Story Of My Life Quotes

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I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change you're the one who has got to change.
Katharine Hepburn (Me: Stories of My Life)
My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
I hope you're ready, because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to these tapes, you're one of the reasons why.
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
I was attempting to write the story of my life. It wasn't so much about plot. It was much more about character.
David Levithan (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
Maybe if I can just sleep for a hundred years, I'll wake up in a better story.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
I have loved you all my life, Mal,” I whispered through my tears. “There is no end to our story.
Leigh Bardugo (Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #2))
I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love's not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I'll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time...
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
The monsters were never under my bed. Because the monsters were inside my head. I fear no monsters, for no monsters I see. Because all this time the monster has been me.
Nikita Gill
He fit so perfectly in the love story I'd imagined for myself that I mistook him for the love of my life.
Emily Henry (Beach Read)
I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men." "Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything.
Jane Austen (Persuasion)
Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar." I've never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I've entered my story, I need them more than ever.
Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex)
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means.
Brennan Manning
And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
Robert Frost
I can’t lose the thing I’ve held onto for so long, you know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story, you know? I really, really need it to be that.” “I know,” she says. “Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it”? I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide open empathy. “It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I'm beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.
Hermann Hesse (Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
The words you can’t find, you borrow. We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone. My life is in these books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels. The analogy he is looking for is almost there. We are not quite short stories. At this point, his life is seeming closest to that. In the end, we are collected works.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Sometimes I reread my favorite books from back to front. I start with the last chapter and read backward until I get to the beginning. When you read this way, characters go from hope to despair, from self-knowledge to doubt. In love stories, couples start out as lovers and end as strangers. Coming-of-age books become stories of losing your way. Your favorite characters come back to life.
Nicola Yoon (Everything, Everything)
My name is Hazel. Augustus Waters was the great sat-crossed love of my life. Ours was an epic love story, and I won't be able to get more than a sentence into it without disappearing into a puddle of tears. Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story, because-like all real love stories-it will die with us, as it should. I'd hoped that he'd be eulogizing me, because there's no one I'd rather have..." I started crying. "Okay, how not to cry. How am I-okay. Okay." I took a few deep breaths and went back to the page. "I can't talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a Bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I have always felt that doubt was the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of God was the end of wisdom.
Clarence Darrow (The Story of My Life)
I can promise you books and conversation and all my heart.
Gabrielle Zevin (The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry)
Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.
Katharine Hepburn (Me: Stories of My Life)
In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.
Eowyn Ivey (The Snow Child)
All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged -- after all, what's good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it's a lie. The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot.
Mary Ann Shaffer (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)
Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March. ......... I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world...I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest. I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness...Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help. I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape. There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn't matter anymore. I am thawing.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Wintergirls)
I just looked at the pattern of my life, decided I didn't like it, and changed.
David Sedaris (Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays)
It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
It has made me better loving you... it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
The story of my life is wanting, hungering, for what I cannot have or, perhaps, wanting what I dare not allow myself to have.
Roxane Gay (Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body)
The story of my recent life.' I like that phrase. It makes more sense than 'the story of my life', because we get so many lives between birth and death. A life to be a child. A life to come of age. A life to wander, to settle, to fall in love, to parent, to test our promise, to realize our mortality- and in some lucky cases, to do something after that realization.
Mitch Albom (Have a Little Faith: a True Story)
We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.
Booker T. Washington (The Story of My Life and Work)
Too young to party, just odd enough to participate in federal investigations of serial murder. Story of my life.
Jennifer Lynn Barnes (All In (The Naturals, #3))
Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.
Clarence Darrow (The Story of My Life)
In a word, literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourse of my book-friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. The things I have learned and the things I have been taught seem of ridiculously little importance compared with their "large loves and heavenly charities.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
My story will be over soon. But it’s not something to be sad about. Remembering those who went ahead. Remembering those who will follow after. And someday, we will meet all those people again, out beyond the horizon
Hiro Arikawa (Nana Du Ký)
The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any center to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one.
Marguerite Duras (The Lover (The Lover #1))
It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
This is our story to tell. You’d think for all the reading I do, I would have thought about this before, but I haven’t. I’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the story telling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever.
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It's essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know they don't. The reality isn't important: what's important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way to avoid a waking coma. Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has.
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
I read because one life isn't enough, and in the page of a book I can be anybody; I read because the words that build the story become mine, to build my life; I read not for happy endings but for new beginnings; I'm just beginning myself, and I wouldn't mind a map; I read because I have friends who don't, and young though they are, they're beginning to run out of material; I read because every journey begins at the library, and it's time for me to start packing; I read because one of these days I'm going to get out of this town, and I'm going to go everywhere and meet everybody, and I want to be ready.
Richard Peck (Anonymously Yours)
When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me, my pale face, the way the muscles in my neck stuck out like thin wire. I saw how much that cruel necklace became me. And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away.
Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories)
I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
I've apparently been the victim of growing up, which apparently happens to all of us at one point or another. It's been going on for quite some time now, without me knowing it. I've found that growing up can mean a lot of things. For me, it doesn't mean I should become somebody completely new and stop loving the things I used to love. It means I've just added more things to my list. Like for example, I'm still beyond obsessed with the winter season and I still start putting up strings of lights in September. I still love sparkles and grocery shopping and really old cats that are only nice to you half the time. I still love writing in my journal and wearing dresses all the time and staring at chandeliers. But some new things I've fallen in love with -- mismatched everything. Mismatched chairs, mismatched colors, mismatched personalities. I love spraying perfumes I used to wear when I was in high school. It brings me back to the days of trying to get a close parking spot at school, trying to get noticed by soccer players, and trying to figure out how to avoid doing or saying anything uncool, and wishing every minute of every day that one day maybe I'd get a chance to win a Grammy. Or something crazy and out of reach like that. ;) I love old buildings with the paint chipping off the walls and my dad's stories about college. I love the freedom of living alone, but I also love things that make me feel seven again. Back then naivety was the norm and skepticism was a foreign language, and I just think every once in a while you need fries and a chocolate milkshake and your mom. I love picking up a cookbook and closing my eyes and opening it to a random page, then attempting to make that recipe. I've loved my fans from the very first day, but they've said things and done things recently that make me feel like they're my friends -- more now than ever before. I'll never go a day without thinking about our memories together.
Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift (Guitar Recorded Versions))
So,” Jesper said, adding sugar to his coffee. “Other than Inej making a new pal, what the hell happened out there?” “Let’s see,” said Nina. “Inej fell twenty stories.” “We put a serious hole in my father’s dining room ceiling,” Wylan offered. “Nina can raise the dead,” said Inej. Matthias’ cup clattered against his saucer. It looked ridiculous in his huge hand. “I can’t raise them. I mean, they get up, but it’s not like they come back to life. I don’t think. I’m not totally sure.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
But I was young and didn’t know better and someone should have told me to capture every second every kiss & every night Because now I’m sitting here alone and it’s getting really hard to breath because tears are growing in my throat and they want to break out, but there are people watching and I just want to be somewhere silent somewhere still But still I don’t want to be alone because I’m scared and lonely and I don’t understand Because I was alone my whole life My whole life I was so damn lonely and I was content with that because I liked myself and my own company and I didn’t need anyone I thought But then there was you .. ... So, someone should have told me that love is for those few brave who can handle the unbearable emptiness, the unbearable guilt and lack of oneself, Because I lost myself to someone I love and I might get myself back one day but it will take time, it will take time. This is gonna take some time. I wish someone would have told me this. Someone should have told me this.
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
Words are not enough. Not mine, cut off at the throat before they breathe. Never forming, broken and swallowed, tossed into the void before they are heard. It would be easy to follow, fall to my knees, prostrate before the deli counter. Sweep the shelves clear, scatter the tins, pound the cakes to powder. Supermarket isles stretching out in macabre displays. Christmas madness, sad songs and mistletoe, packed car parks, rotten leaves banked up in corners. Forgotten reminders of summer before the storm. Never trust a promise, they take prisoners and wishes never come true. Fairy stories can have grim endings and I don’t know how I will face the world without you.
Peter B. Forster (More Than Love, A Husband's Tale)
I want to write my life. I want to be able to write my life. You are a second away from saying it. You have no idea how much I love you.
David Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories)
And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old—or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give.
Mary Oliver (Dog Songs: Poems)
My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination.. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect---simply a confession of failures. Faithfulness! I must analyse it some day. The passion for property is in it. There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up. But I don't want to interrupt you. Go on with your story.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
There are times in my life when I have been medicine for some while poison for others. I used to think I was a victim of my story until I realized the truth; that I am the creator of my story. I choose what type of person I will be and what type of impact I will leave on others. I will never choose the destructive path of self and outward victimization again.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
What were you doing with her?" I ask quietly. "Apart from questioning her about your whereabouts, I was listening to the most intriguing story about my life moonlighting as a kidnapper.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
My Aspasia. With her, he’d discovered the sweetness in life . . . and she might like to know that. He’d tell her sometime. But he knew he’d given this lovely woman what she’d wanted most, their son’s name. He leaned over to the child. “So, you’re Little Pericles.
Yvonne Korshak (Pericles and Aspasia: A Story of Ancient Greece)
If you were my girlfriend I would give you a hundred lightning bugs in a green glass jar, so you could always see your way. I would give you a meadow full of wildflowers, where no two blooms would ever be alike. I would give you my bicycle, with its golden eye to protect you. I would write a story for you, and make you a princess who lived in a white marble castle. If you would only like me, I would give you magic. If you would only like me.
Robert McCammon (Boy's Life)
King Norodom of Cambodia replied, “Lt. General Kawamura of the Japanese Imperial Army, It is my understanding that you Japanese are granting my people a partial freedom which is always subject to the approval of any laws we make by the Japanese Government in Tokyo!” (A Gracious Enemy & After the War Volume Two)
Michael G. Kramer
Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned: how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness.
