Summer's Almost Over Quotes

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I used to lie here like this all summer long,' I tell her. 'I'd come up here and just stare at the sky.' She rolls over on her back so she's staring up as well. 'Bet this view hasn't changed much, has it?' What she says is so simple i almost laugh. She's right, of course. 'No. This looks exactly the same.' I suppose that's the secret, If you're ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were. You just have to look up.
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can't even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably more accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns into cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you're almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it's that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what's warm - whether it's something or someone - toward us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that's happiness.
Paul Schmidtberger (Design Flaws of the Human Condition)
On September 11, I went out and bought a new TV/VCR at Best Buy so I could record the news coverage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. Trevor was on a honeymoon in Barbados, I'd later learn, but Reva was lost. Reva was gone. I watched the videotape over and over to soothe myself that day. And I continue to watch it, usually on a lonely afternoon, or any other time I doubt that life is worth living, or when I need courage, or when I am bored. Each time I see the woman leap off the seventy-eighth floor of the North Tower—one high-heeled shoe slipping off and hovering up over her, the other stuck on her foot as though it were too small, her blouse untucked, hair flailing, limbs stiff as she plummets down, one arm raised, like a dive into a summer lake—I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I think it's her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I'll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean (A River Runs through It)
I'll tell you how the sun rose A ribbon at a time... It's a living book, this life; it folds out in a million settings, cast with a billion beautiful characters, and it is almost over for you. It doesn't matter how old you are; it is coming to a close quickly, and soon the credits will roll and all your friends will fold out of your funeral and drive back to their homes in cold and still and silence. And they will make a fire and pour some wine and think about how you once were . . . and feel a kind of sickness at the idea you never again will be. So soon you will be in that part of the book where you are holding the bulk of the pages in your left hand, and only a thin wisp of the story in your right. You will know by the page count, not by the narrative, that the Author is wrapping things up. You begin to mourn its ending, and want to pace yourself slowly toward its closure, knowing the last lines will speak of something beautiful, of the end of something long and earned, and you hope the thing closes out like last breaths, like whispers about how much and who the characters have come to love, and how authentic the sentiments feel when they have earned a hundred pages of qualification. And so my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving and some coming home, some summer and some winter, some roses blooming out like children in a play. My hope is your story will be about changing, about getting something beautiful born inside of you, about learning to love a woman or a man, about learning to love a child, about moving yourself around water, around mountains, around friends, about learning to love others more than we love ourselves, about learning oneness as a way of understanding God. We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn't it?
Donald Miller (Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road)
Anyway," Jake says. I turn back to him. “I just wanted to start over a good note, that’s all.” I have to put this poor guy out of his misery. “Look, Jake, I’m not in the market for –“ I almost say a boyfriend, which is true, but this is even truer: “People”.
Courtney Summers (Cracked Up to Be)
Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.
Norman Maclean (A River Runs Through It and Other Stories)
I slipped in and out of consciousness as time stretched and flowed around me. Dreams and reality blurred, but I liked the dreams better. Noah was in them. I dreamed of us, walking hand in hand down a crowded street in the middle of the day. We were in New York. I was in no rush—I could walk with him forever—but Noah was. He pulled me alongside him, strong and determined and not smiling. Not today. We wove among the people, somehow not touching a single one. The trees were green and blossoming. It was spring, almost summer. A strong wind shook a few steadfast flowers off of the branches and into our path. We ignored them. Noah led me into Central Park. It was teeming with human life. Bright colored picnic blankets burst across the lawn, the pale, outstretched forms of people wriggling over them like worms in fruit. We passed the reservoir, the sun reflecting off its surface, and then the crowd began to thicken. They funneled into a throbbing mass as we strode up a hill, over and through. Until we could see them all below us, angry and electric. Noah reached into his bag. He pulled out the little cloth doll, my grandmother’s. The one we burned.
Michelle Hodkin (The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3))
Caught in the doldrums of August we may have regretted the departing summer, having sighed over the vanished strawberries and all that they signified. Now, however, we look forward almost eagerly to winter's approach. We forget the fogs, the slush, the sore throats an the price of coal, we think only of long evenings by lamplight, of the books which we are really going to read this time, of the bright shop windows and the keen edge of the early frosts.
Denis Mackail (Greenery Street)
I want to live forever in a land where summer lasts a thousand years. I want a castle in the clouds where I can look down over the world. I want to be six-and-twenty again. When I was six-and-twenty I could fight all day and fuck all night. What men want does not matter. Winter is almost upon us, boy. And winter is death. I would sooner my men die fighting for the Ned's little girl than alone and hungry in the snow, weeping tears that freeze upon their cheeks. No one sings songs of men who die like that. As for me, I am old. This will be my last winter. Let me bathe in Bolton blood before I die. I want to feel it spatter across my face when my axe bites deep into a Bolton skull. I want to lick it off my lips and die with the taste of it on my tongue.
George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5))
Those hours given over to basking in the glow of an imagined future, of being carried away in streams of promise by a love or a passion so strong that one felt altered forever and convinced that even the smallest particle of the surrounding world was charged with purpose of impossible grandeur; ah, yes, and one would look up into the trees and be thrilled by the wind- loosened river of pale, gold foliage cascading down and by the high, melodious singing of countless birds; those moments, so many and so long ago, still come back, but briefly, like fireflies in the perfumed heat of summer night.
Mark Strand (Almost Invisible: Poems)
It was one of those great spring days, it was Sunday, and you knew summer would be coming soon. And I remember that morning Dorrie and I had gone for a walk in the park and come back to the apartment. We were just sort of sitting around and I put on a record of Louie Armstrong, which was music I grew up with, and it was very, very pretty, and I happened to glance over and I saw Dorrie sitting there. And I remember thinking to myself how terrific she was and how much I loved her. And I don't know, I guess it was a combination of everything, the sound of the music, and the breeze, and how beautiful Dorrie looked to me and for one brief moment everything just seemed to come together perfectly and I felt happy, almost indestructible in a way.
Woody Allen (Stardust memories)
We drove over to Fifth Avenue, so warm and soft, almost pastoral, on the summer Sunday afternoon that I wouldn't have been surprised to see a great flock of white sheep turn the corner.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Why do some trees stay green while others change their color?” “Certain trees need to show off, dear. I’m sure that my big brother could explain why it happens. Dahlaine loves to explain things, and he can be very tedious about it. I prefer simpler answers. The trees are sad because summer’s almost over.
David Eddings (Crystal Gorge (The Dreamers, #3))
Today, while Mother was watching me work, she suddenly remarked, “They say that people who like summer flowers die in the summer. I wonder if it’s true.” I did not answer but went on watering the eggplants. It is already the beginning of summer. She continued softly, “I am very fond of hibiscus, but we haven’t a single one in this garden.” “We have plenty of oleanders,” I answered in an intentionally sharp tone. “I don’t like them. I like almost all summer flowers, but oleanders are too loud.” “I like roses best. But they bloom in all four seasons. I wonder if people who like roses best have to die four times over again.” We both laughed.
Osamu Dazai
Summer sticks to her skirt sumptuously, in the shiny gray fabric hanging loosely from her curves. Her chestnut eyes, apparently hidden from strangers; her simple but graceful face, unpainted by Madison Avenue; and her straight black hair, parted down the middle without ego, all suggest a minimalist - almost pastoral - beauty that is oddly discordant with her fashionable attire, comfortable indifference to the crowds, and quasi-attentive perusal of the Time magazine unfolded over her hand.
Zack Love (City Solipsism)
Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage might work: Because you wear pink but write poems about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell at your keys when you lose them, and laugh, loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol, gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming. You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents of what you packed were written inside the boxes. Because you think swans are overrated. Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence. Because you underline everything you read, and circle the things you think are important, and put stars next to the things you think I should think are important, and write notes in the margins about all the people you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there. Because you make that pork recipe you found in the Frida Khalo Cookbook. Because when you read that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed over the windows, you still believe someone outside can see you. And one day five summers ago, when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments— there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew, which you paid for with your last damn dime because you once overheard me say that I liked it.
Matthew Olzmann
There was a spark between us that I'd never felt with any of the other (four) guys that I'd kissed. When we were making out, it was almost impossible for me to keep my hands off of him, and kissing him made my stomach flip over.
Morgan Matson (Second Chance Summer)
A Faint Music by Robert Hass Maybe you need to write a poem about grace. When everything broken is broken, and everything dead is dead, and the hero has looked into the mirror with complete contempt, and the heroine has studied her face and its defects remorselessly, and the pain they thought might, as a token of their earnestness, release them from themselves has lost its novelty and not released them, and they have begun to think, kindly and distantly, watching the others go about their days— likes and dislikes, reasons, habits, fears— that self-love is the one weedy stalk of every human blossoming, and understood, therefore, why they had been, all their lives, in such a fury to defend it, and that no one— except some almost inconceivable saint in his pool of poverty and silence—can escape this violent, automatic life’s companion ever, maybe then, ordinary light, faint music under things, a hovering like grace appears. As in the story a friend told once about the time he tried to kill himself. His girl had left him. Bees in the heart, then scorpions, maggots, and then ash. He climbed onto the jumping girder of the bridge, the bay side, a blue, lucid afternoon. And in the salt air he thought about the word “seafood,” that there was something faintly ridiculous about it. No one said “landfood.” He thought it was degrading to the rainbow perch he’d reeled in gleaming from the cliffs, the black rockbass, scales like polished carbon, in beds of kelp along the coast—and he realized that the reason for the word was crabs, or mussels, clams. Otherwise the restaurants could just put “fish” up on their signs, and when he woke—he’d slept for hours, curled up on the girder like a child—the sun was going down and he felt a little better, and afraid. He put on the jacket he’d used for a pillow, climbed over the railing carefully, and drove home to an empty house. There was a pair of her lemon yellow panties hanging on a doorknob. He studied them. Much-washed. A faint russet in the crotch that made him sick with rage and grief. He knew more or less where she was. A flat somewhere on Russian Hill. They’d have just finished making love. She’d have tears in her eyes and touch his jawbone gratefully. “God,” she’d say, “you are so good for me.” Winking lights, a foggy view downhill toward the harbor and the bay. “You’re sad,” he’d say. “Yes.” “Thinking about Nick?” “Yes,” she’d say and cry. “I tried so hard,” sobbing now, “I really tried so hard.” And then he’d hold her for a while— Guatemalan weavings from his fieldwork on the wall— and then they’d fuck again, and she would cry some more, and go to sleep. And he, he would play that scene once only, once and a half, and tell himself that he was going to carry it for a very long time and that there was nothing he could do but carry it. He went out onto the porch, and listened to the forest in the summer dark, madrone bark cracking and curling as the cold came up. It’s not the story though, not the friend leaning toward you, saying “And then I realized—,” which is the part of stories one never quite believes. I had the idea that the world’s so full of pain it must sometimes make a kind of singing. And that the sequence helps, as much as order helps— First an ego, and then pain, and then the singing
Robert Hass (Sun under Wood)
He's wearing black jeans and an amazingly hot black biker jacket over a white T-shirt.His normally casual bedhead is not perfectly styled bedhead. He also has light blue skin, but his tattoo are understated, just dots in a straight line that go ear from ear, crossing the bridge of his nose. He props himself against the doorway, and my head goes blank. "I like the viney things you have going on there." I clear my throat because it has suddenly gone dry. "Thanks. You look very..." I trail off because i almost said elf-a-licious
Leah Rae Miller (The Summer I Became a Nerd (Nerd, #1))
Humans, like all mammals, are heat engines; surviving means having to continually cool off, as panting dogs do. For that, the temperature needs to be low enough for the air to act as a kind of refrigerant, drawing heat off the skin so the engine can keep pumping. At seven degrees of warming, that would become impossible for portions of the planet’s equatorial band, and especially the tropics, where humidity adds to the problem. And the effect would be fast: after a few hours, a human body would be cooked to death from both inside and out. At eleven or twelve degrees Celsius of warming, more than half the world’s population, as distributed today, would die of direct heat. Things almost certainly won’t get that hot anytime soon, though some models of unabated emissions do bring us that far eventually, over centuries. But at just five degrees, according to some calculations, whole parts of the globe would be literally unsurvivable for humans. At six, summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the United States east of the Rockies would suffer more from heat than anyone, anywhere, in the world today. New York City would be hotter than present-day Bahrain, one of the planet’s hottest spots, and the temperature in Bahrain “would induce hyperthermia in even sleeping humans.
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
Careful, Jackson,” she whispered, raking her fingers through her hair. “Summer’s almost over, and you shouldn’t make my heart skip like that.
Brittainy C. Cherry (Disgrace)
It was that summer, too, that I began the cutting, and was almost as devoted to it as to my newfound loveliness. I adored tending to myself, wiping a shallow red pool of my blood away with a damp washcloth to magically reveal, just above my naval: queasy. Applying alcohol with dabs of a cotton ball, wispy shreds sticking to the bloody lines of: perky. I had a dirty streak my senior year, which I later rectified. A few quick cuts and cunt becomes can't, cock turns into back, clit transforms to a very unlikely cat, the l and i turned into a teetering capital A. The last words I ever carved into myself, sixteen years after I started: vanish. Sometimes I can hear the words squabbling at each other across my body. Up on my shoulder, panty calling down to cherry on the inside of my right ankle. On the underside of a big toe, sew uttering muffled threats to baby, just under my left breast. I can quiet them down by thinking of vanish, always hushed and regal, lording over the other words from the safety of the nape of my neck. Also: At the center of my back, which was too difficult to reach, is a circle of perfect skin the size of a fist. Over the years I've made my own private jokes. You can really read me. Do you want me to spell it out for you? I've certainly given myself a life sentence. Funny, right? I can't stand to look myself without being completely covered. Someday I may visit a surgeon, see what can be done to smooth me, but now I couldn't bear the reaction. Instead I drink so I don't think too much about what I've done to my body and so I don't do any more. Yet most of the time that I'm awake, I want to cut. Not small words either. Equivocate. Inarticulate. Duplicitous. At my hospital back in Illinois they would not approve of this craving. For those who need a name, there's a gift basket of medical terms. All I know is that the cutting made me feel safe. It was proof. Thoughts and words, captured where I could see them and track them. The truth, stinging, on my skin, in a freakish shorthand. Tell me you're going to the doctor, and I'll want to cut worrisome on my arm. Say you've fallen in love and I buzz the outlines of tragic over my breast. I hadn't necessarily wanted to be cured. But I was out of places to write, slicing myself between my toes - bad, cry - like a junkie looking for one last vein. Vanish did it for me. I'd saved the neck, such a nice prime spot, for one final good cutting. Then I turned myself in.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
My birthday is in March, and that year it fell during an especially bright spring week, vivid and clear in the narrow residential streets where we lived just a handful of blocks south of Sunset. The night-blooming jasmine that crawled up our neighborhood's front gate released its heady scent at dusk, and to the north, the hills rolled charmingly over the horizon, houses tucked into the brown. Soon, daylight savings time would arrive, and even at early nine, I associated my birthday with the first hint of summer, with the feeling in classrooms of open windows and lighter clothing and in a few months no more homework. My hair got lighter in spring, from light brown to nearly blond, almost like my mother's ponytail tassel. In the neighborhood gardens, the agapanthus plants started to push out their long green robot stems to open up to soft purples and blues.
