Painted Desert Quotes

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Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?" -Donald Miller,Through Painted Deserts
Donald Miller
And if these mountains had eyes, they would wake to find two strangers in their fences, standing in admiration as a breathing red pours its tinge upon earth's shore. These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent so that man's weak praise should be given God's attention.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made fo figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
I could not have known then that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons remind me that I must keep changing.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it? It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out. I want to repeat one word for you: Leave. Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
We live on top of the created world, I think to myself, not in it.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Van Houten, I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. (Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.) We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invented anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark blue and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I'll tell you how the sun rose A ribbon at a time... It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be. So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
For Jenn At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts. I fought with my knuckles white as stars, and left bruises the shape of Salem. There are things we know by heart, and things we don't. At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke. I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos, but I could never make dying beautiful. The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself veins are kite strings you can only cut free. I suppose I love this life, in spite of my clenched fist. I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree, and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers, and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath the first time his fingers touched the keys the same way a soldier holds his breath the first time his finger clicks the trigger. We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe. But my lungs remember the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat. And I knew life would tremble like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek, like a prayer on a dying man's lips, like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone… just take me just take me Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much, the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood. We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways, but you still have to call it a birthday. You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess and hope she knows you can hit a baseball further than any boy in the whole third grade and I've been running for home through the windpipe of a man who sings while his hands playing washboard with a spoon on a street corner in New Orleans where every boarded up window is still painted with the words We're Coming Back like a promise to the ocean that we will always keep moving towards the music, the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain. Beauty, catch me on your tongue. Thunder, clap us open. The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks. Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert, then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun. I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun. I know the heartbeat of his mother. Don't cover your ears, Love. Don't cover your ears, Life. There is a boy writing poems in Central Park and as he writes he moves and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart, and there are men playing chess in the December cold who can't tell if the breath rising from the board is their opponents or their own, and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn, and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun with strip malls and traffic and vendors and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it. Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect. I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon. I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic. But every ocean has a shoreline and every shoreline has a tide that is constantly returning to wake the songbirds in our hands, to wake the music in our bones, to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river that has to run through the center of our hearts to find its way home.
Andrea Gibson
*I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago... *So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. *We get one story, you and I, and one story alone....It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
It occurred to me, as it sometimes does, that this day is over and will never be lived again, that we are only the sum of days, and when those are spent, we will not come back to this place, to this time, to these people and these colors, and I wonder whether to be sad about this or to be happy, to trust that these moments were meant for some kind of enjoyment, as a kind of blessing. And if feels, tonight, as if there is much to think about, there is much we have been given and much we have left behind. The smell of freedom is as brisk as the air through the windows. And there is a feeling that time itself has been curtained by darkness.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
When you build a city near no mountains and no ocean, you get materialism and traditional religion. People have too much time and lack inspiration.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Paradise is not a garden of bliss and changeless perfection where the lions lie down like lambs (what would they eat?) and the angels and cherubim and seraphim rotate in endless idiotic circles, like clockwork, about an equally inane and ludicrous -- however roseate -- unmoved mover. That particular painted fantasy of a realm beyond time and space which Aristotle and the church fathers tried to palm off on us has met, in modern times, only neglect and indifference passing on into oblivion it so richly deserved, while the paradise of which I write and wish to praise is with us yet, the the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real earth on which we stand.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
I read the first chapter of A Brief History of Time when Dad was still alive, and I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is, and how compared to the universe and compared to time, it didn't even matter if I existed at all. When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem. "Which problem?" "The problem of how relatively insignificant we are." He said, "Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and you picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimeter?" I said, "I'd probably die of dehydration." He said, "I just mean right then, when you moved that single grain of sand. What would that mean?" I said, "I dunno, what?" He said, "Think about it." I thought about it. "I guess I would have moved one grain of sand." "Which would mean?" "Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?" "Which would mean you changed the Sahara." "So?" "So? So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for millions of years. And you changed it!" "That's true!" I said, sitting up. "I changed the Sahara!" "Which means?" he said. "What? Tell me." "Well I'm not talking about painting the Mona Lisa or curing cancer. I'm just talking about moving that one grain of sand one millimeter." "Yeah? If you hadn't done it, human history would have been one way..." "Uh-huh?" "But you did do it, so...?" I stood on the bed, pointing one of my fingers at the fake stars, and screamed: "I changed the course of human history!" "That's right." "I changed the universe!" "You did." "I'm God!" "You're an atheist." "I don't exist!" I fell back onto the bed, into his arms, and we cracked up together.
Jonathan Safran Foer
What is the world? What is it for? It is an art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the infinite. Assess it like prose, like poetry, like architecture, sculpture, painting, dance, delta blues, opera, tragedy, comedy, romance, epic. Assess it like you would a Faberge egg, like a gunfight, like a musical, like a snowflake, like a death, a birth, a triumph, a love story, a tornado, a smile, a heartbreak, a sweater, a hunger pain, a desire, a fufillment, a desert, a waterfall, a song, a race, a frog, a play, a song, a marriage, a consummation, a thirst quenched. Assess it like that. And when you're done, find an ant and have him assess the cathedrals of Europe.
N.D. Wilson
It was the dream itself enchanted me: Character isolated by a deed To engross the present and dominate memory. Players and painted stage took all my love, And not those things that they were emblems of. [from "The Circus Animals' Desertion"]
W.B. Yeats
I heard once that real love doesn’t ask what is in it for me; it just gives unconditionally. It just tries to take the weight out of somebody else’s pack, lessen his load, and if it gets reciprocated, that’s great, but that isn’t what you did it for.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
It's funny how you can't ask difficult questions in a familiar place, how you have to stand back a few feet and see things in a new way before you realize nothing that is happening to you is normal. The trouble with you and me is we are used to what is happening to us. We grew into our lives like a kernel beneath the earth, never able to process the enigma of our composition...Nothing is normal. It is all rather odd, isn't it, our eyes in our heads, our hands with five fingers, the capacity to understand beauty, to feel love, to feel pain.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Is it possible to make a living by simply watching light? Monet did. Vermeer did. I believe Vincent did too. They painted light in order to witness the dance between revelation and concealment, exposure and darkness. Perhaps this is what I desire most, to sit and watch the shifting shadows cross the cliff face of sandstone or simply to walk parallel with a path of liquid light called the Colorado River. In the canyon country of southern Utah, these acts of attention are not merely the pastimes of artists, but daily work, work that matters to the whole community. This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood.
Terry Tempest Williams (Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert)
How often have I painted a splendid picture of a journey marked by courageous ascents and daring desert crossings when all along all I’ve really been doing is running?
Craig D. Lounsbrough
I used to think love was two people sucking on the same straw to see whose thirst was stronger, but then I whiffed the crushed walnuts of your nape, traced jackals in the snow-covered tombstones of your teeth. I used to think love was a non-stop saxophone solo in the lungs, till I hung with you like a pair of sneakers from a phone line, and you promised to always smell the rose in my kerosene. I used to think love was terminal pelvic ballet, till you let me jog beside while you pedaled all over hell on the menstrual bicycle, your tongue ripping through my prairie like a tornado of paper cuts. I used to think love was an old man smashing a mirror over his knee, till you helped me carry the barbell of my spirit back up the stairs after my car pirouetted in the desert. You are my history book. I used to not believe in fairy tales till I played the dunce in sheep’s clothing and felt how perfectly your foot fit in the glass slipper of my ass. But then duty wrapped its phone cord around my ankle and yanked me across the continent. And now there are three thousand miles between the u and s in esophagus. And being without you is like standing at a cement-filled wall with a roll of Yugoslavian nickels and making a wish. Some days I miss you so much I’d jump off the roof of your office building just to catch a glimpse of you on the way down. I wish we could trade left eyeballs, so we could always see what the other sees. But you’re here, I’m there, and we have only words, a nightly phone call - one chance to mix feelings into syllables and pour into the receiver, hope they don’t disassemble in that calculus of wire. And lately - with this whole war thing - the language machine supporting it - I feel betrayed by the alphabet, like they’re injecting strychnine into my vowels, infecting my consonants, naming attack helicopters after shattered Indian tribes: Apache, Blackhawk; and West Bank colonizers are settlers, so Sharon is Davey Crockett, and Arafat: Geronimo, and it’s the Wild West all over again. And I imagine Picasso looking in a mirror, decorating his face in war paint, washing his brushes in venom. And I think of Jenin in all that rubble, and I feel like a Cyclops with two eyes, like an anorexic with three mouths, like a scuba diver in quicksand, like a shark with plastic vampire teeth, like I’m the executioner’s fingernail trying to reason with the hand. And I don’t know how to speak love when the heart is a busted cup filling with spit and paste, and the only sexual fantasy I have is busting into the Pentagon with a bazooka-sized pen and blowing open the minds of generals. And I comfort myself with the thought that we’ll name our first child Jenin, and her middle name will be Terezin, and we’ll teach her how to glow in the dark, and how to swallow firecrackers, and to never neglect the first straw; because no one ever talks about the first straw, it’s always the last straw that gets all the attention, but by then it’s way too late.
Jeffrey McDaniel
There is a whirlwind in southern Morocco, the aajej, against which the fellahin defend themselves with knives. There is the africo, which has at times reached into the city of Rome. The alm, a fall wind out of Yugoslavia. The arifi, also christened aref or rifi, which scorches with numerous tongues. These are permanent winds that live in the present tense. There are other, less constant winds that change direction, that can knock down horse and rider and realign themselves anticlockwise. The bist roz leaps into Afghanistan for 170 days--burying villages. There is the hot, dry ghibli from Tunis, which rolls and rolls and produces a nervous condition. The haboob--a Sudan dust storm that dresses in bright yellow walls a thousand metres high and is followed by rain. The harmattan, which blows and eventually drowns itself into the Atlantic. Imbat, a sea breeze in North Africa. Some winds that just sigh towards the sky. Night dust storms that come with the cold. The khamsin, a dust in Egypt from March to May, named after the Arabic word for 'fifty,' blooming for fifty days--the ninth plague of Egypt. The datoo out of Gibraltar, which carries fragrance. There is also the ------, the secret wind of the desert, whose name was erased by a king after his son died within it. And the nafhat--a blast out of Arabia. The mezzar-ifoullousen--a violent and cold southwesterly known to Berbers as 'that which plucks the fowls.' The beshabar, a black and dry northeasterly out of the Caucasus, 'black wind.' The Samiel from Turkey, 'poison and wind,' used often in battle. As well as the other 'poison winds,' the simoom, of North Africa, and the solano, whose dust plucks off rare petals, causing giddiness. Other, private winds. Travelling along the ground like a flood. Blasting off paint, throwing down telephone poles, transporting stones and statue heads. The harmattan blows across the Sahara filled with red dust, dust as fire, as flour, entering and coagulating in the locks of rifles. Mariners called this red wind the 'sea of darkness.' Red sand fogs out of the Sahara were deposited as far north as Cornwall and Devon, producing showers of mud so great this was also mistaken for blood. 'Blood rains were widely reported in Portugal and Spain in 1901.' There are always millions of tons of dust in the air, just as there are millions of cubes of air in the earth and more living flesh in the soil (worms, beetles, underground creatures) than there is grazing and existing on it. Herodotus records the death of various armies engulfed in the simoom who were never seen again. One nation was 'so enraged by this evil wind that they declared war on it and marched out in full battle array, only to be rapidly and completely interred.
