Variations Quotes

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

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I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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It's bullshit to think of friendship and romance as being different. They're not. They're just variations of the same love. Variations of the same desire to be close.
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Rachel Cohn (Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List)
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It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.
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Albert Einstein
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Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl. Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men – friends, coworkers, strangers – giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them. I’d want to grab the poor guy by his lapels or messenger bag and say: The bitch doesn’t really love chili dogs that much – no one loves chili dogs that much! And the Cool Girls are even more pathetic: They’re not even pretending to be the woman they want to be, they’re pretending to be the woman a man wants them to be. Oh, and if you’re not a Cool Girl, I beg you not to believe that your man doesn’t want the Cool Girl. It may be a slightly different version – maybe he’s a vegetarian, so Cool Girl loves seitan and is great with dogs; or maybe he’s a hipster artist, so Cool Girl is a tattooed, bespectacled nerd who loves comics. There are variations to the window dressing, but believe me, he wants Cool Girl, who is basically the girl who likes every fucking thing he likes and doesn’t ever complain. (How do you know you’re not Cool Girl? Because he says things like: β€œI like strong women.” If he says that to you, he will at some point fuck someone else. Because β€œI like strong women” is code for β€œI hate strong women.”)
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Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
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there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life... you steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a ather. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness... there is no act more wretched than stealing.
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Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
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It's funny because when you're a child, you believe you can be anything you want to be, go wherever you want to go. There's no limit to what you can dream. You expect the unexpected, you believe in magic, in fairy tales, and in possibilities. Then you grow older and that innocence is shattered and somewhere along the way the reality of life gets in the way and you're hit by the realization that you can't be all you wanted to be, you just might have to settle for a little bit less. Or perhaps a variation of what you once wanted. Why do we stop believing in ourselves? Why do we let facts and figures and anything but dreams rule our lives?
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Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
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You only get to walk variations of the same lines everyone has already drawn for you.
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Courtney Summers (Some Girls Are)
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There are only a few notes. Just variations on a theme.
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John Lennon
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It's bullshit to think of friendship and romance as being different. They're not. They're just variations of the same love. Variations of the same desire to be close.
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David Levithan (Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List)
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In the time of your life, liveβ€”so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed. Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart. Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret. In the time of your life, liveβ€”so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.
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William Saroyan (The time of your life (RSC playtext))
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To a man born without conscience, a soul-stricken man must seem ridiculous. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
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John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
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..bright eyes and subtle variations of blue...
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Owl City
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Remember that every man is a variation of yourself
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William Saroyan
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It's b******* to think of friendship and romance being different. They're not. They're just variations of the same love. Variatons of the same desire to be close.
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David Levithan
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I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life.
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Sylvia Plath
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There are patterns which emerge in one's life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme
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Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Chosen (Phèdre's Trilogy, #2))
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You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
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John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
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Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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Just as there are physical monsters, can there not be mental or psychic monsters born? The face and body may be perfect, but if a twisted gene or malformed egg can produce physical monsters, may not the same process produce a malformed soul? Monsters are variations from the accepted normal to a greater or a less degree. As a child may be born without an arm, so one may be born without kindness or the potential of conscience. A man who loses his arms in an accident has a great struggle to adjust himself to the lack, but one born without arms suffers only from people who find him strange. Having never had arms, he cannot miss them. To a monster the norm must seem monstrous, since everyone is normal to himself. To the inner monster it must be even more obscure, since he has no visible thing to compare with others. To a criminal, honesty is foolish. You must not forget that a monster is only a variation, and that to a monster the norm is monstrous.
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John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
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I've been variations of hurt my whole life.
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Courtney Summers (This is Not a Test (This is Not a Test, #1))
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I type my password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@. My previous passwords have all been variations on how much I hate Joshua. For Ever. His password is almost certainly IHateLucinda4Eva.
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Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
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…What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don't know and I’m afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And what do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. Yet I am not a cretin: lame, blind, and stupid.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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...beauty, she had discovered occupied a narrow band. Ugliness, on the hand, had infinite variation.