T.H. White (Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me)
Laia and Helene: They’re so different. I like that Laia says things I don’t expect, that she speaks almost formally, as if she’s telling a story. I like that she defied my mother to go to the Moon Festival, whereas Helene always obeys the Commandant. Laia is the wild dance of a Tribal campfire, while Helene is the cold blue of an alchemist’s flame. But why am I even comparing them? I’ve know Laia a few days and Helene all my life. Helene’s no passing attraction. She’s family. More than that. She’s part of me.
Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1))
I learned a long time ago that life introduces young people to situations they are in no way prepared for, even good girls, lucky girls who want for nothing. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you become the girl in the woods. You lose your name because another one is forced on you. You think you are alone until you find books about girls like you. Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.
Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)
With all this talk about taking my life, why have I never attempted it? Answer: I have an overwhelming desire to live.
Larry Godwin (Transcending Depression: Quest Without a Compass)
I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
If you are eager to find the reason I became the Kvothe they tell stories about, you could look there, I suppose." Chronicler's forehead wrinkled. "What do you mean, exactly?" Kvothe paused for a long moment, looking down at his hands. "Do you know how many times I've been beaten over the course of my life?" Chronicler shook his head. Looking up, Kvothe grinned and tossed his shoulders in a nonchalant shrug. "Neither do I. You'd think that sort of thing would stick in a person's mind. You'd think I would remember how many bones I've had broken. You'd think I'd remember the stitches and bandages." He shook his head. "I don't. I remember that young boy sobbing in the dark. Clear as a bell after all these years." Chronicler frowned. "You said yourself that there was nothing you could have done." "I could have," Kvothe said seriously, "and I didn't. I made my choice and I regret it to this day. Bones mend. Regret stays with you forever.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
US General Mathew Ridgeway was speaking about “Operation Vulture”. He said, “When the day comes for me to meet my maker and account for my actions, the thing that I would be most proud of is the fact that I fought against and perhaps totally prevented the carrying out of one of the most hare-brained tactical schemes that would have cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of men!” (A Gracious Enemy & After the War Volume Two)
Michael G. Kramer
Dustfinger inspected his reddened fingers and felt the taut skin. ‘He might tell me how my story ends,’ he murmured. Meggie looked at him in astonishment. ‘You mean you don’t know?’ Dustfinger smiled. Meggie still didn’t particularly like his smile. It seemed to appear only to hide something else. ‘What’s so unusual about that, princess?’ he asked quietly. ‘Do you know how your story ends?’ Meggie had no answer for that.
Cornelia Funke (Inkheart (Inkworld, #1))
For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair. Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
I don't exist to teach her a lesson, and it irks me that she thinks labelling me is okay now. Like, by liking guys, I automatically take on that role in her life. That I'm suddenly a supporting character in her story rather than the hero of my own.
Cale Dietrich (The Love Interest)
Knowledge is power." Rather, knowledge is happiness, because to have knowledge - broad, deep knowledge - is to know true ends from false, and lofty things from low. To know the thoughts and deeds that have marked man's progress is to feel the great heart-throbs of humanity through the centuries; and if one does not feel in these pulsations a heavenward striving, one must indeed be deaf to the harmonies of life.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures--solitude, books and imagination--outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
I write short stories because I am one. I wish I was a novel. Breaths away from midnight, I know my final chapter is close. I look up at Valentino, wondering what life could’ve offered if I had more pages in me.
Adam Silvera (The First to Die at the End)
Am I going to be this way for the rest of my life, always waiting for something bad to happen? Will I never truly be able to trust anyone? I worry that when I'm older, I'll be so afraid that people won't like me that I'll have trouble believing it when they actually do.
Jodee Blanco (Please Stop Laughing at Me... One Woman's Inspirational Story)
In the story of my life, that's where you cracked the spine of the book. The mark is there, forever tattooed on my narrative and I couldn't be happier.
Cara Lynn Shultz (The Dark World (Dark World, #1))
They are so caught up in their happiness that they don't realize I'm not really a part of it. I am wandering along the periphery. I am like the people in the Winslow Homer paintings, sharing the same room with them but not really there. I am like the fish in the aquarium, thinking in a different language, adapting to a life that's not my natural habitat. I am the people in the other cars, each with his or her own story, but passing too quickly to be noticed or understood. . . . There are moments I just sit in my frame, float in my tank, ride in my car and say nothing, think nothing that connects me to anything at all.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God." The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned--our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night's sleep--all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, "If we but turn to God," said St. Augustine, "that itself is a gift of God." My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
Brennan Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel)
I answer that I try to write true stories but that at a given point the story becomes unbearable because of it’s very truth, and then I have to change it. I tell her that I try to tell my story but all of a sudden I can’t-I don’t have the courage, it hurts too much. And so I embellish everything and describe things not as they happened but the way I wished they happened. She says, “Yes, there are lives sadder than the saddest of books.” I say, “Yes. No book, no matter how sad, can be as sad as a life.
Ágota Kristóf (The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels)
I stare at him for a few more minutes, my heart expanding with love for him. We'll be OK,' I whisper, letting the night capture my wish. We're owed that at least. A life of not scanning rooftops, of not being relieved the ceiling didn't cave in on us during the night. He and I are owed a love story that doesn't end in tragedy.
Zoulfa Katouh (As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow)
Make my life my favorite movie. Live my favorite character. Write my own script. Direct my own story. Be my biography. Make my own documentary on me. Non-fiction, live, not recorded. Time to catch that hero I've been chasing. See if the sun will melt the wax that holds my wings or if the heat is just a mirage. Live my legacy now. Quit acting like me. Be me.
Matthew McConaughey (Greenlights)
Positivity is far more than a mental preference. It changes your brain, literally, and it changes the people around you. It’s the nearest thing we have to magic.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
I am like the fish in the aquarium, thinking in a different language, adapting to a life that’s not my natural habitat. I am the people in the other cars, each with his or her own story, but passing too quickly to be noticed or understood.
David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
When I was sixteen, I had just two things on my mind - girls and cars. I wasn't very good with girls. So I thought about cars. I thought about girls, too, but I had more luck with cars. Let's say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared to me. And that genie said, 'Warren, I'm going to give you the car of your choice. It'll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And it's all yours.' Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, 'What's the catch?' And the genie would answer, 'There's only one catch. This is the last car you're ever going to ge tin your life. So it's got to last a lifetime.' If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But, can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it? I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I'd have it fixed right away because I wouldn't want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime. That's exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it's got to last a lifetime. Now, it's very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don't take care of that mind and that body, they'll be a wreck forty years later, just life the car would be. It's what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.
Warren Buffett
Those were the days when I believed my life would turn out special. I secretly sneered at cowards who compromised with reality. But this silly arrogance of mine is the reason why I am nothing now.
Choi Eunyoung (Shoko's Smile: Stories)
With tears of joy, I recalled Fat Mary’s role in my childhood. She had been my consoler and counselor since the day I understood I was alone in the world and had no one who loved me or wanted me. I had decided back then that I would love me, fat me, just as I was. Her role was also to safeguard the meaningful and happy moments of my childhood and bring them to me when I needed to remember life’s goodness.
Maria Nhambu (America's Daughter (Dancing Soul Trilogy, #2))
Dearest Cecilia, the story can resume. The one I had been planning on that evening walk. I can become again the man who once crossed the surrey park at dusk, in my best suit, swaggering on the promise of life. The man who, with the clarity of passion, made love to you in the library. The story can resume. I will return. Find you, love you, marry you and live without shame.
Ian McEwan (Atonement)
Pessimism is often a failure of imagination.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
The most powerful words in English are, "Tell me a story.
Pat Conroy (My Reading Life)
The story of the young woman whose death I witnessed in a concentration camp. It is a simple story. There is little to tell and it may sound as if I had invented it; but to me it seems like a poem. This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. "I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard," she told me. "In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously." Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, "This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness." Through that window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. "I often talk to this tree," she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. "Yes." What did it say to her? She answered, "It said to me, 'I am here-I am here-I am life, eternal life.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)
You know, one meets so many people, the years pass and pass, but there are certain times, certain people— . . . They take up room. So much room. I was married to Howard for twenty-eight years and yet he made only a piddling dent in my memory. A little nick. But certain others, they move in and make themselves at home and start flapping their arms in the story you make of your life. They have a wingspan. . . .
Monica Wood (The One-in-a-Million Boy)
The wish of death had been palpably hanging over this otherwise idyllic paradise for a good many years. All business and politics is personal in the Philippines. If it wasn't for the cheap beer and lovely girls one of us would spend an hour in this dump. They [Jehovah's Witnesses] get some kind of frequent flyer points for each person who signs on. I'm not lazy. I'm just motivationally challenged. I'm not fat. I just have lots of stored energy. You don't get it do you? What people think of you matters more than the reality. Marilyn. Despite standing firm at the final hurdle Marilyn was always ready to run the race. After answering the question the woman bent down behind the stand out of sight of all, and crossed herself. It is amazing what you can learn in prison. Merely through casual conversation Rick had acquired the fundamentals of embezzlement, fraud and armed hold up. He wondered at the price of honesty in a grey world whose half tones changed faster than the weather. The banality of truth somehow always surprises the news media before they tart it up. You've ridden jeepneys in peak hour. Where else can you feel up a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl without even trying? [Ralph Winton on the Philippines finer points] Life has no bottom. No matter how bad things are or how far one has sunk things can always get worse. You could call the Oval Office an information rain shadow. In the Philippines, a whole layer of criminals exists who consider that it is their right to rob you unhindered. If you thwart their wicked desires, to their way of thinking you have stolen from them and are evil. There's honest and dishonest corruption in this country. Don't enjoy it too much for it's what we love that usually kills us. The good guys don't always win wars but the winners always make sure that they go down in history as the good guys. The Philippines is like a woman. You love her and hate her at the same time. I never believed in all my born days that ideas of truth and justice were only pretty words to brighten a much darker and more ubiquitous reality. The girl was experiencing the first flushes of love while Rick was at least feeling the methadone equivalent. Although selfishness and greed are more ephemeral than the real values of life their effects on the world often outlive their origins. Miriam's a meteor job. Somewhere out there in space there must be a meteor with her name on it. Tsismis or rumours grow in this land like tropical weeds. Surprises are so common here that nothing is surprising. A crooked leader who can lead is better than a crooked one who can't. Although I always followed the politics of Hitler I emulate the drinking habits of Churchill. It [Australia] is the country that does the least with the most. Rereading the brief lines that told the story in the manner of Fox News reporting the death of a leftist Rick's dark imagination took hold. Didn't your mother ever tell you never to trust a man who doesn't drink? She must have been around twenty years old, was tall for a Filipina and possessed long black hair framing her smooth olive face. This specter of loveliness walked with the assurance of the knowingly beautiful. Her crisp and starched white uniform dazzled in the late-afternoon light and highlighted the natural tan of her skin. Everything about her was in perfect order. In short, she was dressed up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Suddenly, she stopped, turned her head to one side and spat comprehensively into the street. The tiny putrescent puddle contrasted strongly with the studied aplomb of its all-too-recent owner, suggesting all manner of disease and decay.