Michael Ondaatje
I think we all look for clues that we are not utterly alone... Clues we find in literature and paintings and music and even someone’s eyes; clues that demonstrate that someone else has felt the same indescribable feelings, seen the same things or passed by the spot even if it was by candlelight three hundred years ago. It means everything, like finding footprints in the sand of a deserted island.
Jonathan Hull (Losing Julia)
Masks! I see them everywhere. That dreadful vision of the other night - the deserted town with its masked corpses in every doorway; that nightmare product of morphine and ether - has taken up residence within me. I see masks in the street, I see them on stage in the theatre, I find yet more of them in the boxes. They are on the balcony and in the orchestra-pit. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by masks. The attendants to whom I give my overcoat are masked; masks crowd around me in the foyer as everyone leaves, and the coachman who drives me home has the same cardboard grimace fixed upon his face! It is truly too much to bear: to feel that one is alone and at the mercy of all those enigmatic and deceptive faces, alone amid all the mocking laughs and the threats embodied in those masks. I have tried to persuade myself that I am dreaming, and that I am the victim of a hallucination, but all the powdered and painted faces of women, all the rouged lips and kohl-blackened eyelids... all of that has created around me an atmosphere of trance and mortal agony. Cosmetics: there is the root cause of my illness! But I am happy, now, when there are only masks! Sometimes, I detect the cadavers beneath, and remember that beneath the masks there is a host of spectres.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
I was reminded of a painter friend who had started her career by depicting scenes from life, mainly deserted rooms, abandoned houses and discarded photographs of women. Gradually, her work became more abstract, and in her last exhibition, her paintings were splashes of rebellious color, like the two in my living room, dark patches with little droplets of blue. I asked about her progress from modern realism to abstraction. Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams.
Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books)
The world was no longer solid and dependable, it was porous and deceptive. Anything could disappear. At the same time, everything I looked at was very clear. It was like one of those surrealist paintings we’d studied in school the year before. Melted clocks in the desert, solid but unreal.
Margaret Atwood (The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2))
LADY CROOM: ....My lake is drained to a ditch for no purpose I can understand, unless it be that snipe and curlew have deserted three counties so that they may be shot in our swamp. What you painted as forest is a mean plantation, your greenery is mud, your waterfall is wet mud, and your mount is an opencast mine for the mud that was lacking in the dell. (Pointing through the window) What is that cowshed? NOAKES: The hermitage, my lady? LADY CROOM: It is a cowshed. NOAKES: It is, I assure you, a very habitable cottage, properly founded and drained, two rooms and a closet under a slate roof and a stone chimney -- LADY CROOM: And who is to live in it? NOAKES: Why, the hermit. LADY CROOM: Where is he? NOAKES: Madam? LADY CROOM: You surely do not supply an hermitage without a hermit? NOAKES: Indeed, madam -- LADY CROOM: Come, come, Mr Noakes. If I am promised a fountain I expect it to come with water. What hermits do you have? NOAKES: I have no hermits, my lady. LADY CROOM: Not one? I am speechless. NOAKES: I am sure a hermit can be found. One could advertise. LADY CROOM: Advertise? NOAKES: In the newspapers. LADY CROOM: But surely a hermit who takes a newspaper is not a hermit in whom one can have complete confidence.
Tom Stoppard (Arcadia)
During one of these arguments, Diego picked up one of his paintings of the Mexican desert and shouted, "I don't want to go back to that!" He had spent fifteen years in Paris and the life of an expatriate suited him. It was easier to be a passionate Mexican nationalist when he wasn't living there
Malka Drucker (Frida Kahlo)
The lives of men who have to live in our great cities are often tragically lonely. In many more ways than one, these dwellers in the hive are modern counterparts of Tantalus. They are starving to death in the midst of abundance. The crystal stream flows near their lips but always falls away when they try to drink of it. The vine, rich-weighted with its golden fruit, bends down, comes near, but springs back when they reach out to touch it...In other times, when painters tried to paint a scene of awful desolation, they chose the desert or a heath of barren rocks, and there would try to picture man in his great loneliness--the prophet in the desert, Elijah being fed by ravens on the rocks. But for a modern painter, the most desolate scene would have to be a street in almost any one of our great cities on a Sunday afternoon.
Thomas Wolfe (You Can't Go Home Again)
I think with sadness of all the books I’ve read, all the places I’ve seen, all the knowledge I’ve amassed and that will be no more. All the music, all the paintings, all the culture, so many places: and suddenly nothing. They made no honey, those things, they can provide no one with any nourishment. At the most, if my books are still read, the reader will think: There wasn’t much she didn’t see! But that unique sum of things, the experience that I lived, with all its order and its randomness — the Opera of Peking, the arena of Huelva, the candomblé in Bahía, the dunes of El-Oued, Wabansia Avenue, the dawns in Provence, Tiryns, Castro talking to five hundred thousand Cubans, a sulphur sky over a sea of clouds, the purple holly, the white nights of Leningrad, the bells of the Liberation, an orange moon over the Piraeus, a red sun rising over the desert, Torcello, Rome, all the things I’ve talked about, others I have left unspoken — there is no place where it will all live again. At
Sarah Bakewell (At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others)
Painted desert, ocean of color sun's worshiper, moon's lover picture of a coyote's voice sandbox of angels, another toy.
Trine Daely (Life Games)
Trees, skies, valleys mountains, seen through the rain-spotted windshield, were like a distorted, stippled landscape painted by a beginner who has not yet learned to wring living colour from his palette.
Stella Benson (The Desert Islander)
Life is a dance toward God, I began to think. And the dance is not so graceful as we might want. While we glide and swing out practiced sway, God crowds our feet, bumps our toes, and scuffs our shoes. So we learn to dance with the One who made us. And it is a difficult dance to learn, because its steps are foreign.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
I think with sadness of all the books I’ve read, all the places I’ve seen, all the knowledge I’ve amassed and that will be no more. All the music, all the paintings, all the culture, so many places: and suddenly nothing. They made no honey, those things, they can provide no one with any nourishment. At the most, if my books are still read, the reader will think: There wasn’t much she didn’t see! But that unique sum of things, the experience that I lived, with all its order and its randomness — the Opera of Peking, the arena of Huelva, the candomblé in Bahía, the dunes of El-Oued, Wabansia Avenue, the dawns in Provence, Tiryns, Castro talking to five hundred thousand Cubans, a sulphur sky over a sea of clouds, the purple holly, the white nights of Leningrad, the bells of the Liberation, an orange moon over the Piraeus, a red sun rising over the desert, Torcello, Rome, all the things I’ve talked about, others I have left unspoken — there is no place where it will all live again
Simone de Beauvoir
When the Creator banished from his sight Frail man to dark mortality's abode, And granted him a late return to light, Only by treading reason's arduous road,— When each immortal turned his face away, She, the compassionate, alone Took up her dwelling in that house of clay, With the deserted, banished one. With drooping wing she hovers here Around her darling, near the senses' land, And on his prison-walls so drear Elysium paints with fond deceptive hand. While soft humanity still lay at rest, Within her tender arms extended, No flame was stirred by bigots' murderous zest, No guiltless blood on high ascended. The heart that she in gentle fetters binds, Views duty's slavish escort scornfully; Her path of light, though fairer far it winds, Sinks in the sun-track of morality. Those who in her chaste service still remain, No grovelling thought can tempt, no fate affright; The spiritual life, so free from stain, Freedom's sweet birthright, they receive again, Under the mystic sway of holy might.
Friedrich Schiller
APPROACH Rain is falling. Winter approaches. I drive towards it. In the slow rain. In the semi-darkness. Cello music is playing in the car. The deep sad sound of the cello. It almost swamps me. Routine endeavours to swamp me. The everyday paying of bills. But I paint men walking in a city of icebergs and crystal. Some of the icebergs are red. I paint a woman swimming in green wavy water. Surrounded by desert mesas. Bright orange in the sunlight. With darker orange for shadows. I paint two people. With purple and pink and yellow and blue circles overlapping the boundaries of their bodies. Dancing. Life is not ordinary. When I see you tonight I will press my lips to your eyelids. Each one in turn. I will rub my fingertips over the skin on the back of your hands and around your wrists. I will sigh. I will growl. I will whinny. I will gallop into your smile. One sharp foot after the other.
Jay Woodman (SPAN)
I believe that the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries so hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man’s mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God.
Donald Miller (Miller 3 in 1: Blue Like Jazz, Through Painted Deserts, Searching for God)
What Slattery wants is a ring painted on concrete in the empty desert. With no living spectator around for miles, just him and the grinning demons. A chance to fight them each, one by one . . . to leave them broken and humbled, or even to lose the fights, but with nobility, and earn the respect of all the men who have showed him none. I want peace, he thinks to himself late at night. I want peace. But then he dreams of fistfights.
David Benioff (The 25th Hour)
The desert still has a memory of water. And that memory is a living thing. It is infused into the sand. It is part of its essence.
Thomas Lloyd Qualls (Painted Oxen)
I know what life is about, but what if I don't like it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Lydia can't see it from the dark place where she is, but she can sense it. She knows that it's the perfect time of day out there in the desert. She imagines the colors making a show of themselves outside. The glittering gray pavement, the aching red land. The colors streaking flamboyantly across the sky. When she closes her eyes, she can see them, the paint in the firmament. Dazzling. Purple, yellow, orange, pink, and blue. She can see those perfect colors, hot and bright, a feathered headdress. Beneath, the landscape stretches out its arms.
Jeanine Cummins (American Dirt)
The ancient canyon art of Utah belongs in that same international museum without walls which makes African sculpture, Melanesian masks, and the junkyards of New Jersey equally interesting—those voices of silence which speak to us in the first world language. As for the technical competence of the artists, its measure is apparent in the fact that these pictographs and petroglyphs though exposed to the attack of wind, sand, rain, heat, cold and sunlight for centuries still survive vivid and clear. How much of the painting and sculpture being done in America today will last—in the merely physical sense—for even a half-century?
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
As regards the origin of God, my own idea is that having realized the limitations of man, his weaknesses and shortcoming having been taken into consideration, God was brought into imaginary existence to encourage man to face boldly all the trying circumstances, to meet all dangers manfully and to check and restrain his outbursts in prosperity and affluence. God both with his private laws and parental generosity was imagined and painted in greater details. He was to serve as a deterrent factor when his fury and private laws were discussed so that man may not become a danger to society. He was to serve as a father, mother, sister and brother, friend and helpers when his parental qualifications were to be explained. So that when man be in great distress having been betrayed and deserted by all friends he may find consolation in the idea that an ever true friend was still there to help him, to support him and that He was almighty and could do anything. Really that was useful to the society in the primitive age. The idea of God is helpful to man in distress.
Bhagat Singh (Why I am an Atheist)
The painted aircraft took on sunlight and pulse. Sweeps of color, bands and spatters, airy washes, the force of saturated light—the whole thing oddly personal, a sense of one painter’s hand moved by impulse and afterthought as much as by epic design. I hadn’t expected to register such pleasure and sensation. The air was color-scrubbed, coppers and ochers burning off the metal skin of the aircraft to exchange with the framing desert.
Don DeLillo
If you were AWOL when your company was going back into combat you might as well keep going because your own officers would blow you away, and they didn’t even have to say it was the Germans. That’s desertion in the face of the enemy. While
Charles Brandt ("I Heard You Paint Houses", Updated Edition: Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran & Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa)
I know that western sky. Sometimes when I'm alone painting, a blind lifts and I let my mind drift back. I remember walking out into the red sun in Canyon until the night fell. I'd lie down on the scorched hardness of the desert floor, looking up at the stars raining down like small silver bullets into me. It was all I wanted then – to feel that roar of the infinite that exists within our finite selves. At times it seemed unbearable – that hunger I felt once – like the edges of my skin could not contain it. I miss that.