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Ian McEwan (Atonement)
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In the US, there is basically one party - the business party. It has two factions, called Democrats and Republicans, which are somewhat different but carry out variations on the same policies. By and large, I am opposed to these policies. As is most of the population.
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Noam Chomsky
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The laws of history are as absolute as the laws of physics, and if the probabilities of error are greater, it is only because history does not deal with as many humans as physics does atoms, so that individual variations count for more.
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Isaac Asimov (Foundation and Empire (Foundation, #2))
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You know what they say," Amanda said. "Hatred isn't the opposite of love, it's just another variation of it. They both mean you have passionate feelings for someone.
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Robin Brande (Fat Cat)
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It amazes me that we are all on Twitter and Facebook. By "we" I mean adults. We're adults, right? But emotionally we're a culture of seven-year-olds. Have you ever had that moment when are you updating your status and you realize that every status update is just a variation on a single request: "Would someone please acknowledge me?
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Marc Maron (Attempting Normal)
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Clearly the secret of happiness...is a variation on the general principle of banging your head against a wall, and then stopping.
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Stef Penney (The Tenderness of Wolves)
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For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . . When we don't listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don't, others will abandon us.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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everything anyone has ever felt is a variation of 'sad' or 'happy' or 'angry' everyone feels the same things over and over again
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Mira GonzΓ‘lez (I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together)
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The [Five Second Rule] has many variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Takes Me to Pick Up This Food Rule.
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Neil Pasricha (The Book of Awesome)
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So I waited. Then I got used to waiting. Eventually, waiting was more real than what we had.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light. We can be blind to it and blinded by it. Our shadow asks us to look at what we don’t want to see
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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Word by word, the language of women so often begins with a whisper.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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There is no creation without tradition; the 'new' is an inflection on a preceding form; novelty is always a variation on the past.
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Carlos Fuentes (Myself with Others: Selected Essays)
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The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking if you like variations. Remember that food would not have a taste if it weren’t for hunger; results are meaningless without effort, joy without sadness, convictions without uncertainty, and an ethical life isn’t so when stripped of personal risks.
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder)
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When one woman doesn't speak, other women get hurt.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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Behold the hands, how they promise, conjure, appeal, menace, pray, supplicate, refuse, beckon, interrogate, admire, confess, cringe, instruct, command, mock and what not besides, with a variation and multiplication of variation which makes the tongue envious.
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Michel de Montaigne
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I wake sometimes in the dark terrified by my life's precariousness, its thready breath. Beside me, my husband's pulse beats at his throat; in their beds, my children's skin shows every faintest scratch. A breeze would blow them over, and the world is filled with more than breezes: diseases and disasters, monsters and pain in a thousand variations. I do not forget either my father and his kind hanging over us, bright and sharp as swords, aimed at our tearing flesh. If they do not fall on us in spite and malice, then they will fall by accident or whim. My breath fights in my throat. How can I live on beneath such a burden of doom? I rise then and go to my herbs. I create something, I transform something. My witchcraft is as strong as ever, stronger. This too is good fortune. How many have such power and leisure and defense as I do? Telemachus comes from our bed to find me. He sits with me in the greensmelling darkness, holding my hand. Our faces are both lined now, marked with our years. Circe, he says, it will be all right. It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and somehow I am comforted. He does not mean it does not hurt. He does not mean we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.
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Madeline Miller (Circe)
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It is easier to tell a person what life is not, rather than to tell them what it is. A child understands weeds that grow from lack of attention, in a garden. However, it is hard to explain the wild flowers that one gardener calls weeds, and another considers beautiful ground cover.
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Shannon L. Alder
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Who wants to be a goddess when we can be human? Perfection is a flaw disguised as control.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.
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Miyamoto Musashi (A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy)
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We repeat again: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.
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Carl von Clausewitz
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Every life contains many millions of decisions. Some big, some small. But every time one decision is taken over another, the outcomes differ. An irreversible variation occurs, which in turn leads to further variations
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Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
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Nobody can have the consolations of religion or philosophy unless he has first experienced their desolations.
