Vision In White Quotes

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Some things in life are out of your control. You can make it a party or a tragedy.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
I’ve never been the one. Not for anybody.” He closed the distance between them. “You’ll get used to it.” He tipped her face up to his, kissed her. “Why? Why am I the one?” “Because my life opened up, and it flooded with color when you walked back into it.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
People and relationships never stop being a work in progress
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
It is sometimes said that scientists are unromantic, that their passion to figure out robs the world of beauty and mystery. But is it not stirring to understand how the world actually works — that white light is made of colors, that color is the way we perceive the wavelengths of light, that transparent air reflects light, that in so doing it discriminates among the waves, and that the sky is blue for the same reason that the sunset is red? It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.
Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space)
There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we learn and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.
H.P. Lovecraft
Those who look behind will never see beyond.
Sherry K. White (Walking in the Father's Riches: The Prosperity of Sonship)
Writing is.... being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.
Mary Gaitskill
Love's scary, and sometimes it's transient. But it's worth the risks and the nerves. It's even worth the pain.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Then Carol slipped her arm under her neck, and all the length of their bodies touched fitting as if something had prearranged it. Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered
Patricia Highsmith (The Price of Salt, or Carol)
Did they know - the young and fearless - what a miraculous thing it was to have all of anyone?
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
The history of the United States is a history of settler colonialism—the founding of a state based on the ideology of white supremacy, the widespread practice of African slavery, and a policy of genocide and land theft.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
Men shake hands after they beat each other up; we eat chocolate.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Because it begins to seem to me at such times that I am incapable of beginning a life in real life, because it has seemed to me that I have lost all touch, all instinct for the actual, the real; because at last I have cursed myself; because after my fantastic nights I have moments of returning sobriety, which are awful! Meanwhile, you hear the whirl and roar of the crowd in the vortex of life around you; you hear, you see, men living in reality; you see that life for them is not forbidden, that their life does not float away like a dream, like a vision; that their life is being eternally renewed, eternally youthful, and not one hour of it is the same as another; while fancy is so spiritless, monotonous to vulgarity and easily scared, the slave of shadows, of the idea, the slave of the first cloud that shrouds the sun... One feels that this inexhaustible fancy is weary at last and worn out with continual exercise, because one is growing into manhood, outgrowing one's old ideals: they are being shattered into fragments, into dust; if there is no other life one must build one up from the fragments. And meanwhile the soul longs and craves for something else! And in vain the dreamer rakes over his old dreams, as though seeking a spark among the embers, to fan them into flame, to warm his chilled heart by the rekindled fire, and to rouse up in it again all that was so sweet, that touched his heart, that set his blood boiling, drew tears from his eyes, and so luxuriously deceived him!
Fyodor Dostoevsky (White Nights)
You're our honorary sixth member with mysterious abilities and visions of the future. The Snow White to our motley group of dwarfs. Plus, you're way better looking than the rest of these guys.
Michelle Rowen (Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers, #1))
I sometimes have moments of such despair, such despair … Because in those moments I start to think that I will never be capable of beginning to live a real life; because I have already begun to think that I have lost all sense of proportion, all sense of the real and the actual; because, what is more, I have cursed myself; because my nights of fantasy are followed by hideous moments of sobering! And all the time one hears the human crowd swirling and thundering around one in the whirlwind of life, one hears, one sees how people live—that they live in reality, that for them life is not something forbidden, that their lives are not scattered for the winds like dreams or visions but are forever in the process of renewal, forever young, and that no two moments in them are ever the same; while how dreary and monotonous to the point of being vulgar is timorous fantasy, the slave of shadow, of the idea...
Fyodor Dostoevsky (White Nights)
Somethings in life are out of your control. you can make it a party or a tragedy. Or, you could refuse to take the next step. You could refuse to take what you wanted most because you're afraid some day you might lose it.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
When people want to win they will go to desperate extremes. However, anyone that has already won in life has come to the conclusion that there is no game. There is nothing but learning in this life and it is the only thing we take with us to the grave—knowledge. If you only understood that concept then your heart wouldn’t break so bad. Jealousy or revenge wouldn’t be your ambition. Stepping on others to raise yourself up wouldn’t be a goal. Competition would be left on the playing field, and your freedom from what other people think about you would light the pathway out of hell.
Shannon L. Alder
It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king. He had thought that was it. Wasn't king the best you could be? Now it occurred to him that perhaps Terabithia was like a castle where you came to be knighted. After you stayed for a while and grew strong you had to move on. For hadn't Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world—huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile? (Handle with care—everything—even the predators.) Now it was time for him to move out. She wasn't there, so he must go for both of them. It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength. As for the terrors ahead—for he did not fool himself that they were all behind him—well, you just have to stand up to your fear and not let it squeeze you white. Right, Leslie? Right.
Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia)
Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilized society.
