Short Home Quotes

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Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.
John Grogan (Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog)
I'd like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, Ron, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty. And so, Ron, in short, get out of Salton City and hit the Road. I guarantee you will be very glad you did. But I fear that you will ignore my advice. You think that I am stubborn, but you are even more stubborn than me. You had a wonderful chance on your drive back to see one of the greatest sights on earth, the Grand Canyon, something every American should see at least once in his life. But for some reason incomprehensible to me you wanted nothing but to bolt for home as quickly as possible, right back to the same situation which you see day after day after day. I fear you will follow this same inclination in the future and thus fail to discover all the wonderful things that God has placed around us to discover. Don't settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, Ron, and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience. You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living. My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. The only person you are fighting is yourself and your stubbornness to engage in new circumstances.
Jon Krakauer (Into the Wild)
Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
John Grogan (Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World's Worst Dog)
Perhaps I am the turtle, able to live simply anywhere, even underwater for short periods, with my home on my back.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!)
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial! I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers. I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail. But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant. I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
George Carlin
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant. . . . History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of “history” it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket . . . booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change) . . . but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that. . . . There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda. . . . You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . . And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . . So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Life is too short not to say how you feel to the people you love.
Kristina McMorris (Letters from Home)
No, Lil," he tells me with a short laugh. "You're the opposite. You're my stability... my home.
Krista Ritchie (Ricochet (Addicted #2))
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal "Christmas Carol." Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!' Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.' Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
I've been stabbed before. Barely a week ago, in fact. AND I've been audited, AND I come from a broken home. In short - no offense, shorty - you don't scare me.
MaryJanice Davidson (Undead and Unwed (Undead, #1))
I refer of course to the soaring wonder of the age known as the Eiffel Tower. Never in history has a structure been more technologically advanced, materially obsolescent, and gloriously pointless all at the same time.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I would like to go for a ride with you, have you take me to stand before a river in the dark where hundreds of lightning bugs blink this code in sequence: right here, nowhere else! Right now, never again!
Amy Hempel (Tumble Home: A Novella and Short Stories)
Home. That wonderful place I was lucky enough to revisit no matter how short a time finally realizing it's not relegated to just one single place its wherever you make it.
Alyson Noel (Blue Moon (The Immortals, #2))
Your pillow alone may be home to 40 million bed mites. (To them your head is just one large oily bon-bon). And don't think a clean pillow-case will make a difference... Indeed, if your pillow is six years old--which is apparently about the average age for a pillow--it has been estimated that one-tenth of its weight will be made up of sloughed skin, living mites, dead mites and mite dung.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
I’ve just never met someone like you," as if I were a stranger from another town or an eccentric guest accompanying a mutual friend to a dinner party. It was a strange thought to hear from the mouth of the woman who had birthed and raised me, with whom I shared a home for eighteen years, someone who was half me. My mother had struggled to understand me just as I struggled to understand her. Thrown as we were on opposite sides of a fault line—generational, cultural, linguistic—we wandered lost without a reference point, each of us unintelligible to the other’s expectations, until these past few years when we had just begun to unlock the mystery, carve the psychic space to accommodate each other, appreciate the differences between us, linger in our refracted commonalities. Then, what would have been the most fruitful years of understanding were cut violently short, and I was left alone to decipher the secrets of inheritance without its key.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
When did my house turn into a hangout for every grossly overpaid, terminally pampered professional football player in northern Illinois?" "We like it here," Jason said. "It reminds us of home." "Plus, no women around." Leandro Collins, the Bears' first-string tight end emerged from the office munching on a bag of chips. "There's times when you need a rest from the ladies." Annabelle shot out her arm and smacked him in the side of the head. "Don't forget who you're talking to." Leandro had a short fuse, and he'd been known to take out a ref here and there when he didn't like a call, but the tight end merely rubbed the side of his head and grimaced. "Just like my mama." "Mine, too," Tremaine said with happy nod. Annabelle spun on Heath. "Their mother! I'm thirty-one years old, and I remind them of their mothers." "You act like my mother," Sean pointed out, unwisely as it transpired, because he got a swat in the head next.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6))
It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I'm not going to lay down in words the lure of this place. Every great writer in the land, from Faulkner to Twain to Rice to Ford, has tried to do it and fallen short. It is impossible to capture the essence, tolerance, and spirit of south Louisiana in words and to try is to roll down a road of clichés, bouncing over beignets and beads and brass bands and it just is what it is. It is home.
Chris Rose (1 Dead in Attic: Post-Katrina Stories)
I was free with every road as my home. No limitations and no commitments. But then summer passed and winter came and I fell short for safety. I fell for its spell, slowly humming me to sleep, because I was tired and small, too weak to take or handle those opinions and views, attacking me from every angle. Against my art, against my self, against my very way of living. I collected my thoughts, my few possessions and built isolated walls around my values and character. I protected my own definition of beauty and success like a treasure at the bottom of the sea, for no one saw what I saw, or felt the same as I did, and so I wanted to keep to myself. You hide to protect yourself.
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
Even though sugar was very expensive, people consumed it till their teeth turned black, and if their teeth didn't turn black naturally, they blackened them artificially to show how wealthy and marvelously self-indulgent they were.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Home is where you feel the most like yourself. Home is the thing that makes you happiest during this very short life. The person who makes you happiest. I’d never known what a real home was, and now that I’d found it, I was never letting it go.
T.M. Frazier (Soulless (King, #4))
War seems like a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. Then they get a taste of battle. For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they’ve been gutted by an axe. They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now, They take the wound, and when that’s still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water. If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron half helm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the small folk whose land they’re fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chickens, and from there it’s just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don’t know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they’re fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad in all steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world. And the man breaks.
George R.R. Martin (A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4))
My life is over. My one forever love has been snatched away, condemned by my own father's rules to die, just because he loved me. I am without a home, without a single person to love. And after having discovered love, lived for a short while surrounded by love, that is to much to bear. I am a pariah, at church, at school. The few people I once called friends have betrayed me and caused the death of my husband, our innocent child. And so they should die too. All of them. Dad. Bishop Crandall. Trevor, Becca, Emily. With the pull of a 10mm hair trigger, their lives will end at sacrament meeting. Such lovely irony! And when I finish there, I'll hide in the desert, reload, and go in search of Carmen and Tiffany, who started the rumors. And Derek, just because.
Ellen Hopkins
For anyone of a rational disposition, fashion is often nearly impossible to fathom. Throughout many periods of history – perhaps most – it can seem as if the whole impulse of fashion has been to look maximally ridiculous. If one could be maximally uncomfortable as well, the triumph was all the greater.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ah sound mind, ectetera, ectetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because it's seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fuckin problem. As Harry Launder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road...
Irvine Welsh
Mr. Williams, in your short time boarding with us you’ve seen very little of my home,” Eleanor said. “I’d like you to see the rest of it, starting with my bedroom.
C.A. Knutsen (Tom and G.E.R.I.)
...and it occurred to me, with the forcefulness of a thought experienced in 360 degrees, that that's really what history mostly is: masses of people doing ordinary things.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I never went to Albuquerque expecting to find love. I thought it had found me there, followed me home. I never came home expecting to lose love in the space of one brief telephone call. Is it always so short-lived?
Ellen Hopkins (Crank (Crank, #1))
I'm not the girl men chose. I'm the girl who's charming and funny and then drives home wondering what she did wrong. I'm the girl who meets someone halfway decent and then fills in the gaps in his character with my own imagination, only to be shocked when he's not the man I thought he was. I'm the girl who hides who she really is for fear I'll fall short. 
Liza Palmer (More Like Her)
Where do you live, where do we live where is our home? Under this tree, over the mountains, and beyond, the sky, a time-rider. Dancing colours! Life was more surrealistic, this short life than death, death was natural, not the other way round.--Mehreen Ahmed, Incandescence.
Mehreen Ahmed (Incandescence)
Home was his favorite place too. But home for him was anywhere Jane happened to be. Never in his life had he loved someone as much as he loved her. So much that it scared him sometimes. He pulled her against him and looked out over the city. He was in love with his wife. Yeah, he knew what that said about him. That he was a goner. Leg-shackled for life. Whipped by a short woman with a big attitude. Yep, that's what it said about him, and he didn't care.
Rachel Gibson (See Jane Score (Chinooks Hockey Team, #2))
Life is short, and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so be quick to love, make haste to be kind, and go in peace to follow the good road of blessing.
Pete Buttigieg (Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future)
Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven—corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats—account for 93 percent of all that humans eat, and every one of them was first cultivated by our Neolithic ancestors.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I have fallen short in my life, but my faith has always brought me home.
Edward M. Kennedy (True Compass: A Memoir)
A Home without Equity Is Just a Rental with Debt,
Michael Lewis (The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine)
Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos. There are 7 people in my house. We each have different genders. I cut my hair over the bathroom sink and everything I own has a hole in it. There is a banner in our living room that says “Love Cats Hate Capitalism.” We sit around the kitchen table and argue about the compost pile and Karl Marx and the necessity of violence when The Rev comes. Whatever the fuck The Rev means. Every time my best friend laughs I want to grab him by the shoulders and shout “Grow old with me and never kiss me on the mouth!” I want us to spend the next 80 years together eating Doritos and riding bikes. I want to be Oscar the Grouch. I want him and his girlfriend to be Bert and Ernie. I want us to live on Sesame Street and I will park my trash can on their front stoop and we will be friends every day. If I ever seem grouchy it’s just because I am a little afraid of all that fun. There is a river running through this city I know as well as my own name. It’s the first place I’ve ever called home. I don’t think its poetry to say I’m in love with the water. I don’t think it’s poetry to say I’m in love with the train tracks. I don’t think it’s blasphemy to say I see God in the skyline. There is always cold beer asking to be slurped on back porches. There are always crushed packs of Marlboro’s in my back pockets. I have been wearing the same patched-up shorts for 10 days. Someday I will stop being young and wanting stupid tattoos.
Clementine von Radics
Nothing - really, absolutely nothing - says more about Victorian Britain and its capacity for brilliance than that the century's most daring and iconic building was entrusted to a gardener.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Consider it this way: what would you say if a blond homecoming queen fell in love with a short Japanese businessman? He treats her cruelly, then goes home for three years, during which time she prays to his picture and turns down marriage from a young Kennedy. Then, when she learns he has remarried, she kills herself. Now I believe you should consider this girl to be a deranged idiot, correct? But because it's an Oriental who kills herself for a Westerner–ah!–you find it beautiful.
David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly)
Since no one has mentioned it,' said Eilonwy, 'it seems I'm not being asked to come along. Very well, I shan't insist.' 'You, too, have gained wisdom, Princess,' said Dallben. 'Your days on Mona were not ill-spent.' 'Of course,' Eilonwy went on, 'after you leave, the thought may strike me that it's a pleasent day for a short ride to go picking wildflowers which might be hard to find, especially since it's almost winter. Not that I'd be following you, you understand. But I might, by accident, lose my way, and mistakenly happen to catch up with you. By then, it would be too late for me to come home, through no fault of my own.
Lloyd Alexander (The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain, #5))
Charlotte Stokehurst,” Violet Bridgerton announced, “is getting married.” “Today?” Hyacinth queried, taking off her gloves. Her mother gave her a look. “She has become engaged. Her mother told me this morning.” Hyacinth looked around. “Were you waiting for me in the hall?” “To the Earl of Renton,” Violet added. “Renton.” “Have we any tea?” Hyacinth asked. “I walked all the way home, and I’m thirsty.” “Renton!” Violet exclaimed, looking about ready to throw up her hands in despair. “Did you hear me?” “Renton,” Hyacinth said obligingly. “He has fat ankles.” “He’s—” Violet stopped short. “Why were you looking at his ankles?
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
So often this summer I keep thinking: I know I'm holding back. I know I'm waiting. I know I'm afraid to go forward. But I don't know how to get there from here." He was quiet, so she kept going. "Sometimes I see it as a tricky mountain pass between two valleys. Other times, it's like perilous straits connecting two lands. Partly it's the fear of the trip itself, I think, but partly it's the fear that I won't be able to get back. I'll turn around and the clouds will have settled over the mountaintop. Or the waters will have risen and shifted, and there will be no way home." Paul nodded. He took her hand again, which she discovered she appreciated. But that's not even the real fear." He gave her an odd smile. Short on mirth but affectionate. "What's the real fear?" The real fear is that I won't want to go home.
Ann Brashares
Please wait for me, I’ll be home shortly. Feel free to save Robert’s life if you’re bored.
Kelly Zekas (These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks, #1))
Coming home seemed to have started the healing process. No longer vivid and garish, the memories seemed to be covered in gossemer, fading behind a curtain of time and forgiveness.
Karen Fowler (Memories For Sale)
An afternoon drive from Los Angeles will take you up into the high mountains, where eagles circle above the forests and the cold blue lakes, or out over the Mojave Desert, with its weird vegetation and immense vistas. Not very far away are Death Valley, and Yosemite, and Sequoia Forest with its giant trees which were growing long before the Parthenon was built; they are the oldest living things in the world. One should visit such places often, and be conscious, in the midst of the city, of their surrounding presence. For this is the real nature of California and the secret of its fascination; this untamed, undomesticated, aloof, prehistoric landscape which relentlessly reminds the traveller of his human condition and the circumstances of his tenure upon the earth. "You are perfectly welcome," it tells him, "during your short visit. Everything is at your disposal. Only, I must warn you, if things go wrong, don't blame me. I accept no responsibility. I am not part of your neurosis. Don't cry to me for safety. There is no home here. There is no security in your mansions or your fortresses, your family vaults or your banks or your double beds. Understand this fact, and you will be free. Accept it, and you will be happy.
Christopher Isherwood (Exhumations)
I have written letters that are failures, but I have written few, I think, that are lies. Trying to reach a person means asking the same question over and over again: Is this the truth, or not? I begin this letter to you, then, in the western tradition. If I understand it, the western tradition is: Put your cards on the table.
Amy Hempel (Tumble Home: A Novella and Short Stories)
Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.
G.K. Chesterton (What's Wrong with the World)
After It happens when I’m at bodegas. It happens when I’m at school. It happens when I’m on the train. It happens when I’m standing on the platform. It happens when I’m sitting on the stoop. It happens when I’m turning the corner. It happens when I forget to be on guard. It happens all the time. I should be used to it. I shouldn’t get so angry when boys—and sometimes grown-ass men— talk to me however they want, think they can grab themselves or rub against me or make all kinds of offers. But I’m never used to it. And it always makes my hands shake. Always makes my throat tight. The only thing that calms me down after Twin and I get home is to put my headphones on. To listen to Drake. To grab my notebook, and write, and write, and write all the things I wish I could have said. Make poems from the sharp feelings inside, that feel like they could carve me wide open. It happens when I wear shorts. It happens when I wear jeans. It happens when I stare at the ground. It happens when I stare ahead. It happens when I’m walking. It happens when I’m sitting. It happens when I’m on my phone. It simply never stops.
Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X)
[Americans] were, for one thing, so smitten with the idea of progress that they invented things without having any idea whether those things would be of any use.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
It seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and, also, scraps of letters which, though considerably edited, sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald (I believe that is how he spells his name) seems to believe that plagiarism begins at home.
Zelda Fitzgerald (Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald)
If a potato can produce vitamin C, why can't we? Within the animal kingdom only humans and guinea pigs are unable to synthesize vitamin C in their own bodies. Why us and guinea pigs? No point asking. Nobody knows.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy.
Allan Bloom (The Closing of the American Mind)
I have no fear of men, as such, nor of their books. I have mixed with them--one or two of them particularly-- almost as one of their own sex. I mean I have not felt about them as most women are taught to feel--to be on their guard against attacks on their virtue; for no average man-- no man short of a sensual savage--will molest a woman by day or night, at home or abroad, unless she invites him. Until she says by a look 'Come on' he is always afraid to, and if you never say it, or look it, he never comes.
Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure)
It was an odd situation. For a century and a half, men got rid of their own hair, which was perfectly comfortable, and instead covered their heads with something foreign and uncomfortable. Very often it was actually their own hair made into a wig. People who couldn't afford wigs tried to make their hair look like a wig.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
All the important roles shortly boiled down to one: remember your with other people; show some consideration.
Lynne Truss (Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door)
My life is too short, and God’s work is too great for me to think of making a home for myself in this world.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
Option 1: Go home a hero and save all of humanity. Option 2: Go to Erid, save an alien species, and starve to death shortly after.
Andy Weir (Project Hail Mary)
I had never thought I had much in common with anybody. I had no mother, no father, no roots, no biological similarities called sisters and brothers. And for a future I didn't want a split-level home with a station wagon, pastel refrigerator, and a houseful of blonde children evenly spaced through the years. I didn't want to walk into the pages of McCall's magazine and become the model housewife. I didn't even want a husband or any man for that matter. I wanted to go my own way. That's all I think I ever wanted, to go my own way and maybe find some love here and there. Love, but not the now and forever kind with chains around your vagina and a short circuit in your brain. I'd rather be alone.