Dawn Tripp (Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe)
I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
I once was the guest of the week on a British radio show called Desert Island Discs. You have to choose the eight records you would take with you if marooned on a desert island. Among my choices was Mache dich mein Herze rein from Bach’s St Matthew Passion. The interviewer was unable to understand how I could choose religious music without being religious. You might as well say, how can you enjoy Wuthering Heights when you know perfectly well that Cathy and Heathcliff never really existed? But there is an additional point that I might have made, and which needs to be made whenever religion is given credit for, say, the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s Annunciation. Even great artists have to earn a living, and they will take commissions where they are to be had. I have no reason to doubt that Raphael and Michelangelo were Christians—it was pretty much the only option in their time—but the fact is almost incidental. Its enormous wealth had made the Church the dominant patron of the arts. If history had worked out differently, and Michelangelo had been commissioned to paint a ceiling for a giant Museum of Science, mightn’t he have produced something at least as inspirational as the Sistine Chapel? How sad that we shall never hear Beethoven’s Mesozoic Symphony, or Mozart’s opera The Expanding Universe. And what a shame that we are deprived of Haydn’s Evolution Oratorio—but that does not stop us from enjoying his Creation.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
I am totally lost in the folds of Love, totally free of worry and care. I have passed beyond the four qualities. My heart has torn away the veil of pretense. There was a time I circled with the nine spheres, rolling with the stars across the sky. There was a time I stayed by his side— I lived in his world and he gave me everything. With the best of intentions I became a prisoner in this form. How else did I get here? What crime did I commit? But I’d rather be in a prison with my Friend than in a rosegarden all alone. I came to this world To have a sight of Joseph’s purity. Like a baby born of its mother’s womb, I was brought here with blood and tears. People think they are born only once But they have been here so many times. In the cloak of this ragged body I have walked countless paths. How many times I have worn out this cloak! With ascetics in the desert I watched night turn into day. With pagans in the temple I slept at the foot of idols. I’ve been a charlatan and a king; I’ve been a healer, and fraught with disease. I’ve been on my death-bed so many times. . . . Floating up like the clouds Pouring down like the rain. As a darvish I sought the dust of annihilation but it never touched my robe. So I gathered armfuls of roses in this faded garden of existence. I am not of wind nor fire nor of the stormy seas. I am not formed out of painted clay. I am not even Shams-e Tabriz— I am the essence of laughter, I am pure light. Look again if you see me— It’s not me you have seen!
Rumi (Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved)
Desert which is immense and from above light brown or red vast rivulets of sand with no human life. As the only land. What land is. Running alongside it and then forward is the deep blue Red Sea — with the edges of the land in very light turquoise blue rim, it is the rim. A very beautiful rim. The people are in the air. There are patches of sand in, as it goes in, the endless sea, the very light turquoise rimmed. So it could be sky, which has white rainless clouds. In the sky or it could be in the sea. Whatever is darker as shadows could be just in the air. Only in the air. Sand patches, rimmed or with the very light blue shallower sea. But only if one's there.
Leslie Scalapino (The Return of Painting, the Pearl, and Orion: A Trilogy)
Instead, as the crystal splinters entered Hornwrack's brain, he experienced two curious dreams of the Low City, coming so quickly one after the other that they seemed simultaneous. In the first, long shadows moved across the ceiling frescoes of the Bistro Californium, beneath which Lord Mooncarrot's clique awaited his return to make a fourth at dice. Footsteps sounded on the threshold. The women hooded their eyes and smiled, or else stifled a yawn, raising dove-grey gloves to their blue, phthisic lips. Viriconium, with all her narcissistic intimacies and equivocal invitations welcomed him again. He had hated that city, yet now it was his past and it was he had to regret...The second of these visions was of the Rue Sepile. It was dawn, in summer. Horse-chestnut flowers bobbed like white wax candles above the deserted pavements. An oblique light struck into the street - so that its long and normally profitless perspective seemed to lead straight into the heart of a younger, more ingenuous city - and fell across the fronts of the houses where he had once lived, warming up the rotten brick and imparting to it a not unpleasant pinkish colour. Up at the second-floor casement window a boy was busy with the bright red geraniums arranged along the outer still in lumpen terra-cotta pots. He looked down at Hornwrack and smiled. Before Hornwrack could speak he drew down the lower casement and turned away. The glass which no separated them reflected the morning sunlight in a silent explosion; and Hornwrack, dazzled mistaking the light for the smile, suddenly imagined an incandescence which would melt all those old streets! Rue Sepile; the Avenue of Children; Margery Fry Court: all melted down! All the shabby dependencies of the Plaza of Unrealized Time! All slumped, sank into themselves, eroded away until nothing was left in his field of vision but an unbearable white sky above and the bright clustered points of the chestnut leaves below - and then only a depthless opacity, behind which he could detect the beat of his own blood, the vitreous humour of the eye. He imagined the old encrusted brick flowing, the glass cracking and melting from its frames even as they shrivelled awake, the sheds of paints flaring green and gold, the geraniums toppling in flames to nothing, not even white ash, under this weight of light! All had winked away like reflections in a jar of water glass, and only the medium remained, bright, viscid, vacant. He had a sense of the intolerable briefness of matter, its desperate signalling and touching, its fall; and simultaneously one of its unendurable durability He thought, Something lies behind all the realities of the universe and is replacing them here, something less solid and more permanent. Then the world stopped haunting him forever.
M. John Harrison (Viriconium (Viriconium #1-4))
In Mexico there is a cactus that even sometimes you would think God forgets. But no, my friends, this is not so. On a full moon in the desert every one hundred years He remembers and opens a single flower to bloom. And If you would be there and you see this beautiful cactus blossom painted silver by the moon and laughing up at the stars, this, Peekay, is heaven … This is the faith in God the cactus has.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (The Power of One, #1))
in Mexico there is a cactus that even sometimes you would think God forgets. But no, my friends, this is not so. On a full moon in the desert every one hundred years He remembers and opens a single flower to bloom. And If you would be there and you see this beautiful cactus blossom painted silver by the moon and laughing up at the stars, this, Peekay, is heaven … This is the faith in God the cactus has.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (SparkNotes Literature Guide))
I went on writing reviews for the newspaper, and critical articles crying out for a different approach to culture, as even the most inattentive reader could hardly fail to notice if he scratched the surface a little, critical articles crying out, indeed begging, for a return to the Greek and Latin greats, to the Troubadours, to the dolce stil nuovo and the classics of Spain, France and England, more culture! more culture! read Whitman and Pound and Eliot, read Neruda and Borges and Vallejo, read Victor Hugo, for God’s sake, and Tolstoy, and proudly I cried myself hoarse in the desert, but my vociferations and on occasions my howling could only be heard by those who were able to scratch the surface of my writings with the nails of their index fingers, and they were not many, but enough for me, and life went on and on and on, like a necklace of rice grains, on each grain of which a landscape had been painted, tiny grains and microscopic landscapes, and I knew that everyone was putting that necklace on and wearing it, but no one had the patience or the strength or the courage to take it off and look at it closely and decipher each landscape grain by grain, partly because to do so required the vision of a lynx or an eagle, and partly because the landscapes usually turned out to contain unpleasant surprises like coffins, makeshift cemeteries, ghost towns, the void and the horror, the smallness of being and its ridiculous will, people watching television, people going to football matches, boredom navigating the Chilean imagination like an enormous aircraft carrier. And that’s the truth. We were bored. We intellectuals. Because you can't read all day and all night. You can't write all day and all night. Splendid isolation has never been our style...
Roberto Bolaño (By Night in Chile)
The forest reveals what was in the seed. The hen reveals what was in the egg. The storm reveals what was in the clouds. The light reveals what was in the star. The perfume reveals what was in the flower. The honey reveals what was in the bee. The fruit reveals what was in the tree. The rose reveals what was in the thorn. The web reveals what was in the spider. The butterfly reveals what was in the caterpillar. The venom reveals what was in the serpent. The pearl reveals what was in the oyster. The diamond reveals what was in the rock. The flame reveals what was in the spark. The nest reveals what was in the bird. The roar reveals what was in the lion. The leaf reveals what was in the plant. The fire reveals what was in the wood. The droplet reveals what was in the ocean. The rainbow reveals what was in the storm. The ocean reveals what was in the shark. The desert reveals what was in the camel. The sky reveals what was in the eagle. The jungle reveals what was in the elephant. The team reveals what was in the coach. The flock reveals what was in the shepherd. The crew reveals what was in the captain. The army reveals what was in the general. The tower reveals what was in the architect. The sculpture reveals what was in the sculptor. The painting reveals what was in the painter. The symphony reveals what was in the composer. The sensation reveals what was in the body. The tongue reveals what was in the mind. The action reveals what was in the heart. The character reveals what was in the soul. Spring reveals what was in winter. Summer reveals what was in spring. Autumn reveals what was in summer. Summer reveals what was in spring. The past reveals what was in the beginning. The present reveals what was in the past. The future reveals what was in the present. The afterlife reveals what was in the future.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Slung on a stage over the gunwale of an old felucca, the Peri. A storm had just passed, rushing away toward the land in a great slope of clouds; already turning yellowish from the desert. The sea there is the color of Damascus plums; and how quiet. Sun was going down; not a beautiful sunset, more a gradual darkening of the air and that storm’s mountainside. The Peri had been damaged, we hove to alongside and hailed her master. No reply. Only the sailor—I never saw his face—one of your fellahin who abandon the land like a restless husband and then grumble for the rest of their term afloat. It’s the strongest marriage in the world. This one wore a kind of loincloth and a rag round his head for the sun which was almost gone. After we’d shouted in every dialect we had among us, he replied in Tuareg: ‘The master is gone, the crew is gone, I am here and I am painting the ship.’ It was true: he was painting the ship. She’d been damaged, not a load line in sight, and a bad list. ‘Come aboard,’ we told him, ‘night is nearly on us and you cannot swim to land.’ He never answered, merely continued dipping the brush in his earthen jar and slapping it smoothly on the Peri’s creaking sides. What color? It looked gray but the air was dark. This felucca would never again see the sun. Finally I told the helmsman to swing our ship round and continue on course. I watched the fellah until it was too dark: becoming smaller, inching closer to the sea with every swell but never slackening his pace. A peasant with all his uptorn roots showing, alone on the sea at nightfall, painting the side of a sinking ship.
Thomas Pynchon (V.)
That spring everyone in Judy Chicago’s class collaborated on a 24 hour performance called Route 126. The curator Moira Roth recalls: “the group created a sequence of events throughout the day along the highway. The day began with Suzanne Lacy’s Car Renovation in which the group decorated an abandoned car…and ended with the women standing on a beach watching Nancy Youdelman, wrapped in yards of gossamer silk, slowly wade out to sea until she drowned, apparently…” There’s a fabulous photo taken by Faith Wilding of the car—a Kotex-pink jalopy washed up on desert rocks. The trunk’s flung open and underneath it’s painted cuntblood red. Strands of desert grass spill from the crumpled hood like Rapunzel’s fucked-up hair. According to Performance Anthology—Source Book For A Decade Of California Art, this remarkable event received no critical coverage at the time though contemporaneous work by Baldessari, Burden, Terry Fox boasts bibliographies several pages long. Dear Dick, I’m wondering why every act that narrated female lived experience in the ’70s has been read only as “collaborative” and “feminist.” The Zurich Dadaists worked together too but they were geniuses and they had names.