Aimee Bender (The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake)
Don't be stupid," Hermione snapped, starting to pound up her beetles again. "No,it's just. . . how did she know Viktor asked me to visit him over the summer?" Hermione blushed scarlet as she said this and determinedly avoided Ron's eyes. "What?" said Ron, dropping his pestle with a loud clunk. "He asked me right after he'd pulled me out of the lake," Hermione muttered. "After he'd got rid of his shark's head. Madam Pomfrey gave us both blankets and then he sort of pulled me away from the judges so they wouldn't hear, and he said, if I wasn't doing anything over the summer, would I like to -" "And what did you say?" said Ron, who had picked up his pestle and was grinding it on the desk, a good six inches from his bowl, because he was looking at Hermione. "And he did say he'd never felt the same way about anyone else," Hermione went on, going so red now that Harry could almost feel the heat coming from her, "but how could Rita Skeeter have heard him? She wasn't there ... or was she? Maybe she has got an Invisibility Cloak; maybe she sneaked onto the grounds to watch the second task. ..." "And what did you say?" Ron repeated, pounding his pestle down so hard that it dented the desk.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
Kansas afternoons in late summer are peculiar and wondrous things. Often they are pregnant, if not over-ripe, with a pensive and latent energy that is utterly incapable of ever finding an adequate release for itself. This results in a palpable, almost frenetic tension that hangs in the air just below the clouds. By dusk, spread thin across the quilt-work farmlands by disparate prairie winds, this formless energy creates an abscess in the fabric of space and time that most individuals rarely take notice of. But in the soulish chambers of particularly sensitive observers, it elicits a familiar recognition—a vague remembrance—of something both dark and beautiful. Some understand it simply as an undefined tranquility tinged with despair over the loss of something now forgotten. For others, it signifies something far more sinister, and is therefore something to be feared.
P.S. Baber (Cassie Draws the Universe)
Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window -
Don't say that. Don't even joke about it! The idea of ten weeks with a single, locked-down girlfriend—even the fake kind—gives me all over body hives. Sue me for making a face about that. I don't think you've thought any of this through. It would involve all of our friends, parents—even if we don't use my real name—text messaging, emails—and a lot of time. Time is something I don't have to burn. Plus, it would kill the variety of…of…yeah…girl fun in my summer,” I imply, wondering if she'll call my bluff. The only real summer varieties I score are the extra odd jobs I pick up at the rink. She turns bright red and I have to hide my smile. “Disgusting,” she snorts and reverts back to rubbing her temples.
Anne Eliot (Almost)
The year was 1987, but it might as well have been the Summer of Love: I was twenty, had hair down to my shoulders, and was dressed like an Indian rickshaw driver. For those charged with enforcing our nation’s drug laws, it would have been only prudent to subject my luggage to special scrutiny. Happily, I had nothing to hide. “Where are you coming from?” the officer asked, glancing skeptically at my backpack. “India, Nepal, Thailand…” I said. “Did you take any drugs while you were over there?” As it happens, I had. The temptation to lie was obvious—why speak to a customs officer about my recent drug use? But there was no real reason not to tell the truth, apart from the risk that it would lead to an even more thorough search of my luggage (and perhaps of my person) than had already commenced. “Yes,” I said. The officer stopped searching my bag and looked up. “Which drugs did you take? “I smoked pot a few times… And I tried opium in India.” “Opium?” “Yes.” “Opium or heroin? “It was opium.” “You don’t hear much about opium these days.” “I know. It was the first time I’d ever tried it.” “Are you carrying any drugs with you now?” “No.” The officer eyed me warily for a moment and then returned to searching my bag. Given the nature of our conversation, I reconciled myself to being there for a very long time. I was, therefore, as patient as a tree. Which was a good thing, because the officer was now examining my belongings as though any one item—a toothbrush, a book, a flashlight, a bit of nylon cord—might reveal the deepest secrets of the universe. “What is opium like?” he asked after a time. And I told him. In fact, over the next ten minutes, I told this lawman almost everything I knew about the use of mind-altering substances. Eventually he completed his search and closed my luggage. One thing was perfectly obvious at the end of our encounter: We both felt very good about it.
Sam Harris (Lying)
I think I’m going to leave soon,” he said, finishing his water. He didn’t look at me when he said, “Do you need a ride?” “No,” I said. I tried to swallow my disappointment that he was leaving already. “I came with those guys over there.” I pointed at Conrad and Jeremiah. He nodded. “I figured, the way your brother kept looking over here.” I almost choked. “My brother? Who? Him?” I pointed at Conrad. He wasn’t looking at us. He was looking at a blond girl in a Red Sox cap, and she was looking right back. He was laughing, and he never laughed. “Yeah.” “He’s not my brother. He tries to act like he is, but he’s not,” I said. “He thinks he’s everybody’s big brother. It’s so patronizing…
Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1))
Harry took a deep, steadying breath and then said, “Okay, I can’t see the World Cup. Can I go now, then? Only I’ve got a letter to Sirius I want to finish. You know — my godfather.” He had done it. He had said the magic words. Now he watched the purple recede blotchily from Uncle Vernon’s face, making it look like badly mixed black currant ice cream. “You’re — you’re writing to him, are you?” said Uncle Vernon, in a would-be calm voice — but Harry had seen the pupils of his tiny eyes contract with sudden fear. “Well — yeah,” said Harry, casually. “It’s been a while since he heard from me, and, you know, if he doesn’t, he might start thinking something’s wrong.” He stopped there to enjoy the effect of these words. He could almost see the cogs working under Uncle Vernon’s thick, dark, neatly parted hair. If he tried to stop Harry writing to Sirius, Sirius would think Harry was being mistreated. If he told Harry he couldn’t go to the Quidditch World Cup, Harry would write and tell Sirius, who would know Harry was being mistreated. There was only one thing for Uncle Vernon to do. Harry could see the conclusion forming in his uncle’s mind as though the great mustached face were transparent. Harry tried not to smile, to keep his own face as blank as possible. And then — “Well, all right then. You can go to this ruddy … this stupid … this World Cup thing. You write and tell these — these Weasleys they’re to pick you up, mind. I haven’t got time to go dropping you off all over the country. And you can spend the rest of the summer there. And you can tell your — your godfather … tell him … tell him you’re going.” “Okay then,” said Harry brightly.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
Straining to hear, I can make out something acoustic. Coming from...the backyard? I glance down from my bedroom window and feel my jaw fall open. Matt Finch is standing below my window, guitar strapped across his chest. I pull my window up, and I expect the song from that old movie - the one about a guy with a trench coat and the big radio and his heart on his sleeve. But it's not that. It's not anything I recognise, and I strain to make out the lyrics: Stop being ridiculous, stop being ridiculous, Reagan. What an asshole. The mesh screen and two floors between us don't seem like enough to protect him from my anger. "Nice apology," I call down to him. "I've apologised thirteen times," he yells back, "and so far you haven't called me back." I open my mouth to say it doesn't matter, but he's already redirecting the song. "Now I'm gonna stand here until you forgive me," he sings loudly, "or at least until you hear me out, la-la, oh-la-la. I drove seven hours overnight, and I won't leave until you come out here." (...) "This is private property!" My throat feel coarse from how loudly I'm yelling. "And that doesn't even rhyme!" The guitar chord continues as he sings, "Then call the cops, call the cops, call the cops..." I storm downstairs, my feet pounding against the staircase. When I turn the corner, my dad looks almost amused from his seat in the recliner. Noticing my expression, he stares back at his newspaper, as if I won't notice him. (...) "Dad. How did Matt know which window was mine?" "Well..." he peeks over the sports section. "I reckon I told him." "You talked to him?" My voice is no longer a voice. It's a shriek. "God, Dad!" He juts out his chin, defensive. "How was I supposed to know you had some sort of drama with him? He shows up, lookin' to serenade my daughter. Thought it seemed innocent enough. Sweet, even. Old-fashioned." "It's not any of those things! I hate him!
Emery Lord (Open Road Summer)
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
think it has been left alone so long—that it has grown all into a lovely tangle. I think the roses have climbed and climbed and climbed until they hang from the branches and walls and creep over the ground—almost like a strange gray mist. Some of them have died but many—are alive and when the summer comes there will be curtains and fountains of roses. I think the ground is full of daffodils and snowdrops and lilies and iris working their way out of the dark. Now the spring has begun—perhaps—perhaps—” The soft drone of her voice was making him stiller and stiller and she saw it and went on. “Perhaps they are coming up through the grass—perhaps there are clusters of purple crocuses and gold ones—even now.
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
A man of imagination has an advantage over other people, in that an actual experience is almost always less intense than his expectations of it.
Lion Feuchtwanger (The Devil in France: My Encounter with Him in the Summer of 1940)
It was a generation growing in its disillusionment about the deepening recession and the backroom handshakes and greedy deals for private little pots of gold that created the largest financial meltdown since the Great Depression. As heirs to the throne, we all knew, of course, how bad the economy was, and our dreams, the ones we were told were all right to dream, were teetering gradually toward disintegration. However, on that night, everyone seemed physically at ease and exempt from life’s worries with final exams over and bar class a distant dream with a week before the first lecture, and as I looked around at the jubilant faces and loud voices, if you listened carefully enough you could almost hear the culmination of three years in the breath of the night gasp in an exultant sigh as if to say, “Law school was over at last!
Daniel Amory (Minor Snobs)
I used to lie here like this all summer long,” I tell her. “I’d come up here and just stare at the sky.” She rolls over on her back so she’s staring up as well. “Bet this view hasn’t changed much, has it?” What she says is so simple I almost laugh. She’s right, of course. “No. This looks exactly the same.” I suppose that’s the secret, if you’re ever wishing for things to go back to the way they were. You just have to look up.
Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
Finding a taxi, she felt like a child pressing her nose to the window of a candy store as she watched the changing vista pass by while the twilight descended and the capital became bathed in a translucent misty lavender glow. Entering the city from that airport was truly unique. Charles de Gaulle, built nineteen miles north of the bustling metropolis, ensured that the final point of destination was veiled from the eyes of the traveller as they descended. No doubt, the officials scrupulously planned the airport’s location to prevent the incessant air traffic and roaring engines from visibly or audibly polluting the ambience of their beloved capital, and apparently, they succeeded. If one flew over during the summer months, the visitor would be visibly presented with beautifully managed quilt-like fields of alternating gold and green appearing as though they were tilled and clipped with the mathematical precision of a slide rule. The countryside was dotted with quaint villages and towns that were obviously under meticulous planning control. When the aircraft began to descend, this prevailing sense of exactitude and order made the visitor long for an aerial view of the capital city and its famous wonders, hoping they could see as many landmarks as they could before they touched ground, as was the usual case with other major international airports, but from this point of entry, one was denied a glimpse of the city below. Green fields, villages, more fields, the ground grew closer and closer, a runway appeared, a slight bump or two was felt as the craft landed, and they were surrounded by the steel and glass buildings of the airport. Slightly disappointed with this mysterious game of hide-and-seek, the voyager must continue on and collect their baggage, consoled by the reflection that they will see the metropolis as they make their way into town. For those travelling by road, the concrete motorway with its blue road signs, the underpasses and the typical traffic-logged hubbub of industrial areas were the first landmarks to greet the eye, without a doubt, it was a disheartening first impression. Then, the real introduction began. Quietly, and almost imperceptibly, the modern confusion of steel and asphalt was effaced little by little as the exquisite timelessness of Parisian heritage architecture was gradually unveiled. Popping up like mushrooms were cream sandstone edifices filigreed with curled, swirling carvings, gently sloping mansard roofs, elegant ironwork lanterns and wood doors that charmed the eye, until finally, the traveller was completely submerged in the glory of the Second Empire ala Baron Haussmann’s master plan of city design, the iconic grand mansions, tree-lined boulevards and avenues, the quaint gardens, the majestic churches with their towers and spires, the shops and cafés with their colourful awnings, all crowded and nestled together like jewels encrusted on a gold setting.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
Their conversations were almost all domestic now – about Zola, mostly; but also grocery shopping, home improvements, summer holiday plans, whether it was time to invite some or other combination of their families over for lunch.