Rita Mae Brown (Rubyfruit Jungle)
although she went home that night feeling happier than she had ever been in her short life, she did not confuse the golf course party with a good party, and she did not tell herself she had a pleasant time. it had been, she felt, a dumb event preceded by excellent invitations. what frankie did that was unusual was to imagine herself in control. the drinks, the clothes, the instructions, the food (there had been none), the location, everything. she asked herself: if i were in charge, how could i have done it better?
E. Lockhart (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)
While some more passive forms of leisure, such as watching TV or surfing the Internet, are fun in the short term, over time, they don't offer nearly the same happiness as more challenging activities.
Gretchen Rubin (Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life)
It is not as if farming brought a great improvement in living standards either. A typical hunter-gatherer enjoyed a more varied diet and consumed more protein and calories than settled people, and took in five times as much viatmin C as the average person today.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I had always thought that life was the actual thing, the natural thing, and that death was simply the end of living. Now, in this lifeless place, I saw with a terrible clarity that death was the constant, death was the base, and life was only a short, frgile dream. I was dead already. I had been born death, and what I thought was my life was just a game death let me play as it waited to take me. . . Death has an opposite, but the opposite is not mere living. It is not courage or faith or human will. The opposite of death is love. How had I missed that? How does anyone miss that? Love is our only weapon. Only love can turn mere life into a miracle, and draw precious meaning from suffering and fear. For a brief, magical moment, all my fears lifted, and I knew that I would not let death control me. I would walk through the godforsaken country that separated me from my home with love and hope in my heart. I wouuld walk until I had walked all the life out of me, and when I fell I would die that much closer to my father.
Nando Parrado (Miracle in the Andes)
On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. In the months leading up to their expedition, the Apollo II astronauts trained in a remote moon-like desert in the western United States. The area is home to several Native American communities, and there is a story – or legend – describing an encounter between the astronauts and one of the locals. One day as they were training, the astronauts came across an old Native American. The man asked them what they were doing there. They replied that they were part of a research expedition that would shortly travel to explore the moon. When the old man heard that, he fell silent for a few moments, and then asked the astronauts if they could do him a favour. ‘What do you want?’ they asked. ‘Well,’ said the old man, ‘the people of my tribe believe that holy spirits live on the moon. I was wondering if you could pass an important message to them from my people.’ ‘What’s the message?’ asked the astronauts. The man uttered something in his tribal language, and then asked the astronauts to repeat it again and again until they had memorised it correctly. ‘What does it mean?’ asked the astronauts. ‘Oh, I cannot tell you. It’s a secret that only our tribe and the moon spirits are allowed to know.’ When they returned to their base, the astronauts searched and searched until they found someone who could speak the tribal language, and asked him to translate the secret message. When they repeated what they had memorised, the translator started to laugh uproariously. When he calmed down, the astronauts asked him what it meant. The man explained that the sentence they had memorised so carefully said, ‘Don’t believe a single word these people are telling you. They have come to steal your lands.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Soon after man shows up in new lands, the big game starts to go missing. […] A bad smell of extinction follows Home sapiens around the world. (37)
Ronald Wright (A Short History of Progress)
The real significance of Magellan's voyage was not that it was the first to circumnavigate the planet, but that it was the first to realize just how big that planet was.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
On Generosity On our own, we conclude: there is not enough to go around we are going to run short of money of love of grades of publications of sex of beer of members of years of life we should seize the day seize our goods seize our neighbours goods because there is not enough to go around and in the midst of our perceived deficit you come you come giving bread in the wilderness you come giving children at the 11th hour you come giving homes to exiles you come giving futures to the shut down you come giving easter joy to the dead you come – fleshed in Jesus. and we watch while the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear the dead are raised the poor dance and sing we watch and we take food we did not grow and life we did not invent and future that is gift and gift and gift and families and neighbours who sustain us when we did not deserve it. It dawns on us – late rather than soon- that you “give food in due season you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity override our presumed deficits quiet our anxieties of lack transform our perceptual field to see the abundance………mercy upon mercy blessing upon blessing. Sink your generosity deep into our lives that your muchness may expose our false lack that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give so that the world may be made Easter new, without greedy lack, but only wonder, without coercive need but only love, without destructive greed but only praise without aggression and invasiveness…. all things Easter new….. all around us, toward us and by us all things Easter new. Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.
Walter Brueggemann
This is not to say that the point of the hard way is that we must be heroic. The attitude of "heroism" is based upon the assumption that we are bad, impure, that we are not worthy, are not ready for spiritual understanding. We must reform ourselves, be different from what we are. For instance, if we are middle class Americans, we must give up our jobs or drop out of college, move out of our suburban homes, let our hair grow, perhaps try drugs. If we are hippies, we must give up drugs, cut our hair short, throw away our torn jeans. We think that we are special, heroic, that we are turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we become this and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path is spiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used to be, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who is heroic in this way is ego.
Chögyam Trungpa (Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)
Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven—corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats—account for 93 percent of all that humans eat,
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Most folks don't have but a few days to a week's worth of food in their houses at any given time. When they run out, they'll have to forage. Only the fools will forage in town. The smart ones will look on the outskirts.
Edward M. Wolfe (Hell on Ice (In The End, #2))
...We always look for Christ amid magnificence. But ... Christ has a history of showing up amide the unlovely. Born in a dirty stall. Crowned with thorns. Died gasping on a shameful cross atop a jagged rise. We don't need to be beautiful for Christ to take us in. He is equally at home when we're broken-down and dirty. It's like George Herbert wrote: 'And here in dust and dirt, O here, The lilies of God's love appear.' We think magnificence is in short supply, that dust and dirt choke out the lilies. But that's not true and never was. Lilies may root in dirt, but they reach for heaven—and in the reaching, reveal their magnificence.
Philip Gulley (Home to Harmony (Harmony, #1))
There is a world out there, so new, so random and disassociated that it puts us all in danger. We talk online, we ‘friend’ each other when we don’t know who we are really talking to – we fuck strangers. We mistake almost anything for a relationship, a community of sorts, and yet, when we are with our families, in our communities, we are clueless, we short-circuit and immediately dive back into the digitized version – it is easier, because we can be both our truer selves and our fantasy selves all at once, with each carrying equal weight.
A.M. Homes (May We Be Forgiven)
Nose to nose with her, he gave her his best bad dog snarl. "You've forgotten who and what you're dealing with here, princess. So let me jar your memory. I'm not on your father's short list of men you can bring home to dinner. I'm not a nice man. So if all you're looking for is sex...just keep this up and you're liable to get it. And don't expect some polite little in-and-out and 'oh darling, that was lovely.' You come to my bed, I'm going to fuck you, and there won't be anything polite about it.
Cindy Gerard (To the Edge (The Bodyguards #1))
Pantaloons were often worn tight as paint and were not a great deal less revealing, particularly as they were worn without underwear. . . . Jackets were tailored with tails in the back, but were cut away in front so that they perfectly framed the groin. It was the first time in history that men's apparel was consciously designed to be more sexy than women's.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Widespread commercial distribution of ice was so new that 300 tons of the precious commodity melted at one port while customs officials tried to figure out how to classify it.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Kick off your shoes. Unburden yourself with song. Tell each other tales. Dance around the table. Leave the cleaning up for the morning. Then go outside and look at the stars.
Noble Smith (The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life)
So, if people didn’t settle down to take up farming, why then did they embark on this entirely new way of living? We have no idea – or actually, we have lots of ideas, but we don’t know if any of them are right. According to Felipe Fernández-Armesto, at least thirty-eight theories have been put forward to explain why people took to living in communities: that they were driven to it by climatic change, or by a wish to stay near their dead, or by a powerful desire to brew and drink beer, which could only be indulged by staying in one place.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Of course we have a Tomorrow on the map…located east of Today and west of Yesterday…and we have no end of "times" in fairyland. Spring-time, long time, short time, new-moon time, good-night time, next time…but no last time, because that is too sad a time for fairyland; old time, young time…because if there is an old time there ought to be a young time, too; mountain time…because that has such a fascinating sound; night-time and day-time…but no bed-time or school-time; Christmas-time; no only time, because that also is too sad…but lost time, because it is so nice to find it; some time, good time, fast time, slow time, half-past kissing-time, going-home time, and time immemorial…which is one of the most beautiful phrases in the world.
L.M. Montgomery
The systems of stereotypes may be the core of our personal tradition, the defenses of our position in society. They are an ordered more or less consistent picture of the world, to which our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts and our hopes have adjusted themselves. They may not be a complete picture of the world, but they are a picture of a possible world to which we are adapted. In that world, people and things have their well-known places, and do certain expected things. We feel at home there. We fit in. We are members. [...] It is not merely a short cut. It is all these things and something more. It is the guarantee of our self-respect; it is the projection upon the world of our own sense or our own value, our own position, and our own rights. [...] They are the fortress of our traditions, and behind its defenses we can continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy.
Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion)
is a broken man an outlaw?" "More or less." Brienne answered. Septon Meribald disagreed. "More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They've heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. "Then they get a taste of battle. "For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they've been gutted by an axe. "They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that's still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water. "If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they're fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chicken's, and from there it's just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don't know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they're fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world... "And the man breaks. "He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them...but he should pity them as well
George R.R. Martin
Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn't submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don't want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what's the matter with our self.
William James
His way of coping with the days was to think of activities as units of time, each unit consisting of about thirty minutes. Whole hours, he found, were more intimidating, and most things one could do in a day took half an hour. Reading the paper, having a bath, tidying the flat, watching Home and Away and Countdown, doing a quick crossword on the toilet, eating breakfast and lunch, going to the local shops… That was nine units of a twenty-unit day (the evenings didn’t count) filled by just the basic necessities. In fact, he had reached a stage where he wondered how his friends could juggle life and a job. Life took up so much time, so how could one work and, say, take a bath on the same day? He suspected that one or two people he knew were making some pretty unsavoury short cuts.
Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
Nothing, however, bemused the Indians more than the European habit of blowing their noses into a fine handkerchief, folding it carefully, and placing it back in their pockets as if it were a treasured memento.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
You should rather suppose that those are involved in worthwhile duties who wish to have daily as their closest friends Zeno, Pythagoras, Democritus and all the other high priests of liberal studies, and Aristotle and Theophrastus. None of these will be too busy to see you, none of these will not send his visitor away happier and more devoted to himself, none of these will allow anyone to depart empty-handed. They are at home to all mortals by night and by day.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)
In referring to her earlier statement that he had was not her type because he was "a dollar short when it came to maturity and a day late when it came to peace." I may have been wrong about that," she conceded. "You are a complicated man, but happily complicated. You have found a way to be at home with the world's confusion, a way to embrace the chaos rather than struggle to reduce it or become its victim. It's all part of the game to you, and you are delighted to play. In that regard, you may have reached a more elevated plateau of harmony than...ummph.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
My mind leaps to my theory about presidents - that there are two kinds, ones who have a lot of sex and the others who start wars. In short - and don't quote me, because this is an incomplete expression of a more complex premise - I believe blow jobs prevent war.
A.M. Homes (May We Be Forgiven)
Was that really all there was to love? Darkness undone, a hand on your forehead. In the meantime all you could do was wait--tired, alone, the minutes as long or short as a lifetime--for the face in your dream to appear.
Eric Puchner (Model Home)
The dining table was a plain board called by that name. It was hung on the wall when not in use, and was perched on the diners' knees when food was served. Over time, the word board came to signify not just the dining surface but the meal itself, which is where the board comes from in room and board. It also explains why lodgers are called boarders.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
One consequential change is that people used to get most of their calories at breakfast and midday, with only the evening top-up at suppertime. Now those intakes are almost exactly reversed. Most of us consume the bulk--a sadly appropriate word here--of our calories in the evening and take them to bed with us, a practice that doesn't do any good at all.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Zachary Blake lost his practice, his wife and kids, his home, and his money. He was at rock bottom in only three short years. He also lost the most valuable possession of any successful trial lawyer. Zachary Blake lost his will to fight. His luck, however, was about to change.
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal of Faith (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #1))
And it was striking, how much less alone that could make you feel, because of course to be peopled at all was a high-order gift, but to find people beyond your people was nothing short of miraculous, finding a person away from home who felt like home and shifted, subsequently, the very notion of home, widening its borders.
Claire Lombardo (The Most Fun We Ever Had)
As I pedaled my bike slowly home, I realized one more thing. I didn’t have to wonder if I’d ever be passionate or happy again. I was happy, even as I tasted tears on my lips, along with Will’s last kiss; even though part of me dreaded this day, my first without Will. I was happy because I knew I’d never forget Will. Even if parts of this summer faded from my memory over time, even if Will’s face grew vague in my mind, I’s never forget what it had felt like to be with him for a few short months. What it had been like to be sixteen and in love for the first time. I wouldn’t forget that – not ever.
Michelle Dalton (Sixteenth Summer (Sixteenth Summer #1))
We may, indeed, say that the hour of death is uncertain, but when we say so we represent that hour to ourselves as situated in a vague and remote expanse of time, it never occurs to us that it can have any connexion with the day that has already dawned, or may signify that death — or its first assault and partial possession of us, after which it will never leave hold of us again — may occur this very afternoon, so far from uncertain, this afternoon every hour of which has already been allotted to some occupation. You make a point of taking your drive every day so that in a month’s time you will have had the full benefit of the fresh air; you have hesitated over which cloak you will take, which cabman to call, you are in the cab, the whole day lies before you, short because you have to be at home early, as a friend is coming to see you; you hope that it will be as fine again to-morrow; and you have no suspicion that death, which has been making its way towards you along another plane, shrouded in an impenetrable darkness, has chosen precisely this day of all days to make its appearance, in a few minutes’ time, more or less, at the moment when the carriage has reached the Champs-Elysées.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way)
Journalists can sound grandiose when they talk about their profession. Some of us are adrenaline junkies; some of us are escapists; some of us do wreck our personal lives and hurt those who love us most. This work can destroy people. I have seen so many friends and colleagues become unrecognizable from trauma: short-tempered, sleepless, and alienated from friends. But after years of witnessing so much suffering in the world, we find it hard to acknowledge that lucky, free, prosperous people like us might be suffering, too. We feel more comfortable in the darkest places than we do back home, where life seems too simple and too easy. We don’t listen to that inner voice that says it is time to take a break from documenting other people’s lives and start building our own. Under it all, however, are the things that sustain us and bring us together: the privilege of witnessing things that others do not; an idealistic belief that a photograph might affect people’s souls; the thrill of creating art and contributing to the world’s database of knowledge. When I return home and rationally consider the risks, the choices are difficult. But when I am doing my work, I am alive and I am me. It’s what I do. I am sure there are other versions of happiness, but this one is mine.
Lynsey Addario (It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War)
In the book of Alma is a story that has fascinated e since I first read it. it is about a very colorful character named Moroni--not to be confused with the last survivor of the Nephites, who was also named Moroni. This man was a brilliant military commander, and he rose to be supreme commander of all the Nephite forces at the age of twenty-five. For the next fourteen years he was off to the wars continuously except for two very short periods of peace during which he worked feverishly at reinforcing the Nephite defenses. When peace finally came, he was thirty-nine years old, and the story goes that at the age of forty-three he died. Sometime before this he had given the chief command of the armies of the Nephites to his son Moronihah. Now, if he had a son, he had a wife. I've often wondered where she was and how she fared during those fourteen years of almost continuous warfare, and how she felt to have him die so soon after coming home. I am sure there are many, many stories of patience and sacrifice that have never been told. We each do our part, and we each have our story.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)
from the short story, Cielo Azul “Harry, get an ambulance.” I stood up and stepped back from the scene. I felt my chest growing tight, a clarity of thought coming over me. In all my years I had spoken for the dead many times. I had avenged the dead. I was at home with the dead. But I had never so clearly had a part in pulling someone away from the outstretched hands of death. And in that moment I knew we had done just that. And I knew that whatever happened afterward and wherever my life took me, I would always have this moment, that it would be a light that could lead me out of the darkest of tunnels.
Michael Connelly (Suicide Run: Three Harry Bosch Stories (Harry Bosch, #14.6; Harry Bosch Universe, #21.1))
...in the lower self, love is neediness, “chemistry” or infatuation, possession, strong admiration, or even worship—in short, traditional romantic love. Many people who grew up in troubled homes and who experienced a stifling of their Child Within become stuck at these lower levels or ways of experiencing love.
Charles L. Whitfield (Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families)
The hoopoe said: 'Your heart's congealed like ice; When will you free yourself from cowardice? Since you have such a short time to live here, What difference does it make? What should you fear? The world is filth and sin, and homeless men Must enter it and homeless leave again. They die, as worms, in squalid pain; if we Must perish in this quest, that, certainly, Is better than a life of filth and grief. If this great search is vain, if my belief Is groundless, it is right that I should die. So many errors throng the world - then why Should we not risk this quest? To suffer blame For love is better than a life of shame. No one has reached this goal, so why appeal To those whose blindness claims it is unreal? I'd rather die deceived by dreams than give My heart to home and trade and never live. We've been and heard so much - what have we learned? Not for one moment has the self been spurned; Fools gather round and hinder our release. When will their stale, insistent whining cease? We have no freedom to achieve our goal Until from Self and fools we free the soul. To be admitted past the veil you must Be dead to all the crowd considers just. Once past the veil you understand the Way From which the crowd's glib courtiers blindly stray. If you have any will, leave women's stories, And even if this search for hidden glories Proves blasphemy at last, be sure our quest Is not mere talk but an exacting test. The fruit of love's great tree is poverty; Whoever knows this knows humility. When love has pitched his tent in someone's breast, That man despairs of life and knows no rest. Love's pain will murder him and blandly ask A surgeon's fee for managing the task - The water that he drinks brings pain, his bread Is turned to blood immediately shed; Though he is weak, faint, feebler than an ant, Love forces him to be her combatant; He cannot take one mouthful unaware That he is floundering in a sea of care.