John Fire Lame Deer (Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions)
If it winds up earlier, you should have a movie picked out. This is assuming she isn’t sending you the ‘let’s go back to my place’ signals. In that case—” “Don’t go there, Bob. Let’s just not go there.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Aubade I work all day, and get half-drunk at night. Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare. In time the curtain-edges will grow light. Till then I see what’s really always there: Unresting death, a whole day nearer now, Making all thought impossible but how And where and when I shall myself die. Arid interrogation: yet the dread Of dying, and being dead, Flashes afresh to hold and horrify. The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse —The good not done, the love not given, time Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because An only life can take so long to climb Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never; But at the total emptiness for ever, The sure extinction that we travel to And shall be lost in always. Not to be here, Not to be anywhere, And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true. This is a special way of being afraid No trick dispels. Religion used to try, That vast moth-eaten musical brocade Created to pretend we never die, And specious stuff that says No rational being Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound, No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with, Nothing to love or link with, The anaesthetic from which none come round. And so it stays just on the edge of vision, A small unfocused blur, a standing chill That slows each impulse down to indecision. Most things may never happen: this one will, And realisation of it rages out In furnace-fear when we are caught without People or drink. Courage is no good: It means not scaring others. Being brave Lets no one off the grave. Death is no different whined at than withstood. Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape. It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know, Have always known, know that we can’t escape, Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go. Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring Intricate rented world begins to rouse. The sky is white as clay, with no sun. Work has to be done. Postmen like doctors go from house to house.
Philip Larkin (Collected Poems)
Ah, hi. It’s Carter. I wonder if you might want to go out to dinner, or maybe the movies. Maybe you like plays better than movies. I should’ve looked up what might be available before I called. I didn’t think of it. Or we could just have coffee again if you want to do that. Or… I’m not articulate on these things. I can’t use a tape recorder either. And why would you care? If you’re at all interested in any of the above, please feel free to call me. Thanks. Um. Good-bye.” “Damn you, Carter Maguire, for your insanely cute quotient. You should be annoying. Why aren’t I annoyed? Oh God, I’m going to call you back. I know I’m going to call you back. I’m in such trouble.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides -- pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book. "No one sees the barn," he said finally. A long silence followed. "Once you've seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn." He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others. We're not here to capture an image, we're here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies." There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides. "Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We've agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism." Another silence ensued. "They are taking pictures of taking pictures," he said.
Don DeLillo (White Noise)
Poetry began in the matriarchal age, and derives its magic from the moon, not from the sun. No poet can hope to understand the nature of poetry unless he has had a vision of the Naked King crucified to the lopped oak, and watched the dancers, red-eyed from the acrid smoke of the sacrificial fires, stamping out the measure of the dance, their bodies bent uncouthly forward, with a monotonous chant of "Kill! kill! kill!" and "Blood! blood! blood!
Robert Graves (The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth)
Are you always so forthright over coffee dates?” “I don’t know. You’re the only one I ever had a crush on.” Oh, boy. “And that was stupid.” Flustered again, he raked his fingers through his hair. “Now I’ve scared you. That sounds scary and obsessive. Like I have an alter somewhere with your pictures over it, where I light candles and chant your name. Jesus! That’s even scarier. Run now. I won’t hold it against you.” She burst out laughing. Had to set her coffee back down before she slouched it over the rim. “I’ll stay if you swear you don’t have the alter.” “I don’t.” He swiped his finger in an X over his heart.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
She reaches down, her fingers trailing along the zipper of my pants, and the movement sears through me. My vision goes white. For a moment I hear nothing but my heart, pounding in my head. “You are trying to kill me,” I say. “Aaron.” I can feel her smile as she whispers the word in my ear. She’s unbuttoning my pants. “Please.” And I, I am gone.
Tahereh Mafi (Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4))
All items listed above belong in the world In which all things are continuous, And are parts of the original dream which I am now trying to discover the logic of. This Is the process whereby pain of the past in its pastness May be converted into the future tense Of joy. I Am Dreaming of a White Christmas: The Natural History of a Vision (1974)
Robert Penn Warren
Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalks really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees—he could climb to it, if he climbed alone, and once there he could suck on the pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder. His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy’s white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete. Through all he said, even through his appalling sentimentality, I was reminded of something—an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago. For a moment a phrase tried to take shape in my mouth and my lips parted like a dumb man’s, as though there was more struggling upon them than a wisp of startled air. But they made no sound, and what I had almost remembered was uncommunicable forever.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)
Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him ... These things I know, Ubertino; I also have belonged to those groups of men who believe they can produce the truth with white-hot iron. Well, let me tell you, the white heat of truth comes from another flame.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
A vision of cultural homogeneity that seeks to deflect attention away from or even excuse the oppressive, dehumanizing impact of white supremacy on the lives of black people by suggesting black people are racist too indicates that the culture remains ignorant of what racism really is and how it works. It shows that people are in denial. Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks (they could have such feelings and leave us alone) but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation?
bell hooks (Killing Rage: Ending Racism)
She walked with a ghost of herself, one full of potential and possibility. One who was fearless. Where had that girl gone?
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
She was a vision in a white gown her dark hair forming a hazy halo around her rosy heart-shaped face. Her long lashes fluttered to touch her cheeks and then her eyes opened fully in his direction. Her small round mouth flexed in an immediate and knowing smile. That's the girl I'm going to marry Henry thought.
Anna Godbersen (Rumors (Luxe, #2))
Happiness was like a green vine spreading through her, stretching fine tendrils, bearing flowers through her flesh. She had a vision of a pale-white flower, shimmering as if seen in darkness, or through water. Why did people talk of heaven, she wondered.