Chris Kraus (I Love Dick)
The conversation swings from the brothers Bush to the war in Iraq to the emerging rights of Muslim women to postfeminism to current cinema—Mexican, American, European (Giorgio goes spasmodically mad over Bu-ñuel), and back to Mexican again—to the relative superiority of shrimp over any other kind of taco to the excellence of Ana’s paella, to Ana’s childhood, then to Jimena’s, to the changing role of motherhood in a postindustrial world, to sculpture, then painting, then poetry, then baseball, then Jimena’s inexplicable (to Pablo) fondness for American football (she’s a Dallas Cowboys fan) over real (to Pablo) fútbol, to his admittedly adolescent passion for the game, to the trials of adolescence itself and revelations over the loss of virginity and why we refer to it as a loss and now Óscar and Tomás, arms over each other’s shoulders, are chanting poetry and then Giorgio picks up a guitar and starts to play and this is the Juárez that Pablo loves, this is the city of his soul—the poetry, the passionate discussions (Ana makes her counterpoints jabbing her cigarette like a foil; Jimena’s words flow like a gentle wave across beach sand, washing away the words before; Giorgio trills a jazz saxophone while Pablo plays bass—they are a jazz combo of argument), the ideas flowing with the wine and beer, the lilting music in a black night, this is the gentle heartbeat of the Mexico that he adores, the laughter, the subtle perfume of desert flowers that grow in alleys alongside garbage, and now everyone is singing— México, está muy contento, Dando gracias a millares… —and this is his life—this is his city, these are his friends, his beloved friends, these people, and if this is all that there is or will be, it is enough for him, his world, his life, his city, his people, his sad beautiful Juárez… —empezaré de Durango, Torreón y Ciudad de
Don Winslow (The Cartel (Power of the Dog #2))
Mahomet now proceeded to execute the great object of his religious aspirations, the purifying of the sacred edifice from the symbols of idolatry, with which it was crowded. All the idols in and about it, to the number of three hundred and sixty, were thrown down and de-stroyed. Among these, the most renowned was Hobal, an idol brought from Balka, in Syria, and fabled to have the power of granting rain. It was, of course, a great object of worship among the inhabitants of the thirsty desert. There were statues of Abraham and Ishmael also, represented with divining arrows in their hands ; "an outrage on their memories," said Mahomet, "being symbols of a diabolical art which they had never prac-ticed." In reverence of their memories, therefore, these statues were demolished. There were paintings, also, depicting angels in the guise of beautiful women. " The angels," said Mahomet, indignantly, " are no such beings. There are celestial houris provided in paradise for the solace of true believers ; but angels are ministering spirits of the Most High, and of too pure a nature to admit of sex." The paintings were accordingly obliterated. Even a dove, curiously carved of wood, he broke with his own hands, and cast upon the ground, as savoring of idolatry.
Washington Irving (Life of Mohammed)
Far from birds, from flocks and village girls, What did I drink, on my knees in the heather Surrounded by a sweet wood of hazel trees, In the warm and green mist of the afternoon? What could I drink from that young Oise, − Voiceless elms, flowerless grass, an overcast sky! − Drinking from these yellow gourds, far from the hut I loved? Some golden spirit that made me sweat. I would have made a dubious sign for an inn. − A storm came to chase the sky away. In the evening Water from the woods sank into the virgin sand, And God’s wind threw ice across the ponds. Weeping, I saw gold − but could not drink. − ——— At four in the morning, in the summer, The sleep of love still continues. Beneath the trees the wind disperses The smells of the evening feast. Over there, in their vast wood yard, Under the sun of the Hesperidins, Already hard at work − in shirtsleeves − Are the Carpenters. In their Deserts of moss, quietly, They raise precious panelling Where the city Will paint fake skies. O for these Workers, charming Subjects of a Babylonian king, Venus! Leave for a moment the Lovers Whose souls are crowned with wreaths. O Queen of Shepherds, Carry the water of life to these labourers, So their strength may be appeased As they wait to bathe in the noon-day sea.
Arthur Rimbaud (A Season in Hell)
And they were married with the sun shining on them through the painted figure of Our Saviour on the window. And they went into the very room where Little Dorrit had slumbered after her party, to sign the Marriage Register. And there, Mr Pancks, (destined to be chief clerk to Doyce and Clennam, and afterwards partner in the house), sinking the Incendiary in the peaceful friend, looked in at the door to see it done, with Flora gallantly supported on one arm and Maggy on the other, and a back-ground of John Chivery and father and other turnkeys who had run round for the moment, deserting the parent Marshalsea for its happy child. Nor had Flora the least signs
Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit)
some high land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries — stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest, shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
For the great eras in the history of the development of all the arts have been eras not of increased feeling or enthusiasm in feeling for art, but of new technical improvements primarily and specially. The discovery of marble quarries in the purple ravines of Pentelicus and on the little low-lying hills of the island of Paros gave to the Greeks the opportunity for that intensified vitality of action, that more sensuous and simple humanism, to which the Egyptian sculptor working laboriously in the hard porphyry and rose-coloured granite of the desert could not attain. The splendour of the Venetian school began with the introduction of the new oil medium for painting. The progress in modern music has been due to the invention of new instruments entirely, and in no way to an increased consciousness on the part of the musician of any wider social aim.
Oscar Wilde (The English Renaissance of Art)
Mom stood fifteen feet away. She had tied rags around her shoulders to keep out the spring chill and was picking through the trash while her dog, a black-and-white terrier mix, played at her feet. Mom’s gestures were all familiar - the way she tilted her head and thrust out her lower lip when studying items of potential value that she’d hoisted out of the Dumpster, the way her eyes widened with childish glee when she found something she liked. Her long hair was streaked with gray, tangled and matted, and her eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, but still she reminded me of the mom she’d been when I was a kid, swan-diving off cliffs and painting in the desert and reading Shakespeare aloud. Her cheekbones were still high and strong, but the skin was parched and ruddy from all those winters and summers exposed to the elements. To the people walking by, she probably looked like any of the thousands of homeless people in New York City
Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)
She rubbed the skin off your headstone of a sternum and painted a sad picture of herself in your eyes. We fell in love with that little peep-show projection on the inside of an iris, pictures that amount to nothing more than the thirsty moon over a spot of bloody ground. Those weren’t the nothings we restless sleepwalkers knew, no place no home no song. So we heard her and we followed until she went where we couldn't follow. She went down beyond the mountains and disappeared between the crease of sky and land, like a great eyelid folding shut. No one knows what happened out in the Black Hills, but I imagine she lies buried in a rusty coffin under the stars. And on nights when the desert crickets sing her tune, they say one day she will rise again. On that day, there is no telling the kind of vengeance she'll demand of us. Fair is fair. They say when she fell from Heaven she wore a crown of jagged stars that slit the skies throat. They say she loved them all, in the secret corners of their shallow sleep. Strangers, at the last. They say a lot of things. They’re all lies. Everything is already written.
James Curcio (Party at the World’s End)
per hour. Handbrake knew that he could keep up with the best of them. Ambassadors might look old-fashioned and slow, but the latest models had Japanese engines. But he soon learned to keep it under seventy. Time and again, as his competitors raced up behind him and made their impatience known by the use of their horns and flashing high beams, he grudgingly gave way, pulling into the slow lane among the trucks, tractors and bullock carts. Soon, the lush mustard and sugarcane fields of Haryana gave way to the scrub and desert of Rajasthan. Four hours later, they reached the rocky hills surrounding the Pink City, passing in the shadow of the Amber Fort with its soaring ramparts and towering gatehouse. The road led past the Jal Mahal palace, beached on a sandy lake bed, into Jaipur’s ancient quarter. It was almost noon and the bazaars along the city’s crenellated walls were stirring into life. Beneath faded, dusty awnings, cobblers crouched, sewing sequins and gold thread onto leather slippers with curled-up toes. Spice merchants sat surrounded by heaps of lal mirch, haldi and ground jeera, their colours as clean and sharp as new watercolor paints. Sweets sellers lit the gas under blackened woks of oil and prepared sticky jalebis. Lassi vendors chipped away at great blocks of ice delivered by camel cart. In front of a few of the shops, small boys, who by law should have been at school, swept the pavements, sprinkling them with water to keep down the dust. One dragged a doormat into the road where the wheels of passing vehicles ran over it, doing the job of carpet beaters. Handbrake honked his way through the light traffic as they neared the Ajmeri Gate, watching the faces that passed by his window: skinny bicycle rickshaw drivers, straining against the weight of fat aunties; wild-eyed Rajasthani men with long handlebar moustaches and sun-baked faces almost as bright as their turbans; sinewy peasant women wearing gold nose rings and red glass bangles on their arms; a couple of pink-faced goras straining under their backpacks; a naked sadhu, his body half covered in ash like a caveman. Handbrake turned into the old British Civil Lines, where the roads were wide and straight and the houses and gardens were set well apart. Ajay Kasliwal’s residence was number
Tarquin Hall (The Case of the Missing Servant (Vish Puri, #1))
At this point, the sequence of my memories is disrupted. I sank into a chaos of brief, incoherent and bizarre hallucinations, in which the grotesque and the horrible kept close company. Prostrate, as if I were being garrotted by invisible cords, I floundered in anguish and dread, oppressively ridden by the most unbridled nightmares. A whole series of monsters and avatars swarmed in the shadows, coming to life amid draughts of sulphur and phosphorus like an animated fresco painted on the moving wall of sleep. There followed a turbulent race through space. I soared, grasped by the hair by an invisible hand of will: an icy and powerful hand, in which I felt the hardness of precious stones, and which I sensed to be the hand of Ethal. Dizziness was piled upon dizziness in that flight to the abyss, under skies the colour of camphor and salt, skies whose nocturnal brilliance had a terrible limpidity. I was spun around and around, in bewildering confusion, above deserts and rivers. Great expanses of sand stretched into the distance, mottled here and there by monumental shadows. At times we would pass over cities: sleeping cities with obelisks and cupolas shining milk-white in the moonlight, between metallic palm-trees. In the extreme distance, amid bamboos and flowering mangroves, luminous millennial pagodas descended towards the water on stepped terraces.
Jean Lorrain (Monsieur De Phocas)
And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name" You can’t say it that way any more. Bothered about beauty you have to Come out into the open, into a clearing, And rest. Certainly whatever funny happens to you Is OK. To demand more than this would be strange Of you, you who have so many lovers, People who look up to you and are willing To do things for you, but you think It’s not right, that if they really knew you . . . So much for self-analysis. Now, About what to put in your poem-painting: Flowers are always nice, particularly delphinium. Names of boys you once knew and their sleds, Skyrockets are good—do they still exist? There are a lot of other things of the same quality As those I’ve mentioned. Now one must Find a few important words, and a lot of low-keyed, Dull-sounding ones. She approached me About buying her desk. Suddenly the street was Bananas and the clangor of Japanese instruments. Humdrum testaments were scattered around. His head Locked into mine. We were a seesaw. Something Ought to be written about how this affects You when you write poetry: The extreme austerity of an almost empty mind Colliding with the lush, Rousseau-like foliage of its desire to communicate Something between breaths, if only for the sake Of others and their desire to understand you and desert you For other centers of communication, so that understanding May begin, and in doing so be undone.
