking what they felt was theirs. (...) It was a play and I knew how it ended, I didn't want to audition for any of the roles. It was no game, no casual thrill. It was three-bullet Russian roulette.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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You must find a boy your own age. Someone mild and beautiful to be your lover. Someone who will tremble for your touch, offer you a marguerite by its long stem with his eyes lowered. Someone whose fingers are a poem.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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No matter where I was, my compass pointed west. I would always know what time it was in California.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I couldn't imagine owning beauty like my mothers. I wouldn't dare.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I imagined the lies the valedictorian was telling them right now. About the exciting future that lies ahead. I wish she'd tell them the truth: Half of you have gone as far in life as you're ever going to. Look around. It's all downhill from here. The rest of us will go a bit further, a steady job, a trip to Hawaii, or a move to Phoenix, Arizona, but out of fifteen hundred how many will do anything truly worthwhile, write a play, paint a painting that will hang in a gallery, find a cure for herpes? Two of us, maybe three? And how many will find true love? About the same. And enlightenment? Maybe one. The rest of us will make compromises, find excuses, someone or something to blame, and hold that over our hearts like a pendant on a chain.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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How easy I was. Like a limpet I attached myself to anything, anyone who showed me the least attention.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I closed my eyes to watch tiny dancers like jeweled birds cross the dark screen of my eyelids.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I regret nothing. No woman with any self-respect would have done less. The question of good and evil will always be one of philosophy's most intriguing problems, up there with the problem of existence itself. I'm not quarreling with your choice of issues, only with your intellectually diminished approach. If evil means to be self-motivated, to live on one's own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil. Because we dare to look through our own eyes rather than mouth cliches lent us from the so-called Fathers. To dare to see is to steal fire from the Gods. This is mankind's destiny, the engine which fuels us as a race.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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You were my home, Mother. I had no home but you
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I thought clay must feel happy in the good potter's hand.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Her hatred glittered irresistibly. I could see it, the jewel, it was sapphire, it was the cold lakes of Norway.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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How can I shed tears for a man I should never have allowed to touch me in any way?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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How many people ask you to come share their life?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I took the volume to a table, opened its soft, ivory pages... and fell into it as into a pool during dry season.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I could live there all alone, she thought, slowing the car to look down the winding garden path to the small blue front door with, perfectly, a white cat on the step. No one would ever find me there, either, behind all those roses, and just to make sure I would plant oleanders by the road. I will light a fire in the cool evenings and toast apples at my own hearth. I will raise white cats and sew white curtains for the windows and sometimes come out of my door to go to the store to buy cinnamon and tea and thread. People will come to me to have their fortunes told, and I will brew love potions for sad maidens; I will have a robin...
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Shirley Jackson (The Haunting of Hill House)
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The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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One can bear anything. The pain we cannot bear will kill us outright.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Take my advice. Stay away from all broken people.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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What was the point in such loneliness among people. At least if you were by yourself, you had a good reason to be lonely.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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A womans mistakes are different from a girls
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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She laughed so easily when she was happy. But also when she was sad.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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What can I say about life? Do I praise it for letting you live, or damn it for allowing the rest?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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She's never where she is,' I said. 'She's only inside her head.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Now I wish she'd never broken any of her rules. I understood why she held to them so hard. Once you broke the first one, they all broke, one by one, like firecrackers exploding in your face in a parking lot on the Fourth of July.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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She would buy magic every day of the week. Love me, that face said. I'm so lonely, so desperate. I'll give you whatever you want.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Nobody had forgotten anything here. In Berlin, you had to wrestle with the past, you had to build on the ruins, inside them. It wasn't like America where we scraped the earth clean, thinking we could start again every time.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I felt like an undeveloped photograph that he was printing, my image rising to the surface under his gaze.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Aquamarines grew with emeralds, Claire told me. But emeralds were fragile and always broke into smaller pieces, while aquamarines were stronger, grew in huge crystals without any trouble, so they weren't worth as much. It was the emerald that didn't break that was the really valuable thing.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The expression in her eyes was bitter as nightshade. 'You ask me about regret? Let me tell you a few things about regret, my darling. There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air between, or each link separately, as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself? I've given more thought to this question than you can begin to imagine.