Kamila Shamsie (Best of Friends)
MR. BONES KNEW THAT WILLY WASN'T LONG FOR THIS WORLD. The cough had been inside him for over six months, and by now there wasn't a chance in hell that he would ever get rid of it. Slowly and inexorably, without once taking a turn for the better, the thing had assumed a life of its own, advancing from a faint, phlegm-filled rattle in the lungs on February third to the wheezy sputum-jigs and gobby convulsions of high summer. All that was bad enough, but in the past two weeks a new tonality had crept into the bronchial music - something tight and flinty and percussive - and the attacks came now so often as to be almost constant. Every time one of them started, Mr. Bones half expected Willy's body to explode from the rockets of pressure bursting agaisnt his rib cage. He figured that blood would be the next step and when that fatal moment finally occurred on Saturday afternoon, it was as if all the angels in heaven had opened their mouths and started to sing. Mr. Bones saw it happen with his own eyes, standing by the edge of the road between Washington and Baltimore as Willy hawked up a few miserable clots of red matter into his handkerchief, and right then and there he knew that every ounce of hope was gone. The smell of death had settled upon Willy G. Christmas, and as surely as the sun was a lamp in the clouds that went off and on everyday, the end was drawing near. What was a poor dog to do? Mr. Bones had been with Willy since his earliest days as a pup, and by now it was next to impossible to imagine a world that did not have his master in it. Every thought, every memory, every particle of the earth and air was saturated with Willy's presence. Habits die hard, and no doubt there's some truth to the adage about old dogs and new tricks, but it was more than just love or devotion that caused Mr. Bones to dread what was coming. It was pure ontological terror. Substract Willy from the world, and the odds were that the world itself would cease to exist.
Paul Auster (Timbuktu)
…one high-heeled shoe slipping off and hovering up over her, the other stuck on her foot as though it were too small, her blouse untucked, hair flailing, limbs stiff as she plummets down, one arm raised, like a dive into a summer lake-I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I thinks it’s her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I’ll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake.
Ottessa Moshfegh
My lord," she said, inspecting the cuts and burns on his face, "you look like the loser in a tavern brawl." Coming forward, Westcliff took her hand and executed an impeccable bow over it. He surprised her by pressing a chivalrous kiss to the back of her wrist. "Had I ever participated in a tavern brawl, madam, I assure you that I would not have lost." That drew a grin from Annabelle, who could not help reflecting that twenty-four hours ago, she had despised his arrogant aplomb, whereas now it seemed almost endearing.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
I will say this about the upper echelon in France: they know how to spend money. From what I saw living in America, wealth is dedicated to elevating the individual experience. If you’re a well-off child, you get a car, or a horse. You go to summer camps that cost as much as college. And everything is monogrammed, personalized, and stamped, to make it that much easier for other people to recognize your net worth. …The French bourgeois don’t pine for yachts or garages with multiple cars. They don’t build homes with bowling alleys or spend their weekends trying to meet the quarterly food and beverage limit at their country clubs: they put their savings into a vacation home that all their family can enjoy, and usually it’s in France. They buy nice food, they serve nice wine, and they wear the same cashmere sweaters over and over for years. I think the wealthy French feel comfortable with their money because they do not fear it. It’s the fearful who put money into houses with even bedrooms and fifteen baths. It’s the fearful who drive around in yellow Hummers during high-gas-price months becasue if they’re going to lose their money tomorrow, at least other people will know that they are rich today. The French, as with almost all things, privilege privacy and subtlety and they don’t feel comfortable with excess. This is why one of their favorite admonishments is tu t’es laisse aller. You’ve lost control of yourself. You’ve let yourself go.
Courtney Maum (I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You)
Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since. I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since. But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen. As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal. But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong. Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant. The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too. The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up. I mean, what does a child know about faith? It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known. Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about. Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg. I was devastated. I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life. ‘Please, God, comfort me.’ Blow me down … He did. My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.) To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies. This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes. The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life. This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree. I had found a calling for my life.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)
Duroy, who felt light hearted that evening, said with a smile: "You are gloomy to-day, dear master." The poet replied: "I am always so, young man, so will you be in a few years. Life is a hill. As long as one is climbing up one looks towards the summit and is happy, but when one reaches the top one suddenly perceives the descent before one, and its bottom, which is death. One climbs up slowly, but one goes down quickly. At your age a man is happy. He hopes for many things, which, by the way, never come to pass. At mine, one no longer expects anything - but death." Duroy began to laugh: "You make me shudder all over." Norbert de Varenne went on: "No, you do not understand me now, but later on you will remember what I am saying to you at this moment. A day comes, and it comes early for many, when there is an end to mirth, for behind everything one looks at one sees death. You do not even understand the word. At your age it means nothing; at mine it is terrible. Yes, one understands it all at once, one does not know how or why, and then everything in life changes its aspect. For fifteen years I have felt death assail me as if I bore within me some gnawing beast. I have felt myself decaying little by little, month by month, hour by hour, like a house crumbling to ruin. Death has disfigured me so completely that I do not recognize myself. I have no longer anything about me of myself - of the fresh, strong man I was at thirty. I have seen death whiten my black hairs, and with what skillful and spiteful slowness. Death has taken my firm skin, my muscles, my teeth, my whole body of old, only leaving me a despairing soul, soon to be taken too. Every step brings me nearer to death, every movemebt, every breath hastens his odious work. To breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work, dream, everything we do is to die. To live, in short, is to die. Oh, you will realize this. If you stop and think for a moment you will understand. What do you expect? Love? A few more kisses and you will be impotent. Then money? For what? Women? Much fun that will be! In order to eat a lot and grow fat and lie awake at night suffering from gout? And after that? Glory? What use is that when it does not take the form of love? And after that? Death is always the end. I now see death so near that I often want to stretch my arms to push it back. It covers the earth and fills the universe. I see it everywhere. The insects crushed on the path, the falling leaves, the white hair in a friend's head, rend my heart and cry to me, 'Behold it!' It spoils for me all I do, all I see, all that I eat and drink, all that I love; the bright moonlight, the sunrise, the broad ocean, the noble rivers, and the soft summer evening air so sweet to breath." He walked on slowly, dreaming aloud, almost forgetting that he had a listener: "And no one ever returns - never. The model of a statue may be preserved, but my body, my face, my thoughts, my desires will never reappear again. And yet millions of beings will be born with a nose, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and mouth like me, and also a soul like me, without my ever returning, without even anything recognizable of me appearing in these countless different beings. What can we cling to? What can we believe in? All religions are stupid, with their puerile morality and their egotistical promises, monstrously absurd. Death alone is certain." "Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so that your eyes may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between Romanticism and Realism, or the Budget debates.
Guy de Maupassant
At first Alexander could not believe it was his Tania. He blinked and tried to refocus his eyes. She was walking around the table, gesturing, showing, leaning forward, bending over. At one point she straightened out and wiped her forehead. She was wearing a short-sleeved yellow peasant dress. She was barefoot, and her slender legs were exposed above her knee. Her bare arms were lightly tanned. Her blonde hair looked bleached by the sun and was parted into two shoulder-length braids tucked behind her ears. Even from a distance he could see the summer freckles on her nose. She was achingly beautiful. And alive. Alexander closed his eyes, then opened them again. She was still there, bending over the boy’s work. She said something, everyone laughed loudly, and Alexander watched as the boy’s arm touched Tatiana’s back. Tatiana smiled. Her white teeth sparkled like the rest of her. Alexander didn’t know what to do. She was alive, that was obvious. Then why hadn’t she written him? And where was Dasha? Alexander couldn’t very well continue to stand under a lilac tree. He went back out onto the main road, took a deep breath, stubbed out his cigarette, and walked toward the square, never taking his eyes off her braids. His heart was thundering in his chest, as if he were going into battle. Tatiana looked up, saw him, and covered her face with her hands. Alexander watched everyone get up and rush to her, the old ladies showing unexpected agility and speed. She pushed them all away, pushed the table away, pushed the bench away, and ran to him. Alexander was paralyzed by his emotion. He wanted to smile, but he thought any second he was going to fall to his knees and cry. He dropped all his gear, including his rifle. God, he thought, in a second I’m going to feel her. And that’s when he smiled. Tatiana sprang into his open arms, and Alexander, lifting her off her feet with the force of his embrace, couldn’t hug her tight enough, couldn’t breathe in enough of her. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in his bearded cheek. Dry sobs racked her entire body. She was heavier than the last time he felt her in all her clothes as he lifted her into the Lake Ladoga truck. She, with her boots, her clothes, coats, and coverings, had not weighed what she weighed now. She smelled incredible. She smelled of soap and sunshine and caramelized sugar. She felt incredible. Holding her to him, Alexander rubbed his face into her braids, murmuring a few pointless words. “Shh, shh…come on, now, shh, Tatia. Please…” His voice broke. “Oh, Alexander,” Tatiana said softly into his neck. She was clutching the back of his head. “You’re alive. Thank God.” “Oh, Tatiana,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter, if that were possible, his arms swaddling her summer body. “You’re alive. Thank God.” His hands ran up to her neck and down to the small of her back. Her dress was made of very thin cotton. He could almost feel her skin through it. She felt very soft. Finally he let her feet touch the ground. Tatiana looked up at him. His hands remained around her little waist. He wasn’t letting go of her. Was she always this tiny, standing barefoot in front of him? “I like your beard,” Tatiana said, smiling shyly and touching his face. “I love your hair,” Alexander said, pulling on a braid and smiling back. “You’re messy…” He looked her over. “And you’re stunning.” He could not take his eyes off her glorious, eager, vivid lips. They were the color of July tomatoes— He bent to her—
Paullina Simons
But as much as Greyson's overly warm body had to be worked around and compensated for in summer, at that moment she was eternally and ridiculously grateful for it. She almost thought she heard her own skin sizzle when it came into contact with his: some of the cramping in her muscles relaxed. Only to tense up again when she saw, through her half-closed eyes, Greyson's second gaurd and Malleus's brother, Maleficarum, advancing on her with a hypodermic needle. Something clear squirted ominously from it's sharp silver tip. "Oh, no," she managed, "You are not giving me a shot." "'Sonly under the skin, m'lady. You'll barely even feel it, honest." Maleficarum's features did no do "innocent" well: he looked like a serial killer trying to hide a severed head behind his back.
Stacia Kane (Demon Possessed (Megan Chase, #3))
Aunt Blythe went inside to check on Great-grandfather, but I sat on the front steps and watched the sun sink behind the trees across the highway. A little chill crept across my skin. Summer was almost over. Soon my parents would return and I’d go back to Chicago. There would be no more midnight meetings in the attic. No croquet games with Hannah, no boxing lessons from John, no fights with Edward.
Mary Downing Hahn (Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story)
Are you deliberately torturing me?” he growls. My heart kicks. Wild and unrhythmic. “Torturing you?” He raises the scotch, downing the contents in one fell swoop before returning the glass to his side. “You know exactly what I’m talking about.” There’s a warning in his voice. A delicious subtle threat. My throat tightens. My chest, too. Everything is so painfully, invigoratingly restricted that I have to fight hard to maintain level breathing. I raise my other leg, crossing both at the ankles against the rim of the tub. I shouldn’t be doing this. Warning bells ring in the farthest recesses of my mind. If only they were loud enough to put a stop to the craziness. “Join me.” His jaw ticks. That’s his only response. No movement. No words. “Matthew?” His features tighten, almost setting in a glower as he grates, “Be sure about this, Layla.” “I think I am,” I lie. I’m not even partially certain. I’m running on instinct alone. No, not instinct—infatuation.  “Then I’m staying where I am.” He crosses his arms over his chest, the glass moving to rest in the crook of his arm. “I’m on the precipice here. I can only pretend to be a stand-up guy for so long, then I’m going to start pushing my own agenda. So don’t play with me, amore mio.
Eden Summers (Seeking Vengeance)
And above that, his eyes: their grey irises smattered with bits of brown and ember so that, looking at them, you could almost see, right behind you, something burning under an overcast sky. It seemed the boy was always looking at a plane wrecking itself midair. That’s what I saw that first day. And although I knew that nothing behind me was on fire, I turned back anyway and saw the coiled summer air, sputtering with heat, rise over the razed fields.
Ocean Vuong (On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous)
The teacher asked once what did we talk about when we talked about happiness. And then one student said that happiness is what happens when you go to bed on the hottest night of the summer, a night so hot you can’t even wear a tee-shirt and you sleep on top of the sheets instead of under them, although try to sleep is probably the most accurate. And then at some point late, late, late at night, say just a bit before dawn, the heat finally breaks and the night turns cool and when you briefly wake up, you notice that you’re almost chilly, and in your groggy, half-consciousness, you reach over and pull the sheet around you and just that flimsy sheet makes it warm enough and you drift back off into a deep sleep. And it’s that reaching, that gesture, that reflex we have to pull what’s warm- whether it’s something or someone- towards us, that feeling we get when we do that, that feeling of being safe in the world and ready for sleep, that’s happiness.
Paul Schmidtberger (Design Flaws of the Human Condition)
Todd wrapped his arm around her. They stood together in silent awe, watching the sunset. All Christy could think of was how this was what she had always wanted, to be held in Todd's arms as well as in his heart. Just as the last golden drop of sun melted into the ocean, Christy closed her eyes and drew in a deep draught of the sea air. "Did you know," Todd said softly, "that the setting sun looks so huge from the island of Papua New Guinea that it almost looks like you're on another planet? I've seen pictures." Then, as had happened with her reflection in her cup of tea and in her disturbing dream, Christy heard those two piercing words, "Let go." She knew what she had to do. Turning to face Todd, she said, "Pictures aren't enough for you, Todd. You have to go." "I will. Someday. Lord willing," he said casually. "Don't you see, Todd? The Lord is willing. This is your 'someday.' Your opportunity to go on the mission field is now. You have to go." Their eyes locked in silent communion. "God has been telling me something, Todd. He's been telling me to let you go. I don't want to, but I need to obey Him." Todd paused. "Maybe I should tell them I can only go for the summer. That way I'll only be gone a few months. A few weeks, really. We'll be back together in the fall." Christy shook her head. "It can't be like that, Todd. You have to go for as long as God tells you to go. And as long as I've known you, God has been telling you to go. His mark is on your life, Todd. It's obvious. You need to obey Him." "Kilikina," Todd said, grasping Christy by the shoulders, "do you realize what you're saying? If I go, I may never come back." "I know." Christy's reply was barely a whisper. She reached for the bracelet on her right wrist and released the lock. Then taking Todd's hand, she placed the "Forever" bracelet in his palm and closed his fingers around it. "Todd," she whispered, forcing the words out, "the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. And may you always love Jesus more than anything else. Even more than me." Todd crumbled to the sand like a man who had been run through with a sword. Burying his face in his hands, he wept. Christy stood on wobbly legs. What have I done? Oh, Father God, why do I have to let him go? Slowly lowering her quivering body to the sand beside Todd, Christy cried until all she could taste was the salty tears on her lips. They drove the rest of the way home in silence. A thick mantle hung over them, entwining them even in their separation. To Christy it seemed like a bad dream. Someone else had let go of Todd. Not her! He wasn't really going to go. They pulled into Christy's driveway, and Todd turned off the motor. Without saying anything, he got out of Gus and came around to Christy's side to open the door for her. She stepped down and waited while he grabbed her luggage from the backseat. They walked to the front door. Todd stopped her under the trellis of wildly fragrant white jasmine. With tears in his eyes, he said in a hoarse voice, "I'm keeping this." He lifted his hand to reveal the "Forever" bracelet looped between his fingers. "If God ever brings us together again in this world, I'm putting this back on your wrist, and that time, my Kilikina, it will stay on forever." He stared at her through blurry eyes for a long minute, and then without a hug, a kiss, or even a good-bye, Todd turned to go. He walked away and never looked back.
