Useful Short Quotes

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It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?
A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh (Winnie-the-Pooh, #1))
You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours - he was incredibly good at it.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
I used to analyze myself down to the last thread, used to compare myself with others, recalled all the smallest glances, smiles and words of those to whom I’d tried to be frank, interpreted everything in a bad light, laughed viciously at my attempts ‘to be like the rest’ –and suddenly, in the midst of my laughing, I’d give way to sadness, fall into ludicrous despondency and once again start the whole process all over again – in short, I went round and round like a squirrel on a wheel.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Crime and Punishment)
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Gary Provost
He'd changed since the last summer. Instead of Bermuda shorts and a T-shirt, he wore a button-down shirt, khaki pants, and leather loafers. His sandy hair, which used to be so unruly, was now clipped short. He look like an evil male model, showing off what the fashionable college-age villain was wearing to Harvard this year.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that's the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there, with the Ma-Wink fallopian virgin warm stars reflecting on the outer channel fluid belly waters. And if your cans are redhot and you can't hold them in your hands, just use good old railroad gloves, that's all.
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
Often a very old man has no other proof of his long life than his age.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
Life is long if you know how to use it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
if i ever have a daughter, the first thing i will teach her to love will be the word “no” & i will not let her feel guilty for using it.   - “no” is short for “fuck off.”  
Amanda Lovelace (The Princess Saves Herself in this One)
It is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
Whatever can happen at any time can happen today.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
When I was little and running on the race track at school, I always stopped and waited for all the other kids so we could run together even though I knew (and everybody else knew) that I could run much faster than all of them! I pretended to read slowly so I could "wait" for everyone else who couldn't read as fast as I could! When my friends were short I pretended that I was short too and if my friend was sad I pretended to be unhappy. I could go on and on about all the ways I have limited myself, my whole life, by "waiting" for people. And the only thing that I've ever received in return is people thinking that they are faster than me, people thinking that they can make me feel bad about myself just because I let them and people thinking that I have to do whatever they say I should do. My mother used to teach me "Cinderella is a perfect example to be" but I have learned that Cinderella can go fuck herself, I'm not waiting for anybody, anymore! I'm going to run as fast as I can, fly as high as I can, I am going to soar and if you want you can come with me! But I'm not waiting for you anymore.
C. JoyBell C.
It's possible, in a poem or short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things—a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earring—with immense, even startling power.
Raymond Carver
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer. Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed. And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
Tina Fey (Bossypants)
You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and -what will perhaps make you wonder more - it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English―it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them―then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.
Mark Twain
Stories are in one way or another mirrors. We use them to explain to ourselves how the world works or how it doesn’t work. Like mirrors stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in darkness.
Neil Gaiman (Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions)
People seem to get used to anything, and it is a short step from adaptation to attachment.
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Were all the geniuses of history to focus on this single theme, they could never fully express their bafflement at the darkness of the human mind. No person would give up even an inch of their estate, and the slightest dispute with a neighbor can mean hell to pay; yet we easily let others encroach on our lives—worse, we often pave the way for those who will take it over. No person hands out their money to passersby, but to how many do each of us hand out our lives! We’re tight-fisted with property and money, yet think too little of wasting time, the one thing about which we should all be the toughest misers.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
McGough: I'm sorry. I'm afraid I've caught poetry. Mr Bones: Oh really? Well, don't worry, sir - I used to suffer from short stories. McGough: Really? When? Mr Bones: Oh, once upon a time ...
Graham Chapman
The Slice and Dice Fanatic uses his sexual skills to lure his victims into his realm of fun.
R.B. Le`Deach (My Graphic Bipolar Fantasies: & Other Short Stories)
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial! I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers. I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail. But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant. I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity. I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
George Carlin
To tell you the truth, I used to consider it a disgrace to be found ignorant by other people. But now, I find that I am not ashamed of knowing less than others, and I'm less inclined to force myself to read books. In short, I have grown old and decrepit.
Natsume Sōseki (Kokoro)
You give a lot of great advice about what to do. Do you have any advice of what not to do? Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs. I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always. As the years pass, I’m learning how to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.
Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar)
The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what is in Fortune's control and abandoning what lies in yours.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
1. Organize before they rise! 2. They feel no fear, why should you? 3. Use your head: cut off theirs. 4. Blades don't need reloading. 5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair. 6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it. 7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike. 8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert! 9. No place is safe, only safer. 10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.
Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead)
I’m not laughing.” I was actually crying. “And please don’t laugh at me now, but I think the reason it’s so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate. ”He probably was. Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it. Your problem is, you just can’t let this one go. It’s over, Groceries. David’s purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of your marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it. That was his job, and he did great, but now it’s over. Problem is, you can’t accept that his relationship had a real short shelf life. You’re like a dog at the dump, baby – you’re just lickin’ at the empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it. And if you’re not careful, that can’s gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable. So drop it.“But I love him.” “So love him.” “But I miss him.” “So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it. You’re just afraid to let go of the last bits of David because then you’ll be really alone, and Liz Gilbert is scared to death of what will happen if she’s really alone. But here’s what you gotta understand, Groceries. If you clear out all that space in your mind that you’re using right now to obsess about this guy, you’ll have a vacuum there, an open spot – a doorway. And guess what the universe will do with the doorway? It will rush in – God will rush in – and fill you with more love than you ever dreamed. So stop using David to block that door. Let it go.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
I do not need to get used to your silence. I already know it. I quite possibly love all of it.
Ernest Hemingway (The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway)
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out always cut it out. Never use the passive voice where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
George Orwell
No matter how many precautions we take, none of us are truly in control. Only God can claim that kind of authority. All we can do is use the good sense he provides and trust him to guide us.
Karen Witemeyer (Short-Straw Bride (Archer Brothers, #1))
So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life (Penguin Great Ideas))
Sweetheart, darling, dearest, it was funny to think that these endearments, which used to sound exceedingly sentimental in movies and books, now held great importance, simple but true verbal affirmations of how they felt for each other. They were words only the heart could hear and understand, words that could impart entire pentameter sonnets in their few, short syllables.
E.A. Bucchianeri (Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, (Gadfly Saga, #1))
How To Be An Explorer Of The World 1. Always Be LOOKING (notice the ground beneath your feet.) 2. Consider Everything Alive & Animate 3. EVERYTHING Is Interesting. Look Closer. 4. Alter Your Course Often. 5. Observe For Long Durations (and short ones). 6. Notice The Stories Going On Around You. 7. Notice PATTERNS. Make CONNECTIONS. 8. DOCUMENT Your Findings (field notes) In A VAriety Of Ways. 9. Incorporate Indeterminacy. 10. Observe Movement. 11. Create a Personal DIALOGUE With Your Environment. Talk to it. 12. Trace Things Back to Their ORIGINS. 13. Use ALL of the Senses In Your Investigations.
Keri Smith (How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum)
you should not overlook the guidelines of your culture. Life is short, and you don’t have time to figure everything out on your own. The wisdom of the past was hard-earned, and your dead ancestors may have something useful to tell you).