John Richard Spencer
Before you know it you'll be my age telling your own granddaughter the story of your life and you wanna make it an interesting one, don't you? You wanna be able to tell her some adventures, some excitements, some something. How you live your life, little one, is a gift for those who come after you, a kind of inheritance.
Cristina García (I Wanna Be Your Shoebox)
In some ways, I don’t feel as if I had a choice. Looking back at my childhood, even before I could read and write, I was making up stories. I love reading and I love telling stories, and the times in my life when I’ve tried to ignore that part of me, I’ve gone a little crazy. Characters start tugging on my sleeves, words start haunting me, and I feel generally unsatisfied. Really, being a writer sounds more like a mental illness than a professional choice.
Shannon Hale
Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain-they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter. With an average life expectancy of 78.2 years in the US (subtracting eight hours a day for sleep), I have around 250,00 conscious hours remaining to me in which I could be smiling or scowling, rejoicing in my life, in this race, in this story, or moaning and complaining about my troubles. I can be giving my fingers, my back, my mind, my words, my breaths, to my wife and my children and my neighbors, or I can grasp after the vapor and the vanity for myself, dragging my feet, afraid to die and therefore afraid to live. And, like Adam, I will still die in the end.
N.D. Wilson (Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent)
Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery. The adventure is a metaphysical one: it is a way of approaching life indirectly, of acquiring a total rather than a partial view of the universe. The writer lives between the upper and lower worlds: he takes the path in order eventually to become that path himself. ”I began in absolute chaos and darkness, in a bog or swamp of ideas and emotions and experiences. Even now I do not consider myself a writer, in the ordinary sense of the word. I am a man telling the story of his life, a process which appears more and more inexhaustible as I go on. Like the world-evolution, it is endless. It is a turning inside out, a voyaging through X dimensions, with the result that somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has to tell is not nearly so important as the telling itself. It is this quality about all art which gives it a metaphysical hue, which lifts it out of time and space and centers or integrates it to the whole cosmic process. It is this about art which is ‘therapeutic’: significance, purposefulness, infinitude. ”From the very beginning almost I was deeply aware that there is no goal. I never hope to embrace the whole, but merely to give in each separate fragment, each work, the feeling of the whole as I go on, because I am digging deeper and deeper into life, digging deeper and deeper into past and future. With the endless burrowing a certitude develops which is greater than faith or belief. I become more and more indifferent to my fate, as writer, and more and more certain of my destiny as a man.
Henry Miller (Henry Miller on Writing)
It's the story of my life. You see, the quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead. Now, as you look through this document you'll see that I've underlined all the major decisions I ever made to make the stand out. They're all indexed and cross-referenced. See? All I can suggest is that if you take decisions that are exactly opposite to the sort of decisions that I've taken, then maybe you won't finish up at the end of your life" --she paused, and filled her lungs for a good should--"in a smelly old cave like this!
Douglas Adams (The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1-5))
I desire nothing, seek nothing but peace, the slumber of the soul. I have tasted all the hollowness and wretchedness of life and I despise it heartily. Whoever has lived and thought cannot but, in his soul, despise humanity. Activity, cares, worries, distractions - I am sick of them all. I wish for nothing, I seek nothing. I have no aim, for one gains that which one is eager for - and sees that it is all illusion. My joyous days have passed. I have cooled to them. In the educated world, amidst human beings, I feel the disadvantages of life too strongly, but alone, far from the crowd, I turn to stone. In this trance anything can happen, I see neither others nor myself. I do nothing and do not notice the actions either of others or myself - and I am at peace, I am indifferent. There can be no happiness for me, and I will not succumb to unhappiness.
Ivan Goncharov (The Same Old Story)
It is obvious to you that the struggle will be an unequal one, but I shall make it - I shall make it as long as I have an ounce of strength left in me, or any life left in me.
Emmeline Pankhurst (My Own Story)
If there's one thing I've learned in my long life, it's that every villain thinks they're the hero of their own story.
Soman Chainani (Quests for Glory (The School for Good and Evil: The Camelot Years, #1))
Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds). I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.
Ann Patchett (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage)
When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas, to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life; it gave me the hope that one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married. Most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what everyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.
Dustin Lance Black
Often I have thought of the day when I gazed for the first time at the sea. The sea is vast, the sea is wide, my eyes roved far and wide and longed to be free. But there was the horizon. Why a horizon, when I wanted the infinite from life?
Thomas Mann (Stories and Episodes)
Limitation is nothing more than a mentality that too many good people practice daily until they believe it’s reality. It breaks my heart to see so many potentially powerful human beings stuck in a story about why they can’t be extraordinary, professionally and personally. You need to remember that your excuses are seducers, your fears are liars and your doubts are thieves.
Robin S. Sharma (The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life)
And this is how it started. Just with coffee and the exchange of their long stories. Love can be incremental. Predicaments, too. Coffee can start a life just as it can start a day. This was the meeting of two people who were destined to love from before they were born, from before they made choices that would complicate their lives. This love just rolled toward my mother as though she were standing at the bottom of a steep hill. Mother had no hand in this, only heart.
Tayari Jones (Silver Sparrow)
Rip yourself open. Tell me my life story before I die. Sew yourself shut.
Chuck Palahniuk (Invisible Monsters)
Kazi of Brightmist...you are the love I didn't know I needed. You are the hand pulling me through the wilderness, The sun warming my face. You make me stronger, smarter, wiser. You are the compass that makes me a better man. With you by my side, no challenge will be too great. I vow to honor you, Kazi, and do all I can to be worthy of your love. I will never stumble in my devotion to you, and I vow to keep you safe always. My family is now your family, and your family, mine. You have not stolen my heart, but I give it freely, And in the presence of these witnesses, I take you to be my wife." He squeezed my hand. His brown eyes danced, just as they had the first time he spoke those vows to me. It was my turn now. I took a deep breath. Were any words enough? But I said the ones closest to my heart, the ones I had said in the wilderness and repeated almost daily when I lay in a dark cell, uncertain where he was but needing to believe I would see him again. "I love you, Jase Ballenger, and I will for all my days. You have brought me fullness where there was only hunger, You have given me a universe of stars and stories, Where there was emptiness. You've unlocked a part of me I was afraid to believe in, And made the magic of wish stalks come true. I vow to care for you, to protect you and everything that is yours. Your home is now my home, your family, my family. I will stand by you as a partner in all things. With you by my side, I will never lack for joy. I know life is full of twists and turns, and sometimes loss, but whatever paths we go down, I want every step to be with you. I want to grow old with you, Jase. Every one of my tomorrows is yours, And in the presence of these witnesses, I take you to be my husband.
Mary E. Pearson (Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #2))
...What is the use of beauty? i have lived my life surrounded by painters, and still I do not know the answer. But i suspect, some days, that beauty helps protect the spirit of mankind, swaddle it and succor it, so that we might survive. Beauty is no end in itself, but if it makes or lives less miserable so that we might be more kind-well, then, lets have beauty, painted on our porcelain, hanging on our walls, ringing through our stories.
Gregory Maguire (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister)
A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don't sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, its a system. If you're waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it's a goal. If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or set new goals and reenter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure. All I'm suggesting is that thinking of goals and systems as very different concepts has power. Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous presuccess failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good everytime they apply their system. That's a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
I expected so much from life and if I had not seen it so close, I would to this day be expecting something. What treasures I discovered in my own soul - where are they all? I have exchanged them for the world's coin, given my frankness, my first passion - and for what? For bitter disillusionment, for the knowledge that all is deception, all is brittle, that one can place trust neither in oneself nor in others - and I have come to fear both others and myself. I have not been able, along with this analysis, to accept the trifles of life and be content with them, as many others do.
Ivan Goncharov (The Same Old Story)
I assumed,” Ai-ming told me, “that when Big Mother’s stories finished, life would continue and I would go back to being myself. But it wasn’t true. The stories got longer and longer, and I got smaller and smaller. When I told my grandmother this, she laughed her head off. She said, ‘But that’s how the world is, isn’t it? Or did you think you were bigger than the world?
Madeleine Thien (Do Not Say We Have Nothing)
Vicky became more serious and her tone more reflective as she remarked, "Life has so much pain that one needs a catharsis. I don't mean escape. You don't escape in books. On the contrary, they help you to realize yourself more fully. Mon Dieu, I'm glad I have them. When I find myself in a situation in which I'd rather not be - because of the perculiar circumstances of my life - I have this outlet. You may think me tres superieure but I'm not really, I am just what I am and live the way I like.
