Unfortunate Life Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Unfortunate Life. Here they are! All 100 of them:

People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.
Lemony Snicket (The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11))
It is one of life's bitterest truths that bedtime so often arrives just when things are really getting interesting.
Lemony Snicket (The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11))
You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything.
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
They didn't understand it, but like so many unfortunate events in life, just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't so.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
Life, unfortunately, doesn't seem to care what we want.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.
Elizabeth Gilbert
Neither were you [born yesterday], unless of course I am wrong, in which case welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.
Lemony Snicket (The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #12))
it is a sad truth in life that when someone has lost a loved one, friends sometimes avoid the person, just when the presence of friends is most needed.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
Waiting is one of life’s hardships.
Lemony Snicket (The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2))
Unfortunately, some family members are so psychotic that no matter how hard you try to forge a healthy relationship, nothing will help. Now that you're an adult, take refuge in the fact that some things are beyond your control. You owe it to yourself to steer clear of people who are harmful to your health.
Andrea Lavinthal (Your So-Called Life: A Guide to Boys, Body Issues, and Other Big-Girl Drama You Thought You Would Have Figured Out by Now)
Sections in the bookstore - Books You Haven't Read - Books You Needn't Read - Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading - Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written - Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered - Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First - Books Too Expensive Now and You'll Wait 'Til They're Remaindered - Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback - Books You Can Borrow from Somebody - Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too - Books You've Been Planning to Read for Ages - Books You've Been Hunting for Years Without Success - Books Dealing with Something You're Working on at the Moment - Books You Want to Own So They'll Be Handy Just in Case - Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer - Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves - Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified - Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time to Re-read - Books You've Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It's Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
Sooner or later, everyone's story has an unfortunate event or two...The solution, of course, is to stay as far away from the world as possible and lead a safe, simple life.
Lemony Snicket (The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13))
Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.
Shannon L. Alder
The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
Most people can motivate themselves to do things simply by knowing that those things need to be done. But not me. For me, motivation is this horrible, scary game where I try to make myself do something while I actively avoid doing it. If I win, I have to do something I don't want to do. And if I lose, I'm one step closer to ruining my entire life. And I never know whether I'm going to win or lose until the last second.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
One of the greatest myths in the world - & the phrase 'greatest myths' is just a fancy way of saying 'big fat lies' -- is that troublesome things get less & less troublesome if you do them more & more. People say this myth when they are teaching children to ride bicycles, for instance, as though falling off a bicycle & skinning your knee is less troublesome the fourteenth time you do it than it is the first time. The truth is that troublesome things tend to remain troublesome no matter how many times you do them, & that you should avoid doing them unless they are absolutely urgent.
Lemony Snicket (The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6))
I once had a dreams of becoming a beautiful poet, but upon an unfortunate series of events some of those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again, sparkling and broken. But I didn't really mind, because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted, and then losing it to know what true freedom is.
Lana Del Rey
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its students." [Letter, November 1856]
Hector Berlioz
A successful villain should have all these things at his or her villainous fingertips, or else give up villainy altogether and try to lead a life of decency, integrity, and kindness, which is much more challenging and noble, if not always quite as exciting.
Lemony Snicket (The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11))
Life is fair. We all get the same nine-month shake in the box, and then the dice roll. Some people get a run of sevens. Some people, unfortunately, get snake-eyes. Its just how the world is.
Stephen King (Full Dark, No Stars)
Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned: how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness. Unfortunately the happiness is there. There is always the chance (about eight hundred and fifty to one) that another heart will come to mine. I can't help hoping, and keeping faith, and loving beauty. Quite frequently I am not so miserable as it would be wise to be.
T.H. White (Ghostly, Grim and Gruesome)
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which are frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you...And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
If only it were possible to love without injury – fidelity isn’t enough: I had been faithful to Anne and yet I had injured her. The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad that my wife had struck out at me again – I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower.
Graham Greene
Life isn't fair," he said, in his undisguised voice, and for once the Baudelaire orphans agreed with every word the man said.
Lemony Snicket (The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13))
Unfortunately, real life doesn't have a remote control.
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
Personally, I like it much better when someone else does the decision making. That way you have legitimate grounds to whine and complain. I tend to find both whining and complaining quite interesting and amusing, though sometimes--unfortunately--it's hard to choose which one of the two I want to do. Sigh. LIfe can be so tough sometimes.
Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz, #2))
Grammar is the greatest joy in life, don't you find?
Lemony Snicket (The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #3))
...in life it is often the tiny details that end up being the most important.
Lemony Snicket (The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2))
Book readers are special people, and they will always turn to books as the ultimate pleasure. Those who do not read are the unfortunate ones. There's nothing wrong with them; but they are missing out on one of life's compensations and rewards. A great book is a friend that never lets you down. You can return to it again and again and the joy first derived from it will still be there.
Ruskin Bond
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with visions of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three years down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not a very popular one, who once had dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like a million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lay your head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiveness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn't plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obsession for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art.
Lana Del Rey
One of the most troublesome things in life is that what you do or do not want has very little to do with what does or does not happen.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
Life, unfortunately, doesnʹt seem to care what we want. Act now while you can actually stop it from being a disaster.