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
Will gave a short laugh. He was in gear as if he had just come from the practice room, and his hair curled damply against his temples. He was not looking at Tessa, but she had grown used to that. Will hardly ever looked at her unless he had to.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Don't be so anxious about it,' she laughed. 'I'm not used to being loved. I wouldn't know what to do; I never got the trick of it.' She looked down at him, shy and fatigued. 'So here we are. I told you years ago that I had the makings of Cinderella.' He took her hand; she drew it back instinctively and then replaced it in his. 'Beg your pardon. Not even used to being touched. But I'm not afraid of you, if you stay quiet and don't move suddenly.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Short Stories)
Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. As we remember that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God,” (Mosiah 2:17) we will not find ourselves in the unenviable position of Jacob Marley’s ghost, who spoke to Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s immortal "Christmas Carol." Marley spoke sadly of opportunities lost. Said he: 'Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness. Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!' Marley added: 'Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!' Fortunately, as we know, Ebenezer Scrooge changed his life for the better. I love his line, 'I am not the man I was.' Why is Dickens’ "Christmas Carol" so popular? Why is it ever new? I personally feel it is inspired of God. It brings out the best within human nature. It gives hope. It motivates change. We can turn from the paths which would lead us down and, with a song in our hearts, follow a star and walk toward the light. We can quicken our step, bolster our courage, and bask in the sunlight of truth. We can hear more clearly the laughter of little children. We can dry the tear of the weeping. We can comfort the dying by sharing the promise of eternal life. If we lift one weary hand which hangs down, if we bring peace to one struggling soul, if we give as did the Master, we can—by showing the way—become a guiding star for some lost mariner.
Thomas S. Monson
It is a simple logic truth that, short of mass emigration into space, with rockets taking off at the rate of several million per second, uncontrolled birth-rates are bound to lead to horribly increased death –rates. It is hard to believe that this simple truth is not understood by those leaders who forbid their followers to use effective contraceptive methods. They express a preference for ‘natural’ methods of population limitation, and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation.
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
Once inside my skull, my doctor added some salt, just to taste.  He also poured some fruit into my skull – an apple, a pear, a few seedless grapes, and a ripe banana.  He then used an electric blender set on its highest speed to create what he had termed ‘a yogurt parfait.’  After he finished blending the ingredients, he beckoned the other doctors and a few of the nurses to sample his new concoction.
Harvey Havel (The Odd and the Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction)
What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense)
Adrian looked over at me again. “Who knows more about male weakness: you or me?” “Go on.” I refused to directly answer the question. “Get a new dress. One that shows a lot of skin. Short. Strapless. Maybe a push-up bra too.” He actually had the audacity to do a quick assessment of my chest. “Eh, maybe not. But definitely some high heels.” “Adrian,” I exclaimed. “You’ve seen how Alchemists dress. Do you think I can really wear something like that?” He was unconcerned. “You’ll make it work. You’ll change clothes or something. But I’m telling you, if you want to get a guy to do something that might be difficult, then the best way is to distract him so that he can’t devote his full brainpower to the consequences.” “You don’t have a lot of faith in your own gender.” “Hey, I’m telling you the truth. I’ve been distracted by sexy dresses a lot.” I didn’t really know if that was a valid argument, seeing as Adrian was distracted by a lot of things. Fondue. T-shirts. Kittens. “And so, what then? I show some skin, and the world is mine?” “That’ll help.” Amazingly, I could tell he was dead serious. “And you’ve gotta act confident the whole time, like it’s already a done deal. Then make sure when you’re actually asking for what you want that you tell him you’d be ‘so, so grateful.’ But don’t elaborate. His imagination will do half the work for you. ” I shook my head, glad we’d almost reached our destination. I didn’t know how much more I could listen to. “This is the most ridiculous advice I’ve ever heard. It’s also kind of sexist too, but I can’t decide who it offends more, men or women.” “Look, Sage. I don’t know much about chemistry or computer hacking or photosynthery, but this is something I’ve got a lot of experience with.” I think he meant photosynthesis, but I didn’t correct him. “Use my knowledge. Don’t let it go to waste.
Richelle Mead (The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3))
In using all means, seek God alone. In and through every outward thing, look only to the power of His Spirit, and the merits of His Son. Beware you do not get stuck in the work itself; if you do, it is all lost labor. Nothing short of God can satisfy your soul. Therefore, fix on Him in all, through all, and above all...Remember also to use all means as means-as ordained, not for their own sake...
John Wesley (How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer (VALUE BOOKS))
We are so used to the notion of our own inevitability as life’s dominant species that it is hard to grasp that we are here only because of timely extraterrestrial bangs and other random flukes. The one thing we have in common with all other living things is that for nearly four billion years our ancestors have managed to slip through a series of closing doors every time we needed them to.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
When I kill a man, I do it with my sword, but people like you don't use swords. You gentlemen kill with your power, with your money, and sometimes just with your words: you tell people you're doing them a favor. True, no blood flows, the man is still alive, but you've killed him all the same. I don't know whose sin is greater - yours or mine.
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
The gift of the Holy Ghost...quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands, and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates, and matures all the fine-toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings, and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity. It develops beauty of person, form, and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.
Parley P. Pratt
Father . . . ," Gabriel began. "Father is a worm." Will gave a short laugh. He was in gear as if he had just come from the practice room, and his hair curled damply against his temples. He was not looking at Tessa, but she had grown used to that. Will hardly ever looked at her unless he had to. "It's good to see you've come round to our view of things, Gabriel, but this is an unusual way of announcing it." Gideon shot Will a reproachful look before turning back to his brother. "What do you mean, Gabriel? What did Father do?" Gabriel shook his head. "He's a worm," he said again, tonelessly. "I know. He has brought shame on the name of Lightwood, and lied to both of us. He shamed and destroyed our mother. But we need not be like him." Gabriel pulled away from his brother's grip, his teeth suddenly flashing in an angry scowl. "You're not listening to me," he said. "He's a worm. A worm. A bloody great serpentlike thing. Since Mortmain stopped sending the medicine, he's been getting worse. Changing. Those sores upon his arms, they started to cover him. His hands, his neck, h-his face . . ." Gabriel's green eyes sought Will. "It was the pox, wasn't it? You know all about it, don't you? Aren't you some sort of expert?" "Well, you needn't act as if I invented it," said Will. "Just because I believed it existed. There are accounts of it—old stories in the library—
Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga, #3))
I'm quite certain that if the rest of the world vanished overnight and the development of cricket were left in Australian hands, within a generation, the players would be wearing shorts and using the bats to hit each other, and the thing is, it'd be a much better game for it.
Bill Bryson (In a Sunburned Country)
My grandfather used to say: Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that -not to mention accidents- even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.
Franz Kafka (The Complete Stories)
The stars are brilliant at this time of night and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break for darling, the times are quite glorious. I left him by the water’s edge, still waving long after the ship was gone and if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well. There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew. I used to go there to say goodbye. I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them, one way or the other, leaving sin on my body scrubbing tears off with salt and I built my rituals in farewells. Endings I still cling to. So I go to the ocean to say goodbye. He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my head and though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right one for I have used them myself and there is no coming back. Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay. I turned away from the ocean as not to fall for its plea for it used to seduce and consume me and there was this one night a few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewells and just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone. But I was younger then and easily fooled and the ocean was deep and dark and blue and I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones. I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival. Then days passed by and I spent them with my work and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send. But there is this one day every year or so when the burden gets too heavy and I collect my belongings I no longer need and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written words and I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone. Nothing left to hold me back. You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss like chains wrapped around my veins, and if you see a fire from the shore tonight it’s my chains going up in flames. The time of moon i quite glorious. We could have been so glorious.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
If the justification for controlling women's bodies were about women themselves, then it would be understandable. If, for example, the reason was 'women should not wear short skirts because they can get cancer if they do.' Instead the reason is not about women, but about men. Women must be 'covered up' to protect men. I find this deeply dehumanizing because it reduces women to mere props used to manage the appetites of men.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions)
Most people, if they were generous, were so because they thought life was short and that one must make the most of it. Sid Baxter was generous because he knew that life was long. It went on and on even when you had no use for it anymore. It was happiness, not life, that was short, and when it visited - in the form of a fine evening spent talking with a friend - he honoured it.