Attar of Nishapur
We'd all be lucky in life if we had the chance to experience an unexpected adventure, and then make our way back safely to a place of comfort. Sometimes the only way we can appreciate our home and the simple happiness it has to offer is to be away from it for a while.
Noble Smith (The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life)
I am sometimes amazed at what we did not fully grasp in kindergarten. In the years I was a parish minister I was always taken aback when someone came to me and said. 'I've just come from the doctor and he told me I have only a limited time to live'. I was always tempted to shout 'WHAT? You didn't know? You had to pay a doctor to tell you - at your age? Where were you the week in kingergarten when you got the little cup with the cotton and water and seed? Life happened - remember? A plant grew up and the roots grew down. A miracle. And then a few days later the plant was dead. DEAD. Life is short. Were you asleep that week or home sick or what?
Robert Fulghum
Every decision I have made - from changing jobs, to changing partners, to changing homes - has been taken with trepidation. I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me. I have accepted fear as a part of life, specifically the fear of change, the fear of the unknown, and I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back, turn back, you'll die if you venture too far... In the past several years I have learned, in short, to trust myself. Not to eradicate fear but to go on in spite of fear. Not to become insensitive to distinguished critics but to follow my own writer's instinct. My job is not to paralyze myself by anticipating judgment but to do the best that I can and let judgment fall where it may. The difference between the woman who is writing this essay and the college girl sitting in her creative writing class in 1961 is mostly a matter of nerve and daring - the nerve to trust my own instincts and the daring to be a fool. No one ever found wisdom without being a fool.
Erica Jong
Call the world, if you please, "the Vale of Soul Making". Then you will find out the use of the world.... There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God. How then are Souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them -- so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one's individual existence. How, but in the medium of a world like this? This point I sincerely wish to consider, because I think it a grander system of salvation than the Christian religion -- or rather it is a system of Spirit Creation... I can scarcely express what I but dimly perceive -- and yet I think I perceive it -- that you may judge the more clearly I will put it in the most homely form possible. I will call the world a school instituted for the purpose of teaching little children to read. I will call the human heart the hornbook used in that school. And I will call the child able to read, the soul made from that school and its hornbook. Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul? A place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways.... As various as the lives of men are -- so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, souls, identical souls of the sparks of his own essence. This appears to me a faint sketch of a system of salvation which does not affront our reason and humanity...
John Keats
We lived on 82nd Street and the Metropolitan Museum was my short cut to Central Park. I wrote: "I go into the museum and look at all the pictures on the walls. Instead of feeling my own insignificance I want to go straight home and paint." A great painting, or symphony, or play, doesn't diminish us, but enlarges us, and we, too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creation behind the universe. This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition, or degree of talent. When I hear a superb pianist, I can't wait to get to my own piano, and I play about as well now as I did when I was ten. A great novel, rather than discouraging me, simply makes me want to write. This response on the part of any artist is the need to make incarnate the new awareness we have been granted through the genius of someone else.
Madeleine L'Engle (A Circle of Quiet (Crosswicks Journals #1))
I don’t run from these worries though. I invite each one into my heart and mind. At the doorstep of my emotional threshold I greet them like a perfect host. Each worry tracks mud into my home and dirties the furniture. I grit and bear my houseguests. Their time with me will be short-lived.
Sarah Noffke (Stunned (The Lucidites, #2))
The Reverend Sydney Smith, though a man of the cloth, caught the spirit of the age by declining to say grace. 'With the ravenous orgasm upon you, it seems impertinent to interpose a religious sentiment,' he explained. 'It is a confusion of purpose to mutter out praises from a mouth that waters.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
You may feel the human realm is a difficult place, but there is surely no better world to live in. You will find another only by going to the nonhuman; and the nonhuman realm would surely be a far more difficult place to inhabit than the human. So if this best of worlds proves a hard one for you, you must simply do your best to settle in and relax as you can, and make this short life of ours, if only briefly, an easier place in which to make your home. Herein lies the poet's true calling, the artist's vocation. We owe our humble gratitude to all practitioners of the arts, for they mellow the harshness of our human world and enrich the human heart. Yes, a poem, a painting, can draw the sting of troubles from a troubled world and lay in its place a blessed realm before our grateful eyes.
Natsume Sōseki (The Three-Cornered World)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
Columbus's real achievement was managing to cross the ocean successfully in both directions. Though an accomplished enough mariner, he was not terribly good at a great deal else, especially geography, the skill that would seem most vital in an explorer. It would be hard to name any figure in history who has achieved more lasting fame with less competence. He spent large parts of eight years bouncing around Caribbean islands and coastal South America convinced that he was in the heart of the Orient and that Japan and China were at the edge of every sunset. He never worked out that Cuba is an island and never once set foot on, or even suspected the existence of, the landmass to the north that everyone thinks he discovered: the United States.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
I grew up back and forth between the British Isles: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. I spent short periods of time in France, Italy, and South Africa. This is my first time in the States. I was disappointed by Atlanta at first — I'd wanted to live in New York-but it's grown on me.” Everything about Kaidan was exciting and exotic. This was my first time traveling away from home, and he'd already seen so much. I ate my apple, glad it was crisp and not soft. “Which was your favorite place?” I asked. “I've never been terribly attached to any place. I guess it would have to be...here.” I stopped midchew and examined his face. He wouldn't look at me. He was clenching his jaw, tense. Was he serious or was he teasing me? I swallowed my bite. “The Texas panhandle?” I asked. “No.” He seemed to choose each word with deliberate care. “I mean here in this car. With you.” Covered in goose bumps, I looked away from him and stared straight ahead at the road, letting my hand with the apple fall to my lap. He cleared his throat and tried to explain. “I've not talked like this with anyone, not since I started working, not even to the only four people in the world who I call friends. You have Patti, and even that boyfriend of yours. So this has been a relief of sort. Kind of...nice.” He cleared his throat again. Oh, my gosh. Did we just have a moment? I proceeded with caution, hoping not to ruin it. “It's been nice for me, too,” I said. “I've never told Jay anything. He has no idea. You're the only one I've talked to about it all, except Patti, but it's not the same. She learned the basics from the nun at the convent where I was born.” “You were born in a convent,” he stated. “Yes.” “Naturally.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
I appreciate the scientific rigor with which you’ve approached this project, Anna,” said Christopher, who had gotten jam on his sleeve. “Though I don’t think I could manage to collect that many names and also pursue science. Much too time-consuming.” Anna laughed. “How many names would you want to collect, then?” Christopher tilted his head, a brief frown of concentration crossing his face, and did not reply. “I would only want one,” said Thomas. Cordelia thought of the delicate tracery of the compass rose on Thomas’s arm, and wondered if he had any special person in mind. “Too late for me to only have one,” declared Matthew airily. “At least I can hope for several names in a carefully but enthusiastically selected list.” “Nobody’s ever tried to seduce me at all,” Lucie announced in a brooding fashion. “There’s no need to look at me like that, James. I wouldn’t say yes, but I could immortalize the experience in my novel.” “It would be a very short novel, before we got hold of the blackguard and killed him,” said James. There was a chorus of laughter and argument. The afternoon sun was sinking in the sky, its rays catching the jeweled hilts of the knives in Anna’s mantelpiece. They cast shimmering rainbow patterns on the gold-and-green walls. The light illuminated Anna’s shabby-bright flat, making something in Cordelia’s heart ache. It was such a homey place, in a way that her big cold house in Kensington was not. “What about you, Cordelia?” said Lucie. “One,” said Cordelia. “That’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it, really? Instead of many who give you little pieces of themselves—one who gives you everything.” Anna laughed. “Searching for the one is what leads to all the misery in this world,” she said. “Searching for many is what leads to all the fun.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
I had written short stories that were thought worthy of preservation! Was it the same insignificant I that I had always known? Any one walking along the streets might go into any bookshop, and say: 'Please give me Edith Wharton's book'; and the clerk, without bursting into incredulous laughter, would produce it, and be paid for it, and the purchaser would walk home with it and read it, and talk of it, and pass it on to other people to read!
Edith Wharton (A Backward Glance)
The average yard is both an ecological and agricultural desert. The prime offender is short-mown grass, which offers no habitat and nothing for people except a place to sit, yet sucks down far more water and chemicals than a comparable amount of farmland.
Toby Hemenway (Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture)
She said to me, over the phone She wanted to see other people I thought, Well then, look around. They're everywhere Said that she was confused... I thought, Darling, join the club 24 years old, Mid-life crisis Nowadays hits you when you're young I hung up, She called back, I hung up again The process had already started At least it happened quick I swear, I died inside that night My friend, he called I didn't mention a thing The last thing he said was, Be sound Sound... I contemplated an awful thing, I hate to admit I just thought those would be such appropriate last words But I'm still here And small So small.. How could this struggle seem so big? So big... While the palms in the breeze still blow green And the waves in the sea still absolute blue But the horror Every single thing I see is a reminder of her Never thought I'd curse the day I met her And since she's gone and wouldn't hear Who would care? What good would that do? But I'm still here So I imagine in a month...or 12 I'll be somewhere having a drink Laughing at a stupid joke Or just another stupid thing And I can see myself stopping short Drifting out of the present Sucked by the undertow and pulled out deep And there I am, standing Wet grass and white headstones all in rows And in the distance there's one, off on its own So I stop, kneel My new home... And I picture a sober awakening, a re-entry into this little bar scene Sip my drink til the ice hits my lip Order another round And that's it for now Sorry Never been too good at happy endings...
Eddie Vedder
Like a wounded soldier Trudging the old road home, But I ain’t the old me, And I walk this path alone. I’m battle-worn, I’m battle-torn With these scars inside my chest, Kept up that happy face for you, To hide that I’m a mess. But I gave you every ounce of fight in me, And I have no regrets. If I was going to lose you, At least I lost you to my best. But it felt so wrong, So tangled up in blue, Like that old Dylan song, Like I don’t know who I am, Now that you’re gone. But I lived through the pain. Now I see the other side. Now I know that life’s too short To shut myself down and hide. I’m battle-torn, but I’m battle-born. These scars are part of me. I got nothing left but what I’ve learned, And I’ll use that, and you’ll see, I can still give every ounce of fight in me, Till I have no regrets, Because if I’m going to lose someone, I’m gonna lose her to my best. And I’ll be strong, When a hard rain’s a-gonna fall, Like that old Dylan song, You’re the reason I stand tall, And that will never be gone.
Emery Lord (Open Road Summer)
Every walk carves out a new city. And each of these tiny cities has its main square, a downtown area all its own, its own memorial statue, its own landmarks, laundromats, bus terminal—in short, its own focal point (from the Latin word focus, meaning fireplace, hearth, foyer, home), warm spot, sweet spot, soft spot, hot spot.
André Aciman (Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere)
I’m going home to an old country farmhouse, once green, rather faded now, set among leafless apple orchards. There is a brook below and a December fir wood beyond, where I’ve heard harps swept by the fingers of rain and wind. There is a pond nearby that will be gray and brooding now. There will be two oldish ladies in the house, one tall and thin, one short and fat; and there will be two twins, one a perfect model, the other what Mrs. Lynde calls a ‘holy terror.’ There will be a little room upstairs over the porch, where old dreams hang thick, and a big, fat, glorious feather bed which will almost seem the height of luxury after a boardinghouse mattress. How do you like my picture, Phil?" "It seems a very dull one," said Phil, with a grimace. "Oh, but I’ve left out the transforming thing," said Anne softly. "There’ll be love there, Phil—faithful, tender love, such as I’ll never find anywhere else in the world—love that’s waiting for me. That makes my picture a masterpiece, doesn’t it, even if the colors are not very brilliant?" Phil silently got up, tossed her box of chocolates away, went up to Anne, and put her arms about her. "Anne, I wish I was like you," she said soberly.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3))
Granana doesn't understand what the big deal is. She didn't cry at Olivia's funeral, and I doubt she even remembers Olivia's name. Granana lost, like, ninety-two million kids in childbirth. All of her brothers died in the war. She survived the Depression by stealing radish bulbs from her neighbors' garden, and fishing the elms for pigeons. Dad likes to remind us of this in a grave voice, as if it explained her jaundiced pitilessness: "Boys. Your grandmother ate pigeons.
Karen Russell (St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves)
It is not certain whether the effects of totalitarianism upon verse need be so deadly as its effects on prose. There is a whole series of converging reasons why it is somewhat easier for a poet than a prose writer to feel at home in an authoritarian society.[...]what the poet is saying- that is, what his poem "means" if translated into prose- is relatively unimportant, even to himself. The thought contained in a poem is always simple, and is no more the primary purpose of the poem than the anecdote is the primary purpose of the picture. A poem is an arrangement of sounds and associations, as a painting is an arrangement of brushmarks. For short snatches, indeed, as in the refrain of a song, poetry can even dispense with meaning altogether.
George Orwell (50 Essays)
A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions. Shortly, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Borrowing the merchant's horse, he flees at top speed to Samarra, a distance of about 75 miles (125 km), where he believes Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, "That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.
John O'Hara
Ethics that focus on human interactions, morals that focus on humanity's relationship to a Creator, fall short of these things we've learned. They fail to encompass the big take-home message, so far, of a century and a half of biology and ecology: life is- more than anything else- a process; it creates, and depends on, relationships among energy, land, water, air, time and various living things. It's not just about human-to-human interaction; it's not just about spiritual interaction. It's about all interaction. We're bound with the rest of life in a network, a network including not just all living things but the energy and nonliving matter that flows through the living, making and keeping all of us alive as we make it alive. We can keep debating ideologies and sending entreaties toward heaven. But unless we embrace the fuller reality we're in- and reality's implications- we'll face big problems.
Carl Safina (The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World)
Home—what other home existed for one who belonged nowhere, but the stormy one in the heart of another for a short time? Was not this the reason why love, when it struck the hearts of the homeless, shook and possessed them so completely—because they had nothing else? Had he not for this very reason tried to avoid it? And had it not followed him and overtaken him and struck him down? It was harder to rise again on the slippery ice of a foreign land than on familiar and accustomed ground.
Erich Maria Remarque (Arch of Triumph: A Novel of a Man Without a Country)
The truth is, I am a person who is meant to stay home and read books, maybe have a nice dinner, and then put myself to bed. That is the life I’m built for. It’s all about the setting. When I’m out in public, it’s as if my system gets overwhelmed and instantaneously short-circuits. I turned the phoenix into ashes, by accident, in small ways, all the time.
Selma Blair (Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up)
I Won’t Fly Today Too much to do, despite the snow, which made all local schools close their doors. What a winter! Usually, I love watching the white stuff fall. But after a month with only short respites, I keep hoping for a critical blue sky. Instead, amazing waves of silvery clouds sweep over the crest of the Sierra, open their obese bellies, and release foot upon foot of crisp new powder. The ski resorts would be happy, except the roads are so hard to travel that people are staying home. So it kind of boggles the mind that three guys are laying carpet in the living room. Just goes to show the power of money. In less than an hour, the stain Conner left on the hardwood will be a ghost.
Ellen Hopkins (Perfect (Impulse, #2))
At the end of that class Demian said to me thoughtfully: "There’s something I don’t like about this story, Sinclair. Why don’t you read it once more and give it the acid test? There’s something about it that doesn’t taste right. I mean the business with the two thieves. The three crosses standing next to each other on the hill are almost impressive, to be sure. But now comes this sentimental little treatise about the good thief. At first he was a thorough scoundrel, had committed all those awful things and God knows what else, and now he dissolves in tears and celebrates such a tearful feast of self-improvement and remorse! What’s the sense of repenting if you’re two steps from the grave? I ask you. Once again, it’s nothing but a priest’s fairy tale, saccharine and dishonest, touched up with sentimentality and given a high edifying background. If you had to pick a friend from between the two thieves or decide which one you’d rather trust, you most certainly wouldn’t choose the sniveling convert. No, the other fellow, he’s a man of character. He doesn’t give a hoot for ‘conversion’, which to a man in his position can’t be anything but a pretty speech. He follows his destiny to it’s appointed end and does not turn coward and forswear the devil, who has aided and abetted him until then. He has character, and people with character tend to receive the short end of the stick in biblical stories. Perhaps he’s even a descendant of Cain. Don’t you agree?" I was dismayed. Until now I had felt completely at home in the story of the Crucifixion. Now I saw for the first time with how little individuality, with how little power of imagination I had listened to it and read it. Still, Demian’s new concept seemed vaguely sinister and threatened to topple beliefs on whose continued existence I felt I simply had to insist. No, one could not make light of everything, especially not of the most Sacred matters. As usual he noticed my resistance even before I had said anything. "I know," he said in a resigned tone of voice, "it’s the same old story: don’t take these stories seriously! But I have to tell you something: this is one of the very places that reveals the poverty of this religion most distinctly. The point is that this God of both Old and New Testaments is certainly an extraordinary figure but not what he purports to represent. He is all that is good, noble, fatherly, beautiful, elevated, sentimental—true! But the world consists of something else besides. And what is left over is ascribed to the devil, this entire slice of world, this entire half is hushed up. In exactly the same way they praise God as the father of all life but simply refuse to say a word about our sexual life on which it’s all based, describing it whenever possible as sinful, the work of the devil. I have no objection to worshiping this God Jehovah, far from it. But I mean we ought to consider everything sacred, the entire world, not merely this artificially separated half! Thus alongside the divine service we should also have a service for the devil. I feel that would be right. Otherwise you must create for yourself a God that contains the devil too and in front of which you needn’t close your eyes when the most natural things in the world take place.