Richelle Mead (Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6))
Good judgment comes from bad experience. Unfortunately, most of that comes from bad judgment. - Tara Daniels -
Jill Shalvis (The Sweetest Thing (Lucky Harbor, #2))
I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat. The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
Тo me, the future doesn’t seem real. It’s just this magical place where I can put my responsibilities so that I don’t have to be scared while hurtling toward failure at eight hundred miles per hour.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
All his life, Klaus had believed that if you read enough books, you could solve any problem, but now he wasn't so sure.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
People that have been consistently hurt by others in life will only see the one time you hurt them and be blinded to all the good your heart has to offer. They look no further than what they want to see. Unfortunately, most of them remain a victim throughout their life.
Shannon L. Alder
The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow-creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
Albert Einstein (The World As I See It)
It is only by enlarging the scope of one’s tastes and one’s fantasies, by sacrificing everything to pleasure, that the unfortunate individual called Man, thrown despite himself into this sad world, can succeed in gathering a few roses among life’s thorns
Marquis de Sade
Besides getting several paper cuts in the same day or receiving the news that someone in your family has betrayed you to your enemies, one of the most unpleasant experiences in life is a job interview.
Lemony Snicket (The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #9))
Grover Underwood of the satyrs!" Dionysus called. Grover came forward nervously. "Oh, stop chewing your shirt," Dionysus chided. "Honestly, I'm not going to blast you. For your bravery and sacrifice, blah, blah, blah, and since we have an unfortunate vacancy, the gods have seen fit to name you a member of the Council of Cloven Elders." Grover collapsed on the spot. "Oh, wonderful," Dionysus sighed, as several naiads came forward to help Grover. "Well, when he wakes up, someone tell him that he will no longer be an outcast, and that all satyrs, naiads, and other spirits of nature will henceforth treat him as a lord of the Wild, with all rights, privileges, and honors, blah, blah, blah. Now please, drag him off before he wakes up and starts groveling." "FOOOOOD," Grover moaned, as the nature spirits carried him away. I figured he'd be okay. He would wake up as a lord of the Wild with a bunch of beautiful naiads taking care of him. Life could be worse.
Rick Riordan (The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5))
One night, bored and restless, I found a stack of dusty board games in a closet, and bullied Ash into learning Scrabble, checkers and Yahtzee. Surprisingly, Ash found that he enjoyed these “human” games, and was soon asking me to play more often than not. This filled some of the long, restless evenings and kept my mind off certain things. Unfortunately for me, once Ash learned the rules, he was nearly impossible to beat in strategy games like checkers, and his long life gave him a vast knowledge of lengthy, complicated words he staggered me with in Scrabble. Though sometimes we’d end up debating whether or not faery terms like Gwragedd Annwn and hobyahs were legal to use.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3))
NASA scientists have discovered a new form of life, unfortunately, it won't date them either.
Stephen Colbert
Thus I progressed on the surface of life, in the realm of words as it were, never in reality. All those books barely read, those friends barely loved, those cities barely visited, those women barely possessed! I went through the gestures out of boredom or absent-mindedness. Then came human beings; they wanted to cling, but there was nothing to cling to, and that was unfortunate--for them. As for me, I forgot. I never remembered anything but myself.
Albert Camus (The Fall)
Life is a conundrum of esoterica.
Lemony Snicket (The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #2))
Without love, most of life remains concealed. Nothing is as fascinating as love, unfortunately.
Hanif Kureishi (Intimacy)
Blake shook his head and smiled as the attorney general of the United States closed the door. As usual, the forecast called for a wonderful day at the United States Department of Justice. Unfortunately, the daily forecast would soon change, as would the life of Blake Hudson.
Chad Boudreaux (Scavenger Hunt)
It is one of the peculiar truths of life that people often say things that they know full well are ridiculous.
Lemony Snicket (The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #10))
The central theme of Anna Karenina," he said, "is that a rural life of moral simplicity, despite its monotony, is the preferable personal narrative to a daring life of impulsive passion, which only leads to tragedy." "That is a very long theme," the scout said. "It's a very long book," Klaus replied. [...] "Or maybe a daring life of impulsive passion leads to something else," the scout said, and in some cases this mysterious person was right. A daring life of impulsive passion is an expression which refers to people who follow what is in their hearts, and like people who prefer to follow their head, or follow a mysterious man in a dark blue raincoat, people who lead a daring life of impulsive passion end up doing all sorts of things.
Lemony Snicket (The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #10))
Unfortunately, most people never observe the natural cycle of birth and death. They do not realize that for one living thing to survive, another living thing must die.
Temple Grandin (Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism)
I wish my life was a John Grisham novel. His heroes always seem to be one step away from death but come up with a brilliant plan. Unfortunately, real life can’t be wrapped up with a nice little bow
Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))
Sometime during your life—in fact, very soon—you may find yourself reading a book, and you may notice that a book’s first sentence can often tell you what sort of story your book contains.
Lemony Snicket (The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #4))
But the three siblings were not born yesterday. Violet was born more than fifteen years before this particular Wednesday, and Klaus was born approximately two years after that, and even Sunny who had just passed out of babyhood, was not born yesterday. Neither were you, unless of course I am wrong, in which case, welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.