Jennifer Donnelly (The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose, #2))
In all of my universe I have seen no law of nature, unchanging and inexorable. This universe presents only changing relationships which are somtimes seen as laws by short-lived awareness. These fleshy sensoria which we call self are ephemera withering in the blaze of infinity, fleetingly aware of temporary conditions which confine our activities and change as our activities change. If you must label the absolute, use its proper name: Temporary.
Frank Herbert (God Emperor of Dune (Dune Chronicles #4))
Do you know why Satan is so angry all the time? Because whenever he works a particularly clever bit of mischief God uses it to serve his own Rigteous purposes." "So God uses wicked people as his tools?" "God gives us the freedom to to do great evil, if we choose, then He uses his own freedom to create goodness out of that evil, for that is what He chooses." "So, in the long run, God always wins?" "Yes, in the short run though it can be uncomfortable.
Orson Scott Card (Ender's Shadow (The Shadow Series, #1))
Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand. And, above all, poetry is compacted metaphor or simile. Such metaphors, like Japanese paper flowers, may expand outward into gigantic shapes. Ideas lie everywhere through the poetry books, yet how rarely have I heard short story teachers recommending them for browsing. What poetry? Any poetry that makes your hair stand up along your arms. Don’t force yourself too hard. Take it easy. Over the years you may catch up to, move even with, and pass T. S. Eliot on your way to other pastures. You say you don’t understand Dylan Thomas? Yes, but your ganglion does, and your secret wits, and all your unborn children. Read him, as you can read a horse with your eyes, set free and charging over an endless green meadow on a windy day.
Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You)
War seems like a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. Then they get a taste of battle. For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they’ve been gutted by an axe. They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now, They take the wound, and when that’s still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water. If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron half helm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the small folk whose land they’re fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chickens, and from there it’s just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don’t know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they’re fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad in all steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world. And the man breaks.
George R.R. Martin (A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4))
And so there is no reason for you to think that any man has lived long because he has grey hairs or wrinkles, he has not lived long – he has existed long. For what if you should think that man had had a long voyage who had been caught by a fierce storm as soon as he left harbour, and, swept hither and thither by a succession of winds that raged from different quarters, had been driven in a circle around the same course? Not much voyaging did he have, but much tossing about.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
That is one thing I've learned, that it is possible to really understand things at certain points, and not be able to retain them, to be in utter confusion just a short while later. I used to think that once you really knew a thing, its truth would shine on forever. Now it's pretty obvious to me that more often than not the batteries fade, and sometimes what you knew even goes out with a bang when you try to call on it, just like a lightbulb cracking off when you throw the switch.
Ann Patchett (Truth & Beauty)
I acquired expensive habits and affected manners. I got a third-class degree and a first-class illusion: that I was a poet. But nothing could have been less poetic that my seeing-through-all boredom with life in general and with making a living in particular. I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope-- an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all. But I did absorb a small dose of one permanently useful thing, Oxford's greatest gift to civilized life: Socratic honesty. It showed me, very intermittently, that it is not enough to revolt against one's past. One day I was outrageously bitter among some friends about the Army; back in my own rooms later it suddenly struck me that just because I said with impunity things that would have apoplexed my dead father, I was still no less under his influence. The truth was I was not a cynic by nature, only by revolt. I had got away from what I hated, but I hadn't found where I loved, and so I pretended that there was nowhere to love. Handsomely equipped to fail, I went out into the world.
John Fowles (The Magus)
Our society does reward beauty on the outside over health on the inside. Women must not be blamed for choosing short-term beauty "fixes" that harm our long-term health, since our life spans are inverted under the beauty myth, and there is no great social or economic incentive for women to live a long time. A thin young woman with precancerous lungs [who smokes to stay thin] is more highly rewarded socially that a hearty old crone. Spokespeople sell women the Iron Maiden [an intrinsically unattainable standard of beauty used to punish women for their failure to achieve and conform to it]and name her "Health": if public discourse were really concerned with women's health, it would turn angrily upon this aspect of the beauty myth.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Not bad in short, though the last one [understanding the language of animals], isn't half as useful as you might expect, since when all's said and done the language of the beasts tends to revolve around: a) the endless hunt for food, b) finding a warm bush to sleep in the evening, and c) the sporadic satisfication of certain glands. (Many would argue that the language of human kind boils down to this too)
Jonathan Stroud (The Ring of Solomon (Bartimaeus, #0.5))
I just got a rather nasty shock. In looking for something or other I came across the fact that one of my cats is about to be nine years old, and that another of them will shortly thereafter be eight; I have been labouring under the delusion they were about five and six. And yesterday I happened to notice in the mirror that while I have long since grown used to my beard being very grey indeed, I was not prepared to discover that my eyebrows are becoming noticeably shaggy. I feel the tomb is just around the corner. And there are all these books I haven't read yet, even if I am simultaneously reading at least twenty...
Edward Gorey (Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer)
Now lend me your ears. Here is Creative Writing 101: 1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. 2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. 3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. 4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action. 5. Start as close to the end as possible. 6. Be a sadist. No matter sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of. 7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. 8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages. The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964). She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Society invents a spurious convoluted logic tae absorb and change people whae's behaviour is outside its mainstream. Suppose that ah ken aw the pros and cons, know that ah'm gaunnae huv a short life, am ah sound mind, ectetera, ectetera, but still want tae use smack? They won't let ye dae it. They won't let ye dae it, because it's seen as a sign ay thir ain failure. The fact that ye jist simply choose tae reject whit they huv tae offer. Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fuckin junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and shiteing yersel in a home, a total fuckin embarrassment tae the selfish, fucked-up brats ye've produced. Choose life. Well, ah choose no tae choose life. If the cunts cannae handle that, it's thair fuckin problem. As Harry Launder sais, ah jist intend tae keep right on to the end of the road...
Irvine Welsh
What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
Friedrich Nietzsche
We need myths that will help us to identify with all our fellow-beings, not simply with those who belong to our ethnic, national or ideological tribe. We need myths that help us to realize the importance of compassion, which is not always regarded as sufficiently productive or efficient in our pragmatic, rational world. We need myths that help us to create a spiritual attitude, to see beyond our immediate requirements, and enable us to experience a transcendent value that challenges our solipsistic selfishness. We need myths that help us to venerate the earth as sacred once again, instead of merely using it as a 'resource.' This is crucial, because unless there is some kind of spiritual revolution that is able to keep abreast of our technological genius, we will not save our planet.
Karen Armstrong (A Short History of Myth)
It was not in my nature to be an assertive person. I was used to looking to others for guidance, for influence, sometimes for the most basic cues of life. And yet writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself. Even among the most reluctant and doubtful of writers, this willfulness must emerge. Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me.