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Aldous Huxley (Themes and Variations)
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Diocesan exams are given at the end of March to students in Catholic schools throughout Massachusetts from the fourth to the twelfth grade. You have to answer four out of seven essay questions. A typical question goes something like this: Theologians speculate about whether Christ actually appeared to His disciples after He rose from the dead. Is the scripture clear on this? Discuss, with reference to the different gospels and their variations, and to different theological interpretations
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Kathleen Zamboni McCormick (Dodging Satan: My Irish/Italian, Sometimes Awesome, But Mostly Creepy, Childhood)
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Her face ... was a one-of-a-kind, a surprising variation on a familiar theme - a variation that made observers think, Yes - that would be another very nice way for people to look. What Beatrice had done with her face, actually, was what any plain girl could do. She overlaid it with dignity, suffering, intelligence, and a piquant dash of bitchiness.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (The Sirens of Titan)
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The moment Eve bit into the apple, her eyes opened and she became free. She exposed the truth of what every woman knows: to find our sovereign voice often requires a betrayal.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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I’m sure you've heard the adage "thoughts are things" or perhaps "believe and you will achieve". There are variations on these principles, but they drill down to the same basic concept; it's a mindset and it works.
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C. Toni Graham
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How to describe hell? Disembowelled landscape busy with suffering, incessant heat, permanent scarlet twilight, a swirling snowfall of ash, the stink of pain and the din of...if only, hell is two things: the absence of God and the presence of time. Infinite variations on that theme. Doesn't sound so bad, does it? Well, trust me.
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Glen Duncan (I, Lucifer)
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I know the outer world as well as you do, and I judge it. You know nothing of my inner world, and yet you presume to judge that world.
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Aldous Huxley (Themes and Variations)
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When I look in the mirror, I see a woman with secrets. When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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We must take arms each and every day, perhaps knowing that the battle cannot be entirely won, but fight we must, if only a gentle bout. The smallest effort to win means, at the end of each day, a sort of victory. Remember that pianist who said that if he did not pratice every day he would know, if he did not practice for two days, the critics would know, after three days, his audiences would know. A variation of this is true for writers. Not that your style, whatever that is, would melt out of shape in those few days. But what would happen is that the world would catch up with and try to sicken you. If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both.
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Ray Bradbury (Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity)
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What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge. That state of knowledge, in turn, is some variation of β€œI’m not sure.
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Annie Duke (Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts)
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To write requires an ego, a belief that what you say matters. Writing also requires an aching curiosity leading you to discover, uncover, what is gnawing at your bones.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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I belonged here the way I belonged to this planet and its people, but on one condition: alone, always alone.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.
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Khaled Hosseini
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These handwritten words in the pages of my journal confirm that from an early age I have experienced each encounter in my life twice: once in the world, and once again on the page.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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Choosing with integrity means finding ways to speak up that honor your reality, the reality of others, and your willingness to meet in the center of that large field. It’s hard sometimes.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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Variation on the Word Sleep I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen. I would like to watch you, sleeping. I would like to sleep with you, to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head. and walk with you through that lucent wavering forest of bluegreen leaves with its watery sun & three moons towards the cave where you must descend, towards your worst fear I would like to give you the silver branch, the small white flower, the one word that will protect you from the grief at the center of your dream, from the grief at the center. I would like to follow you up the long stairway again & become the boat that would row you back carefully, a flame in two cupped hands to where your body lies beside me, and you enter it as easily as breathing in I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary.
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Margaret Atwood (Selected Poems 2: 1976 - 1986)
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My voice is born repeatedly in the fields of uncertainty.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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And then it hits me: I've lost you. You now rank among the things I'll always regret: opportunities lost, children never had, things I might have accomplished or done far better, lovers who have come and gone.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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There are two important days in a woman's life: the day she is born and the day she finds out why.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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In general, human societies are not innovative. They are hierarchical and ritualistic. Suggestions for change are greeted with suspicion: they imply an unpleasant future variation in ritual and hierarchy: an exchange of one set of rituals for another, or perhaps for a less structured society with fewer rituals. And yet there are times when societies must change.