Lemony Snicket (The Penultimate Peril (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #12))
...unfortunately, it's true: time does heal. It will do so whether you like it or not, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. If you're not careful, time will take away everything that ever hurt you, everything you have ever lost, and replace it with knowledge. Time is a machine: it will convert your pain into experience. Raw data will be compiled, will be translated into a more comprehensible language. The individual events of your life will be transmuted into another substance called memory and in the mechanism something will be lost and you will never be able to reverse it, you will never again have the original moment back in its uncategorized, preprocessed state. It will force you to move on and you will not have a choice in the matter.
Charles Yu (How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe)
Unfortunately I am a completely impractical person, caught up in endless trains of thought. All of us are fantasists, ill-equipped for life, the children as much as myself. It seems to me sometimes that we never get used to being on this earth and life is just one great, ongoing, incomprehensible blunder.
W.G. Sebald (The Rings of Saturn)
Today , I saved Brody Carmicheal's life!
Chanda Hahn (UnEnchanted (An Unfortunate Fairy Tale, #1))
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination.
J. Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
Decide that you like college life. In your dorm you meet many nice people. Some are smarter than you. And some, you notice, are dumber than you. You will continue, unfortunately, to view the world in exactly these terms for the rest of your life.
Lorrie Moore (Self-Help)
Some of us are crèmes brûlées, unfortunately in the presence of those who would rather have corn dogs. We can try to degenerate into corn dogs to make them happy, or we can just accept the fact that we were made for Paris!
C. JoyBell C.
Fear and shame are the backbone of my self-control. They are my source of inspiration, my insurance against becoming entirely unacceptable. They help me do the right thing. And I am terrified of what I would be without them. Because I suspect that, left to my own devices, I would completely lose control of my life. I'm still hoping that perhaps someday I'll learn how to use willpower like a real person, but until that very unlikely day, I will confidently battle toward adequacy, wielding my crude skill set of fear and shame.
Allie Brosh (Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened)
Morning is one of the best times for thinking. When one has just woken up, but hasn't yet gotten out of bed, it is a perfect time to look up at the ceiling, consider one's life, and wonder what the future will hold.
Lemony Snicket (The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6))
Unfortunately complaining is one thing Eeyores are not afraid to do. They grudgingly carry their thimbles to the Fountain of Life, then mumble and grumble that they weren't given enough.
Benjamin Hoff (The Te of Piglet)
We have on this earth what makes life worth living: April’s hesitation, the aroma of bread at dawn, a woman’s point of view about men, the works of Aeschylus, the beginning of love, grass on a stone, mothers living on a flute’s sigh and the invaders’ fear of memories.
Mahmoud Darwish (Unfortunately, It Was Paradise: Selected Poems)
I'm left with a loneliness so overpowering it threatens to seep from my eyes. I have no one. Unfortunately, that's not fantasy. That's all-natural, 100 percent organic, unprocessed, reality.
Val Emmich (Dear Evan Hansen)
I am alone this evening, and I am alone because of a cruel twist of fate, a phrase which here means that nothing has happened the way I thought it would. Once I was a content man, with a comfortable home, a successful career, a person I loved very much, and an extremely reliable typewriter, but all of those things have been taken away from me, and now the only trace I have of those happy days is the tattoo on my left ankle. As I sit in this very tiny room, printing these words with a very large pencil, I feel as if my whole life has been nothing but a dismal play, presented just for someone else’s amusement, and that the playwright who invented my cruel twist of fate is somewhere far above me, laughing and laughing at his creation.
Lemony Snicket (The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #8))
Learning After some time, you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and imprisoning a soul; You learn that love does not equal sex, and that company does not equal security, and you start to learn…. That kisses are not contracts and gifts are not promises, and you start to accept defeat with the head up high and open eyes, and you learn to build all roads on today, because the terrain of tomorrow is too insecure for plans… and the future has its own way of falling apart in half. And you learn that if it’s too much even the warmth of the sun can burn. So you plant your own garden and embellish your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring flowers to you. And you learn that you can actually bear hardship, that you are actually strong, and you are actually worthy, and you learn and learn…and so every day. Over time you learn that being with someone because they offer you a good future, means that sooner or later you’ll want to return to your past. Over time you comprehend that only who is capable of loving you with your flaws, with no intention of changing you can bring you all happiness. Over time you learn that if you are with a person only to accompany your own solitude, irremediably you’ll end up wishing not to see them again. Over time you learn that real friends are few and whoever doesn’t fight for them, sooner or later, will find himself surrounded only with false friendships. Over time you learn that words spoken in moments of anger continue hurting throughout a lifetime. Over time you learn that everyone can apologize, but forgiveness is an attribute solely of great souls. Over time you comprehend that if you have hurt a friend harshly it is very likely that your friendship will never be the same. Over time you realize that despite being happy with your friends, you cry for those you let go. Over time you realize that every experience lived, with each person, is unrepeatable. Over time you realize that whoever humiliates or scorns another human being, sooner or later will suffer the same humiliations or scorn in tenfold. Over time you learn to build your roads on today, because the path of tomorrow doesn’t exist. Over time you comprehend that rushing things or forcing them to happen causes the finale to be different form expected. Over time you realize that in fact the best was not the future, but the moment you were living just that instant. Over time you will see that even when you are happy with those around you, you’ll yearn for those who walked away. Over time you will learn to forgive or ask for forgiveness, say you love, say you miss, say you need, say you want to be friends, since before a grave, it will no longer make sense. But unfortunately, only over time…
Jorge Luis Borges
In any case, this is how all our stories begin, in darkness with our eyes closed, and all our stories end the same way, too, with all of us uttering some last words—or perhaps someone else’s—before slipping back into darkness as our series of unfortunate events comes to an end.
