Ten Thousand Doors Of January Quotes

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I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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The will to be polite, to maintain civility and normalcy, is fearfully strong. I wonder sometimes how much evil is permitted to run unchecked simply because it would be rude to interrupt it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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May she wander but always return home, may all her words be written true, may every door lie open before her.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Let that be a lesson to you: If you are too good and too quiet for too long, it will cost you. It will always cost you, in the end.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Destiny is a pretty story we tell ourselves. Lurking beneath it there are only people, and the terrible choices we make.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Maybe all powerful men are cowards at heart, because in their hearts they know power is temporary.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It’s a profoundly strange feeling, to stumble across someone whose desires are shaped so closely to your own, like reaching toward your reflection in a mirror and finding warm flesh under your fingertips. If you should ever be lucky enough to find that magical, fearful symmetry, I hope you’re brave enough to grab it with both hands and not let go.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I happen to believe every story is a love story if you catch it at the right moment, slantwise in the light of dusk[.]
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There is nothing quite like the anger of someone very powerful, who has been thwarted by someone who was supposed to be weak.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Books are Doors and I wanted out.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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They always end up alone in the storiesβ€”witches, I meanβ€”living in the woods or mountains or locked in towers. I suppose it would take a brave man to love a witch, and most men are cowards.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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...the place you are born isn't necessarily the place you belong.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Cats, I have found, seem to exist in more or less the same form in every world; it is my belief that they have been slipping in and out of doors for several thousand years. Anyone familiar with house cats will know this is a particular hobby of theirs.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Sometimes I feel there are doors lurking in the creases of every sentence, with periods for knobs and verbs for hinges.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Words and their meanings have weight in the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I wanted wide-open horizons and worn shoes and strange constellations spinning above me like midnight riddles. I wanted danger and mystery and adventure.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Worlds were never meant to be prisons, locked and suffocating and safe. Worlds were supposed to be great rambling houses with all the windows thrown open and the wind and summer rain rushing through them, with magic passages in their closets and secret treasure chests in their attics.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Freedom isn't worth a single solitary shit if it isn't shared.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I should have known: destiny is a pretty story we tell ourselves. Lurking beneath it there are only people, and the terrible choices we make.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There's only one way to run away from your own story, and that's to sneak into someone else's. I unwedged the leatherbound book from beneath my mattress and breathed in the ink-and-adventure smell of it. I walked through it into another world.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Once we have agreed that true love exists, we may consider its nature. It is not, as many misguided poets would have you believe an event in and of itself; it is not something that happens, but something that simply is and always has been. One does not fall in love; one discovers it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Sentences may alter the weather, and poems might tear down walls. Stories may change the world.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books -- those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles -- understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn't about reading the words; it's about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-colour prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, or literary weight or unsolved mysteries.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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The trouble with you people,’ I observed, β€˜is that you believe in permanence. An orderly world will remain so; a closed door will remain closed.’ I shook my head, reaching for the door. β€˜It’s very … limiting.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I hope to every god you have the guts to do what needs doing. I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through. I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics. I hope you will run through every open Door, and tell stories when you return.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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When one enters a door, one must be brave enough to see the other side.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Second, my long years of research have taught me that all stories, even the meanest folktales, matter. They are artifacts and palimpsests, riddles and histories. They are the red threads that we may follow out of the labyrinth.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Doors, he told her, are change, and change is a dangerous necessity. Doors are revolutions and upheavals, uncertainties and mysteries, axis points around which entire worlds can be turned.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Most people can't tell the difference between truthtelling and madness; try it sometime and you'll see what I mean.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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You don't really know how fragile and fleeting your own voice is, until you watch a rich man take it away as easily as signing a bank loan.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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True love is not stagnant; it is in fact a door, through which all kinds of miraculous and dangerous things may enter.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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If you are wondering why other worlds seem so brimful of magic compared to your own dreary Earth, consider how magical this world seems from another perspective. To a world of sea people, your ability to breathe air is stunning; to a world of spear throwers, your machines are demons harnessed to work tirelessly in your service; to a world of glaciers and clouds, summer itself is a miracle.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Hearts aren't chessboards, and they don't play by the rules.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Every story is a love story if you catch it at the right moment
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There’s only one way to run away from your own story, and that’s to sneak into someone else’s.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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(Do I regret it? Would I take it back, if I could? Tell her to resign herself to home and hearth, to give up her wandering ways? It depends which weighs more: a life, or a soul.)
