Square One Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Square One. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Rob Siltanen
Love isn't always pretty. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it'll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you're back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
Love isn’t always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you’re back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
He leaned his head to me, his neck so close to my lips, I felt the heat coming off his skin. His breath was warm against my ear. His voice was a ragged snarl. "I miss you." This wasn't happening. "I worry about you." He dipped his head and looked into my eyes. "I worry something stupid will happen and I won't be there and you'll be gone. I worry we won't ever get a chance and it's driving me out of my skull." No, no, no, no......... We stared at each other. The tiny space between us felt too hot. Muscles bulged on his naked frame. He looked feral. Mad gold eyes stared into mine. "Do you miss me, Kate?" I closed my eyes trying to shut him out. I could lie then we would be back to square one. Nothing would be resolved. I'd still be alone, hating him and wanting him. He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once. "Do you miss me?" I took the plunge. "Yes.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, #4))
And even if you were a pawn - maybe we all are - then you should remember that a pawn is the most magical piece of all. It might look small and ordinary but it isn't. because a pawn is never just a pawn. A pawn is a queen-in-waiting. All you need to do is find a way to keep moving forward. One square after another. And you can get to the other side and unlock all kinds of power.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
Now I no longer live in our clear, rational world; I live in the ancient nightmare world, the world of square roots of minus one.
Yevgeny Zamyatin (We)
There are random moments - tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter from one of my children's rooms - when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true religion: arbitrary moments of of nearly painful happiness for a life I feel privileged to lead.
Elizabeth Berg (The Art of Mending)
The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it - whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)
Excuse me? You're a lady?" "I bought a title on the Internet. I own one square inch of Scotland. And you're changing the subject.
Rachel Caine (Ghost Town (The Morganville Vampires, #9))
But think of Adam and Eve like an imaginary number, like the square root of minus one: you can never see any concrete proof that it exists, but if you include it in your equations, you can calculate all manner of things that couldn't be imagined without it.
Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1))
It is also then that I wish I believed in some sort of life after life, that in another universe, maybe on a small red planet where we have not legs but tails, where we paddle through the atmosphere like seals, where the air itself is sustenance, composed of trillions of molecules of protein and sugar and all one has to do is open one's mouth and inhale in order to remain alive and healthy, maybe you two are there together, floating through the climate. Or maybe he is closer still: maybe he is that gray cat that has begun to sit outside our neighbor's house, purring when I reach out my hand to it; maybe he is that new puppy I see tugging at the end of my other neighbor's leash; maybe he is that toddler I saw running through the square a few months ago, shrieking with joy, his parents huffing after him; maybe he is that flower that suddenly bloomed on the rhododendron bush I thought had died long ago; maybe he is that cloud, that wave, that rain, that mist. It isn't only that he died, or how he died; it is what he died believing. And so I try to be kind to everything I see, and in everything I see, I see him.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Have you ever been to Colorado?" I frowned. "Is that one of those square ones, in the middle?
James Patterson
Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies. So now you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
...being Lulu, it made me realize that all my life I've been living in a small, square room, with no windows and no doors. And I was fine. I was happy, even. I thought. Then someone came along and showed me there was a door in the room. One that I'd never even seen before. Then he opened it for me. Held my hand as I walked through it. And for one perfect day, I was on the other side. I was somewhere else. Someone else. And then he was gone, and I was thrown back into my little room. And now, no matter what I do, I can't seem to find that door.
Gayle Forman (Just One Day (Just One Day, #1))
We must strive to be like the moon.' An old man in Kabati repeated this sentence often... the adage served to remind people to always be on their best behavior and to be good to others. [S]he said that people complain when there is too much sun and it gets unbearably hot, and also when it rains too much or when it is cold. But, no one grumbles when the moon shines. Everyone becomes happy and appreciates the moon in their own special way. Children watch their shadows and play in its light, people gather at the square to tell stories and dance through the night. A lot of happy things happen when the moon shines. These are some of the reasons why we should want to be like the moon.
Ishmael Beah
I think one of the primary goals of a feminist landscape architecture would be to work toward a public landscape in which we can roam the streets at midnight, in which every square is available for Virginia Woolf to make up her novels
Rebecca Solnit (Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics)
Is there anything, apart from a really good chocolate cream pie and receiving a large unexpected cheque in the post, to beat finding yourself at large in a foreign city on a fair spring evening, loafing along unfamiliar streets in the long shadows of a lazy sunset, pausing to gaze in shop windows or at some church or lovely square or tranquil stretch of quayside, hesitating at street corners to decide whether that cheerful and homy restaurant you will remember fondly for years is likely to lie down this street or that one? I just love it. I could spend my life arriving each evening in a new city.
Bill Bryson (Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe)
Imagine immortality, where even a marriage of fifty years would feel like a one-night stand. Imagine seeing trends and fashions blur past you. Imagine the world more crowded and desperate every century. Imagine changing religions, homes, diets, careers, until none of them have any real value.Imagine traveling the world until you're bored with every square inch. Imagine your emotions, your loves and hates and rivalries and victories, played out again and again until life is nothing more than a melo-dramatic soap opera. Until you regard the birth and death of other people with no more emotion than the wilted cut flowers you throw away.
Chuck Palahniuk (Lullaby)
There were three boys in the doorway, backlit by the evening sun as Neeve had been so many weeks ago. Three sets of shoulders: one square, one built, one wiry. “Sorry that I’m late,” said the boy in front, with the square shoulders. The scent of mint rolled in with him, just as it had in the churchyard. “Will it be a problem?” Blue knew that voice. She reached for the railing of the stairs to keep her balance as President Cell Phone stepped into the hallway. Oh no. Not him. All this time she’d been wondering how Gansey might die and it turned out she was going to strangle him.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
Sabine snapped back at him, 'There are no wolves left for the Old Square!' But the Prime of the wolves had stirred at last, and pointed an ancient, gnarled finder to the screen. To the feed. And he said, 'One wolf remains in the Old Square.
Sarah J. Maas (House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1))
If the scars of our daily reality overwhelm the beat of our life, we can at all times decide to start from square one, look up at the sky, being conscious of our pettiness, and enjoy the sparks of the stars to find the missing links. ("Man without Qualities" )
Erik Pevernagie
I might like to have someone courting me. But it would have to be someone who is a square shooter and who has a train load of courage. And it would have to be someone who doesn't have to talk down to folks to feel good, or to tell a person they are worthless ifthey just made a mistake. And he'd have to be not too thin. Why, I remember hugging [my brother] Ernest was like warpping your arms around a fence post,and I love Ernest, but I want a man who can hold me down in a wind. Maybe he'd have to be pretty stubborn. I don't have any use for a man that isn't stubborn. Likely a stubborn fellow will stay with you through thick and thin, and a spineless one will take off, or let his heart wander.
Nancy E. Turner (These Is My Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901)
To some it might’ve seemed callous, the way she boxed up her pain and set it aside, but I knew her well enough now to understand. She had a heart the size of France, and the lucky few whom she loved with it were loved with every square inch—but its size made it dangerous, too. If she let it feel everything, she’d be wrecked. So she had to tame it, shush it, shut it up. Float the worst pains off to an island that was quickly filling with them, where she would go to live one day.
Ransom Riggs (Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #3))
Poetry is a sort of inspired mathematics, which gives us equations, not for abstract figures, triangles, squares, and the like, but for the human emotions. If one has a mind which inclines to magic rather than science, one will prefer to speak of these equations as spells or incantations; it sounds more arcane, mysterious, recondite.
Ezra Pound
The queen was my favorite chess piece. Unlike the women I knew in real life, she was powerful. Her job was to defend her husband at all costs, because while he was weak and practically defenseless—only allowed to move one square at a time—she was the strongest player on the board, hindered by no restrictions at all.
Rachel Vincent (Stray (Shifters, #1))
People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn't know were there, even the ones they wouldn't have thought to call beautiful themselves.
Hilary T. Smith (Wild Awake)
Love isn't always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it'll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you're back to square one, and you lost you heart somewhere along the way
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin-that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
Only one pair was still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix's jet of red light: he was laughing at her. 'Come on, you can do better than that!' he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room. The second jet of light hit him squarely in the chest. The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
I think it is far more important to save one square mile of wilderness, anywhere, by any means, than to produce another book on the subject.
Edward Abbey (Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast)
For Rat Kiley, I think, facts were formed by sensation, not the other way around, and when you listened to one of his stories, you'd find yourself performing rapid calculations in your head, subtracting superlatives, figuring the square root of an absolute and then multiplying by maybe.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
There is more to the game than protecting your queen" Hamish said. "Why do you find it so difficult to remember that it's the king who's not expendable?" "The king just sits there, moving one square at a time.The queen can move so freely. I suppose I'd rather lose the game than forfeit her freedom
Deborah Harkness (A Discovery of Witches (All Souls, #1))
Close your eyes, Maxon." "What?" "Close your eyes. Somewhere in this palace, there is a woman who will be your wife. This girl? Imagine that she depends on you. She needs you to cherish her and make her feel like the Selection didn't even happen. Like if you were dropped in your own out in the middle of the country to wander around door to door, she's still the one you would have found. She was always the one you would have picked. She needs you to provide for her and protect her. And if it came to a point where there was absolutely nothing to eat, and you couldn't even fall asleep at night because the sound of her stomach growling kept you awake—" "Stop it!" "Sorry." "Is that really what it's like? Out there... does that happen? Are people hungry like that a lot?" "Maxon, I..." "Tell me the truth." "Yes. That happens. I know of families where people give up their share for their children or siblings. I know of a boy who was whipped in the town square for stealing food. Sometimes you do crazy things when you are desperate." "A boy? How old?" "Nine." "Have you ever been like that? Starving?...How bad?" "Maxon, it will only upset you more." "Probably, but I'm only starting to realize how much I don't know about my own country. Please." "We've been pretty bad. Most time if it gets to where we have to choose, we keep the food and lose electricity. The worst was when it happened near Christmas one year. May didn't understand why we couldn't exchange gifts. As a general rule, there are never any leftovers at my house. Someone always wants more. I know the checks we've gotten over the last few weeks have really helped, and my family is really smart about money. I'm sure they have already tucked it away so it will stretch out for a long time. You've done so much for us, Maxon." "Good God. When you said that you were only here for the food, you weren't kidding, were you?" "Really, Maxon, we've been doing pretty well lately. I—" "I'll see you at dinner.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
All men fear death. It’s a natural fear that consumes us all. We fear death because we feel that we haven’t loved well enough or loved at all, which ultimately are one and the same. However, when you make love with a truly great woman, one that deserves the utmost respect in this world and one that makes you feel truly powerful, that fear of death completely disappears. Because when you are sharing your body and heart with a great woman the world fades away. You two are the only ones in the entire universe. You conquer what most lesser men have never conquered before, you have conquered a great woman’s heart, the most vulnerable thing she can offer to another. Death no longer lingers in the mind. Fear no longer clouds your heart. Only passion for living, and for loving, become your sole reality. This is no easy task for it takes insurmountable courage. But remember this, for that moment when you are making love with a woman of true greatness you will feel immortal. I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing. And when the man who is brave and true looks death squarely in the face like some rhino hunters I know or Belmonte, who is truly brave, it is because they love with sufficient passion to push death out of their minds. Until it returns, as it does to all men. And then you must make really good love again. Think about it.
Woody Allen
The king just sits there, moving one square at a time. The queen can move so freely. I suppose I’d rather lose the game than forfeit her freedom.
Deborah Harkness
And so now I'd like to say - people can change anything they want to. And that means everything in the world. People are running about following their little tracks - I am one of them. But we've all got to stop just following our own little mouse trail. People can do anything - this is something that I'm beginning to learn. People are out there doing bad things to each other. That's because they've been dehumanised. It's time to take the humanity back into the center of the ring and follow that for a time. Greed, it ain't going anywhere. They should have that in a big billboard across Times Square. Without people you're nothing. That's my spiel.
Joe Strummer
One cannot fail to notice the inconsistency of those rejecting human rights: their rejection takes place in the public square created by human rights. It is difficult to reject human rights without using them.
Filip Spagnoli (Making Human Rights Real)
It's one thing to develop a nostalgia for home while you're boozing with Yankee writers in Martha's Vineyard or being chased by the bulls in Pamplona. It's something else to go home and visit with the folks in Reed's drugstore on the square and actually listen to them. The reason you can't go home again is not because the down-home folks are mad at you--they're not, don't flatter yourself, they couldn't care less--but because once you're in orbit and you return to Reed's drugstore on the square, you can stand no more than fifteen minutes of the conversation before you head for the woods, head for the liquor store, or head back to Martha's Vineyard, where at least you can put a tolerable and saving distance between you and home. Home may be where the heart is but it's no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.
Walker Percy (Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)
We demand that big business give the people a square deal; in return we must insist that when any one engaged in big business honestly endeavors to do right he shall himself be given a square deal.
Theodore Roosevelt
Looking from outside into an open window one never sees as much as when one looks through a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more pregnant, more insidious, more dazzling than a window lighted by a single candle. What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what goes on behind a windowpane. In that black or luminous square life lives, life dreams, life suffers.
Charles Baudelaire
The first thing you notice about New Orleans are the burying grounds - the cemeteries - and they're a cold proposition, one of the best things there are here. Going by, you try to be as quiet as possible, better to let them sleep. Greek, Roman, sepulchres- palatial mausoleums made to order, phantomesque, signs and symbols of hidden decay - ghosts of women and men who have sinned and who've died and are now living in tombs. The past doesn't pass away so quickly here. You could be dead for a long time. The ghosts race towards the light, you can almost hear the heavy breathing spirits, all determined to get somewhere. New Orleans, unlike a lot of those places you go back to and that don't have the magic anymore, still has got it. Night can swallow you up, yet none of it touches you. Around any corner, there's a promise of something daring and ideal and things are just getting going. There's something obscenely joyful behind every door, either that or somebody crying with their head in their hands. A lazy rhythm looms in the dreamy air and the atmosphere pulsates with bygone duels, past-life romance, comrades requesting comrades to aid them in some way. You can't see it, but you know it's here. Somebody is always sinking. Everyone seems to be from some very old Southern families. Either that or a foreigner. I like the way it is. There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better. There's a thousand different angles at any moment. At any time you could run into a ritual honoring some vaguely known queen. Bluebloods, titled persons like crazy drunks, lean weakly against the walls and drag themselves through the gutter. Even they seem to have insights you might want to listen to. No action seems inappropriate here. The city is one very long poem. Gardens full of pansies, pink petunias, opiates. Flower-bedecked shrines, white myrtles, bougainvillea and purple oleander stimulate your senses, make you feel cool and clear inside. Everything in New Orleans is a good idea. Bijou temple-type cottages and lyric cathedrals side by side. Houses and mansions, structures of wild grace. Italianate, Gothic, Romanesque, Greek Revival standing in a long line in the rain. Roman Catholic art. Sweeping front porches, turrets, cast-iron balconies, colonnades- 30-foot columns, gloriously beautiful- double pitched roofs, all the architecture of the whole wide world and it doesn't move. All that and a town square where public executions took place. In New Orleans you could almost see other dimensions. There's only one day at a time here, then it's tonight and then tomorrow will be today again. Chronic melancholia hanging from the trees. You never get tired of it. After a while you start to feel like a ghost from one of the tombs, like you're in a wax museum below crimson clouds. Spirit empire. Wealthy empire. One of Napoleon's generals, Lallemaud, was said to have come here to check it out, looking for a place for his commander to seek refuge after Waterloo. He scouted around and left, said that here the devil is damned, just like everybody else, only worse. The devil comes here and sighs. New Orleans. Exquisite, old-fashioned. A great place to live vicariously. Nothing makes any difference and you never feel hurt, a great place to really hit on things. Somebody puts something in front of you here and you might as well drink it. Great place to be intimate or do nothing. A place to come and hope you'll get smart - to feed pigeons looking for handouts
Bob Dylan (Chronicles: Volume One)
The November evening had a bite; it nibbled not-quite-gently at her cheeks and ears. In Virginia the late autumn was a lover, still, but a dangerous one.
J. Aleksandr Wootton (The Eighth Square (Fayborn, #2))
I grow old though pleased with my memories The tasks I can no longer complete Are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past I offer no apology only this plea: When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt That I might keep some child warm And some old person with no one else to talk to Will hear my whispers And cuddle near
Nikki Giovanni
You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study... Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it overstatement but I'll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.
Steven Pressfield
Thinking of you, wherever you are We pray for our sorrows to end, and hope that our hearts will blend. Now I will step forward to realize this wish. And who knows, starting a new journey may not be so hard Or maybe it has already begun. There are many worlds. but they share the same sky one sky, one destiny. Kairi
Square Enix
Hey, pal," Matthew whispered. He was the only person who could get away with calling Ronan pal. Matthew Lynch was a bear of a boy, square and solid and earnest. His head was covered with soft, golden curls completely unlike any of his other family members. And in his case, the perfect Lynch teeth were framed by an easy, dimpled smile. He had two brands of smile: the one that was preceded by a shy dip of his chin, a dimple, and then BAM, smile. And the one that teased for a moment before BAM, an infectious laugh. Females of all ages called him adorable. Males of all ages called him buddy. Matthew failed at many more things than either of his older brothers, but unlike Declan or Ronan, he always tried his hardest. Ronan had dreamt one thousand nightmares about something happening to him.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2))
Well, why do you want a political career? Have you ever been in the House of Commons and taken a good square look at the inmates? As weird a gaggle of freaks and sub-humans as was ever collected in one spot.
P.G. Wodehouse
With so much effort being poured into church growth, so much press being given to the benefits of faith, and so much flexing of religious muscle in the public square, the poor in spirit have no one but Jesus to call them blessed anymore.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith)
Sometimes I feel that I could stand in the middle of the square and scream and thrash about like a wildling, and no one would notice.
Kerrigan Byrne (Unwanted (The MacLauchlans, #3))
CAN YOU FREE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE THE REALITY OF LIFE AS IT GOES ON BEFORE YOU AND WITH YOU, AND AS YOU GO ON AS PART OF IT? OR NOT? BECAUSE IF YOU CAN’T YOU STAND ON SQUARE ONE, UNTIL YOU DIE.
Roger Waters
Marco enters a city; he sees someone in a square living a life or an instant that could be his; he could now be in that man's place, if he had stopped in time, long ago; or if, long ago, at a crossroads, instead of taking one road he had taken the opposite one, and after long wandering he had come to be in the place of that man in the square. By now, from that real or hypothetical past of his, he is excluded; he cannot stop; he must go on to another city, where another of his pasts awaits him, or something perhaps that had been a possible future of his and is now someone else's present. Futures not achieved are only branches of the past: dead branches.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
For no reason at all, I thought of New Year's Eve, when all those people crowd into Times Square and scream like jackals as the lighted ball slides down the pole, ready to shed its thin party glare on three hundred and sixty-five new days in this best of all possible worlds. I have always wondered what it would be like to be caught in one of those crowds, screaming and not able to hear your own voice, your individuality momentarily wiped out and replaced with the blind empathic overslop of the crowd's lurching, angry anticipation, hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder with no one in particular.