Lemony Snicket (The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13))
When people dis fantasy—mainstream readers and SF readers alike—they are almost always talking about one sub-genre of fantastic literature. They are talking about Tolkien, and Tolkien's innumerable heirs. Call it 'epic', or 'high', or 'genre' fantasy, this is what fantasy has come to mean. Which is misleading as well as unfortunate. Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious—you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike—his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés—elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings—have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader. That is a revolting idea, and one, thankfully, that plenty of fantasists have ignored. From the Surrealists through the pulps—via Mervyn Peake and Mikhael Bulgakov and Stefan Grabiński and Bruno Schulz and Michael Moorcock and M. John Harrison and I could go on—the best writers have used the fantastic aesthetic precisely to challenge, to alienate, to subvert and undermine expectations. Of course I'm not saying that any fan of Tolkien is no friend of mine—that would cut my social circle considerably. Nor would I claim that it's impossible to write a good fantasy book with elves and dwarfs in it—Michael Swanwick's superb Iron Dragon's Daughter gives the lie to that. But given that the pleasure of fantasy is supposed to be in its limitless creativity, why not try to come up with some different themes, as well as unconventional monsters? Why not use fantasy to challenge social and aesthetic lies? Thankfully, the alternative tradition of fantasy has never died. And it's getting stronger. Chris Wooding, Michael Swanwick, Mary Gentle, Paul di Filippo, Jeff VanderMeer, and many others, are all producing works based on fantasy's radicalism. Where traditional fantasy has been rural and bucolic, this is often urban, and frequently brutal. Characters are more than cardboard cutouts, and they're not defined by race or sex. Things are gritty and tricky, just as in real life. This is fantasy not as comfort-food, but as challenge. The critic Gabe Chouinard has said that we're entering a new period, a renaissance in the creative radicalism of fantasy that hasn't been seen since the New Wave of the sixties and seventies, and in echo of which he has christened the Next Wave. I don't know if he's right, but I'm excited. This is a radical literature. It's the literature we most deserve.
China Miéville
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn't Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out In Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. Eluding these assaults, you come up beneath the towers of the fortress, where other troops are holding out: the Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages, the Books You've Been Hunting For Years Without Success, the Books Dealing With Something You're Working On At The Moment, the Books You Want To Own So They'll Be Handy Just In Case, the Books You Could Put Aside Maybe To Read This Summer, the Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves, the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified, Now you have been able to reduce the countless embattled troops to an array that is, to be sure, very large but still calculable in a finite number; but this relative relief is then undermined by the ambush of the Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time To Reread and the Books You've Always Pretended To Have Read And Now It's Time To Sit Down And Really Read Them.
Italo Calvino (If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
It's not unfortunate that people aren't genuine; what's unfortunate is that insincere people try to act sincere and in doing so, mislead and deceive the other. I would rather meet a person who is not amiable and who does not feel any burden to act amiable towards me, than to have the misfortune of knowing people who feel like they need to be gracious and compassionate so they will appear to be good people, whilst possessing none of those qualities within themselves! It's the latter that causes the pain in life. And that's another reason why I don't believe in religion; I have observed that religion tells people that it is highly prized a quality to act kind and compassionate and so on and so forth, but some people just do not have these innate qualities within them! We get deceived, and I'd rather not be deceived! I'd rather be able to see a person for who he/she is and not judge a brute for being a brute, but avoid the brute who carries the burden of acting like a wonderful one!
C. JoyBell C.
I was in the winter of my life- and the men I met along the road were my only summer. At night I fell sleep with vision of myself dancing and laughing and crying with them. Three year down the line of being on an endless world tour and memories of them were the only things that sustained me, and my only real happy times. I was a singer, not very popular one, who once has dreams of becoming a beautiful poet- but upon an unfortunate series of events saw those dreams dashed and divided like million stars in the night sky that I wished on over and over again- sparkling and broken. But I really didn’t mind because I knew that it takes getting everything you ever wanted and then losing it to know what true freedom is. When the people I used to know found out what I had been doing, how I had been living- they asked me why. But there’s no use in talking to people who have a home, they have no idea what its like to seek safety in other people, for home to be wherever you lied you head. I was always an unusual girl, my mother told me that I had a chameleon soul. No moral compass pointing me due north, no fixed personality. Just an inner indecisiviness that was as wide as wavering as the ocean. And if I said that I didn’t plan for it to turn out this way I’d be lying- because I was born to be the other woman. I belonged to no one- who belonged to everyone, who had nothing- who wanted everything with a fire for every experience and an obssesion for freedom that terrified me to the point that I couldn’t even talk about- and pushed me to a nomadic point of madness that both dazzled and dizzied me. Every night I used to pray that I’d find my people- and finally I did- on the open road. We have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, nothing we desired anymore- except to make our lives into a work of art. LIVE FAST. DIE YOUNG. BE WILD. AND HAVE FUN. I believe in the country America used to be. I belive in the person I want to become, I believe in the freedom of the open road. And my motto is the same as ever- *I believe in the kindness of strangers. And when I’m at war with myself- I Ride. I Just Ride.* Who are you? Are you in touch with all your darkest fantasies? Have you created a life for yourself where you’re free to experience them? I Have. I Am Fucking Crazy. But I Am Free.