Flora Rheta Schreiber (Sybil: The Classic True Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Personalities)
The only way to succeed in the long run is by using a system that bypasses your need for willpower.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
Someone who can search for something is happy. Searching gives a meaning to life. Nowadays it’s not so easy to find something you might be looking for. The most important thing, however, is the search itself, the way you take. It’s not so important where it leads. that’s why my characters are always looking for something, maybe only a cat, a sheep or a wife, but that is at least the beginning of a story.
Haruki Murakami
But coming out of that sleep was excruciating. My entire life flashed before my eyes in the worst way possible, my mind refilling itself with all my lame memories, every little thing that had brought me to where I was. I'd try to remember something else—a better version, a happy story, maybe, or just an equally lame but different life that would at least be refreshing in its digressions—but it never worked. I was always still me. Sometimes I woke up with my face wet with tears. The only times I cried, in fact, were when I was pulled out of that nothingness, when the alarm on my cell phone went off.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
All us criminals start out as normal people just like anyone else, but then things happen in life that tear us apart, that makes us into something capable of hurting other people. That's all any of the darkness really is—just love gone bad. We're just broken-hearted people hurt by life.
Jesse Thistle (From the Ashes: My Story of Being Indigenous, Homeless, and Finding My Way)
There in the dim light, staring at the shadow on the wall, I poured out the story of my life. It had been so long, but slowly, like melting ice, I released each circumstance. How I managed to support myself. Yet never managed to go anywhere. Never went anywhere, but aged all the same. How nothing touched me. And I touched nothing. How I'd lost track of what mattered. How I worked like a fool for things that didn't. How it didn't make a difference either way. How I was losing form. The tissues hardening, stiffening from within. Terrifying me.
Haruki Murakami (Dance Dance Dance (The Rat, #4))
Thanks for the apology, Caden, really. Anyway, isn’t it pretty normal for a straight girl to fall for a gay guy? All the sitcoms treat it like a rite of passage, something that all girls must go through. You’re pretty and kind and way too good to be true. At least I’ve ticked that box now.” “I …” I don’t exist to teach her a lesson, and it irks me that she thinks labeling me is okay now. Like, by liking guys, I automatically take on that role in her life. That I’m suddenly a supporting character in her story rather than the hero of my own.
Cale Dietrich (The Love Interest)
I felt a wave of nausea to realize that I had propagated these stories just by telling Svetlana what was going on—just because I had wanted to tell some other person the basic events of my own life.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
I just feel …” I press the heels of my hands into my thighs. “I can’t lose the thing I’ve held on to for so long. You know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story. You know? I really, really need it to be that.” “I know,” she says. “Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?” I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide-open empathy. “It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
The peculiar drama of my life has placed me in a world that by and large thinks it would be better if people like me did not exist. My fight has been for accommodation, the world to me and me to the world.
Alice Wong (Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-first Century)
I would say somewhat bitterly, “Look at how great life is in Kurdistan, while we are living in these poor villages,” and my mother would scold me. “They deserve good lives, Nadia,” she would say. “They went through a genocide under Saddam, you know.
Nadia Murad (The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State)
Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me. What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
Pessimism is often a failure of imagination. If you can imagine the future being brighter, it lifts your energy and gooses the chemistry in your body that produces a sensation of happiness.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
My life was written for me from the moment the name was given to me. Or it was not. That is the true beauty. That is the intent. We can practice all we want, telling and retelling the same story, but the story that comes out of your mouth, from your brush, is one that only you can tell. So let it be. Let your story be yours, and my story be mine.
Jenny Tinghui Zhang (Four Treasures of the Sky)
... the girl remained unmoving. Dead. And yet the Fate continued to hold her. 'Bring her back,' he said softly. 'I am sorry,' said the queen who'd just awoken. She was a petite thing. She's tried to pull her son away from the girl to stop his unnatural feeding, but her hands were not strong enough. The queen could not fight immortals physically, but she had an iron will forged of mettle and mistakes. 'You know I cannot do that.' The Fate finally looked up. 'Bring her back,' he repeated. For he also possessed an indomitable will. 'I know you can do it.' The queen shook her head remorsefully. 'My heart breaks for you- for this. But I will not do this. After bringing back Castor and seeing what he became, I vowed to never use that sort of magic again.' 'Evangeline would be different.' The Fate glowered at the queen. 'No,' she repeated. 'You wouldn't be saving this girl, you would be damning her. Just as we did to Castor. She wouldn't want this life.' 'I don't care what she wants!' roared the Fate. 'I don't want her dead. She saved you, you need to save her.' The queen took a shaky breath. If the story curse could have breathed, it would have held its breath. It hoped the queen would say yes. Yes to bringing her back, to turning her in to another terrible immortal. Despite what this Fate believed, the girl would be horrible- the ones with endless life always were, eventually.
Stephanie Garber (The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2))
I wrote a line in a song once: “We are never broken.” I believe that truly. It is a hard-earned belief, and rose out of many years of experiencing the opposite. I believe we forget who we are over time, and in our state of forgetfulness we struggle and employ all kinds of learned behaviors that don’t necessarily help us or bring us happiness. Each of us has a self that exists undamaged and whole, from the moment we are born, waiting to be reclaimed. My life has not been about fixing what is broken. It has been about engaging in a loving and tender archaeological dig back to my true self.
Jewel (Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story)
For our purposes, let’s say a goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
I have strived my whole life to follow in his nihilistic, clown-shoed footsteps. To stare our pointlessness in the face, and waddle along toward happiness because of it.
Lulu Miller (Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life)
one day when I was changing her diapers she took my hand and put it on her tummy, so I tickled her. My reward was her first smile.
Katherine Paterson (Stories of My Life)
all my ancestors were from the South and some even fought and died for the losing side. Perhaps that’s why I was long resigned to my failure to publish.
Katherine Paterson (Stories of My Life)
I read a book one day and my whole life was changed” starts Orhan Pamuk to his famous and brilliantly written book: The New Life. Some books just strike you with the very first sentence, and generally those are the ones that leave a mark in your memory and soul, the ones that make you read, come back many years later and read again, and have the same pleasure each time. I was lucky enough to have a father who was passionate about literature, so passionate that he would teach me how to read at the age of five. The very first book he bought for me was “The Little Black Fish” by Samad Behrangi. After that I started reading his other books, and at that age I had already owned a small Behrangi collection. Recently I was talking with a Persian friend about how Behrangi and his books changed my life. A girl, from another country, from kilometeters away, around the same time was also reading Behrangi’s books, and creating her own imaginary worlds with his rich and deep characters, and intense stories.
Samad Behrangi (The Little Black Fish)
Remembrance is acknowledging that a life was lived ... My father finally wrote out his memories for a reason. I took on a year of reading books for a reason. Because words are witness to life: they record what has happened, and they make it all real. Words create the stories that become history and become unforgettable. Even fiction portrays truth: good fiction is truth. Stories about lives remembered bring us backward while allowing us to move forward.
Nina Sankovitch (Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading)
I lived in that contented state a long while before I was finally able to look back and admit how desolate my life had once been. I’m sure I could never have told my story otherwise; I don’t think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha (Vintage Contemporaries))
I am like the people in the Winslow Homer paintings, sharing the same room with them but not really there. I am like the fish in the aquarium, thinking in a different language, adapting to a life that’s not my natural habitat. I am the people in the other cars, each with his or her own story, but passing too quickly to be noticed or understood.
David Levithan
She didn’t want to talk about the ending. So she talked about the story itself. “It’s easy to look at our time together and think that we were so unlucky. But isn’t it better to spend ten years really loving someone, rather than forty years growing bored or weary or bitter? When we think about the greatest love stories ever written, we aren’t judging them by their length. Many of them were even briefer than my marriage with Maura. But our story—mine and Maura’s—it felt deep, and it felt whole, despite its length. It was an entire, wonderful tale in and of itself, and even though I’ve been given more chapters than Maura, her pages were the ones you couldn’t put down. The ones that I’ll keep rereading, over and over, for the rest of my life. Our decade together, our story, was a gift.
Nikki Erlick (The Measure)
I am only a shadow, sitting by the gates of Hades beside that arrogant Ulysses telling stories of my grievances to my father’s indifferent ghost who, from time to time, gusts an ash wind at me and whispers son, for the nonsense you talk pour me even a drop of life this shit hole of eternity suffocates terribly
Sigitas Parulskis
Ask the river about it, my friend! Listen to it, laugh about it! Do you then really think that you have committed your follies in order to spare your son them? Can you then protect your son from Samsara? How? Through instruction, through prayers, through exhortation? My dear friend, have you forgotten that instructive story about Siddhartha, the Brahmin's son, whiuch you once told me here? Who protected Siddhartha the Samana from Samsara, from sin, greed and folly? Could his father's piety, his teacher's exhortations, his own knowledge, his own seeking, protect him? Which father, which teacher, could prevent him from living his own life, from soiing himself with life, from loading himself with sin, from swallowing the bitter drink himself, from finding his own path? Do you think, my dear friend, that anybody is spared this path? Perhaps your little son, because you would like to see him spared sorrow and pain and disillusionment? But if you were to die ten times for him, you would not alter his destiny in the slightest.
Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
I still think that being forced to leave your home out of fear is one of the worst injustices a human being can face. Everything you love is stolen, and you risk your life to live in a place that means nothing to you and where, because you come from a country now known for war and terrorism, you are not really wanted.
Nadia Murad (The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State)
Much of what I love about literature is also what I love about the Tarot - archetypes at play, hidden forces, secrets brought to light. When I bought the deck, it was for the same reason I bought the car: I felt too much like a character in a novel, buffeted by cruel turns of fate. I wanted to feel powerful in the face of my fate. I wanted to look over the top of my life and see what was coming. I wanted to be the main character of this story, and its author. And if I were writing a novel about someone like me, this is exactly what would lead him astray.