Patricia Highsmith (The Price of Salt, or Carol)
I sometimes think my vision of the sea is the clearest thing I own. I pick it up, exile that I am, like the purple ‘lucky stones’ I used to collect with a white ring all the way round, or the shell of a blue mussel with its rainbowy angel’s fingernail interior; and in one wash of memory the colors deepen and gleam, the early world draws breath.
Sylvia Plath (Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts)
The growing number of gated communities in our nation is but one example of the obsession with safety. With guards at the gate, individuals still have bars and elaborate internal security systems. Americans spend more than thirty billion dollars a year on security. When I have stayed with friends in these communities and inquired as to whether all the security is in response to an actual danger I am told “not really," that it is the fear of threat rather than a real threat that is the catalyst for an obsession with safety that borders on madness. Culturally we bear witness to this madness every day. We can all tell endless stories of how it makes itself known in everyday life. For example, an adult white male answers the door when a young Asian male rings the bell. We live in a culture where without responding to any gesture of aggression or hostility on the part of the stranger, who is simply lost and trying to find the correct address, the white male shoots him, believing he is protecting his life and his property. This is an everyday example of madness. The person who is really the threat here is the home owner who has been so well socialized by the thinking of white supremacy, of capitalism, of patriarchy that he can no longer respond rationally. White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; the narrative is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to “protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat. " This is what the worship of death looks like.
bell hooks (All About Love: New Visions)
What a strange thing it is to wake up to a milk-white overcast June morning! The sun is hidden by a thick cotton blanket of clouds, and the air is vapor-filled and hazy with a concentration of blooming scent. The world is somnolent and cool, in a temporary reprieve from the normal heat and radiance. But the sensation of illusion is strong. Because the sun can break through the clouds at any moment . . . What a soft thoughtful time. In this illusory gloom, like a night-blooming flower, let your imagination bloom in a riot of color.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
You can't argue with math, Carter. You'll always lose.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself!.. And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience, became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like the veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see, and seeing the secret, you are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on towards nowhere for no good reason.
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day’s Journey into Night)
Where beliefs are not checked against facts, but instead facts must meet the test of consonance with the prevailing vision, we are in the process of sealing ourselves off from feedback from reality. Heedless of the past, we are flying blind into the future.
Thomas Sowell (Black Rednecks and White Liberals)
I was desperate. I had to keep Annabeth alive. I imagined all the bubbles in the sea—always churning, rising. I imagined them coming together, being pulled toward me. The sea obeyed. There was a flurry of white, a tickling sensation all around me, and when my vision cleared, Annabeth and I had a huge bubble of air around us. Only our legs stuck into the water. She gasped and coughed. Her whole body shuddered, but when she looked at me, I knew the spell had been broken. She started to sob—I mean horrible, heartbroken sobbing. She put her head on my shoulder and I held her. Fish gathered to look at us—a school of barracudas, some curious marlins. 'Scram!' I told them. They swam off, but I could tell they went reluctantly. I swear I understood their intentions. They were about to start rumors flying around the sea about the son of Poseidon and some girl at the bottom of Siren Bay.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
O how all things are far removed and long have passed away. I do believe the star, whose light my face reflects, is dead and has been so for many thousand years. I had a vision of a passing boat and heard some voices saying disquieting things. I heard a clock strike in some distant house... but in which house?... I long to quiet my anxious heart and stand beneath the sky's immensity. I long to pray... And one of all the stars must still exist. I do believe that I would know which one alone endured, and which like a white city stands at the ray's end shining in the heavens.
Rainer Maria Rilke
If you lived with her, you must have been in love with her.' 'No. I wanted to be in love with her. It's not the same thing at all.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Moments came and went, she thought. It was love that bound them together into a life.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
That night Tommy kissed him and eased his way into Chase’s body so gently that when Chase came, his vision washed in white, not red, and it did for him what sex with Tommy always did for him: set him free and let him fly.