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Carl Sagan (The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence)
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Life is a lot like pizza… But in fact, Hank, the fundamental thing that all critical reading does is reveal to us there are not easy definitions that distinguish us from them. Reading with an eye toward metaphor allows us to become the person we’re reading about while reading about them. That’s why there are symbols in books and why your English teacher deserves your attention. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the author intended a symbol to be there because the job of reading is not to understand the author’s intent. The job of reading is to use stories as a way into other people as we see ourselves, and when we do that we can look out at the world and see a giant endless set of beautiful variations of pizzas; the whole world composed of billions of beautiful, delicious pizzas.
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John Green
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Women piece together their lives from the scraps left over for them.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES when we go against our instincts? What are the consequences of not speaking out? What are the consequences of guilt, shame, and doubt?
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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What exactly is the free world, anyway? I guess it would depend on what you consider the non-free world. And I can't find a clear definition of that, can you? Where is that? Russia? China? For chrissakes, Russia has a better Mafia than we do now, and China is pirating Lion King DVDs and selling dildos on the Internet. They sound pretty free to me. Here are some more jingoistic variations you need to be on the lookout for; "The greatest nation on Earth; the greatest nation in the history of the world"; and "the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth." That last one is usually thrown in just before we bomb a bunch of brown people. Which is every couple of years.
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George Carlin (When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?)
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Everything tells me you care for me. And yet never a sign from you.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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We love only once in our lives, my father had said, sometimes too early, sometimes too late; the other times are always a touch deliberate.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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You're alone, as I'm alone, and the cruelest thing is that finding each other and saying let us be alone together won't solve a thing.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
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After five years I still had the impulse, every ten to twelve months, to find a new home. Spaces became too familiar, too elastic, too accommodating. Boredom and exasperation would set in. And though of course nothing really changed from one roof to another, I liked to harbor the illusion that small variations occurred within, that with each move something was being renewed.
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Chloe Aridjis (Book of Clouds)
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At the beginning of a game, there are no variations. There is only one way to set up a board. There are nine million variations after the first six moves. And after eight moves there are two hundred and eighty-eight billion different positions. And those possibilities keep growing. There are more possible ways to play a game of chess than the amount of atoms in the observable universe. So it gets very messy. And there is no right way to play; there are many ways. In chess, as in life, possibility is the basis of everything. Every hope, every dream, every regret, every moment of living.
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Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
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What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don't know and I'm afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited. Yet I am not a cretin: lame, blind and stupid. I am not a veteran, passing my legless, armless days in a wheelchair. I am not that mongoloidish old man shuffling out of the gates of the mental hospital. I have much to live for, yet unaccountably I am sick and sad. Perhaps you could trace my feeling back to my distaste at having to choose between alternatives. Perhaps that's why I want to be everyone - so no one can blame me for being I. So I won't have to take the responsibility for my own character development and philosophy. People are happy - - - if that means being content with your lot: feeling comfortable as the complacent round peg struggling in a round hole, with no awkward or painful edges - no space to wonder or question in. I am not content, because my lot is limiting, as are all others. People specialize; people become devoted to an idea; people "find themselves." But the very content that comes from finding yourself is overshadowed by the knowledge that by doing so you are admitting you are not only a grotesque, but a special kind of grotesque.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Whatever happened to our dreams? The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I'm sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things each day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us. And no, I don't have all the answers. I don't know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn't involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold. It doesn't involve tempering my life to better fit someone's expectations. It doesn't involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up. This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.
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Randall Munroe
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When silence is a choice, it is an unnerving presence. When silence is imposed, it is censorship.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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If so, then it was also here where I came to know I can survive what hurts. I believed in my capacity to stand back up and run into the waves again and again, no matter the risk.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
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The Internet was born into a world where many people had already lost their sense of connection to each other. The collapse had already been taking place for decades by then. The web arrived offering them a kind of parody of what they were losingβ€”Facebook friends in place of neighbors, video games in place of meaningful work, status updates in place of status in the world. The comedian Marc Maron once wrote that β€œevery status update is a just a variation on a single request: β€˜Would someone please acknowledge me?