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Only peons made excusses for themselves she taught me. Never apologize, never explain.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Love is a check, that can be forged, that can be cashed. Love is a payment that comes due.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I wandered through the stacks, running my hands along the spines of the books on the shelves, they reminded me of cultured or opinionated guests at a wonderful party, whispering to each other.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The Santa Anas blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw. Only the oleanders thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves. We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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If I were a poet, that’s what I’d write about. People who worked in the middle of the night. Men who loaded trains, emergency room nurses with their gentle hands. Night clerks in hotels, cabdrivers on graveyard, waitresses in all-night coffee shops. They knew the world, how precious it was when a person remembered your name, the comfort of a rhetorical question, β€œHow’s it going, how’s the kids?” They knew how long the night was. They knew the sound life made as it left. It rattled, like a slamming screen door in the wind. Night workers lived without illusions, they wiped dreams off counters, they loaded freight. They headed back to the airport for one last fare.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I watched her for a long time, memorizing her shoulders, her long-legged gait. This was how girls left. They packed up their suitcases and walked away in high heels. They pretended they weren't crying, that it wasn't the worst day of their lives. That they didn't want their mothers to come running after them, begging their forgiveness, that they wouldn't have gone down on their knees and thanked god if they could stay.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I felt like time was a great sea, and I was floating on the back of a turtle, and no sails broke the horizon.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Love's an illusion. It's a dream you wake up from with an enormous hangover and net credit debt. I'd rather have cash.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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without my wounds, who was i? my scars were my face, my past was my life.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I almost said, you're not broken, you're just going through something. But i couldn't. She knew. There was something terribly wrong with her, all the way inside. She was like a big diamond with a dead spot in the middle. I was supposed to breathe life into that dead spot, but it hadn't worked...
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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That was the thing about words, they were clear and specific--chair, eye, stone--but when you talked about feelings, words were too stiff, they were this and not that, they couldn't include all the meanings. In defining, they always left something out.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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How could anybody confuse truth with beauty, I thought as I looked at him. Truth came with sunken eyes, bony or scarred, decayed. Its teeth were bad, its hair gray and unkempt. While beauty was empty as a gourd, vain as a parakeet. But it had power. It smelled of musk and oranges and made you close your eyes in a prayer.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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He reminded me of someone who put your fingers in the door and smiled and talked to you while he smashed them.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I felt beautiful but also interrupted. I wasn't used to being so complicated.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Life should always be like this. ... Like lingering over a good meal.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I wondered why it had to be so poisonous. Oleanders could live through anything, they could stand heat, drought, neglect, and put out thousands of waxy blooms. So what did they need poison for? Couldn't they just be bitter? They weren't like rattlesnakes, they didn't even eat what they killed. The way she boiled it down, distilled it, like her hatred. Maybe it was a poison in the soil, something about L.A., the hatred, the callousness, something we didn't want to think about, that the plant concentrated in its tissues. Maybe it wasn't a source of poison, but just another victim.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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What can she possibly teach you, twenty seven names for tears?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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And I thought, there was no God, there was only what you wanted.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I nodded. A man's world. But what did it mean? That men whistled and stared and yelled things at you, and you had to take it, or you get raped or beat up? A man's world meant places men could go but not women. It meant they had more money,and didn't have kids, not the way women did, to look after every second. And it meant that women loved them more than they loved the women, that they could want something with all their hearts, and then not.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The night crackled ... Everything had turned to static electricity in the heat. I combed my hair to watch the sparks fly from the ends.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time. The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is. There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside. Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
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Bob Dylan (Chronicles, Volume One)
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We received our colouring from the Norsemen, hairy savages who hacked their gods to pieces and hung the flesh from trees. We are the ones who sacked Rome. Fear only feeble old age and death in bed. Don't forget who you are.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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A person didn’t need to be beautiful, they just needed to be loved. But I couldn’t help wanting it. If that was the way I could be loved, to be beautiful, I’d take it