Lana Del Rey
Pietrisycamollaviadelrechiotemexity," Sunny said, which you will probably recall means something along the lines of "I must admit I don’t have the faintest idea of what is going on." Sunny had now said this particular thing three times over the course of her life, and she was beginning to wonder if this was something she was only going to say more and more as she grew older.
Lemony Snicket (The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #8))
In my view, the pro-life movement at this point should focus on seeking to reduce the number of abortions. At times it will require political education and legal fights, at times it will require education and the establishment of alternatives to abortion, such as adoption centers. Unfortunately, such measures are sometimes opposed by so-called hard-liners in the pro-life movement. These hard-liners are fools. Because they want to outlaw all abortions, they refuse to settle for stopping some abortions; the consequence is that they end up preventing no abortions.
Dinesh D'Souza (Letters to a Young Conservative)
I have seen many cases like N. during the five years I've been in practice. I sometimes picture these unfortunates as men and women being pecked to death by predatory birds. The birds are invisible - at least until a psychiatrist who is good, or lucky, or both, sprays them with his version of Luminol and shines the right light on them - but they are nevertheless very real. The wonder is that so many OCDs manage to live productive lives, just the same. They work, they eat (often not enough or too much, it's true), they go to movies, they make love to their girlfriends and boyfriends, their wives and husbands . . . and all the time those birds are there, clinging to them and pecking away little bits of flesh.
Stephen King (Just After Sunset)
Miracles are like meatballs, because nobody can exactly agree on what they are made of, where they come from, or how often they should appear. Some people say that a sunrise is a miracle, because it is somewhat mysterious and often very beautiful, but other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. Some people say that a telephone is a miracle, because it sometimes seems wondrous that you can talk with somebody who is thousands of miles away, and other people say it is merely a manufactured device fashioned out of metal parts, electronic circuitry, and wires that are very easily cut. And some people say that sneaking out of a hotel is a miracle, particularly if the lobby is swarming with policemen, and other people say it is simply a fact of life, because it happens every day and far too early in the morning. So you might think that there are so many miracles in the world that you can scarcely count them, or that there are so few that they are scarcely worth mentioning, depending on whether you spend your mornings gazing at a beautiful sunset or lowering yourself into a back alley with a rope made of matching towels.
Lemony Snicket (The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #9))
Merda! Her lace panties had snagged on his ring, the signet ring he'd inherited from his father, Giacomo Casanova. His father had seduced hundred of women without any problems whatsoever, and he was having trouble with just one. This was the real reason he never used the Casanova name. He could never live up to his father's reputation. The old man was probably laughing in his grave. Nine circles of hell," Jack muttered. Hell?" Lara asked. "I thought I was the Holy Land." You're paradise. Unfortunately, I am stuck there." Her eyes widened. "Stuck?" Normally, I would love being stuck to your lovely bum, but it would look odd if we go sightseeing with my hand under your skirt. Especially in the basilica." She glanced down. "How can you be stuck?" My ring. It's caught in the lace. See?" He moved his hand down her hip, dragging her undies down a few inches. Okay, stop." She bit her lip, frowning, then suddenly giggled. "I can't believe this has happened." I assure you, as much as I had hoped to get your clothes off, this was not part of my original plan." She snorted. "No problem. Just rip yourself loose." Are you sure?" It will destroy you undies." She narrowed her eyes with a seductuve look. "Rip it." Very well." He jerked his hand away, but the panties came with him. He yanked his hand back and forth, but the lacy, latex material simply stretched with him. "Santo cielo, they are indestructible." Lara laughed. He continued to wage battle, but to no avail. "They could use this material to build spaceships.
Kerrelyn Sparks (Secret Life of a Vampire (Love at Stake, #6))
Unfortunately we often get praise for things that weren't particularly difficult to achieve. If we focus on the props and encouragement of those who have low expectations for us, we become mediocre. It can be challenging to set our sights on excellence, particularly when we're hearing that we're already there. One of life's greatest lessons, which we all must learn, could be expressed in the phrase "That was nothing. Watch this." Challenge yourself and others to call the normal things normal and save that word excellent for things that really are.
Alex Harris
Our great mistake in education is, as it seems to me, the worship of book-learning–the confusion of instruction and education. We strain the memory instead of cultivating the mind. The children in our elementary schools are wearied by the mechanical act of writing, and the interminable intricacies of spelling; they are oppressed by columns of dates, by lists of kings and places, which convey no definite idea to their minds, and have no near relation to their daily wants and occupations; while in our public schools the same unfortunate results are produced by the weary monotony of Latin and Greek grammar. We ought to follow exactly the opposite course with children–to give them a wholesome variety of mental food, and endeavor to cultivate their tastes, rather than to fill their minds with dry facts. The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn. What does it matter if the pupil know a little more or a little less? A boy who leaves school knowing much, but hating his lessons, will soon have forgotten almost all he ever learned; while another who had acquired a thirst for knowledge, even if he had learned little, would soon teach himself more than the first ever knew.