Robin Jones Gunn (Sweet Dreams (Christy Miller, #11))
On our way down, we passed a two-story villa, hidden in a thicket of Chinese parasol trees, magnolia, and pines. It looked almost like a random pile of stones against the background of the rocks. It struck me as an unusually lovely place, and I snapped my last shot. Suddenly a man materialized out of nowhere and asked me in a low but commanding voice to hand over my camera. He wore civilian clothes, but I noticed he had a pistol. He opened the camera and exposed my entire roll of film. Then he disappeared, as if into the earth. Some tourists standing next to me whispered that this was one of Mao's summer villas. I felt another pang of revulsion toward Mao, not so much for his privilege, but for the hypocrisy of allowing himself luxury while telling his people that even comfort was bad for them. After we were safely out of earshot of the invisible guard, and I was bemoaning the loss of my thirty-six pictures, Jin-ming gave me a grin: "See where goggling at holy places gets you!" We left Lushan by bus. Like every bus in China, it was packed, and we had to crane our necks desperately trying to breathe. Virtually no new buses had been built since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, during which time the urban population had increased by several tens of millions. After a few minutes, we suddenly stopped. The front door was forced open, and an authoritative-looking man in plainclothes squeezed in. "Get down! Get down!" he barked. "Some American guests are coming this way. It is harmful to the prestige of our motherland for them to see all these messy heads!" We tried to crouch down, but the bus was too crowded. The man shouted, "It is the duty of everyone to safeguard the honor of our motherland! We must present an orderly and dignified appearance! Get down! Bend your knees!" Suddenly I heard Jin-ming's booming voice: "Doesn'T Chairman Mao instruct us never to bend our knees to American imperialists?" This was asking for trouble. Humor was not appreciated. The man shot a stern glance in our direction, but said nothing. He gave the bus another quick scan, and hurried off. He did not want the "American guests' to witness a scene. Any sign of discord had to be hidden from foreigners. Wherever we went as we traveled down the Yangtze we saw the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution: temples smashed, statues toppled, and old towns wrecked. Litfie evidence remained of China's ancient civilization. But the loss went even deeper than this. Not only had China destroyed most of its beautiful things, it had lost its appreciation of them, and was unable to make new ones. Except for the much-scarred but still stunning landscape, China had become an ugly country.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
The openness from the baths lingered. Laurent, whose tangle of overthinking usually only disappeared at the moment of climax, had his defences down in the quiet. Damen could hear his soft exhalations of breath; once or twice, a sound passed his lips that he didn’t seem to be aware of. Time unslid the knot of any last ribbon of tension, letting it slip, letting him go further and further into his own pleasure. Their bodies tangled together, touches blending and blurring. Damen gave himself over to the feeling of Laurent in his arms. It was an age before he put his hand between Laurent’s legs, and felt his legs part. When he finally slid inside, it felt like time had stopped in the small, intimate space between them, after a sweet forever of deep kisses, of opening Laurent up with oiled fingers. He didn’t move but stayed where he was, in breathless silence. Everything felt connected, open. Their movements were more like nudges than thrusts, their bodies pushing together without the long, sliding separation of withdrawal. He could feel Laurent drawing closer and closer to his climax, not, as it was sometimes, like he was pushing past the gnarl of his own barriers, but hotly, inevitably. The thrust were longer now, Damen’s body moving to seek out its own gratification. He heard a choked off sound as Laurent dissolved under him, and Damen was lost to the feel of it, the hot, liquid pleasure of fucking, the closeness, near as a heartbeat. His own body pulsed and flared, an interval of flooding pleasure, and it almost didn’t seem to end but to transform into the sweet, heavy feel of his limbs entangled with Laurent’s, pleasure still between them, the throbs of it ebbing. For
C.S. Pacat (The Summer Palace (Captive Prince, #3.5; Captive Prince Short Stories, #2))
I gestured upward, which told Adam to tell my brother to speed up. Adam knew what I planned to do and shook his head at me. What a pain, to stop the boat and argue with him about it. He didn’t consult anyone before he tried a trick and busted ass. If we stopped, Sean would insist my turn was over, and I’d be done for the day. I wasn’t done. So I nodded my head vigorously. Adam shook his finger at me, scolding. Then he turned around and spoke to my brother. The drone pitched higher as the boat sped up. I relaxed, relaxed, relaxed and let the boat and the wave do the work for me. My muscles remembered what they’d tried to do last summer, and this time they were able to do it. I caught miles of air, a huge thrill, and one glance at the boat: four boys with their mouths open. Then I almost panicked as I lost my balance when my board hit its high point behind me. Almost- but I kept myself together. I rode gravity down the opposite wave. Immediately I arced out and back to pick up speed, and did a 360 with a grab. Landed it. Then a 540. Landed it. I thought I might be pushing my luck. I’d probably break my leg climbing back into the boat.
Jennifer Echols (Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door, #1-2))
Almost everything about bees is amazing. Worker bees fly up to three miles from the hive and visit ten thousand flowers in a day. Their wings beat two hundred times a second, and they perform elaborate dances on the face of the comb to tell other workers where and how far away food sources are. In summer there are fifty thousand of them in the hive, and each dies of exhaustion after about five weeks. In its whole lifetime a worker collects about a quarter of an ounce of honey, less than half a teaspoonful, but the yield from one hive in a good year can be over eighty pounds.
John Carey (The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books)
In the silence, Kestrel heard a falling leaf scratch the glass of the window, opened out toward the dimming sky. It was warm, but summer was almost over. “Play your tiles,” Arin said roughly. Kestrel turned them over, taking no joy in the fact that she had surely won. She had four scorpions. Arin flipped his. The sound of ivory clacking against the wooden table was unnaturally loud. Four vipers. “I win,” he said, and swept the matches into his hand. Kestrel stared at the tiles, feeling a numbness creep along her limbs. “Well,” she said. She cleared her throat. “Well played.” He gave her a humorless smile. “I did warn you.” “Yes. You did.” He stood. “I think I’ll take my leave while I have the advantage.” “Until next time.” Kestrel realized she had offered him her hand. He looked at it, then took it in his own. She felt the numbness ebb, only to be replaced by a different kind of surprise. He dropped her hand. “I have things to do.” “Like what?” She tried for a lighthearted tone. He answered in kind. “Like contemplate what I am going to do with my sudden windfall of matches.” He widened his eyes in pretend glee, and Kestrel smiled. “I’ll walk you out,” she said. “Do you think I will lose my way? Or steal something as I go?” She felt her expression turn haughty. “I am leaving the villa anyway,” she said, though she had had no such plans until the words left her mouth. They walked in silence through the house until they had reached the ground floor. Kestrel saw his stride pause, almost imperceptibly, as they passed the closed doors that hid her piano. She stopped. “What is your interest in that room?” The look he gave her was cutting. “I have no interest in the music room.” Her eyes narrowed as she watched him walk away.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Stop it," she said. "Stop what?" Her eyes flew open, filled with rage and betrayal. "Stop pretending. You made your point this morning—you don't have anything more to prove. You don't want me, you can make me do anything you wish, and I'll be pathetically grateful for your attention, while you won't feel a thing…" "You idiot," he said, his voice savage. "How blind are you?" "Leave me alone." He pulled her legs apart, pushing between them, fully clothed, the rigid length of his cock pressed up against her. Her eyes widened in shock. "You can feel that, can't you? It's been like that all day. It's been like that almost since I first touched you. You make me crazy with wanting you, but right now doing what I want could get us both killed." "No," she said. "You're lying. This morning you didn't—" He rocked against her, and she shivered in unwilling response. "This morning I was so turned on that I came without touching myself. And five minutes later I was hard again. I need you. I need to be inside you, now, and it's too dangerous." He thrust against her, feeling the tremor of response wash over her, and he knew he couldn't stop, not until he made her come again, over and over...
Anne Stuart (Ice Blue (Ice, #3))
Neil felt a half-second from losing his mind, but then Andrew said his name and Neil's thoughts ground to a startled halt. He was belatedly aware of his hand at his ear and his fingers clenched tight around his phone. He didn't remember pulling it from his pocket or making the decision to dial out. He lowered it and tapped a button, thinking maybe he'd imagined things, but Andrew's name was on his display and the timer put the call at almost a minute already. Neil put the phone back to his ear, but he couldn't find the words for the wretched feeling that was tearing away at him. In three months championships would be over. In four months he'd be dead. In five months the Foxes would be right back here for summer practices with six new faces. Neil could count his life on one hand now. On the other hand was the future he couldn't have: vice-captain, captain, Court. Neil had no right to mourn these missed chances. He'd gotten more than he deserved this year; it was selfish to ask for more. He should be grateful for what he had, and gladder still that his death would mean something. He was going to drag his father and the Moriyamas down with him when he went, and they'd never recover from the things he said. It was justice when he'd never thought he'd get any and revenge for his mother's death. He thought he'd come to terms with it but that hollow ache was back in his chest where it had no right to be. Neil felt like he was drowning. Neil found his voice at last, but the best he had was, "Come and get me from the stadium." Andrew didn't answer, but the quiet took on a new tone. Neil checked the screen again and saw the timer flashing at seventy-two seconds. Andrew had hung up on him. Neil put his phone away and waited. It was only a couple minutes from Fox Tower to the Foxhole Court, but it took almost fifteen minutes for Andrew to turn into the parking lot. He pulled into the space a couple inches from Neil's left foot and didn't bother to kill the engine. Kevin was in the passenger seat, frowning silent judgment at Neil through the windshield. Andrew got out of the car when Neil didn't move and stood in front of Neil. Neil looked up at him, studying Andrew's bored expression and waiting for questions he knew wouldn't come. That apathy should have grated against his raw nerves but somehow it steadied him. Andrew's disinterest in his psychological well-being was what had drawn Neil to him in the first place: the realization that Andrew would never flinch away from whatever poison was eating Neil alive.
Nora Sakavic (The King's Men (All for the Game, #3))
She pottered round now, a tall vague woman in her early fifties, with a long pale face and brown eyes which her daughter Deirdre had inherited. As she pottered she murmured to herself, ‘large knives, small knives, pudding spoons, will they need forks too? Oh, large forks, serving spoons, mats, glasses, well two glasses in case Deirdre and Malcolm want to drink beer, Rhoda probably won’t … and now, wash the lettuce …’ It was nice when the warm weather came and they could have salads for supper, she thought, though why it was nice she didn’t really know. Washing a lettuce and cutting up the things to go with it was really almost as much trouble as cooking a hot meal, and she herself had never got over an old-fashioned dislike of eating raw green leaves. When her husband had been alive they had always had a hot meal in the evenings, winter and summer alike. He needed it after a day in the City. But now he was gone and Rhoda had been living with them for nearly ten years now and everyone said how nice it was for them both, to have each other, though of course she had the children too. Malcolm was a good solid young man, very much like his father, reliable and, although of course she never admitted it, a little dull. He did not seem to mind about the hot meal in the evenings. But Deirdre was different, clever and moody, rather like she herself had been at the same age, before marriage to a good dull man and life in a suburb had steadied her.
Barbara Pym (Less Than Angels)
without having to pay for them with your eyeteeth’, ‘All yours for $58. You’re a lucky man, Mr Veteran.’ The homes sold hand over fist. In that strange, intermediate world between country and city, men and women forged countless alliances, exploring peace together. ‘In front of almost every house along Levittown’s 100 miles of winding streets sits a tricycle or a baby carriage,’ a report for Time magazine noted in the summer of 1950. ‘In Levittown, all activity stops from 12 to 2 in the afternoon; that is nap time.’ Levittown marked the start of the explosive growth of suburbia, a concept that stands for an entire culture, a specific kind of life and society. To countless GIs suburbia was the beginning of modern life, of ‘time for things like
Geert Mak (In America: Travels with John Steinbeck)
Ant then, opening her eyes, how fresh like frilled linen clean from a laundry, laid in wicker trays the roses looked; and dark and prim the red carnations, holding their heads up; and all the sweet peas spreading in their bowls, tinged violet, snow white, pale - as if it were the evening and girls in muslin frocks came out to pick sweet peas and roses after the superb summer's day, with its almost blue-black sky, its delphiniums, its carnations, its arum lilies was over; and it was the moment between six and seven when every flower - roses, carnations, irises, lilac - glows; white, violet, red, deep orange; every flower seems to burn by itself, softly, purely in the misty beds; and how she loved the grey-white moths spinning in and out, over the cherry pie, over the evening primroses!