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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The point is that I was scared and hurt and alone sometimes but in the end I won. I'm free. And if that's the price for being free, I'll pay it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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People never got to stay in their Wonderlands, did they? Alice and Dorothy and the Darlings, all dragged back to the mundane world and tucked into bed by their handlers.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Word-magic comes at a cost, you see, as power always does. Words draw their vitality from their writers, and thus the strength of a word is limited by the strength of its human vessel.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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- novels are untrustworthy advisers. They aren't concerned with rationality or sobriety; they peddle in tragedy and suspense, in chaos and rule breaking, in madness and heartache, and they will steer you toward such things with all the guile of a piper luring rats into a river.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Thresholds are dangerous places, neither here nor there, and walking across one is like stepping off the edge of a cliff in the naive faith that you'll sprout wings halfway down. You can't hesitate, or doubt. You can't fear the in-between.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Companions. See the curve of that C like a pair of outstretched arms? It implied the sort of friends who might slay dragons or go on hopeless quests or swear blood oaths at midnight.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It is fashionable among intellectuals and sophisticates to scoff at true love -- to pretend it is nothing but a sweet fairy tale sold to children and young women, to be taken as seriously as magic wands or glass slippers. I feel nothing but pity for these learned persons, because they would not say such foolish things if they had ever experienced love for themselves.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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My fatherβ€”who is a true scholar and not just a young lady with an ink pen and a series of things she has to sayβ€”puts it much better: β€œIf we address stories as archaeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, us and them, mundane and magical. It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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He blinked with the stunned expression of a man who knew the word no existed but had never actually met it in the flesh.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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In my life I've learned that the people you love will leave you. They will abandon you, disappoint you, betray you, lock you away, and in the end you will be alone, again and always.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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No one really remembers their own origins. Most of us possess a kind of hazy mythology about our early childhood, a set of stories told and retold by our parents, interwoven with our blurred baby memories.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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When I was younger I cried over everything from sneers to sad endings, and even once over a puddle of tadpoles that dried up in the sun, but at some point I learned the trick of stoicism: you hide. You pull yourself inside your castle walls and crank up the drawbridge and watch everything from the tallest tower.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Sometimes pain is too unavoidable, too necessary to feel.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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She scoured the Earth, wandering and ravenous, looking for doors. And she found them. She found them in abandoned churches and the salt-rimed walls of caves, in graveyards and behind fluttering curtains in foreign markets. She found so many her imagining of the world grew lacy and tattered with holes, like a mouse-chewed map.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I felt like an explorer at the precipice of some new, wild world, armed only with ink and hope.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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You people are always trying to invent reasons for things. Monsters only come for bad children, for loose women, for impious men. The truth is that the powerful come for the weak, whenever and wherever they like. Always have, always will.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Despair, once established, can be quite difficult to uproot.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Now I was alone, and the only path was the one I left behind me.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I believed in second chances and righted wrongs and rewritten stories.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It occurred to me that I’d packed at least nine or ten books, but not a single pair of socks.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It turns out that once you begin, habit and memory keep your body moving in the right directions, like a wound-up clock ticking dutifully through the seconds.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I felt like a woman reading a mystery novel with every fourth line missing. There's really only one thing a person can do when they're hip-deep in a mystery novel: keep reading.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Now I sat in my room, face swollen and eyes dry, teetering on the edge of a pain so vast I couldn't see its edges. It would swallow me whole, if I let it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Because the place you are born isn't necessarily the place you belong. I was born into a world that abandoned me, stole from me, rejected me; is it so surprising I found a better one?
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I thought I'd forgotten, but the memories were crisp as photographs. I wondered dispassionately if they'd always been there, lurking just out of sight and whispering their fears to me. If behind every good girl lurked a good threat.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Fallen women are afforded a species of freedom. Footnote: There is of course no such thing as a fallen woman, unless we are speaking of a woman who recently tripped on the stairs. One of the most difficult elements of this world is the way its social rules are simultaneously rigid and arbitrary. It is impermissible to engage in physical love before binding legal marriage, unless one is a young man of means. Men must be bold and assertive, but only if they are light-skinned. Any persons may fall in love regardless of station, but only if one is a woman and the other a man. I urge you not to navigate your own life by such faulty borders, my dear. There are, after all, other worlds.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There's only one way to run away from your own story, and that's to sneak into someone else's.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Something about having a child bends you back to your beginnings, as if you have been drawing a circle all your life and now are compelled to close it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I wanted to believe him, but I'd met enough empty promises in my life to know one when I heard it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It occurred to me that dogs are probably never lost in the in-between, because they always know precisely where they are going.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Time, sitting on your breastbone like a black-scaled dragon, minutes clicking like claws across the floor, hours gliding past on sulfurous wings.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Her eyes were wind-whipped and her smile at the night sky was sly, as if she and the stars were on familiar terms.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Doors, he told her, are change, and change is a dangerous necessity. Doors are revolutions and upheavals, uncertainties and mysteries, axis points around which entire worlds can be turned. They are the beginnings and endings of every true story, the passages between that lead to adventures and madness and- here he smiled- even love. Without doors the worlds would grow stagnant, calcified, storyless.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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That afternoon, sitting in that lonely field beside the Door that didn't lead anywhere, I wanted to write a different kind of story. A true kind of story, something I could crawl into if only I believed it hard enough.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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True scholarship needs neither an origin nor a destination, good master. To seek new knowledge is its own motivation.” This was precisely the sort of lofty non-answer that pleased scholars best.