Sour People Quotes

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When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad... you should do what I do! Just tell yourself, Duckie, you're really quite lucky! Some people are much more... oh, ever so much more... oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!
Dr. Seuss (Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? (Classic Seuss))
Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy, but now they call this free will. At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.
Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)
As you go about your daily life, you will encounter many lemons. Sour expressions, sour attitudes, sour auras! The good thing is that if you don't want to be a lemon, you don't have to be! Just don't let those lemons rub themselves all over you! And you don't even have to save them! Let lemons be lemons! One of the most important things that I have ever learned, is that I don't have to save people.
C. JoyBell C.
…in that moment, as he saw and smelled how irresistible its effect was and how with lightning speed it spread and made captives of the people all around him—in that moment his whole disgust for humankind rose up again within him and completely soured his triumph, so that he felt not only no joy, but not even the least bit of satisfaction. What he had always longed for—that other people should love him—became at the moment of his achievement unbearable, because he did not love them himself, he hated them. And suddenly he knew that he had never found gratification in love, but always only in hatred—in hating and in being hated.
Patrick Süskind (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer)
Heroes are more than just stories, they’re people. And people are complicated; people are strange. Nobody is a hero through and through, there’s always something in them that’ll turn sour... you’ll learn it one day. There are no heroes, only villains who win.
Joel Cornah (The Sea-Stone Sword)
Suicide is just a moment, Lexy told me. This is how she described it to me. For just a moment, it doesn't matter that you've got people who love you and the sun is shining and there's a movie coming out this weekend that you've been dying to see. It hits you all of a sudden that nothing is ever going to be okay, ever, and you kind of dare yourself. You pick up a knife and press it gently to your skin, you look out a nineteenth-story window and you think, I could just do it. I could just do it. And most of the time, you look at the height and you get scared, or you think about the poor people on the sidewalk below - what if there are kids coming home from school and they have to spend the rest of their lives trying to forget this terrible thing you're going to make them see? And the moment's over. You think about how sad it would've been if you never got to see that movie, and you look at your dog and wonder who would've taken care of her if you had gone. And you go back to normal. But you keep it there in your mind. Even if you never take yourself up on it, it gives you a kind of comfort to know that the day is yours to choose. You tuck it away in your brain like sour candy tucked in your cheek, and the puckering memory it leaves behind, the rough pleasure of running your tongue over its strange terrain, is exactly the same.... The day was hers to choose, and perhaps in that treetop moment when she looked down and saw the yard, the world, her life, spread out below her, perhaps she chose to plunge toward it headlong. Perhaps she saw before her a lifetime of walking on the ruined earth and chose instead a single moment in the air
Carolyn Parkhurst (The Dogs of Babel)
If your life truths have to be protected like some people keep their couches in plastic then ciao. have a nice life. if we bump into eachoter at Target, i'm the one buying the sour gummy worms and thats all you need to know about me.
Deb Caletti (Wild Roses)
Forgiveness is not a matter of exonerating people who have hurt you. They may not deserve exoneration. Forgiveness means cleansing your soul of the bitterness of ‘what might have been,’ ‘what should have been,’ and ‘what didn’t have to happen.’ Someone has defined forgiveness as ‘giving up all hope of having had a better past.’ What’s past is past and there is little to be gained by dwelling on it. There are perhaps no sadder people then the men and women who have a grievance against the world because of something that happened years ago and have let that memory sour their view of life ever since.
Harold S. Kushner (Overcoming Life's Disappointments)
I want to know you. You seem like someone worth knowing. Every day I feel like I’m surrounded by people with hard edges and sour faces but I get the sense that you’re different. Too often people seem to think that they have the answers to everything. Their faces are trapped in permascowls and they can’t be bothered with anything besides their own narcissism. You aren’t like that. You still ask questions. You’re still looking for the answers.
Ryan O'Connell
Sometimes I think that love is one big fairy tale. I wonder if people who say they are in love, if – really – they’ve just talked themselves into it. They want it so badly, they kind of make it happen. They fake it until they start believing their own story. Maybe that’s just sour grapes or something. Maybe because it doesn’t happen to me, I don’t want to think it happens to anyone else.
Elizabeth Chandler (Summer in the City)
Most people hew the battlements of life from compromise, erecting their impregnable keeps from judicious submissions, fabricating their philosophical drawbridges from emotional retractions and scalding marauders in the boiling oil of sour grapes.
Zelda Fitzgerald (Save Me the Waltz)
People are not milk cartons. You don’t pick and choose the ones you think will last the longest without going sour. If it feels right, you just go with it until it doesn’t feel right anymore. And sometimes when something goes wrong, it hurts. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth it in the first place.
Siera Maley (Colorblind)
When I’m a Duchess,” she said to herself (not in a very hopeful tone though), “I won’t have any pepper in my kitchen at all. Soup does very well without. Maybe it’s always pepper that makes people hot-tempered,” she went on, very much pleased at having found out a new kind of rule, “and vinegar that makes them sour—and camomile that makes them bitter—and—and barley-sugar and such things that make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that; then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know—
Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)
I don't know if you realize this, but there are some researchers - doctors - who are giving this kind of drug to volunteers, to see what the effects are, and they're doing it the proper scientific way, in clean white hospital rooms, away from trees and flowers and the wind, and they're surprised at how many of the experiments turn sour. They've never taken any sort of psychedelic themselves, needless to say. Their volunteers - they're called 'subjects,' of course - are given mescaline or LSD and they're all opened up to their surroundings, very sensitive to color and light and other people's emotions, and what are they given to react to? Metal bed-frames and plaster walls, and an occasional white coat carrying a clipboard. Sterility. Most of them say afterward that they'll never do it again.
Alexander Shulgin (Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story)
If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return – if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
So if your life truths have to be protected the same way some people keep their couches in plastic, then ciao. Have a nice life. If we bump into each other at Target, I'm the one buying the sour gummy worms, and that's all you need to know about me.
Deb Caletti (Wild Roses)
There were a lot of people who deserved a lesson, deserved to really understand, that nothing came easy, that most things were going to go sour.
Gillian Flynn (Dark Places)
It wasn't fair I had to be me for as long as I lived while other people got to be other people.
Jenny Zhang (Sour Heart)
These kids have death wishes. It's always the ones born with the right to live who want to die. These people have never been forced to suffer and that's why they seek it voluntarily.
Jenny Zhang (Sour Heart)
I wish I was like that. More carefree." "Anyone can be. People aren't carved out of marble. We're all works in progress. The trick is to define ourselves, rather than let outside influences define us.
J.A. Konrath (Whiskey Sour (Jack Daniels #1))
I put my face to the window so nobody would see, if I tore up. Was this me now, for life? Taking up space where people wished I wasn’t? Once on a time I was something, and then I turned, like sour milk. The dead junkie’s kid. A rotten little piece of American pie that everybody wishes could just be, you know. Removed.
Barbara Kingsolver (Demon Copperhead)
Now, as I understand it, the bards were feared. They were respected, but more than that they were feared. If you were just some magician, if you'd pissed off some witch, then what's she gonna do, she's gonna put a curse on you, and what's gonna happen? Your hens are gonna lay funny, your milk's gonna go sour, maybe one of your kids is gonna get a hare-lip or something like that — no big deal. You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community, it shows you up as ridiculous, lame, pathetic, worthless, in the eyes of your community, in the eyes of your family, in the eyes of your children, in the eyes of yourself, and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.
Alan Moore
Hi, already doused, was nonchalant. “Did the bad Indian throw you in the water, boy?” Taking a knee, he ruffled Coop’s ears. “Been there.” Hi was referring to Ben’s claim of ties to the Sewee, a North American clan folded into the Catawba tribe centuries ago. He’d even named his boat Sewee. “I feel your pain,” Hi continued. “Thanksgiving was a huge mistake.” Coop licked Hi’s face. “Not nice,” I joked. “You’ll sour Jewish-Sewee relations.” “It’s true, I take it back,” Hi said. “Our peoples have a rich history of mutual respect. Long live the alliance!
Kathy Reichs (Seizure (Virals, #2))
and vinegar that makes them sour—and camomile that makes them bitter—and—and barley-sugar and such things that make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that: then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know—
Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass)
In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber pots. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer very young, came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and tumorous disease. The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces.The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentice as did his master’s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the king himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the queen like an old goat, summer and winter
Patrick Süskind
people say that I’m sour and misanthropic, and I tell them they’re probably right.
Quinn
Life works on the same principle as a boomerang. It's simple, really—what you send out you get back. A smiling face receives many smiles. Friendliness finds itself surrounded by friends. Giving hugs creates hugs. Offered help is reciprocated. In contrast, if you hurt people you will find much hurt in your life. Unkindness begets unkindness. Misery begets misery. A dour face will receive many sour looks in response. That said, it is easy to understand that if you want a happy life you must contribute to the happiness of those around you.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse, and Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)
But that's the same for everyone if we let society determine our value," Steve explained as he sat down on the piano bench. "We always lose when we evaluate ourselves according to some one else's ideas or standards. And there are as many standards as there are people. A jock measures you by your athletic ability; a student by your brains; a steady by your looks. It's a losing battle," he said, striking a sour piano chord for added emphasis. "We have to forget about what people say or think, and recognize that God's values are the only important ones.
Joni Eareckson Tada (Joni: An Unforgettable Story)
For about four years, I’ve been telling people I hate sour cream. One time I sent back nachos because they had sour cream on them. I started saying this because a friend I admire hates sour cream. I told him I hated it too so we could have a funny thing in common.