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
Again, I call to mind that distant moment in [the prison at] Hermanice when on a hot, cloudless summer day, I sat on a pile of rusty iron and gazed into the crown of an enormous tree that stretched, with dignified repose, up and over all the fences, wires, bars and watchtowers that separated me from it. As I watched the imperceptible trembling of its leaves against an endless sky, I was overcome by a sensation that is difficult to describe: all at once, I seemed to rise above all the coordinates of my momentary existence in the world into a kind of state outside time in which all the beautiful things I had ever seen and experienced existed in a total “co-present”; I felt a sense of reconciliation, indeed of an almost gentle consent to the inevitable course of things as revealed to me now, and this combined with a carefree determination to face what had to be faced. A profound amazement at the sovereignty of Being became a dizzying sensation of tumbling endlessly into the abyss of its mystery; an unbounded joy at being alive, at having been given the chance to live through all I have lived through, and at the fact that everything has a deep and obvious meaning— this joy formed a strange alliance in me with a vague horror at the inapprehensibility and unattainability of everything I was so close to in that moment, standing at the very “edge of the finite”; I was flooded with a sense of ultimate happiness and harmony with the world and with myself, with that moment, with all the moments I could call up, and with everything invisible that lies behind it and has meaning. I would even say that I was somehow “struck by love,” though I don’t know precisely for whom or what.
Václav Havel (Vaclav Havel: Or Living in Truth)
cabin for a long moment. Just looking at it made her smile. It was tiny and whimsical – a cedar sided A-frame with a bright green roof and purple trim, complete with a purple star at the point of the A-frame. It sat in a small open area amongst spruce and alder. The hill tumbled down behind it, offering a wide-open view of Kachemak Bay. She’d been in Diamond Creek, Alaska for almost three years. The sun was rising behind the mountains across the bay, streaks of gold and pink reaching into the sky and filtering through the wispy clouds that sat above the mountains this morning. The air was cool and crisp, typical for an Alaskan summer morning. When the sun was high, the chill would dissipate. A faded blue Subaru pulled into the driveway. Susie climbed out of her car, grabbed some fishing gear and walked to Emma’s truck. “Morning! Sorry I’m late,” Susie said. Emma reached over and took a fishing rod out of Susie’s hands.
J.H. Croix (Love Unbroken (Diamond Creek, Alaska #3))
Nella’s colleagues at Wagner weren’t sociopaths. They all knew where one was and was not supposed to pee. But that didn’t make being around them any less stressful. Once you were in close quarters with them each day—once you’d spent more than a year making catatonic small talk around sputtering Keurigs and mottled bathroom sinks and Printer Row, grinning and bearing it while you learned about their new summer homes and their latest European vacations and wondered why you were still making fewer than twenty dollars an hour; once you got used to the fact that almost every time you came into contact with an unknown Black person in your place of work, this person was most likely going to ask you to sign for a package, or offer to fix your computer—it started to grate on you. So much so that, at least once a month, you got up from your desk, sauntered over to the ladies’ room, shut yourself in a stall, and asked yourself, Why am I still here?
Zakiya Dalila Harris (The Other Black Girl)
It was quiet out in the suburbs; the views were open, with no tenements or high-rise blocks to obscure the distant hills. The light was soft and gentle—summer was drifting ever onward and the evening seemed delicate, fragile. We walked in silence, the kind that you didn’t feel the need to fill. I was almost sad when we arrived at the squat, white clubhouse. It was halfway to dark by then, with both a moon and a sun sitting high in a sky that was sugar almond pink and shot with gold. The birds were singing valiantly against the coming night, swooping over the greens in long, drunken loops. The air was grassy, with a hint of flowers and earth, and the warm, sweet outbreath of the day sighed gently into our hair and over our skin. I felt like asking Raymond whether we should keep walking, walk over the rolling greens, keep walking till the birds fell silent in their bowers and we could see only by starlight. It almost felt like he might suggest it himself.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
ON SEPTEMBER 11, I went out and bought a new TV/VCR at Best Buy so I could record the news coverage of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. Trevor was on a honeymoon in Barbados, I’d later learn, but Reva was lost. Reva was gone. I watched the videotape over and over to soothe myself that day. And I continue to watch it, usually on a lonely afternoon, or any other time I doubt that life is worth living, or when I need courage, or when I am bored. Each time I see the woman leap off the Seventy-eighth floor of the North Tower—one high-heeled shoe slipping off and hovering up over her, the other stuck on her foot as though it were too small, her blouse untucked, hair flailing, limbs stiff as she plummets down, one arm raised, like a dive into a summer lake—I am overcome by awe, not because she looks like Reva, and I think it’s her, almost exactly her, and not because Reva and I had been friends, or because I’ll never see her again, but because she is beautiful. There she is, a human being, diving into the unknown, and she is wide awake.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
Yet each time, after consulting her watch, she sat down again at my request, so that in the end she had spent several hours with me without my having demanded anything of her; the things I said to her were related to those I had said during the preceding hours, were totally unconnected with what I was thinking about, what I desired, and remained doggedly parallel to all this. There is nothing like desire for obstructing any resemblance between what one says and what one has on one’s mind. Time presses, and yet it seems as though we were trying to gain time by speaking about things that are utterly alien to the one thing that preoccupies us. We chatter away, whereas the words we should like to utter would have by now been accompanied by a gesture, if indeed we have not – to give ourselves the pleasure of immediate action and to slake the curiosity we feel about the ensuing reactions to it – without a word, without so much as a by-your-leave, already made this gesture. It is true that I was not in the least in love with Albertine: born from the mist outside, she could do no more than satisfy the fanciful desire awakened in me by the change in the weather, poised midway between the desires that are satisfied by culinary arts and by monumental sculpture respectively, because it made me dream both of mingling my flesh with a substance that was different and warm, and of attaching to some point of my recumbent body a divergent body, as Eve’s body is barely attached by the feet to the side of Adam, to whose body hers is almost perpendicular in the Romanesque bas-reliefs in the Balbec cathedral, representing in so noble and so placid a fashion, still almost like a classical frieze, the creation of woman; in them God is followed everywhere, as by two ministers, by two little angels recalling – like the winged, swirling creatures of the summer that winter has caught by surprise and spared – cupids from Herculaneum still surviving well into the thirteenth century, flagging now in their last flight, weary, but never relinquishing the grace we might expect of them, over the whole front of the porch.
Marcel Proust
Permission Granted" You do not have to choose the bruised peach or misshapen pepper others pass over. You don't have to bury your grandmother's keys underneath her camellia bush as the will states. You don't need to write a poem about your grandfather coughing up his lung into that plastic tube—the machine's wheezing almost masking the kvetching sisters in their Brooklyn kitchen. You can let the crows amaze your son without your translation of their cries. You can lie so long under this summer shower your imprint will be left when you rise. You can be stupid and simple as a heifer. Cook plum and apple turnovers in the nude. Revel in the flight of birds without dreaming of flight. Remember the taste of raw dough in your mouth as you edged a pie. Feel the skin on things vibrate. Attune yourself. Close your eyes. Hum. Each beat of the world's pulse demands only that you feel it. No thoughts. Just the single syllable: Yes ... See the homeless woman following the tunings of a dead composer? She closes her eyes and sways with the subways. Follow her down, inside, where the singing resides.
David Allen Sullivan
The deafening report of the next rocket to go up masked my squeak when his hand slipped into my lap. “Oh, God.” I gasped, trying to pretend nothing was happening. Nope, absolutely nothing weird about cuddling with a near-stranger in the presence of my secret ex-lover. The pace of the detonations picked up, cloaking my gasps as the flat of his finger and then his palm rubbed up and down the crotch-seam of my jeans. He brought me right to the quivering brink of blowing my load in my pants, then backed off, cupping his hand almost protectively over the bulge there, covering but not trying to stimulate. “Here’s how it’s gonna be,” he growled in my ear between booms. “When this is over, we’re going back to my room and I’m going to fuck you until you can’t remember your own name. Then, when you can form words of more than one syllable again and string them reliably together into sentences, you’re going to tell me what the hell is going on here. But get this straight in your head: I. Don’t. Hide. Not from anyone, not for any reason. I don’t care what’s going on, if you expect me to be with you, don’t even think of asking me to pretend I’m not. Got it?
Amelia C. Gormley (Saugatuck Summer (Saugatuck, #1))
Della & I are drunk at the top of Mont-Royal. We have an open blue plastic thermos of red wine at our feet. It's the first day of spring & it's midnight & we've been peeling off layers of winter all day. We stand facing each other, as if to exchange vows, chests heaving from racing up & down the mountain to the sky. My face is hurting from smiling so much, aching at the edges of my words. She reaches out to hold my face in her hands, dirty palms form a bowl to rest my chin. I’m standing on a tree stump so we’re eye to eye. It’s hard to stay steady. I worry I may start to drool or laugh, I feel so unhinged from my body. It’s been one of those days I don’t want to end. Our goal was to shirk all responsibility merely to enjoy the lack of everyday obligations, to create fullness & purpose out of each other. Our knees are the colour of the ground-in grass. Our boots are caked in mud caskets. Under our nails is a mixture of minerals & organic matter, knuckles scraped by tree bark. We are the thaw embodied. She says, You have changed me, Eve, you are the single most important person in my life. If you were to leave me, I would die. At that moment, our breath circling from my lungs & into hers, I am changed. Perhaps before this I could describe our relationship as an experiment, a happy accident, but this was irrefutable. I was completely consumed & consuming. It was as though we created some sort of object between us that we could see & almost hold. I would risk everything I’ve ever known to know only this. I wanted to honour her in a way that was understandable to every part of me. It was as though I could distill the meaning of us into something I could pour into a porcelain cup. Our bodies on top of this city, rulers of love. Originally, we were celebrating the fact that I got into Concordia’s visual arts program. But the congratulatory brunch she took me to at Café Santropol had turned into wine, which had turned into a day for declarations. I had a sense of spring in my body, that this season would meld into summer like a running-jump movie kiss. There would be days & days like this. XXXX gone away on a sojurn I didn’t care to note the details of, she simply ceased to be. Summer in Montreal in love is almost too much emotion to hold in an open mouth, it spills over, it causes me to not need any sleep. I don’t think I will ever feel as awake as I did in the summer of 1995.
Zoe Whittall (Bottle Rocket Hearts)
AS SUMMER DWINDLED, my sleep got thin and empty, like a room with white walls and tepid air-conditioning. If I dreamt at all, I dreamt that I was lying in bed. It felt superficial, even boring at times. I’d take a few extra Risperdal and Ambien when I got antsy, thinking about my past. I tried not to think of Trevor. I deleted Reva’s messages without listening to them. I watched Air Force One twelve times on mute. I tried to put everything out of my mind. Valium helped. Ativan helped. Chewable melatonin and Benadryl and NyQuil and Lunesta and temazepam helped. My visit to Dr. Tuttle in September was also banal. Besides the sweltering heat I suffered walking from my building into a cab, and from the cab into Dr. Tuttle’s office, I felt almost nothing. I wasn’t anxious or despondent or resentful or terrified. “How are you feeling?” I stood and pondered the question for five minutes while Dr. Tuttle went around her office turning on an arsenal of fans, all the same make and model, two installed on the radiator under the windows, one on her desk, and two in the corners of the room on the floor. She was impressively nimble. She no longer wore the neck brace. “I’m fine, I think,” I yelled blandly over the roaring hum.
Ottessa Moshfegh (My Year of Rest and Relaxation)
I was most pleasantly surprised, with this chart, to see a Yod pointing at the Moon. After all, what other planet influences changeable behaviour and creates a strong magnetic pull? I am tempted to say that the problem of the Bermuda Triangle has been solved: it was the Moon all along! But it is obviously more complicated than that. For one thing, there is a theory that there is an energy vortex operating through the earth, with a corresponding ‘problem’ area on the other side of the world, based near the west coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean. I noticed when I was looking at my Atlas that these trouble spots are on, or near, the Tropic of Cancer in the north, and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south. Being that these circles are the northern-most and southern-most positions of the Sun as it passes over the earth at the summer and winter solstices, there must be a residue of magnetic energy along those lines. To create a vortex, another energy line must be intersecting each tropical line at a right angle (90°). We can see this energy line on the chart: the Pluto-Midheaven opposition would be operating at full strength, as the critical degree is within 45’ of true (meaning, that the difference between the position of Pluto and the Midheaven, directly overhead, is almost exactly 180°). Because Mars is conjunct to Pluto, also opposite to the Midheaven, stormy weather, previously noted in this book, was raging: a potent combination.
Christopher Miller
It is often said that Vietnam was the first television war. By the same token, Cleveland was the first war over the protection of children to be fought not in the courts, but in the media. By the summer of 1987 Cleveland had become above all, a hot media story. The Daily Mail, for example, had seven reporters, plus its northern editor, based in Middlesbrough full time. Most other news papers and television news teams followed suit. What were all the reporters looking for? Not children at risk. Not abusing adults. Aggrieved parents were the mother lode sought by these prospecting journalists. Many of these parents were only too happy to tell — and in some cases, it would appear, sell— their stories. Those stories are truly extraordinary. In many cases they bore almost no relation to the facts. Parents were allowed - encouraged to portray themselves as the innocent victims of a runaway witch-hunt and these accounts were duly fed to the public. Nowhere in any of the reporting is there any sign of counterbalancing information from child protection workers or the organisations that employed them. Throughout the summer of 1987 newspapers ‘reported’ what they termed a national scandal of innocent families torn apart. The claims were repeated in Parliament and then recycled as established ‘facts’ by the media. The result was that the courts themselves began to be paralysed by the power of this juggernaut of press reporting — ‘journalism’ which created and painstakingly fed a public mood which brooked no other version of the story. (p21)
Sue Richardson (Creative Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Challenges and Dilemmas)
Punishment cells were set up in the two-story cathedral ... Poles the thickness of an arm were set from wall to wall and prisoners were ordered to sit on these poles all day ... one's feet could not reach the ground. And it was not so easy to keep balance ... the prisoner spent the entire day just trying to maintain his perch. If he fell, the jailers jumped in and beat him ... Every little island and every little hillock of the Archipelago had to be encircled by a hostile, stormy Soviet seascape ... Escapes multiplied ... For half a year the sea was frozen over, but not solidly, and in places there was open water, and the snowstorms raged, and the frost bit hard, and things were enveloped in mists and darkness. And in the spring ... there were the long white nights with clear visibility over long distances for the patrolling cutters ... it was only when the nights began to lengthen, in the late summer and the autumn, that the time was right ... for those who were out in work parties, where a prisoner might have freedom of movement and time to build a boat or a raft near the shore ... and to cast off at night ... and strike out at random, hoping above all to encounter a foreign ship ... The whole long history of the Archipelago, about which it has fallen to me to write this home-grown, homemade book, has, in the course of half a century, found in the Soviet Union almost no expression whatever in the printed word. In this a role was played by that same unfortunate happenstance by which camp watchtowers never got into scenes in films nor into landscapes painted by our artists ...