John Ashbery (Houseboat Days)
Not long after I'd first met Doc, we were sitting on our rock on the hill behind the rose garden and I had asked him why I was a sinner and what I had done to be condemned to eternal hell fire unless I was born again. He sat for a long time looking over the valley, and then he said, :Peekay, God is too busy making the sun come up and go down and watching so the moon floats just right in the sky to be concerned with such rubbish. Only man ants always God should be there to condemn this on and save that one. Always it is man who wants to make heaven and hell. God is too busy training the bees to make honey and every morning opening up all the new flowers for business."He paused and smiled "In Mexico there is a cactus that even sometimes you would think God forgets. But no, my friend, this is not so. On a full moon in the desert every one hundred years he remembers and he opens up a single flower to bloom. And if you should be there and you see this beautiful cactus blossom painted silver by the moon and laughing up at the stars, this, Peekay, is heaven.: He looked at me, his deep blue eyes sharp and penetrating. "This is the faith in God the cactus has". We had sat for a while before he spoke again. "it is better just to get on with the business living and minding your own business and maybe, if God likes the way you do things, he may just let you flower for a day or a night. But don't go pestering and begging and telling him all your stupid little sins, that way you will spoil his day. Absoloodle.
Bruce Courtenay
Twelve years ago I left Boston and New York, and moved east and west at the same time. East, to a little village in Devon, England, a town I’ve been familiar with for years, since my friends Brian and Wendy Froud and Alan Lee all live there. It had long been my dream to live in England, so I finally bought a little old cottage over there. But I decided, both for visa and health reasons, living there half the year would be better than trying to cope with cold, wet Dartmoor winters. At that point, Beth Meacham had moved out to Arizona, and I discovered how wonderful the Southwest is, particularly in the wintertime. Now I spend every winter-spring in Tucson and every summer-autumn in England. Both places strongly affect my writing and my painting. They’re very opposite landscapes, and each has a very different mythic history. In Tucson, the population is a mix of Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Euro-Americans of various immigrant backgrounds — so the folklore of the place is a mix of all those things, as well as the music and the architecture. The desert has its own colors, light, and rhythms. In Devon, by contrast, it’s all Celtic and green and leafy, and the color palette of the place comes straight out of old English paintings — which is more familiar to me, growing up loving the Pre-Raphaelites and England’s ‘Golden Age’ illustrators. I’ve learned to love an entirely different palette in Arizona, where the starkness of the desert is offset by the brilliance of the light, the cactus in bloom, and the wild colors of Mexican decor.
Terri Windling
The Sailor-boy’s Gossip You say, dear mamma, it is good to be talking With those who will kindly endeavour to teach. And I think I have learnt something while I was walking Along with the sailor-boy down on the beach. He told me of lands where he soon will be going, Where humming-birds scarcely are bigger than bees, Where the mace and the nutmeg together are growing, And cinnamon formeth the bark of some trees. He told me that islands far out in the ocean Are mountains of coral that insects have made, And I freely confess I had hardly a notion That insects could world in the way that he said. He spoke of wide deserts where the sand-clouds are flying. No shade for the brow, and no grass for the feet; Where camels and travelers often lie dying, Gasping for water and scorching with heat. He told me of places away in the East, Where topaz, and ruby, and sapphires are found: Where you never are safe from the snake and the beast, For the serpent and tiger and jackal abound. I thought our own Thames was a very great stream, With its waters so fresh and its currents so strong; But how tiny our largest of rivers must seem To those he had sailed on, three thousand miles long. He speaks, dear mamma, of so many strange places, With people who neither have cities nor kings. Who wear skins on their shoulders, paint on their faces, And live on the spoils which their hunting-field brings. Oh! I long, dear mamma, to learn more of these stories, From books that are written to please and to teach, And I wish I could see half the curious glories The sailor-boy told me of down on the beach. Eliza Cook.
Charlotte M. Mason (Elementary Geography: Full Illustrations & Study Guides!)
Many people approach Tolstoy with mixed feelings. They love the artist in him and are intensely bored by the preacher; but at the same time it is rather difficult to separate Tolstoy the preacher from Tolstoy the artist—it is the same deep slow voice, the same robust shoulder pushing up a cloud of visions or a load of ideas. What one would like to do, would be to kick the glorified soapbox from under his sandalled feet and then lock him up in a stone house on a desert island with gallons of ink and reams of paper—far away from the things, ethical and pedagogical, that diverted his attention from observing the way the dark hair curled above Anna's white neck. But the thing cannot be done : Tolstoy is homogeneous, is one, and the struggle which, especially in the later years, went on between the man who gloated over the beauty of black earth, white flesh, blue snow, green fields, purple thunderclouds, and the man who maintained that fiction is sinful and art immoral—this struggle was still confined within the same man. Whether painting or preaching, Tolstoy was striving, in spite of all obstacles, to get at the truth. As the author of Anna Karenin, he used one method of discovering truth; in his sermons, he used another; but somehow, no matter how subtle his art was and no matter how dull some of his other attitudes were, truth which he was ponderously groping for or magically finding just around the corner, was always the same truth — this truth was he and this he was an art. What troubles one, is merely that he did not always recognize his own self when confronted with truth. I like the story of his picking up a book one dreary day in his old age, many years after he had stopped writing novels, and starting to read in the middle, and getting interested and very much pleased, and then looking at the title—and seeing: Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy. What obsessed Tolstoy, what obscured his genius, what now distresses the good reader, was that, somehow, the process of seeking the Truth seemed more important to him than the easy, vivid, brilliant discovery of the illusion of truth through the medium of his artistic genius. Old Russian Truth was never a comfortable companion; it had a violent temper and a heavy tread. It was not simply truth, not merely everyday pravda but immortal istina—not truth but the inner light of truth. When Tolstoy did happen to find it in himself, in the splendor of his creative imagination, then, almost unconsciously, he was on the right path. What does his tussle with the ruling Greek-Catholic Church matter, what importance do his ethical opinions have, in the light of this or that imaginative passage in any of his novels? Essential truth, istina, is one of the few words in the Russian language that cannot be rhymed. It has no verbal mate, no verbal associations, it stands alone and aloof, with only a vague suggestion of the root "to stand" in the dark brilliancy of its immemorial rock. Most Russian writers have been tremendously interested in Truth's exact whereabouts and essential properties. To Pushkin it was of marble under a noble sun ; Dostoevski, a much inferior artist, saw it as a thing of blood and tears and hysterical and topical politics and sweat; and Chekhov kept a quizzical eye upon it, while seemingly engrossed in the hazy scenery all around. Tolstoy marched straight at it, head bent and fists clenched, and found the place where the cross had once stood, or found—the image of his own self.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lectures on Russian Literature)
I shall meditate upon normality. I shall meditate upon my little son. He does not walk. He does not speak a word. He is still swaddled in white bands. But he is pink and perfect. He smiles so frequently. I have papered his room with big roses, I have painted little hearts on everything. I do not will him to be exceptional. It is the exception that interests the devil. It is the exception that climbs the sorrowful hill Or sits in the desert and hurts his mother’s heart. I will him to be common, To love me as I love him, And to marry what he wants and where he will.
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
Scarce had the rubicund Apollo spread o’er the face of the broad spacious earth the golden threads of his bright hair, scarce had the little birds of painted plumage attuned their notes to hail with dulcet and mellifluous harmony the coming of the rosy Dawn, that, deserting the soft couch of her jealous spouse, was appearing to mortals at the gates and balconies of the Manchegan horizon, when the renowned knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, quitting the lazy down, mounted his celebrated steed Rocinante and began to traverse the ancient and famous Campo de Montiel;
Book House (100 Books You Must Read Before You Die - volume 1 [newly updated] [Pride and Prejudice; Jane Eyre; Wuthering Heights; Tarzan of the Apes; The Count of ... (The Greatest Writers of All Time))
SOUVENIR I would like to take something with me but even one chair is too awkward too heavy peeling paint falls off in a suitcase hinge sounds betray a theft cheeses won’t keep the clothespin without its surroundings would be mediocre the big thunder rolled elsewhere the umbrella is for sale but in a desert what you want is a soaking the do not disturb sign is tattered I have many times taken some café’s small packets of sugar so that in Turkey I might sweeten my coffee with China, and in Italy remember a Lithuanian pastry but where is the coffee hands left and right useless knees clattery heart finally calm as some hero at the end of a movie squinting silently into the sun you can’t hold an umbrella there anyhow and what would he hang from the clothespin
Jane Hirshfield (The Beauty: Poems)
Stupendous carnage was painted on the canvas, A depiction of repulsion was executed around the structure. It revealed its dark emblem by painting its sinister Red. Three intertwined bloated eyes are encrusted together, awfully deformed - the horrendous stench of decay can be smelt from it, for it exudes a sulfurous aroma of rotting animals. A torn torso of a butchered rabbit laid on the eye sockets, with all its arms, legs, and head severed off. A sludge-like, bubbling, dripping fluid oozed from the abnormally large eyes, leaving the ground deserted to rust and becoming the midst of a terrible famine. Blood Gushes from the slashes of each hideous eye, gouging out gore from the torn skin, spluttering and erupting gasping cries as it struggles in its own twisted misery of giving birth, as it was preparing to give shape-shifting life to a black-glass body, horn-like entity, unlike any childbirth you have ever witnessed. Satanic was this creature, whose muscle mass was disintegrated. All of his blood was squeezed out, forlorn and cold to the touch. The thorns on his head were intertwined into horns. A serpent's nose and wolf-like fangs were all this child had, as he had no gift of sight or hearing, he had only the smell of terror as his power.
D.L. Lewis
they pushed back from the table and Thomas joined Gamache, who was looking at the other paintings in the room. “That’s a Brigite Normandin, isn’t it?” Thomas asked. “It is. Fantastic. Very bold, very modern. Compliments the Molinari and the Riopelle. And yet they all work with the traditional Krieghoff.” “You know your art,” said Thomas, slightly surprised. “I love Quebec history,” said Gamache, nodding to the old scene. “But that doesn’t explain the others, does it?” “Are you testing me, monsieur?” Gamache decided to push a little. “Perhaps,” Thomas admitted. “It’s rare to find an autodidact.” “In captivity, anyway,” said Gamache and Thomas laughed. The painting they were staring at was muted, with lines of delicately shaded beiges. “Feels like a desert,” said Gamache. “Desolate.” “Ah, but that’s a misconception,” said Thomas. “Here he goes,” said Marianna. “Not that plant story,” said Julia, turning to Sandra. “Is he still telling that?” “Once a day, like Old Faithful. Stand back.” “Well, time for bed,” said Madame Finney. Her husband unfolded himself from the sofa and the elderly couple left. “Things aren’t as they seem,” said Thomas, and Gamache looked at him, surprised. “In the desert, I mean. It looks desolate but it’s actually teeming with life. You just don’t see it. It hides, for fear of being eaten. There’s one plant in the South African desert called a stone plant. Can you guess how it survives?” “Let’s
Louise Penny (A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4))
I could retire,” he said, as though to himself. “That would be good. I could retire, and the wife and I could move to a desert island, and—” “Doc?
Amy Lane (Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain, #2))
I have painted for you a picture of Israel’s disappointment. They had had a glorious victory. No doubt they felt that all their problems had been settled once and for all. Then they went three days in the desert without finding water; they were thirsty, hot, weary, discouraged. They saw this pool of water gleaming there in the sun, but when they ran to it and stooped to drink, it was too bitter for them to drink! It was a terrible, bitter disappointment. The people were unprepared, you see. They assumed that everything was going to be easy from then on, there would be no more tests of their faith. But God was not unprepared; God knew what to do; He had the answer. The people grumbled and got nothing; Moses prayed and God showed Him the answer. God had that tree ready; He knew what had to be done, but it was only through prayer that Moses could find the solution.