Megan Boyle (selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee)
Content, I am not interested in that at all. I don't give a damn what the film is about. I am more interested in how to handle the material so as to create an emotion in the audience. I find too many people are interested in the content. If you were painting a still life of some apples on a plate, it's like you'd be worrying whether the apples were sweet or sour. Who cares?
Alfred Hitchcock
This was not me. I was spilling my guts, as some people called it; divulging. It was word vomit and Saphira Elgin had her fingers down my throat. I discovered that private things were mostly sour. They sat spoiling in the corners of your hear for so long that by the time you acknowledged them you were dealing with something rancid. And that's what I did; I threw every rotting thing at her, and she absorbed each one.
Tarryn Fisher (Mud Vein)
People only see the present through the lenses of their personal pasts.” Her lips soured. “Maybe that’s my problem too.
Max Brooks (Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre)
People are apples. Good apples. Bad apples. Too ripe or too raw. Hard or soft. Sweet or sour. And in every apple, there’s a core. A heart. Something that makes them uniquely themselves.
L.J. Shen (Pretty Reckless (All Saints High, #1))
Arther, what is first on the agenda?" ... "The same as ever, Highness. Elections, land, and entitlements." Arther had learned to mask much of his distaste at that last word, but his lips still puckered as if it soured his tongue. ... Entitlements. Leesha hated the word, too, but not for the same reason as Arther. It was a cold word, used by those with full bellies to bemoan feeding those without.
Peter V. Brett (The Skull Throne (Demon Cycle, #4))
I'm staying right here," grumbled the rat. "I haven't the slightest interest in fairs." "That's because you've never been to one," remarked the old sheep . "A fair is a rat's paradise. Everybody spills food at a fair. A rat can creep out late at night and have a feast. In the horse barn you will find oats that the trotters and pacers have spilled. In the trampled grass of the infield you will find old discarded lunch boxes containing the foul remains of peanut butter sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, cracker crumbs, bits of doughnuts, and particles of cheese. In the hard-packed dirt of the midway, after the glaring lights are out and the people have gone home to bed, you will find a veritable treasure of popcorn fragments, frozen custard dribblings, candied apples abandoned by tired children, sugar fluff crystals, salted almonds, popsicles,partially gnawed ice cream cones,and the wooden sticks of lollypops. Everywhere is loot for a rat--in tents, in booths, in hay lofts--why, a fair has enough disgusting leftover food to satisfy a whole army of rats." Templeton's eyes were blazing. " Is this true?" he asked. "Is this appetizing yarn of yours true? I like high living, and what you say tempts me." "It is true," said the old sheep. "Go to the Fair Templeton. You will find that the conditions at a fair will surpass your wildest dreams. Buckets with sour mash sticking to them, tin cans containing particles of tuna fish, greasy bags stuffed with rotten..." "That's enough!" cried Templeton. "Don't tell me anymore I'm going!
E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web)
people live more happily than any that I have seen elsewhere.  It is very cheerful to live among people whose faces are not soured by the east wind, or wrinkled by the worrying effort to “keep up appearances,” which deceive nobody;
Isabella Lucy Bird (The Hawaiian Archipelago)
But why, why all the hurt? Because, said Mr. Halloway. You need fuel, gas, someting to run a carnival on, don't you? Women live off gossip, and what's gossip but a swap of headaches, sour spit, arthritic bones, ruptured and mended flesh, indiscretions, storms of madness, calms after the storms? If some people didn't have something juicy to chew on, their choppers would prolapse, their souls with them. Multiply their pleasure at funerals, their chuckling through breakfast obituaries, add all the cat-fight marriages where folks spend careers ripping skin off each other and patching it back upside around, add quack doctors slicing persons to read their guts like tea leaves, then sewing them tight with fingerprinted thread, square the whole dynamite factory by ten quadrillion, and you got the black candlepower of this one carnival. All the meannesses we harbor, they borrow in redoubled spades. They're a billion times itchier for pain, sorrow, and sickness than the average man. We salt our lives with other people's sins. Our flesh to us tastes sweet. But the carnival doesn't care if it stinks by moonlight instead of sun, so long as it gorges on fear and pain. That's the fuel, the vapor that spins the carousel, the raw stuffs of terror, the excruciating agony of guilt, the scream from real or imagined wounds. The carnival sucks that gas, ignites it, and chugs along its way.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes)
Sattvic people enjoy food that is mild, tasty, substantial, agreeable, and nourishing, food that promotes health, strength, cheerfulness, and longevity. 9 Rajasic people like food that is salty or bitter, hot, sour, or spicy – food that promotes pain, discomfort, and disease. 10 Tamasic people like overcooked, stale, leftover, and impure food, food that has lost its taste and nutritional value.
Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa (The Bhagavad Gita)
Dont act like you are walking around with a Tshirt that says "I give Up!" on the front and on the back saying "I never started trying!" People can bring you down, situations happen, YOU can feel like Life is the shittiest thing to deal with. BLAH BLAH BLAH.. If you're walking through Hell, keep going! Everyday there's a new challenge. Face it! Deal with it! Move on! To every problem there is a solution or a way around it.. Stop being a sour mongral and think life owes you something.. No one will do anything for you these days. Start fighting. Get rid of ALL the shit people in your Life. Grow some balls of steel and work progressively through everything. Step by Step or what ever mad method you have to get you back in line again. Who cares, if people don't like you, BURN that mother of a bridge down. It was never meant to be.. Build New ones! Many roads to cross and new paths on life to Explore.. It starts with YOU.. And if people want to judge you, tell them to F/O and look in the mirror. Time for a new game.. It's called "Take over the World" WHOOOP WHOOOP!!
Timothy Padayachee
Saul stared at his Whisky Sour. He hadn’t heard from Zoe in about a week. Maybe she had lost interest. All at once, the room was filled with people laughing, talking about how wonderful it was to be a couple. He was mildly amused at how disconcerting being alone felt. He had met Zoe about a month ago, when he helped her cross a busy boulevard. Yet, it seemed like he had known her for years. He stepped outside to call and leave another message.
Michael Ben Zehabe
A lot of the younger people think you're downright heroic." "Oh, good," I say, a sour taste in my mouth. "Heroism is what I was focused on. Not, you know, trying not to die.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
It's human nature to dote on young ones, and people when they grow old get soft-hearted. But the sweetest wine in the end turns sour, the moon, however full, eventually must wane.
Bai Juyi (The Selected Poems of Po Chü-i)
This digital revolutionary still believes in most of the lovely deep ideals that energized our work so many years ago. At the core was a sweet faith in human nature. If we empowered individuals, we believed, more good than harm would result. The way the internet has gone sour since then is truly perverse. The central faith of the web's early design has been superseded by a different faith in the centrality of imaginary entities epitomized by the idea that the internet as a whole is coming alive and turning into a superhuman creature. The designs guided by this new, perverse kind of faith put people back in the shadows. The fad for anonymity has undone the great opening-of-everyone's-windows of the 1990s. While that reversal has empowered sadists to a degree, the worst effect is a degradation of ordinary people.
Jaron Lanier (You Are Not a Gadget)
You’re seventeen, not twelve. You’re old enough to drive and have sex, and next year you’re allowed to murder people in the military. I think you can handle a little bit of sour grape juice.
Wendy Heard (She's Too Pretty to Burn)
So where does the name Adam's apple come from? Most people say that it is from the notion that this bump was caused by the forbidden fruit getting stuck in the throat of Adam in the Garden of Eden. There is a problem with this theory because some Hebrew scholars believe that the forbidden fruit was the pomegranate. The Koran claims that the forbidden fruit was a banana. So take your pick---Adam's apple, Adam's pomegranate, Adam's banana. Eve clearly chewed before swallowing.
Mark Leyner (Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex? More Questions You'd Only Ask a Doctor After Your Third Whiskey Sour)
An airplane crossed the sky, and she imagined its interior-people packed in rows like eggs in a carton, the chemical smell of the toilets, pretzels in foil pouches, cans hiss-popping open, black oval of night sky embedded in the rattling walls. How strange that something so drab, so confined, so stifling with sour exhalations and the fumes of indifferent machinery might be mistaken for a star.
Maggie Shipstead (Seating Arrangements)
Life never was long enough to provide time for enemies. Nor is it long enough for people who bore me, or for me to stand around boring and antagonizing others, or for all of us, the others and me, to get into these half-friendly, half-sour fender-bumpings of egos and personalities and ideas, a process which turns a day into a contest when it really should be a series of hours serving your pleasure.
Jimmy Breslin
spread my usual smokescreen of farce. “They say that love flies out the window when poverty comes in the door, but people generally get the sense backwards. It doesn’t mean that when a man’s money runs out he’s shaken off by women. When he runs out of money, he naturally is in the dumps. He’s no good for anything. The strength goes out of his laugh, he becomes strangely soured. Finally, in desperation, he shakes off the woman.
Osamu Dazai (No Longer Human)
Minor talents or failing talents ask much of those who associate with them. They suck, they cling, they sour, they devour, and they can kill their hosts. Disappointment is a deadly companion. We didn't yet know how many of us would end up in its grip, because we were all still striving, and some of us thought we were thriving.
Margaret Drabble (The Pure Gold Baby)
As a child of four, I found myself burdened by the adult problems of life and death, right and wrong. I, as a dreamer, living on the bare subsistence provided by a UN blue ration card, in a crowded room, on a side street in Sour, stand as a witness to Zionist inhumanity. I charge the world for its acquiescence in my destruction.