Jhumpa Lahiri
There are people like Senhor José everywhere, who fill their time, or what they believe to be their spare time, by collecting stamps, coins, medals, vases, postcards, matchboxes, books, clocks, sport shirts, autographs, stones, clay figurines, empty beverage cans, little angels, cacti, opera programmes, lighters, pens, owls, music boxes, bottles, bonsai trees, paintings, mugs, pipes, glass obelisks, ceramic ducks, old toys, carnival masks, and they probably do so out of something that we might call metaphysical angst, perhaps because they cannot bear the idea of chaos being the one ruler of the universe, which is why, using their limited powers and with no divine help, they attempt to impose some order on the world, and for a short while they manage it, but only as long as they are there to defend their collection, because when the day comes when it must be dispersed, and that day always comes, either with their death or when the collector grows weary, everything goes back to its beginnings, everything returns to chaos.
José Saramago (All the Names)
No one could endure lasting adversity if it continued to have the same force as when it first hit us. We are all tied to Fortune, some by a loose and golden chain, and others by a tight one of baser metal: but what does it matter? We are all held in the same captivity, and those who have bound others are themselves in bonds - unless you think perhaps that the left-hand chain is lighter. One man is bound by high office, another by wealth; good birth weighs down some, and a humble origin others; some bow under the rule of other men and some under their own; some are restricted to one place by exile, others by priesthoods: all life is a servitude. So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it.
Seneca (On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas))
Against all odds, we made it to the top of the fence. Getting over to the other side was much more difficult, and I had to do a fair amount of acrobatics to help Adrian make the transition while keeping myself steady. Finally, I wrangled him into the correct position to climb down. "Good," I said. "Now just reverse what you did before, one hand down in front of the-" Something slipped, either his hand or foot, and Adrian plummeted to the ground. It wasn't that long of a drop, and his height helped a little- not that he was in any shape to actually use his legs and land on his feet. I winced. "Or you can just take the short way down," I said.
Richelle Mead (The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2))
In space flight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death. In the Soyuz, for example, we use every cue from every available source—periscope, multiple sensors, the horizon—to monitor our attitude constantly and adjust if necessary. We never want to lose attitude, since maintaining attitude is fundamental to success. In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.
Chris Hadfield (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth)
After It happens when I’m at bodegas. It happens when I’m at school. It happens when I’m on the train. It happens when I’m standing on the platform. It happens when I’m sitting on the stoop. It happens when I’m turning the corner. It happens when I forget to be on guard. It happens all the time. I should be used to it. I shouldn’t get so angry when boys—and sometimes grown-ass men— talk to me however they want, think they can grab themselves or rub against me or make all kinds of offers. But I’m never used to it. And it always makes my hands shake. Always makes my throat tight. The only thing that calms me down after Twin and I get home is to put my headphones on. To listen to Drake. To grab my notebook, and write, and write, and write all the things I wish I could have said. Make poems from the sharp feelings inside, that feel like they could carve me wide open. It happens when I wear shorts. It happens when I wear jeans. It happens when I stare at the ground. It happens when I stare ahead. It happens when I’m walking. It happens when I’m sitting. It happens when I’m on my phone. It simply never stops.
Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X)
The room was a compact, informal library. Books stood or were stacked on the shelves that ran along two walls from floor to ceiling, sat on the tables like knickknacks, trooped around the room like soldiers. They struck Malory as more than knowledge or entertainment, even more than stories or information. They were colour and texture, in a haphazard yet somehow intricate decorating scheme. The short leg of the L-shaped room boasted still more books, as well as a small table that held the remains of Dana's breakfast. With her hands on her hips, Dana watched Malory's perusal of her space. She'd seen the reaction before. 'No I haven't read them all, but I will.And no I don't know how many I have. Want coffee?' Let me just ask this. Do you ever actually use the services of the library?' Sure, but I need to own them. If I don't have twenty or thirty books right here, waiting to be read, I start jonesing. That's my compulsion.
Nora Roberts
Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so atomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms - up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested - probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven, and any other historical figure you care to name. So we are all reincarnations - though short-lived ones. When we die, our atoms will disassemble and move off to find new uses elsewhere - as part of a leaf or other human being or drop of dew.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
What?” I cut him off. “That’s not true—I do take this seriously—” “Bullshit.” He laughs a short, sharp, angry laugh. “All you do is sit around and think about your feelings. You’ve got problems. Boo-freaking-hoo,” he says. “Your parents hate you and it’s so hard but you have to wear gloves for the rest of your life because you kill people when you touch them. Who gives a shit?” He’s breathing hard enough for me to hear him. “As far as I can tell, you’ve got food in your mouth and clothes on your back and a place to pee in peace whenever you feel like it. Those aren’t problems. That’s called living like a king. And I’d really appreciate it if you’d grow the hell up and stop walking around like the world crapped on your only roll of toilet paper. Because it’s stupid,” he says, barely reining in his temper. “It’s stupid, and it’s ungrateful. You don’t have a clue what everyone else in the world is going through right now. You don’t have a clue, Juliette. And you don’t seem to give a damn, either.” I swallow, so hard. “Now I am trying,” he says, “to give you a chance to fix things. I keep giving you opportunities to do things differently. To see past the sad little girl you used to be—the sad little girl you keep clinging to—and stand up for yourself. Stop crying. Stop sitting in the dark counting out all your individual feelings about how sad and lonely you are. Wake up,” he says. “You’re not the only person in this world who doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. You’re not the only one with daddy issues and severely screwed-up DNA. You can be whoever the hell you want to be now. You’re not with your shitty parents anymore. You’re not in that shitty asylum, and you’re no longer stuck being Warner’s shitty little experiment. So make a choice,” he says. “Make a choice and stop wasting everyone’s time. Stop wasting your own time. Okay?
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
Either god exists or it doesn’t exist. If a god does exist, it either interacts with the universe in some detectable way or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, that god is indistinguishable from a non-existent god. That only leaves a god who interacts with the universe in some detectable way. But if science, which is the greatest realization of the use of our senses to, you know, detect things, hasn’t found this god, that doesn’t say much for individuals. In short, the god you’ve created is, in fact, undetectable by science. The limits of science are not the province of religious knowledge. Where science is ignorant, so is religion. The only difference is that religion lacks the integrity of science.
Matt Dillahunty
I guess that isn't the right word," she said. She was used to apologizing for her use of language. She had been encouraged to do a lot of that in school. Most white people in Midland City were insecure when they spoke, so they kept their sentences short and their words simple, in order to keep embarrassing mistakes to a minimum. Dwayne certainly did that. Patty certainly did that. This was because their English teachers would wince and cover their ears and give them flunking grades and so on whenever they failed to speak like English aristocrats before the First World War. Also: they were told that they were unworthy to speak or write their language if they couldn't love or understand incomprehensible novels and poems and plays about people long ago and far away, such as Ivanhoe.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain - which is to say, all of it. Every last bit of it, good and bad - Marmite, village fetes, country lanes, people saying 'mustn't grumble' and 'I'm terribly sorry but', people apologizing to me when I conk them with a nameless elbow, milk in bottles, beans on toast, haymaking in June, stinging nettles, seaside piers, Ordnance Survey maps, crumpets, hot-water bottles as a necessity, drizzly Sundays - every bit of it. What a wondrous place this was - crazy as fuck, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket that goes on for three days and never seems to start? Who else would think it not the least odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, compel the Speaker of the House of Commons to sit on something called the Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ('Please Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.') What other nation in the world could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, the Open University, Gardners' Question Time and the chocolate digestive biscuit? None, of course. How easily we lose sight of all this. What an enigma Britain will seem to historians when they look back on the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a country that fought and won a noble war, dismantled a mighty empire in a generally benign and enlightened way, created a far-seeing welfare state - in short, did nearly everything right - and then spent the rest of the century looking on itself as a chronic failure. The fact is that this is still the best place in the world for most things - to post a letter, go for a walk, watch television, buy a book, venture out for a drink, go to a museum, use the bank, get lost, seek help, or stand on a hillside and take in a view. All of this came to me in the space of a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you.