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Johann Hari (Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions)
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I take a deep breath and sidestep my fear and begin speaking from the place where beauty and bravery meet--within the chambers of a quivering heart.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
β€œ
Lately, though, he'd just been tired in general. Tired of people. Tired of books and TV and the nightly news and songs on the radio he'd heard years before and hadn't liked much in the first place. He was tired of his clothes and tired of his hair and tired of other people's clothes and other people's hair. He was tired of wishing things made sense. He'd gotten to a point where he was pretty sure he'd heard everything anyone had to say on any given subject and so it seemed he spent his days listening to old recordings of things that hadn't seemed fresh the first time he'd heard them. Maybe he was simply tired of life, of the absolute effort it took to get up every goddamned morning and walk out with into the same fucking day with only slight variations in the weather and food. He wondered if this was what clinical depression felt like, a total numbness, a weary lack of hope.
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Dennis Lehane (Mystic River)
β€œ
Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of 'Green'? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the 'beginning was the word.
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Stan Brakhage (Metaphors on Vision)
β€œ
Perhaps there is more understanding and beauty in life when the glaring sunlight is softened by the patterns of shadows. Perhaps there is more depth in a relationship that has weathered some storms. Experience that never disappoints or saddens or stirs up feeling is a bland experience with little challenge or variation of color. Perhaps it's when we experience confidence and faith and hope that we see materialize before our eyes this builds up within us a feeling of inner strength, courage, and security. We are all personalities that grow and develop as a result of our experiences, relationships, thoughts, and emotions. We are the sum total of all the parts that go into the making of a life.
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Virginia M. Axline (Dibs in Search of Self)
β€œ
Yes, Eden was beautiful- and if I had to squeeze through corporeal keyholes to crash it- so be it. (Hasn’t it bothered you, this part of the story, my being there, I mean? What was I doing there? β€˜Presume not the ways of God to scan,’ you’ve been told in umpteen variations, β€˜the proper study of Mankind is Man.’ Maybe so, but what, excuse me, was the Devil doing in Eden?) I took the forms of animals. I found I could. (That’s generally my reason for doing something, by the way, because I find I can.)
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Glen Duncan (I, Lucifer)
β€œ
You know nothing about me. You see me. But you don't see me. Everyone else sees me. And yet no one has the foggiest notion of the gathering storm within me. It's my secret private little hell. I live with it, I sleep with it. I love that no one knows. I wish you knew. Sometimes I fear you do.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
β€œ
Dear Collector: We hate you. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You have taught us more than anyone I know how wrong it is not to mix it with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities. "You do not know what you are missing by your micro-scopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent man in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine. How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of distinct and never-repeated wonders? No two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; no two odors, but if we expand on this you cry Cut the poetry. No two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art . . . We have sat around for hours and wondered how you look. If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.
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AnaΓ―s Nin (Delta of Venus)
β€œ
I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend word of wounding without having these words becomg the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.
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Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
β€œ
The "omnivore's dilemma" (a term coined by Paul Rozin) is that omnivores must seek out and explore new potential foods while remaining wary of them until they are proven safe. Omnivores therefore go through life with two competing motives: neophilia (an attraction to new things) and neophobia (a fear of new things). People vary in terms of which motive is stronger, and this variation will come back to help us in later chapters: Liberals score higher on measures of neophilia (also known as "openness to experience"), not just for new foods but also for new people, music, and ideas. Conservatives are higher on neophobia; they prefer to stick with what's tried and true, and they care a lot more about guarding borders, boundaries, and traditions.
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Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
β€œ
Poetry can unleash a terrible fear. I suppose it is the fear of possibilities, too many possibilities, each with its own endless set of variations. It's like looking too closely and too long into a mirror; soon your features distort, then erupt. You look too closely into your poems, or listen too closely to them as they arrive in whispers, and the features inside you - call it heart, call it mind, call it soul - accelerate out of control. They distort and they erupt, and it is one strange pain. You realize, then, that you can't attempt breaking down too many barriers in too short a time, because there are as many horrors waiting to get in at you as there are parts of yourself pushing to break out, and with the same, or more, fevered determination.