Leila Khaled (My People Shall Live: Autobiography of a Revolutionary as Told to George Hajjar)
When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people. She
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
...while epic fantasy is based on the fairy tale of the just war, that’s not one you’ll find in Grimm or Disney, and most will never recognize the shape of it. I think the fantasy genre pitches its tent in the medieval campground for the very reason that we even bother to write stories about things that never happened in the first place: because it says something subtle and true about our own world, something it is difficult to say straight out, with a straight face. Something you need tools to say, you need cheat codes for the human brain--a candy princess or a sugar-coated unicorn to wash down the sour taste of how bad things can really get. See, I think our culture has a slash running through the middle of it, too. Past/Future, Conservative/Liberal, Online/Offline. Virgin/Whore. And yes: Classical/Medieval. I think we’re torn between the Classical Narrative of Self and the Medieval Narrative of Self, between the choice of Achilles and Keep Calm and Carry On. The Classical internal monologue goes like this: do anything, anything, only don’t be forgotten. Yes, this one sacrificed his daughter on a slab at Aulis, that one married his mother and tore out his eyes, and oh that guy ate his kids in a pie. But you remember their names, don’t you? So it’s all good in the end. Give a Greek soul a choice between a short life full of glory and a name echoing down the halls of time and a long, gentle life full of children and a quiet sort of virtue, and he’ll always go down in flames. That’s what the Iliad is all about, and the Odyssey too. When you get to Hades, you gotta have a story to tell, because the rest of eternity is just forgetting and hoping some mortal shows up on a quest and lets you drink blood from a bowl so you can remember who you were for one hour. And every bit of cultural narrative in America says that we are all Odysseus, we are all Agamemnon, all Atreus, all Achilles. That we as a nation made that choice and chose glory and personal valor, and woe betide any inconvenient “other people” who get in our way. We tell the tales around the campfire of men who came from nothing to run dotcom empires, of a million dollars made overnight, of an actress marrying a prince from Monaco, of athletes and stars and artists and cowboys and gangsters and bootleggers and talk show hosts who hitched up their bootstraps and bent the world to their will. Whose names you all know. And we say: that can be each and every one of us and if it isn’t, it’s your fault. You didn’t have the excellence for it. You didn’t work hard enough. The story wasn’t about you, and the only good stories are the kind that have big, unignorable, undeniable heroes.
Catherynne M. Valente
Peace, he knows, can be shattered in a million variations: great visions of the end, a rain of ash, a disease on the wind, a blast in the distance, the sun dying like a kerosene lamp clicked off. And in smaller ways: an overheard remark, his daughter’s sour mood, his own body faltering. There’s no use in anticipating the mode. He will wait for the hushed spaces in life, for Ellis’s snore in the dark, for Grete’s stealth kiss, for the warm light inside the gallery, his images on the wall broken beyond beauty into blisters and fragments, returning in the eye to beauty again. The voices of women at night on the street, laughing; he has always loved the voices of women. Pay attention, he thinks. Not to the grand gesture, but to the passing breath. He sits. He lets the afternoon sink in. The sweetness of the soil rises to him. A squirrel scolds from high in a tree. The city is still far away, full of good people going home. In this moment that blooms and fades as it passes, he is enough, and all is well in the world.
Lauren Groff (Arcadia)
No one has expressed what is needed better than Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the London-based al-Arabiya news channel. One of the best-known and most respected Arab journalists working today, he wrote the following, in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (September 6, 2004), after a series of violent incidents involving Muslim extremist groups from Chechnya to Saudi Arabia to Iraq: "Self-cure starts with self-realization and confession. We should then run after our terrorist sons, in the full knowledge that they are the sour grapes of a deformed culture... The mosque used to be a haven, and the voice of religion used to be that of peace and reconciliation. Religious sermons were warm behests for a moral order and an ethical life. Then came the neo-Muslims. An innocent and benevolent religion, whose verses prohibit the felling of trees in the absence of urgent necessity, that calls murder the most heinous of crimes, that says explicitly that if you kill one person you have killed humanity as a whole, has been turned into a global message of hate and a universal war cry... We cannot clear our names unless we own up to the shameful fact that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise; an almost exclusive monopoly, implemented by Muslim men and women. We cannot redeem our extremist youth, who commit all these heinous crimes, without confronting the Sheikhs who thought it ennobling to reinvent themselves as revolutionary ideologues, sending other people's sons and daughters to certain death, while sending their own children to European and American schools and colleges.
Thomas L. Friedman (The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century)
I break out laughing. I frown. I yell and scream. Sometimes, if one jokes and giggles, one causes war. So I hide how tickled I am. Tears well up in my eyes. My body is a large city. Much grieving in one sector. I live in another part. Lakewater. Something on fire over here. I am sour when you are sour, sweet when you are sweet. You are my face and my back. Only through you can I know this back-scratching pleasure. Now people the likes of you and I come clapping, inventing dances, climbing into this high meadow. I am a spoiled parrot who eats only candy. I have no interest in bitter food. Some have been given harsh knowledge. Not I. Some are lame and jerking along. I am smooth and glidingly quick. Their road is full of washed-out places and long inclines. Mine is royally level, effortless. The huge Jerusalem mosque stands inside me, and women full of light. Laughter leaps out. It is the nature of the rose to laugh. It cannot help but laugh.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (Bridge to the Soul: Journeys Into the Music and Silence of the Heart)
Mumbai is the sweet, sweaty smell of hope, which is the opposite of hate; and it's the sour, stifled smell of greed, which is the opposite of love. It's the smell of Gods, demons, empires, and civilizations in resurrection and decay. Its the blue skin-smell of the sea, no matter where you are in the island city, and the blood metal smell of machines. It smells of the stir and sleep and the waste of sixty million animals, more than half of them humans and rats. It smells of heartbreak, and the struggle to live, and of the crucial failures and love that produces courage. It smells of ten thousand restaurants, five thousand temples, shrines, churches and mosques, and of hunderd bazaar devoted exclusively to perfume, spices, incense, and freshly cut flowers. That smell, above all things - is that what welcomes me and tells me that I have come home. Then there were people. Assamese, Jats, and Punjabis; people from Rajasthan, Bengal, and Tamil Nadu; from Pushkar, Cochin, and Konark; warrior caste, Brahmin, and untouchable; Hindi, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Parsee, Animist; fair skin and dark, green eyes and golden brown and black; every different face and form of that extravagant variety, that incoparable beauty, India.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
She wants lilacs in her wedding bouquet." "Okay . . ." Nevada had said she wanted carnations, but we could stuff some pretty pink lilacs in there. I didn’t see the problem. "Blue," Arabella squeezed out. "She wants blue lilacs." No and also no. "Nevada . . ." "I had to hide in a bush of French lilacs yesterday and they were very pretty and smelled nice. The card on the tree said, ‘Wonder Blue: prolific in bloom and lush in perfume.’" I googled French lilac, Wonder Blue. It was blue. Like in your face blue. "Why were you hiding in a bush?" "She was being shot at," Arabella said with a sour face. "So you stopped to smell the lilacs while people were shooting at you?" I couldn’t even.
Ilona Andrews (Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5))
That’s religion as an excuse. Sometimes it seems to me that when religious fervor enters the mind, the wits pack up entirely and fly out the ear,” Karal replied a bit sourly. “But worst of all is when powerful, ruthless people use the religious fervor of others to further their own greed.
Mercedes Lackey (Storm Breaking (Valdemar: Mage Storms, #3))
When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It was true, too. She had a little thin face and a little thin body, thin light hair and a sour expression. Her hair was yellow, and her face was yellow because she had been born in India and had always been ill in one way or another. Her father had held a position under the English Government and had always been busy and ill himself, and her mother had been a great beauty who cared only to go to parties and amuse herself with gay people.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
Yes, but where’s the fun in talking like normal people?” asked Aethlin. “Half the time I’m a King of Faerie. The other half, I’m standing in line at Tim Hortons and some asshole in a hockey uniform has just taken the last sour cream glazed. We have to wallow in the aesthetic when we get the chance.
Seanan McGuire (When Sorrows Come (October Daye, #15))
Nothing makes fools of people quite like a luxurious life,” Achamian said, shaking his head and nodding. “Ajencis says they confuse decisions made atop pillows for those compelled by stones. When they hear of other people being deceived, they’re certain they would know better. When they hear of other people being oppressed, they’re certain they would do anything but beg and cringe when the club is raised …” “And so they judge,” Mimara said sourly.
R. Scott Bakker (The White Luck Warrior: The Aspect Emperor, Book 2 (Aspect-Emperor))
Cavenaugh rubbed his hands together and smiled his sunny smile. 'I like that idea. It's reassuring. If we can have no secrets, it means we can't, after all, go so far afield as we might,' he hesitated, 'yes, as we might.' Eastman looked at him sourly. 'Cavenaugh, when you've practiced law in New York for twelve years, you find that people can't go far in any direction, except-' He thrust his forefinger sharply at the floor.'Even in that direction, few people can do anything out of the ordinary. Our range is limited. Skip a few baths, and we become personally objectionable. The slightest carelessness can rot a man's integrity or give him ptomaine poisoning. We keep up only be incessant cleansing operations, of mind and body. What we call character, is held together by all sorts of tacks and strings and glue. ("Consequences")
Willa Cather (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps)
Compassion. Love. It was not civilization that birthed these gentle gifts.... A civilization was the means by which too many people could live together despite their mutual hatred. And those moments where love and community burgeoned forth, the cynics descended like vultures eager to feed, and the skies soured, and the moment died away.
Steven Erikson
Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging to them. When they had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving them an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to be in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy.
Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)
Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn't see their thoughts as belonging to them. When they had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving them an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love. Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy.