Hermann Hesse (Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
Originally, the cellar served primarily as a coal store. Today it holds the boiler, idle suitcases, out-of-season sporting equipment, and many sealed cardboard boxes that are almost never opened but are always carefully transferred from house to house with every move in the belief that one day someone might want some baby clothes that have been kept in a box for twenty-five years.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
It's natural for a man to defend what's dear to him: his own life, his home, his family. But in order to make him fight on behalf of his rulers, the rich and powerful who are too cunning to fight their own battles-in short to defend not himself but people whom he's never met and moreover would not care to be in the same room with him-you have to condition him into loving violence not for the benefits it bestows on him but for its own sake. Result: the society has to defend itself from its defenders, because what's admirable in wartime is termed psychopathic in peace. It's easier to wreck a man than to repair him. Ask any psychotherapist. And take a look at the crime figures among veterans.
John Brunner (Stand on Zanzibar)
Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ah sound mind, etcetera, etcetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because it's seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whut they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting (Mark Renton, #2))
The passage from Genesis points to a mystery greater still. It says that we came from farther away than space and longer ago than time. It says that evolution and genetics and environment explain a lot about us but they don’t explain all about us or even the most important thing about us. It says that though we live in the world, we can never really be at home in the world. It says in short not only that we were created by God but also that we were created in God’s image and likeness. We have something of God within us the way we have something of the stars.
Frederick Buechner (Telling Secrets)
When an attack on home soil causes cultural paroxysms that have nothing to do with the attack, when we respond to real threats to our nation by distrusting ourselves with imagined threats to femininity and family life, when we invest our leaders with a cartoon masculinity and require of them bluster in lieu of a capacity for rational calculation, and when we blame our frailty in 'fifth column' feminists - in short, when we base our security on a mythical male strength that can only increase itself against a mythical female weakness - we should know that we are exhibiting the symptoms of a lethal, albeit curable, cultural affliction (p. 295).
Susan Faludi
Only a few short years ago, the average stay-at-home mom spent her relaxation time reading Jackie Collins and staring at the pool boy. Now, half of them are outselling Jackie Collins writing porn about the pool boy. The other half are writing reviews of them." [Surviving in the Amazon Jungle – How authors and reviewers can co-exist in a hostile environment (and run to court if they don’t), Blog post, March 20, 2014]
Pete Morin
Squeezed against each other in the heavy heat, they were silent...looking toward the home that was expecting them--quiet, perspiring, resigned to this existence divided among a soulless job, long trips coming and going in an uncomfortable trolley, and at the end an abrupt sleep. On some evenings it would sadden Jacques to look at them. Until then he had only known the riches and the joys of poverty. But now heat and boredom and fatigue were showing him their curse, the curse of work so stupid you could weep and so interminably monotonous that it made the days too long and, at the same time, life too short.
Albert Camus (The First Man)
Committing myself to the task of becoming fully human is saving my life now...to become fully human is something extra, a conscious choice that not everyone makes. Based on my limited wisdom and experience, there is more than one way to do this. If I were a Buddhist, I might do it by taking the bodhisattva vow, and if I were a Jew, I might do it by following Torah. Because I am a Christian, I do it by imitating Christ, although i will be the first to admit that I want to stop about a day short of following him all the way. In Luke's gospel, there comes a point when he turns around and says to the large crowd of those trailing after him, "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple" (14:26). Make of that what you will, but I think it was his way of telling them to go home. He did not need people to go to Jerusalem to die with him. He needed people to go back where they came from and live the kinds of lives that he had risked his own life to show them: lives of resisting the powers of death, of standing up for the little and the least, of turning cheeks and washing feet, of praying for enemies and loving the unlovable.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith)
Is Jace with you?" "Uh, no," said Alec. He wondered if Aline was asking for a specific reason. Aline and Jace had kissed in Alicante, before the war. Alec tried to think of what Isabelle usually said to girls about Jace. "The thing is," he added, "Jace is a beautiful antelope, who has to be free to run across the plains." "What?" said ALine. Maybe Alec had gotten that wrong. "Jace is home with his, uh, his new girlfriend. You remember Clary." Alec hoped Aline was not too heartbroken. "Oh right, the short redhead," she said. Aline was tiny herself, but refused to ever admit it. "you know, Jace was so sad before the war, I thought he must have a forbidden love. I just didn't think it was Clary, for obvious reasons. I thought it was that vampire." Alec coughed. Aline offered him a sip of her latte. "No," he said when he got his voice back. "Jace is not dating Simon. Jace is straight. Simon is straight." "I totally saw scars on Jace's neck," Aline said. "He let the vampire bite him. He brought him to Alicante. I thought: classic Jace. Never makes a mess when a total catastrophe will do. Wait, did you think I wanted a ride on that disaster train?" "Yes?" said Alec.
Cassandra Clare (The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1))
Clint stared down at him. He was wearing what appeared to be a massive, lopsided and jewel-encrusted crown, holding a scepter and surrounded by a floating mass of Roombas. “Welcome to the sovereign nation of Bartonia,” he said, with a straight face. “My subjects, the Roombas, the drones and one random mechanical bird thing that I found, and I welcome you, and ask you what the fuck you think you're doing here, you are seriously a fucking moron.” “I'm here,” Tony gritted out, “to rescue you, and what kind of fucking attitude is that?.” “A little short for a storm trooper, aren't you?” Clint said, arching an eyebrow. He offered Tony a hand. “Are you wearing a crown? Seriously? Where did you get a- Why are you wearing a crown?” Tony asked, taking it and allowing Clint to help lever him back to his feet. “Listen, dude, I have learned something about myself today. Mostly, I have learned that if I end up in some sort of alien rubbish dump surrounded by neurotic robots and without a clue as to if I'm ever going to make it home, if I find a crown, I'm putting that bad boy on. There should never be a time when you do not wear a crown. Find a crown, you wear it and declare sovereignty over the vast mechanical wastes.” Clint waved his scepter around a bit, making the Roombas dodge. “Thus, Bartonia.
Scifigrl47 (Ordinary Workplace Hazards, Or SHIELD and OSHA Aren't On Speaking Terms (In Which Tony Stark Builds Himself Some Friends (But His Family Was Assigned by Nick Fury), #2))
Interior decoration is not just one's artistic efforts, but it is that which your home (even if it is just a room) is. If you are 'decorating' with clothes draped on every chair, with scratched and broken furniture- it is still your interior decoration! Your home expresses you to other people, and they cannot see or feel your daydreams of what you expect to make in that misty future, when all the circumstances are what you think they must be before you will find it worthwhile to start. You have started, whether you recognize that fact or not! We foolish mortals sometimes live through years not realizing how short life is, and that TODAY is your life.
Edith Schaeffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking)
David turned on the TV and sat on the couch. He could grade the Calc I homework but that always depressed him. It would almost put him in mourning, sitting Shiva, but it had to be done. He would get up early in the morning and do it. He chuckled. The TV had a stupid dog commercial. Cocker Spaniel mix. Same kind of mutt Miriam brought into their marriage. She was a dog person. Named it Lucky. Lucky died of poisoning while David was at home one afternoon. Somehow the dog had gotten into Clorox. Not so lucky. That had been their only fight. David did not want to get another dog. Claimed it would remind him of Lucky. When David was little, about eight or nine years old, he had learned Clorox would kill a dog. Their neighbor had a German shepherd. Sol would throw rocks at it when they walked to school. One day the dog got out and bit Sol, and if the neighbors had not stopped it, the dog may have mauled Sol to death. The dog’s name was Roxx, short for Roxanne. It was found dead a couple of days later. Poisoned. David was not a dog person.
Michael Grigsby (Segment of One)
Here are some of the essential take-homes: we all need nearby nature: we benefit cognitively and psychologically from having trees, bodies of water, and green spaces just to look at; we should be smarter about landscaping our schools, hospitals, workplaces and neighborhoods so everyone gains. We need quick incursions to natural areas that engage our senses. Everyone needs access to clean, quiet and safe natural refuges in a city. Short exposures to nature can make us less aggressive, more creative, more civic minded and healthier overall. For warding off depression, lets go with the Finnish recommendation of five hours a month in nature, minimum. But as the poets, neuroscientists and river runners have shown us, we also at times need longer, deeper immersions into wild spaces to recover from severe distress, to imagine our futures and to be our best civilized selves.
Florence Williams (The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative)
When I take my hand out of this blanket," he thought, "my nail will be grown back, my hands will be clean. My body will be clean. I'll have on clean shorts, clean undershirt, a white shirt. A blue polka-dot tie. A gray suit with a stripe, and I'll be home, and I'll bolt the door. I'll put some coffee on the stove, some records on the phonograph, and I'll bolt the door. I'll read my books and I'll drink coffee and I'll listen to music, and I'll bolt the door. I'll open the window, I'll let in a nice, quiet girl--not Frances, not anyone I've ever known--and I'll bolt the door. I'll ask her to read some Emily Dickinson to me--that one about being chartless--and I'll ask her to read some William Blake to me--that one about the little lamb that made thee--and I'll bolt the door. She'll have an American voice, and she won't ask me if I have any chewing gum or bonbons, and I'll bolt the door.
J.D. Salinger (A Boy in France (Babe Gladwaller, #2))
Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tea absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken all the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ay sound mind etcetera etcetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because it's seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yourself in a home, a total fucking embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting (Mark Renton, #2))
So it is with sorrow, each thinks his own present grief the most severe. For of this he judges by his own experience. He that is childless considers nothing so sad as to be without children; he that is poor, and has many children, complains of the extreme evils of a large family. He who has but one, looks upon this as the greatest misery, because that one, being set too much store by, and never corrected, becomes willful, and brings grief upon his father. He who has a beautiful wife, thinks nothing so bad as having a beautiful wife, because it is the occasion of jealousy and intrigue. He who has an ugly one, thinks nothing worse than having a plain wife, because it is constantly disagreeable. The private man thinks nothing more mean, more useless, than his mode of life. The soldier declares that nothing is more toilsome, more perilous, than warfare; that it would he better to live on bread and water than endure such hardships. He that is in power thinks there can be no greater burden than to attend to the necessities of others. He that is subject to that power, thinks nothing more servile than living at the beck of others. The married man considers nothing worse than a wife, and the cares of marriage. The unmarried declares there is nothing so wretched as being unmarried, and wanting the repose of a home. The merchant thinks the husbandman happy in his security. The husbandman thinks the merchant so in his wealth. In short, all mankind are somehow hard to please, and discontented and impatient.
John Chrysostom
Is that what we come into the world for, to hurry to an office, and work hour after hour till night, then hurry home and dine and go to a theatre? Is that how I must spend my youth? Youth lasts so short a time, Bateman. And when I am old, what have I to look forward to? To hurry from my home in the morning to my office and work hour after hour after hour till night, and then hurry home again, and dine and go to a theatre? That may be worthwhile if you make a fortune; I don’t know, it depends on your nature; but if you don’t, is it worth while then? I want to make more out of my life than that, Bateman.
W. Somerset Maugham (Rain and Other South Sea Stories)
People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves, and even there they do not fail by much. A single avenue of reasoning followed to its logical conclusion would bring them straight home to the truth. But they stop just short of it, over and over again. When they have only to reach out and grasp the idea that would explain everything, they decide that the search is hopeless. The search is never hopeless. There is no haystack so large that the needle in it cannot be found. But it takes time, it takes humility and a serious reason for searching.
William Maxwell (Time Will Darken It)
In between bites of banana, Mr. Remora would tell stories, and the children would write the stories down in notebooks, and every so often there would be a test. The stories were very short, and there were a whole lot of them on every conceivable subject. "One day I went to the store to purchase a carton of milk," Mr. Remora would say, chewing on a banana. "When I got home, I poured the milk into a glass and drank it. Then I watched television. The end." Or: "One afternoon a man named Edward got into a green truck and drove to a farm. The farm had geese and cows. The end." Mr. Ramora would tell story after story, and eat banana after banana, and it would get more and more difficult for Violet to pay attention.
Lemony Snicket (The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5))
I see you are in a dilemma, and one of a peculiar and difficult nature. Two paths lie before you; you conscientiously wish to choose the right one, even though it be the most steep, straight, and rugged; but you do not know which is the right one; you cannot decide whether duty and religion command you to go out into the cold and friendless world, and there to earn your living by governess drudgery, or whether they enjoin your continued stay with your aged mother, neglecting, for the present, every prospect of independency for yourself, and putting up with the daily inconvenience, sometimes even with privations. I can well imagine, that it is next to impossible for you to decide for yourself in this matter, so I will decide it for you. At least, I will tell you what is my earnest conviction on the subject; I will show you candidly how the question strikes me. The right path is that which necessitates the greatest sacrifice of self-interest -- which implies the greatest good to others; and this path, steadily followed, will lead, I believe, in time, to prosperity and to happiness; though it may seem, at the outset, to tend quite in a contrary direction. Your mother is both old and infirm; old and infirm people have but few resources of happiness -- fewer almost than the comparatively young and healthy can conceive; to deprive them of one of these is cruel. If your mother is more composed when you are with her, stay with her. If she would be unhappy in case you left her, stay with her. It will not apparently, as far as short-sighted humanity can see, be for your advantage to remain at XXX, nor will you be praised and admired for remaining at home to comfort your mother; yet, probably, your own conscience will approve, and if it does, stay with her. I recommend you to do what I am trying to do myself. [Quoted from a letter to a friend, referenced in the last chapter of Vol 1. "The Life of Charlotte Bronte" by Elizabeth Gaskell ]
Charlotte Brontë
Victorian rigidities were such that ladies were not even allowed to blow out candles in mixed company, as that required them to pucker their lips suggestively. They could not say that they were going "to bed"--that planted too stimulating an image--but merely that they were "retiring." It became effectively impossible to discuss clothing in even a clinical sense without resort to euphemisms. Trousers became "nether integuments" or simply "inexpressibles" and underwear was "linen." Women could refer among themselves to petticoats or, in hushed tones, stockings, but could mention almost nothing else that brushed bare flesh.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet. These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights. Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
Barack Obama
[Clayton] Christensen had seen dozens of companies falter by going for immediate payoffs rather than long-term growth, and he saw people do the same thing. In three hours at work, you could get something substantial accomplished, and if you failed to accomplish it you felt the pain right away. If you spent three hours at home with your family, it felt like you hadn't done a thing, and if you skipped it nothing happened. So you spent more and more time at the office, on high-margin, quick-yield tasks, and you even believed that you were staying away from home for the sake of your family. He had seen many people tell themselves that they could divide their lives into stages, spending the first part pushing forward their careers, and imagining that at some future point they would spend time with their families--only to find that by then their families were gone.
Larissa MacFarquhar
Rawls became famous for creating a new definition of justice, which boils down to this: a society is fair if it looks like something we would design before knowing how we would come into the world. He imagined a fictional “original position,” the position we would be in if we were told we were about to be born, but were not told about the circumstances we would be born into—how tall or short we would be, or of what race or nationality, or what resources or personal qualities we would have. This vision of justice is often compared to being asked how you would want a cake to be divided if you did not know which piece will be yours: equally, of course.