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I wanted to hear what she was saying. I wanted to smell that burnt midnight again, I wanted to feel that wind. It was a secret wanting, like a song I couldn't stop humming, or loving someone I could never have. No matter where I went, my compass pointed west. I would always know what time it was in California.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The cake had a trick candle that wouldn't go out, so I didn't get my wish. Which was just that it would always be like this, that my life could be a party just for me.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I thought how tenuous the links were between mother and children between friends family things you think are eternal. Everything could be lost more easily than anyone could imagine.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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It was only natural to want to destroy something you could never have.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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After all the fears, the warnings, after all, a woman's mistakes are different from a girl's. They are written by fire on stone. They are a trait and not an error.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Poppies bleed petals of sheer excess. You and I, this sweet battle ground.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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The damned could be saved...anytime. But they refused to give up their sins. Though they suffered endlessly, they would not give them up, even for salvation, perfect divine love. I hadn't understood at the time. If sinners were unhappy, why would they prefer their suffering? But now I knew why. Without my wounds, who was I? My scars were my face, my past was my life.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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They wanted the real mother, the blood mother, the great womb, mother of fierce compassion, a woman large enough to hold all the pain, to carry it away. What we needed was someone who bled, someone deep and rich as a field, a wide-hipped mother, awesome, immense, women like huge soft couches, mothers coursing with blood, mother's big enough, wide enough for us to hide in, to sink down to the bottom of of, mother's who would breathe for us when we could not breathe anymore, who would fight for us, who would kill for us, die for us.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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If evil means to be self-motivated, to be the center of one’s own universe, to live on one’s own terms, then every artist, every thinker, every original mind, is evil.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Her fingers moved among barnacles and mussels, blue-black, sharp-edged. Neon red starfish were limp Dalis on the rocks, surrounded by bouquets of stinging anemones and purple bursts of spiny sea urchins.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I liked it when my mother tried to teach me things, when she paid attention. So often when I was with her, she was unreachable. Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Everybody asks why I started at the end and worked back to the beginning, the reason is simple, I couldn't understand the beginning until I had reached the end. There were too many pieces of the puzzle missing, too much you would never tell. I could sell these things. People want to buy them, but I'd set all this on fire first. She'd like that, that's what she would do. She'd make it just to burn it. I couldn't afford this one, but the beginning deserves something special. But how do I show that nothing, not a taste, not a smell, not even the color of the sky, has ever been as clear and sharp as it was when I belonged to her. I don't know how to express the being with someone so dangerous is the last time I felt safe... (White Oleander)
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Janet Fitch
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Prostitute. Whore. What did they really mean anyway? Only words. Words trailing their streamers of judgment. I hated labels anyway. People didn't fit in slots-- prostitute, housewife, saint-- like sorting the mail. We were so mutable, fluid with fear and desire, ideals and angles, changeable as water.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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I imagined Kandinsky's mind, spread out all over the world, and then gathered together. Everyone having only a piece of the puzzle. Only in a show like this could you see the complete picture, stack the pieces up, hold them to the light, see how it all fit together. It made me hopeful, like someday my life would make sense too, if I could just hold all the pieces together at the same time.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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If it weren't for me, she wouldn't have to take jobs like this. She would be half a planet away, floating in a turquoise sea, dancing by moonlight to flamenco guitar. I felt my guilt like a brand.... I had seen girls clamor for new clothes and complain about what their mothers made for dinner. I was always mortified. Didn't they know they were tying their mothers to the ground? Weren't chains ashamed of their prisoners?
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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Who am I? I am who I say I am and tomorrow someone else entirely. You are too nostalgic, you want memory to secure you, console you. The past is a bore. What matters is only oneself and what one creates from what one has learned. Imagination uses what it needs and discards the restβ€” where you want to erect a museum. Don't hoard the past, Astrid. Don't cherish anything. Burn it. The artist is the phoenix who burns to emerge.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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It was her first book, an indigo cover with a silver moonflower, an art nouveau flower, I traced my finger along the silver line like smoke, whiplash curves. ... I touched the pages her hands touched, I pressed them to my lips, the soft thick old paper, yellow now, fragile as skin. I stuck my nose between the bindings and smelled all the readings she had given, the smell of unfiltered cigarettes and the espresso machine, beaches and incense and whispered words in the night. I could hear her voice rising from the pages. The cover curled outward like sails.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
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But then I realized, they weren't calling out for their own mothers. Not those weak women, those victims. Drug addicts, shopaholics, cookie bakers. They didn't mean the women who let them down, who failed to help them into womanhood, women who let their boyfriends run a train on them. Bingers, purgers, women smiling into mirrors, women in girdles, women on barstools. Not those women with their complaints and their magazines, controlling women, women who asked, what's in in for me? Not the women watching TV while they made dinner, women who dyed their hair blond behind closed doors trying to look twenty-three. They didn't mean the mothers washing dishes wishing they'd never married, the ones in the ER, saying they fell down the stairs, not the ones in prison saying lonliness is the human condition, get used to it. The wanted the real mother, the blood mother, the great womb, mother of fierce compassion, a woman large enough to hold all the pain, to carry it away. What we needed was someone who bled, someone deep and rich as a field, a wide-hipped mother, awesome, immense, women like huge soft couches, mothers coursing with blood, mothers big enough, wide enough for us to hid in, to sink down to the bottom of, mothers who would breathe for us when we could not breathe anymore, who would fight for us, who would kill for us, die for us.
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Janet Fitch (White Oleander)