Chuck Palahniuk
He was completely detached from every thing except the story he was writing and he was living in it as he built it. The difficult parts he had dreaded he now faced one after another and as he did the people, the country, the days and the nights, and the weather were all there as he wrote. He went on working and he felt as tired as if he had spent the night crossing the broken volcanic desert and the sun had caught him and the others with the dry gray lakes still ahead. He could feel the weight of the heavy double-barreled rifle carried over his shoulder, his hand on the muzzle, and he tasted the pebble in his mouth. Across the shimmer of the dry lakes he could see the distant blue of the escarpment. Ahead of him there was no one, and behind was the long line of porters who knew that they had reached this point three hours too late. It was not him, of course, who had stood there that morning, nor had he even worn the patched corduroy jacket faded almost white now, the armpits rotted through by sweat, that he took off then and handed to his Kamba servant and brother who shared with him the guilt and knowledge of the delay, watching him smell the sour, vinegary smell and shake his head in disgust and then grin as he swung the jacket over his black shoulder holding it by the sleeves as they started off across the dry-baked gray, the gun muzzles in their right hands, the barrels balanced on their shoulders, the heavy stocks pointing back toward the line of porters. It was not him, but as he wrote it was and when someone read it, finally, it would be whoever read it and what they found when they should reach the escarpment, if they reached it, and he would make them reach its base by noon of that day; then whoever read it would find what there was there and have it always.
Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden)
Alessandro Volta, an Italian count and the inspiration for the eponym “volt,” demonstrated this back around 1800 with a clever experiment. Volta had a number of volunteers form a chain and each pinch the tongue of one neighbor. The two end people then put their fingers on battery leads. Instantly, up and down the line, people tasted each other’s fingers as sour.
Sam Kean (The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements)
But what I would like to know," says Albert, "is whether there would not have been a war if the Kaiser had said No." "I'm sure there would," I interject, "he was against it from the first." "Well, if not him alone, then perhaps if twenty or thirty people in the world had said No." "That's probable," I agree, "but they damned well said Yes." "It's queer, when one thinks about it," goes on Kropp, "we are here to protect our fatherland. And the French are over there to protect their fatherland. Now who's in the right?" "Perhaps both," say I without believing it. "Yes, well now," pursues Albert, and I see that he means to drive me into a corner, "but our professors and parsons and newspapers say that we are the only ones that are right, and let's hope so;--but the French professors and parsons and newspapers say that the right is on their side, now what about that?" "That I don't know," I say, "but whichever way it is there's war all the same and every month more countries coming in." Tjaden reappears. He is still quite excited and again joins the conversation, wondering just how a war gets started. "Mostly by one country badly offending another," answers Albert with a slight air of superiority. Then Tjaden pretends to be obtuse. "A country? I don't follow. A mountain in Germany cannot offend a mountain in France. Or a river, or a wood, or a field of wheat." "Are you really as stupid as that, or are you just pulling my leg?" growls Kropp, "I don't mean that at all. One people offends the other--" "Then I haven't any business here at all," replies Tjaden, "I don't feel myself offended." "Well, let me tell you," says Albert sourly, "it doesn't apply to tramps like you." "Then I can be going home right away," retorts Tjaden, and we all laugh, "Ach, man! he means the people as a whole, the State--" exclaims Mller. "State, State"--Tjaden snaps his fingers contemptuously, "Gendarmes, police, taxes, that's your State;--if that's what you are talking about, no, thank you." "That's right," says Kat, "you've said something for once, Tjaden. State and home-country, there's a big difference." "But they go together," insists Kropp, "without the State there wouldn't be any home-country." "True, but just you consider, almost all of us are simple folk. And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor clerks. Now just why would a French blacksmith or a French shoemaker want to attack us? No, it is merely the rulers. I had never seen a Frenchman before I came here, and it will be just the same with the majority of Frenchmen as regards us. They weren't asked about it any more than we were." "Then what exactly is the war for?" asks Tjaden. Kat shrugs his shoulders. "There must be some people to whom the war is useful." "Well, I'm not one of them," grins Tjaden. "Not you, nor anybody else here." "Who are they then?" persists Tjaden. "It isn't any use to the Kaiser either. He has everything he can want already." "I'm not so sure about that," contradicts Kat, "he has not had a war up till now. And every full-grown emperor requires at least one war, otherwise he would not become famous. You look in your school books." "And generals too," adds Detering, "they become famous through war." "Even more famous than emperors," adds Kat. "There are other people back behind there who profit by the war, that's certain," growls Detering. "I think it is more of a kind of fever," says Albert. "No one in particular wants it, and then all at once there it is. We didn't want the war, the others say the same thing--and yet half the world is in it all the same.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Richard Davidson, a University of Wisconsin psychologist. He discovered that people who have greater activity in the left frontal lobe, compared to the right, are by temperament cheerful; they typically take delight in people and in what life presents them with, bouncing back from setbacks as my aunt June did. But those with relatively greater activity on the right side are given to negativity and sour moods, and are easily fazed by life’s difficulties; in a sense, they seem to suffer because they cannot turn off their worries and depressions. In
Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence)
Bad luck alone does not embitter us that badly . . . nor does the feeling that our affairs might have been better managed move us out of range of ordinary disappointment; it is when we recognize that the loss has been caused in great part by others; that it needn't have happened; that there is an enemy out there who has stolen our loaf, soured our wine, infected our book of splendid verse with filthy rhymes; then we are filled with resentment and would hang the villains from that bough we would have lounged in liquorous love beneath had the tree not been cut down by greedy and dim-witted loggers in the pay of the lumber interests. Watch out, then, watch out for us, be on your guard, look sharp, both ways, when we learn--we, in any numbers--when we find who is forcing us--wife, children, Commies, fat cats, Jews--to give up life in order to survive. It is this condition in men that makes them ideal candidates for the Party of the disappointed People.
William H. Gass (The Tunnel)
One of the strangest things about these five downhill years of the Nixon presidency is that despite all the savage excesses committed by the people he chose to run the country, no real opposition or realistic alternative to Richard Nixon’s cheap and mean-hearted view of the American Dream has ever developed. It is almost as if that sour 1968 election rang down the curtain on career politicians. This is the horror of American politics today - not that Richard Nixon and his fixers have been crippled, convicted, indicted, disgraced and even jailed - but that the only available alternatives are not much better; the same dim collection of burned-out hacks who have been fouling our air with their gibberish for the last tenty years. How long, oh Lord, how long? And how much longer will we have to wait before some high-powered shark with a fistful of answers will finally bring us face-to-face with the ugly question that is already so close to the surface in this country, that sooner or later even politicians will have to cope with it? Is this democracy worth all the risks and problems that necessarily go with it? Or, would we all be happier by admitting that the whole thing was a lark from the start and now that it hasn’t worked out, to hell with it.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time (The Gonzo Papers, #1))
Mrs. Ferrars was a little, thin woman, upright, even to formality, in her figure, and serious, even to sourness, in her aspect. Her complexion was sallow; and her features small, without beauty, and naturally without expression; but a lucky contraction of the brow had rescued her countenance from the disgrace of insipidity, by giving it the strong characters of pride and ill nature. She was not a woman of many words; for, unlike people in general, she proportioned them to the number of her ideas; and of the few syllables that did escape her, not one fell to the share of Miss Dashwood, whom she eyed with the spirited determination of disliking her at all events.
Jane Austen (Sense and Sensibility)
We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough.
Benjamin Franklin (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin)
You often hear it said that people have bad marriages, but in fact, this is not true. Marriage is a God instituted covenant between a man and a woman, and it is good. That has never changed. "The institution hasn’t failed – people are failing to work out their problems. Couples are simply giving up and walking away, or simply have no idea what they can try next. The good news is that even “soured” relationships can be healed. Things can change. People can change. Marriages can be better than they ever were before.
Karen M. Gray (Save Your Marriage: A Guide to Restoring & Rebuilding Christian Marriages on the Precipice of Divorce)
He pressed his forehead against the deck, hard, like a penitent pilgrim, and felt the beat of the waves transmitted through it from below like a pulse, and the heat of the sun. He smelled the sour salt smell of seawater, and he heard the hesitant footsteps of baffled people gathering around him, unsure of what to do. He heard all the other meaningless noises reality was always cheerfully making to itself, the squeaks and scrapes and thumps and drones, on and on, world without end. He took a deep breath and sat up. Away from the warmth of the goddess's body he shivered in the early morning ocean air. But even the cold felt good to him. This is life, he kept saying to himself. That was being dead, and this is being alive. That was death, this is life. I will never confuse them again.
Lev Grossman (The Magician King (The Magicians, #2))
Every moment for all the generations was leading to you here on my lap, your head against your granddaddy’s chest, already four years old. Hair smelling like coconut oil. Something beneath that, though. Little-girl sweat—almost sour, but then just when I think that’s what it is, it turns, sweetens somehow. Makes me want to sit here forever breathing in your scalp. When did your arms get so long? Your feet so big? These footie pajamas with reindeer all over them remind me of the ones your mama used to wear. She used to fall asleep on my lap just like this. Back at the other house. Oh time time time time. Where’d you go where’d you go? My legs hurt tonight. Another place too—deep in my back somewhere, there’s a dull, aching pain. I try not to think about it. Old people used to always say, You only as old as you feel. Here I am closer to fifty than forty, but I feel older than that most days. Feel like the world is trying to pull me down back into it. Like God went ahead and said, I’ve changed my mind about you, Po’Boy. A bath with Epsom salts helps some evenings. Ginger tea keeps Sabe’s good cooking in my belly. Sitting here holding you at the end of the day—that’s . . . well, I’m not going to lie and say this isn’t the best thing that ever happened to my life because it is. Look at you laughing in your sleep. Got me wondering what you’re dreaming about. What’s making you laugh like that? Tell your granddaddy what’s playing in your pretty brown head, my little Melody. Name like a song. Like you were born and it was cause for the world to sing. You know how much your old granddaddy loves when you sing him silly songs? Sabe says she’s gonna have to get some earplugs if she has to hear one more verse of “Elmo’s World” or that song about how to grow a garden. But me, I can listen to your voice forever. Can’t hear you singing enough.