Pete Buttigieg (Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future)
Patients in persistent vegetative state – or PVS as it is called for short – seem to be awake because their eyes are open, yet they show no awareness or responsiveness to the outside world. They are conscious, some would say, but there is no content to their consciousness. They have become an empty shell, there is nobody at home. Yet recent research with functional brain scans shows this is not always the case. Some of these patients, despite being mute and unresponsive, seem to have some kind of activity going on in their brains, and some kind of awareness of the outside world. It is not, however, at all clear what it means. Are they in some kind of perpetual dream state? Are they in heaven, or in hell? Or just dimly aware, with only a fragment of consciousness of which they themselves
Henry Marsh (Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery)
Now in my eleven years of conventional life I had learned many things and one of them is what it means to be convicted of rape--I do not mean the man who did it, I mean the woman to whom it was done. Rape is one of the Christian mysteries, it creates a luminous and beautiful tableau in people's minds; and as I listened furtively to what nobody would allow me to hear straight out, I slowly came to understand that I was face to face with one of those feminine disasters, like pregnancy, like disease, like weakness; she was not only the victim of the act but in some strange way its perpetrator; somehow she had attracted the lightening that struck her out of a clear sky. A diabolical chance--which was not chance--had revealed her to all of us as she truly was, in her secret inadequacy, in that wretched guiltiness which she had kept hidden for seventeen years but which now finally manifested in front of everybody. Her secret guilt was this: She was Cunt. She had "lost" something. Now the other party to the incident had manifested his essential nature, too; he was Prick--but being Prick is not a bad thing. In fact, he had "gotten away with" something (possibly what she had "lost"). And there I was at eleven years of age: She was out late at night. She was in the wrong part of town. Her skirt was too short and that provoked him. She liked having her eye blacked and her head banged against the sidewalk. I understood this perfectly. (I reflected thus in my dream, in my state of being a pair of eyes in a small wooden box stuck forever on a grey, geometric plane--or so I thought.) I too had been guilty of what had been done to me, when I came home from the playground in tears because I had been beaten up by bigger children who were bullies. I was dirty. I was crying. I demanded comfort. I was being inconvenient. I did not disappear into thin air.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
These were both nothing more than a pair of minor incidents that happened in my trivial little life. Short side trips along the way. Even if they hadn’t happened, I doubt my life would have wound up much different from what it is now. But still, these memories return to me sometimes, traveling down a very long passageway to arrive. And when they do, their unexpected power shakes me to the core. Like an autumn wind that gusts at night, swirling fallen leaves in a forest, flattening the pampas grass in fields, and pounding hard on the doors to people’s homes, over and over again.
Haruki Murakami (First Person Singular: Stories)
Surveys have shown that ranking very close to the fear of death is the fear of public speaking. Why would someone feel profound fear, deep in his or her stomach, about public speaking, which is so far from death? Because it isn’t so far from death when we link it. Those who fear public speaking actually fear the loss of identity that attaches to performing badly, and that is firmly rooted in our survival needs. For all social animals, from ants to antelopes, identity is the pass card to inclusion, and inclusion is the key to survival. If a baby loses its identity as the child of his or her parents, a possible outcome is abandonment. For a human infant, that means death. As adults, without our identity as a member of the tribe or village, community or culture, a likely outcome is banishment and death. So the fear of getting up and addressing five hundred people at the annual convention of professionals in your field is not just the fear of embarrassment—it is linked to the fear of being perceived as incompetent, which is linked to the fear of loss of employment, loss of home, loss of family, your ability to contribute to society, your value, in short, your identity and your life. Linking an unwarranted fear to its ultimate terrible destination usually helps alleviate that fear. Though you may find that public speaking can link to death, you’ll see that it would be a long and unlikely trip.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
They walked in silence through the little streets of Chinatown. Women from all over the world smiled at them from open windows, stood on the doorsteps inviting them in. Some of the rooms were exposed to the street. Only a curtain concealed the beds. One could see couples embracing. There were Syrian women wearing their native costume, Arabian women with jewelry covering their half-naked bodies, Japanese and Chinese women beckoning slyly, big African women squatting in circles, chatting together. One house was filled with French whores wearing short pink chemises and knitting and sewing as if they were at home. They always hailed the passers-by with promises of specialities. The houses were small, dimly lit, dusty, foggy with smoke, filled with dusky voices, the murmurs of drunkards, of lovemaking. The Chinese adorned the setting and made it more confused with screens and curtains, lanterns, burning incense, Buddhas of gold. It was a maze of jewels, paper flowers, silk hangings, and rugs, with women as varied as the designs and colors, inviting men who passed by to sleep with them.
Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus)
Give me a scholar, therefore, who is able to think and to write, to look with an eye of discernment into things, and to do business himself, if called upon, who hath both civil and military knowledge; one, moreover, who has been in camps, and has seen armies in the field and out of it; knows the use of arms, and machines, and warlike engines of every kind; can tell what the front, and what the horn is, how the ranks are to be disposed, how the horse is to be directed, and from whence to advance or to retreat; one, in short, who does not stay at home and trust to the reports of others: but, above all, let him be of a noble and liberal mind; let him neither fear nor hope for anything; otherwise he will only resemble those unjust judges who determine from partiality or prejudice, and give sentence for hire: but, whatever the man is, as such let him be described.
Lucian of Samosata (Lucian's True History)
To give you an idea of my state of mind I can not do better than compare it to one of those rooms we see nowadays in which are collected and mingled the furniture of all times and countries. Our age has no impress of its own. We have impressed the seal of our time neither on our houses nor our gardens, nor on anything that is ours. On the street may be seen men who have their beards trimmed as in the time of Henry III, others who are clean-shaven, others who have their hair arranged as in the time of Raphael, others as in the time of Christ. So the homes of the rich are cabinets of curiosities: the antique, the gothic, the style of the Renaissance, that of Louis XIII, all pell-mell. In short, we have every century except our own—a thing which has never been seen at any other epoch: eclecticism is our taste; we take everything we find, this for beauty, that for utility, another for antiquity, still another for its ugliness even, so that we live surrounded by debris, as if the end of the world were at hand.
Alfred de Musset (The Confession of a Child of the Century)
One year, on Yom Kippur eve, Salanter did not show up in synagogue for services. The congregation was extremely worried; they could only imagine that their rabbi had suddenly taken sick or been in an accident. In any case, they would not start the service without him. During the wait, a young woman in the congregation became agitated. She had left her infant child at home asleep in its crib; she was certain she would only be away a short while. Now, because of the delay, she slipped out to make sure that the infant was all right. When she reached her house, she found her child being rocked in the arms of Rabbi Salanter. He had heard the baby crying while walking to the synagogue and, realizing that the mother must have gone off to services, had gone into the house to calm him.
Joseph Telushkin (Jewish Literacy)
All over Atlanta that fall, in the blue twilights, girls came clicking home from their jobs in their clunky heels and miniskirts and opened their apartment windows to the winesap air, and got out ice cubes, and put on Petula Clark singing 'Downtown', and sat down to wait. Soon the young men would come, drifting out of their bachelor apartments in Bermuda shorts and Topsiders, carrying beers and gin and tonics, looking for a refill and a a date and the keeping of promises that hung in the bronze air like fruit on the eve of ripeness.
Anne Rivers Siddons (Downtown)
ONCE, THERE WAS A CHINA RABBIT WHO was loved by a little girl. The rabbit went on an ocean journey and fell overboard and was rescued by a fisherman. He was buried under garbage and unburied by a dog. He traveled for a long time with the hoboes and worked for a short time as a scarecrow. Once, there was a rabbit who loved a little girl and watched her die. The rabbit danced on the streets of Memphis. His head was broken open in a diner and was put together again by a doll mender. And the rabbit swore that he would not make the mistake of loving again. Once there was a rabbit who danced in a garden in springtime with the daughter of the woman who had loved him at the beginning of his journey. The girl swung the rabbit as she danced in circles. Sometimes, they went so fast, the two of them, that it seemed as if they were flying. Sometimes, it seemed as if they both had wings. Once, oh marvelous once, there was a rabbit who found his way home.
Kate DiCamillo (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane)
As Reverend Deal moved into his sermon, the hands of the women unfolded like pairs of raven's wings and flew high above their hats in the air. They did not hear all of what he said;they heard the one word, or phrase, or inflection that was for them the connection between the event and themselves. For some it was the term "Sweet Jesus". And they saw the Lamb's eye and the truly innocent victim: themselves. They acknowledged the innocent child hiding in the corner of their hearts, holding a sugar-and-butter sandwich. That one. The one who lodged deep in their fat, thin, old, young skin, and was the one the world had hurt. Or they thought of their son newly killed and remembered his legs in short pants and wondered where the bullet went in. Or they remembered how dirty the room looked when their father left home and wondered if that is the way the slim, young Jew, he who for them was both son and lover and in whose downy face they could see the sugar-and-butter sandwiches and feel the oldest and most devastating pain there is : not the pain of childhood, but the remembrance of it.
Toni Morrison (Sula)
Mrs Loudon was even more successful than her husband thanks to a single work, Practical Instructions in Gardening for Ladies, published in 1841, which proved to be magnificently timely. It was the first book of any type ever to encourage women of elevated classes to get their hands dirty and even to take on a faint glow of perspiration. This was novel almost to the point of eroticism. Gardening for Ladies bravely insisted that women could manage gardening independent of male supervision if they simply observed a few sensible precautions – working steadily but not too vigorously, using only light tools, never standing on damp ground because of the unhealthful emanations that would rise up through their skirts.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
At 13:57 local time, a low yield nuclear warhead exploded in the city of Chongjin, North Korea. A long standing military target. Chongjin is home to some 532,000 men, women, and children. This city has survived a number of wars. It will not survive this. But her people will. As 13:57 and .00001 microseconds, half a million Koreans seemed to materialize on a hilltop 35 miles away from the blast. They were carried there . . . One at a time, sometimes two . . . At a hair's breadth short of the speed of light . . . By one man . . . The Flash. The Fastest Man Alive.
Joe Kelly (JLA, Vol. 14: Trial by Fire)
Here’s how to get started: 1. Sit still and stay put . Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, or sit cross-legged on a cushion. Sit up straight and rest your hands in your lap. It’s important not to fidget when you meditate—that’s the physical foundation of self-control. If you notice the instinct to scratch an itch, adjust your arms, or cross and uncross your legs, see if you can feel the urge but not follow it. This simple act of staying still is part of what makes meditation willpower training effective. You’re learning not to automatically follow every single impulse that your brain and body produce. 2. Turn your attention to the breath. Close your eyes or, if you are worried about falling asleep, focus your gaze at a single spot (like a blank wall, not the Home Shopping Network). Begin to notice your breathing. Silently say in your mind “inhale” as you breathe in and “exhale” as you breathe out. When you notice your mind wandering (and it will), just bring it back to the breath. This practice of coming back to the breath, again and again, kicks the prefrontal cortex into high gear and quiets the stress and craving centers of your brain . 3. Notice how it feels to breathe, and notice how the mind wanders. After a few minutes, drop the labels “inhale/exhale.” Try focusing on just the feeling of breathing. You might notice the sensations of the breath flowing in and out of your nose and mouth. You might sense the belly or chest expanding as you breathe in, and deflating as you breathe out. Your mind might wander a bit more without the labeling. Just as before, when you notice yourself thinking about something else, bring your attention back to the breath. If you need help refocusing, bring yourself back to the breath by saying “inhale” and “exhale” for a few rounds. This part of the practice trains self-awareness along with self-control. Start with five minutes a day. When this becomes a habit, try ten to fifteen minutes a day. If that starts to feel like a burden, bring it back down to five. A short practice that you do every day is better than a long practice you keep putting off to tomorrow. It may help you to pick a specific time that you will meditate every day, like right before your morning shower. If this is impossible, staying flexible will help you fit it in when you can.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
Ruby and Aaron are both crazy patient; they’re good parents.” “I could be a good dad,” Ivan whispered, still feeding Jess. I could have told him he’d be good at anything he wanted to be good at, but nah. “Do you want to have kids?” he asked me out of the blue. I handed Benny another block. “A long time from now, maybe.” “A long time… like how long?” That had me glancing at Ivan over my shoulder. He had his entire attention on Jessie, and I was pretty sure he was smiling down at her. Huh. “My early thirties, maybe? I don’t know. I might be okay with not having any either. I haven’t really thought about it much, except for knowing I don’t want to have them any time soon, you know what I mean?” “Because of figure skating?” “Why else? I barely have enough time now. I couldn’t imagine trying to train and have kids. My baby daddy would have to be a rich, stay-at-home dad for that to work.” Ivan wrinkled his nose at my niece. “There are at least ten skaters I know with kids.” I rolled my eyes and poked Benny in the side when he held out his little hand for another block. That got me a toothy grin. “I’m not saying it’s impossible. I just wouldn’t want to do it any time soon. I don’t want to half-ass or regret it. If they ever exist, I’d want them to be my priority. I wouldn’t want them to think they were second best.” Because I knew what that felt like. And I’d already screwed up enough with making grown adults I loved think they weren’t important. If I was going to do something, I wanted to do my best and give it everything. All he said was, “Hmm.” A thought came into my head and made my stomach churn. “Why? Are you planning on having kids any time soon?” “I wasn’t,” he answered immediately. “I like this baby though, and that one. Maybe I need to think about it.” I frowned, the feeling in my stomach getting more intense. He kept blabbing. “I could start training my kids really young…. I could coach them. Hmm.” It was my turn to wrinkle my nose. “Three hours with two kids and now you want them?” Ivan glanced down at me with a smirk. “With the right person. I’m not going to have them with just anybody and dilute my blood.” I rolled my eyes at this idiot, still ignoring that weird feeling in my belly that I wasn’t going to acknowledge now or ever. “God forbid, you have kids with someone that’s not perfect. Dumbass.” “Right?” He snorted, looking down at the baby before glancing back at me with a smile I wasn’t a fan of. “They might come out short, with mean, squinty, little eyes, a big mouth, heavy bones, and a bad attitude.” I blinked. “I hope you get abducted by aliens.” Ivan laughed, and the sound of it made me smile. “You would miss me.” All I said, while shrugging was, “Meh. I know I’d get to see you again someday—” He smiled. “—in hell.” That wiped the look right off his face. “I’m a good person. People like me.” “Because they don’t know you. If they did, somebody would have kicked your ass already.” “They’d try,” he countered, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There was something wrong with us. And I didn’t hate it. Not even a little bit.
Mariana Zapata (From Lukov with Love)
Poor old Jean Valjean, of course, loved Cosette only as a father; but, as we noted earlier, into this fatherly love his lonely single status in life had introduced every other kind of love; he loved Cosette as his daughter, and he loved her as his mother, and he loved her as his sister; and, as he had never had either a lover or a wife, as nature is a creditor that does not accept nonpayment, that particular feeling, too, the most indestructible of all, had thrown itself in with the rest, vague, ignorant, heavenly, angelic, divine; less a feeling than an instinct, less an instinct than an attraction, imperceptible and invisible but real; and love, truly called, lay in his enormous tenderness for Cosette the way a vein of gold lies in the mountain, dark and virginal. We should bear in mind that state of the heart that we have already mentioned. Marriage between them was out of the question, even that of souls; and yet it is certain that their destinies had joined together as one. Except for Cosette, that is, except for a child, Jean Valjean had never, in all his long life, known anything about love. Serial passions and love affairs had not laid those successive shades of green over him, fresh green on top of dark green, that you notice on foliage that has come through winter and on men that have passed their fifties. In short, and we have insisted on this more than once, this whole inner fusion, this whole set, the result of which was lofty virtue, had wound up making Jean Valjean a father for Cosette. A strange father, forged out of the grandfather, son, brother, and husband that were all in Jean Valjean; a father in whom there was even a mother; a father who loved Cosette and worshipped her, and for whom that child was light, was home, was his homeland, was paradise.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
The following year the house was substantially remodeled, and the conservatory removed. As the walls of the now crumbling wall were being torn down, one of the workmen chanced upon a small leatherbound book that had apparently been concealed behind a loose brick or in a crevice in the wall. By this time Emily Dickinson was a household name in Amherst. It happened that this carpenter was a lover of poetry- and hers in particular- and when he opened the little book and realized that that he had found her diary, he was “seized with a violent trembling,” as he later told his grandson. Both electrified and terrified by the discovery, he hid the book in his lunch bucket until the workday ended and then took it home. He told himself that after he had read and savored every page, he would turn the diary over to someone who would know how to best share it with the public. But as he read, he fell more and more deeply under the poet’s spell and began to imagine that he was her confidant. He convinced himself that in his new role he was no longer obliged to give up the diary. Finally, having brushed away the light taps of conscience, he hid the book at the back of an oak chest in his bedroom, from which he would draw it out periodically over the course of the next sixty-four years until he had virtually memorized its contents. Even his family never knew of its existence. Shortly before his death in 1980 at the age of eighty-nine, the old man finally showed his most prized possession to his grandson (his only son having preceded him in death), confessing that his delight in it had always been tempered by a nagging guilt and asking that the young man now attempt to atone for his grandfather’s sin. The grandson, however, having inherited both the old man’s passion for poetry and his tendency towards paralysis of conscience, and he readily succumbed to the temptation to hold onto the diary indefinitely while trying to decide what ought to be done with it.
Jamie Fuller (The Diary of Emily Dickinson)
Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain,—the impalpable principle of light and thought, pure as when it left the Creator to inspire the creature: whence it came it will return; perhaps again to be communicated to some being higher than man—perhaps to pass through gradations of glory, from the pale human soul to brighten to the seraph! Surely it will never, on the contrary, be suffered to degenerate from man to fiend? No; I cannot believe that: I hold another creed: which no one ever taught me, and which I seldom mention; but in which I delight, and to which I cling: for it extends hope to all: it makes Eternity a rest—a mighty home, not a terror and an abyss. Besides, with this creed, I can so clearly distinguish between the criminal and his crime; I can so sincerely forgive the first while I abhor the last: with this creed revenge never worries my heart, degradation never too deeply disgusts me, injustice never crushes me too low: I live in calm, looking to the end.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
I’m Still Here Your heart has been heavy since that day— The day you thought I went away— I haven’t left you I never would— You just can’t see me, though I wish that you could. It might ease the pain that you feel in your heart— The pain that you’ve felt since you’ve believed us to part. Try and think of it this way, it might help you see— That I am right here with you and always will be. Remember the times we were out in the yard, You could not always see me yet I hadn’t gone far. That’s how it is now when you look for my face I’m still right beside you still filling my place. I find it to be so very sad, That seeing and believing seem to go hand in hand, The love and the loyalty the warmth that I gave, You felt them, did not see them, but you believed just the same. I walk with you now like I walked with you then— My pain is now gone and I lead once again. My eyes always following you wherever you roam— Making sure you’re okay and you’re never alone. Our time was too short yet for me it goes on— I won’t ever leave you, I’ll never be gone. I live in your heart as you live in mine— An endearing love that continues to shine. The day will come and together we’ll be, And you’ll say take me home boy, and once again I will lead. Until that day comes don’t think that I’ve gone— I’m right here beside you, and my love it lives on.