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I’d like to leave you with the rising suspicion that, lingering in the half-light at the edges of your vision, your Door is waiting for you. And I’d like to give you the courage to run through it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Listen, not every story is made for telling. Sometimes just by telling a story you’re stealing it, stealing a little of the mystery away from it.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There was no room, it turned out, for little girls who wandered off the edge of the map and told the truth about the mad, impossible things they found there.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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This is the mad Midas touch of true love, which transforms everything it touches to gold.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I will not be your leash, my love.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It isn’t pain or suffering that unmakes a person; it’s only time.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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There are times when thank you is so inadequate, so dwarfed by the magnitude of the debt, that the words wilt in your throat.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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She accumulated the dust of other worlds on her skin like ten thousand perfumes, and left constellations of wistful men and impossible tales in her wake.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Samuel Zappia was my only nonfictional friend
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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She became something else entirely, something so radiant and while and fierce that a single world could not contain her, and she was obliged to find others.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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On the third day, my room became a cell, which became a cage, which became a coffin, and I discovered the very deepest fear that swam through my heart like eels in undersea caves: to be locked away, trapped and alone.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I later learned that her people had no number higher than ten thousand, and claiming there were ten thousand of a thing meant there was no purpose in counting them because they were infinite.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Power, my dear, has a language. It has a geography, a currency, andβ€”I’m sorryβ€”a color. This is not something you may take personally or object to; it is simply a fact of the world, and the sooner you accustom yourself to it, the better.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Let this ignoble origin story stand as an invaluable lesson to you that a person's beginnings do not often herald their endings, for Adelaide Lee did not grow into another pale Larson woman. She became something else entirely, something so radiant and while and fierce that a single world could not contain her, and she was obliged to find others.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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if you’re an in-between sort of creature with no family and no money, with nothing but your own two legs and a silver coinβ€”sometimes running away is the only thing you can do.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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People were always guessing like that, categorizing me as one thing or another, but Mr. Locke assured me they were all equally incorrect. β€œA perfectly unique specimen,” he called me.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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The truth is: Adelaide was the most beautiful being I have seen in this world or any other, if we understand beauty to be a kind of vital, ferocious burning at a soul’s center that ignites everything it touches.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
β€œ
I hope to every god you have the guts to do what needs doing. I hope you will find the cracks in the world and wedge them wider, so the light of other suns shines through; I hope you will keep the world unruly, messy, full of strange magics; I hope you will run through every open Door and tell stories when you return.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Perhaps I keep writing because I was raised in a world where words have power, where curves and spirals of ink adorn sails and skin, where a sufficiently talented word-worker might reach out and remake her world. Perhaps I cannot believe words are entirely powerless, even here.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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They always end up alone in the storiesβ€”witches, I meanβ€”living in the woods or mountains or locked in towers. I suppose it would take a brave man to love a witch, and men are mostly cowards.' He looked directly at me as he finished, with a kind of raised-chin boldness that said: I am not a coward.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Maybe,” he said slowly, β€œmaybe I did not make myself clear before, when I said I was on your side. I meant also that I would like to be at your side, to go with you into every door and danger, to run with you into your tangled-up future. For”—and a distant part of me was gratified to note that his voice had gone wobbly and strainedβ€”β€œfor always. If you like.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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I was abruptly, entirely sick of it - of secrets and lies and almost-truths, things I half knew and half-suspected, patched-together stories that were never told in order from beginning to end. It seemed to be an unspoken agreement in the world that young girls without money or means were simply too insignificant to be told everything. Even my own father had waited until the very last moment to tell me his whole truth.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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It was a bright spring morning, full of promise. Most travelers are familiar with this kind of weather- when the wind blows westward and warm but the ground still chills the soles of your feet, when the tree buds have begun to unfurl and scent the air with secret springtime madness- and they know those days are made for leaving.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
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Now at least you can look clear-eyed into your own future, and choose: stay safe and sane at home, as any rational man would- I swear I'll understand- Or run away with me toward the glimmering, mad horizon. Dance through this eternal green orchard, where ten thousand worlds hang ripe and red for the plucking; wander with me between the trees, tending them, clearing away the weeds, letting in the air. Opening the Doors.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
β€œ
There is, of course, no such thing as a fallen woman, unless we are speaking of a woman who recently tripped on the stairs. One of the most difficult elements of this world is the way its social rules are simultaneously rigid and arbitrary. It is impermissible to engage in physical love before binding legal marriage, unless one is a young man of means. Men must be bold and assertive, but only if they are light-skinned. Any persons may fall in love regardless of station, but only if one is a woman and the other a man. I urge you not to navigate your own life by such faulty borders, my dear. There are, after all, other worlds.
”
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
β€œ
But you still know about Doors, don't you? Because there are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere. My father--who is a true scholar and not just a young lady with an ink pen and a series of things she has to say--puts it much better: "If we address stories as archaeological sites, and dust through their layers with meticulous care, we find at some level there is always a doorway. A dividing point between here and there, us and them, mundane and magical. It is at the moments where the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.
”
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
β€œ
I could describe the way the smells of brine and sun have permeated every stone of every street, or the way the tide callers stand at their watchtowers and cry out the hour for their Cities. I could tell you of the many-shaped ships that crisscross the seas with careful writing stitched on their sails praying for good fortune and fair winds. I could tell you of the squid-ink tattoos that adorn the hands of every husband and wife, and of the lesser word-workers who prick words into flesh.
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Alix E. Harrow (The Ten Thousand Doors of January)