John Lubbock (The Pleasures of Life)
I met a girl in a U-Haul. A beautiful girl And I fell for her. I fell hard. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way. Life definitely got in my way. It got all up in my damn way, Life blocked the door with a stack of wooden 2x4's nailed together and attached to a fifteen inch concrete wall behind a row of solid steel bars, bolted to a titanium frame that no matter how hard I shoved against it- It wouldn't budge. Sometimes life doesn't budge. It just gets all up in your damn way. It blocked my plans, my dreams, my desires, my wishes, my wants, my needs. It blocked out that beautiful girl That I fell so hard for. Life tries to tell you what's best for you What should be most important to you What should come in first Or second Or third. I tried so hard to keep it all organized, alphabetized, stacked in chronological order, everything in its perfect space, its perfect place. I thought that's what life wanted me to do. This is what life needed for me to do. Right? Keep it all in sequence? Sometimes, life gets in your way. It gets all up in your damn way. But it doesn't get all up in your damn way because it wants you to just give up and let it take control. Life doesn't get all up in your damn way because it just wants you to hand it all over and be carried along. Life wants you to fight it. It wants you to grab an axe and hack through the wood. It wants you to get a sledgehammer and break through the concrete. It wants you to grab a torch and burn through the metal and steel until you can reach through and grab it. Life wants you to grab all the organized, the alphabetized, the chronological, the sequenced. It wants you to mix it all together, stir it up, blend it. Life doesn't want you to let it tell you that your little brother should be the only thing that comes first. Life doesn't want you to let it tell you that your career and your education should be the only thing that comes in second. And life definitely doesn't want me To just let it tell me that the girl I met, The beautiful, strong, amazing, resilient girl That I fell so hard for Should only come in third. Life knows. Life is trying to tell me That the girl I love, The girl I fell So hard for? There's room for her in first. I'm putting her first.
Colleen Hoover
Unfortunately, the world has taken some of the greatest minds God has given us and locked them up in cages. Most very brilliant or creative people seem strange to ordinary people. Geniuses are almost always outcasts. The intelligent are bullied on the playground. They see the world differently and are shunned for it. They nearly all turn out to be lonely at the least, locked up at the worst. It's human nature to encourage the status quo and shun those who see life differently.
Ted Dekker (The Bride Collector)
Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads. Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place. Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows? ...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right. How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads.... Why did they kill little Bobby Franks? Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood. . . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain
Clarence Darrow (Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom)
A charmed life is so rare that for every one such life there are millions of wretched lives. Some know that their baby will be among the unfortunate. Nobody knows, however, that their baby will be one of the allegedly lucky few. Great suffering could await any person that is brought into existence. Even the most privileged people could give birth to a child that will suffer unbearably, be raped, assaulted, or be murdered brutally. The optimist surely bears the burden of justifying this procreational Russian roulette. Given that there are no real advantages over never existing for those who are brought into existence, it is hard to see how the significant risk of serious harm could be justified. If we count not only the unusually severe harms that anybody could endure, but also the quite routine ones of ordinary human life, then we find that matters are still worse for cheery procreators. It shows that they play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun—aimed, of course, not at their own heads, but at those of their future offspring.
David Benatar (Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence)
I am certain that over the course of your own life, you have noticed that people's rooms reflect their personalities. In my room, for instance, I have gathered a collection of objects that are important to me, including a dusty accordion on which I can play a few sad songs, a large bundle of notes on the activities of the Baudelaire orphans, and a blurry photograph, taken a very long time ago, of a woman whose name is Beatrice. These are items that are very precious and dear to me.
Lemony Snicket (The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1))
Many complain that the words of the wise are always merely parables and of no use in daily life, which is the only life we have. When the sage says: "Go over," he does not mean that we should cross over to some actual place, which we could do anyhow if the labor were worth it; he means some fabulous yonder, something unknown to us, something too that he cannot designate more precisely, and therefore cannot help us here in the very least. All these parables really set out to say merely that the incomprehensible is incomprehensible, and we know that already. But the cares we have to struggle with every day: that is a different matter. Concerning this a man once said: Why such reluctance? If you only followed the parables you yourselves would become parables and with that rid yourself of all your daily cares. Another said: I bet that is also a parable. The first said: You have won. The second said: But unfortunately only in parable. The first said: No, in reality: in parable you have lost.
Franz Kafka
His hatred for all was so intense that it should extinguish the very love from which it was conceived. And thus, he ceased to feel. There was nothing further in which to believe that made the prospect of feeling worthwhile. Daily he woke up and cast downtrodden eyes upon the sea and he would say to himself with a hint of regret at his hitherto lack of indifference, 'All a dim illusion, was it? Surely it was foolish of me to think any of this had meaning.' He would then spend hours staring at the sky, wondering how best to pass the time if everything—even the sky itself— were for naught. He arrived at the conclusion that there was no best way to pass the time. The only way to deal with the illusion of time was to endure it, knowing full well, all the while, that one was truly enduring nothing at all. Unfortunately for him, this nihilistic resolution to dispassion didn’t suit him very well and he soon became extremely bored. Faced now with the choice between further boredom and further suffering, he impatiently chose the latter, sailing another few weeks along the coast , and then inland, before finally dropping anchor off the shores of the fishing village of Yami.