Sylvia Browne (All Pets Go To Heaven: The Spiritual Lives of the Animals We Love)
December 25, 4:30 p.m. Dear America, It’s been seven hours since you left. Twice now I’ve started to go to your room to ask how you liked your presents and then remembered you weren’t here. I’ve gotten so used to you, it’s strange that you aren’t around, drifting down the halls. I’ve nearly called a few times, but I don’t want to seem possessive. I don’t want you to feel like I’m a cage to you. I remember how you said the palace was just that the first night you came here. I think, over time, you’ve felt freer, and I’d hate to ruin that freedom, I’m going to have to distract myself until you come back. I decided to sit and write to you, hoping maybe it would feel like I was talking to you. It sort of does, I can imagine you sitting here, smiling at my idea, maybe shaking your head at me as if to say I’m being silly. You do that sometimes, did you know? I like that expression on you. You’re the only person who wears it in a way that doesn’t come across like you think I’m completely hopeless. You smile at my idiosyncrasies, accept that they exist, and continue to be my friend. And, in seven short hours, I’ve started to miss that. I’ve wonder what you’ve done in that time. I’m betting by now you’ve flown across the country, made it to your home, and are safe. I hope you are safe. I can’t imagine what a comfort you must be to your family right now. The lovely daughter has finally returned! I keep trying to picture you home. I remember you telling me it was small, that you had a tree house, and that your garage was where you father and sister did all their work. Beyond that I’ve had to resort to my imagination. I imagine you curled up in a hug with you sister or kicking around a ball with your little brother. I remember that, you know? That you said he liked to play ball. I tried to imagine walking into your house with you. I would have liked that, to see you where you grew up. I would love to see you brother run around or be embraced by your mother. I think it would be comforting to sense the presence of people near you, floorboards creaking and doors shutting. I would have liked to sit in one part of the house and still probably be able to smell the kitchen. I’ve always imagined that real homes are full of the aromas of whatever’s being cooked. I wouldn’t do a scrap of work. Nothing having to do with armies or budgets or negotiations. I’d sit with you, maybe try to work on my photography while you played the piano. We’d be Fives together, like you said. I could join your family for dinner, talking over one another in a collection of conversations instead of whispering and waiting our turns. And maybe I’d sleep in a spare bed or on the couch. I’d sleep on the floor beside you if you’d let me. I think about that sometimes. Falling asleep next to you, I mean, like we did in the safe room. It was nice to hear your breaths as they came and went, something quiet and close keeping me from feeling so alone. This letter has gotten foolish, and I think you know how I detest looking like a fool. But still I do. For you. Maxon
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
In my own shire, if I was sad Homely comforters I had: The earth, because my heart was sore, Sorrowed for the son she bore; And standing hills, long to remain, Shared their short-lived comrade's pain. And bound for the same bourn as I, On every road I wandered by, Trod beside me, close and dear, The beautiful and death-struck year: Whether in the woodland brown I heard the beechnut rustle down, And saw the purple crocus pale Flower about the autumn dale; Or littering far the fields of May Lady-smocks a-bleaching lay, And like a skylit water stood The bluebells in the azured wood. Yonder, lightening other loads, The season range the country roads, But here in London streets I ken No such helpmates, only men; And these are not in plight to bear, If they would, another's care. They have enough as 'tis: I see In many an eye that measures me The mortal sickness of a mind Too unhappy to be kind. Undone with misery, all they can Is to hate their fellow man; And till they drop they needs must still Look at you and wish you ill.
A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad)
unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys call asking your cup size, say A, hang up. When he says you gave him blue balls, say you’re welcome. When a girl with thick black curls who smells like bubble gum stops you in a stairwell to ask if you’re a boy, explain that you keep your hair short so she won’t have anything to grab when you head-butt her. Then head-butt her. When a guidance counselor teases you for handed-down jeans, do not turn red. When you have sex for the second time and there is no condom, do not convince yourself that screwing between layers of underwear will soak up the semen. When your geometry teacher posts a banner reading: “Learn math or go home and learn how to be a Momma,” do not take your first feminist stand by leaving the classroom. When the boy you have a crush on is sent to detention, go home. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boy with the blue mohawk swallows your heart and opens his wrists, hide the knives, bleach the bathtub, pour out the vodka. Every time. When the skinhead girls jump you in a bathroom stall, swing, curse, kick, do not turn red. When a boy you think you love delivers the first black eye, use a screw driver, a beer bottle, your two good hands. When your father locks the door, break the window. When a college professor writes you poetry and whispers about your tight little ass, do not take it as a compliment, do not wait, call the Dean, call his wife. When a boy with good manners and a thirst for Budweiser proposes, say no. When your mother hits you, do not strike back. When the boys tell you how good you smell, do not doubt them, do not turn red. When your brother tells you he is gay, pretend you already know. When the girl on the subway curses you because your tee shirt reads: “I fucked your boyfriend,” assure her that it is not true. When your dog pees the rug, kiss her, apologize for being late. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Jersey City, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because you live in Harlem, do not move. When he refuses to stay the night because your air conditioner is broken, leave him. When he refuses to keep a toothbrush at your apartment, leave him. When you find the toothbrush you keep at his apartment hidden in the closet, leave him. Do not regret this. Do not turn red. When your mother hits you, do not strike back.
Jeanann Verlee
The blues don’t jump right on you. They come creeping. Shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn’t experienced since that dusty night in Texas thirty years earlier. It lasted for a year and a half and devastated me. When these moods hit me, usually few will notice—not Mr. Landau, no one I work with in the studio, not the band, never the audience, hopefully not the children—but Patti will observe a freight train bearing down, loaded with nitroglycerin and running quickly out of track. During these periods I can be cruel: I run, I dissemble, I dodge, I weave, I disappear, I return, I rarely apologize, and all the while Patti holds down the fort as I’m trying to burn it down. She stops me. She gets me to the doctors and says, “This man needs a pill.” I do. I’ve been on antidepressants for the last twelve to fifteen years of my life, and to a lesser degree but with the same effect they had for my father, they have given me a life I would not have been able to maintain without them. They work. I return to Earth, home and my family. The worst of my destructive behavior curtails itself and my humanity returns. I was crushed between sixty and sixty-two, good for a year and out again from sixty-three to sixty-four. Not a good record.
Bruce Springsteen (Born to Run)
If a young person is surviving by trading sex for the thing they need, what useful purpose is served by criminalizing that activity? Doesn't everybody have the right to try and survive? it might cost more to create shelters or group homes, drug treatment programs, schools for emancipated minors, counseling services, medical care and job training. But such programs can salvage human lives that are otherwise going to be cut short or wasted. If we can afford massive kiddy porn stings, why can't we afford to do this? Is it because, as a society,we obtain more pleasure out of trying to control young people, and punishing the minors who escape our control, than we would out of taking good care of kids who are in trouble?
Patrick Califia-Rice (Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex)
Marrying cousins was astoundingly common into the nineteenth century, and nowhere is this better illustrated than with the Darwins and their cousins the Wedgwoods (of pottery fame). Charles married his first cousin Emma Wedgwood, daughter of his beloved Uncle Josiah. Darwin's sister Caroline, meanwhile, married Josiah Wedgwood III, Emma's brother and the Darwin siblings' joint first cousin. Another of Emma's brothers, Henry, married not a Darwin but a first cousin from another branch of his own Wedgwood family, adding another strand to the family's wondrously convoluted genetics. Finally, Charles Langton, who was not related to either family, first married Charlotte Wedgwood, another daughter of Josiah and cousin of Charles, and then upon Charlotte's death married Darwin's sister Emily, thus becoming, it seems, his sister-in-law's sister-in-law's husband and raising the possibility that any children of the union would be their own first cousins.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Hence, Orlando and Sasha, as he called her for short, and because it was the name of a white Russian fox he had had as a boy—a creature soft as snow, but with teeth of steel, which bit him so savagely that his father had it killed—hence they had the river to themselves. Hot with skating and with love they would throw themselves down in some solitary reach, where the yellow osiers fringed the bank, and wrapped in a great fur cloak Orlando would take her in his arms, and know, for the first time, he murmured, the delights of love. Then, when the ecstasy was over and they lay lulled in a swoon on the ice, he would tell her of his other loves, and how, compared with her, they had been of wood, of sackcloth, and of cinders. And laughing at his vehemence, she would turn once more in his arms and give him, for love’s sake, one more embrace. And then they would marvel that the ice did not melt with their heat, and pity the poor old woman who had no such natural means of thawing it, but must hack at it with a chopper of cold steel. And then, wrapped in their sables, they would talk of everything under the sun; of sights and travels; of Moor and Pagan; of this man’s beard and that woman’s skin; of a rat that fed from her hand at table; of the arras that moved always in the hall at home; of a face; of a feather. Nothing was too small for such converse, nothing was too great.
Virginia Woolf (Orlando)
If one has been absent for decades from a place that one once held dear, the wise would generally counsel that one should never return there again. History abounds with sobering examples: After decades of wandering the seas and overcoming all manner of deadly hazards, Odysseus finally returned to Ithaca, only to leave it again a few years later. Robinson Crusoe, having made it back to England after years of isolation, shortly thereafter set sail for that very same island from which he had so fervently prayed for deliverance. Why after so many years of longing for home did these sojourners abandon it so shortly upon their return? It is hard to say. But perhaps for those returning after a long absence, the combination of heartfelt sentiments and the ruthless influence of time can only spawn disappointments. The landscape is not as beautiful as one remembered it. The local cider is not as sweet. Quaint buildings have been restored beyond recognition, while fine old traditions have lapsed to make way for mystifying new entertainments. And having imagined at one time that one resided at the very center of this little universe, one is barely recognized, if recognized at all. Thus do the wise counsel that one should steer far and wide of the old homestead. But no counsel, however well grounded in history, is suitable for all. Like bottles of wine, two men will differ radically from each other for being born a year apart or on neighboring hills. By way of example, as this traveler stood before the ruins of his old home, he was not overcome by shock, indignation, or despair. Rather, he exhibited the same smile, at once wistful and serene, that he had exhibited upon seeing the overgrown road. For as it turns out, one can revisit the past quite pleasantly, as long as one does so expecting nearly every aspect of it to have changed.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
My old man 16 years old during the depression I’d come home drunk and all my clothing– shorts, shirts, stockings– suitcase, and pages of short stories would be thrown out on the front lawn and about the street. my mother would be waiting behind a tree: “Henry, Henry, don’t go in . . .he’ll kill you, he’s read your stories . . .” “I can whip his ass . . .” “Henry, please take this . . .and find yourself a room.” but it worried him that I might not finish high school so I’d be back again. one evening he walked in with the pages of one of my short stories (which I had never submitted to him) and he said, “this is a great short story.” I said, “o.k.,” and he handed it to me and I read it. it was a story about a rich man who had a fight with his wife and had gone out into the night for a cup of coffee and had observed the waitress and the spoons and forks and the salt and pepper shakers and the neon sign in the window and then had gone back to his stable to see and touch his favorite horse who then kicked him in the head and killed him. somehow the story held meaning for him though when I had written it I had no idea of what I was writing about. so I told him, “o.k., old man, you can have it.” and he took it and walked out and closed the door. I guess that’s as close as we ever got.
Charles Bukowski (Love Is a Dog from Hell)
On occasion Jobs would use the semi-abandoned Woodside home, especially its swimming pool, for family parties. When Bill Clinton was president, he and Hillary Clinton stayed in the 1950s ranch house on the property on their visits to their daughter, who was at Stanford. Since both the main house and ranch house were unfurnished, Powell would call furniture and art dealers when the Clintons were coming and pay them to furnish the houses temporarily. Once, shortly after the Monica Lewinsky flurry broke, Powell was making a final inspection of the furnishings and noticed that one of the paintings was missing. Worried, she asked the advance team and Secret Service what had happened. One of them pulled her aside and explained that it was a painting of a dress on a hanger, and given the issue of the blue dress in the Lewinsky matter they had decided to hide it. (During one of his late-night phone conversations with Jobs, Clinton asked how he should handle the Lewinsky issue. “I don’t know if you did it, but if so, you’ve got to tell the country,” Jobs told the president. There was silence on the other end of the line.)
Walter Isaacson (Steve Jobs)
Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I’m told. Not doing it the second time I’m told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow. Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I’m old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don’t know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn’t fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that’s not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I’m called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV’s volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I’m going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly’s doll’s hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don’t grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don’t see until it’s too late. Giving my mother’s good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine’s Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don’t fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don’t like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth’s eating a candy bar I didn’t pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn’t put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.
Bob Thurber (Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel)
I'm afraid they're not very well-designed creatures, dragons." Vimes listened. "They would never have survived at all except that their home swamps were isolated and short of predators. Not that a dragon made good eating, anyway-once you'd taken away the leathery skin and the enormous flight muscles, what was left must have been like biting into a badly-run chemical factory. No wonder dragons were always ill. They relied on permanent stomach trouble for supplies of fuel. Most of their brain power was taken up with controlling the complexities of then-digestion, which could distill flame-producing fuels from the most unlikely ingredients. They could even rearrange their internal plumbing overnight to deal with difficult processes. They lived on a chemical knife-edge the whole time. One misplaced hiccup and they were geography. And when it came to choosing nesting sites, the females had all the common sense and mothering instinct of a brick." Vimes wondered why people had been so worried about dragons in the olden days. If there was one in a cave near you, all you had to do was wait until it self-ignited, blew itself up, or died of acute indigestion.
Terry Pratchett (Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch, #1))
Now as I stood on the roof of my house, taking in this unexpected view, it struck me how rather glorious it was that in two thousand years of human activity the only thing that had stirred the notice of the outside world even briefly was the finding of a Roman phallic pendant. The rest was just centuries of people quietly going about their daily business - eating, sleeping, having sex, endeavoring to be amused- and it occurred to me, with the forcefulness of a thought experienced in 360 degrees, that that's really what history mostly is: masses of people doing ordinary things. Even Einstein will have spent large parts of his life thinking about his holidays o new hammock or how dainty was the ankle on the young lady alighting from the tram across the street. These are the sort of things that fill our life and thoughts, and yet we treat them as incidental and hardly worthy of serious consideration. I don't know how many hours of my school years were spent considering the Missouri Compromise or the War of the Roses, but it was vastly more than I was ever encouraged or allowed to give to the history of eating. sleeping, having sex and endeavoring to be amused.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
America's industrial success produced a roll call of financial magnificence: Rockefellers, Morgans, Astors, Mellons, Fricks, Carnegies, Goulds, du Ponts, Belmonts, Harrimans, Huntingtons, Vanderbilts, and many more based in dynastic wealth of essentially inexhaustible proportions. John D. Rockefeller made $1 billion a year, measured in today's money, and paid no income tax. No one did, for income tax did not yet exist in America. Congress tried to introduce an income tax of 2 percent on earnings of $4,000 in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Income tax wouldn't become a regular part of American Life until 1914. People would never be this rich again. Spending all this wealth became for many a more or less full-time occupation. A kind of desperate, vulgar edge became attached to almost everything they did. At one New York dinner party, guests found the table heaped with sand and at each place a little gold spade; upon a signal, they were invited to dig in and search for diamonds and other costly glitter buried within. At another party - possibly the most preposterous ever staged - several dozen horses with padded hooves were led into the ballroom of Sherry's, a vast and esteemed eating establishment, and tethered around the tables so that the guests, dressed as cowboys and cowgirls, could enjoy the novel and sublimely pointless pleasure of dining in a New York ballroom on horseback.
Bill Bryson (At Home: A Short History of Private Life)
Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans. If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.
Robert F. Kennedy
Then there are those who think their bodies don't exist. They live by mechanical time. They rise at seven o'clock in the morning. They eat their lunch at noon and their supper at six. They arrive at their appointments on time, precisely by the clock. They make love between eight and ten at night. They work forty hours a week, read the Sunday paper on Sunday, play chess on Tuesday nights. When their stomach growls, they look at their watch to see if it is time to eat. When they begin to lose themselves in a concert, they look at the clock above the stage to see when it will be time to go home. They know that the body is not a thing of wild magic, but a collection of chemicals, tissues, and nerve impulses. Thoughts are no more than electrical surges in the brain. Sexual arousal is no more than a flow of chemicals to certain nerve endings. Sadness no more than a bit of acid transfixed in the cerebellum. In short, the body is a machine, subject to the same laws of electricity and mechanics as an electron or clock. As such, the body must be addressed in the language of physics. And if the body speaks, it is the speaking only of so many levers and forces. The body is a thing to be ordered, not obeyed.