Alexander Chee (How to Write an Autobiographical Novel)
Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. Today, I am who I am with all my faults and my mistakes. Tomorrow, I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’ll be me too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have to come to love myself for who I am, for who I was, and for who I hope to become. [RM, ch. 5, BTS' first UN speech]
BTS (Beyond The Story: 10-Year Record of BTS)
It's not the circumstances of your life that are preventing you from being happy; it's the excuses you're making not to be happy! Like attracts like, happiness attracts happiness, so just drop the excuses - drop every one of them - and be happy now!
Rhonda Byrne (How The Secret Changed My Life: Real People. Real Stories.)
To blame were two young radicals, a country bumpkin named Mao Tse-tung and a disillusioned intellectual by the name of Zhou En Lai. These two had had the nerve to ask the owners of the mills to install safety devices so that the children and old people who worked long hours would no longer in their weariness lose fingers and even hands in the machinery.
Katherine Paterson (Stories of My Life)
The weird in me found the weird in you. I was a lost kid until I met you, and the best part of my life, hands down, has been you being my friend.
Colby Brock (Paradise Island: A Sam and Colby Story)
How often in this life a mere accident may shape our whole future!
P.G. Wodehouse (My Man Jeeves and Other Early Jeeves Stories)
My belief is that every woman is worthy, a walking treasure, and deserves to live her life as the heroine of her own story.
Jada Pinkett Smith (Worthy)
so many I’s and Me’s and My’s, possessive words for possessive lives. What a luxury, to tell one’s story. To be read, remembered.
V.E. Schwab
Slowly, like a movie fadeout, the real world evaporates. I'm alone, inside the world of the story. My favorite feeling in the world.
Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
The words I read in books seemed to strike me more deeply, and with my senses sharpened by grief, I noticed the glittering transition of the seasons as clearly as if I held the grief in the palm of my hand. It had been a long while since I'd experienced a fall so clear and crisp.
Banana Yoshimoto (Dead-End Memories: Stories)
Leaving home is living as though I do not yet have a home, and must look far and wide to find one. Home is the center of my being, where I can hear the voice that says, “You are my beloved. On you my favor rests,” the same voice that gave life to the first Adam and spoke to Jesus, the second Adam. The same voice that speaks to all the children of God and sets them free to live in the midst of a dark world while remaining in the light. I have heard that voice. It has spoken to me in the past and continues to speak to me now. It is the never-interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love wherever it is heard. When I hear that voice, I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the beloved of my heavenly Father, “I can walk in the valley of darkness: no evil would I fear.” As the beloved I can “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils.” Having “received without charge,” I can “give without charge.” As the Beloved, I can confront, console, admonish, and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as a proof of my goodness. As the Beloved I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life. Jesus has made it clear to me that the same voice that he heard at the river Jordan and on Mount Tabor can also be heard by me.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
People don't like us, my dear. The idea that someone who can play with their emotions, who can "mystically" get them to do certain things, makes them uncomfortable. What they do not realize - and what you must realize - is that manipulating is at the core of our social interaction. (...) Think about it. What is a man doing when he seeks the affection of a young lady? Why, he is trying to manipulate her to regard him favorably. What happens when two old friends sit down for a drink? They tell stories, trying to impress each other. Life as a human being is about posturing and influence. This isn't a bad thing, in fact, we depend upon it. These interactions teach us how to respond to others.
Brandon Sanderson
I saw Derzhavin only once in my life but shall never forget that occasion. It was in 1815 at a public examination in the Lyceum. When we boys learned Derzhavin was coming, all of us grew excited. Delvig went out on the stairs to wait for him and kiss his hand, the hand that had written 'The Waterfall.' Derzhavin arrived. Derzhavin entered the vestibule, and Delvig heard him ask the janitor: 'Where is the privy here, my good fellow?' This prosaic question disenchanted Delvig, who canceled his intent and returned to the reception hall. Delvig told me the story with wonderful bonhomie and good humor.
Alexander Pushkin
Why are you being so cruel?' 'Because you won't leave!' Jacks shouted. 'And if you stay, you will die. Chaos hasn't fed in thousands of years. I know he thinks he can control his hunger, but he can't. That's why they put the helm on him.' 'You could have just said that. If you didn't want me to say goodbye or you want me to leave, you don't have to hurt me to get me to do it.' 'I'm not- I-' Jacks broke off abruptly. His eyes were no longer just red, they were blazing with fear. She'd never seen him look so terrified before. She'd been poisoned, shot, lashed across the back, and Jacks had always kept his calm until now. With a great deal of effort, he took a deep breath, and when he spoke again, his voice was soft but uneven. 'I'm sorry, Little Fox. I didn't want to hurt you, I just-' He looked suddenly at a loss for words, as if whatever he said next might be the wrong thing. He's never looked at her like this before. 'Jacks, please, don't use the stones tonight. Come with me instead.' He took a jagged breath. For a second, he looked torn. He raked a hand through his hair, his movements jagged. Evangeline took a step closer. He shuttered his expression and took a step back. 'This doesn't change anything. I still can't have you in my life. You and I aren't meant to be.' 'What if you're wrong?' Evangeline had once heard a tale about a pair of doomed stars, drawn across skies toward each other's brightness, even though they knew that if they drew too close, their desire would end in a fiery explosion. This was how Jacks looked at her now. As if neither of them would survive if they drew any closer. 'Evangeline, you need to go.' A thunderous roar poured out from the Valory, so loud it shook the arch and the angels and the ground at Evangeline's feet. 'Get out of here.' Jacks said. She held his gaze, one final time, wishing she knew how to change his mind. 'I wish our story could have had another ending.' 'I don't want another ending,' Jacks said flatly. 'I just want you to leave.
Stephanie Garber (The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2))
Four Spells to Keep Inside Your Mouth ‘I respect myself’—the most powerful incantation that will change your whole life if you believe it when you say it. ‘My heart is too valuable for you’—the spell that will set you free from any destructive soul. ‘I believe in you’—the best gift you can ever give anyone else. ‘No’—a single, commanding, two-letter spell with the ability to liberate you if only you learn to use it unapologetically and cast it without fear.
Nikita Gill (Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul)
I sit on the precipice of my creative sensibilities staring over and out into a wide expanse of sparkling madness and sometimes envy those who simply fall into it and let everything else go. I suppose that’s what writing poetry is for.
Aberjhani (Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays)
The system-versus-goals model can be applied to most human endeavors. In the world of dieting, losing twenty pounds is a goal, but eating right is a system. In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.
Scott Adams (How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life)
The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate. I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship. I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things. Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone, and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him. I do not know which of us has written this page.
Jorge Luis Borges (Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings)
I think of human existence as being like a two-story house. On the first floor people gather together to take their meals, watch television, and talk. The second floor contains private chambers, bedrooms where people go to read books, listen to music by themselves, and so on. Then there is a basement; this is a special place, and there are a number of things stored here. We don’t use this room much in our daily life, but sometimes we come in, vaguely hang around the place. Then, my thought is that underneath that basement room is yet another basement room. This one has a very special door, very difficult to figure out, and normally you can’t get in there—some people never get in at all. . . . You go in, wander about in the darkness, and experience things there you wouldn’t see in the normal parts of the house. You connect with your past there, because you have entered into your own soul. But then you come back. If you stay over there for long you can never get back to reality.
Haruki Murakami
Oh, I was lucky, you know, to get anyone. I was what they called an old bride of twenty-six. Of course I married him. Everyone needs to keep something private from their family. Like a shutter in a rainstorm, banging against the window, I venture forth, retreat back, try afresh, retreat again. Nothing changes in my life and yet nothing is the same. That did not help, Ed knew as the words hung between them and he had that all-too-familiar sensation of wanting to claw them from the air and stuff them back in his mouth. We were all in small pieces that didn't fit together, too many countries, too many scars, too many secrets inside us. How do you make a stranger so intimate when they could easily destroy you?
Tracy Chevalier (Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre)
While a life like Frederick Douglas’s is remarkable, we must remember that not every person who lived through slavery was like Douglas. Most did not learn to read or write. Most did not engage in hand-to-hand combat with white slave brakers. Most did not live close enough to free states in the North to have any hope of escape. No one, enslaved or otherwise, was like Douglas. There were other brilliant, exceptional people who lived under slavery, and many resisted the institution in innumerable ways, but our country’s teachings about slavery, painfully limited, often focus singularly on heroic slave narratives, at the expense of millions of men and women whose stories might be less sensational but are no less worthy of being told. “I thought of my primary and secondary education. I remembered feeling crippling guilt as I silently wondered why every enslaved person couldn’t simply escape like Douglas, Tubman, and Jacobs had. I found myself angered by the stories of those who did not escape. Had they not tried hard enough? Didn’t they care enough to do something? Did they choose to remain enslaved? This, I now realize, is part of the insidiousness of white supremacy. It illuminates the exceptional in order to implicitly blame those who cannot, despite the most brutal circumstances, attain super-human heights. It does this instead of blaming the system, the people who built it, and the people who maintained it.
Clint Smith (How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America)
But I wanted to—I had to—tell you my story. As you can see from having read my letter, I have lived my life in total defeat. I have lost. I am lost. I am qualified for nothing. Through the power of the curse, I love no one and am loved by no one. A walking shell, I will simply disappear into darkness. Having managed at long last, however, to pass my story on to you, Mr. Okada, I will be able to disappear with some small degree of contentment. May the life you lead be a good one, a life free of regrets.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
This book is about what might be the world’s most improbable Hollywood success story. At its center is an enigmatic filmmaker who claims, among many other things, to be a vampire. This man speaks with a thick European accent, the derivation of which he won’t identify. He also refuses to reveal his age or the origins of his seemingly vast fortune. His name is Tommy Wiseau; and the film he wrote, directed, produced, starred in, and poured $6 million into is a disastrous specimen of cinematic hubris called The Room.
Greg Sestero (The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made)
Writing fulfils an insatiable drive. Finishing the story satisfies my thirst. But I must keep drinking until the story quenches a buyer.
Ace Antonio Hall
Part of my music is being alone, having that time to shut down all other noises to hear the tune underneath.
David Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories)
Everything in the world is doing its job. The ceiling sits on the walls, the walls sit on the floor, the curtains are hanging in front of the windows; they’re all doing their jobs. But when you tell yourself a story about how reality is supposed to look, you end up arguing with the ceiling or the wall, and it’s hopeless. It’s like trying to teach a cat to bark. The cat won’t ever cooperate. “No, no,” you may tell it, “you don’t understand. You should bark. It would be so much better for you if you barked. Besides, I really need you to bark. As a matter of fact, I’m going to devote the rest of my life to teaching you how to bark.” And many years later, after all your sacrifice and devotion, the cat looks up at you and says, “Meow.
Byron Katie (A Mind at Home with Itself: How Asking Four Questions Can Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart, and Turn Your World Around)
During the worst of it, onlookers who have learned my story often comment to me that, “All the hardships you suffered were part of a divine plan for your life because something good came from each bad thing.” As though a divine presence decided to teach me these great lessons through pain. I am affronted by such a suggestion because it robs me of my accomplishment by removing the element of transcendence. I don’t believe we learn anything from suffering. If human beings inherently learned through suffering, we would be a population of enlightened beings and we’re not. We learn from suffering if and only if we manage to transcend our suffering to find meaning in what is otherwise senseless. This process of transcendence is a profoundly human one that imparts the deepest—most lasting—sense of achievement.
L.M. Browning (To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity)
I had only one ambition in my simply built life, and that was to be sure the Farrow curse would end with me. It was as good a place as any to end a story. I wasn't the first Farrow, but I would be the last.
Adrienne Young (The Unmaking of June Farrow)
I suspected that I would reach the end only at my own death, and was fascinated by the idea that I was another character in the story, and that I had the power to determine my fate, or invent a life for myself.
Isabel Allende
I write short stories because I am one. I wish I was a novel. Breaths away from midnight, I know my final chapter is close. I look up at valentino, wondering what life could have offered if I had more pages in me.
Adam Silvera
The thing I didn't expect was that telling her about me would force me to look at myself, at the way I craved the love of men who would never love me. At the way I could not abide women who needed me. At the way I destroyed some while allowing others to destroy me. I felt sick with myself and, at the same time, unburdened. I thought I'd been honest with myself. But I hadn't. I'd been telling myself ghost stories my whole life.
Lisa Taddeo (Animal)
To be Kaspar Hauser is to long, at every moment of your dubious existence, with every fiber of your questionable being, not to be Kaspar Hauser. It’s to long to leave yourself completely behind, to vanish from your own sight. Does this surprise you? It is of course what you have taught me to desire. And I am a diligent student. With your help I have furnished myself inside and out. My thoughts are yours. These words are yours. Even my black and bitter tears are yours, for I shed them at the thought of the life I never had, which is to say, your life, ladies and gentlemen of Nuremberg. My deepest wish is not to be an exception. My deepest wish is not to be a curiosity, an object of wonder. It is to be unremarkable. To become you—to sink into you—to merge with you until you cannot tell me from yourselves; to be uninteresting; to be nothing at all; to experience the ecstasy of mediocrity—is it so much to ask? You who have helped me to advance so far, won’t you lead me to the promised land, the tranquil land of the ordinary, the banal, the boring? Not to be Kaspar Hauser, not to be the enigma of Europe, not to be the wild boy in the tower, the man without a childhood, the young man without a youth, the monster born in the middle of his life, but to be you, to be you, to be nothing but you! This is my vision of paradise. And although the very existence of such a vision reveals nothing so much as my distance, which widens into an abyss even as I try to fling myself across, still I am not without hope.
Steven Millhauser (Knife Thrower: And Other Stories)
My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us. No philosopher can contemplate this interesting situation without beginning to reflect on what it can mean. The gap between political realities and their public face is so great that the term “paradox” tends to crop up from sentence to sentence. Our rulers are theoretically “our” representatives, but they are busy turning us into the instruments of the projects they keep dreaming up. The business of governments, one might think, is to supply the framework of law within which we may pursue happiness on our own account. Instead, we are constantly being summoned to reform ourselves. Debt, intemperance, and incompetence in rearing our children are no doubt regrettable, but they are vices, and left alone, they will soon lead to the pain that corrects. Life is a better teacher of virtue than politicians, and most sensible governments in the past left moral faults to the churches. But democratic citizenship in the twenty-first century means receiving a stream of improving “messages” from politicians. Some may forgive these intrusions because they are so well intentioned. Who would defend prejudice, debt, or excessive drinking? The point, however, is that our rulers have no business telling us how to live. They are tiresome enough in their exercise of authority—they are intolerable when they mount the pulpit. Nor should we be in any doubt that nationalizing the moral life is the first step towards totalitarianism. We might perhaps be more tolerant of rulers turning preachers if they were moral giants. But what citizen looks at the government today thinking how wise and virtuous it is? Public respect for politicians has long been declining, even as the population at large has been seduced into demanding political solutions to social problems. To demand help from officials we rather despise argues for a notable lack of logic in the demos. The statesmen of eras past have been replaced by a set of barely competent social workers eager to take over the risks of our everyday life. The electorates of earlier times would have responded to politicians seeking to bribe us with such promises with derision. Today, the demos votes for them.
Kenneth Minogue (The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life (Encounter Broadsides))
Lastly, to the memory of my beloved niece Mayyada, who cut her life short by committing suicide to escape the hellish marriage imposed upon her under Islamic Sharia Law: May her tragic account be an eternal inspiration to all who are privileged to live in free societies. May her story encourage all those who have been subjugated to tyranny—especially women—to become well informed and to persevere beyond fear and intimidation. And a challenge: To those whose spirits uphold the principles of justice and freedom of speech—May Mayyada’s story, and that of many more whose stories have never been told, embolden you to speak up against the unjust and immoral treatment of women in the Muslim world.
Wafa Sultan (A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam)
Nothing extraordinary was happening anymore, or would ever happen again. I was just there with my relatives, living pointless, shapeless days that weren't bringing me any closer to anything. It seemed to me that this state of affairs was a relief to my mother. From her perspective, I thought, the past weeks had been a perilous, temporary adventure, something to be endured, and now things were back to normal. It was painful to feel at such a cross-purposes with her. Almost everything that was interesting or meaningful in my story was, in her story, a pointless hazard or annoyance. This was even more true with my aunts. They didn't take anything I did seriously; it was all some trivial, mildly annoying side activity that I insisted on for some reason, having nothing to do with real life. I couldn't challenge or contradict this view, even to myself, because I really didn't know how to anything real. I didn't know how to move to a new city, or have sex, or have a real job, or make someone fall in love with me, or do any kind of study that wasn't just a self-improvement project. For the first time in my life, I couldn't think of anything I particularly wanted to study or to do. I still had the old idea of being a writer, but that was being, not doing. It didn't say what you were supposed to do.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
I sigh, wishing I could be honest and tell her I think she’ll be the only person I love my entire life. I think the ghost of our memories will haunt me on the ranch. It’ll be bittersweet to watch her make every single one of her dreams come true without me in her life.
Kat Singleton (Rewrite Our Story (Sutten Mountain, #1))
My eyes burn with unshed tears from the reminder of how unbelievably hard that time of my life was. It felt like everything was going wrong and I couldn’t tell a soul—not even Pippa—what was happening. Nobody knew that I’d had my heart broken by a man who was my entire world.
Kat Singleton (Rewrite Our Story (Sutten Mountain, #1))
For the first time in my life as a flirt—as something more than just a girl—I found the words. They didn’t simply appear. I reasoned them out. I spoke them. Because they were true, and I didn’t need anything more than that. “She doesn’t deserve you,” I said, and before he could dispute it, I continued. “She takes and takes and takes, but she doesn’t take the right things. And she doesn’t give the right things back. You’re going away now. You don’t need her. You probably never needed her. She’s going to make it hell for you, but it’s over. You know that. Free yourself.” He looked at me like I was some kind of oracle. In the best of all worlds, it would’ve been a look of love, an understanding that I was the one, I was it. But it wasn’t that. Instead it was something almost as sweet—that mix of recognition and appreciation. That gift of worth.
David Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories)
It’s no secret that I love books. I love stories about people I don’t know, and places I haven’t been to. I’ve lived a thousand lives between a thousand pages, but no story, no life, no page has ever made me as happy as you do, Russ Callaghan. Before I met you, I hadn’t considered what my happy ending might look like. I wasn’t sure I’d get one. You’re my happy ending, Russ. I fell in love with you in Meadow Springs, and watching you help build our life here has made me fall in love with you a million more times. Thank you for giving me a life that feels too good to be true.
Hannah Grace (Wildfire (Maple Hills, #2))
I was angry at everything in the world, including myself. When the anger subsided, my body and mind would crumble into ashes. I went through this process again and again. They say nineteen, twenty, twenty-one are beautiful years. All I remember about those years is wishing day after day to die.
Choi Eunyoung (Shoko's Smile: Stories)
I'm young an happy. I'll never die. I'm skimming across the surface of my own history, moving fast, riding the melt beneath the blades, doing loops and spins, and when I take a high leap into the dark and come down thirty years later, I realize it is as Tim trying to save Timmy's life with a story.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
The truth is, Mama isn’t just my mom, she’s a whole person in her own right. How did it take me so long to see that? I’ve always just seen her as my mother, the person whose life revolves around mine. What a selfish, bratty way to think of another human being. She has a story of her own, one that doesn’t involve me at all.