Amy Lane (Chase in Shadow (Johnnies, #1))
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds; While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, When what to my wondering eyes did appear, But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, With a little old driver so lively and quick, I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: "Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blixen! To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; So up to the housetop the coursers they flew With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too— And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight— “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
Clement Clarke Moore (The Night Before Christmas)
Love’s not some amorphous concept created for books and poetry and not attainable. It’s real and vital, and it’s necessary. Damn it.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Clay, did you ever love me?" I'm studying a billboard and say that I didn't hear what she said. "I asked if you ever loved me?" On the terrace the sun bursts into my eyes and for one blinding moment I see myself clearly. I remember the first time we made love, in the house in Palm Springs, her body tan and wet, lying against cool, white sheets. "Don't do this, Blair," I tell her. "Just tell me." I don't say anything. "Is it such a hard question to answer?" I look at her straight on. "Yes or no?" "Why?" "Damnit, Clay," she sighs. "Yeah, sure, I guess." "Don't lie to me." "What in the fuck do you want to hear?" "Just tell me," she says, her voice rising. "No," I almost shout. "I never did." I almost start to laugh. She draws in a breath and says, "Thank you. That's all I wanted to know." She sips her wine. "Did you ever love me?" I ask her back, though by now I can't even care. She pauses. "I thought about it and yeah, I did once. I mean I really did. Everything was all right for a while. You were kind." She looks down and then goes on. "But it was like you weren't there. Oh shit, this isn't going to make any sense." She stops. I look at her, waiting for her to go on, looking up at the billboard. Disappear Here. "I don't know if any other person I've been with has been really there, either ... but at least they tried." I finger the menu; put the cigarette out. "You never did. Other people made an effort and you just ... It was just beyond you." She takes another sip of her wine. "You were never there. I felt sorry for you for a little while, but then I found it hard to. You're a beautiful boy, Clay, but that's about it." I watch the cars pass by on Sunset. "It's hard to feel sorry for someone who doesn't care." "Yeah?" I ask. "What do you care about? What makes you happy?" "Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. I like nothing," I tell her. "Did you ever care about me, Clay?" I don't say anything, look back at the menu. "Did you ever care about me?" she asks again. "I don't want to care. If I care about things, it'll just be worse, it'll just be another thing to worry about. It's less painful if I don't care." "I cared about you for a little while." I don't say anything. She takes off her sunglasses and finally says, "I'll see you later, Clay." She gets up. "Where are you going?" I suddenly don't want to leave Blair here. I almost want to take her back with me. "Have to meet someone for lunch." "But what about us?" "What about us?" She stands there for a moment, waiting. I keep staring at the billboard until it begins to blur and when my vision becomes clearer I watch as Blair's car glides out of the parking lot and becomes lost in the haze of traffic on Sunset. The waiter comes over and asks, "Is everything okay, sir?" I look up and put my sunglasses on and try to smile. "Yeah.
Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero)
Why do people go to these places, these places that are not for them? It must be that they believe in their night vision. They believe themselves able to draw images up out of the dark. But black wells only yield black water.
Helen Oyeyemi (White Is for Witching)
politics is brutal because it engages the most fundamental human impulses for affection, honor, power, and fame. Great principles and grand visions are ennobling, but at its best politics is an imperfect means to an altruistic end.
Jon Meacham (American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House)
I pressed my forehead to Mal’s and heard him whisper, “I’ll meet you in the meadow.” Something inside me gave way, in fury, in hopelessness, in the certainty of my own death. I felt Mal’s blood beneath my palms, saw the pain in his beloved face. A volcra screeched in triumph as its talons sank into my shoulder. Pain shot through my body. And the world went white. I closed my eyes as a sudden, piercing flood of light exploded across my vision. It seemed to fill my head, blinding me, drowning me. From somewhere above, I heard a horrible shriek. I felt the volcra’s claws loosen their grip, felt the thud as I fell forward and my head connected with the deck, and then I felt nothing at all.
Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1))
You need a place just a click over middle range. Don’t want to go all-out first time, but you don’t want to run on the cheap either. You want atmosphere, but not stuffy. A nice established place.” “Bob, you’re going to give me an ulcer.” “This is all ammunition, Cart. All ammo. You want to be able to order a nice bottle of wine. Oh, and after dinner, if she says how she doesn’t want dessert, you suggest she pick one and you’ll split it. Women love that. Sharing dessert’s sexy. Do not go on and on about your job over dinner. Certain death. Get her to talk about hers, and what she likes to do. Then—” “Should I be writing this down?
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
Sometimes we make decisions because it seems to be the only path visible at the moment. It's only later that we see there was more than one path, but the others were blocked from our vision at the time. That's the thing with hindsight, you see. Even if you can see it clearly, there's no going back. It's at that point we need to turn around and stare ahead and make a new life.
Karen White (Learning to Breathe)
What matters is you're the blue butterfly." "I'm… what?" "Come on, Professor, Dr. Maguire. You know all about metaphors and analogies and symbolism. You flew into my life, just landed in it unexpectedly. Maybe miraculously. And the picture formed. It just took me a while to see it.
Nora Roberts (Vision in White (Bride Quartet, #1))
So sweet is this song that no one could resist it. For in it is all the passionate ache for the moonlight, and the great hunger of the sea, and the terror of desolate places,—all things that lure men to the unattainable. Omari tessala marax, tessala dodi phornepax amri radara poliax armana piliu amri radara piliu son; mari narya barbiton madara anaphax sarpedon andala hriliu Translation: I am the harlot that shaketh Death. This shaking giveth the Peace of Satiate Lust. Immortality jetteth from my skull, And music from my vulva. Immortality jetteth from my vulva also, For my Whoredom is a sweet scent like a seven-stringed instrument, Played unto God the Invisible, the all-ruler, That goeth along giving the shrill scream of orgasm. Every man that hath seen me forgetteth me never, and I appear oftentimes in the coals of the fire, and upon the smooth white skin of woman, and in the constancy of the waterfall, and in the emptiness of deserts and marshes, and upon great cliffs that look seaward; and in many strange places, where men seek me not. And many thousand times he beholdeth me not. And at last I smite myself into him as a vision smiteth into a stone, and whom I call must follow.
Aleister Crowley (The Vision and the Voice: With Commentary and Other Papers (Equinox IV:2))
To her audience in Boston she also explained how white people who see people as individuals rather than by their skin colour are in fact ‘dangerous’.70 Meaning that it took only half a century for Martin Luther King’s vision to be exactly inverted.