Alan Lightman
You stand there all tan and glowing and wonder why I use Voice on you?” he bellowed. “Where the hell do you get off? You’ve been with V’lane again. How many slaps in the face do you think I’m going to take, Ms. Lane?” He grabbed my fist and held it when I tried to punch him again. I swung at him with the other. He caught that, too. “I warned you not to play us against each other.” “I’m not playing you! I’m trying to survive. And I don’t slap you when I go off with V’lane!” I tried to yank my fists from his hands. “It doesn’t have anything to do with you. I’m trying to get answers, and since you won’t give me any, you can’t blame me for going somewhere else.” “So, the man who doesn’t get laid at home has the right to go off and cheat?” “Huh?” “Which word didn’t you understand?” he sneered. “You’re the one who’s crippled by illogic. This isn’t home, it never will be, and nobody’s getting laid!” I practically shouted. “You think I don’t know that?” He shifted his body beneath me, making me painfully aware of something. Two somethings, in fact, one of which was how far up my short skirt was. The other wasn’t my problem. I wriggled, to shimmy my hem down, but his expression perished the thought. When Barrons looks at me like that, it rattles me. Lust, in those ancient, obsidian eyes, offers no trace of humanity. Doesn’t even bother trying. Savage Mac wants to invite it to come out and play. I think she’s nuts. Nuts, I tell you. “Let go of my hands.” “Make me,” he taunted. “Voice me, Ms. Lane. Come on, little girl, show me some power.” Little girl, my ass.
Karen Marie Moning (Faefever (Fever, #3))
Strange memories on this nervous night in Las Vegas. Five years later? Six? It seems like a lifetime, or at least a Main Era—the kind of peak that never comes again. San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.… History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of "history" it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time—and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened. My central memory of that time seems to hang on one or five or maybe forty nights—or very early mornings—when I left the Fillmore half-crazy and, instead of going home, aimed the big 650 Lightning across the Bay Bridge at a hundred miles an hour wearing L. L. Bean shorts and a Butte sheepherder's jacket… booming through the Treasure Island tunnel at the lights of Oakland and Berkeley and Richmond, not quite sure which turn-off to take when I got to the other end (always stalling at the toll-gate, too twisted to find neutral while I fumbled for change)... but being absolutely certain that no matter which way I went I would come to a place where people were just as high and wild as I was: No doubt at all about that… There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda.… You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.… And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn't need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.… So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
The end of this short story could be a rather disturbing thing, if it came true. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to COMMENT and SHARE. Paradoxes of Destiny? Dani! My boy! Are you all right? Where are you? Have you hurt yourself? Are you all right? Daniiii! Why won’t you answer? It’s so cold and dark here. I can’t see a thing… It’s so silent. Dani? Can you hear me? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving… I shouldn’t have done it! I'm so stupid sometimes! Son, are you all right?... We really wrecked the car when we rolled it! I can’t see or hear a thing… Am I in hospital? Am I dead…? Dani? Your silence is killing me… Are you all right?! I can see a glimmer of light. I feel trapped. Dani, are you there? I can’t move. It’s like I’m wrapped in this mossy green translucent plastic. I have to get out of here. The light is getting more and more intense. I think I can tear the wrapping that’s holding me in. I'm almost out. The light is blinding me. What a strange place. I've never seen anything like it. It doesn’t look like Earth. Am I dead? On another planet? Oh God, look at those hideous monsters! They’re so creepy and disgusting! They look like extraterrestrials. They’re aliens! I'm on another planet! I can’t believe it. I need to get the hell out here. Those monsters are going to devour me. I have to get away. I’m so scared. Am I floating? Am I flying? I’m going to go higher to try to escape. I can’t see the aliens anymore and the landscape looks less terrifying. I think I've made it. It’s very windy. Is that a highway? I think I can see some vehicles down there. Could they be the extraterrestrials’ transport? I’m going to go down a bit. I see people! Am I on Earth? Could this be a parallel universe? Where could Dani be? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving. I shouldn’t… That tower down there looks a lot like the water tank in my town… It’s identical. But the water tank in my town doesn’t have that huge tower block next to it. It all looks very similar to my neighborhood, but it isn’t exactly the same: there are a lot of tower blocks here. There’s the river… and the factory. It’s definitely my neighborhood, but it looks kind of different. I must be in a parallel universe… It’s amazing that I can float. People don’t seem to notice my presence. Am I a ghost? I have to get back home and see if Dani’s there. God, I hope he’s safe and sound. Gabriela must be out of her mind with the crash. There’s my house! Home sweet home. And whose are those cars? The front of the house has been painted a different color… This is all so strange! There’s someone in the garden… Those trees I planted in the spring have really grown. Is… is that… Dani? Yes, yes! It’s Dani. But he looks so different… He looks older, he looks… like a big boy! What’s important is that he’s OK. I need to hug him tight and tell him how much I love him. Can he see me if I’m a ghost? I'll go up to him slowly so I don’t scare him. I need to hold him tight. He can’t see me, I won’t get any closer. He moved his head, I think he’s started to realize I’m here… Wow I’m so hungry all of a sudden! I can’t stop! How are you doing, son?! It’s me! Your dad! My dear boy? I can’t stop! I'm too hungry! Ahhhh, so delicious! What a pleasure! Nooo Daniii! Nooooo!.... I’m your daaaad!... Splat!... “Mum, bring the insect repellent, the garden’s full of mosquitoes,” grunted Daniel as he wiped the blood from the palm of his hand on his trousers. Gabriela was just coming out. She did an about turn and went back into her house, and shouted “Darling, bring the insect repellent, it’s on the fireplace…” Absolute cold and silence… THE END (1) This note is for those who have read EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY. This story is a spin-off of the novel EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY and revolves around Letus’s curious theories about the possibility of animal reincarnation.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)
Why is it that because ye use hard drugs every cunt feels that they have a right tae dissect and analyse ye? Once ye accept that they huv that right, ye’ll join them in the search fir this holy grail, this thing that makes ye tick. Ye’ll then defer tae them, allowin yersel tae be conned intae believin any biscuit-ersed theory ay behaviour they choose tae attach tae ye. Then yir theirs, no yir ain; the dependency shifts from the drug to them. Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae’s behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah’m gaunnae huv a short life, am ay sound mind etcetera, etcetera, but still want tae use smack? They won’t let ye dae it. They won’t let ye dae it, because it’s seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye’ve produced. Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it’s thair fuckin problem. As Harry Lauder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road …
Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting)
Now what we call "bourgeois," when regarded as an element always to be found in human life, is nothing else than the search for a balance. It is the striving after a mean between the countless extremes and opposites that arise in human conduct. If we take any one of these coupled opposites, such as piety and profligacy, the analogy is immediately comprehensible. It is open to a man to give himself up wholly to spiritual views, to seeking after God, to the ideal of saintliness. On the other hand, he can equally give himself up entirely to the life of instinct, to the lusts of the flesh, and so direct all his efforts to the attainment of momentary pleasures. The one path leads to the saint, to the martyrdom of the spirit and surrender to God. The other path leads to the profligate, to the martyrdom of the flesh, the surrender to corruption. Now it is between the two, in the middle of the road, that the bourgeois seeks to walk. He will never surrender himself either to lust or to asceticism. He will never be a martyr or agree to his own destruction. On the contrary, his ideal is not to give up but to maintain his own identity. He strives neither for the saintly nor its opposite. The absolute is his abhorrence. He may be ready to serve God, but not by giving up the fleshpots. He is ready to be virtuous, but likes to be easy and comfortable in this world as well. In short, his aim is to make a home for himself between two extremes in a temperate zone without violent storms and tempests; and in this he succeeds though it be at the cost of that intensity of life and feeling which an extreme life affords. A man cannot live intensely except at the cost of the self. Now the bourgeois treasures nothing more highly than the self (rudimentary as his may be). And so at the cost of intensity he achieves his own preservation and security. His harvest is a quiet mind which he prefers to being possessed by God, as he does comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to that deathly inner consuming fire. The bourgeois is consequently by nature a creature of weak impulses, anxious, fearful of giving himself away and easy to rule. Therefore, he has substituted majority for power, law for force, and the polling booth for responsibility.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
Until fairly recently, every family had a cornucopia of favorite home remedies--plants and household items that could be prepared to treat minor medical emergencies, or to prevent a common ailment becoming something much more serious. Most households had someone with a little understanding of home cures, and when knowledge fell short, or more serious illness took hold, the family physician or village healer would be called in for a consultation, and a treatment would be agreed upon. In those days we took personal responsibility for our health--we took steps to prevent illness and were more aware of our bodies and of changes in them. And when illness struck, we frequently had the personal means to remedy it. More often than not, the treatment could be found in the garden or the larder. In the middle of the twentieth century we began to change our outlook. The advent of modern medicine, together with its many miracles, also led to a much greater dependency on our physicians and to an increasingly stretched healthcare system. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry has meant that there are indeed "cures" for most symptoms, and we have become accustomed to putting our health in the hands of someone else, and to purchasing products that make us feel good. Somewhere along the line we began to believe that technology was in some way superior to what was natural, and so we willingly gave up control of even minor health problems.
Karen Sullivan (The Complete Family Guide to Natural Home Remedies: Safe and Effective Treatments for Common Ailments)
What is the most helpful thing we can do for the earth and her people, Kuan Yin?” “Kuan Yin is changing shape in response to your question, Hope. I’m not sure what this particular shape-shifting means, if it is an answer in itself or if she is adjusting to the question” Lena contemplates. “I’ll just watch for a moment and try to understand.” “Loving people is the most helpful thing anyone can do,” Kuan Yin answers after a short while. “Your society has the resources, at this very moment, to fashion industries and lifestyles conducive to a non-harmful environment. There is a popular belief that over-population is the threat to the earth’s environment. However, for many places upon the earth it is also very much a question of resource availability and distribution. There is a real need for creating a holistic infrastructure that can support everyone. A helpful mindset is simple-living and high-thinking”, continues Kuan Yin. “Science is constantly evolving. There are now recyclable batteries, ink cartridges, etc. Keep up to date on the latest technologies. Be aware, set examples and create trends that will positively influence people’s lives and the environment. As I said earlier, however, this is also a discussion about love and developing a greater capacity to love. It can help everyone. We’re all one huge family, a great continuum. Don’t underestimate the power of the love created in your homes and families. This love has an immense potency, the power to influence others lives in a positive way.
Hope Bradford (Oracle of Compassion: The Living Word of Kuan Yin)
Mother-daughter relationships can be complicated and fraught with the effects of moments from the past. My mom knew this and wanted me to know it too. On one visit home, I found an essay from the Washington Post by the linguistics professor Deborah Tannen that had been cut out and left on my desk. My mom, and her mom before her, loved clipping newspaper articles and cartoons from the paper to send to Barbara and me. This article was different. Above it, my mom had written a note: “Dear Benny”—I was “Benny” from the time I was a toddler; the family folklore was that when we were babies, a man approached my parents, commenting on their cute baby boys, and my parents played along, pretending our names were Benjamin and Beauregard, later shorted to Benny and Bo. In her note, my mom confessed to doing many things that the writer of this piece had done: checking my hair, my appearance. As a teenager, I was continually annoyed by some of her requests: comb your hair; pull up your jeans (remember when low-rise jeans were a thing? It was not a good look, I can assure you!). “Your mother may assume it goes without saying that she is proud of you,” Deborah Tannen wrote. “Everyone knows that. And everyone probably also notices that your bangs are obscuring your vision—and their view of your eyes. Because others won’t say anything, your mother may feel it’s her obligation to tell you.” In leaving her note and the clipping, my mom was reminding me that she accepted and loved me—and that there is no perfect way to be a mother. While we might have questioned some of the things our mother said, we never questioned her love.
Jenna Bush Hager (Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life)
When I stopped viewing girls as potential girlfriends and started treating them as sisters in Christ, I discovered the richness of true friendship. When I stopped worrying about who I was going to marry and began to trust God’s timing, I uncovered the incredible potential of serving God as a single. . . . I believe the time has come for Christians, male and female, to own up to the mess we’ve left behind in our selfish pursuit of short-term romance. Dating may seem an innocent game, but as I see it, we are sinning against each other. What excuse will we have when God asks us to account for our actions and attitudes in relationships? If God sees a sparrow fall (Matthew 10:29), do you think He could possibly overlook the broken hearts and scarred emotions we cause in relationships based on selfishness? Everyone around us may be playing the dating game. But at the end of our lives, we won’t answer to everyone. We’ll answer to God. . . . Long before Seventeen magazine ever gave teenagers tips on dating, people did things very differently. At the turn of the twentieth century, a guy and girl became romantically involved only if they planned to marry. If a young man spent time at a girl’s home, family and friends assumed that he intended to propose to her. But shifting attitudes in culture and the arrival of the automobile brought radical changes. The new “rules” allowed people to indulge in all the thrills of romantic love without having any intention of marriage. Author Beth Bailey documents these changes in a book whose title, From Front Porch to Backseat, says everything about the difference in society’s attitude when dating became the norm. Love and romance became things people could enjoy solely for their recreational value. Though much has changed since the 1920s, the tendency of dating relationships to move toward intimacy without commitment remains very much the same. . . . Many of the attitudes and practices of today’s dating relationships conflict with the lifestyle of smart love God wants us to live.
Joshua Harris
Forget bringing the troops home from Iraq. We need to get the troops home from World War II. Can anybody tell me why, in 2009, we still have more than sixty thousand troops in Germany and thirty thousand in Japan? At some point, these people are going to have to learn to rape themselves. Our soldiers have been in Germany so long they now wear shorts with black socks. You know that crazy soldier hiding in the cave on Iwo Jima who doesn’t know the war is over? That’s us. Bush and Cheney used to love to keep Americans all sphinctered-up on the notion that terrorists might follow us home. But actually, we’re the people who go to your home and then never leave. Here’s the facts: The Republic of America has more than five hundred thousand military personnel deployed on more than seven hundred bases, with troops in one hundred fifty countries—we’re like McDonald’s with tanks—including thirty-seven European countries—because you never know when Portugal might invade Euro Disney. And this doesn’t even count our secret torture prisons, which are all over the place, but you never really see them until someone brings you there—kinda like IHOP. Of course, Americans would never stand for this in reverse—we can barely stand letting Mexicans in to do the landscaping. Can you imagine if there were twenty thousand armed Guatemalans on a base in San Ber-nardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber. And why? How did this country get stuck with an empire? I’m not saying we’re Rome. Rome had good infrastructure. But we are an empire, and the reason is because once America lands in a country, there is no exit strategy. We’re like cellulite, herpes, and Irish relatives: We are not going anywhere. We love you long time!
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
I was never a child; I never had a childhood. I cannot count among my memories warm, golden days of childish intoxication, long joyous hours of innocence, or the thrill of discovering the universe anew each day. I learned of such things later on in life from books. Now I guess at their presence in the children I see. I was more than twenty when I first experienced something similar in my self, in chance moments of abandonment, when I was at peace with the world. Childhood is love; childhood is gaiety; childhood knows no cares. But I always remember myself, in the years that have gone by, as lonely, sad, and thoughtful. Ever since I was a little boy I have felt tremendously alone―and "peculiar". I don't know why. It may have been because my family was poor or because I was not born the way other children are born; I cannot tell. I remember only that when I was six or seven years old a young aunt of mind called me vecchio―"old man," and the nickname was adopted by all my family. Most of the time I wore a long, frowning face. I talked very little, even with other children; compliments bored me; baby-talk angered me. Instead of the noisy play of the companions of my boyhood I preferred the solitude of the most secluded corners of our dark, cramped, poverty-stricken home. I was, in short, what ladies in hats and fur coats call a "bashful" or a "stubborn" child; and what our women with bare heads and shawls, with more directness, call a rospo―a "toad." They were right. I must have been, and I was, utterly unattractive to everybody. I remember, too, that I was well aware of the antipathy I aroused. It made me more "bashful," more "stubborn," more of a "toad" than ever. I did not care to join in the games played by other boys, but preferred to stand apart, watching them with jealous eyes, judging them, hating them. It wasn't envy I felt at such times: it was contempt; it was scorn. My warfare with men had begun even then and even there. I avoided people, and they neglected me. I did not love them, and they hated me. At play in the parks some of the boys would chase me; others would laugh at me and call me names. At school they pulled my curls or told the teachers tales about me. Even on my grandfather's farm in the country peasant brats threw stones at me without provocation, as if they felt instinctively that I belonged to some other breed.