Derek Prince (Life's Bitter Pool)
desert kingdom. Given a less fraught time, Dragon decided, he would have loved to bring his easel in here and set up for a long, satisfying session of painting. The fluted arches, delicate frescoes and screens, and gold-leaf decorated treasure chests certainly created a most royal space. As Azania spoke, he returned his attention to her. “Brother, I wish to congratulate you upon your ascension to the throne of T’nagru, despite the grief and difficulty our kingdom faces at this time.” He inclined his head, weighted down with the great crown – it looked terribly uncomfortable, Dragon decided. A statement regarding the weighty nature of leadership. Everyone knew that this Skartun siege had only been a precursor to a much greater invasion later in the season. One Jabiz out of thirty had tested their mettle, and breached the outer gates of the citadel with a monstrous Bloodworm which still lay on the sand outside the gates. Did flesh rot in such a waterless desert climate? Or would it simply shrivel? Unexpected thirst tickled his gravelly throat. He coughed aside, the sound echoing loudly despite the large crowd gathered for the King’s coronation event. The Princess said, “I am sorry that I cannot make the formal genuflections, but my
Marc Secchia (I am Dragon (Dragon Fires Rising #2))
His words explained, but they did not convince. Was this sudden-bursting glory only the sun rising behind storm clouds? She could see the clouds moving while they were being colored. The universal gray surrendered under some magic paint brush. The rifts widened, and the gloom of the pale-gray world seemed to vanish. Beyond the billowy, rolling, creamy edges of clouds, white and pink, shone the soft exquisite fresh blue sky. And a blaze of fire, a burst of molten gold, sheered up from behind the rim of cloud and suddenly poured a sea of sunlight from east to west. It trans-figured the round foothills. They seemed bathed in ethereal light, and the silver mists that overhung them faded while Carley gazed, and a rosy flush crowned the symmetrical domes. Southward along the horizon line, down-dropping veils of rain, just touched with the sunrise tint, streamed in drifting slow movement from cloud to earth. To the north the range of foothills lifted toward the majestic dome of Sunset Peak, a volcanic upheaval of red and purple cinders, bare as rock, round as the lower hills, and wonderful in its color. Full in the blaze of the rising sun it flaunted an unchangeable front. Carley understood now what had been told her about this peak. Volcanic fires had thrown up a colossal mound of cinders burned forever to the hues of the setting sun. In every light and shade of day it held true to its name. Farther north rose the bold bulk of the San Francisco Peaks, that, half lost in the clouds, still dominated the desert scene. Then as Carley gazed the rifts began to close. Another transformation began, the reverse of what she watched. The golden radiance of sunrise vanished, and under a gray, lowering) coalescing pall of cloud the round hills returned to their bleak somberness, and the green desert took again its cold sheen.
Zane Grey (The Call Of The Canyon)
Look here, he says, what's the matter with you fellows? let's get cracking with this dump. Your road is bad; pave it. Better yet, build a paved road to every corner of the park; better yet, pave the whole damned place so any damn fool can drive anything anywhere is this a democracy or ain't it? Next, charge a good stiff admission fee; you can't let people in free; that leads socialism and regimentation. Next, get rid of all these homely rangers in their Smokey the Bear suits. Hire a crew of pretty girls, call them rangerettes, let them sell the tickets and give the campfire talks. And advertise, for godsake, advertise! How do you expect to get people in here if you don't advertise? Next, these here Arches light them up. Floodlight them, turn on colored, revolving lights -jazz it up, man, it's dead. Light up the whole place, all night long, get on a 24-hour shift, keep them coming, keep them moving, you got two hundred million people out there waiting to see your product-is this a free country or what the hell is it? Next your campgrounds, you gotta do something about your camp grounds, they're a mess. People can't tell where to park their cars or which spot is whose-you gotta paint lines, numbers, mark out the campsites nice and neat. And they're still building fires on the ground, with wood! Very messy, filthy, wasteful. Set up little grills on stilts, sell charcoal briquettes, better yet hook up with the gas line, install jets and burners. Better yet do away with the camp. grounds altogether, they only cause delay and congestion and administrative problems-these people want to see America, they're not going to see it sitting around a goddamned campfire; take their money, give them the show, send them on their way-that's the way to run a business....
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness)
The colored sunsets and starry heavens, the beautiful mountains and the shining seas, the fragrant woods and painted flowers, are not half so beautiful as a soul that is serving Jesus out of love, in the wear and tear of common, unpoetic life. FABER
Lettie B. Cowman (Contemporary Classic/Streams in the Desert)
Devotional images require devotion: that is the bottom line. Without the patience to live with such a painting, it remains silent. And what is art history in this respect, if not a typically impatient academic pursuit? Its practitioners are constantly fluttering from one image to the next, anxious for intellectual nourishment. The flood of tears that swept over central and western European painting in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries will probably always be a desert for people who move too fast. These are slow paintings, suffused with dull, slow-acting passions.
Elkins James
The route led through the enchanted chaos of the Arizona deserts, a country mostly of naked rock in mesas, peaks, and gashed canyons, painted tremendous colors with brushes of comet’s hair. Frequently it was a giant-cactus country — saguaro by designers of modern decoration, cholla by medieval torturers — or a country of yuccas and the yucca’s weirdest form, the Joshua tree. Sometimes it was even a grass country. And through most of the route it was a country where occasionally you could find the characteristic oasis of the Southwest, a little, hidden arroyo with something of a stream in it, choked with cottonwoods, green plants blooming only a rifle shot from desolation.
Bernard DeVoto (The Year Of Decision, 1846)
A man so various, that he seem'd to be Not one, but all Mankinds Epitome. Stiff in Opinions, always in the wrong; Was every thing by starts, and nothing long: But, in the course of one revolving Moon, Was Chymist, Fidler, States-Man, and Buffoon: Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking; Besides ten thousand freaks that dy'd in thinking. Blest Madman, who coud every hour employ, With something New to wish, or to enjoy! Rayling and praising were his usual Theams; And both (to shew his Judgment) in Extreams: So over Violent, or over Civil, That every man, with him, was God or Devil. In squandring Wealth was his peculiar Art: Nothing went unrewarded, but Desert. Begger'd by Fools, whom still he found too late: He had his Jest, and they had his Estate.
John Dryden (Absalom and Achitophel)
THE DANNY DUNN SERIES Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint Danny Dunn on a Desert Island Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine Danny Dunn and the Weather Machine Danny Dunn on the Ocean Floor Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray Danny Dunn, Time Traveler Danny Dunn and the Automatic House Danny Dunn and the Voice from Space Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine Danny Dunn and the Swamp Monster Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy Danny Dunn Scientific Detective Danny Dunn and the Universal Glue
Jay Williams (Danny Dunn on a Desert Island)
Mountains fall. Deserts bloom. Oceans turn to sand.
Amy Lane (Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain, #2))
profile: fifteen Toyota Tacomas, painted desert tan, each one of them with a Russian-made belt-fed machine gun bolted to the truck bed.
Jeff Kirkham (Black Autumn (Black Autumn, #1))
She slid into the warm, scented water, wryly accepting Zulema's assistance and bending her head obediently as her hair was carefully wetted and then shampooed. Cocooned in towels, she emerged again and sat down to have her hair combed out and her nails painted. Why all the fuss? She wondered. 'You look tired, sitt. Lie down and rest for a while,' Zulema urged. 'The party will last for hours.' Party? So someone was throwing a party. Her curiosity satisfied, Bethany smiled and lay down. She could hear a helicopter.
Lynn Graham (The Desert Bride)
You put your dreams on hold all those years thinking there's a white line painted down the middle of every road. Sometimes there's no road at all.
Germaine Shames, from her novel Between Two Deserts
Thrill to the names—El Dorado, Searchlight, Medicine Bow, Mesa Verde, Tombstone, Durango, Hole in the Wall, Lost Trail Pass, Nez Perce National Forest. Active names, implying that something consequential is going on: the Wind River Range, the Magic Valley, the River of No Return, the Painted Desert, Wolf Point, Paradise, Death Valley, the Crazy Mountains.
Timothy Egan (Lasso the Wind: Away to the New West)
Every tale begins with the words ‘This is how it was.’ This story begins differently—with the words ‘This is what will be.’ This is what will be, then. There will be born a man, luckier and stronger than you, Armagirgin, though his name will be different. He will best the stoutest and fattest creatures of the sea, catch the fastest on land, and with his bare, mighty hands will be able to strangle wolves and bears. Far and wide, people will praise him and even make up tales and legends of his doings. “But it will not be enough for him that people can see his glad face when he is in front of them; he will wish to be present always, in each and every yaranga. Skilled carvers will cut his likeness from walrus tusk, and his image will be painted onto white hides and hung from high poles. He will wish, too, that his very smell be present in every yaranga, and will order people to sniff him whenever they meet him, and will fill yarangas with his scent. “But this will also not be enough. He will be clothed in the newest and best garments, but these will not do for him, and so the most accomplished embroiderers will decorate his clothes, and he will shine like the sun’s twin…. Yes, and they shall liken him to the very sun, too, but even this will not be enough for him. He will desire that real stars be brought to hang from his clothes, and will send people to gather them, and these people will perish on their journeys. And he shall be left all alone then, and the shore will be wild and deserted, just as it was when I first came here, young …” Nau’s tale was finished, and she fell silent. Everyone else was silent, too, for there was much that was baffling in the old woman’s words.
Yuri Rytkheu (When the Whales Leave)
Do You Like Animals? is a wild animal menagerie of fun as children view pictures and read stories about elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, hippos, zebras, giraffes, camels, kangaroos, penguins, and much more. The book helps children meet the animals up close and learn fun facts about how they live in the wild. The author/illustrator viewed the animals in the jungles, bush, and deserts of Africa, Australia, and South America before writing about them and painting them in forms that would be enjoyable and educational for children. For example, children will learn why elephants have trunks, why giraffes and leopards have spots, whether zebras’ stripes are black-on-white or white-on-black, how long hippos can hold their breath, the amazing characteristics of howler monkeys’ tails, why some kangaroos have a pouch, whether ostriches really bury their heads in the sand, the types of camels that have either one or two humps… Through stories that rhyme and pictures painted with punch this book is a must for children who like to have fun while they learn!
M.S. Gatto (Do You Like Wild Animals?)
Far away in another realm where pianos ought to be played and little boys should dance, they stood, the two like painted cutout figures against the swimming light of the room, merely gazing at me, he the little desert rogue with his fancy black cigarette, puffing away and smacking his lips and raising his eyebrows, and she merely floating it seemed, resolute and thoughtful as before, unshocked, untouched perhaps.
Anne Rice (The Vampire Armand (Anne Rice's The Vampire Lestat #7))
beware, white man, of the friendly forest, of the painted desert, beware of the singing water lest you find your mother and she pounce and devour you
Jaime de Angulo (Home Among the Swinging Stars: Collected Poems of Jaime de Angulo)
The Bedouin were keeping me alive for a reason. I was useful, you see. someone there had assumed I had a skill when my plane crashed in the desert. I am a man who can recognized an unnamed town by its skeletal shape on a map. I have always had information like a sea in me. I am a person who if left alone in someone´s home walks to the bookcase, pulls down a volume and inhales it. So history enters us. I knew maps of the sea floor, maps that depict weaknesses in the shield of the earth, charts painted on skin that contain the various routes of the Crusades
Michael Ondaatje
I quickly texted Granny and told her to call around and find out the buzz on the recruiting. She texted back that she would get on it after she and Dwayne finished a round of paintball. She promised to have some info at lunch. I hoped to hell they’d at least gone out to the deserted beach to shoot each other with paint, but my expectation was that they were attacking each other in broad daylight in the quaint confines of her neighborhood. So much for no arrests… The
Robyn Peterman (Ready to Were (Shift Happens, #1))
But like a pointillist painting, the true nature of this solar monument was clear only from a distance: the colosal horse-drawn chariot sitting like a mirage in the middle of the forlorn desert, still undisturbed and untouched by solar totality since the Mogul Empire.