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
Filming was done outside San Antonio, Texas. The scale of the production was vast and complex. Whole battlefields were scrupulously re-created on the plains of Texas. Wellman deployed as many as five thousand extras and sixty airplanes in some scenes—an enormous logistical exercise. The army sent its best aviators from Selfridge Field in Michigan—the very men with whom Lindbergh had just flown to Ottawa—and stunt fliers were used for the more dangerous scenes. Wellman asked a lot of his airmen. One pilot was killed, another broke his neck, and several more sustained other serious injuries. Wellman did some of the more dangerous stunt flying himself. All this gave the movie’s aerial scenes a realism and immediacy that many found almost literally breathtaking. Wellman captured features of flight that had never been caught on film before—the shadows of planes moving across the earth, the sensation of flying through drifting smoke, the stately fall of bombs, and the destructive puffs of impact that follow. Even the land-bound scenes were filmed with a thoughtfulness and originality that set Wings apart. To bring the viewer into a Parisian nightclub, Wellman used a boom shot in which the camera traveled through the room just above table height, skimming over drinks and between revelers, before arriving at the table of Arlen and Rogers. It is an entrancing shot even now, but it was rivetingly novel in 1927. “Wings,” wrote Penelope Gilliatt simply in The New Yorker in 1971, “is truly beautiful.” Wings was selected as best picture at the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929. Wellman, however, wasn’t even invited to the ceremony.
Bill Bryson (One Summer: America, 1927)
My mother had a passion for all fruit except oranges, which she refused to allow in the house. She named each one of us, on a seeming whim, after a fruit and a recipe- Cassis, for her thick black-currant cake. Framboise, her raspberry liqueur, and Reinette after the reine-claude greengages that grew against the south wall of the house, thick as grapes, syrupy with wasps in midsummer. At one time we had over a hundred trees (apples, pears, plums, gages, cherries, quinces), not to mention the raspberry canes and the fields of strawberries, gooseberries, currants- the fruits of which were dried, stored, made into jams and liqueurs and wonderful cartwheel tarts on pâte brisée and crème pâtissière and almond paste. My memories are flavored with their scents, their colors, their names. My mother tended them as if they were her favorite children. Smudge pots against the frost, which we base every spring. And in summer, to keep the birds away, we would tie shapes cut out of silver paper onto the ends of the branches that would shiver and flick-flack in the wind, moose blowers of string drawn tightly across empty tin cans to make eerie bird-frightening sounds, windmills of colored paper that would spin wildly, so that the orchard was a carnival of baubles and shining ribbons and shrieking wires, like a Christmas party in midsummer. And the trees all had names. Belle Yvonne, my mother would say as she passed a gnarled pear tree. Rose d'Aquitane. Beurre du Roe Henry. Her voice at these times was soft, almost monotone. I could not tell whether she was speaking to me or to herself. Conference. Williams. Ghislane de Penthièvre. This sweetness.
Joanne Harris (Five Quarters of the Orange)
Although leaves remained on the beeches and the sunshine was warm, there was a sense of growing emptiness over the wide space of the down. The flowers were sparser. Here and there a yellow tormentil showed in the grass, a late harebell or a few shreds of purple bloom on a brown, crisping tuft of self-heal. But most of the plants still to be seen were in seed. Along the edge of the wood a sheet of wild clematis showed like a patch of smoke, all its sweet-smelling flowers turned to old man's beard. The songs of the insects were fewer and intermittent. Great stretches of the long grass, once the teeming jungle of summer, were almost deserted, with only a hurrying beetle or a torpid spider left out of all the myriads of August. The gnats still danced in the bright air, but the swifts that had swooped for them were gone and instead of their screaming cries in the sky, the twittering of a robin sounded from the top of a spindle tree. The fields below the hill were all cleared. One had already been plowed and the polished edges of the furrows caught the light with a dull glint, conspicuous from the ridge above. The sky, too, was void, with a thin clarity like that of water. In July the still blue, thick as cream, had seemed close above the green trees, but now the blue was high and rare, the sun slipped sooner to the west and, once there, foretold a touch of frost, sinking slow and big and drowsy, crimson as the rose hips that covered the briar. As the wind freshened from the south, the red and yellow beech leaves rasped together with a brittle sound, harsher than the fluid rustle of earlier days. It was a time of quiet departures, of the sifting away of all that was not staunch against winter.
Richard Adams (Watership Down: Bigwig Learns a Lesson (Watership Down Mini Treasures))
Have you done anything that’s like that?” he asked. So I had to tell him. “You’re not going to like it. But I was very lonely and very desperate. I was doing a magic for protection against my mother, because she kept sending me terrible dreams all the time. And while I was at it, I did a magic to find me a karass.” He looked blank. “What’s a karass?” “You haven’t read Vonnegut? Oh well, you’d like him I think. Start with Cat’s Cradle. But anyway, a karass is a group of people who are genuinely connected together. And the opposite is a granfalloon, a group that has a fake kind of connection, like all being in school together. I did a magic to find me friends.” He actually recoiled, almost knocking his chair over. “And you think it worked?” “The day after, Greg invited me to the book group.” I let that hang there while he filled in the implications for himself. “But we’d been meeting for months already. You just … found us.” “I hope so,” I said. “But I didn’t know anything about it before. I’d never seen any indication of it, or of fandom either.” I looked at him. He was rarer than a unicorn, a beautiful boy in a red-checked shirt who read and thought and talked about books. How much of his life had my magic touched, to make him what he was? Had he even existed before? Or what had he been? There’s no knowing, no way to know. He was here now, and I was, and that was all. “But I was there,” he said. “I was going to it. I know it was there. I was at Seacon in Brighton last summer.” “Er’ perrhenne,” I said, with my best guess at pronunciation. I am used to people being afraid of me, but I don’t really like it. I don’t suppose even Tiberius really liked it. But after a horrible instant his face softened. “It must have just found us for you. You couldn’t have changed all that,” he said, and picking up his Vimto, drained the bottle.
Jo Walton (Among Others)
The front door is locked—what’s up with that?” “Logan fixed the lock,” I tell her. Her bright red, heart-shaped mouth smiles. “Good job, Kevin Costner. You should staple the key to Ellie’s forehead, though, or she’ll lose it.” She has names for the other guys too and when her favorite guard, Tommy Sullivan, walks in a few minutes later, Marlow uses his. “Hello, Delicious.” She twirls her honey-colored, bouncy hair around her finger, cocking her hip and tilting her head like a vintage pinup girl. Tommy, the fun-loving super-flirt, winks. “Hello, pretty, underage lass.” Then he nods to Logan and smiles at me. “Lo . . . Good morning, Miss Ellie.” “Hey, Tommy.” Marlow struts forward. “Three months, Tommy. Three months until I’m a legal adult—then I’m going to use you, abuse you and throw you away.” The dark-haired devil grins. “That’s my idea of a good date.” Then he gestures toward the back door. “Now, are we ready for a fun day of learning?” One of the security guys has been walking me to school ever since the public and press lost their minds over Nicholas and Olivia’s still-technically-unconfirmed relationship. They make sure no one messes with me and they drive me in the tinted, bulletproof SUV when it rains—it’s a pretty sweet deal. I grab my ten-thousand-pound messenger bag from the corner. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Elle—you should have a huge banger here tonight!” says Marlow. Tommy and Logan couldn’t have synced up better if they’d practiced: “No fucking way.” Marlow holds up her hands, palms out. “Did I say banger?” “Huge banger,” Tommy corrects. “No—no fucking way. I meant, we should have a few friends over to . . . hang out. Very few. Very mature. Like . . . almost a study group.” I toy with my necklace and say, “That actually sounds like a good idea.” Throwing a party when your parents are away is a rite-of-high-school passage. And after this summer, Liv will most likely never be away again. It’s now or never. “It’s a terrible idea.” Logan scowls. He looks kinda scary when he scowls. But still hot. Possibly, hotter. Marlow steps forward, her brass balls hanging out and proud. “You can’t stop her—that’s not your job. It’s like when the Bush twins got busted in that bar with fake IDs or Malia was snapped smoking pot at Coachella. Secret Service couldn’t stop them; they just had to make sure they didn’t get killed.” Tommy slips his hands in his pockets, laid back even when he’s being a hardass. “We could call her sister. Even from an ocean away, I’d bet she’d stop her.” “No!” I jump a little. “No, don’t bother Liv. I don’t want her worrying.” “We could board up the fucking doors and windows,” Logan suggests. ’Cause that’s not overkill or anything. I move in front of the two security guards and plead my case. “I get why you’re concerned, okay? But I have this thing—it’s like my motto. I want to suck the lemon.” Tommy’s eyes bulge. “Suck what?” I laugh, shaking my head. Boys are stupid. “You know that saying, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’?—well, I want to suck the lemon dry.” Neither of them seems particularly impressed. “I want to live every bit of life, experience everything it has to offer, good and bad.” I lift my jeans to show my ankle—and the little lemon I’ve drawn there. “See? When I’m eighteen, I’m going to get this tattooed on for real. As a reminder to live as much and as hard and as awesome as I can—to not take anything for granted. And having my friends over tonight is part of that.” I look back and forth between them. Tommy’s weakening—I can feel it. Logan’s still a brick wall. “It’ll be small. And quiet—I swear. Totally controlled. And besides, you guys will be here with me. What could go wrong?” Everything. Everything goes fucking wrong.
Emma Chase (Royally Endowed (Royally, #3))
In order to explain what that was, I must start by describing the encounter between myself and the sun. In fact, this experience occurred on two occasions. It often happens that, long before the decisive meeting with a person from whom only death can thereafter part one, there is a brief brush elsewhere with that same person occurring with almost total unawareness on both sides. So it was with my encounter with the sun. My first—unconscious—encounter was in the summer of the defeat, in the year 1945. A relentless sun blazed down on the lush grass of that summer that lay on the borderline between the war and the postwar period—a borderline, in fact, that was nothing more than a line of barbed wire entanglements, half broken down, half buried in the summer weeds, tilting in all directions. I walked in the sun’s rays, but had no clear understanding of the meaning they held for me. Finespun and impartial, the summer sunlight poured down prodigally on all creation alike. The war ended, yet the deep green weeds were lit exactly as before by the merciless light of noon, a clearly perceived hallucination stirring in a slight breeze; brushing the tips of the leaves with my fingers, I was astonished that they did not vanish at my touch. That same sun, as the days turned to months and the months to years, had become associated with a pervasive corruption and destruction. In part, it was the way it gleamed so encouragingly on the wings of planes leaving on missions, on forests of bayonets, on the badges of military caps, on the embroidery of military banners; but still more, far more, it was the way it glistened on the blood flowing ceaselessly from the flesh, and on the silver bodies of flies clustering on wounds. Holding sway over corruption, leading youth in droves to its death in tropical seas and countrysides, the sun lorded it over that vast rusty-red ruin that stretched away to the distant horizon.
Yukio Mishima (Sun & Steel)
I hung up the phone after saying good night to Marlboro Man, this isolated cowboy who hadn’t had the slightest probably picking up the phone to say “I miss you.” I shuddered at the thought of how long I’d gone without it. And judging from the electrical charges searing through every cell of my body, I realized just how fundamental a human need it really is. It was as fundamental a human need, I would learn, as having a sense of direction in the dark. I suddenly realized I was lost on the long dirt road, more lost than I’d ever been before. The more twists and turns I took in my attempt to find my bearings, the worse my situation became. It was almost midnight, and it was cold, and each intersection looked like the same one repeating over and over. I found myself struck with an illogical and indescribable panic--the kind that causes you to truly believe you’ll never, ever escape from where you are, even though you almost always will. As I drove, I remembered every horror movie I’d ever watched that had taken place in a rural setting. Children of the Corn. The children of the corn were lurking out there in the tall grass, I just knew it. Friday the 13th. Sure, it had taken place at a summer camp, but the same thing could happen on a cattle ranch. And The Texas Chain Saw Massacre? Oh no. I was dead. Leatherface was coming--or even worse, his freaky, emaciated, misanthropic brother. I kept driving for a while, then stopped on the side of the road. Shining my brights on the road in front of me, I watched out for Leatherface while dialing Marlboro Man on my car phone. My pulse was rapid out of sheer terror and embarrassment; my face was hot. Lost and helpless on a county road the same night I’d emotionally decompensated in his kitchen--this was not exactly the image I was dying to project to this new man in my life. But I had no other option, short of continuing to drive aimlessly down one generic road after another or parking on the side of the road and going to sleep, which really wasn’t an option at all, considering Norman Bates was likely wandering around the area. With Ted Bundy. And Charles Manson. And Grendel.
Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels)
The Outer Cape is famous for a dazzling quality of light that is like no other place on Earth. Some of the magic has to do with the land being surrounded by water, but it’s also because that far north of the equator, the sunlight enters the atmosphere at a low angle. Both factors combine to leave everything it bathes both softer and more defined. For centuries writers, poets, and fine artists have been trying to capture its essence. Some have succeeded, but most have only sketched its truth. That’s no reflection of their talent, because no matter how beautiful the words or stunning the painting, Provincetown’s light has to be experienced. The light is one thing, but there is also the way everything smells. Those people lucky enough to have experienced the Cape at its best—and most would agree it’s sometime in the late days of summer when everything has finally been toasted by the sun—know that simply walking on the beach through the tall seagrass and rose hip bushes to the ocean, the air redolent with life, is almost as good as it gets. If in that moment someone was asked to choose between being able to see or smell, they would linger over their decision, realizing the temptation to forsake sight for even one breath of Cape Cod in August. Those aromas are as lush as any rain forest, as sweet as any rose garden, as distinct as any memory the body holds. Anyone who spent a week in summer camp on the Cape can be transported back to that spare cabin in the woods with a single waft of a pine forest on a rainy day. Winter alters the Cape, but it doesn’t entirely rob it of magic. Gone are the soft, warm scents of suntan oil and sand, replaced by a crisp, almost cruel cold. And while the seagrass and rose hips bend toward the ground and seagulls turn their backs to a bitter wind, the pine trees thrive through the long, dark months of winter, remaining tall over the hibernation at their feet. While their sap may drain into the roots and soil until the first warmth of spring, their needles remain fragrant through the coldest month, the harshest storm. And on any particular winter day on the Outer Cape, if one is blessed enough to take a walk in the woods on a clear, cold, windless day, they will realize the air and ocean and trees all talk the same language and declare We are alive. Even in the depths of winter: we are alive. It
Liza Rodman (The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer)
Almost as though this thought had fluttered through the open window, Vernon Dursley, Harry’s uncle, suddenly spoke. “Glad to see the boy’s stopped trying to butt in. Where is he anyway?” “I don’t know,” said Aunt Petunia unconcernedly. “Not in the house.” Uncle Vernon grunted. “Watching the news . . .” he said scathingly. “I’d like to know what he’s really up to. As if a normal boy cares what’s on the news — Dudley hasn’t got a clue what’s going on, doubt he knows who the Prime Minister is! Anyway, it’s not as if there’d be anything about his lot on our news —” “Vernon, shh!” said Aunt Petunia. “The window’s open!” “Oh — yes — sorry, dear . . .” The Dursleys fell silent. Harry listened to a jingle about Fruit ’N Bran breakfast cereal while he watched Mrs. Figg, a batty, cat-loving old lady from nearby Wisteria Walk, amble slowly past. She was frowning and muttering to herself. Harry was very pleased that he was concealed behind the bush; Mrs. Figg had recently taken to asking him around for tea whenever she met him in the street. She had rounded the corner and vanished from view before Uncle Vernon’s voice floated out of the window again. “Dudders out for tea?” “At the Polkisses’,” said Aunt Petunia fondly. “He’s got so many little friends, he’s so popular . . .” Harry repressed a snort with difficulty. The Dursleys really were astonishingly stupid about their son, Dudley; they had swallowed all his dim-witted lies about having tea with a different member of his gang every night of the summer holidays. Harry knew perfectly well that Dudley had not been to tea anywhere; he and his gang spent every evening vandalizing the play park, smoking on street corners, and throwing stones at passing cars and children. Harry had seen them at it during his evening walks around Little Whinging; he had spent most of the holidays wandering the streets, scavenging newspapers from bins along the way. The opening notes of the music that heralded the seven o’clock news reached Harry’s ears and his stomach turned over. Perhaps tonight — after a month of waiting — would be the night — “Record numbers of stranded holidaymakers fill airports as the Spanish baggage-handlers’ strike reaches its second week —” “Give ’em a lifelong siesta, I would,” snarled Uncle Vernon over the end of the newsreader’s sentence, but no matter: Outside in the flower bed, Harry’s stomach seemed to unclench.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Some years ago I saw a documentary on dying whose main theme was that people die as they lived. That was Jimmy. For five years, since he began undergoing operations for bladder cancer and even after his lung cancer was diagnosed, he continued the activities that he considered important, marching against crackhouses, campaigning against the demolition of the Ford Auditorium, organizing Detroit Summer, making speeches, and writing letters to the editor and articles for the SOSAD newsletter and Northwest Detroiter. In 1992 while he was undergoing the chemotherapy that cleared up his bladder cancer, he helped form the Coalition against Privatization and to Save Our City. The coalition was initiated by activist members of a few AFSCME locals who contacted Carl Edwards and Alice Jennings who in turn contacted us. Jimmy helped write the mission statement that gave the union activists a sense of themselves as not only city workers but citizens of the city and its communities. The coalition’s town meetings and demonstrations were instrumental in persuading the new mayor, Dennis Archer, to come out against privatization, using language from the coalition newsletter to explain his position. At the same time Jimmy was putting out the garbage, keeping our corner at Field and Goethe free of litter and rubbish, mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors, picking cranberries, and keeping up “his” path on Sutton. After he entered the hospice program, which usually means death within six months, and up to a few weeks before his death, Jimmy slowed down a bit, but he was still writing and speaking and organizing. He used to say that he wasn’t going to die until he got ready, and because he was so cheerful and so engaged it was easy to believe him. A few weeks after he went on oxygen we did three movement-building workshops at the SOSAD office for a group of Roger Barfield’s friends who were trying to form a community-action group following a protest demonstration at a neighborhood sandwich shop over the murder of one of their friends. With oxygen tubes in his nostrils and a portable oxygen tank by his side, Jimmy spoke for almost an hour on one of his favorite subjects, the need to “think dialectically, rather than biologically.” Recognizing that this was probably one of Jimmy’s last extended speeches, I had the session videotaped by Ron Scott. At the end of this workshop we asked participants to come to the next session prepared to grapple with three questions: What can we do to make our neighborhoods safe? How can we motivate people to transform? How can we create jobs?
Grace Lee Boggs (Living for Change: An Autobiography)
He watched her pace toward him. She stopped just short of his chair and looked down at him. Her loose hair slipped over her shoulder. “I remember something. I’m not sure if it happened or not. Will you tell me?” “Yes,” he whispered. “I remember lying with you on the lawn of the imperial palace’s spring garden.” He shifted. Lamplight pulsed over his face. He shook his head. “I remember finding you in your suite.” This memory was coming to her now. It had a similar flavor as the last one. “I promised to tell you my secrets. You held a book. Or kindling? You were making a fire.” “That didn’t happen.” “I kissed you.” She touched the hollow at the base of his neck. His pulse was wild. “Not then,” he said finally. “But I have before.” There was a rush of images. It was as if the melody she’d imagined while lying in the dark had been dunked in the green liquor. All the cold stops gained heat and ran together. It was easy to remember Arin, especially now. Her hand slid to his chest. The cotton of his shirt was hot. “Your kitchens. A table. Honey and flour.” His heart slammed against her palm. “Yes.” “A carriage.” “Yes.” “A balcony.” Breath escaped him like a laugh. “Almost.” “I remember falling asleep in your bed when you weren’t here.” He pulled back slightly, searched her face. “That didn’t happen.” “Yes it did.” His mouth parted, but he didn’t speak. The blacks of his eyes were bright. She wondered what it would be like to give her body what it wanted. It knew something she didn’t. Her heart sped, her blood was lush in her veins. “The first day,” she said. “Last summer. Your hair was a mess. I wanted to sweep it back and make you meet my eyes. I wanted to see you.” His chest rose and fell beneath her hand. “I don’t know. I can’t--I don’t know what you wanted.” “I never said?” “No.” She lowered her mouth to his. She tasted him: the raw burn of liquor on his tongue. She felt him swallow, heard the low, dry sound of it. He pulled her down to him, tangled his hands in her hair, sucked the breath from her lips. She became uncertain whose breath was whose. He kissed her back, fingertips fanning across her face, then gone, nowhere. Then: a light touch along the curve of her hip, just barely. A stone skipping the surface of the water. “Strange,” he murmured into her mouth. She wasn’t listening. She was rippling, the sensation spreading wide. Stone on water, dimpled pockets of pressure. The wait for the stone to finally drop down. Suddenly she knew--or thought she knew--what he found strange as he traced where a dagger should have been. To see a part of her missing. She felt her missing pieces, the stark gaps. She was arrested by the thought (it pierced her, sharp and surreal) that she had become transparent, that if he touched her again his hand would go right through her, into air, into the empty spaces of who she was now.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3))
Gudrun had a rough time when she got to Florida. Not only did Katina assert her dominance by raking and shoving the newcomer, but SeaWorld began breeding her almost immediately. She was locked in a back pool with Kanduke, who chased her around the tank, trying to penetrate her over and over, and often succeeding. What seemed like serial rape to Jeff produced the birth of Taima, the unpredictable Transient-Icelandic hybrid, in July 1989. Born during a summer storm, her name was a Native American word for 'crash of thunder.' It would prove to be an appropriate moniker.
David Kirby (Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity)
Foreword Reviews Magazine. Foreword Reviews. Summer 2014 issue. "By way of introduction to Vivienne Kruger’s Balinese Food, bear in mind that eight degrees south of the equator, this modest-sized lava rich, emerald green island rests among the 17,508 remote, culturally distinct constellation of Indonesian islands. It is home to three million mortals who believe they are protected by an unfathomable number of Bali-Hindu goddesses and gods that inhabit the island’s sacred mountain peaks. The Balinese are unlike almost any other island people in that they are suspicious, even distrustful of the sea, believing mischievous spirits and negative powers dwell there—the underworld, as it were. Yes, they eat seafood, they just mostly let other Indonesians do the fetching. Fittingly, Kruger’s masterful use of language; dogged, on the ground conversations with thousands of Balinese cooks and farmers; and disarming humanity leads to a culinary-minded compendium unlike almost any other. Bali, you got the scribe you deserved. What made Kruger’s work even more impressive is the fact that almost nothing about Balinese food history has been written down over the years. She writes: “Like so many other traditions in Bali, cooking techniques and eating habits are passed down verbally by elders to their children and grandchildren who help in the kitchen. However, Indonesia has an old orally transmitted food culture because the pleasure of storytelling is entwined with the pleasure and effort of cooking and eating.” Balinese Food is framed around twenty-one chapters, including the all-important Sacred Ceremonial Cuisine, Traditional Village Foods, the Cult of Rice, Balinese Pig, Balinese Duck, and specialized cooking techniques like saté, banana leaf wrappers, and the use of bumbu, a sacred, powerful dry spice paste mixture. In the chapter Seafood in Bali, she lists a popular, fragrant accompaniment called Sambal Matah—chopped shallots, red chilies, coconut oil, and kaffir lime juice—that is always served raw and fresh, in this case, alongside a simple recipe for grilled tuna. An outstanding achievement in the realm of island cooking and Indonesian history, Balinese Food showcases the Balinese people in the most flattering of ways.
Foreword Reviews Magazine
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T'was just any summer night While skimming over keychains A hand brushed against mine - Warm and tingling against my skin I gaped at you More amused than annoyed And saw your lips slightly curve at the side Bastard, smirking little bastard Truthfully, I almost can't help returning back that smile.
My own
firmly by the shoulders. Jon says, ‘How the hell did you ever get keys for this place?’ I chuckle, though there is really nothing to laugh about. It is the irony, I suppose. ‘The first summer I was here, I landed one day to find that the Lighthouse Board had sent in decorators to paint the place. Everything was opened up. The guys were okay with me taking a look around and we got chatting. The forecast was good, and they expected to be here for a few days. So I spun them the story about writing a book and said I would probably be back tomorrow. And I was. Only this time with a pack of Blu-tack. When they were having their lunch, I took the keys from the inner and outer doors and made impressions. Dead simple. Had keys cut, and access to the place whenever I wanted thereafter.’ The final panel falls away in my hands, and I reach in to retrieve a black plastic bag. I hand it up to Jon, and he peels back the plastic to look inside. As I stand up, I lift one of the wooden panels. I know that this is the one chance I will get, while he is distracted, and I swing the panel at his head as hard as I can. The force with which it hits him sends a judder back up my arms to my shoulders, and I actually hear it snap. He falls to his knees, dropping the hard drive, and his gun skids away across the floor. Sally is so startled, she barely has time to move before I punch her hard in the face. I feel teeth breaking beneath the force of my knuckles, behind lips I once kissed with tenderness and lust. Blood bubbles at her mouth. I grab Karen by the arm and hustle her fast down the corridor, kicking open the door and dragging her out into the night. The storm hits us with a force that assails all the senses. The wind is deafening, driving stinging rain horizontally into our faces. The cold wraps icy fingers around us, instantly numbing. Beyond the protection of the walls, it is worse, and I find it nearly impossible to keep my feet as I pull my daughter off into the dark. Only the relentless turning of the lamp in the light room above us provides any illumination. We turn right, and I know that almost immediately the island drops away into a chasm that must be two or three hundred feet deep. I can hear the ocean rushing into it. Snarling, snapping at the rocks below and sending an amplified roar almost straight up into the air. I guide Karen away from it, half-dragging her, until we reach a small cluster of rocks and I push her flat into the ground behind them. I tear away the tape that binds her wrists, then roll her on to her back to peel away the strip of it over her mouth. She gasps, almost choking, and I feel her body next to mine, racked by sobs, as she
Peter May (Coffin Road)
He pulled her upright and they stood facing each other, her hands in his. Again with the held breaths, the locked gazes. Twice in a row. It was almost too much! And Jane wanted to stay in that moment with him so much, her belly ached with the desire. “Your hands are cold,” he said, looking at her fingers. She waited. They had never practiced this part and the flimsy play gave no directions, such as, Kiss the girl, you fool. She leaned in a tiny bit. He warmed her hands. “So…” she said. “I suppose we know our scene, more or less,” he said. Was he going to kiss her? No, it seemed nobody ever kissed in Regency England. So what was happening? And what did it mean to fall in love in Austenland anyway? Jane stepped back, the weird anxiety of his nearness suddenly making her heart beat so hard it hurt. “We should probably return. Curtain, or bedsheet, I should say, is in two hours.” “Right. Of course,” he said, though he seemed a little sorry. The evening had pulled down over them, laying chill like morning dew on her arms, right through her clothes and into her bones. Though she was wearing her wool pelisse, she shivered as they walked back to the house. He gave her his jacket. “This theatrical hasn’t been as bad as you expected,” Jane said. “Not so bad. No worse than idle novel reading or croquet.” “You make any entertainment sound like taking cod liver oil.” “Maybe I am growing weary of this place.” He hesitated, as though he’d said too much, which made Jane wonder if the real mad had spoken. He cleared his throat. “Of the country, I mean. I will return to London soon for the season, and the renovations on my estate will be completed by summer. It will be good to be home, to feel something permanent. I tire of the guests who come and go in the country, their only goal to find some kind of amusement, their sentiments shallow. It wears on a person.” He met her eyes. “I may not return to Pembrook Park. Will you?” “No, I’m pretty sure I won’t.” Another ending. Jane’s chest tightened, and she surprised herself to identify the feeling as panic. It was already the night of the play. The ball was two days away. Her departure came in three. Not so soon! Clearly she was swimming much deeper in Austenland waters than she’d anticipated. And loving it. She was growing used to slippers and empire waists, she felt naked outside without a bonnet, during drawing room evenings her mouth felt natural exploring the kinds of words that Austen might’ve written. And when this man entered the room, she had more fun than she had in four years of college combined. It was all feeling…perfect.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
D’aron the Daring, Derring, Derring-do, stealing base, christened D’aron Little May Davenport, DD to Nana, initials smothered in Southern-fried kisses, dat Wigga D who like Jay Z aw-ite, who’s down, Scots-Irish it is, D’aron because you’re brave says Dad, No, D’aron because you’re daddy’s daddy was David and then there was mines who was named Aaron, Doo-doo after cousin Quint blew thirty-six months in vo-tech on a straight-arm bid and they cruised out to Little Gorge glugging Green Grenades and read three years’ worth of birthday cards, Little Mays when he hit those three homers in the Pee Wee playoff, Dookie according to his aunt Boo (spiteful she was, misery indeed loves company), Mr. Hanky when they discovered he TIVOed ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ Faggot when he hugged John Meer in third grade, Faggot again when he drew hearts on everyone’s Valentine’s Day cards in fourth grade, Dim Dong-Dong when he undressed in the wrong dressing room because he daren’t venture into the dark end of the gym, Philadelphia Freedom when he was caught clicking heels to that song (Tony thought he was clever with that one), Mr. Davenport when he won the school’s debate contest in eighth grade, Faggot again when he won the school’s debate contest in eighth grade, Faggot again more times than he cared to remember, especially the summer he returned from Chicago sporting a new Midwest accent, harder on the vowels and consonants alike, but sociable, played well with others that accent did, Faggot again when he cried at the end of ‘WALL-E,’ Donut Hole when he started to swell in ninth grade, Donut Black Hole when he continued to put on weight in tenth grade (Tony thought he was really clever with that one), Buttercup when they caught him gardening, Hippie when he stopped hunting, Faggot again when he became a vegetarian and started wearing a MEAT IS MURDER pin (Oh yeah, why you craving mine then?), Faggot again when he broke down in class over being called Faggot, Sissy after that, whispered, smothered in sniggers almost hidden, Ron-Ron by the high school debate team coach because he danced like a cross between Morrissey and some fat old black guy (WTF?) in some old-ass show called ‘What’s Happening!!’, Brainiac when he aced the PSATs for his region, Turd Nerd when he hung with Jo-Jo and the Black Bruiser, D’ron Da’ron, D’aron, sweet simple Daron the first few minutes of the first class of the first day of college.