Jacqueline Woodson (Red at the Bone)
BOWLS OF FOOD Moon and evening star do their slow tambourine dance to praise this universe. The purpose of every gathering is discovered: to recognize beauty and love what’s beautiful. “Once it was like that, now it’s like this,” the saying goes around town, and serious consequences too. Men and women turn their faces to the wall in grief. They lose appetite. Then they start eating the fire of pleasure, as camels chew pungent grass for the sake of their souls. Winter blocks the road. Flowers are taken prisoner underground. Then green justice tenders a spear. Go outside to the orchard. These visitors came a long way, past all the houses of the zodiac, learning Something new at each stop. And they’re here for such a short time, sitting at these tables set on the prow of the wind. Bowls of food are brought out as answers, but still no one knows the answer. Food for the soul stays secret. Body food gets put out in the open like us. Those who work at a bakery don’t know the taste of bread like the hungry beggars do. Because the beloved wants to know, unseen things become manifest. Hiding is the hidden purpose of creation: bury your seed and wait. After you die, All the thoughts you had will throng around like children. The heart is the secret inside the secret. Call the secret language, and never be sure what you conceal. It’s unsure people who get the blessing. Climbing cypress, opening rose, Nightingale song, fruit, these are inside the chill November wind. They are its secret. We climb and fall so often. Plants have an inner Being, and separate ways of talking and feeling. An ear of corn bends in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed. Pink rose deciding to open a competing store. A bunch of grapes sits with its feet stuck out. Narcissus gossiping about iris. Willow, what do you learn from running water? Humility. Red apple, what has the Friend taught you? To be sour. Peach tree, why so low? To let you reach. Look at the poplar, tall but without fruit or flower. Yes, if I had those, I’d be self-absorbed like you. I gave up self to watch the enlightened ones. Pomegranate questions quince, Why so pale? For the pearl you hid inside me. How did you discover my secret? Your laugh. The core of the seen and unseen universes smiles, but remember, smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise? Every herb cures some illness. Camels delight to eat thorns. We prefer the inside of a walnut, not the shell. The inside of an egg, the outside of a date. What about your inside and outside? The same way a branch draws water up many feet, God is pulling your soul along. Wind carries pollen from blossom to ground. Wings and Arabian stallions gallop toward the warmth of spring. They visit; they sing and tell what they think they know: so-and-so will travel to such-and-such. The hoopoe carries a letter to Solomon. The wise stork says lek-lek. Please translate. It’s time to go to the high plain, to leave the winter house. Be your own watchman as birds are. Let the remembering beads encircle you. I make promises to myself and break them. Words are coins: the vein of ore and the mine shaft, what they speak of. Now consider the sun. It’s neither oriental nor occidental. Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in belief-yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
So what are you thinking?" I asked. I meant about the case, obviously, but Cassie was in a giddy mood--she generates more energy than most people, and she'd been sitting indoors most of the day. "Will you listen to him? A woman asking a guy what he's thinking is the ultimate crime, she's clingy and needy and he runs a mile, but when it's the other--" "Behave yourself," I said, pulling her hood over her face. "Help! I'm being oppressed!" she yelled through it. "Call the Equality Commission." The stroller girl gave us a sour look. "You're overexcited," I told Cassie. "Calm down or I'll take you home with no ice cream.
Tana French (In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, #1))
You ask me why the I.W.W. is not patriotic to the United States. If you were a bum without a blanket; if you had left your wife and kids when you went west for a job, and had never located them since; if your job had never kept you long enough in a place to qualify you to vote; if you slept in a lousy, sour bunkhouse, and ate food just as rotten as they could give you and get by with it; if deputy sheriffs shot your cooking cans full of holes and spilled your grub on the ground; if your wages were lowered on you when the bosses thought they had you down; if there was one law for Ford, Suhr, and Mooney, and another for Harry Thaw; if every person who represented law and order and the nation beat you up, railroaded you to jail, and the good Christian people cheered and told them to go to it, how in hell do you expect a man to be patriotic? This war is a business man’s war and we don’t see why we should go out and get shot in order to save the lovely state of affairs that we now enjoy.
Howard Zinn (A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present)
Perhaps for many Japanese, autobiographical fiction writing is life. We are a people expected to complement, to harmonize, to anticipate one another's needs. All without a single spoken clue. And the reason is that he's in training to be a writer. Observing detail, understanding irony, interpreting motivation. Hiro knows that acts are symbolic. The hard sour fruit offered too soon in its season carries a message. He has made an error in the timing of his visit. He has inconvenienced that family. This is the Japanese way. Cogitating on inner meaning. Revealing ourselves and perceiving others through carefully crafted scenes. Writing our endless I-stories.
Lydia Minatoya (The Strangeness of Beauty (Norton Paperback Fiction))
That voice that talks badly to you is a demon voice. This very patient and determined demon shows up in your bedroom one day and refuses to leave. You are six or twelve or fifteen and you look in the mirror and you hear a voice so awful and mean that it takes your breath away. It tells you that you are fat and ugly and you don’t deserve love. And the scary part is the demon is your own voice. But it doesn’t sound like you. It sounds like a strangled and seductive version of you. Think Darth Vader or an angry Lauren Bacall. The good news is there are ways to make it stop talking. The bad news is it never goes away. If you are lucky, you can live a life where the demon is generally forgotten, relegated to a back shelf in a closet next to your old field hockey equipment. You may even have days or years when you think the demon is gone. But it is not. It is sitting very quietly, waiting for you. This motherfucker is patient. It says, “Take your time.” It says, “Go fall in love and exercise and surround yourself with people who make you feel beautiful.” It says, “Don’t worry, I’ll wait.” And then one day, you go through a breakup or you can’t lose your baby weight or you look at your reflection in a soup spoon and that slimy bugger is back. It moves its sour mouth up to your ear and reminds you that you are fat and ugly and don’t deserve love. This demon is some Stephen King from-the-sewer devil-level shit.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
There are so many people in this world who can live day to day, sourly dismissing love as just a man made illusion with the sole purpose of embedding hopeless festering ideas of a richer, fuller, happier existence into our psyche, in the hopes that it will make our seemingly wasteful, unneeded, and depressing lives just a little more tolerable. When we invite intimacy into our life, we take a wager strong enough to lift our spirits and make us feel as if nothing in this world can overcome us, and that no challenge is insurmountable. But Love can indeed be a dangerous game to play. There's nothing in the world that can be easier than to give up on the idea after a heartbreak. Anybody can do it. But it doesn't always take being in a strong, everlasting bond with our soul mate to bring out the best in us. There's just something about the pursuit of love that for some reason beckons us to keep getting back on the horse. The hunt is what keeps our dreams alive and strong until that day comes when we stand across the altar from our brides and grooms, about to lean in to that one kiss that takes us into our eternal, everlasting life of bliss and happiness.
Max Jacob
early childhood she had given her deepest trust, and which for half a century has suggested what she might do, think, feel, desire, and become, has suddenly fallen silent. Now, at last, all those books have no instructions for her, no demands—because she is just too old. In the world of classic British fiction, the one Vinnie knows best, almost the entire population is under fifty, or even under forty—as was true of the real world when the novel was invented. The few older people—especially women—who are allowed into a story are usually cast as relatives; and Vinnie is no one’s mother, daughter, or sister. People over fifty who aren’t relatives are pushed into minor parts, character parts, and are usually portrayed as comic, pathetic, or disagreeable. Occasionally one will appear in the role of tutor or guide to some young protagonist, but more often than not their advice and example are bad; their histories a warning rather than a model. In most novels it is taken for granted that people over fifty are as set in their ways as elderly apple trees, and as permanently shaped and scarred by the years they have weathered. The literary convention is that nothing major can happen to them except through subtraction. They may be struck by lightning or pruned by the hand of man; they may grow weak or hollow; their sparse fruit may become misshapen, spotted, or sourly crabbed. They may endure these changes nobly or meanly. But they cannot, even under the best of conditions, put out new growth or burst into lush and unexpected bloom. Even today there are disproportionately few older characters in fiction. The
Alison Lurie (Foreign Affairs)
And I am overwhelmed now by the awfulness of over-simplification. For now I realize that not only have I been guilty of it through this long and burning day but also through most of my yet young life and it is only now that I am doubly its victim that I begin to vaguely understand. For I had somehow thought that ‘going away’ was but a physical thing. And that it had only to do with movement and with labels like the silly ‘Vancouver’ that I had glibly rolled from off my tongue; or with the crossing of bodies of water or with the boundaries of borders. And because my father told me I was ‘free’ I had foolishly felt that it was really so. Just like that. And I realize now that the older people of my past are more complicated than perhaps I had ever thought. And that there are distinctions between my sentimental, romantic grandfather and his love for coal, and my stern and practical grandmother her hatred of it; and my quietly strong but passive mother and the souring extremes of my father’s passionate violence and the quiet power of his love. They are all so different. Perhaps it is possible I think now to be both and yet to see only one. For the man in whose glassed-in car I now sit sees only similarity. For him the people of this multi-scarred little town are reduced to but a few phrases and the act of sexual intercourse. They are only so many identical goldfish leading identical, incomprehensible lives within the glass prison of their bowl. And the people on the street view me from behind my own glass in much the same way and it is the way that I have looked at others in their ‘foreign licence’ cars and it is the kind of judgment that I myself have made. And yet it seems that neither these people nor this man are in any way unkind and not to understand does not necessarily mean that one is cruel. But one should at least be honest. And perhaps I have tried too hard to be someone else without realizing at first what I presently am. I do not know. I am not sure. But I do know that I cannot follow this man into a house that is so much like the one I have left this morning and go down into the sexual embrace of a woman who might well be my mother. And I do not know what she, my mother, may be like in the years to come when she is deprived of the lighting movement of my father’s body and the hammered pounding of his heart. For I do not know when he may die. And I do not know in what darkness she may cry out his name nor to whom. I do not know very much of anything, it seems, except that I have been wrong and dishonest with others and myself. And perhaps this man has left footprints on a soul I did not even know that I possessed.