Bob Berman
That's what happened when the desert woodrats swallowed microbes that allowed them to detoxify the poisons in creosote bushes. It's what happens when the Japanese bean bug engulfs soil microbes that destroy insecticides, rendering it instantly immune to the rain of toxins being sprayed by farmers. And it's what aphids do all the time. Besides Hamiltonella, they have at least eight different secondary symbionts. Some protect against deadly fungi. Others help their hosts to tolerate heatwaves. One allows aphids to eat specific plants, like clover. One paints the aphids, changing them from red to green. These abilities are important. Across the aphid family, the acquisition of new symbionts tends to coincide with invasions into new climates or shifts to new types of plant.
Ed Yong (I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life)
Im my native country I successfully avoided seeing the Grand Canyon; I avoided the Painted Desert, my nurse did not manage to drag me to Niagara. With all respect to Alexander von Humboldt, I will not get myself off this contraption to look at a tree however interesting.
Sybille Bedford
There are two aspects of music, Rojer,” Cholls said, “skill and talent. One is learned, the other is not.
Peter V. Brett (The Demon Cycle Books 1-3 and Novellas: The Painted Man, The Desert Spear, The Daylight War plus The Great Bazaar and Brayan’s Gold and Messenger’s Legacy)
If you don’t love somebody, it gets annoying when they tell you what to do or what to feel. When you love them you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve. I didn’t love God because I didn’t know God.
Donald Miller (Miller 3 in 1: Blue Like Jazz, Through Painted Deserts, Searching for God)
dominated by the needs of the damaged child, but I don’t mind. Like many foster carers, I’m driven by a powerful need to ease their pain. I remember myself as a child, walking by our local newsagents on the way to school. Outside the shop stood a little wooden figure of a beggar boy with polio, both legs fixed in metal callipers and a forlorn expression painted on his face. He held up a sign saying ‘Please give’ and there was a slot in the top of his head for pennies. Undeterred by the bird droppings across his shoulders, I would give him a quick hug, longing to take him home and make him better. My pulse quickens as we pass over a deserted bridge lined with old-fashioned street-lamps. After seven years of fostering I still feel an intense excitement when taking on a new child. It’s only been a few days since my last placement ended and already I’m itching to fill the void. As we drive past the riverside council blocks I’m reminded of one of my previous charges – three-year-old Connor, a boy who spent a large part of his day roaming the
Rosie Lewis (Helpless: A True Short Story)
The candor of Ann’s absolute nakedness, not caught in unselfconsciousness like a young nude in a romantic painting, but fully aware of her erotic power, roused in Evelyn an arrogance of body, a lust that burned through her nerves like the fire of the sun they both stood in. This was the freedom she wanted, an animal freedom exposed to the emptiness of sky and land and water.
Jane Rule (Desert of the Heart)
For a few moments he indulged his old joy in range and mountain, stretching, rising on his right, away into the purple distance. Something had heightened its beauty. How softly gray the rolling range land—how black the timbered slopes! The town before him sat like a hideous blotch on a fair landscape. It forced his gaze over and beyond toward the west, where the late afternoon sun had begun to mellow and redden, edging the clouds with exquisite light. To the southward lay Arizona, land of painted mesas and storied canyon walls, of thundering streams and wild pine forests, of purple-saged valleys and grassy parks, set like mosaics between the stark desert mountains.
Zane Grey (Valley of Wild Horses)
awake you glide upward through glimmering light your clothes fall like feathers from your shoulders with them the worries of day fade you are invited by mystic sounds in strange comforting tongues awake they call eyes open languid before you tiny creatures dance tickling greens and blues from the aura around you chef mischief their only game you smile warmth across your gaze again you float to new shores where you are clothed in the sirens song you relax deeper aphrodites nymphs send pleasure like golden knives into your chest you rise up stepping foot to sand walking to forest land tribal drumming moving with you the very beat of your own heart beaded threads drape you again in deep red the sound ringing in your ears move forth again childlike curiosity it leads you further across desert sands where the cherokee flute paints tiny circles in the palms of your hands the min mins call yet you cannot hear for what was you is no longer here again you float upward gravity pulls you back and forth until deep within a vibrating thunder sounds its clapping hands the fibers of your being all the tendrils of love come apart and dissipate you are dispersed across all these worlds unseen and unknown yet you will assemble again forget not the way you have grown pupps.
Pleasure Planet
want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently.
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
THE DEPOT at Nochecita had smooth stuccoed apricot walls, trimmed in a somehow luminous shade of gray—around the railhead and its freight sheds and electrical and machine shops, the town had grown, houses and businesses painted vermilion, sage, and fawn, and towering at the end of the main street, a giant sporting establishment whose turquoise and crimson electric lamps were kept lit all night and daytime, too, for the place never closed. There was an icehouse and a billiard parlor, a wine room, a lunch and eating counter, gambling saloons and taquerías. In the part of town across the tracks from all that, Estrella Briggs, whom everybody called Stray, was living upstairs in what had been once the domestic palace of a mine owner from the days of the first great ore strikes around here, now a dimly illicit refuge for secret lives, dark and in places unrepainted wood rearing against a sky which since this morning had been threatening storm. Walkways in from the street were covered with corrugated snow-shed roofing. The restaurant and bar on the ground-floor corner had been there since the boom times, offering two-bit all-you-can-eat specials, sawdust on the floor, heavy-duty crockery, smells of steaks, chops, venison chili, coffee and beer and so on worked into the wood of the wall paneling, old trestle tables, bar and barstools. At all hours the place’d be racketing with gambling-hall workers on their breaks, big-hearted winners and bad losers, detectives, drummers, adventuresses, pigeons, and sharpers. A sunken chamber almost like a natatorium at some hot-springs resort, so cool and dim that you forgot after a while about the desert waiting out there to resume for you soon as you stepped back into it. . . .
Thomas Pynchon (Against the Day)
There are some paintings in this room. Come see." The hallway was a mirror image of the one upstairs, following the length of the E, but this floor was more luxurious, with more golden wood on the walls. "Here," he said and pushed open a creaky door to reveal a room as lush and surprising in all the rot as a blooming bougainvillea in a desert. Time and ruin showed here, too, but even so, the colors were visible- patterns and embroidery and exuberant fabrics. Paintings of a dozen sizes crowded together on the walls, the frames thick with dust and strings of cobwebs, paintings of peacocks and tropical landscapes and portraits of exotic people- a sultan in a harem, a tall dark-skinned woman with dark eyes as mysterious as a deep lake, a tiger lolling on a carpet amid a crowd of beautiful women.
Barbara O'Neal (The Art of Inheriting Secrets)
What evokes persecution is precisely that which challenges a worldview, that which up-ends a symbolic universe. It is somewhat threatening to other first-century Jews to regard your community as the true Temple, and perhaps it is just as well to keep such ideas within the walls of an enclosed community in the desert; but since the belief, as held in Qumran, involves an intensification of Torah, the vicarious purification of the Land, the fierce defence of the race, and the dream of an eventually rebuilt and purified physical Temple in Jerusalem itself, one can imagine Pharisees debating it vigorously but not seeking authority from the chief priests to exterminate it. It embodied, after all, too many of the central worldview-features. The equivalent belief as held within Christianity seems to have had no such redeeming features. No new Temple would replace Herod’s, since the real and final replacement was Jesus and his people. No intensified Torah would define this community, since its sole definition was its Jesus-belief.28 No Land claimed its allegiance, and no Holy City could function for it as Jerusalem did for mainline Jews; Land had now been transposed into World, and the Holy City was the new Jerusalem, which, as some Jewish apocalyptic writers had envisaged, would appear, like the horses and chariots of fire around Elisha, becoming true on earth as it was in heaven.29 Racial identity was irrelevant; the story of this new community was traced back to Adam, not just to Abraham, and a memory was preserved of Jesus’ forerunner declaring that Israel’s god could raise up children for Abraham from the very stones.30 Once we understand how worldviews function, we can see that the Jewish neighbours of early Christians must have regarded them, not as a lover of Monet regards a lover of Picasso, but as a lover of painting regards one who deliberately sets fire to art galleries—and who claims to do so in the service of Art.31
N.T. Wright (New Testament People God V1: Christian Origins And The Question Of God)
By not letting places be themselves we show our contempt for them. We bury them in sentiment, then suffocate them to death in one way or another. I can ruin both the desert and the Museum of Modern Art in New York by carrying to them an insufferable load of distinctions that disallows actually seeing the flora and fauna or the paintings. Children are usually better at finding mushrooms and arrowheads because they are either ignorant of or unwilling to carry the load.
Jim Harrison (Dalva)
Entirely in agreement with Salieri when he rails against God for having given humanity the gift of Mozart's divine music, for the sole purpose of making us look ridiculous and plunging us into despair. Salieri sets himself up as Man's champion against divine injustice. It is the same problem as that of the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov. When Christ returns to earth he says to him: 'We manage humanity for its greatest happiness. It has paid for this with its mediocrity. Don't come disturbing this fragile balance with insane promises. ' And he condemns Christ to death once again. Salieri is not mean-spirited: it took pride, not to become jealous of Mozart, but to challenge God and ask: 'Tell it to me plainly, why am I not Mozart?' For God mocked us by throwing Mozart among us in the guise of a vulgar being, who did not even bear the exceptional marks of grace. God is toying with us, and that is unbearable. Mozart must be destroyed. All that challenges God is noble in spirit and superior to gaping, unconditional admiration of His works. We will not have the same problem with Changeux's Neuronal Man, emerging on the horizon like Nietzsche's Last Man, with his cortical and synaptic flatness. Farewell Mozart, farewell Salieri, no more grace, but no more challenges either, such is the solution offered by modern science to the insoluble despair of the difference between men. Signs, signs? Is that all you have to say? People act and people dream, they speak or they don't - none of that is unreal. Shut up and watch. See the philosophical beauty of these closing years of the century, the stars in the sky falling lower as the fateful date approaches, and the interactive horizon of couples in love - all this is beyond doubt, and it moves me to tears . . . The age, the coming age is like a metropolis deserted by its population, cut off from its sources of energy. Are you going to say that, are you going to go on with these twilight rantings? Every century throws the reality principle into question as it closes, but it's over today, finished, done. Everybody works these days. Narrative and moral passions, the philosophical animal spirits, are literally blocking the electronic animal spirits, a thousand times more lively and insignificant. Videos and advertisements, credits, news reports and sports flashes, Dallas, that's television, all that transfers easily, with the minimum of energy, on ephemeral film. But pure television, like pure painting or pure speed, is hard to bear.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
near-deserted parking lot, both buildings looking freshly painted and hopeful for a marina in which there were no yachts. The biggest boat moored at the dock looked to be a forty-footer. Most of the others looked to be lobster boats, aged and constructed of wood. A few of the newer ones were fiberglass. The nicest of those was about thirty-five feet long, the hull painted blue, the wheelhouse painted white, the deck a honey teak. She paid attention to it because her husband stood on it, bathed in their headlights. Caleb exited the car fast. He pointed back at her, told Brian his wife was not taking things well. Rachel was happy to note Caleb limped even as he speed-walked to the boat. She, on the other hand, moved slowly, her eyes on Brian. His gaze barely left hers except for the occasional flicks in the direction of Caleb. If she’d known she’d end up killing him, would she have boarded the boat? She could turn around and go to the police. My husband is an impostor, she’d say. She imagined some smarmy desk sergeant replying, “Aren’t we all, ma’am?” Yes, she was certain, it was a crime to impersonate someone and a crime to keep two wives, but were those serious crimes? In the end, wouldn’t Brian just take a plea and it would all go away? She’d be left the laughingstock never-was, the failed print reporter who’d become a pill-addicted broadcast reporter who’d become a punch line and then a shut-in and who would keep the local comics stocked with weeks of fresh material once it was discovered that Meltdown Media Chick had married a con man with another wife and another life. She followed Caleb up the ramp to the boat. He stepped aboard. When she went to do the same, Brian offered his hand. She stared at it until he dropped it. He noticed the gun she carried. “Should I show you mine? So I feel safer?” “Be my guest.” She stepped aboard. As she did, Brian caught her by the wrist and stripped the gun from her hand in the same motion. He pulled his own gun, a .38 snub-nosed revolver, from under the flaps of his shirt and then laid them both on a table by the
Dennis Lehane (Since We Fell)
It has occurred to me that when one is raised in the absence of culture – without access to galleries and museums – one has to fill the void. I turned to books, album covers, magazines, slides and prints – anything visually stimulating that I could lay my hands on.