T. Geronimo Johnson (Welcome to Braggsville)
It doesn’t take a farm to invoke the iron taste of leaving in your mouth. Anyone who loves a small plot of ground — a city garden, a vacant lot with some guerilla beds, a balcony of pots — understands the almost physical hurt of parting from it, even for a minor stint. I hurt every day I wake up in our city bed, wondering how the light will be changing over the front field or across the pond, whether the moose will be in the willow by the cabin again, if the wren has fledged her young ones yet and we’ll return to find the box untended. I can feel where the farm is at any point in my day, not out of some arcane sixth sense developed from years of summer nights out there with the coyotes under the stars, but because of the bond between that earth and this body. Some grounds we choose; some are our instinctive homes.
Jenna Butler (A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail)
I heard a noise from my bedroom and jumped, almost knocking over the goblet intended for Narian, and spilling some of the sleep-inducing drug London had given me. I brushed it over the mantel’s edge and into the barren fireplace where it would not be seen, reminding myself to behave normally. “Are you all right?” Narian had entered the parlor and was scrutinizing me from across the room. “Of course,” I said, forcing a cheerful tone. His eyes darted around the room’s perimeter. “You just…look pale.” “There’s hardly any light. So how can you tell--am I glowing?” He smiled, relaxing a little. “Sit down and have some wine with me,” I invited, moving to the sofa. He joined me, and I offered him the tainted drink, which he accepted with a puzzled expression. “You’re shaking, Alera.” “I’m cold.” “It’s quite warm.” “But the evening temperatures drop quickly now that summer’s sultriness has passed. The wine helps.” I took a sip from my goblet, deliberately stilling my hand. “So would a quilt,” he pointed out. “You detest wine.” I laughed uncomfortably, trying not to recoil at the flavor of the drink.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
I heard a noise from my bedroom and jumped, almost knocking over the goblet intended for Narian, and spilling some of the sleep-inducing drug London had given me. I brushed it over the mantel’s edge and into the barren fireplace where it would not be seen, reminding myself to behave normally. “Are you all right?” Narian had entered the parlor and was scrutinizing me from across the room. “Of course,” I said, forcing a cheerful tone. His eyes darted around the room’s perimeter. “You just…look pale.” “There’s hardly any light. So how can you tell--am I glowing?” He smiled, relaxing a little. “Sit down and have some wine with me,” I invited, moving to the sofa. He joined me, and I offered him the tainted drink, which he accepted with a puzzled expression. “You’re shaking, Alera.” “I’m cold.” “It’s quite warm.” “But the evening temperatures drop quickly now that summer’s sultriness has passed. The wine helps.” I took a sip from my goblet, deliberately stilling my hand. “So would a quilt,” he pointed out. “You detest wine.” I laughed uncomfortably, trying not to recoil at the flavor of the drink. Narian was taking his time. Did he suspect there was something wrong? He knew there was something wrong with me, yes, but perhaps the wine smelled off and it had alerted him. London had given me an abundance of the herb, whatever it was, and I had used it all. Narian let go of his reservations and lifted the goblet to his lips, and nausea hit me full force. London believed Narian to be nothing more than a dangerous weapon, one that would fight against us, and he was right that I was the only one around whom Narian would lower his guard. Would London, thinking of the greater good, be willing to use me to poison and kill his enemy? “Stop!” I cried, reaching out to grab the goblet and spilling wine all over the rug. Narian leaped to his feet, tensed for a fight, and I burst into tears. “Alera, what is it?” he asked, not sympathetic, but demanding and urgent. I was gasping, unable to catch my breath and feeling like I might vomit. “It’s London. He asked me to drug you. He said I had to do it, for Hytanica.” “Where is he?” “I don’t know. He left. He said their plan was to kill the sentries on the wall and close the city. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” I wasn’t sure to whom I was apologizing, or even for what exactly, but the guilt was close to unbearable. I put my hands over my face, my heart splintering at the thought of every one of the night’s possible outcomes. Narian ran to the door, and I summoned the strength to follow him. We flew down the Grand Staircase, where he snapped orders to the Cokyrian guards at the doors. “Rouse Rava and alert the soldiers on duty to monitor the city walls. There is a rebel party waiting to strike and I want them caught, now. Bring them here alive.” The guards left to carry out his instructions, and Narian turned to me. “Alera, I will do everything I can to protect the people you care about, you know that. But I will not be focused unless I know you are safe. Please, stay here.” I nodded, despite my desire to do anything except stay put, and he kissed me deeply right in the middle of the Grand Entry Hall, without a care for secrecy. “Be safe,” I murmured, watching him go.
Cayla Kluver (Sacrifice (Legacy, #3))
I’m sorry, Mr. Chavez,” the club’s young assistant reception manager, Talya, said. “This is a private club. If you’re not a member, your name has to be on the guest list.” Luis Chavez sighed. He wasn’t here by choice. “I was told to come here at this time,” Luis replied. “By whom?” Talya asked. Luis watched her eyes weigh his appearance. He was in black pants, heavy black shoes, and wore a gray jacket zipped up to his Adam’s apple even though it was almost summer. He was clean shaven with short black hair. That he wasn’t representative of the club’s regular clientele wasn’t even a question. “Mr. Alazraqui.” “I’m sorry. We don’t have a member by that name or anyone on our guest list.” Luis nodded. His job was done. He could go home in good conscience. “My mistake,” Luis said, nodding to the young woman. He turned and was almost out the door when a white Mercedes SUV rolled up to the valet stand just outside in the sublevel parking garage. Its driver was a large Hispanic man practically bursting through the seams of an off-white suit and mustard-yellow shirt. Even though he was only an inch or two taller than Luis’s diminutive five foot three, his expansive girth caused him to dwarf Luis. Talya stepped past Luis to open the door for him. “Good morning, Mr. Mata!” Mata nodded a greeting at her and stepped through the door. As soon as the big man was through, Talya jogged ahead to ring for an elevator. Though the club’s entrance was in a parking garage, the club itself was an elevator ride up to the ninth floor. “Have a good breakfast, sir.” Luis had just located the valet ticket in his pocket when he heard the older man’s voice. “Padre?” Luis winced. “Oh, is Mr. Chavez a guest of yours?” Talya asked. “He’s the priest. To deliver the benediction.” Luis caught the surprised look on Talya’s face, then felt Mata’s heavy hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Padre. Let’s get you upstairs.” As soon as they were inside the elevator, Mata nodded to the tiny strip of white peering over the top of Luis’s jacket. “Why didn’t you flash the collar?” Mata asked. “Waited too late,” Luis admitted. “Would’ve felt like a jerk.” “Ah,” Mata said, laughing. “Guess enough people out there think priests are assholes, huh?” Luis didn’t reply.
Mark Wheaton (Fields of Wrath (Luis Chavez, #1))
I told you not to get wounded," she point out calmly. "You did," he agreed with a slow, thoughtful nod. "And, I tried very hard to please you, mate, but that Vanderale brat seemed to think his own hide was more important than mine and used me for a shield." Oh, now this was just wrong. He was blatantly lying to her. Blatantly, playfully. Almost flirtatiously lying to her. She had already heard the details when he was first brought in, but she turned to Jonas and Dane where they stood behind her anyway. Both men were glaring at her mate. Her brow arched inquisitively. "Vanderale brat?" she asked Dane curiously. He grunted at the insult. "Next time, I'll throw him to the damned Coyotes." "Looks like he's going to live, anyway," Jonas drawled as he watched Lawe broodingly. "You acted like you actually missed having bullets whine past your head." Lawe grinned. The sight of that smile did something to her. It melted her insides. Like butter on a hot summer day she could feel emotion just oozing through her, over-taking her, seeping into all the little hidden, previously locked areas of her soul to fill her with a sense of rich, sudden life. "And I believe that's our cue to leave," Dane murmured. "Damned Breed sense of smell.
Lora Leigh (Lawe's Justice (Breeds, #18; Feline Breeds, #15))
One of the most overlooked aspects of excellence is how much work it takes. Fame can come easily and overnight, but excellence is almost always accompanied by a crushing workload, pursued with single-minded intensity. Strenuous effort over long periods of time is a repetitive theme in the biographies of the giants, sometimes taking on mythic proportions (Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel). Even the most famous supposed exception, Mozart, illustrates the rule. He was one of the lighter spirits among the giants, but his reputation for composing effortlessly was overstated—Mozart himself complained on more than one occasion that it wasn’t as easy as it looked1—and his devotion to his work was as single-minded as Beethoven’s, who struggled with his compositions more visibly. Consider the summer of 1788. Mozart was living in a city that experienced bread riots that summer and in a country that was mobilizing for war. He was financially desperate, forced to pawn his belongings to move to cheaper rooms. He even tried to sell the pawnbroker’s tickets to get more loans. Most devastating of all, his beloved six-month old daughter died in June. And yet in June, July, and August, he completed two piano trios, a piano sonata, a violin sonata, and three symphonies, two of them among his most famous.2 It could not have been done except by someone who, as Mozart himself once put it, is “soaked in music,…immersed in it all day long.”3 Psychologists have put specific dimensions to this aspect of accomplishment. One thread of this literature, inaugurated in the early 1970s by Herbert Simon, argues that expertise in a subject requires a person to assimilate about 50,000 “chunks” of information about the subject over about 10 years of experience—simple expertise, not the mastery that is associated with great accomplishment.4 Once expertise is achieved, it is followed by thousands of hours of practice, study, labor.5 Nor is all of this work productive. What we see of the significant figures’ work is typically shadowed by an immense amount of wasted effort—most successful creators produce clunkers, sometimes far more clunkers than gems.6
Charles Murray (Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950)
My eyes widened at this jungle of freshness, the earth on the ground. The back wall, around thirty feet high, burst with terra-cotta pots filled with every herb imaginable- basil, thyme, coriander, parsley, oregano, dill, rosemary, and lavender. There were tomatoes of almost every variety beaming with colors of red, dark purple, yellow, and green. Lemon trees. Avocados. Lettuces, like roquette and feuille de chêne. Zucchinis and eggplants. Fennel, celeriac, artichokes, and cucumbers. Leeks, asparagus, cabbages, and shallots, oh my. I exhaled a happy breath. This explosion of color, this climate-controlled greenhouse, was every chef's idea of heaven. I ran my hands over the leaves of a cœur de bœuf tomato plant and brought my fingers to my nose, breathing in the grassy and fragrant aroma, an unmistakable scent no other plant shared. All of the smells from my summers in France surrounded me under one roof. As the recipes Grand-mère taught me when I was a child ran through my head, my heart pumped with happiness, a new vitality. I picked a Black Krim, which was actually colored a reddish purple with greenish brown shoulders, and bit into it. Sweet with just a hint of tartness. Exactly how I summed up my feelings.
Samantha Verant (The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux (Sophie Valroux, #1))