Bill Bryson (Notes from a Small Island)
This is not to say that the point of the hard way is that we must be heroic. The attitude of "heroism" is based upon the assumption that we are bad, impure, that we are not worthy, are not ready for spiritual understanding. We must reform ourselves, be different from what we are. For instance, if we are middle class Americans, we must give up our jobs or drop out of college, move out of our suburban homes, let our hair grow, perhaps try drugs. If we are hippies, we must give up drugs, cut our hair short, throw away our torn jeans. We think that we are special, heroic, that we are turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we become this and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path is spiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used to be, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who is heroic in this way is ego.
Chögyam Trungpa (Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism)
There is nothing so annoying as to be fairly rich, of a fairly good family, pleasing presence, average education, to be "not stupid," kindhearted, and yet to have no talent at all, no originality, not a single idea of one's own—to be, in fact, "just like everyone else." Of such people there are countless numbers in this world—far more even than appear. They can be divided into two classes as all men can—that is, those of limited intellect, and those who are much cleverer. The former of these classes is the happier. To a commonplace man of limited intellect, for instance, nothing is simpler than to imagine himself an original character, and to revel in that belief without the slightest misgiving. Many of our young women have thought fit to cut their hair short, put on blue spectacles, and call themselves Nihilists. By doing this they have been able to persuade themselves, without further trouble, that they have acquired new convictions of their own. Some men have but felt some little qualm of kindness towards their fellow-men, and the fact has been quite enough to persuade them that they stand alone in the van of enlightenment and that no one has such humanitarian feelings as they. Others have but to read an idea of somebody else's, and they can immediately assimilate it and believe that it was a child of their own brain. The "impudence of ignorance," if I may use the expression, is developed to a wonderful extent in such cases;—unlikely as it appears, it is met with at every turn. ... those belonged to the other class—to the "much cleverer" persons, though from head to foot permeated and saturated with the longing to be original. This class, as I have said above, is far less happy. For the "clever commonplace" person, though he may possibly imagine himself a man of genius and originality, none the less has within his heart the deathless worm of suspicion and doubt; and this doubt sometimes brings a clever man to despair. (As a rule, however, nothing tragic happens;—his liver becomes a little damaged in the course of time, nothing more serious. Such men do not give up their aspirations after originality without a severe struggle,—and there have been men who, though good fellows in themselves, and even benefactors to humanity, have sunk to the level of base criminals for the sake of originality)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Idiot)
Once upon a time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. No, no, wait. Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a wee house in the woods. Once upon a time there were three soldiers, tramping together down the road after the war. Once upon a time there were three little pigs. Once upon a time there were three brothers. No, this is it. This is the variation I want. Once upon a time there were three Beautiful children, two boys and a girl. When each baby was born, the parents rejoiced, the heavens rejoiced, even the fairies rejoiced. The fairies came to christening parties and gave the babies magical gifts. Bounce, effort, and snark. Contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. Sugar, curiosity, and rain. And yet, there was a witch. There's always a witch. This which was the same age as the beautiful children, and as she and they grew, she was jealous of the girl, and jealous of the boys, too. They were blessed with all these fairy gifts, gifts the witch had been denied at her own christening. The eldest boy was strong and fast, capable and handsome. Though it's true, he was exceptionally short. The next boy was studious and open hearted. Though it's true, he was an outsider. And the girl was witty, Generous, and ethical. Though it's true, she felt powerless. The witch, she was none of these things, for her parents had angered the fairies. No gifts were ever bestowed upon her. She was lonely. Her only strength was her dark and ugly magic. She confuse being spartan with being charitable, and gave away her possessions without truly doing good with them. She confuse being sick with being brave, and suffered agonies while imagining she merited praise for it. She confused wit with intelligence, and made people laugh rather than lightening their hearts are making them think. Hey magic was all she had, and she used it to destroy what she most admired. She visited each young person in turn in their tenth birthday, but did not harm them out right. The protection of some kind fairy - the lilac fairy, perhaps - prevented her from doing so. What she did instead was cursed them. "When you are sixteen," proclaimed the witch in a rage of jealousy, "you shall prick your finger on a spindle - no, you shall strike a match - yes, you will strike a match and did in its flame." The parents of the beautiful children were frightened of the curse, and tried, as people will do, to avoid it. They moved themselves and the children far away, to a castle on a windswept Island. A castle where there were no matches. There, surely, they would be safe. There, Surely, the witch would never find them. But find them she did. And when they were fifteen, these beautiful children, just before their sixteenth birthdays and when they're nervous parents not yet expecting it, the jealous which toxic, hateful self into their lives in the shape of a blonde meeting. The maiden befriended the beautiful children. She kissed him and took them on the boat rides and brought them fudge and told them stories. Then she gave them a box of matches. The children were entranced, for nearly sixteen they have never seen fire. Go on, strike, said the witch, smiling. Fire is beautiful. Nothing bad will happen. Go on, she said, the flames will cleanse your souls. Go on, she said, for you are independent thinkers. Go on, she said. What is this life we lead, if you did not take action? And they listened. They took the matches from her and they struck them. The witch watched their beauty burn, Their bounce, Their intelligence, Their wit, Their open hearts, Their charm, Their dreams for the future. She watched it all disappear in smoke.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
I[John/Four] scratched Bernie Kosar's head. I don't think I could get used to calling him Hadley, but maybe I could get used to calling Six Maren Elizabeth. "I think you should take on a human name," I say. "If not Maren Elizabeth, then something else. I mean, at least for when we're in front of strangers." Everyone grows silent, and I reach behind me into the Chest for the velvet bag holding the Lorien's solar system. I set the six planets and the sun in my palm and watch them hover and glow to life. As the planets begin to orbit their sun, I find that I am able to dim their brightness with my mind. I intentionally lose myself in them, successfully forgetting just for a few moments that I might ba seeing Sarah soon. Six turns to look at the faint solar system that floats in front of my chest, and then she finally says. "I don't know; I still like the name Six. Maren Elizabeth was when I was a different person, and right now Six just feels right. It can be short for something if Someone asks." Sam looks over. "For what? Sixty?
Pittacus Lore (The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies, #2))
What is there to see if I go outside? Don't tell me. I know. I can see other people. I don't want to see other people. They look awful. The men look like slobs and the women look like men. The men have mush faces framed by long hair and the women have big noses, big jaws, big heads, and stick-like bodies. That depresses me. Its no fun to people-watch anymore because there's so little variety in types. You say it's good to get a change of scenery. What scenery? New buildings? New cars? New freeways? New shopping malls? Go to the woods or a park? I saw a tree once. The new ones look the same, which is fine. I even remember what the old ones look like. My memory isn't that short. But it's not worth going to see a squirrel grab a nut, or fish swimming around in a big tank if I must put up with the ugly contemporary human pollution that accompanies each excursion. The squirrel may enliven me and remind me of better vistas but the price in social interaction isn't worth it. If, on my way to visit the squirrel, I encounter a single person who gains stimulation by seeing me, I feel like I have given more than I've received and I get sore. If every time I go somewhere to see a fish swimming, I become someone else's stimulation, I feel shortchanged. I'll buy my own fish and watch it swim. Then, I can watch the fish, the fish can watch me, we can be friends, and nobody else interferes with the interaction, like trying to hear what the fish and I are talking about. I won't have to get dressed a certain way to visit the fish. I needn't dress the way my pride dictates, because who's going to see me? I needn't wear any pants. The fish doesn't care. He doesn't read the tabloids. But, if I go out to see a fish other than my own, I'm right back where I started: entertaining others, which is more depleting than visiting the new fish is entertaining. Maybe I should go to a coffee house. I find no stimulation in watching ordinary people trying to put the make on other uninteresting people. I can fix my own cup of coffee and not have to look at or talk to other people. No matter where I go, I stimulate others, and have been doing so all my life. It used to be I'd sometimes get stimulated back.