Jesse Q. Sutanto (Well, That Was Unexpected)
You and I, my dear reader, may drop into this condition one day: for have not many of our friends attained it? Our luck may fail: our powers forsake us: our place on the boards be taken by better and younger mimes—the chance of life roll away and leave us shattered and stranded. Then men will walk across the road when they meet you—or, worse still, hold you out a couple of fingers and patronize you in a pitying way—then you will know, as soon as your back is turned, that your friend begins with a "Poor devil, what imprudences he has committed, what chances that chap has thrown away!" Well, well—a carriage and three thousand a year is not the summit of the reward nor the end of God's judgment of men. If quacks prosper as often as they go to the wall—if zanies succeed and knaves arrive at fortune, and, vice versa, sharing ill luck and prosperity for all the world like the ablest and most honest amongst us—I say, brother, the gifts and pleasures of Vanity Fair cannot be held of any great account, and that it is probable . . . but we are wandering out of the domain of the story.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
No one has immunity, nor is anyone ever untouched by life. Everyone has a story and every story matters, including you, and your story my darling. It is time to see beneath the superficial layers, to open up our hearts to the vulnerability that being alive naturally brings and to accept that; being human is not a problem to solve but our opportunity to grow and evolve.
Samantha Caroline Lavallee
It's an old story," Julia says, leaning back in her chair. "Only for me, it's new. I went to school for industrial design. All my life I've been fascinated by chairs - I know it sounds silly, but it's true. Form meets purpose in a chair. My parents thought I was crazy, but somehow I convinced them to pay my way to California. To study furniture design. I was all excited at first. It was totally unlike me to go so far away from home. But I was sick of the cold and sick of the snow. I figured a little sun might change my life. So I headed down to L.A. and roomed with a friend of an ex-girlfriend of my brother's. She was an aspiring radio actress, which meant she was home a lot. At first, I loved it. I didn't even let the summer go by. I dove right into my classes. Soon enough, I learned I couldn't just focus on chairs. I had to design spoons and toilet-bowl cleaners and thermostats. The math never bothered me, but the professors did. They could demolish you in a second without giving you a clue if how to rebuild. I spent more and more time in the studio, with other crazed students who guarded their projects like toy-jealous kids. I started to go for walks. Long walks. I couldn't go home because my roommate was always there. The sun was too much for me, so I'd stay indoors. I spent hours in supermarkets, walking aisle to aisle, picking up groceries and then putting them back. I went to bowling alleys and pharmacies. I rode buses that kept their lights on all night. I sat in Laundromats because once upon a time Laundromats made me happy. But now the hum of the machines sounded like life going past. Finally, one night I sat too long in the laundry. The woman who folded in the back - Alma - walked over to me and said, 'What are you doing here, girl?' And I knew that there wasn't any answer. There couldn't be any answer. And that's when I knew it was time to go.
David Levithan (Are We There Yet?)
This has turned into a very long story, but what I wanted to convey to you was my feeling that real life may have ended for me deep in that well in the desert of Outer Mongolia. I feel as if, in the intense light that shone for a mere ten or fifteen seconds a day in the bottom of the well, I burned up the very core of my life, until there was nothing left. That is how mysterious that light was to me.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
victory, he told me that I deserved the credit for what had happened. He said that by giving my testimony, I’d freed myself and probably also helped other people in unfair conservatorships. After having my father take credit for everything I did for so long, it meant everything to have this man tell me that I’d made the difference in my own life. And now, finally, it was my own life. Being controlled made me so angry on behalf of anyone who doesn’t have the right to determine their own fate. “I’m just grateful, honestly, for each day… I’m not here to be a victim,” I said on Instagram after the conservatorship was terminated. “I lived with victims my whole life as a child. That’s why I got out of my house. And worked for twenty years and worked my ass off… Hopefully, my story will make an impact and make some changes in the corrupt system.
Britney Spears (The Woman in Me)
When I read things like, “The foundations of capitalism are shattering,” I’m like, maybe we need some time where we’re walking around with a donkey with pots clanging on the sides. . . . ’Cause now we live in an amazing world, and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots. . . . Flying is the worst one, because people come back from flights, and they tell you their story. . . . They’re like, “It was the worst day of my life. . . . We get on the plane and they made us sit there on the runway for forty minutes.” . . . Oh really, then what happened next? Did you fly through the air, incredibly, like a bird? Did you soar into the clouds, impossibly? Did you partake in the miracle of human flight, and then land softly on giant tires that you couldn’t even conceive how they fuckin’ put air in them? . . . You’re sitting in a chair in the sky. You’re like a Greek myth right now! . . . People say there’s delays? . . . Air travel’s too slow? New York to California in five hours. That used to take thirty years! And a bunch of you would die on the way there, and you’d get shot in the neck with an arrow, and the other passengers would just bury you and put a stick there with your hat on it and keep walking. . . . The Wright Brothers would kick us all in the [crotch] if they knew.1
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
People still die even if no one intends to kill them, and once they're dead they can't be brought back. If they were to come back to life, that would be a miracle. That's what this story is about. As I wrote it, this story became the dumping ground for so much anger I've felt throughout my life. But I think anger and hatred and envy and scorn and love and pity and apathy are all mirrors. I never want to give up on trying to be a good person.
Tomoko Yamashita (ひばりの朝 2 (Hibari no asa, #2))
This is not another story of some street rat getting sober or “putting his life together.” I didn’t put my life together, God did. Every time I tried to put my own life together, I made things worse. No, I am not the protagonist of this story—God is; from page one, until the day I die. He has always been the hero, He has always brought the hope. My story was written by and centers around the God who restores, redeems, and makes all things new.
Michael J Heil (Pursued: God’s relentless pursuit and a drug addict’s journey to finding purpose)
But I- unbeknownst to me- had been swayed by this same leaven. If only I could just be straight, and lay aside my homosexuality, God would accept me and call me His own, I used to think. This delusion was the belief that only one aspect of my life was worthy of judgment, while the rest deserved heaven. That my other voices were “not as bad.” They were just struggles that I had to work on instead of repenting. There is a possibility that this kind of self-righteous thinking is why salvation has eluded many same-sex-attracted men and women… Because God did not take hold of their gay desires and replace them with straight desires, they have no other choice but to follow where their affections may lead. The error is this: they have come to God believing that only a fraction of themselves needs saving. They have therefore neglected to acknowledge the rest of them also needs to be made right.
Jackie Hill Perry (Gay Girl, Good God: The Story of Who I Was and Who God Has Always Been)
I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig-tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and off-beat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
My friend (and ex-lover) Nicole says I’m just a restless soul. My barhopping friend Mark thinks it’s just a premature middle-age crisis; I just celebrated my 33rd birthday last week, after all. I have another theory. It’s not original, so I can’t call it the James Garraty Theory of Life. Want to hear it? Here goes. No matter how old you get, how affluent or successful you become, you’ll never outrun the ghosts of your past. Particularly the ghosts of your adolescence. Put simply, you can graduate from high school, but your soul will never leave that place.
Alex Diaz-Granados (Reunion: A Story: A Novella (The Reunion Duology Book 1))
When I was back in my room, I sat on the edge of my bed and stared at the floor. I took my head in my hands and softly began to weep. I tried to determine the cause for my breakdown… (but) I came to realize that my sadness was caused by my own personal angst. I had come to comprehend my own personal story in a more complete sense. I had a painful childhood, however privileged, and was now actively seeking for those things within myself that would break me away from the bonds of childhood and define me as a man. I was set on living my own life as my own man, not defined by the lives of my parents. And whether I succeeded or not, in the end I would die.
Tim Scott (Driving Toward Destiny: A Novel)
For whom are you preserving your secret? For your grandsons? They are rich enough without it; they do not know the worth of money. Your cards would be of no use to a spendthrift. He who cannot preserve his paternal inheritance, will die in want, even though he had a demon at his service. I am not a man of that sort; I know the value of money. Your three cards will not be thrown away upon me. Come!” ... He paused and tremblingly awaited her reply. The Countess remained silent; Hermann fell upon his knees. “If your heart has ever known the feeling of love,” said he, “if you remember its rapture, if you have ever smiled at the cry of your newborn child, if any human feeling has ever entered into your breast, I entreat you by the feelings of a wife, a lover, a mother, by all that is most sacred in life, not to reject my prayer. Reveal to me your secret. Of what use is it to you? . . . May be it is connected with some terrible sin, with the loss of eternal salvation, with some bargain with the devil.... Reflect,—you are old; you have not long to live—I am ready to take your sins upon my soul. Only reveal to me your secret. Remember that the happiness of a man is in your hands, that not only I, but my children, and grandchildren will bless your memory and reverence you as a saint. . . .” The old Countess answered not a word. Hermann rose to his feet. “You old hag!” he exclaimed, grinding his teeth, “then I will make you answer!” With these words he drew a pistol from his pocket. At
Alexander Pushkin (The Queen of Spades and Other Stories)
or the first time in my life as a flirt—as something more than just a girl—I found the words. They didn’t simply appear. I reasoned them out. I spoke them. Because they were true, and I didn’t need anything more than that. “She doesn’t deserve you,” I said, and before he could dispute it, I continued. “She takes and takes and takes, but she doesn’t take the right things. And she doesn’t give the right things back. You’re going away now. You don’t need her. You probably never needed her. She’s going to make it hell for you, but it’s over. You know that. Free yourself.” He looked at me like I was some kind of oracle. In the best of all worlds, it would’ve been a look of love, an understanding that I was the one, I was it. But it wasn’t that. Instead it was something almost as sweet—that mix of recognition and appreciation. That gift of worth.
David Levithan (How They Met, and Other Stories)
I could've done it. I could've jumped and started swimming for my life. Inside me, in my chest, I felt a terrible squeezing pressure. Even now, as I write this, I can still feel that tightness. And I want you to feel it - the wind coming off the river, the waves, the silence, the wooded frontier. You're at the bow of a boat on the Rainy River. You're twenty-one years old, you're scared, and there's a hard squeezing pressure in your chest. What would you do? Would you jump? Would you feel pity for yourself? Would you think about your family and your childhood and your dreams and all you're leaving behind? Would it hurt? Would it feel like dying? Would you cry, as I did? I tried to swallow it back. I tried to smile, except I was crying. Now, perhaps, you can understand why I've never told this story before. It's not just the embarrassment of tears. That's part of it, no doubt, but what embarrasses me much more, and always will, is the paralysis that took my heart. A moral freeze: I couldn't decide, I couldn't act, I couldn't comport myself with even a pretense of modest human dignity. All I could do was cry. Quietly, not bawling, just the chest-chokes.
Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried)
To talk about this level of inequality between a woman and a man who live together doing the work of care and love was for a long time taboo: you risk being seen as ‘complaining’ or, because this work has insidiously been made part of what it is to be a ‘good’ woman, a bad one. Reams of women’s magazines offer advice to overburdened women on ‘self-care’ or ‘juggling the load’, as if the problem is personal, and can be solved by yet more effort on our part – leaving the system that makes us and takes from us untouched. I am married to a man who’s emotionally astute, deeply engaged with our children. Craig and I share the financial load, we think we share most things in our lives. This was not enough to protect me. The patriarchy is too huge, and I too small or stupid, or just not up for the fight. The individual man can be the loveliest; the system will still benefit him without his having to lift a finger or a whip, or change the sheets. This is a story I tell against myself. And against the system that made this self, as well as my husband’s, and put her into his service. Wifedom is a wicked magic trick we have learned to play on ourselves. I want to expose how it is done and so take its wicked, tricking power away.
Anna Funder (Wifedom: Mrs Orwell's Invisible Life)
A conversation that took place between two American women describes this intimate relationship between physical and immaterial forms of dying. One of these women came to see me soon after her only child, a twenty-year-old son, died from an accidental drug overdose. We spoke of ways to help her live with this tragic loss. About two years later, this woman’s best friend found herself struggling through a very painful divorce. The first woman explained to her friend: My son is never coming back. I entertain no fantasies about this. My relationship to myself and to how I relate to the world has changed forever. But the same is true for you. Your sense of who you are, of who is there for you and who you will travel through life with, has also changed forever. You too need to grieve a death. You are thinking that you have to come to terms with this intolerable situation outside of yourself. But just as I had to allow myself to die after my son’s death, you must die to a marriage that you once had. We grieve for the passing of what we had, but also for ourselves, for our own deaths. The profound misfortune of the death of this woman’s son opened her heart to an exploration of impermanence and death that went far beyond her own personal story.
Yongey Mingyur (In Love with the World: What a Buddhist Monk Can Teach You About Living from Nearly Dying)
In Miss Miller’s fantasy, too, there is an inner necessity that compels it to go on from the horse-sacrifice to the sacrifice of the hero. Whereas the former symbolizes the renunciation of biological drives, the latter has the deeper and ethically more valuable meaning of a human self-sacrifice, a renunciation of egohood. In her case, of course, this is true only in a metaphorical sense, since it is not the author of the story but its hero, Chiwantopel, who offers himself and is voluntarily sacrificed. The morally significant act is delegated to the hero, while Miss Miller only looks on admiringly and applaudingly, without, it seems, realizing that her animus-figure is constrained to do what she herself so signally fails to do. The advance from the animal sacrifice to the human sacrifice is therefore only an idea, and when Miss Miller plays the part of a pious spectator of this imaginary sacrificial act, her participation is without ethical significance. As is usual in such cases, she is totally unconscious of what it means when the hero, the vehicle of the vitally important magical action, perishes. When that happens, the projection falls away and the threatening sacrificial act recoils upon the subject herself, that is, upon the personal ego of the dreamer. In what form the drama will then run to an end it is impossible to predict. Nor, in the case of Miss Miller, owing to the lack of material and my ignorance of her personality, did I foresee, or venture to assume, that it would be a psychosis which would form the companion piece to Chiwantopel’s sacrifice. It was, in fact, a κατοχή—a total surrender, not to the positive possibilities of life, but to the nocturnal world of the unconscious, a débâcle similar to the one that overtook her hero.
C.G. Jung (Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Book 7))
Islam tells us that on the unappealable Day of Judgment, all who have perpetrated images of living things will reawaken with their works, and will be ordered to blow life into them, and they will fail, and they and their works will be cast into the fires of punishment. As a child, I knew that horror of the spectral duplication or multiplication of reality, but mine would come as I stood before large mirrors. As soon as it began to grow dark outside, the constant, infallible functioning of mirrors, the way they followed my every movement, their cosmic pantomime, would seem eerie to me. One of my insistent pleas to God and my guardian angel was that I not dream of mirrors; I recall clearly that I would keep one eye on them uneasily. I feared sometimes that they would begin to veer off from reality; other times, that I would see my face in them disfigured by strange misfortunes. I have learned that this horror is monstrously abroad in the world again. The story is quite simple, and terribly unpleasant. In 1927, I met a grave young woman, first by telephone (because Julia began as a voice without a name or face) and then on a corner at nightfall. Her eyes were alarmingly large, her hair jet black and straight, her figure severe. She was the granddaughter and greatgranddaughter of Federalists, as I was the grandson and great-grandson of Unitarians,* but that ancient discord between our lineages was, for us, a bond, a fuller possession of our homeland. She lived with her family in a big run-down high-ceiling'd house, in the resentment and savorlessness of genteel poverty. In the afternoons— only very rarely at night—we would go out walking through her neighbor-hood, which was Balvanera.* We would stroll along beside the high blank wall of the railway yard; once we walked down Sarmien to all the way to the cleared grounds of the Parque Centenario.*Between us there was neither love itself nor the fiction of love; I sensed in her an intensity that was utterly unlike the intensity of eroticism, and I feared it. In order to forge an intimacy with women, one often tells them about true or apocryphal things that happened in one's youth; I must have told her at some point about my horror of mirrors, and so in 1928 I must have planted the hallucination that was to flower in 1931. Now I have just learned that she has gone insane, and that in her room all the mirrors are covered, because she sees my reflection in them— usurping her own—and she trembles and cannot speak, and says that I am magically following her, watching her, stalking her. What dreadful bondage, the bondage of my face—or one of my former faces. Its odious fate makes me odious as well, but I don't care anymore.
Jorge Luis Borges
Ronan's trying to wake up the world. I'm trying to think of how to talk him out of it, but what he's talking about is a world where she never fell asleep. A world where Matthew's just a kid. A world where it doesn't matter what Hennessy does, if something happens to her. A level playing field. I don't think it's a good idea, but it's not like I can't see the appeal, because now I'm biased, I'm too biased to be clear." Declan shook his head a little. "I said I would never become my father, anything like him. And now look at me. At us." Ah, there it was. It took no effort to remember the way he'd looked at her the first moment he realized she was a dream. "I'm a dream," Jordan said. "I'm not your dream." Declan put his chin in his hand and looked back out the window; that, too, would be a good portrait. Perhaps it was just because she liked looking at him that she thought each pose would make a good one. A series. What a future that idea promised, nights upon nights like this, him sitting there, her standing here. "By the time we're married," Declan said eventually, "I want you to have applied for a different studio in this place because this man's paintings are very ugly." Her pulse gently skipped two beats before continuing on as before. "I don't have a social security number of my own, Pozzi." "I'll buy you one," Declan said. "You can wear it in place of a ring." The two of them looked at each other past the canvas on her easel. Finally, he said, voice soft, "I should see the painting now." "Are you sure?" "It's time, Jordan." Putting his jacket to the side, he stood. He waited. He would not come around to look without an invite. It's time, Jordan. Jordan had never been truly honest with anyone who didn't wear Hennessy's face. Showing him this painting, this original, felt like being more honest than she had ever been in her life. She stepped back to give him room. Declan took it in. His eyes flickered to and from the likeness, from the jacket on Portrait Declan's leg to the real jacket he'd left behind on the chair. She watched his gaze follow the line edge she had taken such care to paint, that subtle electricity of complementary colors at the edge of his form. "It's very good," Declan muttered. "Jordan, it's very good." "I thought it might be." "I don't know if it's a sweetmetal. But you're very good." "I thought I might be." "The next one will be even better." "I think it might be." "And in ten years your scandalous masterpiece will get you thrown out of France, too," he said. "And later you can triumphantly sell it to the Met. Children will write papers about you. People like me will tell stories about you to their dates at museums to make them think they're interesting." She kissed him. He kissed her. And this kiss, too, got all wrapped up in the art-making of the portrait sitting on the easel beside them, getting all mixed in with all the other sights and sounds and feelings that had become part of the process. It was very good.
Maggie Stiefvater (Mister Impossible (Dreamer Trilogy, #2))
I have met many who have taken that diagnosis and slipped deeply into anger. I understand. It’s an easy place to go. But I cannot go there. I have taken a path of seeking grace. It sounds trite putting those words on paper. Perhaps it is. But if God has called me to this hard story, His promise is one of sufficient grace. Sufficient for me, sufficient for my guy, sufficient for my littles.
Kara Tippetts (The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life's Hard)
As long as I lived by myself, it seemed rather easy to keep the elder son hidden from view. But the sharing of life with people who are not hiding their feelings soon confronted me with the elder son within. There is little romanticism to community life. There is the constant need to keep stepping out of the engulfing darkness onto the platform of the father’s embrace. By just simply being who they are, they break through my sophisticated defenses and demand that I be as open with them as they are with me.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming)
...therapy won’t make all my problems disappear, prevent new ones from developing, or ensure that I’ll always act from a place of enlightenment. Therapists don’t perform personality transplants; they just help to take the sharp edges off. A patient may become less reactive or critical, more open and able to let people in. In other words, therapy is about understanding the self that you are. But part of getting to know yourself is to unknow yourself—to let go of the limiting stories you’ve told yourself about who you are so that you aren’t trapped by them, so you can live your life and not the story you’ve been telling yourself about your life.
Lori Gottlieb (Maybe You Should Talk to Someone)
I just like love stories, I guess. I like the way they paint the world in this Technicolor dreamland, where the only rule you have to follow is a happily ever after. And I’ve spent most of my adult life chasing after that high.
Ashley Poston (The Dead Romantics)