Giovanni Papini (Un uomo finito)
Do not fear the ghosts in this house; they are the least of your worries. Personally I find the noises they make reassuring. The creaks and footsteps in the night, their little tricks of hiding things, or moving them, I find endearing, not upsettling. It makes the place feel so much more like a home. Inhabited. Apart from ghosts nothing lives here for long. No cats no mice, no flies, no dreams, no bats. Two days ago I saw a butterfly, a monarch I believe, which danced from room to room and perched on walls and waited near to me. There are no flowers in this empty place, and, scared the butterfly would starve, I forced a window wide, cupped my two hands around her fluttering self, feeling her wings kiss my palms so gentle, and put her out, and watched her fly away. I've little patience with the seasons here, but your arrival eased this winter's chill. Please, wander round. Explore it all you wish. I've broken with tradition on some points. If there is one locked room here, you'll never know. You'll not find in the cellar's fireplace old bones or hair. You'll find no blood. Regard: just tools, a washing-machine, a drier, a water-heater, and a chain of keys. Nothing that can alarm you. Nothing dark. I may be grim, perhaps, but only just as grim as any man who suffered such affairs. Misfortune, carelessness or pain, what matters is the loss. You'll see the heartbreak linger in my eyes, and dream of making me forget what came before you walked into the hallway of this house. Bringing a little summer in your glance, and with your smile. While you are here, of course, you will hear the ghosts, always a room away, and you may wake beside me in the night, knowing that there's a space without a door, knowing that there's a place that's locked but isn't there. Hearing them scuffle, echo, thump and pound. If you are wise you'll run into the night, fluttering away into the cold, wearing perhaps the laciest of shifts. The lane's hard flints will cut your feet all bloody as you run, so, if I wished, I could just follow you, tasting the blood and oceans of your tears. I'll wait instead, here in my private place, and soon I'll put a candle in the window, love, to light your way back home. The world flutters like insects. I think this is how I shall remember you, my head between the white swell of your breasts, listening to the chambers of your heart.
Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders)
She could smell the wrongness in the air and it made her wolf nervous. It felt like something was watching them, as if the wrongness had an intelligence— and it didn't help to remember that at least one of the people they were hunting could hide from their senses. Anna fought the urge to turn around, to take Charles's hand or slide under his arm and let his presence drive away the wrongness. Once, she would have, but now she had the uneasy feeling that he might back away as he almost had when she sat on his lap in the boat, before Brother Wolf had taken over. Maybe he was just tired of her. She had been telling everyone that there was something wrong with him...but Bran knew his son and thought the problem was her. Bran was smart and perceptive; she ought to have considered that he was right. Charles was old. He'd seen and experienced so much—next to him she was just a child. His wolf had chosen her without consulting Charles at all. Maybe he'd have preferred someone who knew more. Someone beautiful and clever who... "Anna?" said Charles. "What's wrong? Are you crying?" He moved in front of her and stopped, forcing her to stop walking, too. She opened her mouth and his fingers touched her wet cheeks. "Anna," he said, his body going still. "Call on your wolf." "You should have someone stronger," she told him miserably. "Someone who could help you when you need it, instead of getting sent home because I can't endure what you have to do. If I weren't Omega, if I were dominant like Sage, I could have helped you." "There is no one stronger," Charles told her. "It's the taint from the black magic. Call your wolf." "You don't want me anymore," she whispered. And once the words were out she knew they were true. He would say the things that he thought she wanted to hear because he was a kind man. But they would be lies. The truth was in the way he closed down the bond between them so she wouldn't hear things that would hurt her. Charles was a dominant wolf and dominant wolves were driven to protect those weaker than themselves. And he saw her as so much weaker. "I love you," he told her. "Now, call your wolf." She ignored his order—he knew better than to give her orders. He said he loved her; it sounded like the truth. But he was old and clever and Anna knew that, when push came to shove, he could lie and make anyone believe it. Knew it because he lied to her now—and it sounded like the truth. "I'm sorry," she told him. "I'll go away—" And suddenly her back was against a tree and his face was a hairsbreadth from hers. His long hot body was pressed against her from her knees to her chest—he'd have to bend to do that. He was a lot taller than her, though she wasn't short. Anna shuddered as the warmth of his body started to penetrate the cold that had swallowed hers. Charles waited like a hunter, waited for her to wiggle and see that she was truly trapped. Waited while she caught her breathe. Waited until she looked into his eyes. Then he snarled at her. "You are not leaving me." It was an order, and she didn't have to follow anyone's orders. That was part of being Omega instead of a regular werewolf—who might have had a snowball's chance in hell of being a proper mate. "You need someone stronger," Anna told him again. "So you wouldn't have to hide when you're hurt. So you could trust your mate to take care of herself and help, damn it, instead of having to protect me from whatever you are hiding." She hated crying. Tears were weaknesses that could be exploited and they never solves a damn thing. Sobs gathered in her chest like a rushing tide and she needed to get away from him before she broke. Instead of fighting his grip, she tried to slide out of it. "I need to go," she said to his chest. "I need—" His mouth closed over hers, hot and hungry, warming her mouth as his body warmed her body. "Me," Charles said, his voice dark and gravelly as if it had traveled up from the bottom of the earth,...
Patricia Briggs (Fair Game (Alpha & Omega, #3))
Galen slides into his desk, unsettled by the way the sturdy blond boy talking to Emma casually rests his arm on the back of her seat. "Good morning," Galen says, leaning over to wrap his arms around her, nearly pulling her from the chair. He even rests his cheek against hers for good measure. "Good morning...er, Mark, isn't it?" he says, careful to keep his voice pleasant. Still, he glances meaningfully at the masculine arm still lining the back of Emma's seat, almost touching her. To his credit-and safety-Mark eases the offending limb back to his own desk, offering Emma a lazy smile full of strikingly white teeth. "You and Forza, huh? Did you clear that with his groupies?" She laughs and gently pries Galen's arms off her. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the eruption of pink spreading like spilled paint over her face. She's not used to dating him yet. Until about ten minutes ago, he wasn't used to it either. Now though, with the way Mark eyes her like a tasty shellfish, playing the role of Emma's boyfriend feels all too natural. The bell rings, saving Emma from a reply and saving Mark thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Emma shoots Galen a withering look, which he deflects with that he hopes is an enchanting grin. He measures his success by the way her blush deepens but stops short when he notices the dark circles under her eyes. She didn't sleep last night. Not that he thought she would. She'd been quiet on the flight home from Destin two nights ago. He didn't pressure her to talk about it with him, mostly because he didn't know what to say once the conversation got started. So many times, he's started to assure her that he doesn't see her as an abomination, but it seems wrong to say it out loud. Like he's willfully disagreeing with the law. But how could those delicious-looking lips and those huge violet eyes be considered an abomination? What's even crazier is that not only does he not consider her an abomination, the fact that she could be a Half-Breed ignited a hope in him he's got no right to feel: Grom would never mate with a half human. At least, Galen doesn't think he would. He glances at Emma, whose silky eyelids don't even flutter in her state of light sleep. When he clears his throat, she startles. "Thank you," she mouths to him as she picks her pencil back up, using the eraser to trace the lines in her textbook as she reads. He acknowledges with a nod. He doesn't want to leave her like this, anxious and tense and out of place in her own beautiful skin.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
One of my greatest concerns for the young women of the Church is that they will sell themselves short in dating and marriage by forgetting who they really are--daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. . . . Unfortunately, a young woman who lowers her standards far enough can always find temporary acceptance from immature and unworthy young men. . . . At their best, daughters of God are loving, caring, understanding, and sympathetic. This does not mean they are also gullible, unrealistic, or easily manipulated. If a young man does not measure up to the standards a young woman has set, he may promise her that he will change if she will marry him first. Wise daughters of God will insist that young men who seek their hand in marriage change before the wedding, not after. (I am referring here to the kind of change that will be part of the lifelong growth of every disciple.) He may argue that she doesn't really believe in repentance and forgiveness. But one of the hallmarks of repentance is forsaking sin. Especially when the sin involves addictive behaviors or a pattern of transgression, wise daughters of God insist on seeing a sustained effort to forsake sin over a long period of time as true evidence of repentance. They do not marry someone because they believe they can change him. Young women, please do not settle for someone unworthy of your gospel standards. On the other hand, young women should not refuse to settle down. There is no right age for young men or young women to marry, but there is a right attitude for them to have about marriage: "Thy will be done" . . . . The time to marry is when we are prepared to meet a suitable mate, not after we have done all the enjoyable things in life we hoped to do while we were single. . . . When I hear some young men and young women set plans in stone which do not include marriage until after age twenty-five or thirty or until a graduate degree has been obtained, I recall Jacob's warning, "Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand" (Jacob 4:10). . . . How we conduct ourselves in dating relationships is a good indication of how we will conduct ourselves in a marriage relationship. . . . Individuals considering marriage would be wise to conduct their own prayerful due diligence--long before they set their hearts on marriage. There is nothing wrong with making a T-square diagram and on either side of the vertical line listing the relative strengths and weaknesses of a potential mate. I sometimes wonder whether doing more homework when it comes to this critical decision would spare some Church members needless heartache. I fear too many fall in love with each other or even with the idea of marriage before doing the background research necessary to make a good decision. It is sad when a person who wants to be married never has the opportunity to marry. But it is much, much sadder to be married to the wrong person. If you do not believe me, talk with someone who has made that mistake. Think carefully about the person you are considering marrying, because marriage should last for time and for all eternity.
Robert D. Hales (Return: Four Phases of our Mortal Journey Home)
Footsteps from the stairwell startle him out of the past. He turns around as Emma's mother takes the last step into the dining area, Emma right behind her. Mrs. McIntosh glides over and puts her arm around him. The smile on her face is genuine, but Emma's smile is more like a straight line. And she's blushing. "Galen, it's very nice to meet you," she says, ushering him into the kitchen. "Emma tells me you're taking her to the beach behind your house today. To swim?" "Yes, ma'am." Her transformation makes him wary. She smiles. "Well, good luck with getting her in the water. Since I'm a little pressed for time, I can't follow you over there, so I just need to see your driver's license while Emma runs outside to get your plate number." Emma rolls her eyes as she shuffles through a drawer and pulls out a pen and paper. She slams the door behind her when she leaves, which shakes the dishes on the wall. Galen nods, pulls out his wallet, and hands over the fake license. Mrs. McIntosh studies it and rummages through her purse until she produces a pen-which she uses to write on her hand. “Just need your license number in case we ever have any problems. But we’re not going to have any problems, are we, Galen? Because you’ll always have my daughter-my only daughter-home on time, isn’t that right?” He nods, then swallows. She holds out his license. When he accepts it, she grabs his wrist, pulling him close. She glances at the garage door and back to him. “Tell me right now, Galen Forza. Are you or are you not dating my daughter?” Great. She still doesn’t believe Emma. If she won’t believe them anyway, why keep trying to convince her? If she thinks they’re dating, the time he intends to spend with Emma will seem normal. But if they spend time together and tell her they’re not dating, she’ll be nothing but suspicious. Possibly even spy on them-which is less than ideal. So, dating Emma is the only way to make sure she mates with Grom. Things just get better and better. “Yes,” he says. “We’re definitely dating.” She narrows her eyes. “Why would she tell me you’re not?” He shrugs. “Maybe she’s ashamed of me.” To his surprise, she chuckles. “I seriously doubt that, Galen Forza.” Her humor is short lived. She grabs a fistful of his T-shirt. “Are you sleeping with her?” Sleeping…Didn’t Rachel say sleeping and mating are the same thing? Dating and mating are similar. But sleeping and mating are the same exact same. He shakes his head. “No, ma’am.” She raises a no-nonsense brow. “Why not? What’s wrong with my daughter?” That is unexpected. He suspects this woman can sense a lie like Toraf can track Rayna. All she’s looking for is honesty, but the real truth would just get him arrested. I’m crazy about your daughter-I’m just saving her for my brother. So he seasons his answer with the frankness she seems to crave. “There’s nothing wrong with your daughter, Mrs. McIntosh. I said we’re not sleeping together. I didn’t say I didn’t want to.” She inhales sharply and releases him. Clearing her throat, she smoothes out his wrinkled shirt with her hand, then pats his chest. “Good answer, Galen. Good answer.” Emma flings open the garage door and stops short. “Mom, what are you doing?” Mrs. McIntosh steps away and stalks to the counter. “Galen and I were just chitchatting. What took you so long?” Galen guesses her ability to sense a lie probably has something to do with her ability to tell one. Emma shoots him a quizzical look, but he returns a casual shrug. Her mother grabs a set of keys from a hook by the refrigerator and nudges her daughter out of the way, but not before snatching the paper out of her hand.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Boney freckled knees pressed into bits of bark and stone, refusing to feel any more pain. Her faded t-shirt hugged her protruding ribs as she held on, hunched in silence. A lone tear followed the lumpy tracks down her cheek, jumped from her quivering jaw onto a thirsty browned leaf with a thunderous plop. Then the screen door squeaked open and she took flight. Crispy twigs snapped beneath her bare feet as she ran deeper and deeper into the woods behind the house. She heard him rumbling and calling her name, his voice fueling her tired muscles to go faster, to survive. He knew her path by now. He was ready for the hunt. The clanging unbuckled belt boomed in her ears as he gained on her. The woods were thin this time of year, not much to hide behind. If she couldn’t outrun him, up she would go. Young trees teased her in this direction, so she moved east towards the evergreens. Hunger and hurt left her no choice, she had to stop running soon. She grabbed the first tree with a branch low enough to reach, and up she went. The pine trees were taller here, older, but the branches were too far apart for her to reach. She chose the wrong tree. His footsteps pounded close by. She stood as tall as her little legs could, her bloodied fingers reaching, stretching, to no avail. A cry of defeat slipped from her lips, a knowing laugh barked from his. She would pay for this dearly. She didn’t know whether the price was more than she could bear. Her eyes closed, her next breath came out as Please, and an inky hand reached down from the lush needles above, wound its many fingers around hers, and pulled her up. Another hand, then another, grabbing her arms, her legs, firmly but gently, pulling her up, up, up. The rush of green pine needles and black limbs blurred together, then a flash of cobalt blue fluttered by, heading down. She looked beyond her dangling bare feet to see a flock of peculiar birds settle on the branches below her, their glossy feathers flickered at once and changed to the same greens and grays of the tree they perched upon, camouflaging her ascension. Her father’s footsteps below came to a stomping end, and she knew he was listening for her. Tracking her, trapping her, like he did the other beasts of the forest. He called her name once, twice. The third time’s tone not quite as friendly. The familiar slide–click sound of him readying his gun made her flinch before he had his chance to shoot at the sky. A warning. He wasn’t done with her. His feet crunched in circles around the tree, eventually heading back home. Finally, she exhaled and looked up. Dozens of golden-eyed creatures surrounded her from above. Covered in indigo pelts, with long limbs tipped with mint-colored claws, they seemed to move as one, like a heartbeat. As if they shared a pulse, a train of thought, a common sense. “Thank you,” she whispered, and the beasts moved in a wave to carefully place her on a thick branch.
Kim Bongiorno (Part of My World: Short Stories)
ESTABLISHING A DAILY MEDITATION First select a suitable space for your regular meditation. It can be wherever you can sit easily with minimal disturbance: a corner of your bedroom or any other quiet spot in your home. Place a meditation cushion or chair there for your use. Arrange what is around so that you are reminded of your meditative purpose, so that it feels like a sacred and peaceful space. You may wish to make a simple altar with a flower or sacred image, or place your favorite spiritual books there for a few moments of inspiring reading. Let yourself enjoy creating this space for yourself. Then select a regular time for practice that suits your schedule and temperament. If you are a morning person, experiment with a sitting before breakfast. If evening fits your temperament or schedule better, try that first. Begin with sitting ten or twenty minutes at a time. Later you can sit longer or more frequently. Daily meditation can become like bathing or toothbrushing. It can bring a regular cleansing and calming to your heart and mind. Find a posture on the chair or cushion in which you can easily sit erect without being rigid. Let your body be firmly planted on the earth, your hands resting easily, your heart soft, your eyes closed gently. At first feel your body and consciously soften any obvious tension. Let go of any habitual thoughts or plans. Bring your attention to feel the sensations of your breathing. Take a few deep breaths to sense where you can feel the breath most easily, as coolness or tingling in the nostrils or throat, as movement of the chest, or rise and fall of the belly. Then let your breath be natural. Feel the sensations of your natural breathing very carefully, relaxing into each breath as you feel it, noticing how the soft sensations of breathing come and go with the changing breath. After a few breaths your mind will probably wander. When you notice this, no matter how long or short a time you have been away, simply come back to the next breath. Before you return, you can mindfully acknowledge where you have gone with a soft word in the back of your mind, such as “thinking,” “wandering,” “hearing,” “itching.” After softly and silently naming to yourself where your attention has been, gently and directly return to feel the next breath. Later on in your meditation you will be able to work with the places your mind wanders to, but for initial training, one word of acknowledgment and a simple return to the breath is best. As you sit, let the breath change rhythms naturally, allowing it to be short, long, fast, slow, rough, or easy. Calm yourself by relaxing into the breath. When your breath becomes soft, let your attention become gentle and careful, as soft as the breath itself. Like training a puppy, gently bring yourself back a thousand times. Over weeks and months of this practice you will gradually learn to calm and center yourself using the breath. There will be many cycles in this process, stormy days alternating with clear days. Just stay with it. As you do, listening deeply, you will find the breath helping to connect and quiet your whole body and mind. Working with the breath is an excellent foundation for the other meditations presented in this book. After developing some calm and skills, and connecting with your breath, you can then extend your range of meditation to include healing and awareness of all the levels of your body and mind. You will discover how awareness of your breath can serve as a steady basis for all you do.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)