Anton Szandor LaVey
It is worth saying something about the social position of beggars, for when one has consorted with them, and found that they are ordinary human beings, one cannot help being struck by the curious attitude that society takes towards them. People seem to feel that there is some essential difference between beggars and ordinary 'working' men. They are a race apart--outcasts, like criminals and prostitutes. Working men 'work', beggars do not 'work'; they are parasites, worthless in their very nature. It is taken for granted that a beggar does not 'earn' his living, as a bricklayer or a literary critic 'earns' his. He is a mere social excrescence, tolerated because we live in a humane age, but essentially despicable. Yet if one looks closely one sees that there is no ESSENTIAL difference between a beggar's livelihood and that of numberless respectable people. Beggars do not work, it is said; but, then, what is WORK? A navvy works by swinging a pick. An accountant works by adding up figures. A beggar works by standing out of doors in all weathers and getting varicose veins, chronic bronchitis, etc. It is a trade like any other; quite useless, of course--but, then, many reputable trades are quite useless. And as a social type a beggar compares well with scores of others. He is honest compared with the sellers of most patent medicines, high-minded compared with a Sunday newspaper proprietor, amiable compared with a hire-purchase tout--in short, a parasite, but a fairly harmless parasite. He seldom extracts more than a bare living from the community, and, what should justify him according to our ethical ideas, he pays for it over and over in suffering. I do not think there is anything about a beggar that sets him in a different class from other people, or gives most modern men the right to despise him. Then the question arises, Why are beggars despised?--for they are despised, universally. I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a decent living. In practice nobody cares whether work is useful or useless, productive or parasitic; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable. In all the modem talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue. By this test beggars fail, and for this they are despised. If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modem people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
George Orwell (Down and Out in Paris and London)
You know this girl. Her hair is neither long nor short nor light nor dark. She parts it precisely in the middle. She sits precisely in the middle of the classroom, and when she used to ride the school bus, she sat precisely in the middle of that, too. She joins clubs, but is never the president of them. Sometimes she is the secretary; usually, just a member. When asked, she has been known to paints sets for the school play. She always has a date to the dance, but is never anyone’s first choice. In point of fact, she’s nobody’s first choice for anything. Her best friend became her best friend when another girl moved away. She has a group of girls she eats lunch with every day, but God, how they bore her. Sometimes, when she can’t stand it anymore, she eats in the library instead. Truth be told, she prefers books to people, and the librarian always seems happy to see her. She knows there are other people who have it worse—she isn’t poor or ugly or friendless or teased. Of course, she’s also aware that the reason no one teases is because no one ever notices her. This isn’t to say she doesn’t have qualities. She is pretty, maybe, if anyone would bother to look. And she gets good enough grades. And she doesn’t drink and drive. And she says NO to drugs. And she is always where she says she will be. And she calls when she’s going to be late. And she feels a little, just a little, dead inside. She thinks, You think you know me, but you don’t. She thinks, None of you has any idea about all the things in my heart. She thinks, None of you has any idea how really and truly beautiful I am. She thinks, See me. See me. See me. Sometimes she thinks she will scream. Sometimes she imagines sticking her head in an oven. But she doesn’t. She just writes it all down in her journal and waits. She is waiting for someone to see.
Gabrielle Zevin (Love Is Hell)
Not easy when you can't talk, is it?" I grinned. "Well, not easy for you but I could get used to it." He grumbled, but I could see relif in his eyes, like he was glad to see me smile. "SO i was right, wasn't I? It's still youm even in wolf form." He grunted. "No sudden uncontrollable urges to go kill something?" He rolled his eyes. "Hey, you're the one who was worried." I paused. "And i don't smell like dinner, right?" I got a real look for that one. "Just covering all the bases." He gave a rumbling groul, like a chuckle, and settled in, lowering his head to his front paws, gaze on me. I tried to get comfortable, but the ground was ice-cold through his swearshirt, and i was wearing only my new pajamas, a light jacket, and sneakers. Seeing me shiver, he stretched a front leg toward the swearshirt, pawing the edge and snarling when he realized he couldnt grab it. "The lack of opposanle thumbs is going to take some getting used to, huh?" He motioned me closer with his muzzel. When I pretended not to understand, he twisted and gingerly took the hem of the swearshirt between his teeth, lips curled in discust as he tugged it. "Okay, okay. I'm just trying not to croud you." That wasnt the only reason i was uncomfortanle getting too cozy with him now, but he just grunted, again seeming to say it was fine. i moved over beside himm. He shifted, his torso making a partial wind block, the boddy heat from the change still blasting like a furnace. He grunted. "Yes, thats better.thanks. now get some rest." i had no idea what would happen now. i doubted derek did either. he'd been focused on getting through the change. what i did know was that this was only half the process. he had to change back, and he'd need time and rest for that. and how would it happen? did he have to wait until his body was ready, like he did with the change to a wolf? how long would that be?hours?days? Feeling his gaze on me, i forced a smile and pushed back my worries. it would be okat. he could change. that was the important thing. when i relaxed, he shifted closer, fur brushing my hand. i tentatively touched it, feeling the coarse top layer and soft undercoar. he leaned against my hand, as if to sat it was okaym and i buried my hand in his fur, his skin so hot from the change it was like putting my numb hands on a radiator. my cool fingers must have felt just as good, because he closed his eyes and shifte until i was leaning on him. within minutes he was asleep. i closed my eyes, meaning to rest for just a moment, but the next thing i knew, i was waking up, curled on my side, using derek as a pillow. i jumped. he looked over at me. "S-sorry, I didn't mean-" He cut me short with a growl, telling me off for apologizing.
Kelley Armstrong
Have a joke for me Tania," he says, "I could use a joke." "Hmm." She thinks, looks at him, looks to see where Anthony is. He's far in the back. "Okay, what about this." With a short cough she leans into Alexander and lowers her voice. "A man and his young girlfriend are driving in a car. The man has never seen his girlfriend naked. She thinks he is driving too slow, so they decide to play a game. For every five miles he goes above 50, she will take off a piece of her clothing. In no time at all, he is flying and she is naked. The man gets so excited that he loses control of the car. It veers off the road and hits a tree. She is unharmed but he is stuck in the car and can’t get out. “Go back on the road and get help,” he tells her. “But I’m naked,” she says. He rummages around and pulls off his shoe. “Here, just put this between your legs to cover yourself.” She does as she is told and runs out to the road. A truck driver, seeing a naked crying woman, stops. “Help me, Help me,” she sobs, “My boyfriend is stuck and I can’t get him out.” The Truck driver says, “Miss, if he’s that far in, I’m afraid he’s a goner.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He had asked for a bottle of red wine and had drunk half of it. He refused the help of the Protestant minister the Reverend William Hull who offered to read the Bible with him: he had only two more hours to live and therefore no “time to waste.” He walked the fifty yards from his cell to the execution chamber calm and erect with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight. “I don’t need that ” he said when the black hood was offered him. He was in complete command of himself nay he was more: he was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Gottgläubiger to express in common Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. He then proceeded: “After a short while gentlemen we shall all meet again. Such is the fate of all men. Long live Germany long live Argentina long live Austria. I shall not forget them.” In the face of death he had found the cliché used in funeral oratory. Under the gallows his memory played him the last trick he was “elated” and he forgot that this was his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us-the lesson of the fearsome word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.
Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil)
I walked past Malison, up Lower Main to Main and across the road. I didn’t need to look to know he was behind me. I entered Royal Wood, went a short way along a path and waited. It was cool and dim beneath the trees. When Malison entered the Wood, I continued eastward.  I wanted to place his body in hallowed ground. He was born a Mearan. The least I could do was send him to Loric. The distance between us closed until he was on my heels. He chose to come, I told myself, as if that lessened the crime I planned. He chose what I have to offer. We were almost to the cemetery before he asked where we were going. I answered with another question. “Do you like living in the High Lord’s kitchens?” He, of course, replied, “No.” “Well, we’re going to a better place.” When we reached the edge of the Wood, I pushed aside a branch to see the Temple of Loric and Calec’s cottage. No smoke was coming from the chimney, and I assumed the old man was yet abed. His pony was grazing in the field of graves. The sun hid behind a bank of clouds. Malison moved beside me. “It’s a graveyard.” “Are you afraid of ghosts?” I asked. “My father’s a ghost,” he whispered. I asked if he wanted to learn how to throw a knife. He said, “Yes,” as I knew he would.  He untucked his shirt, withdrew the knife he had stolen and gave it to me. It was a thick-bladed, single-edged knife, better suited for dicing celery than slitting a young throat. But it would serve my purpose. That I also knew. I’d spent all night projecting how the morning would unfold and, except for indulging in the tea, it had happened as I had imagined.  Damut kissed her son farewell. Malison followed me of his own free will. Without fear, he placed the instrument of his death into my hand. We were at the appointed place, at the appointed time. The stolen knife was warm from the heat of his body. I had only to use it. Yet I hesitated, and again prayed for Sythene to show me a different path. “Aren’t you going to show me?” Malison prompted, as if to echo my prayer.
K. Ritz (Sheever's Journal, Diary of a Poison Master)
is a broken man an outlaw?" "More or less." Brienne answered. Septon Meribald disagreed. "More less than more. There are many sorts of outlaws, just as there are many sorts of birds. A sandpiper and a sea eagle both have wings, but they are not the same. The singers love to sing of good men forced to go outside the law to fight some wicked lord, but most outlaws are more like this ravening Hound than they are the lightning lord. They are evil men, driven by greed, soured by malice, despising the gods and caring only for themselves. Broken men are more deserving of our pity, though they may be just as dangerous. Almost all are common-born, simple folk who had never been more than a mile from the house where they were born until the day some lord came round to take them off to war. Poorly shod and poorly clad, they march away beneath his banners, ofttimes with no better arms than a sickle or a sharpened hoe, or a maul they made themselves by lashing a stone to a stick with strips of hide. Brothers march with brothers, sons with fathers, friends with friends. They've heard the songs and stories, so they go off with eager hearts, dreaming of the wonders they will see, of the wealth and glory they will win. War seems a fine adventure, the greatest most of them will ever know. "Then they get a taste of battle. "For some, that one taste is enough to break them. Others go on for years, until they lose count of all the battles they have fought in, but even a man who has survived a hundred fights can break in his hundred-and-first. Brothers watch their brothers die, fathers lose their sons, friends see their friends trying to hold their entrails in after they've been gutted by an axe. "They see the lord who led them there cut down, and some other lord shouts that they are his now. They take a wound, and when that's still half-healed they take another. There is never enough to eat, their shoes fall to pieces from the marching, their clothes are torn and rotting, and half of them are shitting in their breeches from drinking bad water. "If they want new boots or a warmer cloak or maybe a rusted iron halfhelm, they need to take them from a corpse, and before long they are stealing from the living too, from the smallfolk whose lands they're fighting in, men very like the men they used to be. They slaughter their sheep and steal their chicken's, and from there it's just a short step to carrying off their daughters too. And one day they look around and realize all their friends and kin are gone, that they are fighting beside strangers beneath a banner that they hardly recognize. They don't know where they are or how to get back home and the lord they're fighting for does not know their names, yet here he comes, shouting for them to form up, to make a line with their spears and scythes and sharpened hoes, to stand their ground. And the knights come down on them, faceless men clad all in steel, and the iron thunder of their charge seems to fill the world... "And the man breaks. "He turns and runs, or crawls off afterward over the corpses of the slain, or steals away in the black of night, and he finds someplace to hide. All thought of home is gone by then, and kings and lords and gods mean less to him than a haunch of spoiled meat that will let him live another day, or a skin of bad wine that might drown his fear for a few hours. The broken man lives from day to day, from meal to meal, more beast than man. Lady Brienne is not wrong. In times like these, the traveler must beware of broken men, and fear them...but he should pity them as well
George R.R. Martin
the function all expressions of contempt have in common is the defense against unwanted feelings. Contempt simply evaporates, having lost its point, when it is no longer useful as a shield—against the child’s shame over his desperate, unreturned love; against his feeling of inadequacy; or above all against his rage that his parents were not available. Once we are able to feel and understand the repressed emotions of childhood, we will no longer need contempt as a defense against them. On the other hand, as long as we despise the other person and over-value our own achievements (“he can’t do what I can do”), we do not have to mourn the fact that love is not forthcoming without achievement. Nevertheless, if we avoid this mourning it means that we remain at bottom the one who is despised, for we have to despise everything in ourselves that is not wonderful, good, and clever. Thus we perpetuate the loneliness of childhood: We despise weakness, helplessness, uncertainty—in short, the child in ourselves and in others. The contempt for others in grandiose, successful people always includes disrespect for their own true selves, as their scorn implies: “Without these superior qualities of mine, a person is completely worthless.” This means further: “Without these achievements, these gifts, I could never be loved, would never have been loved.” Grandiosity in the adult guarantees that the illusion continues: “I was loved.
Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self)
Call the world, if you please, "the Vale of Soul Making". Then you will find out the use of the world.... There may be intelligences or sparks of the divinity in millions -- but they are not Souls till they acquire identities, till each one is personally itself. Intelligences are atoms of perception -- they know and they see and they are pure, in short they are God. How then are Souls to be made? How then are these sparks which are God to have identity given them -- so as ever to possess a bliss peculiar to each one's individual existence. How, but in the medium of a world like this? This point I sincerely wish to consider, because I think it a grander system of salvation than the Christian religion -- or rather it is a system of Spirit Creation... I can scarcely express what I but dimly perceive -- and yet I think I perceive it -- that you may judge the more clearly I will put it in the most homely form possible. I will call the world a school instituted for the purpose of teaching little children to read. I will call the human heart the hornbook used in that school. And I will call the child able to read, the soul made from that school and its hornbook. Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul? A place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways.... As various as the lives of men are -- so various become their souls, and thus does God make individual beings, souls, identical souls of the sparks of his own essence. This appears to me a faint sketch of a system of salvation which does not affront our reason and humanity...