Alistair MacLeod (The Lost Salt Gift of Blood)
I never liked North America, even first trip. It is not most crowded part of Terra, has a mere billion people. In Bombay they sprawl on pavements; in Great New York they pack them vertically--not sure anyone sleeps. Was glad to be in invalid's chair. Is mixed-up place another way; they care about skin color--by making point of how they don't care. First trip I was always too light or too dark, and somehow blamed either way, or was always being expected to take stand on things I have no opinions on. Bog knows I don't know what genes I have. One grandmother came from a part of Asia where invaders passed as regularly as locusts, raping as they went--why not ask her? Learned to handle it by my second makee-learnee but it left a sour taste. Think I prefer a place as openly racist as India, where if you aren't Hindu, you're nobody--except that Parsees look down on Hindus and vice versa. However I never really had to cope with North America's reverse-racism when being "Colonel O' Kelly Davis, Hero of Lunar Freedom.
Robert A. Heinlein (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress)
Our Constitution is not good. It is a document designed to create a society of enduring white male dominance, hastily edited in the margins to allow for what basic political rights white men could be convinced to share. The Constitution is an imperfect work that urgently and consistently needs to be modified and reimagined to make good on its unrealized promises of justice and equality for all. And yet you rarely see liberals make the point that the Constitution is actually trash. Conservatives are out here acting like the Constitution was etched by divine flame upon stone tablets, when in reality it was scrawled out over a sweaty summer by people making deals with actual monsters who were trying to protect their rights to rape the humans they held in bondage. Why would I give a fuck about the original public meaning of the words written by these men? Conservatives will tell you that the text of laws explicitly passed in response to growing political, social, or economic power of nonwhite minorities should be followed to their highest grammatical accuracy, and I’m supposed to agree the text of this bullshit is the valid starting point of the debate? Nah. As Rory Breaker says in the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: “If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain’t the kind of pussy to drink it.” The Constitution was so flawed upon its release in 1787 that it came with immediate updates. The first ten amendments, the “Bill of Rights,” were demanded by some to ensure ratification of the rest of the document. All of them were written by James Madison, who didn’t think they were actually necessary but did it to placate political interests.
Elie Mystal (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution)
We often confuse love for a warm glow we sense in our bellies and as something we can offer and withdraw, like a cat who comes and goes at its pleasure. It’s easy for us to extend love toward those who are lovable, but loving people and situations that are not to our liking isn’t so easy. We give our love “unconditionally,” but when we don’t receive what we feel we deserve, we withdraw it. We then reinvest our love in a new person or situation that we think will give us a better return, but we find it difficult to maintain when we don’t feel recognized or acknowledged. If things don’t work out the way we want them to, we too readily exchange our loving feelings for hatred and resentment. Our initial excitement over a new job, for instance, may sour and become disappointment and bitterness. When we’ve been jilted by a lover, the intense, starry-eyed passion of infatuation can turn into loathing so great that it consumes us. To an Earthkeeper, love is not a feeling or something you barter with. Love is the essence of who you are, and it radiates from you as a brilliant aura: You become love, practice fearlessness, and attain enlightenment.
Alberto Villoldo (The Four Insights: Wisdom, Power, and Grace of the Earthkeepers)
I did it again, Robert Childan informed himself. Impossible to avoid the topic. Because it's everywhere, in a book I happen to pick up or a record collection, in these bone napkin rings -- loot piled up by the conquerors. Pillage from my people. Face facts. I'm trying to pretend that the Japanese and I are alike. But observe: even when I burst out as to my gratification that they won the war, that my nation is lost -- there's still no common ground. What words mean to me is a sharp contrast vis-à-vis them. Their brains are different. Souls likewise. Witness them drinking from English bone china cups, eating with U.S. silver, listening to Negro style of music. It's all on the surface. Advantage of wealth and power makes this available to them, but it's ersatz as the day is long. Even the I Ching, which they've forced down our throats; it's Chinese. Borrowed from way back when. Whom are they fooling? Themselves? Pilfer customs right and left, wear, eat, talk, walk, as for instance consuming with gusto baked potato served with sour cream and chives, old-fashioned American dish added to their haul. But nobody fooled, I can tell you; me least of all.
Philip K. Dick (The Man in the High Castle)
Chivalry looks good on you, ma'alor," he said, brushing a dark curl out of Robb's face. "And I hate that I like it." "Your flattery will only get you so far," Robb joked, trying to grin, but it turned sour and bitter. "I like you, but I have no right to say that. For what my mother did--for what I did. But...if there was a way for you to forgive me, no matter how long it takes, would you let me? Will you let me try to be worthy of you?" The question took Jax by surprise. He sat back, quite unable to find a response. I've seen you stars, he wanted to say, and this is impossible. All his life he'd thought that all fates flowed in a continuous, never-ending river, but now the current was disrupted, the path unsettled. They had changed the stars, and he was falling in love with a boy who should have died. Robb shifted, uncomfortable. "Or--or if you don't feel the same way--" "I'm sorry," Jax began, but when he looked into Robb's eyes, there were tears there. Alarmed, he quickly added, "No, no! That's not what I meant! I don't mean--" "I knew you wouldn't. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Tears curved down Robb's cheeks, and almost exasperated, Jax wiped them away. "I can't LIE, you insufferable Ironblood," he chided. "I'm apologizing because I can't forgive you right now, but that doesn't mean I don't want to kiss you, ma'alor. And it doesn't mean I don't like you. I do. I like you, but do you really want ME? Someone who can't touch other people? That's my reality. I'll never kiss you without seeing your fate. I'll never touch you without seeing how you'll die. Am I someone you could be happy with?" Robb's brow furrowed. "Screw fate. I'll tear down the stars for you." For HIM? Even though Jax had to wear gloves, and could never brush his lips against Robb's jawline without seeing the stars, never kiss Robb's ears, or traced the lines of his body, or feel the heat that pulsed just beneath his skin, hot and red and wanting. Jax felt his throat tighten as tears pooled at the edges of his eyes. He didn't cry. He never cried. Robb took Jax's hand, and kissed his gloved knuckles. "And lucky for you," Robb added, "I'm not planning to ever die, so you don't have to worry about my stars." He laughed. "You make being mad at you hard, ma'alor." "I plan on making it impossible," replied Robb, and raised an eyebrow. "What does ma'alor mean?" Jax chewed on his bottom lip. 'It means..." But he couldn't bear that sort of embarrassment, so he simply leaned into the Ironblood and kissed him. Savoring the moment, the unknowingness of it all. Until new images came flooding across his senses like a wave of darkness across the stars.
Ashley Poston (Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1))
Tell me," he said, leaning forward with his elbows braced on his knees, "tell me how you were able to find peace about your situation. How did you forgive the man who hurt you?" She studied him. Apparently he'd been thinking long and hard about something that disturbed him. The corners of his mouth were tight, and his eyes slightly shiny. Had he been putting himself through this sort of stressful heart searching every night? "I struggled, yes." She closed her hands to resist the impulse to stroke his cheek. "But when I saw Buddy sitting there, I realized he had already paid a price. And I'm not his judge-I will never be. He has to answer to God, not only for what he did to me, but for how he treated everyone. Knowing that I'm only a tiny piece of the picture-knowing that, I could smile and let it go. I don't really think about him anymore, and I don't hate him. Truthfully, I mostly feel sorry for him." Erik hung his head. "It sounds so easy when you say it. So sensible." "I'm not saying what worked for me will for everyone-I mean, "I'm not much of an expert." Aren't you?" His mouth twisted in wry amusement. "Let me see-instead of being angry at that church for running me off, I need to realize they've paid a price? "They lost you as a minister. And who knows? Maybe what they did soured other people in town.
Angela Elwell Hunt (Five Miles South of Peculiar)
I start reading every Elizabeth Wurtzel essay with optimism, like maybe finally she put her talent to writing about something than herself, and by the end of paragraph three that optimism has fled. So maybe you know Wurtzel has written an essay for New York Magazine? Probably you know, because for whatever reason, Wurtzel provokes a deep need in people to talk about how much they hate Wurtzel. So the comments are hundreds deep, Twitter is ablaze, and here I am, writing this blog post. And actually, she reminds me of Mary MacLane. She was a 19-year-old girl who wrote a memoir called I Await the Devil’s Coming in 1901 and it was an instant success. I wrote the introduction to the upcoming reissue, and there I talk about what a deeply interesting book it was. Not only “for its time,” but also it’s just kind of visceral and nasty and snarling, yet elegantly written. I kept thinking about MacLane, after the introduction got handed in and things went off to press. But this time, it wasn’t her writing that interested me, it was the way she never wrote anything very interesting ever again. She got stunted, somehow, winning all of that acclaim for being a young, sour thing. And I wondered if it was the fame that stunted her, because she spent the rest of her career spitting out copies of the memoir that made her famous. And it worked, until it didn’t.