Ashim Shanker (Only the Deplorable (Migrations, Volume II))
There are two different kinds of people in the world. There are people who instinctively look for every chance to be a “victim” and those who look for every chance to rise above—regardless of where they are in life and what’s happening around them. There are people who realize their ability to create (greatly influence) reality toward a positive direction for themselves and those around them, and unfortunately those who use this power we all have for destructive purposes for themselves and others—many times without even knowing what they’re doing or the power they have inside themselves. We are all powerful individuals. Let’s use that power to create something beautiful!
Christopher Hawke
We modern human beings are looking at life, trying to make some sense of it; observing a 'reality' that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue--only we've all been issued the wrong librettos. For a text, we're given the Bible. Or the Talmud or the Koran. We're given Time magazine, and Reader's Digest, daily papers, and the six o'clock news; we're given schoolbooks, sitcoms, and revisionist histories; we're given psychological counseling, cults, workshops, advertisements, sales pitches, and authoritative pronouncements by pundits, sold-out scientists, political activists, and heads of state. Unfortunately, none of these translations bears more than a faint resemblance to what is transpiring in the true theater of existence, and most of them are dangerously misleading. We're attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe the barrom melodramas or kindergarten skits. And when's the last time you heard anybody bitch about it to the management?
Tom Robbins (Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas)
The way sadness works is one of the strangest riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that happy things are tainted with sadness, the way smoke leaves its ashen colors and scents on everything it touches. And you may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.
Lemony Snicket (The Grim Grotto (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #11))
This principle - that your spouse should be capable of becoming your best friend - is a game changer when you address the question of compatibility in a prospective spouse. If you think of marriage largely in terms of erotic love, then compatibility means sexual chemistry and appeal. If you think of marriage largely as a way to move into the kind of social status in life you desire, then compatibility means being part of the desired social class, and perhaps common tastes and aspirations for lifestyle. The problem with these factors is that they are not durable. Physical attractiveness will wane, no matter how hard you work to delay its departure. And socio-economic status unfortunately can change almost overnight. When people think they have found compatibility based on these things, they often make the painful discovery that they have built their relationship on unstable ground. A woman 'lets herself go' or a man loses his job, and the compatibility foundation falls apart.
Timothy J. Keller (The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God)
There is the vanity training, the obedience training, the self-effacement training, the deference training, the dependency training, the passivity training, the rivalry training, the stupidity training, the placation training. How am I to put this together with my human life, my intellectual life, my solitude, my transcendence, my brains, and my fearful, fearful ambition? I failed miserably and thought it was my own fault. You can't unite woman and human any more than you can unite matter and anti-matter; they are designed to not to be stable together and they make just as big an explosion inside the head of the unfortunate girl who believes in both.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
If you have ever peeled an onion, then you know that the first thin, papery layer reveals another thin, papery layer, and that layer reveals another, and another, and before you know it you have hundreds of layers all over the kitchen table and thousands of tears in your eyes, sorry that you ever started peeling in the first place and wishing that you had left the onion alone to wither away on the shelf of the pantry while you went on with your life, even if that meant never again enjoying the complicated and overwhelming taste of this strange and bitter vegetable. In this way, the story of the Baudelaire orphans is like an onion, and if you insist on reading each and every thin, papery layer in A Series of Unfortunate Events, your only reward will be 170 chapters of misery in your library and countless tears in your eyes. Even if you have read the first twelve volumes of the Baudelaires' story, it is not too late to stop peeling away the layers, and to put this book back on the shelf to wither away while you read something less complicated and overwhelming. The end of this unhappy chronicle is like its bad beginning, as each misfortune only reveals another, and another, and another, and only those with the stomach for this strange and bitter tale should venture any farther into the Baudelaire onion. I'm sorry to tell you this, but that is how the story goes.
Lemony Snicket (The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #13))
Yes, I want to tell her, and maybe I even do say that, but I am crying because whatever gifts, the pieces of good buried inside and under so much that I feel is bad, is wrong, is twisted, are less clear than the ability to hit a ball with a bat and break the scoreboard or do a triple pirouette in the air on ice. My gifts are for life itself, for an unfortunately astute understanding of all the cruelty and pain in the world. My gifts are unspecific. I am an artist manque, someone full of crazy ideas and grandiloquent needs and even a little bit of happiness, but with no particular way to express it. I am like the title character in the film Betty Blue, the woman who is so full of...so full of...so full of something or other-it is unclear what, but a definite energy that can't find its medium-who pokes her own eyes out with a scissors and is murdered by her lover in an insane asylum in the end. She is, and I am becoming, a complete waste. So I cry at the end of The Natural.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
Unfortunately, we forget the cruel details of the agonizing sacrifice God made on our behalf. Familiarity breeds complacency. Even before his crucifixion, the Son of God was stripped naked, beaten until almost unrecognizable, whipped, scorned and mocked, crowned with thorns, and spit on contemptuously. Abused and ridiculed by heartless men, he was treated worse than an animal. Then, nearly unconscious fromblood loss, he was forced to drag a cumbersome cross up a hill, was nailed to it, and was left to die the slow, excruciating torture of death by crucifixion. While his lifeblood drained out, hecklers stood by and shouted insults, making fun of his pain and challenging his claim to be God.
Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?)