Richard Bachman
HELP!” I race to the square, crossing it, looking all around, listening out- No. No. It’s empty. Viola’s breathing heavy in my arms . And Haven is empty. I reach the middle of the square. I don’t see nor hear a soul. I spin around again. “HELP!” I cry. But there’s no one. Haven’s completely empty. There ain’t hope here after all.
Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1))
This is the Propylon." He waved toward a stone path lined with crumbling columns. "One of the main gates into the Olympic valley." "Rubble!" said Leo "And over there - " Frank pointed to a square foundation that looked like the patio for a Mexican restaurant - "is the Temple of Hera, one of the oldest structures here." "More rubble!" Leo said. "And that round bandstand-looking thing - that's the Philipeon, dedicated to Philip of Macedonia." "Even more rubble! First rate rubble!
Rick Riordan (The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5))
Love isn't always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it'll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you're back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.
Colleen Hoover (Ugly Love)
I keep my eyes closed as tightly as I can, but in my mind, everyone in the square looks like my father and they all have his voice. I hate you all. I imagine my hands at their throats, choking, silencing them, one by one.
Marie Lu (The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1))
No one starts as a self-hater. But rack up all of your mistakes and take a large enough number of wrong turns in life and soon you stop trying to forgive yourself. Everywhere you look you find shame or failure staring back.
André Aciman (Harvard Square)
He smiled, setting his forehead to hers. "you are very bad for me. I am trying to turn over a new leaf--I am trying to be more gentlemanly." "But what if I want you to stay a rake?" she teased, her fingers trailing down his neck and chest, fingering the buttons on his waistcoat. "A libertine, even?" she slipped one fastening from its seat and he grabbed her errant hand, bringing it to his lips for a swift kiss. "Callie," he said, his voice thick with warning as she set her free hand to the second button on his coat. "What if I want the rogue, Gabriel?" the question was soft and sweet. "What are you saying?" She kissed across the firm square line of his jaw and whispered to him, shyness in her shaking voice, "Take me to bed, Gabriel. Give me a taste of scandal.
Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1))
We are all alike; we have no ties, we know nobody, we own nothing. When one of us dies, they scarcely know where to bury him. Our landlady and the delicatessen man are our mourners, and we leave nothing behind us but a frock-coat and a fiddle, or an easel, or a typewriter, or whatever took we got our living by. All we have ever managed to do is to pay our rent, that exorbitant rent that one has to pay for a few square feet of space near the heart of things. We have no house, no place, no people of our own. We live in the streets, in the parks, in the theaters. We sit in restaurants and concert halls and look about at the hundreds of our own kind and shudder.
Willa Cather (O Pioneers!)
Gender is like a Rubik’s Cube with one hundred squares per side, and every time you twist it to take a look at another angle, you make it that much harder a puzzle to solve.
Sam Killermann (The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook: A Guide to Gender)
It's a sponge and I'm a sponge and for a second there all our sponge parts are one and I don't just have square pants, everything about me is squarish because I'm part of a wall.
Karen Marie Moning (Iced (Fever, #6))
All I know is that right now I wanna rip your clothes off right here in the middle of this hall and throw you in one of these classrooms and kiss every square inch of your body, while a bunch of people who drive minivans listen wishing they were us.
L.J. Smith
When a man rides a long time through wild regions he feels the desire for a city. Finally he comes to Isidora, a city where the buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells, where perfect telescopes and violins are made, where the foreigner hesitating between two women always encounters a third, where cockfights degenerate into bloody brawls among the bettors. He was thinking of all these things when he desired a city. Isidora, therefore, is the city of his dreams: with one difference. The dreamed-of city contained him as a young man; he arrives at Isidora in his old age. In the square there is the wall where the old men sit and watch the young go by; he is seated in a row with them. Desires are already memories.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
If humans escape the solar system and outlive the Sun, our descendants may someday live on one of these planets. Atoms from Times Square, cycled through the heart of the Sun, will form our new bodies. One day, either we will all be dead, or we will all be New Yorkers.
Randall Munroe (What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions)
Xav bounded out behind him. “Yeah, Phee equals You-She squared. I’ve been working on that one: like it?
Joss Stirling (Stealing Phoenix (Benedicts, #2))
Now, here's what we do. You and I will find a back way out of this place. If we come across someone else, we make like a couple of lovesick teenagers. People generally hurry past heavy breathers. I get you to the parking lot, you vanish. Got it?" He nodded. "There's just one thing I've got to do before we go," he said. Before I could inquire, he grabbed me and planted a kiss square on my mouth. It was short but fiery, despite the grape flavoring, and when he let me go I wan panting. Holy crap!" He smiled, not at all apologetically, and said, "I've wanted to do that ever since I saw my first Bond movie.
Jennifer Rardin
...you'd be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. We will let a selection from the writings of Chuang-tse illustrate: Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, "I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same - useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them." ... "You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
I’ll go first, then you follow me, Alex, exactly where I step. Bear will come behind you,” Jordan said. “And remember, only one person on a square at a time.” She hadn’t been told that before. “Why?” Jordan grimaced and said, “They’re kind of… booby-trapped.” “Booby-trapped,” she deadpanned. He looked at her innocently and shrugged as if to say it wasn’t his fault. “You know what?” Alex muttered. “I don’t even want to know how you know that.
Lynette Noni (Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles, #1))
Two bodies attract each other directly as the product of their masses and inversely as the square of their distance.' It sounds like a rule for simple physical facts, does it not? Yet it is nothing of the sort; it was the poetical way the old ones had of expressing the rule of propinquity which governs the emotion of love. The bodies referred to are human bodies, mass is their capacity for love. Young people have a greater capacity for love than the elderly; when thy are thrown together they fall in love, yet when they are separated they soon get over it. 'Out of sight, out of mind.' It's as simple as that. But you were seeking some deep meaning for it.
Robert A. Heinlein (Orphans of the Sky)
For others do I wait...for higher ones, stronger ones, more triumphant ones, merrier ones, for such as are built squarely in body and soul: laughing lions must come.
Friedrich Nietzsche
One might fancy that day, the London day, was just beginning. Like a woman who had slipped off her print dress and white apron to array herself in blue and pearls, the day changed, put off stuff, took gauze, changed to evening, and with the same sigh of exhilaration that a woman breathes, tumbling petticoats on the floor, it too shed dust, heat, colour; the traffic thinned; motor cars, tinkling, darting, succeeded the lumber of vans; and here and there among the thick foliage of the squares an intense light hung. I resign, the evening seemed to say, as it paled and faded above the battlements and prominences, moulded, pointed, of hotel, flat, and block of shops, I fade, she was beginning. I disappear, but London would have none of it, and rushed her bayonets into the sky, pinioned her, constrained her to partnership in her revelry.
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Stop entertaining two faced people. You know the ones who have split personalities and untrustworthy habits. Nine times out of ten if they telling you stuff about another person, they're going to tell your business to other people. If they say, "You know I heard........." More than likely it's in their character to share false information. Beware of your box, circle, square! Whatever you want to call it.
Amaka Imani Nkosazana (Sweet Destiny)
Now that the house was securely hidden, the fact that he was holed up with Havily sent a wave of heat over his body. I'm not going to be able to keep away from you, he said. Tell me you know that. Tell me you understand. Her eyelids fell to half-mast as she released a deep sigh. Another wave of honeysucke hit him square in the chest. No one is asking you to, Warrior.
Caris Roane (Burning Skies (Guardians of Ascension, #2))
Walk some night on a suburban street and pass house after house on both sides of the same street each with the lamplight of the living room, shining golden, and inside the little blue square of the television, each living family riveting its attention on probably one show; nobody talking; silence in the yards; dogs barking at you because you pass on human feet instead of wheels.
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
I am a Prince," he replied, being rather dense. "It is the function of a Prince—value A—to kill monsters—value B—for the purpose of establishing order—value C—and maintaining a steady supply of maidens—value D. If one inserts the derivative of value A (Prince) into the equation y equals BC plus CD squared, and sets it equal to zero, giving the apex of the parabola, namely, the point of intersection between A (Prince) and B (Monster), one determines value E—a stable kingdom. It is all very complicated, and if you have a chart handy I can graph it for you.
Catherynne M. Valente (In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1))
Light bounced off the cut glass and illuminated the checkerboard floor: alternating squares of darker and lighter wood. If you climbed to the chandelier and looked down, they revealed themselves as the shape of the Angelic Power rune. Not that Emma would admit she’d done that. Though one did get an excellent view of the massive stone chair of the Institute’s head from that angle.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
Life equaled love plus passion squared. Loving and being passionate about what one did was what made life so precious.
Karen Marie Moning (Kiss of the Highlander (Highlander, #4))
On the other hand, investing is a unique kind of casino—one where you cannot lose in the end, so long as you play only by the rules that put the odds squarely in your favor.
Benjamin Graham (The Intelligent Investor)
I mean it. I can't go alone. And I really can't go with Levana." "Well, there are about 200,000 single girls in this city who would fall over themselves to have the privilege." A hush passed between them... "Cinder." She couldn't help it. She looked at him... "200,000 single girls," he said. "Why not you?" Cyborg. Lunar. Mechanic. She was the last thing he wanted. She opened her lips, and the elevator stopped. "I'm sorry. But trust me---you don't want to go with me." The doors opened and the tension released her. She rushed out of the elevator, head down, trying to look at the small group of people waiting for the elevator. "Come to the ball with me." She froze. Everyone in the hallway froze. Cinder turned back. Kai was still standing in elevator B one hand propping open the door. Her nerves frazzled, and all the emotions of the past hour were converging into a single sickening feeling---exasperation. The hall was filled with doctors, nurses, androids, officials, technicians, and they all fell into an awkward hush and stared at the prince and the girl in the baggy cargo pants he was flirting with. Flirting. Squaring her shoulders, she retreated back into the elevator and pushed him inside, not even caring that it was her metal hand. "Hold the elevator," he said to the android as the doors shut behind him. He smiled. "That got your attention.
Marissa Meyer
What shall I give? and which are my miracles? 2. Realism is mine--my miracles--Take freely, Take without end--I offer them to you wherever your feet can carry you or your eyes reach. 3. Why! who makes much of a miracle? As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles, Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan, Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky, Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water, Or stand under trees in the woods, Or talk by day with any one I love--or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love, Or sit at the table at dinner with my mother, Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car, Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon, Or animals feeding in the fields, Or birds--or the wonderfulness of insects in the air, Or the wonderfulness of the sundown--or of stars shining so quiet and bright, Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring; Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best--mechanics, boatmen, farmers, Or among the savans--or to the _soiree_--or to the opera. Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery, Or behold children at their sports, Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman, Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial, Or my own eyes and figure in the glass; These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles, The whole referring--yet each distinct and in its place. 4. To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every inch of space is a miracle, Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same, Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same; Every spear of grass--the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them, All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
To be content, horse people need only a horse, or, lacking that, someone else who loves horses with whom they can talk. It was always that way with my grandfather. He took me places just so we could see horses, be near them. We went to the circus and the rodeo at Madison Square Garden. We watched parades down Fifth Avenue. Finding a horse, real or imagined, was like finding a dab of magic potion that enlivened us both. Sometimes I'd tell my grandfather about all the horses in my eleborate dreams. He'd lean over, smile, and assure me that, one day, I'd have one for real. And if my grandfather, my Opa, told me something was going to come true, it always did.
Allan J. Hamilton (Zen Mind, Zen Horse: The Science and Spirituality of Working with Horses)
Let’s face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn’t a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And finally, why doesn't "buick" rhyme with "quick"?
Richard Lederer
It is the contention of Mr Norrell of Hanover-square that everything belonging to John Uskglass must be shaken out of modern magic, as one would shake moths and dust out of an old coat. What does he imagine he will have left? If you get rid of John Uskglass you will be left holding the empty air.
Susanna Clarke (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell)
Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesmen to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it .The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were , with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
depression in its major stages possesses no quickly available remedy: failure of alleviation is one of the most distressing factors of the disorder as it reveals itself to the victim, and one that helps situate it squarely in the category of grave diseases.
William Styron (Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness)
I recall one particular sunset. It lent an ember to my bicycle hell. Overhead, above the black music of telegraph wires, a number of long, dark-violet clouds lined with flamingo pink hung motionless in a fan-shaped arrangement; the whole thing was like some prodigious ovation in terms of color and form! It was dying, however, and everything else was darkening, too; but just above the horizon, in a lucid, turquoise space, beneath a black stratus, the eye found a vista that only a fool could mistake for the square parts of this or any other sunset. It occupied a very small sector of the enormous sky and had the peculiar neatness of something seen through the wrong end of a telescope. There it lay in wait, a brilliant convolutions, anachronistic in their creaminess and extremely remote; remote but perfect in every detail; fantastically reduced but faultlessly shaped; my marvelous tomorrow ready to be delivered to me.
Vladimir Nabokov (Speak, Memory)
The best customers are the ones who just have to buy a record on a Saturday, even if there's nothing they really want; unless they go home clutching a flat, square carrier bag, they feel uncomfortable. You can spot the vinyl addicts because after a while they get fed up with the rack they are flicking through, march over to a completely different section of the shop, pull a sleeve out from the middle somewhere, and come over to the counter; this is because they have been making a list of possible purchases in their head ("If I don't find anything in the next five minutes, that blues compilation I saw half an hour ago will have to do"), and suddenly sicken themselves with the amount of time they have wasted looking for something they don't really want.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
We are, as you can see, going out—Charles has invoked the Consul’s authority and called a meeting in Grosvenor Square to discuss last night’s attack. Only for high-level Enclave members, apparently.” Will explained. Matthew grimaced. “By the Angel, that sounds awful. I hope it’s all right for me to stay here tonight.” Tessa smiled. “We already made up one of the spare rooms for you.” “As I have known Charles since he was born, I have a difficult time taking him seriously as an authority figure,” said Will thoughtfully. “I suppose if he says anything I don’t like, I can request that he be spanked.” “Oh, yes, please,” said Matthew. “It would do him a world of good.
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
The Earl and Countess of Langford!" That announcement caused an immediate reaction among the inhabitants of the ballroom, who began looking at one another in surprise and then turned to the balcony, but it was nothing compared to the reaction among the small group of seven people who'd been keeping a vigil of hope. A jolt went through the entire group; hands reached out blindly and were clasped tightly by other hands; faces lifted to the balcony, while joyous smiles dawned brightly and eyes misted with tears. Attired in formal black evening clothes with white waistcoat and frilled white shirt, Stephen Westmoreland, Earl of Langford, was walking across the balcony. On his arm was a medieval princess clad in a pearl-encrusted ivory satin gown with a low, square bodice that tapered to a deep V at the waist. A gold chain with clusters of diamonds and pearls in each link rode low on her hips, sawying with each step, and her hair tumbled in flaming waves and heavy curls over her shoulders and back.
Judith McNaught (Until You (Westmoreland, #3))
In the square below,’ said the Happy Prince, ‘there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her.’ ‘I will stay with you one night longer,’ said the Swallow, ‘but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then.’ ‘Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow,’ said the Prince, ‘do as I command you.’ So he plucked out the Prince’s other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. ‘What a lovely bit of glass,’ cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing. Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. ‘You are blind now,’ he said, ‘so I will stay with you always.
Oscar Wilde (The Happy Prince)
The wise thing is for us diligently to train ourselves to lie thoughtfully, judiciously; to lie with a good object, and not an evil one; to lie for others' advantage, and not our own; to lie healingly, charitably, humanely, not cruelly, hurtfully, maliciously; to lie gracefully and graciously, not awkwardly and clumsily; to lie firmly, frankly, squarely, with head erect, not haltingly, tortuously, with pusillanimous mien, as being ashamed of our high calling.
Mark Twain (On the Decay of the Art of Lying)
WORRY NOT, PRINCESS,” Ironhorse said, and I gaped at him, not believing my eyes. Where a horse had been, now a man stood before me, dark and massive, with a square jaw and fists the size of hams. He wore jeans and a black shirt that bulged with all the muscles underneath, the skin stretched tight over steely tendons. Dreadlocks spilled from his scalp like a mane, and his eyes still burned with that intense red glow. “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE WITH A FEW TRICKS UP YOUR SLEEVE, GOODFELLOW,” he said, a faint smirk beneath his voice. “NOW, GO. I WILL BE RIGHT BEHIND YOU.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2))
To square the records, however, it should be said that if the Calvinist does not rise as high, he usually stays up longer. He places more emphasis on the Holy Scriptures which never change, while his opposite number (as the newspapers say) tends to judge his spiritual condition by the state of his feelings, which change constantly. This may be the reason that so many Calvinistic churches remain orthodox for centuries, at least in doctrine, while many churches of the Arminian persuasion often go liberal in one generation.
A.W. Tozer
Acceptance. We want someone to look at us, and really see us—our physical flaws, our personality quirks, our insecurities. And we want them to be okay with every square inch of who we are. We’re always afraid we might be too needy or too much work. We put all these limitations on ourselves and our relationships because we’re afraid that we’re not really loved. That we’re not really accepted. We hide little pieces of ourselves because we think that might be the one thing that finally drives away the person who’s supposed to love us.
Michele Bardsley (Cross Your Heart (Broken Heart #7))
I'm starving. When we check into our hotel, let's ask the desk clerk where we can find one of those vast pizzas." "What are you talking about?" "Your guidebook says Florence is a city of vast pizzas. Look it up yourself." "Those are vast piazzas, not pizzas! It means public squares!" Dan's face fell. "Oh." Amy sighed. "I honestly thought the clue hunt took the dweeb out of you. No such luck.
Gordon Korman (The Medusa Plot (39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #1))
Shall I show you the half-dozen other rooms in this hospital where these scenes are repeated? And what of the other hospitals? Printing House Square is small and tame. Even in the private institutions uptown you can see a show just like this: there is nothing as disgusting as an obese cadaver in which all the futile pleasures of many years finally arise to fill it full-blown with stinking rotten gases. The city is burning and under siege. And we are in a war in which everyone is killed and no one is remembered." "What am I supposed to do, then," Peter Lake asked, "if it's like you say?" "Is there someone you love?" "Yes." "A woman?" "Yes." "Then go home to her." "And who will remember her?" "No one. That's just the point. You must take care of all that now.
Mark Helprin (Winter's Tale)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
There's no use in denying it: this has been a bad week. I've started drinking my own urine. I laugh spontaneously at nothing. Sometimes I sleep under my futon. I'm flossing my teeth constantly until my gums are aching and my mouth tastes like blood. Before dinner last night at 1500 with Reed Goodrich and Jason Rust I was almost caught at a Federal Express in Times Square trying to send the mother of one of the girls I killed last week what might be a dried-up, brown heart. And to Evelyn I successfully Federal Expressed, through the office, a small box of flies along with a note, typed by Jean, saying that I never, ever wanted to see her face again and, though she doesn't really need one, to go on a fucking diet. But there are also things that the average person would think are nice that I've done to celebrate the holiday, items I've bought Jean and had delivered to her apartment this morning: Castellini cotton napkins from Bendel's, a wicker chair from Jenny B. Goode, a taffeta table throw from Barney's, a vintage chain-mail-vent purse and a vintage sterling silver dresser set from Macy's, a white pine whatnot from Conran's, an Edwardian nine-carat-gold "gate" bracelet from Bergdorfs and hundreds upon hundreds of pink and white roses.