James Stanford
But if the Painted Man heard him, he gave no sign. “Very well, I’ll do it. I’ll need your seal, Your Grace, so Duke Euchor knows the message is authentic.” “You’ll have whatever you need,” Euchor promised.
Peter V. Brett (The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2))
The Mojave Desert is a harsh, but very spiritual, place. It’s as much a matrix as anything else in my life has been. Growing up in the desert has a different gestalt than growing up in a temperate zone, with its humidity and rainfall. As children growing up in the Mojave, we chased lizards and snakes, instead of frogs and squirrels. There is an arid openness about it, and a true feeling of being alone, that you don’t get in any other type of environment.
James Stanford (Shimmering Zen)
After graduation, I dealt blackjack in Las Vegas to make ends meet. When I wasn’t working, to straighten out my head, I would go out into the desert – up to Red Rock and Pine Creek. I would hike those creek beds and find a comfortable red-sandstone boulder, where I could sit and draw. In those days before cell phones, I could spend hours undisturbed, drawing or painting
James Stanford
The gestalt of living in the desert, surrounded by the desert, was a big influence in my life and in the lives of other artists in this community. There are many artists and musicians who grew up as lonely kids in the desert with nothing to do, and who chose to channel their focus inward. In the Mojave Desert, numinous, mystical experiences are not as rare as one might think. The numinous is a part of the whole artistic experience for the desert artist.
James Stanford
The temptation is always to think of Las Vegas as a gambling mecca, the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’. Well, it’s that. But, it’s a lot more than that as well. There are beautiful natural rock formations, rare plants and animals, and even pseudo-alpine regions. Just because you can see for a hundred miles doesn’t mean that there’s nothing there to see, and open desert allows you to see things in a different way. There is nothing to block your view, and nothing to hide behind.
James Stanford
I developed a thirst for great art, but it wasn’t until I was 20 that I finally visited my first museum, the Prado in Madrid. There, in 1968, my interest was caught by the paintings of Luis de Morales, a 16th-century artist from the harsh Extremadura region of Spain. Morales was a Mannerist, like El Greco or Parmigianino, who painted very graceful figures with long necks and limbs. He did a magnificently smooth sfumato modelling. But the effect that impressed me the most was a fine line that he applied around all of his figures. He didn’t need those illustrative lines, but they really made his figures ‘pop’ off the background.
James Stanford
Living in the desert makes a lot of things very clear. It really gives you an unobstructed view. The severity of the landscape opens people up to their inner selves. St. Anthony went into the wilderness and was tormented by demons. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert. In an unexpected way, the Mojave is a very spiritual place.
James Stanford
Living in the desert makes a lot of things very clear. It really gives you an unobstructed view. The severity of the landscape opens people up to their inner selves. St. Anthony went into the wilderness and was tormented by demons. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert. In an unexpected way, the Mojave is a very spiritual place.
James Stanford
At least some of the time, the world appears to me as a painting by Hieronymous Bosch; were I to follow my conscience then, it would lead me out onto the desert with Marion Faye, out to where he stood in The Deer Park looking east to Los Alamos and praying, as if for rain, that it would happen: '…let it come and clear the rot and the stench and the stink, let it come for all of everywhere, just so it comes and the world stands clear in the white dead dawn.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
Cassandra,” Falco murmured. He reached up and twisted all her hair into one of his hands, pulling it slightly as he held it behind her head. His lips made their way across her cheek and her jaw and her brow bone. His other hand caressed her left leg through her cotton stocking. His fingers followed the repeating diamond pattern embossed into her leather garter and then stroked the soft skin just above it. Cass felt transported by his touch, his soft voice, and the mist rising off the canals. Everything felt otherworldly. It was a dream or a hallucination. Any moment now she’d wake up tucked beneath her covers with Slipper snuggled against her chest. Just let go. The batèla floated beneath a bridge. A man shrouded in darkness hung over its edge, leering at her. Cass sat up suddenly, wrapping the rough blanket up around her shoulders. She looked back toward the bridge. No one was there. “What’s wrong?” Falco asked. “I thought I saw someone. Hanging over the bridge. Watching.” “Probably just some deviant. Not lucky enough to have the company of a beautiful woman.” Falco moved to kiss Cass again. But fear was drumming through her. It sharpened her focus, and made reality come slamming back. Cass put her hand out. “Wait. We have to stop, to slow down.” Falco sighed. “You’re right,” he said, running both hands through his hair. “Sometimes I think--well, I fear that you shouldn’t trust me.” “Why?” Cass asked. Holding her lantern high in the air, she looked back toward the bridge again, but it was still deserted. “Because I don’t trust myself around you.” Falco’s voice turned soft again. He ran the knuckles of his right hand down the side of her face. “Who knows what I might do?” Cass blushed. “Who knows what I might let you do?” The words just slipped out, but she didn’t want to take them back. She didn’t want to hide any longer. Falco pulled her close to him, positioning her back against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her slender waist and leaned his chin on her left shoulder, his jawbone against her cheek. “Your beauty lights up the darkest night,” he said. “I could paint an entire chapel just for you. Maybe I will someday.
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
Wait. We have to stop, to slow down.” Falco sighed. “You’re right,” he said, running both hands through his hair. “Sometimes I think--well, I fear that you shouldn’t trust me.” “Why?” Cass asked. Holding her lantern high in the air, she looked back toward the bridge again, but it was still deserted. “Because I don’t trust myself around you.” Falco’s voice turned soft again. He ran the knuckles of his right hand down the side of her face. “Who knows what I might do?” Cass blushed. “Who knows what I might let you do?” The words just slipped out, but she didn’t want to take them back. She didn’t want to hide any longer. Falco pulled her close to him, positioning her back against his chest. He wrapped his arms around her slender waist and leaned his chin on her left shoulder, his jawbone against her cheek. “Your beauty lights up the darkest night,” he said. “I could paint an entire chapel just for you. Maybe I will someday.
Fiona Paul (Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1))
--Birthday Star Atlas-- "Wildest dream, Miss Emily, Then the coldly dawning suspicion— Always at the loss—come day Large black birds overtaking men who sleep in ditches. A whiff of winter in the air. Sovereign blue, Blue that stands for intellectual clarity Over a street deserted except for a far off dog, A police car, a light at the vanishing point For the children to solve on the blackboard today— Blind children at the school you and I know about. Their gray nightgowns creased by the north wind; Their fingernails bitten from time immemorial. We're in a long line outside a dead letter office. We're dustmice under a conjugal bed carved with exotic fishes and monkeys. We're in a slow drifting coalbarge huddled around the television set Which has a wire coat-hanger for an antenna. A quick view (by satellite) of the polar regions Maternally tucked in for the long night. Then some sort of interference—parallel lines Like the ivory-boned needles of your grandmother knitting our fates together. All things ambigious and lovely in their ambiguity, Like the nebulae in my new star atlas— Pale ovals where the ancestral portraits have been taken down. The gods with their goatees and their faint smiles In company of their bombshell spouses, Naked and statuesque as if entering a death camp. They smile, too, stroke the Triton wrapped around the mantle clock When they are not showing the whites of their eyes in theatrical ecstasy. Nostalgias for the theological vaudeville. A false springtime cleverly painted on cardboard For the couple in the last row to sigh over While holding hands which unknown to them Flutter like bird-shaped scissors . . . Emily, the birthday atlas! I kept turning its pages awed And delighted by the size of the unimaginable; The great nowhere, the everlasting nothing— Pure and serene doggedness For the hell of it—and love, Our nightly stroll the color of silence and time.
Charles Simic (Unending Blues)
As they rode into the Lucky Star ranch yard an hour later, Liv wished she hadn’t mentioned Temo to Dayna. She’s going to tease him about me, for sure, Liv thought and he’ll be embarrassed and think I’m a dumb little kid. Liv remembered the first time she had seen Temo. He was more handsome than Shane, she decided, with chiseled lips, a straight nose and flashing dark eyes full of laughter. Where Shane was thin as a desert fence post, Temo was solid--strong, but tender underneath. She remembered how he had risked his job at the Silver Spur to help them save their grandparents’ horses, how he had brought them blankets and food when they were hiding on the ranch, how he smiled when he called her muchacha, little girl, how he rode like the wind on his black-and-white paint horse, so at home in this big wild country. She wondered about his life--why he stayed on working for Sam Regis when he didn’t like or respect him. His family worked there; that was part of the reason, she knew. She had been hoping to find out more about him at lunch today. “I’m glad we didn’t have to stay for lunch.” Sophie slipped from Cisco’s saddle in front of the low wooden barn. “I didn’t want to face Dayna’s father again.” Liv dismounted with a sigh. As usual, she and Sophie had been thinking about the same thing in totally different ways. Sophie hated the thought of lunch at the Silver Spur, while Liv was longing for the chance to see Temo and his family. It was as if she and Sophie were two sides of the same coin.
Sharon Siamon (Coyote Canyon (Wild Horse Creek, #2))
I haunted and interrogated the past even as it interrogated me. London, Skinner's Lane, Brook Street, the Sudan - how had we passed all that time? Why did we not burn up every moment of it, as we would if we could have it all again? The journey back to England surfaced in dreams and occupied my days, the train to Wadi Halfa panting across the desert, reading old newspapers in the white, shuttered carriages while Taha, alas, was obliged to travel with the guard; and the stops, which had no names, but only a number, painted on a little shelter beside the track; and the steamer to the first Cateract and the visionary beauty of Aswan.
Alan Hollinghurst (The Swimming-Pool Library)
and the title of the picture was ‘The Deserted Garden.’ Alice had often said that it was one of the few pictures that she had ever really liked and I suppose somebody must have repeated the remark to Paul. The result was that Paul, who had painted the picture, gave it to Alice. Nothing is happening in the picture, but much has already happened and in it there is the promise, or the threat, of the future. The plaster peels from the walls, the glass is broken in the Gothic window, the green shutter falls forward. But nothing happens; the final decay of that window and of the garden beyond is not yet. It may be that the house will be restored, that the rank grass will be mown, that the flower-pot which lies on its side will be righted and the plant it contains will flourish.
Elizabeth Eliot (Alice)