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Jim Carroll (Forced Entries- The Downtown Diaries: 1971-1973)
β€œ
O Lord, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron's beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true men - to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, O Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve Thee as Thou hast blessed us - with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine. Amen.
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Robert Farrar Capon (The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (Modern Library Food))
β€œ
Isn't language loss a good thing, because fewer languages mean easier communication among the world's people? Perhaps, but it's a bad thing in other respects. Languages differ in structure and vocabulary, in how they express causation and feelings and personal responsibility, hence in how they shape our thoughts. There's no single purpose "best" language; instead, different languages are better suited for different purposes. For instance, it may not have been an accident that Plato and Aristotle wrote in Greek, while Kant wrote in German. The grammatical particles of those two languages, plus their ease in forming compound words, may have helped make them the preeminent languages of western philosophy. Another example, familiar to all of us who studied Latin, is that highly inflected languages (ones in which word endings suffice to indicate sentence structure) can use variations of word order to convey nuances impossible with English. Our English word order is severely constrained by having to serve as the main clue to sentence structure. If English becomes a world language, that won't be because English was necessarily the best language for diplomacy.
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Jared Diamond (The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal)
β€œ
Mr Churchill caught the end of one of the long ribbons from her bonnet, which were flying madly in the strong breeze. He toyed with it for a long while, then looked up into her eyes. β€œDo you believe in love at first sight?” he asked. β€œNo, I don’t suppose I do,” Jane answered. Her heart started beating harder. That was a lie. Maybe her breath was catching in her throat because she was lying: she fell in love with him the moment she saw him, rescuing the poor store clerk. Or maybe it was because he was standing so close to her, just on the other end of her bonnet ribbon. She felt her cheeks growing warm, and tried to talk herself out of blushing. He was not standing any closer to her than when they danced together, or sat on the same bench at the pianoforte. Why should it fluster her that he was wrapping the end of her bonnet ribbon around his fingers like that?
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Jeanette Watts (My Dearest Miss Fairfax)
β€œ
You made me who I am today, Nanni. Wherever I go, everyone I see and crave is ultimately measured by the glow of your light. If my life were a boat, you were the one who stepped on board, turned on its running lights, and was never heard from again. All this might as well be in my head, and in my head it stays. But I've lived and loved by your light alone. In a bus, on a busy street, in class, in a crowded concert hall, once or twice a year, whether for a man or a woman, my heart still jolts when I spot your look-alike. We love only once in our lives, my father had said, sometimes too early, sometimes too late; the other times are always a touch deliberate.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
β€œ
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.
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E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
β€œ
It's funny because when you're a child, you believe you can be anything you want to be, go whenever you want to go. There's no limit to what you can dream. You expect the unexpected, you believe in magic, in fairy tales, and in possibilities. Then you grow older and that innocence is shattered and somewhere along the way the reality of life gets in the way and you're hit by the realization that you can't be all you wanted to be, you just might have to settle for a bit less. Or perhaps a variation of what you once wanted. Why do we stop believing in ourselves? Why do we let facts and figures and anything but dreams rule our lives? But now my mind is changed again. Nothing is impossible - it was there all the time. I just wasn't reaching out far enough that's all. Nothing is impossible.
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Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
β€œ
He walked straight out of college into the waiting arms of the Navy. They gave him an intelligence test. The first question on the math part had to do with boats on a river: Port Smith is 100 miles upstream of Port Jones. The river flows at 5 miles per hour. The boat goes through water at 10 miles per hour. How long does it take to go from Port Smith to Port Jones? How long to come back? Lawrence immediately saw that it was a trick question. You would have to be some kind of idiot to make the facile assumption that the current would add or subtract 5 miles per hour to or from the speed of the boat. Clearly, 5 miles per hour was nothing more than the average speed. The current would be faster in the middle of the river and slower at the banks. More complicated variations could be expected at bends in the river. Basically it was a question of hydrodynamics, which could be tackled using certain well-known systems of differential equations. Lawrence dove into the problem, rapidly (or so he thought) covering both sides of ten sheets of paper with calculations. Along the way, he realized that one of his assumptions, in combination with the simplified Navier Stokes equations, had led him into an exploration of a particularly interesting family of partial differential equations. Before he knew it, he had proved a new theorem. If that didn't prove his intelligence, what would? Then the time bell rang and the papers were collected. Lawrence managed to hang onto his scratch paper. He took it back to his dorm, typed it up, and mailed it to one of the more approachable math professors at Princeton, who promptly arranged for it to be published in a Parisian mathematics journal. Lawrence received two free, freshly printed copies of the journal a few months later, in San Diego, California, during mail call on board a large ship called the U.S.S. Nevada. The ship had a band, and the Navy had given Lawrence the job of playing the glockenspiel in it, because their testing procedures had proven that he was not intelligent enough to do anything else.