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
I see now how things even up, how they are squared away, and how they balance under the law of love and justice. No year of life is emotionally, spiritually or even materially, all drought or all rainfall; nor is it all sun. The road turns a little every day, and one day there's a sudden twist we didn't dream was there, and for every loss there is somewhere a gain, for every grief a happiness, for every deprivation a giving.
Faith Baldwin (Many Windows, Seasons of the Heart)
it is a federal system of sadistic torture, vivisection, and animal genocide, which has been carried on for decades under the fraudulent guise of respectable medical research. And nobody on the outside knows, or wants to know, or is willing to find out. My parents, my friends, my teachers, wouldnt listen to me, or suggested that if it was bothering me that much I just had to quit the job. Just like that. As if that would have solved anything. As if I could ever live with such cowardice. You can't imagine, or maybe you can, how many people are convinced - without knowing the first thing about it - Animal research is essential. Americans have been hopelessly brainwashed on this issue. The animal rights people, by and large, acknowledge the essential futility of trying to change the system. So they address the smaller issues, fighting for legislation which would provide one extra visit per week to the labs by a custodian of the US dept of agriculture. Or demanding that a squirrel monkey be given an extra 12 square inches in his holding pen, before being led to the slaughter. That sort of thing. For whomever, and whatever it's worth, I hope my little write up is clear. I dont have the guts to do whats necessary. I pray there's someone out there who does. God help all of us.
Michael Tobias (Rage and Reason)
That is the queen—the most powerful piece on the board. She can move in any direction, and go as far as she wishes.” There was nothing overtly suggestive in his manner of speaking …but when he spoke softly, as he was doing at that moment, there was a husky depth in his voice that made her toes curl inside her slippers. “More powerful than the king?” she asked. “Yes. The king can only move one square at a time. But the king is the most important piece.” “Why is he more important than the queen if he’s not the most powerful?” “Because once he is captured, the game is over.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
Society has three stages: Savagery, Ascendance, Decadence. The great rise because of Savagery. They rule in Ascendance. They fall because of their own Decadence." He tells how the Persians were felled, how the Romans collapsed because their rulers forgot how their parents gained them an empire. He prattles about Muslim dynasties and European effeminacy and Chinese regionalism and American self-loathing and self-neutering. All the ancient names. "Our Savagery began when our capital, Luna, rebelled against the tyranny of Earth and freed herself from the shackles of Demokracy, from the Noble Lie - the idea that men are brothers and are created equal." Augustus weaves lies of his own with that golden tongue of his. He tells of the Goldens' suffering. The Masses sat on the wagon and expected the great to pull, he reminds. They sat whipping the great until we could no longer take it. I remember a different whipping. "Men are not created equal; we all know this. There are averages. There are outliers. There are the ugly. There are the beautiful. This would not be if we were all equal. A Red can no more command a starship than a Green can serve as a doctor!" There's more laughter across the square as he tells us to look at pathetic Athens, the birthplace of the cancer they call Demokracy. Look how it fell to Sparta. The Noble Lie made Athens weak. It made their citizens turn on their best general, Alcibiades, because of jealousy. "Even the nations of Earth grew jealous of one another. The United States of America exacted this idea of equality through force. And when the nations united, the Americans were surprised to find that they were disliked! The Masses are jealous! How wonderful a dream it would be if all men were created equal! But we are not. It is against the Noble Lie that we fight. But as I said before, as I say to you now, there is another evil against which we war. It is a more pernicious evil. It is a subversive, slow evil. It is not a wildfire. It is a cancer. And that cancer is Decadence. Our society has passed from Savagery to Ascendance. But like our spiritual ancestors, the Romans, we too can fall into Decadence.
Pierce Brown (Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1))
Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to.... How different everything is for the craftsman who ... can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object--whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug--and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
The [elevator] doors opened and the tension released her. She rushed out of the elevator, head down, trying to look at the small group of people waiting for the elevator. "Come to the ball with me." She froze. Everyone in the hallway froze. Cinder turned back. Kai was still standing in elevator B one hand propping open the door. Her nerves frazzled, and all the emotions of the past hour were converging into a single sickening feeling---exasperation. The hall was filled with doctors, nurses, androids, officials, technicians, and they all fell into an awkward hush and stared at the prince and the girl in the baggy cargo pants he was flirting with. Flirting. Squaring her shoulders, she retreated back into the elevator and pushed him inside, not even caring that it was her metal hand. "Hold the elevator," he said to the android as the doors shut behind him. He smiled. "That got your attention.
Marissa Meyer
EDMUND *Then with alcoholic talkativeness You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason! *He grins wryly. It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death! TYRONE *Stares at him -- impressed. Yes, there's the makings of a poet in you all right. *Then protesting uneasily. But that's morbid craziness about not being wanted and loving death. EDMUND *Sardonically The *makings of a poet. No, I'm afraid I'm like the guy who is always panhandling for a smoke. He hasn't even got the makings. He's got only the habit. I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people.
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey into Night)
I think I'm losing control all over again. This is because I've registered two things above and beyond his hypnotic green eyes and rock star hot voice. 1. His perfectly square chin has one of those little divots dead center. 2. He's taller, and wider across the shoulders than I'd thought. My heart ramps into some sort of a private hailstorm. My list won't stop. 3. His hair is still shower damp. It's made up of little inky-black curls—an amazing amount of them. 4. The dumb eyes aren't simply green. They're like an exploded rainbow of greens and gold and browns. On closer inspection, he's…he's simply overall amazing and…I'll just say it again: HOLY. HOLY. WOW.
Anne Eliot (Almost)
Tell the world what scares you the most” says Brandy. She gives us each an Aubergine Dreams eyebrow pencil and says “Save the world with some advice from the future” Seth writes on the back of a card and hands the card to Brandy for her to read. On game shows, Brandy reads, some people will take the trip to France, but most people will take the washer dryer pair.” Brandy puts a big Plumbago kiss in the little square for the stamp and lets the wind lift and card and sail it off toward the towers of downtown Seattle. Seth hands her another, and Brandy reads: Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random useless facts that are all we have left from our education” A kiss and the card’s on it’s way toward Lake Washington. From Seth: When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” A kiss and it’s off on the wind toward Ballard. Only when we eat up this planet will God give us another. We’ll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.” Interstate 5 snakes by in the distance. From high atop the Space Needle, the southbound lanes are red chase lights, and the northbound lanes are white chase lights. I take a card and write: I love Seth Thomas so much I have to destroy him. I overcompensate by worshipping the queen supreme. Seth will never love me. No one will ever love me ever again. Beandy is waiting to rake the card and read it out loud. Brandy’s waiting to read my worst fears to the world, but I don’t give her the card. I kiss it myself with the lips I don’t have and let the wind take it out of my hand. The card flies up, up, up to the stars and then falls down to land in the suicide net. While I watch my future trapped in the suicide net Brandy reads another card from Seth. We are all self-composting” I write another card from the future and Brandy reads it: When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves” An updraft lifts up my worst fears from the suicide net and lifts them away. Seth writes and Brandy reads. You have to keep recycling yourself”. I write and Brandy reads. Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” I write and Brandy reads. The one you love and the one who loves you are never ever the same person.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
Kolya kissed her wide eyebrows, her neck, every square centimeter of her nose. The parts she mentally amputated were the ones he most adored. Beneath the sheets they were pale and naked and they pouched their hands in the warmth between their stomachs. They pressed together with a need that is never satisfied because we can't trade atoms how hard we thrust. Our hearts may skip but our substance remains fixed. We're not gaseous no matter how we sit to cloud together inseparably. Nothing less would have satisfied Kolya, nothing less than obliterating himself in her was sufficient.
Anthony Marra (The Tsar of Love and Techno)
Gareth sucked in a breath. Hyacinth’s brother wasn’t going to make this easy on him. But that didn’t matter. He had vowed to do this right, and he would not be cowed. He looked up, meeting the viscount’s dark eyes with steady purpose. “I would like to marry Hyacinth,” he said. And then, because the viscount did not say anything, because he didn’t even move, Gareth added, “Er, if she’ll have me.” And then about eight things happened at once. Or perhaps there were merely two or three, and it just seemed like eight, because it was all so unexpected. First, the viscount exhaled, although that did seem to understate the case. It was more of a sigh, actually—a huge, tired, heartfelt sigh that made the man positively deflate in front of Gareth. Which was astonishing. Gareth had seen the viscount on many occasions and was quite familiar with his reputation. This was not a man who sagged or groaned. His lips seemed to move through the whole thing, too, and if Gareth were a more suspicious man, he would have thought that the viscount had said, “Thank you, Lord.” Combined with the heavenward tilt of the viscount’s eyes, it did seem the most likely translation. And then, just as Gareth was taking all of this in, Lord Bridgerton let the palms of his hands fall against the desk with surprising force, and he looked Gareth squarely in the eye as he said, “Oh, she’ll have you. She will definitely have you.” It wasn’t quite what Gareth had expected. “I beg your pardon,” he said, since truly, he could think of nothing else. “I need a drink,” the viscount said, rising to his feet. “A celebration is in order, don’t you think?” “Er…yes?” Lord Bridgerton crossed the room to a recessed bookcase and plucked a cut-glass decanter off one of the shelves. “No,” he said to himself, putting it haphazardly back into place, “the good stuff, I think.” He turned to Gareth, his eyes taking on a strange, almost giddy light. “The good stuff, wouldn’t you agree?” “Ehhhh…” Gareth wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. “The good stuff,” the viscount said firmly. He moved some books to the side and reached behind to pull out what looked to be a very old bottle of cognac. “Have to keep it hidden,” he explained, pouring it liberally into two glasses. “Servants?” Gareth asked. “Brothers.” He handed Gareth a glass. “Welcome to the family.
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
The floor of ice cream parlor bothered me. It was black-and-white checkboard tile, bigger than supermarket checkboard. If I looked only at a white square, I would be all right, but it was hard to ignore the black squares that surrounded the white ones. The contrast got under my skin. The floor meant yes, no, this, that, up, down, day, night -all the indecisions and opposites that were bad enough in life without having them spelled out for you on the floor.
Susanna Kaysen (Girl, Interrupted)
The Great Khan tried to concentrate on the game: but now it was the game’s reason that eluded him. The end of every game is a gain or a loss: but of what? What were the real stakes? At checkmate, beneath the foot of the king, knocked aside by the winner’s hand, nothingness remains: a black square, or a white one. By disembodying his conquests to reduce them to the essential, Kublai had arrived at the extreme operation: the definitive conquest, of which the empire’s multiform treasures were only illusory envelopes; it was reduced to a square of planed wood.
Italo Calvino (Invisible Cities)
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote: Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN. I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper. It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself: "All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
I believe in kindness and karma—which could make me a Buddhist. I believe in mystic healing and crystals’ powers—which could make me a witch. I believe in truth, honor, and forgiveness—which could make me a Christian. I even believe in the existence of past lives and that each and every one of us is watched over by guides from the other side—which, to some, would make me totally woo-woo squared.
Emma Mildon (The Soul Searcher's Handbook: A Modern Girl's Guide to the New Age World)
and because what we learn in the dark remains all our lives, a noise like the sea, displacing the day's pale knowledge, you'll come to yourself in a glimmer of rainfall or frost, the burnt smell of autumn, a meeting of parallel lines, and know you were someone else for the longest time, pretending you knew where you were, like a diffident tourist, lost on the one main square, and afraid to enquire.
John Burnside (Selected Poems)
Abruptly, she yanked the covers over her crippled one, hiding it from him. Tohr marched right back over to her, and resolutely pulled the duvet back where it had been. Tracing the badly healed wounds with his fingertips, he met her squarely in the eye. "You're beautiful. Every inch of you. Don't think for a moment there's anything wrong with you. We clear?" "But-" "Nope. I'm not hearing that." Bending down he pressed his lips to her shin, her calf, her ankle, tracing the scars, caressing them. "Beautiful. All of you." "How can you say that," she whispered blinking back tears. "Because it's the truth."Straightening, he gave her a final squeeze. "No hiding from me, okay. And after I feed you, I think I'm going to have to show you just how serious I am." That made her smile....then laugh a little. "That's my girl." he murmured.
J.R. Ward (Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10))
In fact, gone are the days of having sex at all. I have resorted to jerking off alone in the bathroom after my wife’s asleep. It’s a sad, lonely existence when you have to take your cell phone into the shitter so you don’t wake your wife when you pull up the YouPorn app and crank one out. The worst part is the SpongeBob SquarePants shower curtain in the bathroom. Do you know how difficult it is to keep an erection while SpongeBob is staring at you with his big, googly eyes and you keep hearing the song "Jellyfishin’, Jellyfishin’, Jellyfishin" in your head?
Tara Sivec (Troubles and Treats (Chocolate Lovers, #3))
I bent down over my neighborhood, taking in the people there. At first, they'd just seemed arranged the same way they were everywhere else: in random formations, some in groups, some alone. Then, though, I saw the single figure at the back of my house, walking away from the back door. And another person, a girl, running through the side yard, where the hedge would have been, while someone else, with a badge and flashlight followed. There were three people under the basketball goal, one lying prone on the ground. I took a breath, then moved in closer. Two people were seated on the curb between Dave's and my houses: a few inches away two more walked up the narrow alley to Luna Blu's back door. A couple stood in the driveway, facing each other. And in that empty building, the old hotel, a tiny set of cellar doors had been added, flung open, a figure standing before them. Whether they were about to go down, or just coming up, was unclear, and the cellar itself was a dark square. But I knew what was down below. He'd put me everywhere. Every single place I'd been, with him or without, from the first time we'd met to the last conversation. It was all there, laid out as carefully, as real as the buildings and streets around it. I swallowed, hard, then reached forward, touching the girl running through the hedge. Not Liz Sweet. Not anyone, at that moment, not yet. But on her way to someone. To me.
Sarah Dessen (What Happened to Goodbye)
I’m at the tipping point of a transformation that began months ago, an intentional decision put in motion. And it feels so fucking good. I’ve come to the full realization that my happiness, my life, falls squarely on my shoulders. No one’s gonna do it for it me. I’m the one who makes it or breaks it.  It’s a choice.  A choice that demands action in exchange for reward. Idleness and complacency lead to mediocrity. Sometimes action is really fucking hard fought, but that’s when the payoff’s the highest.  That’s when great things happen.  Not good things … but epic things. And I’ve fallen in love with epic.  It’s the only way to live.
Kim Holden (Gus (Bright Side, #2))
I was a palm-wine drinkard since I was a boy of ten years of age. I had no other work more than to drink palm-wine in my life. - - - But when my father noticed that I could not do any work more than to drink, he engaged an expert palm-wine-tapster for me; he had no other work more than to tap palm-wine every day. So my father gave me a palm-tree farm which was nine miles square and it contained 560,000 palm-trees, and this palm-wine tapster was tapping one hundred and fifty kegs of palm-wine every morning, but before 2 o’clock p.m., I would have drunk it all; after that he would go and tap another 75 kegs.
Amos Tutuola (The Palm-Wine Drinkard)
Come back down here, heat supply,” I commanded. “I’m going to close my eyes and you are going to tell me about math so I can fall asleep. Tell me some theorems. Is that what you called them? Tell me how Einstein knew e equals mc squared. And start with once upon a time . . . okay?” “You’re a little bossy, you know that?” “I know. I have to be. It’s to make up for not being born with a calculator. Now share your wisdom, Infinity.” “Once upon a time—” I giggled and Finn immediately shushed me, continuing on with his “story.
Amy Harmon (Infinity + One)
One morning I fell to sketching a face: what sort of a face it was to be, I did not care or know. I took a soft black pencil, gave it a broad point, and worked away. Soon I had traced on the paper a broad and prominent forehead and a square lower outline of visage: that contour gave me pleasure; my fingers proceeded actively to fill it with features. Strongly-marked horizontal eyebrows must be traced under that brow; then followed, naturally, a well-defined nose, with a straight ridge and full nostrils; then a flexible-looking mouth, by no means narrow; then a firm chin, with a decided cleft down the middle of it: of course, some black whiskers were wanted, and some jetty hair, tufted on the temples, and waved above the forehead. Now for the eyes: I had left them to the last, because they required the most careful working. I drew them large; I shaped them well: the eyelashes I traced long and sombre; the irids lustrous and large. "Good! but not quite the thing," I thought, as I surveyed the effect: "they want more force and spirit;" and I wrought the shades blacker, that the lights might flash more brilliantly--a happy touch or two secured success. There, I had a friend's face under my gaze; and what did it signify that those young ladies turned their backs on me? I looked at it; I smiled at the speaking likeness: I was absorbed and content. Is that a portrait of some one you know?" asked Eliza, who had approached me unnoticed. I responded that it was merely a fancy head, and hurried it beneath the other sheets. Of course, I lied: it was, in fact, a very faithful representation of Mr. Rochester. But what was that to her, or to any one but myself? Georgiana also advanced to look. The other drawings pleased her much, but she called that 'an ugly man.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
The past believed in dates. And everyone’s life consisted of dates, giving life a rhythm and sense of gradation, as if from the eminence of a date one could look back and down, and see the past itself. A clear, comprehensible past, divided up into squares of events, lines of paths taken.
Andrey Kurkov (Death and the Penguin)
What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire? Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.
James Joyce (Ulysses)
There's your problem," Leo announced. Jason scratched his head. "Uh.... what are we looking at?" Leo thought it was pretty obvious, but Piper looked confused too. "Okay," Leo sighed, " you want the full explanation or the short explanation?" "Short," Piper and Jason said in unison. Leo gestured to the empty core. "The syncopator goes here. It's a multi-access gyro-valve to regulate flow. The doxen glass tubes on the outside? Those are filled with powerful,dangerous stuff. That glowing red one is Lemnos fire from my dad's forges. This murky stuff here? That's water from the River Styx. The stuff in the tubes is going to power the ship, right? Like radioactive rods in a nuclear reactor. But the mix ratio has to be controlled, and the timer is already operational.... That means without the syncopator, this stuff is all going to vent into the chamber at the same time, in sixty-five minutes. At that point, we'll get a very nasty reaction." Jason and Piper stared at him. Leo wondered if he'd been speaking English. Sometimes when he was agitated he slipped into Spanish, like his mom used to do in her workshop. But he was pretty sure he'd used English. "Um..." Piper cleared her throat." Could you make the short explanation shorter?" Leo palm-smacked his forehead. "Fine. One hour. Fluids mix. Bunker goes ka-boom. One square mile of forest tuns into a smoking crater." "Oh," Piper said in a small voice. "Can't you just..... turn it off?" "Gee, I didn't think of that!" Leo said. "Let me just hit this switch and - No, Piper. I can't turn it off.