Douglas Murray (The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity)
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
Without warning, David was visited by an exact vision of death: a long hole in the ground, no wider than your body, down which you are drawn while the white faces above recede. You try to reach them but your arms are pinned. Shovels put dirt into your face. There you will be forever, in an upright position, blind and silent, and in time no one will remember you, and you will never be called by any angel. As strata of rock shift, your fingers elongate, and your teeth are distended sideways in a great underground grimace indistinguishable from a strip of chalk. And the earth tumbles on, and the sun expires, and unaltering darkness reigns where once there were stars.
John Updike (Olinger Stories)
There was a zombie at my back door. Its eyes swung up, and they were blue, the whites already clouding with the egg rot of death. Its jaw a mess of meat and frozen blood; something had eaten half its face. Its fingertips already worn down to bony nubs, scraped against the window. Flesh hung in strips from it’s hand, and my stomach turned over hard. Black mist rose at the corners of my vision, and the funny rushing sound in my head sounded like a jet plane taking off. I’d know that zombie anywhere. Even if he was dead and mangled, his eyes were the same. Blue as winter ice, fringed with pale lashes.
Lilith Saintcrow (Strange Angels (Strange Angels, #1))
I was desperate. I had to keep Annabeth alive. I imagined all the bubbles in the sea—always churning, rising. I imagined them coming together, being pulled toward me. The sea obeyed. There was a flurry of white, a tickling sensation all around me, and when my vision cleared, Annabeth and I had a huge bubble of air around us. Only our legs stuck into the water. She gasped and coughed. Her whole body shuddered, but when she looked at me, I knew the spell had been broken. She started to sob—I mean horrible, heartbroken sobbing. She put her head on my shoulder and I held her.
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & the Olympians))
How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd; Labour and rest, that equal periods keep; "Obedient slumbers that can wake and weep;" Desires compos'd, affections ever ev'n, Tears that delight, and sighs that waft to Heav'n. Grace shines around her with serenest beams, And whisp'ring angels prompt her golden dreams. For her th' unfading rose of Eden blooms, And wings of seraphs shed divine perfumes, For her the Spouse prepares the bridal ring, For her white virgins hymeneals sing, To sounds of heav'nly harps she dies away, And melts in visions of eternal day.
Alexander Pope (Eloisa to Abelard)
Sovegna vos. Here are the years that walk between, bearing Away the fiddles and the flutes, restoring One who moves in the time between sleep and waking, wearing White light folded, sheathed about her, folded. The new years walk, restoring Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring With a new verse the ancient rhyme. Redeem The time. Redeem The unread vision in the higher dream While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.
T.S. Eliot (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems)
I dye my jeans jet black once a week, but they never seem dark enough. I bleach my hair bright white twice a month but it never seems light enough. I drink two and a half bottles of champagne every night but I never seem drunk enough. And I know I’m not high enough until someone grabs my face to check my vision to see if I’m still responsive— And even then, I’m thinking to myself that I should probably do one more line, you know, just to be safe.
Kris Kidd (I Can't Feel My Face (The Altar Collective Presents...))
EDMUND *Then with alcoholic talkativeness You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason! *He grins wryly. It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death! TYRONE *Stares at him -- impressed. Yes, there's the makings of a poet in you all right. *Then protesting uneasily. But that's morbid craziness about not being wanted and loving death. EDMUND *Sardonically The *makings of a poet. No, I'm afraid I'm like the guy who is always panhandling for a smoke. He hasn't even got the makings. He's got only the habit. I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people.
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day’s Journey into Night)
As summer neared, as the evening lengthened there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking the beach, stirring the pool, imaginations of the strangest kind- of flesh turned to atoms which drove before the wind, of stars flashing in their hearts, of outwardly the scattered parts of the vision within. In those mirrors, the minds of men, in those pools of uneasy water, in which cloud forever and shadows form, dreams persisted; and it was impossible to resist the strange intimation which every gull, flower, tree, man and woman, and the white earth itself seemed to declare (but if you questioned at once to withdraw) that good triumph, happiness prevails, order rules, or to resist the extra ordinary stimulus to range hither and thither in search of some absolute good, some crystal of intensity remote from the known pleasures and familiar virtues, something alien to the processes of domestic life, single, hard, bright, like a diamond in the sand which would render the possessor secure. Moreover softened and acquiescent, the spring with their bees humming and gnats dancing threw her cloud about her, veiled her eyes, averted her head, and among passing shadows and fights of small rain seemed to have taken upon her knowledge of the sorrows of mankind.