Jenna Crispin
The researchers tried a clever tactic to overcome this problem. They created a number of recipes for common foods including muffins and pasta in which they could disguise placebo ingredients like bran and molasses to match the texture and color of the flax-laden foods. This way, they could randomize people into two groups and secretly introduce tablespoons of daily ground flaxseeds into the diets of half the participants to see if it made any difference. After six months, those who ate the placebo foods started out hypertensive and stayed hypertensive, despite the fact that many of them were on a variety of blood pressure pills. On average, they started the study at 155/81 and ended it at 158/81. What about the hypertensives who were unknowingly eating flaxseeds every day? Their blood pressure dropped from 158/82 down to 143/75. A seven-point drop in diastolic blood pressure may not sound like a lot, but that would be expected to result in 46 percent fewer strokes and 29 percent less heart disease over time.125 How does that result compare with taking drugs? The flaxseeds managed to drop subjects’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by up to fifteen and seven points, respectively. Compare that result to the effect of powerful antihypertensive drugs, such as calcium-channel blockers (for example, Norvasc, Cardizem, Procardia), which have been found to reduce blood pressure by only eight and three points, respectively, or to ACE inhibitors (such as Vasotec, Lotensin, Zestril, Altace), which drop patients’ blood pressure by only five and two points, respectively.126 Ground flaxseeds may work two to three times better than these medicines, and they have only good side effects. In addition to their anticancer properties, flaxseeds have been demonstrated in clinical studies to help control cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood sugar levels; reduce inflammation, and successfully treat constipation.127 Hibiscus Tea for Hypertension Hibiscus tea, derived from the flower of the same name, is also known as roselle, sorrel, jamaica, or sour tea. With
Michael Greger (How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease)
if consumer demand should increase for the goods or services of any private business, the private firm is delighted; it woos and welcomes the new business and expands its operations eagerly to fill the new orders. Government, in contrast, generally meets this situation by sourly urging or even ordering consumers to “buy” less, and allows shortages to develop, along with deterioration in the quality of its service. Thus, the increased consumer use of government streets in the cities is met by aggravated traffic congestion and by continuing denunciations and threats against people who drive their own cars. The New York City administration, for example, is continually threatening to outlaw the use of private cars in Manhattan, where congestion has been most troublesome. It is only government, of course, that would ever think of bludgeoning consumers in this way; it is only government that has the audacity to “solve” traffic congestion by forcing private cars (or trucks or taxis or whatever) off the road. According to this principle, of course, the “ideal” solution to traffic congestion is simply to outlaw all vehicles! But this sort of attitude toward the consumer is not confined to traffic on the streets. New York City, for example, has suffered periodically from a water “shortage.” Here is a situation where, for many years, the city government has had a compulsory monopoly of the supply of water to its citizens. Failing to supply enough water, and failing to price that water in such a way as to clear the market, to equate supply and demand (which private enterprise does automatically), New York’s response to water shortages has always been to blame not itself, but the consumer, whose sin has been to use “too much” water. The city administration could only react by outlawing the sprinkling of lawns, restricting use of water, and demanding that people drink less water. In this way, government transfers its own failings to the scapegoat user, who is threatened and bludgeoned instead of being served well and efficiently. There has been similar response by government to the ever-accelerating crime problem in New York City. Instead of providing efficient police protection, the city’s reaction has been to force the innocent citizen to stay out of crime-prone areas. Thus, after Central Park in Manhattan became a notorious center for muggings and other crime in the night hours, New York City’s “solution” to the problem was to impose a curfew, banning use of the park in those hours. In short, if an innocent citizen wants to stay in Central Park at night, it is he who is arrested for disobeying the curfew; it is, of course, easier to arrest him than to rid the park of crime. In short, while the long-held motto of private enterprise is that “the customer is always right,” the implicit maxim of government operation is that the customer is always to be blamed.
Murray N. Rothbard (For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto (LvMI))
YOU’RE NO ANGEL, you know how this stuff comes to happen: Friday is payday and it’s been a gray day sogged by a slow ugly rain and you seek company in your gloom, and since you’re fresh to West Table, Mo., and a new hand at the dog-food factory, your choices for company are narrow but you find some finally in a trailer court on East Main, and the coed circle of bums gathered there spot you a beer, then a jug of tequila starts to rotate and the rain keeps comin’ down with a miserable bluesy beat and there’s two girls millin’ about that probably can be had but they seem to like certain things and crank is one of those certain things, and a fistful of party straws tumble from a woven handbag somebody brung, the crank gets cut into lines, and the next time you notice the time it’s three or four Sunday mornin’ and you ain’t slept since Thursday night and one of the girl voices, the one you want most and ain’t had yet though her teeth are the size of shoe-peg corn and look like maybe they’d taste sort of sour, suggests something to do, ’cause with crank you want something, anything, to do, and this cajoling voice suggests we all rob this certain house on this certain street in that rich area where folks can afford to wallow in their vices and likely have a bunch of recreational dope stashed around the mansion and goin’ to waste since an article in The Scroll said the rich people whisked off to France or some such on a noteworthy vacation. That’s how it happens. Can’t none of this be new to you.
Daniel Woodrell (Tomato Red)
We are not doing it for Jagen. We are doing it for our kind.” “We?” Rayna snaps. “What Gift do you have, Grom? Oh, that’s right. You and Nalia get to stay safely behind while me and Galen and Emma drown an entire island.” Oh, heck no. “Um, I’m not killing anyone,” I say, raising my hand. “Not humans, not Syrena.” “It’s a good thing your Gift isn’t deadly then, isn’t it?” Rayna sneers. “I have an idea. You can give the humans their last meal. That would be special, wouldn’t it?” “How would you like to go without eating for a while?” I shoot back. I could use my Gift to send the fish away from her, or I could just bust all her teeth out. Maturity seems to be evaporating into the air. I wonder if her Gift includes pushing all my buttons in rapid-point-five seconds. But then, I know her animosity is really toward Grom, not me. All I’m doing is feeding her anxiety. Galen tucks a tendril of my hair behind my ear. It’s enough to distract me and he knows it. I give him a sour look for interfering, but he grins. “You don’t have to kill anyone, angelfish. In fact, we need your help to save them.” He seems to be telling me something with his eyes, but I’m not picking up on it. I’d love to blame it on the pain meds. “Doesn’t that kind of miss the point?” Rayna says. “Of course not,” Galen says. “Our objective is to rescue our kind, not kill the humans. We can do that without destroying them.” Everyone is all ears, but Galen is not ready to divulge his plan just yet. He stands. “Highness, tell the Archives we will meet with them to discuss our terms.” “Terms?” Grom says. “This isn’t negotiable, Galen. They need us. It’s our duty as Royals.” Galen shrugs. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s entirely negotiable. And we’re not Royals anymore, not until I hear it from their lips.” He turns to Antonis. “And tell them that in view of recent events, the council must come here, on land. There is no reason for us to doubt that this is a trap to recapture us.” Antonis chuckles. I get the feeling that this is all an amusing game to him. But then, old people have earned the right to be amused by everything. And I’m pretty sure he’s the oldest person I know. “Young Prince Galen, I am at your service.” With that, my grandfather leaves. I turn away as he begins to finagle the shorts from his skinny waist on his way down the beach.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
A man on his deathbed left instructions For dividing up his goods among his three sons. He had devoted his entire spirit to those sons. They stood like cypress trees around him, Quiet and strong. He told the town judge, 'Whichever of my sons is laziest, Give him all the inheritance.' Then he died, and the judge turned to the three, 'Each of you must give some account of your laziness, so I can understand just how you are lazy.' Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it, Because they continuously see God working all around them. The harvest keeps coming in, yet they Never even did the plowing! 'Come on. Say something about the ways you are lazy.' Every spoken word is a covering for the inner self. A little curtain-flick no wider than a slice Of roast meat can reveal hundreds of exploding suns. Even if what is being said is trivial and wrong, The listener hears the source. One breeze comes From across a garden. Another from across the ash-heap. Think how different the voices of the fox And the lion, and what they tell you! Hearing someone is lifting the lid off the cooking pot. You learn what's for supper. Though some people Can know just by the smell, a sweet stew From a sour soup cooked with vinegar. A man taps a clay pot before he buys it To know by the sound if it has a crack. The eldest of the three brothers told the judge, 'I can know a man by his voice, and if he won't speak, I wait three days, and then I know him intuitively.' The second brother, 'I know him when he speaks, And if he won't talk, I strike up a conversation.' 'But what if he knows that trick?' asked the judge. Which reminds me of the mother who tells her child 'When you're walking through the graveyard at night and you see a boogeyman, run at it, and it will go away.' 'But what,' replies the child, 'if the boogeyman's Mother has told it to do the same thing? Boogeymen have mothers too.' The second brother had no answer. 'I sit in front of him in silence, And set up a ladder made of patience, And if in his presence a language from beyond joy And beyond grief begins to pour from my chest, I know that his soul is as deep and bright As the star Canopus rising over Yemen. And so when I start speaking a powerful right arm Of words sweeping down, I know him from what I say, And how I say it, because there's a window open Between us, mixing the night air of our beings.' The youngest was, obviously, The laziest. He won.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi)
GOD I am ready for you to come back. Whether in a train full of dying criminals or on the gleaming saddle of a locust, you are needed again. The earth is a giant chessboard where the dark squares get all the rain. On this one the wet is driving people mad—the bankers all baying in the woods while their markets fail, a florist chewing up flowers to spit mouthfuls here and there as his daughter’s lungs seize shut from the pollen. There is a flat logic to neglect. Sweet nothings sour in the air while the ocean hoots itself to sleep. I live on the skull of a giant burning brain, the earth’s core. Sometimes I can feel it pulsing through the dirt, though even this you ignore. The mind wants what it wants: daily newspapers, snapping turtles, a pound of flesh. The work I’ve been doing is a kind of erasing. I dump my ashtray into a bucket of paint and coat myself in the gray slick, rolling around on the carpets of rich strangers while they applaud and sip their scotch. A body can cause almost anything to happen. Remember when you breathed through my mouth, your breath becoming mine? Remember when you sang for me and I fell to the floor, turning into a thousand mice? Whatever it was we were practicing cannot happen without you. I thought I saw you last year, bark wrapped around your thighs, lurching toward the shore at dawn. It was only mist and dumb want. They say even longing has its limits: in a bucket, an eel will simply stop swimming long before it starves. Wounded wolves will pad away from their pack to die lonely and cold. Do you not know how scary it can get here? The talons that dropped me left long scars around my neck that still burn in the wind. I was promised epiphany, earth- honey, and a flood of milk, but I will settle for anything that brings you now, you still-hungry mongrel, you glut of bone, you, scentless as gold.