Rick Riordan (The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus))
So Janie began to think of Death. Death, that strange being with the huge square toes who lived way in the West. The great one who lived in the straight house like a platform without sides to it, and without a roof. What need has Death for a cover, and what winds can blow against him? He stands in his high house that overlooks the world. Stands watchful and motionless all day with his sword drawn back, waiting for the messenger to bid him come. Been standing there before there was a where or a when or a then. She was liable to find a feather from his wings lying in her yard any day now. She was sad and afraid too. Poor Jody! He ought not to have to wrassle in there by himself. She sent Sam in to suggest a visit, but Jody said No. These medical doctors wuz all right with the Godly sick, but they didn't know a thing about a case like his. He'd be all right just as soon as the two-headed man found what had been buried against him. He wasn't going to die at all. That was what he thought. But Sam told her different, so she knew. And then if he hadn't the next morning she was bound to know, for people began to gather in the big yard under the palm and china-berry trees. People who would not have dared to foot the place before crept in and did not come to the house. Just squatted under the trees and waited. Rumor, that wingless bird, had shadowed over the town.
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
Know that...there's plenty of food and of course popcorn on the dining-room table. Just...help yourself. If that runs out just let me know. Don't panic. And there's coffee, both caff and decaf, and soft drinks and juice in the kitchen, and plenty of ice in the freezer so...let me know if you have any questions with that.' And lastly, since I have you all here in one place, I have something to share with you. Along the garden ways just now...I too heard the flowers speak. They told me that our family garden has all but turned to sand. I want you to know I've watered and nurtured this square of earth for nearly twenty years, and waited on my knees each spring for these gentle bulbs to rise, reborn. But want does not bring such breath to life. Only love does. The plain, old-fashioned kind. In our family garden my husband is of the genus Narcissus , which includes daffodils and jonquils and a host of other ornamental flowers. There is, in such a genus of man, a pervasive and well-known pattern of grandiosity and egocentrism that feeds off this very kind of evening, this type of glitzy generosity. People of this ilk are very exciting to be around. I have never met anyone with as many friends as my husband. He made two last night at Carvel. I'm not kidding. Where are you two? Hi. Hi, again. Welcome. My husband is a good man, isn't he? He is. But in keeping with his genus, he is also absurdly preoccupied with his own importance, and in staying loyal to this, he can be boastful and unkind and condescending and has an insatiable hunger to be seen as infallible. Underlying all of the constant campaigning needed to uphold this position is a profound vulnerability that lies at the very core of his psyche. Such is the narcissist who must mask his fears of inadequacy by ensuring that he is perceived to be a unique and brilliant stone. In his offspring he finds the grave limits he cannot admit in himself. And he will stop at nothing to make certain that his child continually tries to correct these flaws. In actuality, the child may be exceedingly intelligent, but has so fully developed feelings of ineptitude that he is incapable of believing in his own possibilities. The child's innate sense of self is in great jeopardy when this level of false labeling is accepted. In the end the narcissist must compensate for this core vulnerability he carries and as a result an overestimation of his own importance arises. So it feeds itself, cyclically. And, when in the course of life they realize that their views are not shared or thier expectations are not met, the most common reaction is to become enraged. The rage covers the fear associated with the vulnerable self, but it is nearly impossible for others to see this, and as a result, the very recognition they so crave is most often out of reach. It's been eighteen years that I've lived in service to this mindset. And it's been devastating for me to realize that my efforts to rise to these standards and demands and preposterous requests for perfection have ultimately done nothing but disappoint my husband. Put a person like this with four developing children and you're gonna need more than love poems and ice sculpture to stay afloat. Trust me. So. So, we're done here.
Joshua Braff (The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green)
The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine/Four Square Gospel feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain-porridge unleavened literature licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
I am sitting under a sycamore by Tinker Creek. I am really here, alive on the intricate earth under trees. But under me, directly under the weight of my body on the grass, are other creatures, just as real, for whom also this moment, this tree, is “it”… in the top inch of soil, biologists found “an average of 1,356 living creatures in each square foot… I might as well include these creatures in this moment, as best as I can. My ignoring them won’t strip them of their reality, and admitting them, one by one, into my consciousness might heighten mine, might add their dim awareness to my human consciousness, such as it is, and set up a buzz, a vibration…Hasidism has a tradition that one of man’s purposes is to assist God in the work of “hallowing” the things of Creation. By a tremendous heave of the spirit, the devout man frees the divine sparks trapped in the mute things of time; he uplifts the forms and moments of creation, bearing them aloft into the rare air and hallowing fire in which all clays must shatter and burst.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
You never answered," he said. "You got the hots for me, or not?" His dark eyes lit up with a smile. Squaring her shoulders, Holiday started talking. "Della assumed I might have the hots for you. And you know what they say about assuming, right?" “It makes an ass out of you and me," Della answered, and gave Kylie the elbow. "Get it. A.S.S.U.M.E." Holiday cut her eyes to Della in visual reprimand, then started walking away. She got three steps and swung back around. "Are you coming?" she snapped at Burnett. "You didn't ask me to," He answered. "Well, I assumed you would know I needed to discuss what happened." He arched one dark brow upward. "And what did you just about assuming?
C.C. Hunter (Awake at Dawn (Shadow Falls, #2))
In his imagination he had thought that all the huts were full of happy families, some of whom sat outside on rocking chairs in the evening and told stories about how things were so much better when they were children and they'd had respect for their elders, not like the children nowadays. He thought that all the boys and girls who lived here would be in different groups, playing tennis or football, skipping and drawing out squares for hopscotch on the ground. He had thought that there would be a shop in the centre, and maybe a small café like the ones he had known in Berlin; he had wondered whether there would be a fruit and vegetable stalls. As it turned out, all the things that he thought might be there - weren't.
John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)
We in this room have no private properties. Perhaps one or two of us may own the homes we live in, or have a dollar or two set aside - but we own nothing that does not contribute directly toward keeping us alive. All that we own is our bodies. And we sell our bodies every day we live. We sell them when we go out in the morning to our jobs and when we labor all day. We are forced to sell at any price, at any time, for any purpose. We are forced to sell our bodies so that we can eat and live. And the price which is given us for this is only enough so that we will have the strength to labor longer for the profits of others. Today we are not put up on platforms and sold at the courthouse square. But we are forced to sell our strength, our time, our souls during almost every hour that we live. We have been freed from one kind of slavery only to be delivered into another. Is this freedom? Are we yet free men?
Carson McCullers (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
What was happening to them was that every bad time produced a bad feeling that in turn produced several more bad times and several more bad feelings, so that their life together became crowded with bad times and bad feelings, so crowded that almost nothing else could grow in that dark field. But then she had a feeling of peace one morning that lingered from the evening before spent sewing while he sat reading in the next room. And a day or two later, she had a feeling of contentment that lingered in the morning from the evening before when he kept her company in the kitchen while she washed the dinner dishes. If the good times increased, she thought, each good time might produce a good feeling that would in turn produce several more good times that would produce several more good feelings. What she meant was that the good times might multiply perhaps as rapidly as the square of the square, or perhaps more rapidly, like mice, or like mushrooms springing up overnight from the scattered spore of a parent mushroom which in turn had sprung up overnight with a crowd of others from the scattered spore of a parent, until her life with him with be so crowded with good times that the good times might crowd out the bad as the bad times had by now almost crowded out the good.
Lydia Davis (Varieties of Disturbance)
He is only one of a million no, a billion stories you could tell about the living beings on just this side of the mountain. The fact is that there are more stories in the space of a single second, in a single square foot of dirt and air and water, then we could tell in a hundred years. The word amazing isn't much of a word for how amazing it is. The fact is that there are more stories in the world than there are fish in the sea or birds in the air or lies among politicians. You could be sad at how many stories go untold, but you could also be delighted at how many stories we catch and share in delight and wonder and astonishment and illumination and sometimes even epiphany.
Brian Doyle (Martin Marten)
He loves me so he hurts me To try and make me good. It doesn't work. I'm just too bad And don't do what I should. My memory has so many different sections and, like all survivors, there are so many compartments with so many triggers. I'll remember a smell which reminds me of a man which reminds me of a place which reminds me of another man who I think was with a woman who had a certain smell — and I'm back to square one. This is the case for most survivors, I believe. When we try to put together our pasts, the triggers are many and varied, the memories are disjointed — and why wouldn't they be? We were children. Even someone with an idyllic childhood who is only trying to remember the lovely things which happened to them will scratch their head and wonder who gave them that doll and was it for Christmas or their third birthday? Did they have a party when they were four or five? When did they go on a plane for the first time? You see, even happy memories are hard to piece together — so imagine how hard it is to collate all of the trauma, to pull together all of the things I've been trying to push away for so many years.
Laurie Matthew (Groomed)
Nobody wants to hear that any aspect of my awesome life is bad. I get that. But there are days, maybe two or three times a year, when I get completely overwhelmed by my job and go to my office, lie on the floor, and cry for ten minutes. Then I think: Mindy, you have literally the best life in the world besides that hot lawyer who married George Clooney. This is what you dreamed about when you were a weird, determined little ten-year-old. There are more than a thousand people in one square mile of this studio who would kill to have this job. Get your ass up off the floor and go back into that writers’ room, you weakling. Then I get up, pour myself a generous glass of whiskey and club soda, think about the sustained grit of my parents, and go back to work.
Mindy Kaling (Why Not Me?)
I ground my teeth. "Just when I thought I was getting a handle on this whole Dark One/demon lord/imp thing, you go and throw knockers into the mix. I'm going to have to request that you stop, Adrian. I'm about at my limit of how many impossible things I can believe before breakfast." He flashed a heart-stoppingly roguish grin at me, his dimples just about bringing me to my knees. "Your middle name wouldn't be Alice, would it?" he asked. "No, it's Diane, and you're no White Rabbit, so let's just stop pretending we're in Wonderland, OK?" He laughed and pointed across the tiny square at our destination. I watched him for a moment, seeing a glimpse of the charming, charismatic man he must have been before the demon lord cursed him and leeched away all the softer emotions.
Katie MacAlister (Sex, Lies and Vampires (Dark Ones #3))
Gilbert had finally made up his mind that he was going to be a doctor. "It's a splendid profession," he said enthusiastically. "A fellow has to fight something all through life. . .didn't somebody once define man as a fighting animal?. . .and I want to fight disease and pain and ignorance. . .which are all members one of another. I want to do my share of honest, real work in the world, Anne. . . add a little to the sum of human knowledge that all the good men have been accumulating since it began. The folks who lived before me have done so much for me that I want to show my gratitude by doing something for the folks who will live after me. It seems to me that is the only way a fellow can get square with his obligations to the race." "I'd like to add some beauty to life," said Anne dreamily. "I don't exactly want to make people know more. . .though I know that is the noblest ambition. . .but I'd love to make them have a pleasanter time because of me. . .to have some little joy or happy thought that would never have existed if I hadn't been born." "I think you're fulfilling that ambition every day," said Gilbert admiringly. And he was right. Anne was one of the children of light by birthright. After she had passed through a life with a smile or a word thrown across it like a gleam of sunshine the owner of that life saw it, for the time being at least, as hopeful and lovely and of good report.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2))
In One Dimensions, did not a moving Point produce a Line with two terminal points? In two Dimensions, did not a moving Line produce a Square wit four terminal points? In Three Dimensions, did not a moving Square produce - did not the eyes of mine behold it - that blessed being, a Cube, with eight terminal points? And in Four Dimensions, shall not a moving Cube - alas, for Analogy, and alas for the Progress of Truth if it be not so - shall not, I say the motion of a divine Cube result in a still more divine organization with sixteen terminal points? Behold the infallible confirmation of the Series, 2, 4, 8, 16: is not this a Geometrical Progression? Is not this - if I might qupte my Lord's own words - "Strictly according to Analogy"? Again, was I not taught by my Lord that as in a Line there are two bonding points, and in a Square there are four bounding Lines, so in a Cube there must be six bounding Squares? Behold once more the confirming Series: 2, 4, 6: is not this an Arithmetical Progression? And consequently does it not of necessity follow that the more divine offspring of the divine Cube in the Land of Four Dimensions, must have eight bounding Cubes: and is not this also, as my Lord has taught me to believe, "strictly according to analogy"?
Edwin A. Abbott (Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions)
But I awoke at three, feeling terribly sad, and feeling rebelliously that I didn't want to study sadness, madness, melancholy, and despair. I wanted to study triumphs, the rediscoveries of love, all that I know in the world to be decent, radiant, and clear. Then the word "love", the impulse to love, welled up in me somewhere above my middle. Love seemed to flow from me in all directions, abundant as water--love for Cora, love for Flora, love for all my friends and neighbors, love for Penumbra. This tremendous flow of vitality could not be contained within its spelling, and I seemed to seize a laundry marker and write "luve" on the wall. I wrote "luve" on the staircase, "luve" on the pantry, "luve" on the oven, the washing machine, and the coffeepot, and when Cora came down in the morning (I would be nowhere around) everywhere she looked she would read "luve", "luve", "luve." Then I saw a green meadow and a sparkling stream. On the ridge there were thatched-roof cottages and a square church tower, so I knew it must be England. I climbed up from the meadow to the streets of the village, looking for the cottage where Cora and Flora would be waiting for me. There seemed to have been some mistake. No one knew their names. I asked at the post office, but the answer here was the same. Then it occurred to me that they would be at the manor house. How stupid I had been! I left the village and walked up a sloping lawn to a Georgian house, where a butler let me in. The squire was entertaining. There were twenty-five or thirty people in the hall, drinking sherry. I took a glass from a tray and looked through the gathering for Flora and my wife, but they were not there. Then I thanked my host and walked down the broad lawn, back to the meadow and the sparkling brook, where I lay on the grass and fell into a sweet sleep.
John Cheever
I don't know whether it was the general anxiety of being on a date (albeit one with my would-be date sitting five people away from me) or the specific anxiety of having the Beast stare in my direction, but for some reason, I took off running after Takumi. I thought we were in the clear as we began to round the corner of the bleachers, but then I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a cylindrical orange object getting bigger and bigger, like a fastapproaching sun. I thought: / think that is going to hit me. I thought: J should duck. But in the time between when something gets thought and when it gets done, the ball hit me square across the side of the face. I fell, the back of my head slamming against the gym floor. I then stood up immediately, as if unhurt, and left the gym. Pride had gotten me off the floor of the gym, but as soon as I was outside, I sat down. "I am concussed," I announced, entirely sure of my self-diagnosis. "You're fine," Takumi said as he jogged back toward me. "Let's get out of here before we're killed." "I'm sorry," I said. "But I can't get up. I have suffered a mild concussion." Lara ran out and sat down next to me. "Are you okay?" "I am concussed," I said. Takumi sat down with me and looked me in the eye. "Do you know what happened to you?" "The Beast got me." "Do you know where you are?" "I'm on a triple-and-a-half date." "You're fine," Takumi said. "Let's go." And then I leaned forward and threw up onto Lara's pants.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
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 (Green Town, #2))
Dear Daniel, How do you break up with your boyfriend in a way that tells him, "I don't want to sleep with you on a regular basis anymore, but please be available for late night booty calls if I run out of other options"? Lily Charlotte, NC Dear Lily, The story's so old you can't tell it anymore without everyone groaning, even your oldest friends with the last of their drinks shivering around the ice in their dirty glasses. The music playing is the same album everyone has. Those shoes, everybody has the same shoes on. It looked a little like rain so on person brought an umbrella, useless now in the starstruck clouded sky, forgotten on the way home, which is how the umbrella ended up in her place anyway. Everyone gets older on nights like this. And still it's a fresh slap in the face of everything you had going, that precarious shelf in the shallow closet that will certainly, certainly fall someday. Photographs slipping into a crack to be found by the next tenant, that one squinter third from the left laughing at something your roommate said, the coaster from that place in the city you used to live in, gone now. A letter that seemed important for reasons you can't remember, throw it out, the entry in the address book you won't erase but won't keep when you get a new phone, let it pass and don't worry about it. You don't think about them; "I haven't thought about them in forever," you would say if anybody brought it up, and nobody does." You think about them all the time. Close the book but forget to turn off the light, just sit staring in bed until you blink and you're out of it, some noise on the other side of the wall reminding you you're still here. That's it, that's everything. There's no statue in the town square with an inscription with words to live by. The actor got slapped this morning by someone she loved, slapped right across the face, but there's no trace of it on any channel no matter how late you watch. How many people--really, count them up--know where you are? How many will look after you when you don't show up? The churches and train stations are creaky and the street signs, the menus, the writing on the wall, it all feels like the wrong language. Nobody, nobody knows what you're thinking of when you lean your head against the wall. Put a sweater on when you get cold. Remind yourself, this is the night, because it is. You're free to sing what you want as you walk there, the trees rustling spookily and certainly and quietly and inimitably. Whatever shoes you want, fuck it, you're comfortable. Don't trust anyone's directions. Write what you might forget on the back of your hand, and slam down the cheap stuff and never mind the bad music from the window three floors up or what the boys shouted from the car nine years ago that keeps rattling around in your head, because you're here, you are, for the warmth of someone's wrists where the sleeve stops and the glove doesn't quite begin, and the slant of the voice on the punch line of the joke and the reflection of the moon in the water on the street as you stand still for a moment and gather your courage and take a breath before stealing away through the door. Look at it there. Take a good look. It looks like rain. Love, Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler
Why was fabulousness important? The world was a scary, sad place and adornment was one of the only ways she knew to make herself and the people around her forget their troubles. That was why she had opened her store almost five years ago. Everyone who entered the little square white house with miniature Corinthian columns, cherub statues, and French windows seemed to leave carrying armloads of newly handmade and well spruced-up recycled vintage clothing, humming sixties girl-group songs, seventies glam and punk, eighties New Wave one-hit wonders, or nineties grunge, doing silly dances, and not caring what anyone thought. Weetzie loved the old dresses she found and sold, because they had their own secret histories. She always wondered where, when, and how they had been worn. What they had seen. Old dresses were like old ladies.