Virginia Woolf
I’m kind of hoping it will end like this. You made me happy. Very happy. But…you deserve everything. Wife, kids, a white picket fence.” “And I’ll have all of it. With you.” “You know that can’t happen with me.” “Then it can’t happen with anyone. There won’t be a next Rosie. And there won’t be another story like ours. This is it, Rose LeBlanc. And this is us. If there is no you, then there is no me.” “You know, I always hated Romeo and Juliet . The play. The movie. The very idea. It was tragic, all right. Tragically stupid. I mean, they were what? Thirteen? Sixteen? What a waste of life, to kill yourself because your family wouldn’t let you get hitched. But Romeo and Juliet were right. I was the next eleven years killing myself slowly while I grieved for you. Then you came back, and I still thought it was just a fascination. But now that I know…” “Now that I know that it can only ever be you, you’re going to get better for me so Earth won’t explode. Can you do that, Sirius? I promise not to leave this room until you get out. Not even for a shower. Not even to get you your chocolate chip cookies. I’ll get someone to drive all the way to New York and bring them for you.” “I love you.” Rosie’s tears curtained her vision. “I love you, Baby LeBlanc,” I said. “So fucking much. You taught me how to love. How well did I do?” “A-plus,” she whispered. “You aced it. Can you promise me something?” “Anything.” “ Live .” “Not without you.” “And have kids. Lots of them. They’re fun.” “Rosie…” “I’m not afraid. I got what I wanted from this life. You .” “Rosie.” “I love you, Earth. You were good to me.” “Rose!” Her eyes closed, the door opened, the sound on her monitor went off, and my heart disintegrated. Piece. By piece. By piece.
L.J. Shen (Ruckus (Sinners of Saint, #2))
If we forgot our resentment, if we forgot revenge, if we acknowledged that we are all puppets in someone else's play, if we had not fought a war against each other, if some of us had not called ourselves nationalists or communists or capitalists or realists, if our bonzes had not incinerated themselves, if the Americans hadn't come to save us from ourselves, if we had not bought what they sold, if the Soviets had never called us comrades, if Mao had not sought to do the same, if the Japanese hadn't taught us the superiority of the yellow race, if the French had never sought to civilize us, if Ho Chi Minh had not been dialectical and Karl Marx not analytical, if the invisible hand of the market did not hold us by the scruffs of our necks, if the British had defeated the rebels of the new world, if the natives had simply said , Hell no, on first seeing the white man, if our emperors and mandarins had not clashed among themselves, if the Chinese had never ruled us for a thousand year, if they had used gunpowder for more than fireworks, if the Buddha had never lived, if the Bible had never been written and Jesus Christ never sacrificed, if you needed no more revisions, and if I saw no more of these visions, please, could you please just let me sleep?
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer (The Sympathizer, #1))
The pursuit of science has often been compared to the scaling of mountains, high and not so high. But who amongst us can hope, even in imagination, to scale the Everest and reach its summit when the sky is blue and the air is still, and in the stillness of the air survey the entire Himalayan range in the dazzling white of the snow stretching to infinity? None of us can hope for a comparable vision of nature and of the universe around us. But there is nothing mean or lowly in standing in the valley below and awaiting the sun to rise over Kinchinjunga.
Subrahmanijan Chandrasekhar (Truth and Beauty: Aesthetics and Motivations in Science)
I am, O Anxious One. Don't you hear my voice surging forth with all my earthly feelings? They yearn so high, that they have sprouted wings and whitely fly in circles round your face. My soul, dressed in silence, rises up and stands alone before you: can't you see? don't you know that my prayer is growing ripe upon your vision as upon a tree? If you are the dreamer, I am what you dream. But when you want to wake, I am your wish, and I grow strong with all magnificence and turn myself into a star's vast silence above the strange and distant city, Time.
Rainer Maria Rilke
You're a Dark One," said Anton. "All you see in everything is evil, treachery, trickery." "All I do is not close my eyes to them," Edgar retorted. "And that's why I don't trust Zabulon. I distrust him almost as much as I do Gesar. I can even trust you more—you're just another unfortunate chess piece who happens by chance to be painted a different color from me. Does a white pawn hate a black one? No. Especially if the two pawns have their heads down together over a quiet beer or two." "You know," Anton said in a slightly surprised voice, "I just don't understand how you can carry on living if you see the world like that. I'd just go and hang myself." "So you don't have any counterarguments to offer?" Anton took a gulp of beer too. The wonderful thing about this natural Czech beer was that even if you drank lots of it, it still didn't make your head or your body feel heavy... Or was that an illusion? "Not a single one," Anton admitted. "Right now, this very moment, not a single one. But I'm sure you're wrong. It's just difficult to argue about the colors of the rainbow with a blind man. There's something missing in you... I don't know what exactly. But it's something very important, and without it you're more helpless than a blind man.
Sergei Lukyanenko (Day Watch (Watch, #2))
What was peculiar about the West was not that it participated in the worldwide evil of slavery, but that it later abolished that evil, not only in Western societies but also in other societies subject to Western control or influence. This was possible only because the anti-slavery movement coincided with an era in which Western power and hegemony were at their zenith, so that it was essentially European imperialism which ended slavery. This idea might seem shocking, not because it does not fit the facts, but because it does not fit the prevailing vision of our time.
Thomas Sowell (Black Rednecks and White Liberals)
Ye can at least promise me the victory,” he said, but his voice held the whisper of a question. “Yes,” I said, and touched his face. I sounded choked, and my vision blurred. “Yes, I can promise that. This time.” No mention made of what that promise spared, of the things I could not guarantee. Not life, not safety. Not home, nor family; not law nor legacy. Just the one thing—or maybe two. “The victory,” I said. “And that I will be with you ’til the end.” He closed his eyes for a moment. Snowflakes pelted down, melting as they struck his face, sticking for an instant, white on his lashes. Then he opened his eyes and looked at me. “That is enough,” he said softly. “I ask no more.” He reached forward then and took me in his arms, held me close for a moment, the breath of snow and ashes cold around us. Then he kissed me, released me, and I took a deep breath of cold air, harsh with the scent of burning.