Kaveh Akbar (Calling a Wolf a Wolf)
Bread plays favorites. From the earliest times, it acts as a social marker, sifting the poor from the wealthy, the cereal from the chaff. The exceptional from the mediocre. Wheat becomes more acceptable than rye; farmers talk of losing their 'rye teeth' as their economic status improves. Barley is for the most destitute, the coarse grain grinding down molars until the nerves are exposed. Breads with the added richness of eggs and milk and butter become the luxuries of princes. Only paupers eat dark bread adulterated with peas and left to sour, or purchase horse-bread instead of man-bread, often baked with the floor sweepings, because it costs a third less than the cheapest whole-meal loaves. When brown bread makes it to the tables of the prosperous, it is as trenchers- plates- stacked high with fish and meat and vegetables and soaked with gravy. The trenchers are then thrown outside, where the dogs and beggars fight over them. Crusts are chipped off the rolls of the rich, both to make it easier to chew and to aid in digestion. Peasants must work all the more to eat, even in the act of eating itself, jaws exhausted from biting through thick crusts and heavy crumb. There is no lightness for them. No whiteness at all. And it is the whiteness every man wants. Pure, white flour. Only white bread blooms when baked, opening to the heat like a rose. Only a king should be allowed such beauty, because he has been blessed by his God. So wouldn't he be surprised- no, filled with horror- to find white bread the food of all men today, and even more so the food of the common people. It is the least expensive on the shelf at the supermarket, ninety-nine cents a loaf for the storebrand. It is smeared with sweetened fruit and devoured by schoolchildren, used for tea sandwiches by the affluent, donated to soup kitchens for the needy, and shunned by the artisan. Yes, the irony of all ironies, the hearty, dark bread once considered fit only for thieves and livestock is now some of the most prized of all.
Christa Parrish (Stones for Bread)
Our two taco specials get shoved up on the serving counter, crispy, cheesy goodness in brown plastic baskets lined with parchment paper, sour cream and guacamole exactly where they should be. On the side. There is a perfect ratio of sour cream, guac, and salsa on a shredded chicken tostada. No one can make it happen for you. Many restaurants have tried. All have failed. Only the mouth knows its own pleasure, and calibration like Taco Heaven cannot be mass produced. It simply cannot. Taco Heaven is a sensory explosion of flavor that defies logic. First, you have to eye the amount of spiced meat, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and tomatillos. You must consider the size and crispiness of the shells. Some people–I call them blasphemers–like soft tacos. I am sitting across from Exhibit A. We won’t talk about soft tacos. They don’t make it to Taco Heaven. People who eat soft tacos live in Taco Purgatory, never fully understanding their moral failings, repeating the same mistakes again and again for all eternity. Like Perky and dating. Once you inventory your meat, lettuce, tomato, and shell quality, the real construction begins. Making your way to Taco Heaven is like a mechanical engineer building a bridge in your mouth. Measurements must be exact. Payloads are all about formulas and precision. One miscalculation and it all fails. Taco Death is worse than Taco Purgatory, because the only reason for Taco Death is miscalculation. And that’s all on you. “Oh, God,” Fiona groans through a mouthful of abomination. “You’re doing it, aren’t you?” “Doing what?” I ask primly, knowing damn well what she’s talking about. “You treat eating tacos like you’re the star of some Mythbusters show.” “Do not.” “Do too.” “Even if I do–and I am notconceding the point–it would be a worthwhile venture.” “You are as weird about your tacos as Perky is about her coffee.” “Take it back! I am not that weird.” “You are.” “Am not.” “This is why Perky and I swore we would never come here with you again.” Fiona grabs my guacamole and smears the rounded scoop all over the outside of her soft taco. I shriek. “How can you do that?” I gasp, the murder of the perfect ratio a painful, almost palpable blow. The mashed avocado has a death rattle that rings in my ears. Smug, tight lips give me a grimace. “See? A normal person would shout, ‘Hey! That’s mine!’ but you’re more offended that I’ve desecrated my inferior taco wrapping with the wrong amount of guac.” “Because it’s wrong.” “You should have gone to MIT, Mal. You need a job that involves nothing but pure math for the sake of calculating stupid shit no one else cares about.” “So glad to know that a preschool teacher holds such high regard for math,” I snark back. And MIT didn’t give me the kind of merit aid package I got from Brown, I don’t add. “Was that supposed to sting?” She takes the rest of my guacamole, grabs a spoon, and starts eating it straight out of the little white paper scoop container thing. “How can you do that? It’s like people who dip their french fries in mayonnaise.” I shudder, standing to get in line to buy more guac. “I dip my french fries in mayo!” “More evidence of your madness, Fi. Get help now. It may not be too late.” I stick my finger in her face. “And by the way, you and Perky talk about my taco habits behind my back? Some friends!” I hmph and turn toward the counter.
Julia Kent (Fluffy (Do-Over, #1))
Kestrel came often. One day, when she knew from Sarsine that Arin had returned home but she had not yet seen him, she went to the suite. She touched one of his violins, reaching furtively to pluck the highest string of the largest instrument. The sound was sour. The violin was ruined--no doubt all of them were. That is what happens when an instrument is left strung and uncased for ten years. A floorboard creaked somewhere in one of the outer chambers. Arin. He entered the room, and she realized that she had expected him. Why else had she come here so frequently, almost every day, if she hadn’t hoped that someone would notice and tell him to find her there? But even though she admitted to wanting to be here with him in his old rooms, she hadn’t imagined it would be like this. With her caught touching his things. Her gaze dropped. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “It’s all right,” he said. “I don’t mind.” He lifted the violin off its nails and set it in her hands. It was light, but Kestrel’s arms lowered as if the violin’s hollowness were terribly heavy. She cleared her throat. “Do you still play?” He shook his head. “I’ve mostly forgotten how. I wasn’t good at it anyway. I loved to sing. Before the war, I worried that gift would leave me, the way it often does with boys. We grow, we change, our voices break. It doesn’t matter how well you sing when you’re nine years old, you know. Not when you’re a boy. When the change comes you just have to hope for the best…that your voice settles into something you can love again. My voice broke two years after the invasion. Gods, how I squeaked. And when my voice finally settled, it seemed like a cruel joke. It was too good. I hardly knew what to do with it. I felt so grateful to have this gift…and so angry, for it to mean so little. And now…” He shrugged, a self-deprecating gesture. “Well, I know I’m rusty.” “No,” Kestrel said. “You’re not. Your voice is beautiful.” The silence after that was soft. Her fingers curled around the violin. She wanted to ask Arin a question yet couldn’t bear to do it, couldn’t say that she didn’t understand what had happened to him the night of the invasion. It didn’t make sense. The death of his family was what her father would call a “waste of resources.” The Valorian force had had no pity for the Herrani military, but it had tried to minimize civilian casualties. You can’t make a dead body work. “What is it, Kestrel?” She shook her head. She set the violin back on the wall. “Ask me.” She remembered standing outside the governor’s palace and refusing to hear his story, and was ashamed once more. “You can ask me anything,” he said. Each question seemed the wrong one. Finally, she said, “How did you survive the invasion?” He didn’t speak at first. Then he said, “My parents and sister fought. I didn’t.” Words were useless, pitifully useless--criminal, even, in how they could not account for Arin’s grief, and could not excuse how her people had lived on the ruin of his. Yet again Kestrel said, “I’m sorry.” “It’s not your fault.” It felt as if it was. Arin led the way out of his old suite. When they came to the last room, the greeting room, he paused before the outermost door. It was the slightest of hesitations, no longer than if the second hand of a clock stayed a beat longer on its mark than it should. But in that fraction of time, Kestrel understood that the last door was not paler than the others because it had been made from a different wood. It was newer. Kestrel took Arin’s battered hand in hers, the rough heat of it, the fingernails still ringed with carbon from the smith’s coal fire. His skin was raw-looking: scrubbed clean and scrubbed often. But the black grime was too ingrained. She twined her fingers with his. Kestrel and Arin walked together through the passageway and the ghost of its old door, which her people had smashed through ten years before.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))