Francesca Lia Block (Necklace of Kisses (Weetzie Bat, #6))
Nina strained to see over the lip of the canal and down the street. “What’s taking Matthias so long? Do you think that medik gave him trouble?” But then she saw him striding toward her across the empty square. He raised his hand in greeting. She leapt from the boat and ran to him, throwing herself into his arms. “Drüsje,” he said against her hair. “You’re all right.” “Of course I’m all right. You’re the one who’s late.” “I thought I wouldn’t be able to find you in the storm.” Nina pulled back. “Did you stop to get drunk on the way here?” He cupped her cheek with his hand. “No,” he said, and then he kissed her. “Matthias!” “Did I do it wrong?” “No, you did it splendidly. But I’m the one who always kisses you first.” “We should change that,” he said, and then he slumped against her. “Matthias?” “It’s nothing. I needed to see you again.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
The newspapers kept stroking my fear. New surveys provided awful statistics on just about everything. Evidence suggested that we were not doing well. Researchers gloomily agreed. Environment psychologists were interviewed. Damage had ‘unwittingly’ been done. There were ‘feared lapses’. There were ‘misconceptions’ about potential. Situations had ‘deteriorated’. Cruelty was on the rise and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The populace was confounded, yet didn’t care. Unpublished studies hinted that we were all paying a price. Scientists peered into data and concluded that we should all be very worried. No one knew what normal behavior was anymore, and some argued that this was a form of virtue. And no one argued back. No one challenged anything. Anxiety was soaking up most people’s days. Everyone had become preoccupied with horror. Madness was fluttering everywhere. There was fifty years of research supporting this data. There were diagrams illustrating all of these problems – circles and hexagons and squares, different sections colored in lime or lilac or gray. Most troubling were the fleeting signs that nothing could transform any of this into something positive. You couldn’t help being both afraid and fascinated. Reading these articles made you feel that the survival of mankind didn’t seem very important in the long run. We were doomed. We deserved it. I was so tired.
Bret Easton Ellis
COBB: What do you want from us? SAITO: Inception. Arthur raises his eyebrows. Cobb is poker-faced. SAITO: Is it possible? ARTHUR: Of course not. SAITO: If you can steal an idea from someone's mind, why can't you plant one there instead? ARTHUR: Okay, here's planting an idea: I say to you, "Don't think about elephants." (Saito nods) What are you thinking about? SAITO: Elephants. ARTHUR: Right. But it's not your idea because you know I gave it to you. SAITO: You could plant it subconsciously- ARTHUR: The subject's mind can always trace the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake. COBB: No, it isn't. SAITO: Can you do it? COBB: I won't do it. SAITO: In exchange, I'll give you the information you were paid to steal. COBB: Are you giving me a choice? Because I can find my own way to square things with Cobol. SAITO: Then you do have a choice. COBB: And I choose to leave.
Christopher J. Nolan (Inception: The Shooting Script)
Georgette was a hip queer. She (he) didn't try to disguise or conceal it with marriage and mans talk, satisfying her homosexuality with the keeping of a secret scrapbook of pictures of favorite male actors or athletes or by supervising activities of young boys or visiting turkish baths or mens locker rooms, leering sidely while seeking protection behind a carefully guarded guise of virility (fearing that moment at a cocktail party or in a bar when this front may start crumbling from alcohol and be completely disintegrated with an attempted kiss or groping of an attractive young man and being repelled with a punch and - rotten fairy - followed with hysteria and incoherent apologies and excuses and running from the room) but, took a pride in being a homosexual by feeling intellectually and esthetically superior to those (especially women) who weren't gay (look at all the great artists who were fairies!); and with the wearing of womens panties, lipstick, eye makeup (this including occasionally gold and silver - stardust - on the lids),long marcelled hair, manicured and polished fingernails, the wearing of womens clothes complete with a padded bra, high heels and wig (one of her biggest thrills was going to BOP CITY dressed as a tall stately blond ( she was 6'4 in heels) in the company of a negro (he was a big beautiful black bastard and when he floated in all the cats in the place jumped and the squares bugged. We were at crazy pad before going and were blasting like crazy, and were up so high that I just didnt give ashit for anyone honey, let me tell you!); and the occasional wearing of menstrual napkin.
Hubert Selby Jr.
Where's my sister?" "She's setting up the island we found tonight." Galen shakes his head. "You slithering eel. You might have told me what you were up to." Toraf laughs. "Oh sure. 'Hey, Galen, I need to borrow Emma for a few minutes so I can kiss her, okay?' Didn't see that going over very well." "You think your surprise attack went over better?" Toraf shrugs. "I'm satisfied." "I could have killed you today." "Yeah." "Don't ever do that again." "Wasn't planning on it. Thought it was real sweet of you to defend your sister's honor. Very brotherly." Toraf snickers. "Shut up." "I'm just saying." Galen runs a hand through his hair. "I only saw Emma. I forgot all about Rayna." "I know, idiot. That's why I let you hit me fifty-eight times. That's what I would do if someone kissed Rayna." "Fifty-nine times." "Don't get carried away, minnow. By the way, was Emma boiling mad or just a little heated? Should I keep my distance for a while?" Galen snorts. "She laughed so hard I thought she'd pass out. I'm the one in trouble." "Shocker. What'd you do?" "The usual." Hiding his feelings. Blurting out the wrong thing. Acting like a territorial bull shark. Toraf shakes his head. "She won't put up with that forever. She already thinks you only want to change her so she can become another of your royal subjects." "She said that?" Galen scowls. "I don't know what's worse. Letting her think that, or telling her the truth about why I'm helping her to change." "In my opinion, there's nothing to tell her unless she can actually change. And so far, she can't." "You don't think she's one of us?" Toraf shrugs. "Her skin wrinkles. It's kind of gross. Maybe she's some sort of superhuman. You know, like Batman." Galen laughs. "How do you know about Batman?" "I saw him on that black square in your living room. He can do all sorts of things other humans can't do. Maybe Emma is like him." "Batman isn't real. He's just a human acting like that so other humans will watch him." "Looked real to me." "They're good at making it look real. Some humans spend their whole lives making something that isn't real look like something that is." "Humans are creepier than I thought. Why pretend to be something you're not?" Galen nods. To take over a kingdom, maybe? "Actually, that reminds me. Grom needs you." Toraf groans. "Can it wait? Rayna's getting all cozy on our island right about now." "Seriously. I don't want to know." Toraf grins. "Right. Sorry. But you can see my point, right? I mean, if Emma were waiting for you-" "Emma wouldn't be waiting for me. I wouldn't have left." "Rayna made me. You've never hit me that hard before. She wants us to get along. Plus, there's something I need to tell you, but I didn't exactly get a change to." "What?" "Yesterday when we were practicing in front of your house, I sensed someone. Someone I don't know. I made Emma get out of the water while I went to investigate." "And she listened to you?" Toraf nods. "Turns out, you're the only one she disobeys.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
If you are ever forced to take a chemistry class, you will probably see, at the front of the classroom, a large chart divided into squares, with different numbers and letters in each of them. This chart is called the table of elements, and scientists like to say that it contains all the substances that make up our world. Like everyone else, scientists are wrong from time to time, and it is easy to see that they are wrong about the table of elements. Because although this table contains a great many elements, from the element oxygen, which is found in the air, to the element of aluminum, which is found in cans of soda, the table of elements does not contain one of the most powerful elements that make up our world, and that is the element of surprise. The element of surprise is not a gas like oxygen, or a solid, like aluminum. The element of surprise is an unfair advantage, and it can be found in situations in which one person has sneaked up on another. The surprised person - or, in this sad case, the surprised person - are too stunned to defend themselves and the sneaky person has the advantage of the element of surprise.
Lemony Snicket (The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6))
Steel squared her shoulders. "Ladies, and gentlemen, are are no' at home to Mr Fuckup today. Who are we no' at home to?" The response wasn't much more than an embarrassed murmur. "Mr Fuckup." "I CAN'T HEAR YOU! WHO ARE WE NO' AT HOME TO?" Better this time: "Mr Fuckup." "ONE MORE TIME!" They bellowed it out: "WE ARE NOT AT HOME TO MR FUCKUP!" "Damn right we're no'." She smiled, nodded. "Now get out there and catch me those bloody killers.
Stuart MacBride (Close to the Bone (Logan McRae, #8))
But what my car needs is gas, not memories! How can you make a car go on memories?' B.D. scratched under her Admiral's hat. 'What'd you think gas was, girl? 'Course there's all sorts of fuel, wind and wishes and chocolate cake and collard greens and water and brawn, but you're wanting the kind that burns in an engine. That kind of gas is nothing more than the past stored up and fermented and kept down in the cellar of the earth till it's wanted. Gas is saved-up sunlight. Giant ferns and apples of immortality and dimetrodons and cyclopses and werewhales drank up the sun as it shone on their backs a million years ago and used it to be a bigger fern or make more werewhales or drop seeds of improbability.' Her otter's paws moved quick and sure, selecting a squat, square bottle here and a round rosy one there. 'It so happens sunshine has a fearful memory. It sticks around even after its favorite dimetrodon dies. Gets hard and wily. Turns into something you can touch, something you can drill, something you can pour. But it still remembers having one eye and slapping the ocean's face with a great heavy tail. It liked making more dinosaurs and growing a frond as tall as a bank. It likes to make things alive, to make things go.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
Ironically, the tattoo represents the opposite for me today. It reminds me that it's important to let yourself be vulnerable, to lose control and make a mistake. It reminds me that, as Whitman would say, I contain multitudes and I always will. I'm a level-one introvert who headlined Madison Square Garden—and was the first woman comic to do so. I'm the ‘overnight success’ who's worked her ass off every single waking moment for more than a decade. I used to shoplift the kind of clothing that people now request I wear to give them free publicity. I'm the SLUT or SKANK who's only had one one-night stand. I'm a ‘plus-size’ 6 on a good day, and a medium-size 10 on an even better day. I've suffered the identical indignities of slinging rib eyes for a living and hustling laughs for cash. I'm a strong, grown-ass woman who's been physically, sexually, and emotionally abused by men and women I trusted and cared about. I've broken hearts and had mine broken, too. Beautiful, ugly, funny, boring, smart or not, my vulnerability is my ultimate strength. There's nothing anyone can say about me that's more permanent, damaging, or hideous than the statement I have forever tattooed upon myself. I'm proud of this ability to laugh at myself—even if everyone can see my tears, just like they can see my dumb, senseless, whack, lame lower back tattoo.
Amy Schumer (The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo)
TIL KINGDOM COME you'll be the one. FOR YOU theres NO MORE KEEPING MY FEET ON THE GROUND. My head is in the clouds NOW MY FEET WONT TOUCH THE GROUND. LIFE IS FOR LIVING and i cant live until i have stolen a spot in your heart. HURTS LIKE HEAVEN and feels like hell to know your in ANOTHERS ARMS. This is no PARADISE. DONT LET IT BREAK YOU HEART i tell my self. Your BEAUTIFUL WORDS always IN MY HEAD i cant stop my self. THINGS I DONT UNDERSTAND would be you and me. LOST in your X&Y. I feel like i was SWALLOWED IN THE SEA, LOST and unseen, not a WISPER or a weep. I cry in my sleep, EVERY TEARDROP IS A WATERFALL. Should have seen the WARNING SIGNS, they were always there like a WISPER in my ear. Every time you say hello were back at SQUARE ONE, a smile my face. SUCH A RUSH i get when i talk to you. My heart beats as fast as a HIGH SPEED race. Every second i wait for your reply like CLOCK ticking by. DAYLIGHT nears as the SLEEPING SUN is UP IN FLAMES. What if its US AGAINST THE WORLD? What if HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD is how i see it too? WHAT IF?
Rhyan Roads
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in. "Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?" I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.” She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—” "Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?" "Yeah, but that’s not the problem." Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk. "Go on," I said wearily. "Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her." "We?" I exclaimed. "Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.” I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said. As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.” "Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience." Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to. I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me. "Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy." I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.” "Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways. I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake. "Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi." Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.” The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.” That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
Poetic Terrorism WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. ... Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc. Go naked for a sign. Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty. Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, Xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement... The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails. PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now. An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE. Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you. Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
Hakim Bey (TAZ: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (New Autonomy))
Honey, have you seen my measuring tape?” “I think it’s in that drawer in the kitchen with the scissors, matches, bobby pins, Scotch tape, nail clippers, barbecue tongs, garlic press, extra buttons, old birthday cards, soy sauce packets thick rubber bands, stack of Christmas napkins, stained take-out menus, old cell-phone chargers, instruction booklet for the VCR, some assorted nickels, an incomplete deck of cards, extra chain links for a watch, a half-finished pack of cough drops, a Scrabble piece I found while vacuuming, dead batteries we aren’t fully sure are dead yet, a couple screws in a tiny plastic bag left over from the bookshelf, that lock with the forgotten combination, a square of carefully folded aluminum foil, and expired pack of gum, a key to our old house, a toaster warranty card, phone numbers for unknown people, used birthday candles, novelty bottle openers, a barbecue lighter, and that one tiny little spoon.” “Thanks, honey.” AWESOME!
Neil Pasricha (The Book of (Even More) Awesome)
I’ve been labeled before. I’m supposed to be a jock and then a brain and then one of those music/theater people. I guess I like to keep surprising people. But what kind of life can you live in a tiny square box? My personality is less narrow. I like a lot of different things. But still, people like to be able to put you in a category, to be able to place you in even rows and put a sign at the front. They think the best you can achieve is being at the front of your row…but why not form your own row? Isn’t that the definition of being a leader? Maybe taking charge means something different nowadays. How come lately people think you’re a leader just because you happen to be at the front of the line? A good leader need only point the way and watch as others follow a direction, not a figure. A great leader can lead without anyone ever knowing it. A spectacular leader can lead without ever knowing it themselves. The person at the front of the line is the puppet of someone that you couldn’t name because someone else pointed the way. I must have missed something. I thought being a follower was letting other people shape your life. I thought it meant letting other people decide who you were going to be. I won’t conform. I won’t let people class me. Because once you’re there you’re stuck. I will be whoever I want to be, and no one can stop me. I have something they don’t have, which is nothing to lose. I have my entire life to live and I intend to live it the way I would like to live. I will form my own row. I will point in a new direction. If that means going against other peoples’ opinion of normal, then so be it. Who says normal is right? Normal certainly strikes me as a boring way to live my life.
K.D. Enos
What exactly was Jesus’ take on violent capitalism? I also have some big ideas for changing the way we think about literary morals as they pertain to legislation. Rather than suffer another attempt by the religious right to base our legalese upon the Bible, I would vote that we found it squarely upon the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. The citizens of Middle Earth had much more tolerant policies in their governing bodies. For example, Elrond was chosen to lead the elves at Rivendell not only despite his androgynous nature but most likely because of the magical leadership inherent in a well-appointed bisexual elf wizard. That’s the person you want picking shit out for your community. That’s the guy you want in charge. David Bowie or a Mormon? Not a difficult equation.
Nick Offerman (Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Principles for Delicious Living)
Poets represent love as sculptors design beauty, as musicians create melody; that is to say, endowed with an exquisite nervous organization, they gather up with discerning ardor the purest elements of life, the most beautiful lines of matter, and the most harmonious voices of nature. There lived, it is said, at Athens a great number of beautiful girls; Praxiteles drew them all one after another; then from these diverse types of beauty, each one of which had its defects, he formed a single faultless beauty and created Venus. The man who first created a musical instrument, and who gave to harmony its rules and its laws, had for a long time listened to the murmuring of reeds and the singing of birds. Thus the poets, who understand life, after knowing much of love, more or less transitory, after feeling that sublime exaltation which real passion can for the moment inspire, eliminating from human nature all that degrades it, created the mysterious names which through the ages fly from lip to lip: Daphnis and Chloe, Hero and Leander, Pyramus and Thisbe. To try to find in real life such love as this, eternal and absolute, is but to seek on public squares a woman such as Venus, or to expect nightingales to sing the symphonies of Beethoven.
Alfred de Musset (The Confession of a Child of the Century)
The 46-year-old recipient of the Jarvik IX Exterior Artificial Heart was actively window shopping in Cambridge, Massachusetts’ fashionable Har­vard Square when a transvestite purse snatcher, a drug addict with a crimi­nal record all too well known to public officials, bizarrely outfitted in a strapless cocktail dress, spike heels, tattered feather boa, and auburn wig, brutally tore the life sustaining purse from the woman’s unwitting grasp. The active, alert woman gave chase to the purse snatching ‘woman’ for as long as she could, plaintively shouting to passers by the words ‘Stop her! She stole my heart!’ on the fashionable sidewalk crowded with shop­pers, reportedly shouting repeatedly, ‘She stole my heart, stop her!’ In response to her plaintive calls, tragically, misunderstanding shoppers and passers by merely shook their heads at one another, smiling knowingly at what they ignorantly presumed to be yet another alternative lifestyle’s re­lationship gone sour. A duo of Cambridge, Massachusetts, patrolmen, whose names are being withheld from Moment’s dogged queries, were publicly heard to passively quip, ‘Happens all the time,’ as the victimized woman staggered frantically past in the wake of the fleet transvestite, shouting for help for her stolen heart.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
In Chloe, a great city, the people who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping. A girl comes along, twirling a parasol on her shoulder, and twirling slightly also her rounded hips. A woman in black comes along, showing her full age, her eyes restless beneath her veil, her lips trembling. At tattooed giant comes along; a young man with white hair; a female dwarf; two girls, twins, dressed in coral. Something runs among them, an exchange of glances link lines that connect one figure with another and draws arrows, stars, triangles, until all combinations are used up in a moment, and other characters come on to the scene: a blind man with a cheetah on a leash, a courtesan with an ostrich-plume fan, an ephebe, a Fat Woman. And thus, when some people happen to find themselves together, taking shelter from the rain under an arcade, or crowding beneath an awning of the bazaar, or stopping to listen to the band in the square, meetings, seductions, copulations, orgies are consummated among them without a word exchanged, without a finger touching anything, almost without an eye raised. A voluptuous vibration constantly stirs Chloe, the most chaste of cities. If men and women began to live their ephemeral dreams, every phantom would become a person with whom to begin a story of pursuits, pretenses, misunderstandings, clashes, oppressions, and the carousel of fantasies would stop.
Italo Calvino
Naphta loathed the bourgeois state and its love of security. He found occasion to express this loathing one autumn afternoon when, as they were walking along the main street, it suddenly began to rain and, as if on command, there was an umbrella over every head. That was a symbol of cowardice and vulgar effeminacy, the end product of civilization. An incident like the sinking of the Titanic was atavistic, true, but its effect was most refreshing, it was the handwriting on the wall. Afterward, of course, came the hue and cry for more security in shipping. How pitiful, but such weak-willed humanitarianism squared very nicely with the wolfish cruelty and villainy of slaughter on the economic battlefield known as the bourgeois state. War, war ! He was all for it – the universal lust for war seemed quite honorable in comparison.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.
Terry Eagleton (The Meaning of Life)
The conviction that life has a purpose is rooted in every fibre of man, it is a property of the human substance. Free men give many names to this purpose, and think and talk a lot about its nature. But for us the question is simpler. Today, in this place, our only purpose is to reach the spring. At the moment we care about nothing else. Behind this aim there is not at the moment any other aim. In the morning while we wait endlessly lined up in roll-call square for the time to leave for work, while every breath of wind penetrates our clothes and runs in violent shivers over our defenceless bodies, and everything is grey around us, and we are grey; in the morning, when it is still dark, we all look at the sky in the east to spot the first signs of a milder season, and the rising of the sun is commented on every day: today a little earlier than yesterday, today a little warmer than yesterday, in two months, in a month, the cold will call a truce and we will have one enemy less. Today the sun rose bright and clear for the first time from the horizon of mud. It is a Polish sun, cold, white, distant, and only warms the skin, but when it dissolved the last mists a murmur ran through our colourless numbers, and when even I felt its lukewarmth through my clothes I understood how men can worship the sun.