Diana Gabaldon (A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6))
In the end, Doug Wilson, John Piper, Mark Driscoll, James Dobson, Doug Phillips, and John Eldredge all preached a mutually reinforcing vision of Christian masculinity—of patriarchy and submission, sex and power. It was a vision that promised protection for women but left women without defense, one that worshiped power and turned a blind eye to justice, and one that transformed the Jesus of the Gospels into an image of their own making. Though rooted in different traditions and couched in different styles, their messages blended together to become the dominant chord in the cacophony of evangelical popular culture. And they had been right all along. The militant Christian masculinity they practiced and preached did indelibly shape both family and nation.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
Today, more than a quarter century later, we must ask what has happened to that uplifting vision; why does it seem to be fading instead of becoming more clear? Why, per Freedom House, is democracy now “under assault and in retreat”? Why are many people in positions of power seeking to undermine public confidence in elections, the courts, the media, and—on the fundamental question of earth’s future—science? Why have such dangerous splits been allowed to develop between rich and poor, urban and rural, those with a higher education and those without? Why has the United States—at least temporarily—abdicated its leadership in world affairs? And why, this far into the twenty-first century, are we once again talking about Fascism? ONE REASON, FRANKLY, IS DONALD TRUMP. IF WE THINK OF FASCISM as a wound from the past that had almost healed, putting Trump in the White House was like ripping off the bandage and picking at the scab
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
I On the calm black water where the stars are sleeping White Ophelia floats like a great lily; Floats very slowly, lying in her long veils... - In the far-off woods you can hear them sound the mort. For more than a thousand years sad Ophelia Has passed, a white phantom, down the long black river. For more than a thousand years her sweet madness Has murmured its ballad to the evening breeze. The wind kisses her breasts and unfolds in a wreath Her great veils rising and falling with the waters; The shivering willows weep on her shoulder, The rushes lean over her wide, dreaming brow. The ruffled water-lilies are sighing around her; At times she rouses, in a slumbering alder, Some nest from which escapes a small rustle of wings; - A mysterious anthem falls from the golden stars. II O pale Ophelia! beautiful as snow! Yes child, you died, carried off by a river! - It was the winds descending from the great mountains of Norway That spoke to you in low voices of better freedom. It was a breath of wind, that, twisting your great hair, Brought strange rumors to your dreaming mind; It was your heart listening to the song of Nature In the groans of the tree and the sighs of the nights; It was the voice of mad seas, the great roar, That shattered your child's heart, too human and too soft; It was a handsome pale knight, a poor madman Who one April morning sate mute at your knees! Heaven! Love! Freedom! What a dream, oh poor crazed Girl! You melted to him as snow does to a fire; Your great visions strangled your words - And fearful Infinity terrified your blue eye! III - And the poet says that by starlight You come seeking, in the night, the flowers that you picked And that he has seen on the water, lying in her long veils White Ophelia floating, like a great lily.
Arthur Rimbaud (A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat)
I believe in Free Will, the Force Almighty by which we conduct ourselves as if we were the sons and daughters of a just and wise God, even if there is no such Supreme Being. And by free will, we can choose to do good on this earth, no matter that we all die, and do not know where we go when we die, or if a justice or explanation awaits us. I believe that we can, through our reason, know what good is, and in the communion of men and women, in which the forgiveness of wrongs will always be more significant than the avenging of them, and that in the beautiful natural world that surrounds us, we represent the best and the finest of beings, for we alone can see that natural beauty, appreciate it, learn from it, weep for it, and seek to conserve it and protect it. I believe finally that we are the only true moral force in the physical world, the makers of, ethics and moral ideas, and that we must be as good as the gods we created in the past to guide us. I believe that through our finest efforts, we will succeed finally in creating heaven on earth, and we do it every time that we love, every time that we embrace, every time that we commit to create rather than destroy, every time that we place life over death, and the natural over what is unnatural, insofar as we are able to define it. And I suppose I do believe in the final analysis that a peace of mind can be obtained in the face of the worst horrors and the worst losses. It can be obtained by faith in change and in will and in accident and by faith in ourselves, that we will do the right thing, more often than not, in the face of adversity. For ours is the power and the glory, because we are capable of visions and ideas which are ultimately stronger and more enduring than we are. That is my credo. That is my belief, for what it's worth, and it sustains me. And if I were to die right now, I wouldn't be afraid. Because I can't believe that horror or chaos awaits us. If any revelation awaits us at all, it must be as good as our ideals and our philosophy. For surely nature must embrace the visible and the invisible, and it couldn't fall short of us. The thing that makes the flowers open and the snowflakes fall must contain a wisdom and a final secret as intricate and beautiful as the blooming camellia or the clouds gathering above, so white and so pure in the blackness. If that isn't so, then we are in the grip of a staggering irony. And all the spooks of hell might as well dance. There could be a devil. People who burn other people to death are fine. There could be anything. But the world is simply to beautiful for that. At least it seems that way to me.