John Keats
I remember clearly the deaths of three men. One was the richest man of the century, who, having clawed his way to wealth through the souls and bodies of men, spent many years trying to buy back the love he had forfeited and by that process performed great service to the world and, perhaps, had much more than balanced the evils of his rise. I was on a ship when he died. The news was posted on the bulletin board, and nearly everyone recieved the news with pleasure. Several said, "Thank God that son of a bitch is dead." Then there was a man, smart as Satan, who, lacking some perception of human dignity and knowing all too well every aspect of human weakness and wickedness, used his special knowledge to warp men, to buy men, to bribe and threaten and seduce until he found himself in a position of great power. He clothed his motives in the names of virtue, and I have wondered whether he ever knew that no gift will ever buy back a man's love when you have removed his self-love. A bribed man can only hate his briber. When this man died the nation rang with praise... There was a third man, who perhaps made many errors in performance but whose effective life was devoted to making men brave and dignified and good in a time when they were poor and frightened and when ugly forces were loose in the world to utilize their fears. This man was hated by few. When he died the people burst into tears in the streets and their minds wailed, "What can we do now?" How can we go on without him?" In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, mo matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror....we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
If you want to see philosophy in action, pay a visit to a robo-rat laboratory. A robo-rat is a run-ofthe-mill rat with a twist: scientists have implanted electrodes into the sensory and reward areas in the rat’s brain. This enables the scientists to manoeuvre the rat by remote control. After short training sessions, researchers have managed not only to make the rats turn left or right, but also to climb ladders, sniff around garbage piles, and do things that rats normally dislike, such as jumping from great heights. Armies and corporations show keen interest in the robo-rats, hoping they could prove useful in many tasks and situations. For example, robo-rats could help detect survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, locate bombs and booby traps, and map underground tunnels and caves. Animal-welfare activists have voiced concern about the suffering such experiments inflict on the rats. Professor Sanjiv Talwar of the State University of New York, one of the leading robo-rat researchers, has dismissed these concerns, arguing that the rats actually enjoy the experiments. After all, explains Talwar, the rats ‘work for pleasure’ and when the electrodes stimulate the reward centre in their brain, ‘the rat feels Nirvana’. To the best of our understanding, the rat doesn’t feel that somebody else controls her, and she doesn’t feel that she is being coerced to do something against her will. When Professor Talwar presses the remote control, the rat wants to move to the left, which is why she moves to the left. When the professor presses another switch, the rat wants to climb a ladder, which is why she climbs the ladder. After all, the rat’s desires are nothing but a pattern of firing neurons. What does it matter whether the neurons are firing because they are stimulated by other neurons, or because they are stimulated by transplanted electrodes connected to Professor Talwar’s remote control? If you asked the rat about it, she might well have told you, ‘Sure I have free will! Look, I want to turn left – and I turn left. I want to climb a ladder – and I climb a ladder. Doesn’t that prove that I have free will?
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
Some years ago I had a conversation with a man who thought that writing and editing fantasy books was a rather frivolous job for a grown woman like me. He wasn’t trying to be contentious, but he himself was a probation officer, working with troubled kids from the Indian reservation where he’d been raised. Day in, day out, he dealt in a concrete way with very concrete problems, well aware that his words and deeds could change young lives for good or ill. I argued that certain stories are also capable of changing lives, addressing some of the same problems and issues he confronted in his daily work: problems of poverty, violence, and alienation, issues of culture, race, gender, and class... “Stories aren’t real,” he told me shortly. “They don’t feed a kid left home in an empty house. Or keep an abusive relative at bay. Or prevent an unloved child from finding ‘family’ in the nearest gang.” Sometimes they do, I tried to argue. The right stories, read at the right time, can be as important as shelter or food. They can help us to escape calamity, and heal us in its aftermath. He frowned, dismissing this foolishness, but his wife was more conciliatory. “Write down the names of some books,” she said. “Maybe we’ll read them.” I wrote some titles on a scrap of paper, and the top three were by Charles de lint – for these are precisely the kind of tales that Charles tells better than anyone. The vital, necessary stories. The ones that can change and heal young lives. Stories that use the power of myth to speak truth to the human heart. Charles de Lint creates a magical world that’s not off in a distant Neverland but here and now and accessible, formed by the “magic” of friendship, art, community, and social activism. Although most of his books have not been published specifically for adolescents and young adults, nonetheless young readers find them and embrace them with particular passion. I’ve long lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people from troubled backgrounds say that books by Charles saved them in their youth, and kept them going. Recently I saw that parole officer again, and I asked after his work. “Gets harder every year,” he said. “Or maybe I’m just getting old.” He stopped me as I turned to go. “That writer? That Charles de Lint? My wife got me to read them books…. Sometimes I pass them to the kids.” “Do they like them?” I asked him curiously. “If I can get them to read, they do. I tell them: Stories are important.” And then he looked at me and smiled.
Terri Windling
10 ways to raise a wild child. Not everyone wants to raise wild, free thinking children. But for those of you who do, here's my tips: 1. Create safe space for them to be outside for a least an hour a day. Preferable barefoot & muddy. 2. Provide them with toys made of natural materials. Silks, wood, wool, etc...Toys that encourage them to use their imagination. If you're looking for ideas, Google: 'Waldorf Toys'. Avoid noisy plastic toys. Yea, maybe they'll learn their alphabet from the talking toys, but at the expense of their own unique thoughts. Plastic toys that talk and iPads in cribs should be illegal. Seriously! 3. Limit screen time. If you think you can manage video game time and your kids will be the rare ones that don't get addicted, then go for it. I'm not that good so we just avoid them completely. There's no cable in our house and no video games. The result is that my kids like being outside cause it's boring inside...hah! Best plan ever! No kid is going to remember that great day of video games or TV. Send them outside! 4. Feed them foods that support life. Fluoride free water, GMO free organic foods, snacks free of harsh preservatives and refined sugars. Good oils that support healthy brain development. Eat to live! 5. Don't helicopter parent. Stay connected and tuned into their needs and safety, but don't hover. Kids like adults need space to roam and explore without the constant voice of an adult telling them what to do. Give them freedom! 6. Read to them. Kids don't do what they are told, they do what they see. If you're on your phone all the time, they will likely be doing the same thing some day. If you're reading, writing and creating your art (painting, cooking...whatever your art is) they will likely want to join you. It's like Emilie Buchwald said, "Children become readers in the laps of their parents (or guardians)." - it's so true! 7. Let them speak their truth. Don't assume that because they are young that you know more than them. They were born into a different time than you. Give them room to respectfully speak their mind and not feel like you're going to attack them. You'll be surprised what you might learn. 8. Freedom to learn. I realize that not everyone can homeschool, but damn, if you can, do it! Our current schools system is far from the best ever. Our kids deserve better. We simply can't expect our children to all learn the same things in the same way. Not every kid is the same. The current system does not support the unique gifts of our children. How can they with so many kids in one classroom. It's no fault of the teachers, they are doing the best they can. Too many kids and not enough parent involvement. If you send your kids to school and expect they are getting all they need, you are sadly mistaken. Don't let the public school system raise your kids, it's not their job, it's yours! 9. Skip the fear based parenting tactics. It may work short term. But the long term results will be devastating to the child's ability to be open and truthful with you. Children need guidance, but scaring them into listening is just lazy. Find new ways to get through to your kids. Be creative! 10. There's no perfect way to be a parent, but there's a million ways to be a good one. Just because every other parent is doing it, doesn't mean it's right for you and your child. Don't let other people's opinions and judgments influence how you're going to treat your kid. Be brave enough to question everything until you find what works for you. Don't be lazy! Fight your urge to be passive about the things that matter. Don't give up on your kid. This is the most important work you'll ever do. Give it everything you have.
Brooke Hampton