Primo Levi (Survival in Auschwitz)
It took hours, but all of a sudden as she was drawing the plug-in for a vacuum pump that felt as if it was radiating cold, although she didn't know how, Claire saw . . . something. It was like a flash of intuition, one of those moments that came to her sometimes when she thoughtabout higher-order physics problems. Not calculation, exactly, not logic. Instinct.She saw what he was doing, and for that one second, it was beautiful.Crazy, but in a beautiful kind of way. Like everything Myrnin did, it twisted the basicrules of physics, bent them and reshaped them until they became . . . something else. He's agenius, she thought. She'd always known that, but this . . . this was something else. Something beyond all his usual tinkering and weirdness. "It's going to work," she said. Her voice sounded odd. She carefully set the vacuum pumpin its place on the meticulously labeled canvas sheet. Myrnin, who was sitting in his armchair with his feet comfortably on a hassock, looked up. He was reading a book through tiny little square spectacles that might have once belonged to Benjamin Franklin. "Well, of course it's going to work," he said. "What did you expect? I do know what I'm doing." This from a man wearing clothing from the OMG No store, and his battered vampire-bunny slippers. He'd crossed his feet at the ankles on top of a footstool, and both the bunnies' red mouths were flapping open to reveal their sharp, pointy teeth. Claire grinned, suddenly full of enthusiasm for what she was doing. "I didn't expectanything else," she said. "When's lunch?
Rachel Caine (Ghost Town (The Morganville Vampires, #9))
To comprehend Crowley, one must comprehend what he meant by "Magick"—the "discredited" tradition he swore to "rehabilitate." Magick, for Crowley, is a way of life that takes in every facet of life. The keys to attainment within the magical tradition lie in the proper training of the human psyche itself—more specifically, in the development of the powers of will and imagination. The training of the will—which Crowley so stressed, thus placing himself squarely within that tradition—is the focusing of one's energy, one's essential being. The imagination provides, as it were, the target for this focus, by its capacity to ardently envision—and hence bring into magical being—possibilities and states beyond those of consensual reality. The will and imagination must work synergistically. For the will, unilluminated by imagination, becomes a barren tool of earthly pursuits. And the imagination, ungoverned by a striving will, lapses into idle dreams and stupor.
Lawrence Sutin (Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley)
One day, I wish to find a man like in my books. He has to be just like in one of my books. And he has to love me, love me more than anything in the world. Most important of all, he has to think I’m beautiful.” “Lily, I need to tell you something.” Fazire was going to tell her about Becky’s wish and his mistake and let her look forward to something, let her look forward to the incomparable beauty she was going to be. Most of all, he had to stop her wish now. He didn’t want her wasting it on some fool idea. He wanted it to be special, perfect, to make her world better like she had made Becky and Will’s and, indeed, his. But again she didn’t hear him. Her eyes were bright and they were steady on his. “He has to be tall, very tall and dark and broad-shouldered and narrow-hipped.” Fazire stared. He didn’t even know what “narrow-hipped” meant. “And he has to be handsome, unbelievably handsome, impossibly handsome with a strong, square jaw and powerful cheekbones and tanned skin and beautiful eyes with lush, thick lashes. He has to be clever and very wealthy but hardworking. He has to be virile, fierce, ruthless and rugged.” Now she was getting over his head. He didn’t think there was such a thing as impossibly handsome. How cheekbones could be powerful, Fazire didn’t know. He was even thinking he might have to look up “virile” in the dictionary Sarah had given him. “And he has to be hard and cold and maybe a little bit forbidding, a little bit bad with a broken heart I have to mend or one encased in ice I have to melt or better yet… both!” Fazire thought this was getting a bit ridiculous. It was the most complicated wish he’d ever heard. But she wasn’t yet finished. “We have to go through some trials and tribulations. Something to test our love, make it strong and worthy. And… and… he has to be daring and very masculine. Powerful. People must respect him, maybe even fear him. Graceful too and lithe, like a… like a cat! Or a lion. Or something like that.” She was losing steam and Fazire had to admit he was grateful for it. “And he has to be a good lover.” Lily shocked Fazire by saying. “The best, so good, he could almost make love to me just by using his eyes.” Fazire felt himself blush. Perhaps he should have a look at these books she was reading and show them to Becky. Lily was a very sharp girl, sharp as a tack (another one of Sarah’s sayings, although Fazire couldn’t imagine a tack ever being as clever as Lily) but she was too young to be reading about any man making love to her with his eyes. Fazire had never made love, never would, genies just didn’t. But he was pretty certain fourteen year old girls shouldn’t be thinking about it. Though, he was wrong about that, or at least Becky would tell him that later. Then Fazire realised she’d stopped talking. “Is that it?” he asked. She thought for a bit, clearly not wanting to leave anything out. Then she nodded.
Kristen Ashley (Three Wishes)
NOTHING should more deeply shame the modern student than the recency and inadequacy of his acquaintance with India. Here is a vast peninsula of nearly two million square miles; two-thirds as large as the United States, and twenty times the size of its master, Great Britain; 320,000,000 souls, more than in all North and South America combined, or one-fifth of the population of the earth; an impressive continuity of development and civilization from Mohenjo-daro, 2900 B.C. or earlier, to Gandhi, Raman and Tagore; faiths compassing every stage from barbarous idolatry to the most subtle and spiritual pantheism; philosophers playing a thousand variations on one monistic theme from the Upanishads eight centuries before Christ to Shankara eight centuries after him; scientists developing astronomy three thousand years ago, and winning Nobel prizes in our own time; a democratic constitution of untraceable antiquity in the villages, and wise and beneficent rulers like Ashoka and Akbar in the capitals; minstrels singing great epics almost as old as Homer, and poets holding world audiences today; artists raising gigantic temples for Hindu gods from Tibet to Ceylon and from Cambodia to Java, or carving perfect palaces by the score for Mogul kings and queens—this is the India that patient scholarship is now opening up, like a new intellectual continent, to that Western mind which only yesterday thought civilization an exclusively European thing.I
Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage (Story of Civilization 1))
Check it out." Jonah removed the bubble wrap and held up the picture for his three cousins. Dan took a step backward. The shock was almost as powerful as it had been the day before at the Uffizi. "It's perfect! It's every bit as disgusting as the real one!" Amy nodded. "And so fast. We only called you yesterday." Jonah shrugged. "Even the Janus take a short cut every now and then. You can do a lot with digitization these days. You break the picture down to squares and reproduce them one at a time. The other two are just as fly." "You mean, hog ugly," Hamilton amended. "The serpents don't help," Dan put in critically. "Live fat spaghetti. Lady, if you're thinking of a modeling career, forget it!" The rapper clucked sympathetically. "You guys just don't appreciate the power of the visual image. The Wiz used to be like that–until Gangsta Kronikles. When you're in film industry, you understand the whole picture's-worth-a-thousand-words deal." Hamilton rolled his eyes. "Here we go again.
Gordon Korman (The Medusa Plot (39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, #1))
When Magnus looked at Imasu, he saw Imasu had dropped his head into his hands. "Er," Magnus said. "Are you quite all right?" "I was simply overcome," Imasu said in a faint voice. Magnus preened slightly. "Ah. Well." "By how awful that was," Imasu said. Magnus blinked. "Pardon?" "I can't live a lie any longer!" Imasu burst out. "I have tried to be encouraging. Dignitaries of the town have been sent to me, asking me to plead with you to stop. My own sainted mother begged me, with tears in her eyes - " "It isn't as bad as all that - " "Yes, it is!" It was like a dam of musical critique had broken. Imasu turned on him with eyes that flashed instead of shining. "It is worse than you can possibly imagine! When you play, all of my mother's flowers lose the will to live and expire on the instant. The quinoa has no flavor now. The llamas are migrating because of your music, and llamas are not a migratory animal. The children now believe there is a sickly monster, half horse and half large mournful chicken, that lives in the lake and calls out to the world to grant it the sweet release of death. The townspeople believe that you and I are performing arcane magic rituals - " "Well, that one was rather a good guess," Magnus remarked. " - using the skull of an elephant, an improbably large mushroom, and one of your very peculiar hats!" "Or not," said Magnus. "Furthermore, my hats are extraordinary." "I will not argue with that." Imasu scrubbed a hand through his thick black hair, which curled and clung to his fingers like inky vines. "Look, I know that I was wrong. I saw a handsome man, thought that it would not hurt to talk a little about music and strike up a common interest, but I don't deserve this. You are going to get stoned in the town square, and if I have to listen to you play again, I will drown myself in the lake." "Oh," said Magnus, and he began to grin. "I wouldn't. I hear there is a dreadful monster living in that lake." Imasu seemed to still be brooding about Magnus's charango playing, a subject that Magnus had lost all interest in. "I believe the world will end with a noise like the noise you make!" "Interesting," said Magnus, and he threw his charango out the window. "Magnus!" "I believe that music and I have gone as far as we can go together," Magnus said. "A true artiste knows when to surrender." "I can't believe you did that!" Magnus waved a hand airily. "I know, it is heartbreaking, but sometimes one must shut one's ears to the pleas of the muse." "I just meant that those are expensive and I heard a crunch.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
The story of the rapper and the story of the hustler are like rap itself, two kinds of rhythm working together, having a conversation with each other, doing more together than they could do apart. It's been said that the thing that makes rap special, that makes it different both from pop music and from written poetry, is that it's built around two kinds of rhythm. The first kind of rhythm is the meter. In poetry, the meter is abstract, but in rap, the meter is something you literally hear: it's the beat. The beat in a song never stops, it never varies. No matter what other sounds are on the track, even if it's a Timbaland production with all kinds of offbeat fills and electronics, a rap song is usually built bar by bar, four-beat measure by four-beat measure. It's like time itself, ticking off relentlessly in a rhythm that never varies and never stops. When you think about it like that, you realize the beat is everywhere, you just have to tap into it. You can bang it out on a project wall or an 808 drum machine or just use your hands. You can beatbox it with your mouth. But the beat is only one half of a rap song's rhythm. The other is the flow. When a rapper jumps on a beat, he adds his own rhythm. Sometimes you stay in the pocket of the beat and just let the rhymes land on the square so that the beat and flow become one. But sometimes the flow cops up the beat, breaks the beat into smaller units, forces in multiple syllables and repeated sounds and internal rhymes, or hangs a drunken leg over the last bap and keeps going, sneaks out of that bitch. The flow isn't like time, it's like life. It's like a heartbeat or the way you breathe, it can jump, speed up, slow down, stop, or pound right through like a machine. If the beat is time, flow is what we do with that time, how we live through it. The beat is everywhere, but every life has to find its own flow. Just like beats and flows work together, rapping and hustling, for me at least, live through each other. Those early raps were beautiful in their way and a whole generation of us felt represented for the first time when we heard them. But there's a reason the culture evolved beyond that playful, partying lyrical style. Even when we recognized the voices, and recognized the style, and even personally knew the cats who were on the records, the content didn't always reflect the lives we were leading. There was a distance between what was becoming rap's signature style - the relentlessness, the swagger, the complex wordplay - and the substance of the songs. The culture had to go somewhere else to grow. It had to come home.
Jay-Z (Decoded)
Why the devil couldn’t it have been blue?” I said to myself. And this thought—one of the most profound ever made since the discovery of butterflies—consoled me for my misdeed and reconciled me with myself. I stood there, looking at the corpse with, I confess, a certain sympathy. The butterfly had probably come out of the woods, well-fed and happy, into the sunlight of a beautiful morning. Modest in its demands on life, it had been content to fly about and exhibit its special beauty under the vast cupola of a blue sky, al sky that is always blue for those that have wings. It flew through my open window, entered by room, and found me there. I suppose it had never seen a man; therefore it did not know what a man was. It described an infinite number of circles about my body and saw that I moved, that I had eyes, arms, legs, a divine aspect, and colossal stature. Then it said to itself, “This is probably the maker of butterflies.” The idea overwhelmed it, terrified it; but fear, which is sometimes stimulating, suggested the best way for it to please its creator was to kiss him on the forehead, and so it kissed me on the forehead. When I brushed it away, it rested on the windowpane, saw from there the portrait of my father, and quite possibly perceived a half-truth, i.e., that the man in the picture was the father of the creator of butterflies, and it flew to beg his mercy. Then a blow from a towel ended the adventure. Neither the blue sky’s immensity, nor the flowers’ joy, nor the green leaves’ splendor could protect the creature against a face towel, a few square inches fo cheap linin. Note how excellent it is to be superior to butterflies! For, even if it had been blue, its life would not have been safe; I might have pierced it with a pin and kept it to delight my eyes. It was not blue. This last thought consoled me again. I placed the nail of my middle finger against my thumb, gave the cadaver a flip, and it fell into the garden. It was high time; the provident ants were already gathering around…Yes, I stand by my first idea: I think that it would have been better for the butterfly if it had been born blue.
Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)
The silence. End of all poetry, all romances. Earlier, frightened, you began to have some intimation of it: so many pages had been turned, the book was so heavy in one hand, so light in the other, thinning toward the end. Still, you consoled yourself. You were not quite at the end of the story, at that terrible flyleaf, blank like a shuttered window: there were still a few pages under your thumb, still to be sought and treasured. Oh, was it possible to read more slowly? - No. The end approached, inexorable, at the same measured pace. The last page, the last of the shining words! And there - the end of the books. The hard cover which, when you turn it, gives you only this leather stamped with old roses and shields. Then the silence comes, like the absence of sound at the end of the world. You look up. It's a room in an old house. Or perhaps it's a seat in a garden, or even a square; perhaps you've been reading outside and you suddenly see the carriages going by. Life comes back, the shadows of leaves. Someone comes to ask what you will have for dinner, or two small boys run past you, wildly shouting; or else it's merely a breeze blowing a curtain, the white unfurling into a room, brushing the papers on a desk. It is the sound of the world. But to you, the reader, it is only a silence, untenanted and desolate.
Sofia Samatar (A Stranger in Olondria)
EDMUND (with alcoholic talkativeness): You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and singing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping lookout, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. The peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey into Night)
Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Triangles, Squares, Pentagons, Hexagons, and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about, on or in the surface, but without the power of rising above or sinking below it, very much like shadows—only hard with luminous edges—and you will then have a pretty correct notion of my country and countrymen. Alas, a few years ago, I should have said "my universe:" but now my mind has been opened to higher views of things. In such a country, you will perceive at once that it is impossible that there should be anything of what you call a "solid" kind; but I dare say you will suppose that we could at least distinguish by sight the Triangles, Squares, and other figures, moving about as I have described them. On the contrary, we could see nothing of the kind, not at least so as to distinguish one figure from another. Nothing was visible, nor could be visible, to us, except Straight Lines; and the necessity of this I will speedily demonstrate.
Edwin A. Abbott (Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions)
The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little village as they approached it on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow. Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without. Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and to the lookers-in from outside, the inmates, gathered round the tea-table, absorbed in handiwork, or talking with laughter and gesture, had each that happy grace which is the last thing the skilled actor shall capture--the natural grace which goes with perfect unconsciousness of observation. Moving at will from one theatre to another, the two spectators, so far from home themselves, had something of wistfulness in their eyes as they watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log.
Kenneth Grahame (The Wind in the Willows)
Drug addicts, especially young ones, are conformists flocking together in sticky groups, and I do not write for groups, nor approve of group therapy (the big scene in the Freudian farce); as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate, a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts. Young dunces who turn to drugs cannot read “Lolita,” or any of my books, some in fact cannot read at all. Let me also observe that the term “square” already dates as a slang word, for nothing dates quicker than conservative youth, nor is there anything more philistine, more bourgeois, more ovine than this business of drug duncery. Half a century ago, a similar fashion among the smart set of St. Petersburg was cocaine sniffing combined with phony orientalities. The better and brighter minds of my young American readers are far removed from those juvenile fads and faddists. I also used to know in the past a Communist agent who got so involved in trying to wreck anti-Bolshevist groups by distributing drugs among them that he became an addict himself and lapsed into a dreamy state of commendable metempsychic sloth. He must be grazing today on some grassy slope in Tibet if he has not yet lined the coat of his fortunate shepherd.
Vladimir Nabokov (Strong Opinions)
Have you ever wondered What happens to all the poems people write? The poems they never let anyone else read? Perhaps they are Too private and personal Perhaps they are just not good enough. Perhaps the prospect of such a heartfelt expression being seen as clumsy shallow silly pretentious saccharine unoriginal sentimental trite boring overwrought obscure stupid pointless or simply embarrassing is enough to give any aspiring poet good reason to hide their work from public view. forever. Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED. Burnt shredded flushed away Occasionally they are folded Into little squares And wedged under the corner of An unstable piece of furniture (So actually quite useful) Others are hidden behind a loose brick or drainpipe or sealed into the back of an old alarm clock or put between the pages of AN OBSCURE BOOK that is unlikely to ever be opened. someone might find them one day, BUT PROBABLY NOT The truth is that unread poetry Will almost always be just that. DOOMED to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia. well Almost always. On rare occasions, Some especially insistent pieces of writing will escape into a backyard or a laneway be blown along a roadside embankment and finally come to rest in a shopping center parking lot as so many things do It is here that something quite Remarkable takes place two or more pieces of poetry drift toward each other through a strange force of attraction unknown to science and ever so slowly cling together to form a tiny, shapeless ball. Left undisturbed, this ball gradually becomes larger and rounder as other free verses confessions secrets stray musings wishes and unsent love letters attach themselves one by one. Such a ball creeps through the streets Like a tumbleweed for months even years If it comes out only at night it has a good Chance of surviving traffic and children and through a slow rolling motion AVOIDS SNAILS (its number one predator) At a certain size, it instinctively shelters from bad weather, unnoticed but otherwise roams the streets searching for scraps of forgotten thought and feeling. Given time and luck the poetry ball becomes large HUGE ENORMOUS: A vast accumulation of papery bits That ultimately takes to the air, levitating by The sheer force of so much unspoken emotion. It floats gently above suburban rooftops when everybody is asleep inspiring lonely dogs to bark in the middle of the night. Sadly a big ball of paper no matter how large and buoyant, is still a fragile thing. Sooner or LATER it will be surprised by a sudden gust of wind Beaten by driving rain and REDUCED in a matter of minutes to a billion soggy shreds. One morning everyone will wake up to find a pulpy mess covering front lawns clogging up gutters and plastering car windscreens. Traffic will be delayed children delighted adults baffled unable to figure out where it all came from Stranger still Will be the Discovery that Every lump of Wet paper Contains various faded words pressed into accidental verse. Barely visible but undeniably present To each reader they will whisper something different something joyful something sad truthful absurd hilarious profound and perfect No one will be able to explain the Strange feeling of weightlessness or the private smile that remains Long after the street sweepers have come and gone.