My friend Kira always said that life is like an extremely difficult, horribly unbalanced videogame. When you’re born, you’re given a randomly generated character, with a randomly determined name, race, face, and social class. Your body is your avatar, and you spawn in a random geographic location, at a random moment in human history, surrounded by a random group of people, and then you have to try to survive for as long as you can. Sometimes the game might seem easy. Even fun. Other times it might be so difficult you want to give up and quit. But unfortunately, in this game you only get one life. When your body grows too hungry or thirsty or ill or injured or old, your health meter runs out and then it’s Game Over. Some people play the game for a hundred years without ever figuring out that it’s a game, or that there is a way to win it. To win the videogame of life you just have to try to make the experience of being forced to play it as pleasant as possible, for yourself, and for all of the other players you encounter in your travels. Kira says that if everyone played the game to win, it’d be a lot more fun for everyone. —Anorak’s Almanac, chapter 77, verses 11–20
Ernest Cline (Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2))
Occasionally, events in one's life become clearer through the prism of experience, a phrase which simply means that things tend to be clearer as time goes on. For instance, when a person is just born, they usually have no idea what curtains are and spend a great deal of their first months wondering why on earth Mommy and Daddy have hung large pieces of cloth over each window in the nursery. But as the person grows older, the idea of curtains becomes clearer through the prism of experience. The person will learn the word "curtains" and notice that they are actually quite handy for keeping a room dark when it is time to sleep, and for decorating an otherwise boring window area. Eventually, they will entirely accept the idea of curtains of their own, or venetian blinds, and it is all due to the prism of experience.
Lemony Snicket (The Austere Academy (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #5))
By definition, a human being is endowed with free will. He can use this to choose between good and evil. If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State. It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities. This is what the television news is all about. Unfortunately there is so much original sin in us all that we find evil rather attractive. To devastate is easier and more spectacular than to create.
Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Nikolai Gogol (The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol)
I especially loved the Old Testament. Even as a kid I had a sense of it being slightly illicit. As though someone had slipped an R-rated action movie into a pile of Disney DVDs. For starters Adam and Eve were naked on the first page. I was fascinated by Eve's ability to always stand in the Garden of Eden so that a tree branch or leaf was covering her private areas like some kind of organic bakini. But it was the Bible's murder and mayhem that really got my attention. When I started reading the real Bible I spent most of my time in Genesis Exodus 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. Talk about violent. Cain killed Abel. The Egyptians fed babies to alligators. Moses killed an Egyptian. God killed thousands of Egyptians in the Red Sea. David killed Goliath and won a girl by bringing a bag of two hundred Philistine foreskins to his future father-in-law. I couldn't believe that Mom was so happy about my spending time each morning reading about gruesome battles prostitutes fratricide murder and adultery. What a way to have a "quiet time." While I grew up with a fairly solid grasp of Bible stories I didn't have a clear idea of how the Bible fit together or what it was all about. I certainly didn't understand how the exciting stories of the Old Testament connected to the rather less-exciting New Testament and the story of Jesus. This concept of the Bible as a bunch of disconnected stories sprinkled with wise advice and capped off with the inspirational life of Jesus seems fairly common among Christians. That is so unfortunate because to see the Bible as one book with one author and all about one main character is to see it in its breathtaking beauty.
Joshua Harris (Dug Down Deep: Unearthing What I Believe and Why It Matters)
There is an Eastern fable, told long ago, of a traveller overtaken on a plain by an enraged beast. Escaping from the beast he gets into a dry well, but sees at the bottom of the well a dragon that has opened its jaws to swallow him. And the unfortunate man, not daring to climb out lest he should be destroyed by the enraged beast, and not daring to leap to the bottom of the well lest he should be eaten by the dragon, seizes s twig growing in a crack in the well and clings to it. His hands are growing weaker and he feels he will soon have to resign himself to the destruction that awaits him above or below, but still he clings on. Then he sees that two mice, a black one and a white one, go regularly round and round the stem of the twig to which he is clinging and gnaw at it. And soon the twig itself will snap and he will fall into the dragon's jaws. The traveller sees this and knows that he will inevitably perish; but while still hanging he looks around, sees some drops of honey on the leaves of the twig, reaches them with his tongue and licks them. So I too clung to the twig of life, knowing that the dragon of death was inevitably awaiting me, ready to tear me to pieces; and I could not understand why I had fallen into such torment. I tried to lick the honey which formerly consoled me, but the honey no longer gave me pleasure, and the white and black mice of day and night gnawed at the branch by which I hung. I saw the dragon clearly and the honey no longer tasted sweet. I only saw the unescapable dragon and mice, and I could not tear my gaze from them. and this is not a fable but the real unanswerable truth intelligible to all. The deception of the joys of life which formerly allayed my terror of the dragon now no longer deceived me. No matter how often I may be told, "You cannot understand the meaning of life so do not think about it, but live," I can no longer do it: I have already done it too long. I cannot now help seeing day and night going round and bringing me to death. That is all I see, for that alone is true. All else is false. The two drops of honey which diverted my eyes from the cruel truth longer than the rest: my love of family, and of writing -- art as I called it -- were no longer sweet to me. "Family"... said I to myself. But my family -- wife and children -- are also human. They are placed just as I am: they must either live in a lie or see the terrible truth. Why should they live? Why should I love them, guard them, bring them up, or watch them? That they may come to the despair that I feel, or else be stupid? Loving them, I cannot hide the truth from them: each step in knowledge leads them to the truth. And the truth is death.
Leo Tolstoy (A Confession)