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Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon (Crypto, #1))
β€œ
All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and ecstacy of his life would have the stillness of death. The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, β€œDo it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, β€œDo it again” to the sun; and every evening, β€œDo it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
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G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
β€œ
We make assumptions about how our lives are being charted without knowing that we’re even making these assumptionsβ€”which is the beauty of assumptions: they anchor us without the slightest clue that what we’re doing is trusting that nothing changes. We believe that the street we live on will remain the same and bear its name forever. We believe that our friends will stay our friends, and that those we love we’ll love forever. We trust and, by dint of trusting, forget we trusted.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
β€œ
Yes, the past is a foreign country," I said, "but some of us are full-fledged citizens, others occasional tourists, and some floating itinerants, itching to get out yet always aching to return." "There's a life that takes place in ordinary time," I said, "and another that bursts in but just as suddenly fizzles out. And then there's the life we may never reach but that could so easily be ours if only we knew how to find it. It doesn't necessarily happen on our planet, but is just as real as the one we live byβ€”call it our 'star life.' Nietzsche wrote that estranged friends may become declared enemies but in some mysterious way continue to remain friends, though on a totally different sphere. He called these 'star friendships.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Enigma Variations)
β€œ
It is really incredible how meaningless and insignificant when seen from without, and how dull and senseless when felt from within, is the course of life of the great majority of men. It is weary longing and worrying, a dreamlike staggering through the four ages of life to death, accompanied by a series of trivial thoughts. They are like clockwork that is wound up and goes without knowing why. Every time a man is begotten and born the clock of human life is wound up anew, to repeat once more its same old tune that has already been played innumerable times, movement by movement and measure by measure, with insignificant variations. Every individual, every human apparition and its course of life, is only one more short dream of the endless spirit of nature, of the persistent will-to-live, is only one more fleeting form, playfully sketched by it on its infinite page, space and time; it is allowed to exist for a short while that is infinitesimal compared with these, and is then effaced, to make new room. Yet, and here is to be found the serious side of life, each of these fleeting forms, these empty fancies, must be paid for by the whole will-to-live in all its intensity with many deep sorrows, and finally with a bitter death, long feared and finally made manifest. It is for this reason that the sight of a corpse suddenly makes us serious.
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Arthur Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Representation, Volume I)
β€œ
I wrote the word: love. I did consider using another one. It's a curious notion, love; difficult to identify and define. There are so many degrees and variations. I could have contented myself with saying that I was smitten (and it is true that Thomas knew how to make me weaken), or infatuated (he could conquer, clatter, even bewitch like no one else), or obsessed (he often provoked a mixture of bewilderment and excitement, turning everything upside down), or seduced (once he caught me in his net, there was so no escaping), or taken with (I was stupidly joyful, I could heat up over nothing), or even blinded (anything that embarrassed me, I pushed to the side, minimizing his defects, putting his good qualities on a pedestal), or disturbed (no longer was I ever quite myself), which would have had less positive connotations. I could have explained it away as a mere affection, having a 'crush,' an explanation vague enough to mean anything. But those would just have been words. The truth, the brutal truth, was that I was in love. Enough to use the right word. All the same, I wondered if this could be a complete invention. As you already know, I invented stories all the time, with so much authenticity that people usually ended up believing me sometimes even I was no longer able to disentangle the true from the false). Could I have made this story up from scratch? Could I have turned an erotic obsession into a passion? Yes, it's possible.
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Philippe Besson (Lie With Me)