Shaun Tan (Tales from Outer Suburbia)
Of all the dangerous ideas that health officials could have embraced while trying to understand why we get fat, they would have been hard-pressed to find one ultimately more damaging than calories-in/calories-out. That it reinforces what appears to be so obvious - obesity as the penalty for gluttony and sloth - is what makes it so alluring. But it's misleading and misconceived on so many levels that it's hard to imagine how it survived unscathed and virtually unchallenged for the last fifty years. It has done incalculable harm. Not only is this thinking at least partly responsible for the ever-growing numbers of obese and overweight in the world - while directing attention away from the real reasons we get fat - but it has served to reinforce the perception that those who get fat have no one to blame but themselves. That eating less invariably fails as a cure for obesity is rarely perceived as the single most important reason to make us question our assumptions, as Hilde Bruch suggested half a century ago. Rather, it is taken as still more evidence that the overweight and obese are incapable of following a diet and eating in moderation. And it put the blame for their physical condition squarely on their behavior, which couldn't be further from the truth.
Gary Taubes (Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It)
Good is to be found neither in the sermons of religious teachers and prophets, nor in the teachings of sociologists and popular leaders, nor in the ethical systems of philosophers... And yet ordinary people bear love in their hearts, are naturally full of love and pity for any living thing. At the end of the day's work they prefer the warmth of the hearth to a bonfire in the public square. Yes, as well as this terrible Good with a capital 'G', there is everyday human kindness. The kindness of an old woman carrying a piece of bread to a prisoner, the kindness of a soldier allowing a wounded enemy to drink from his water-flask, the kindness of youth towards age, the kindness of a peasant hiding an old Jew in his loft. The kindness of a prison guard who risks his own liberty to pass on letters written by a prisoner not to his ideological comrades, but to his wife and mother. The private kindness of one individual towards another; a petty, thoughtless kindness; an unwitnessed kindness. Something we could call senseless kindness. A kindness outside any system of social or religious good. But if we think about it, we realize that this private, senseless, incidental kindness is in fact eternal. It is extended to everything living, even to a mouse, even to a bent branch that a man straightens as he walks by. Even at the most terrible times, through all the mad acts carried out in the name of Universal Good and the glory of States, times when people were tossed about like branches in the wind, filling ditches and gullies like stones in an avalanche – even then this senseless, pathetic kindness remained scattered throughout life like atoms of radium.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
There is a most profound and beautiful question associated with the observed coupling constant, e - the amplitude for a real electron to emit or absorb a real photon. It is a simple number that has been experimentally determined to be close to 0.08542455. (My physicist friends won't recognize this number, because they like to remember it as the inverse of its square: about 137.03597 with about an uncertainty of about 2 in the last decimal place. It has been a mystery ever since it was discovered more than fifty years ago, and all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it.) Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to pi or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms? Nobody knows. It's one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say the "hand of God" wrote that number, and "we don't know how He pushed his pencil." We know what kind of a dance to do experimentally to measure this number very accurately, but we don't know what kind of dance to do on the computer to make this number come out, without putting it in secretly!
Richard P. Feynman (QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter)
It [the charcuterie] was almost on the corner of the Rue Pirouette and was a joy to behold. It was bright and inviting, with touches of brilliant colour standing out amidst white marble. The signboard, on which the name QUENU-GRADELLE glittered in fat gilt letter encircled by leaves and branches painted on a soft-hued background, was protected by a sheet of glass. On the two side panels of the shop front, similarly painted and under glass, were chubby little Cupids playing in the midst of boars' heads, pork chops, and strings of sausages; and these still lifes, adorned with scrolls and rosettes, had been designed in so pretty and tender a style that the raw meat lying there assumed the reddish tint of raspberry jam. Within this delightful frame, the window display was arranged. It was set out on a bed of fine shavings of blue paper; a few cleverly positioned fern leaves transformed some of the plates into bouquets of flowers fringed with foliage. There were vast quantities of rich, succulent things, things that melted in the mouth. Down below, quite close to the window, jars of rillettes were interspersed with pots of mustard. Above these were some boned hams, nicely rounded, golden with breadcrumbs, and adorned at the knuckles with green rosettes. Then came the larger dishes--stuffed Strasbourg tongues, with their red, varnished look, the colour of blood next to the pallor of the sausages and pigs' trotters; strings of black pudding coiled like harmless snakes; andouilles piled up in twos and bursting with health; saucissons in little silver copes that made them look like choristers; pies, hot from the oven, with little banner-like tickets stuck in them; big hams, and great cuts of veal and pork, whose jelly was as limpid as crystallized sugar. Towards the back were large tureens in which the meats and minces lay asleep in lakes of solidified fat. Strewn between the various plates and sishes, on the bed of blue shavings, were bottles of relish, sauce, and preserved truffles, pots of foie gras, and tins of sardines and tuna fish. A box of creamy cheeses and one full of snails stuffed with butter and parsley had been dropped in each corner. Finally, at the very top of the display, falling from a bar with sharp prongs, strings of sausages and saveloys hung down symmetrically like the cords and tassels of some opulent tapestry, while behind, threads of caul were stretched out like white lacework. There, on the highest tier of this temple of gluttony, amid the caul and between two bunches of purple gladioli, the alter display was crowned by a small, square fish tank with a little ornamental rockery, in which two goldfish swam in endless circles.
Émile Zola
Raw emotions and the need to hold him close overwhelmed me. Every part of ached for him-my mind, my soul and my body. Without hesitation, i closed the gap between us and pressed my lips eagerly to his. Noah's hands were everywhere, my hair, my face, my back, and for the love of all things holy, my breasts. My hands roamed his glorious body just as greedily. After drugging me with delicious kisses for not nearly long enough, his warm lips skimmed my throat and kissed down the center of my breasts, causing me to arch my back and lose my ever loving mind. Without meaning to, i moaned and whispered his name when his hands wandered to my thighs and set my world and blood on fire. Noah eased me back into the bed and my hair sprawled all around me. "I love how you smell," he whispered as he suckled my earlobe. "I love how beautiful you are." I reclaimed his lips and hooked a leg around his as we moved in rhythm with each other. In between frantic kisses, i whispered the words, "I love you". Because i did. Noah listened to me. He made me laugh and he made me feel special. He was strong and warm and caring and...everything. I loved him. I loved him more than i'd ever loved another person in my life. Every muscle in my body froze when Noah stopped kissing and stare down at me with wide eyes. He caressed my cheek twice over and tilted his head. "Make love to me, Echo. I've never made love." No way. Noah's experienced reputation walked down the hallway before he did. "But..." Noah cut me off with a kiss. "Yes, but never love. Just girls who didn't mean anything" You..." His tongue teased my bottom lip, thawing my body. "Are everything. I got tested over winter break and i'm clean and i've got protection." He reached to the side of the bed and magically produced a small orange square. I froze again. Sensing my hesitation, Noah kissed my lips slowly while stroking my cheek. "And since break?" I asked. "There's been no one," he whispered against my lips. "I met you soon after and i could never think of touching anyone else." I loved him and we were together. I entwined my fingers in his hair and pulled his head back to mine, but the second his hand touched the waist of my jeans, my heart shook and my hands snapped out to stop him. "Please. Wait. Noah..." Oh, God, i was actually going to say it. "I'm a virgin." Now Noah froze. "But you were with Luke." A faint smile grew on my lips. I was typically the tongue-tied one and found it amusing to see him confused for once. "That's why we broke up. I wasn't ready." He shifted his body off of mine and tuckled me close against his warmth. I laid my head on his chest and listened to the comforting sound of his beating heart. Noah ran his hand through my hair. "I'm glad you told me. This needs to be right for you and i'll wait, for as long as you need.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
Q: Do you have any advice for upcoming writers who want to pen weird stories? A: READ, damn it. Fill your brain to the bursting point with the good stuff, starting with writers that you truly enjoy, and then work your way backward and outward, reading those writers who inspired the writers you love best. That was my path as far as Weird/Horror Fiction, starting with Lovecraft, and then working my way backward/outward on the Weird Fiction spiderweb. And don’t limit your reading. Read it all, especially non-fiction and various news outlets. You’d be surprised by how many of my story ideas were born while listening to NPR, perusing a blog, or paging through Vanity Fair. Once you have your fuel squared away, just write what you love, in whatever style and genre. You’ll never have fun being someone you’re not, so be yourself. When a singer opens their mouth, what comes out is what comes out. Also, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Writing isn’t for everyone, and that’s totally fine. One doesn’t need to be a writer to enjoy being a reader and overall fan of genre or wider fiction.
T.E. Grau
You speak as if you envied him." "And I do envy him, Emma. In one respect he is the object of my envy." Emma could say no more. They seemed to be within half a sentence of Harriet, and her immediate feeling was to avert the subject, if possible. She made her plan; she would speak of something totally different—the children in Brunswick Square; and she only waited for breath to begin, when Mr. Knightley startled her, by saying, "You will not ask me what is the point of envy.—You are determined, I see, to have no curiosity.—You are wise—but I cannot be wise. Emma, I must tell you what you will not ask, though I may wish it unsaid the next moment." "Oh! then, don't speak it, don't speak it," she eagerly cried. "Take a little time, consider, do not commit yourself." "Thank you," said he, in an accent of deep mortification, and not another syllable followed. Emma could not bear to give him pain. He was wishing to confide in her—perhaps to consult her;—cost her what it would, she would listen. She might assist his resolution, or reconcile him to it; she might give just praise to Harriet, or, by representing to him his own independence, relieve him from that state of indecision, which must be more intolerable than any alternative to such a mind as his.—They had reached the house. "You are going in, I suppose?" said he. "No,"—replied Emma—quite confirmed by the depressed manner in which he still spoke—"I should like to take another turn. Mr. Perry is not gone." And, after proceeding a few steps, she added—"I stopped you ungraciously, just now, Mr. Knightley, and, I am afraid, gave you pain.—But if you have any wish to speak openly to me as a friend, or to ask my opinion of any thing that you may have in contemplation—as a friend, indeed, you may command me.—I will hear whatever you like. I will tell you exactly what I think." "As a friend!"—repeated Mr. Knightley.—"Emma, that I fear is a word—No, I have no wish—Stay, yes, why should I hesitate?—I have gone too far already for concealment.—Emma, I accept your offer—Extraordinary as it may seem, I accept it, and refer myself to you as a friend.—Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?" He stopped in his earnestness to look the question, and the expression of his eyes overpowered her. "My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma—tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said."—She could really say nothing.—"You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more." Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling. "I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.
Jane Austen (Emma)
Last and crowning torture of all the tortures of that awful place is the eternity of hell. Eternity! O, dread and dire word. Eternity! What mind of man can understand it? And remember, it is an eternity of pain. Even though the pain of hell were not so terrible as they are, yet they would become infinite, as they are destined to last for ever. But while they are everlasting they are at the some times, as you know, intolerably intense, unbearably extensive. To bear even the sting of an insect for all eternity would be a dreadful torment. What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell for ever? For ever! For all eternity! Not for a year or for an age but for ever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny little grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness; and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplies as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of the air: and imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many million upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all? Yet at the end of that immense stretch of time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been all carried away, and i f the bird came again and carried it all away again grain by grain, and if it sop rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals, at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would scarcely have begun.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
I often ask, "What do you want to work at? If you have the chance. When you get out of school, college, the service, etc." Some answer right off and tell their definite plans and projects, highly approved by Papa. I'm pleased for them* but it's a bit boring, because they are such squares. Quite a few will, with prompting, come out with astounding stereotyped, conceited fantasies, such as becoming a movie actor when they are "discovered" "like Marlon Brando, but in my own way." Very rarely somebody will, maybe defiantly and defensively, maybe diffidently but proudly, make you know that he knows very well what he is going to do; it is something great; and he is indeed already doing it, which is the real test. The usual answer, perhaps the normal answer, is "I don't know," meaning, "I'm looking; I haven't found the right thing; it's discouraging but not hopeless." But the terrible answer is, "Nothing." The young man doesn't want to do anything. I remember talking to half a dozen young fellows at Van Wagner's Beach outside of Hamilton, Ontario; and all of them had this one thing to say: "Nothing." They didn't believe that what to work at was the kind of thing one wanted. They rather expected that two or three of them would work for the electric company in town, but they couldn't care less, I turned away from the conversation abruptly because of the uncontrollable burning tears in my eyes and constriction in my chest. Not feeling sorry for them, but tears of frank dismay for the waste of our humanity (they were nice kids). And it is out of that incident that many years later I am writing this book.
Paul Goodman (Growing Up Absurd)
I had recently read to my dismay that they have started hunting moose again in New England. Goodness knows why anyone would want to shoot an animal as harmless and retiring as the moose, but thousands of people do—so many, in fact, that states now hold lotteries to decide who gets a permit. Maine in 1996 received 82,000 applications for just 1,500 permits. Over 12,000 outof-staters happily parted with a nonrefundable $20 just to be allowed to take part in the draw. Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old. That’s all there is to it. Without doubt, the moose is the most improbable, endearingly hopeless creature ever to live in the wilds. Every bit of it—its spindly legs, its chronically puzzled expression, its comical oven-mitt antlers—looks like some droll evolutionary joke. It is wondrously ungainly: it runs as if its legs have never been introduced to each other. Above all, what distinguishes the moose is its almost boundless lack of intelligence. If you are driving down a highway and a moose steps from the woods ahead of you, he will stare at you for a long minute (moose are notoriously shortsighted), then abruptly try to run away from you, legs flailing in eight directions at once. Never mind that there are several thousand square miles of forest on either side of the highway. The moose does not think of this. Clueless as to what exactly is going on, he runs halfway to New Brunswick before his peculiar gait inadvertently steers him back into the woods, where he immediately stops and takes on a startled expression that says, “Hey—woods. Now how the heck did I get here?” Moose are so monumentally muddle-headed, in fact, that when they hear a car or truck approaching they will often bolt out of the woods and onto the highway in the curious hope that this will bring them to safety. Amazingly, given the moose’s lack of cunning and peculiarly-blunted survival instincts, it is one of the longest-surviving creatures in North America. Mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, wolves, caribou, wild horses, and even camels all once thrived in eastern North America alongside the moose but gradually stumbled into extinction, while the moose just plodded on. It hasn’t always been so. At the turn of this century, it was estimated that there were no more than a dozen moose in New Hampshire and probably none at all in Vermont. Today New Hampshire has an estimated 5,000 moose, Vermont 1,000, and Maine anywhere up to 30,000. It is because of these robust and growing numbers that hunting has been reintroduced as a way of keeping them from getting out of hand. There are, however, two problems with this that I can think of. First, the numbers are really just guesses. Moose clearly don’t line up for censuses. Some naturalists think the population may have been overstated by as much as 20 percent, which means that the moose aren’t being so much culled as slaughtered. No less pertinent is that there is just something deeply and unquestionably wrong about killing an animal that is so sweetly and dopily unassuming as a moose. I could have slain this one with a slingshot, with a rock or stick—with a folded newspaper, I’d almost bet—and all it wanted was a drink of water. You might as well hunt cows.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
In Rome on the Campo dei Fiori Baskets of olives and lemons, Cobbles spattered with wine And the wreckage of flowers. Vendors cover the trestles With rose-pink fish; Armfuls of dark grapes Heaped on peach-down. On this same square They burned Giordano Bruno. Henchmen kindled the pyre Close-pressed by the mob. Before the flames had died The taverns were full again, Baskets of olives and lemons Again on the vendors' shoulders. I thought of the Campo dei Fiori In Warsaw by the sky-carousel One clear spring evening To the strains of a carnival tune. The bright melody drowned The salvos from the ghetto wall, And couples were flying High in the cloudless sky. At times wind from the burning Would drift dark kites along And riders on the carousel Caught petals in midair. That same hot wind Blew open the skirts of the girls And the crowds were laughing On that beautiful Warsaw Sunday. Someone will read as moral That the people of Rome or Warsaw Haggle, laugh, make love As they pass by martyrs' pyres. Someone else will read Of the passing of things human, Of the oblivion Born before the flames have died. But that day I thought only Of the loneliness of the dying, Of how, when Giordano Climbed to his burning There were no words In any human tongue To be left for mankind, Mankind who live on. Already they were back at their wine Or peddled their white starfish, Baskets of olives and lemons They had shouldered to the fair, And he already distanced As if centuries had passed While they paused just a moment For his flying in the fire. Those dying here, the lonely Forgotten by the world, Our tongue becomes for them The language of an ancient planet. Until, when all is legend And many years have passed, On a great Campo dei Fiori Rage will kindle at a poet's word.
Czesław Miłosz
Several years ago, researchers at the University of Minnesota identified 568 men and women over the age of seventy who were living independently but were at high risk of becoming disabled because of chronic health problems, recent illness, or cognitive changes. With their permission, the researchers randomly assigned half of them to see a team of geriatric nurses and doctors—a team dedicated to the art and science of managing old age. The others were asked to see their usual physician, who was notified of their high-risk status. Within eighteen months, 10 percent of the patients in both groups had died. But the patients who had seen a geriatrics team were a quarter less likely to become disabled and half as likely to develop depression. They were 40 percent less likely to require home health services. These were stunning results. If scientists came up with a device—call it an automatic defrailer—that wouldn’t extend your life but would slash the likelihood you’d end up in a nursing home or miserable with depression, we’d be clamoring for it. We wouldn’t care if doctors had to open up your chest and plug the thing into your heart. We’d have pink-ribbon campaigns to get one for every person over seventy-five. Congress would be holding hearings demanding to know why forty-year-olds couldn’t get them installed. Medical students would be jockeying to become defrailulation specialists, and Wall Street would be bidding up company stock prices. Instead, it was just geriatrics. The geriatric teams weren’t doing lung biopsies or back surgery or insertion of automatic defrailers. What they did was to simplify medications. They saw that arthritis was controlled. They made sure toenails were trimmed and meals were square. They looked for worrisome signs of isolation and had a social worker check that the patient’s home was safe. How do we reward this kind of work? Chad Boult, the geriatrician who was the lead investigator of the University of Minnesota study, can tell you. A few months after he published the results, demonstrating how much better people’s lives were with specialized geriatric care, the university closed the division of geriatrics.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating; each atom is like a wobbly spinning top that radiates energy. Because each atom has its own specific energy signature (wobble), assemblies of atoms (molecules) collectively radiate their own identifying energy patterns. So every material structure in the universe, including you and me, radiates a unique energy signature. If it were theoretically possible to observe the composition of an actual atom with a microscope, what would we see? Imagine a swirling dust devil cutting across the desert’s floor. Now remove the sand and dirt from the funnel cloud. What you have left is an invisible, tornado-like vortex. A number of infinitesimally small, dust devil–like energy vortices called quarks and photons collectively make up the structure of the atom. From far away, the atom would likely appear as a blurry sphere. As its structure came nearer to focus, the atom would become less clear and less distinct. As the surface of the atom drew near, it would disappear. You would see nothing. In fact, as you focused through the entire structure of the atom, all you would observe is a physical void. The atom has no physical structure—the emperor has no clothes! Remember the atomic models you studied in school, the ones with marbles and ball bearings going around like the solar system? Let’s put that picture beside the “physical” structure of the atom discovered by quantum physicists. No, there has not been a printing mistake; atoms are made out of invisible energy not tangible matter! So in our world, material substance (matter) appears out of thin air. Kind of weird, when you think about it. Here you are holding this physical book in your hands. Yet if you were to focus on the book’s material substance with an atomic microscope, you would see that you are holding nothing. As it turns out, we undergraduate biology majors were right about one thing—the quantum universe is mind-bending. Let’s look more closely at the “now you see it, now you don’t” nature of quantum physics. Matter can simultaneously be defined as a solid (particle) and as an immaterial force field (wave). When scientists study the physical properties of atoms, such as mass and weight, they look and act like physical matter. However, when the same atoms are described in terms of voltage potentials and wavelengths, they exhibit the qualities and properties of energy (waves). (Hackermüller, et al, 2003; Chapman, et al, 1995; Pool 1995) The fact that energy and matter are one and the same is precisely what Einstein recognized when he concluded that E = mc2. Simply stated, this equation reveals that energy (E) = matter (m, mass) multiplied by the speed of light squared (c2). Einstein revealed that we do not live in a universe with discrete, physical objects separated by dead space. The Universe is one indivisible, dynamic whole in which energy and matter are so deeply entangled it is impossible to consider them as independent elements.
Bruce H. Lipton (The Biology of Belief: Unleasing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles)
The Janus Guard will also be out that night,” he said, one hand reaching out to squeeze her shoulder. “Just as we have been and will be for every night of the Nine.” “Good.” “Speaking of which—Kelley…” Sonny seemed suddenly exhausted. He turned his face to the west, and she could see the fatigue etched into the lines and planes of his face. “It’s getting late. You need to leave the park. Please. Don’t argue with me this time. Just go. The sun will set soon, and I have to go to work.” He squared his shoulders as though he expected her to put up a fight. She did—a little—but only out of actual concern for him. “Shouldn’t you be taking it easy? I mean, you try to hide it with the whole tough-guy-swagger thing and all, but I saw the bandages. You’re really hurt. Aren’t you?” “It’s not so bad.” “Wow. You are a terrible liar.” He frowned fiercely at her. “You also look like you haven’t slept in a week.” She took a tentative step toward him and put a hand on his chest, looking up into his silver-gray eyes. He put his hand over the top of hers, and she could feel the rhythm of his heart beating under her palm, through his shirt and the bandages. “I’m fine.” “Are you sure?” With his other hand, Sonny reached up and brushed a stray auburn curl out of her eyes. “I’m sure.” He smiled down at her, and she felt her insides melt a little. His whole face changed when he smiled. It was like the sun coming out. “But,” he continued, “I’ll be even better if you are safe at home and I don’t have to worry about you for tonight.” “I can take care of myself, Sonny Flannery,” she bristled, halfheartedly. “Please?” He turned up the wattage on his smile. “I…okay.” She felt her own lips turn up in a shy, answering smile. “I’ll be good. This once.” “That’s my girl.” Kelley was silent. Those three words of Sonny’s had managed to render her utterly speechless.
Lesley Livingston (Wondrous Strange (Wondrous Strange, #1))
Do I need to check up on you guys later? You know the rules.No sleeping in opposite-sex rooms." My face flames,and St. Clair's cheeks grow blotchy. It's true.It's a rule. One that my brain-my rule-loving, rule-abiding brain-conveniently blocked last night. It's also one notoriously ignored by the staff. "No,Nate," we say. He shakes his shaved head and goes back in his apartment. But the door opens quickly again,and a handful of something is thrown at us before it's slammed back shut. Condoms.Oh my God, how humiliating. St. Clair's entire face is now bright red as he picks the tiny silver squares off the floor and stuffs them into his coat pockets. We don't speak,don't even look at each other,as we climb the stairs to my floor. My pulse quickens with each step.Will he follow me to my room,or has Nate ruined any chance of that? We reach the landing,and St. Clair scratches his head. "Er..." "So..." "I'm going to get dressed for bed. Is that all right?" His voice is serious,and he watches my reaction carefully. "Yeah.Me too.I'm going to...get ready for bed,too." "See you in a minute?" I swell with relief. "Up there or down here?" "Trust me,you don't want to sleep in my bed." He laughs,and I have to turn my face away,because I do,holy crap do I ever. But I know what he means.It's true my bed is cleaner. I hurry to my room and throw on the strawberry pajamas and an Atlanta Film Festival shirt. It's not like I plan on seducing him. Like I'd even know how. St. Clair knocks a few minutes later, and he's wearing his white bottoms with the blue stripes again and a black T-shirt with a logo I recognize as the French band he was listening to earlier. I'm having trouble breathing. "Room service," he says. My mind goes...blank. "Ha ha," I say weakly. He smiles and turns off the light. We climb into bed,and it's absolutely positively completely awkward. As usual. I roll over to my edge of the bed. Both of us are stiff and straight, careful not to touch the other person. I must be a masochist to keep putting myself in these situations. I need help. I need to see a shrink or be locked in a padded cell or straitjacketed or something. After what feels like an eternity,St. Clair exhales loudly and shifts. His leg bumps into mine, and I flinch. "Sorry," he says. "It's okay." "..." "..." "Anna?" "Yeah?" "Thanks for letting me sleep here again. Last night..." The pressure inside my chest is torturous. What? What what what? "I haven't slept that well in ages." The room is silent.After a moment, I roll back over. I slowly, slowly stretch out my leg until my foot brushes his ankle. His intake of breath is sharp. And then I smile,because I know he can't see my expression through the darkness.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
His day is done. Is done. The news came on the wings of a wind, reluctant to carry its burden. Nelson Mandela’s day is done. The news, expected and still unwelcome, reached us in the United States, and suddenly our world became somber. Our skies were leadened. His day is done. We see you, South African people standing speechless at the slamming of that final door through which no traveller returns. Our spirits reach out to you Bantu, Zulu, Xhosa, Boer. We think of you and your son of Africa, your father, your one more wonder of the world. We send our souls to you as you reflect upon your David armed with a mere stone, facing down the mighty Goliath. Your man of strength, Gideon, emerging triumphant. Although born into the brutal embrace of Apartheid, scarred by the savage atmosphere of racism, unjustly imprisoned in the bloody maws of South African dungeons. Would the man survive? Could the man survive? His answer strengthened men and women around the world. In the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas, on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, in Chicago’s Loop, in New Orleans Mardi Gras, in New York City’s Times Square, we watched as the hope of Africa sprang through the prison’s doors. His stupendous heart intact, his gargantuan will hale and hearty. He had not been crippled by brutes, nor was his passion for the rights of human beings diminished by twenty-seven years of imprisonment. Even here in America, we felt the cool, refreshing breeze of freedom. When Nelson Mandela took the seat of Presidency in his country where formerly he was not even allowed to vote we were enlarged by tears of pride, as we saw Nelson Mandela’s former prison guards invited, courteously, by him to watch from the front rows his inauguration. We saw him accept the world’s award in Norway with the grace and gratitude of the Solon in Ancient Roman Courts, and the confidence of African Chiefs from ancient royal stools. No sun outlasts its sunset, but it will rise again and bring the dawn. Yes, Mandela’s day is done, yet we, his inheritors, will open the gates wider for reconciliation, and we will respond generously to the cries of Blacks and Whites, Asians, Hispanics, the poor who live piteously on the floor of our planet. He has offered us understanding. We will not withhold forgiveness even from those who do not ask. Nelson Mandela’s day is done, we confess it in tearful voices, yet we lift our own to say thank you. Thank you our Gideon, thank you our David, our great courageous man. We will not forget you, we will not dishonor you, we will remember and be glad that you lived among us, that you taught us, and that you loved us all.
Maya Angelou (His Day Is Done: A Nelson Mandela Tribute)
As for describing the smell of a spaniel mixed with the smell of torches, laurels, incense, banners, wax candles and a garland of rose leaves crushed by a satin heel that has been laid up in camphor, perhaps Shakespeare, had he paused in the middle of writing Antony and Cleopatra — But Shakespeare did not pause. Confessing our inadequacy, then, we can but note that to Flush Italy, in these the fullest, the freest, the happiest years of his life, meant mainly a succession of smells. Love, it must be supposed, was gradually losing its appeal. Smell remained. Now that they were established in Casa Guidi again, all had their avocations. Mr. Browning wrote regularly in one room; Mrs. Browning wrote regularly in another. The baby played in the nursery. But Flush wandered off into the streets of Florence to enjoy the rapture of smell. He threaded his path through main streets and back streets, through squares and alleys, by smell. He nosed his way from smell to smell; the rough, the smooth, the dark, the golden. He went in and out, up and down, where they beat brass, where they bake bread, where the women sit combing their hair, where the bird-cages are piled high on the causeway, where the wine spills itself in dark red stains on the pavement, where leather smells and harness and garlic, where cloth is beaten, where vine leaves tremble, where men sit and drink and spit and dice — he ran in and out, always with his nose to the ground, drinking in the essence; or with his nose in the air vibrating with the aroma. He slept in this hot patch of sun — how sun made the stone reek! he sought that tunnel of shade — how acid shade made the stone smell! He devoured whole bunches of ripe grapes largely because of their purple smell; he chewed and spat out whatever tough relic of goat or macaroni the Italian housewife had thrown from the balcony — goat and macaroni were raucous smells, crimson smells. He followed the swooning sweetness of incense into the violet intricacies of dark cathedrals; and, sniffing, tried to lap the gold on the window- stained tomb. Nor was his sense of touch much less acute. He knew Florence in its marmoreal smoothness and in its gritty and cobbled roughness. Hoary folds of drapery, smooth fingers and feet of stone received the lick of his tongue, the quiver of his shivering snout. Upon the infinitely sensitive pads of his feet he took the clear stamp of proud Latin inscriptions. In short, he knew Florence as no human being has ever known it; as Ruskin never knew it or George Eliot either.
Virginia Woolf (Flush)
And so this end in confusion, where when things stop I never get to know it, and this moving is the space, is that what is yet to be, which is for others to see filled wherever it may finally be in the frame when the last pieces are fitted and the others stop, and there will be the stopped pattern, the final array, but not even that, because that final finitude will itself be a bit of scrolling, a percent clump of tiles, which will generally stay together but move about within another whole and be mingled, with in endless ways of other people's memories, so that I will remain a set of impressions porous and open to combination with all of the other vitreous squares floating about in whoever else's frames, because there is always the space left in reserve for the rest of their downtime, and to my great-grandchildren, with more space than tiles, I will be no more than the smoky arrangement of a set of rumors, and to their great-grandchildren, I will be no more than a tint of some obscure color, and to their great grandchildren nothing they ever know about, and so what army of strangers and ghosts has shaped and colored me until back to Adam, until back to when ribs were blown from molten sand into the glass bits that took up the light of this world because they were made from this world, even though the fleeting tenants of those bits of colored glass have vacated them before they have had even the remotest understanding of what it is to inhabit them, and if they -- if we are fortunate (yes, I am lucky, lucky), and if we are fortunate, have fleeting instants when we are satisfied that the mystery is ours to ponder, if never to solve, or even just rife personal mysteries, never mind those outside-- are there even mysteries outside? a puzzle itself -- but anyway, personal mysteries, like where is my father, why can't I stop all the moving and look out over the vast arrangements and find by the contours and colors and qualities of light where my father is, not to solve anything but just simple even to see it again one last time, before what, before it ends, before it stops. But it doesn't stop; it simply ends. It is a final pattern scattered without so much as a pause at the end, at the end of what, at the end of this.
Paul Harding
At first Alexander could not believe it was his Tania. He blinked and tried to refocus his eyes. She was walking around the table, gesturing, showing, leaning forward, bending over. At one point she straightened out and wiped her forehead. She was wearing a short-sleeved yellow peasant dress. She was barefoot, and her slender legs were exposed above her knee. Her bare arms were lightly tanned. Her blonde hair looked bleached by the sun and was parted into two shoulder-length braids tucked behind her ears. Even from a distance he could see the summer freckles on her nose. She was achingly beautiful. And alive. Alexander closed his eyes, then opened them again. She was still there, bending over the boy’s work. She said something, everyone laughed loudly, and Alexander watched as the boy’s arm touched Tatiana’s back. Tatiana smiled. Her white teeth sparkled like the rest of her. Alexander didn’t know what to do. She was alive, that was obvious. Then why hadn’t she written him? And where was Dasha? Alexander couldn’t very well continue to stand under a lilac tree. He went back out onto the main road, took a deep breath, stubbed out his cigarette, and walked toward the square, never taking his eyes off her braids. His heart was thundering in his chest, as if he were going into battle. Tatiana looked up, saw him, and covered her face with her hands. Alexander watched everyone get up and rush to her, the old ladies showing unexpected agility and speed. She pushed them all away, pushed the table away, pushed the bench away, and ran to him. Alexander was paralyzed by his emotion. He wanted to smile, but he thought any second he was going to fall to his knees and cry. He dropped all his gear, including his rifle. God, he thought, in a second I’m going to feel her. And that’s when he smiled. Tatiana sprang into his open arms, and Alexander, lifting her off her feet with the force of his embrace, couldn’t hug her tight enough, couldn’t breathe in enough of her. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in his bearded cheek. Dry sobs racked her entire body. She was heavier than the last time he felt her in all her clothes as he lifted her into the Lake Ladoga truck. She, with her boots, her clothes, coats, and coverings, had not weighed what she weighed now. She smelled incredible. She smelled of soap and sunshine and caramelized sugar. She felt incredible. Holding her to him, Alexander rubbed his face into her braids, murmuring a few pointless words. “Shh, shh…come on, now, shh, Tatia. Please…” His voice broke. “Oh, Alexander,” Tatiana said softly into his neck. She was clutching the back of his head. “You’re alive. Thank God.” “Oh, Tatiana,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter, if that were possible, his arms swaddling her summer body. “You’re alive. Thank God.” His
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
The breakdown of the neighborhoods also meant the end of what was essentially an extended family....With the breakdown of the extended family, too much pressure was put on the single family. Mom had no one to stay with Granny, who couldn't be depended on to set the house on fire while Mom was off grocery shopping. The people in the neighborhood weren't there to keep an idle eye out for the fourteen-year-old kid who was the local idiot, and treated with affection as well as tormented....So we came up with the idea of putting everybody in separate places. We lock them up in prisons, mental hospitals, geriatric housing projects, old-age homes, nursery schools, cheap suburbs that keep women and the kids of f the streets, expensive suburbs where everybody has their own yard and a front lawn that is tended by a gardener so all the front lawns look alike and nobody uses them anyway....the faster we lock them up, the higher up goes the crime rate, the suicide rate, the rate of mental breakdown. The way it's going, there'll be more of them than us pretty soon. Then you'll have to start asking questions about the percentage of the population that's not locked up, those that claim that the other fifty-five per cent is crazy, criminal, or senile. WE have to find some other way....So I started imagining....Suppose we built houses in a circle, or a square, or whatever, connected houses of varying sizes, but beautiful, simple. And outside, behind the houses, all the space usually given over to front and back lawns, would be common too. And there could be vegetable gardens, and fields and woods for the kids to play in. There's be problems about somebody picking the tomatoes somebody else planted, or the roses, or the kids trampling through the pea patch, but the fifty groups or individuals who lived in the houses would have complete charge and complete responsibility for what went on in their little enclave. At the other side of the houses, facing the, would be a little community center. It would have a community laundry -- why does everybody have to own a washing machine?-- and some playrooms and a little cafe and a communal kitchen. The cafe would be an outdoor one, with sliding glass panels to close it in in winter, like the ones in Paris. This wouldn't be a full commune: everybody would have their own way of earning a living, everybody would retain their own income, and the dwellings would be priced according to size. Each would have a little kitchen, in case people wanted to eat alone, a good-sized living space, but not enormous, because the community center would be there. Maybe the community center would be beautiful, lush even. With playrooms for the kids and the adults, and sitting rooms with books. But everyone in the community, from the smallest walking child, would have a job in it.
Marilyn French (The Women's Room)
I say is someone in there?’ The voice is the young post-New formalist from Pittsburgh who affects Continental and wears an ascot that won’t stay tight, with that hesitant knocking of when you know perfectly well someone’s in there, the bathroom door composed of thirty-six that’s three times a lengthwise twelve recessed two-bevelled squares in a warped rectangle of steam-softened wood, not quite white, the bottom outside corner right here raw wood and mangled from hitting the cabinets’ bottom drawer’s wicked metal knob, through the door and offset ‘Red’ and glowering actors and calendar and very crowded scene and pubic spirals of pale blue smoke from the elephant-colored rubble of ash and little blackened chunks in the foil funnel’s cone, the smoke’s baby-blanket blue that’s sent her sliding down along the wall past knotted washcloth, towel rack, blood-flower wallpaper and intricately grimed electrical outlet, the light sharp bitter tint of a heated sky’s blue that’s left her uprightly fetal with chin on knees in yet another North American bathroom, deveiled, too pretty for words, maybe the Prettiest Girl Of All Time (Prettiest G.O.A.T.), knees to chest, slew-footed by the radiant chill of the claw-footed tub’s porcelain, Molly’s had somebody lacquer the tub in blue, lacquer, she’s holding the bottle, recalling vividly its slogan for the past generation was The Choice of a Nude Generation, when she was of back-pocket height and prettier by far than any of the peach-colored titans they’d gazed up at, his hand in her lap her hand in the box and rooting down past candy for the Prize, more fun way too much fun inside her veil on the counter above her, the stuff in the funnel exhausted though it’s still smoking thinly, its graph reaching its highest spiked prick, peak, the arrow’s best descent, so good she can’t stand it and reaches out for the cold tub’s rim’s cold edge to pull herself up as the white- party-noise reaches, for her, the sort of stereophonic precipice of volume to teeter on just before the speaker’s blow, people barely twitching and conversations strettoing against a ghastly old pre-Carter thing saying ‘We’ve Only Just Begun,’ Joelle’s limbs have been removed to a distance where their acknowledgement of her commands seems like magic, both clogs simply gone, nowhere in sight, and socks oddly wet, pulls her face up to face the unclean medicine-cabinet mirror, twin roses of flame still hanging in the glass’s corner, hair of the flame she’s eaten now trailing like the legs of wasps through the air of the glass she uses to locate the de-faced veil and what’s inside it, loading up the cone again, the ashes from the last load make the world's best filter: this is a fact. Breathes in and out like a savvy diver… –and is knelt vomiting over the lip of the cool blue tub, gouges on the tub’s lip revealing sandy white gritty stuff below the lacquer and porcelain, vomiting muddy juice and blue smoke and dots of mercuric red into the claw-footed trough, and can hear again and seems to see, against the fire of her closed lids’ blood, bladed vessels aloft in the night to monitor flow, searchlit helicopters, fat fingers of blue light from one sky, searching.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)