Anne Rice (The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches, #1))
The litany of what I did want? To be challenged. To not live in the safety of my own little snow globe and be reassured by familiarity and surrounded by what made me comfortable and coddled me. To stand in other people’s shoes and see how they saw the world—especially if they were outsiders and monsters and freaks who would lead me as far away as possible from whatever my comfort zone supposedly was—because I sensed I was that outsider, that monster, that freak. I craved being shaken. I loved ambiguity. I wanted to change my mind, about one thing and another, virtually anything. I wanted to get upset and even be damaged by art. I wanted to get wiped out by the cruelty of someone’s vision of the world, whether it was Shakespeare or Scorsese, Joan Didion or Dennis Cooper. And all of this had a profound effect. It gave me empathy. It helped me realize that another world existed beyond my own, with other viewpoints and backgrounds and proclivities, and I have no doubt that this aided me in becoming an adult. It moved me away from the narcissism of childhood and into the world’s mysteries—the unexplained, the taboo, the other—and drew me closer to a place of understanding and acceptance.
Bret Easton Ellis (White)
To live is to be other. It’s not even possible to feel, if one feels today what he felt yesterday. To feel today what one felt yesterday isn’t to feel – it’s to remember today what was felt yesterday, to be today’s living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost. To erase everything from the slate from one day to the next, to be new with each new morning, in a perpetual revival of our emotional virginity – this, and only this, is worth being or having, to be or have what we imperfectly are. This dawn is the first dawn of the world. Never did this pink colour yellowing to a warm white so tinge, towards the west, the face of the buildings whose windowpane eyes gaze upon the silence brought by the growing light. There was never this hour, nor this light, nor this person that’s me. What will be tomorrow will be something else, and what I see will be seen by reconstituted eyes, full of a new vision. High city hills! Great marvels of architecture that the steep slopes secure and make even greater, motley chaos of heaped up buildings that the daylight weaves together with bright spots and shadows – you are today, you are me, because I see you, you are what [I’ll be] tomorrow, and I love you from the deck rail as when two ships pass, and there’s a mysterious longing and regret in their passing.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
When he turns inland he sees two moving white columns in the sky. At first glance he thinks they are emissions of smoke. The two encroaching formations ripple into funnels and then spread out beneath the labyrinthine coral of clouds into fans. His vision blurs for a moment. Then he realises he is witnessing two perfectly synchronised flocks of birds. The abstract shapes they form are flawless. He stands with his hands in his pockets as the birds taper into a long undulating line, which gently vanishes behind the surface of things. The same thing has happened to his father. He has vanished behind the surface of things.
Glenn Haybittle (The Way Back to Florence)
That's the myth of it, the required lie that allows us to render our judgments. Parasites, criminals, dope fiends, dope peddlers, whores--when we can ride past them at Fayette and Monroe, car doors locked, our field of vision cautiously restricted to the road ahead, then the long journey into darkness is underway. Pale-skinned hillbillies and hard-faced yos, toothless white trash and gold-front gangsters--when we can glide on and feel only fear, we're well on the way. And if, after a time, we can glimpse the spectacle of the corner and manage nothing beyond loathing and contempt, then we've arrived at last at that naked place where a man finally sees the sense in stretching razor wire and building barracks and directing cattle cars into the compound. It's a reckoning of another kind, perhaps, and one that becomes a possibility only through the arrogance and certainty that so easily accompanies a well-planned and well-tended life. We know ourselves, we believe in ourselves; from what we value most, we grant ourselves the illusion that it's not chance in circumstance, that opportunity itself isn't the defining issue. We want the high ground; we want our own worth to be acknowledged. Morality, intelligence, values--we want those things measured and counted. We want it to be about Us. Yes, if we were down there, if we were the damned of the American cities, we would not fail. We would rise above the corner. And when we tell ourselves such things, we unthinkably assume that we would be consigned to places like Fayette Street fully equipped, with all the graces and disciplines, talents and training that we now posses. Our parents would still be our parents, our teachers still our teachers, our broker still our broker. Amid the stench of so much defeat and despair, we would kick fate in the teeth and claim our deserved victory. We would escape to live the life we were supposed to live, the life we are living now. We would be saved, and as it always is in matters of salvation, we know this as a matter of perfect, pristine faith. Why? The truth is plain: We were not born to be niggers.
David Simon (The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood)
I felt the sun before I saw it. I was dislodging a stubborn ice clump when suddenly my vision snapped off and a sizzling feeling filled my skin. In another instant I could see again, and the landscape—the frozen fjord, the mountains behind the school—caught like a candlewick and exploded around me in a blaze of white fire. The dogs fell still and my throat choked shut, and then they were howling and I was laughing, and in another minute the day was over and the sun sank back down as if it had never been. My ecstasy was illogical, uncontrollable; I felt as if I’d been slipped a drug, and could no more control its chemical effects than I could force the sun to resurface.
Blair Braverman (Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North)
Skinner shared how he came to worship an elite White Jesus Christ, who cleaned people up through “rules and regulations,” a savior who prefigured Richard Nixon’s vision of law and order. But one day, Skinner realized that he’d gotten Jesus wrong. Jesus wasn’t in the Rotary Club and he wasn’t a policeman. Jesus was a “radical revolutionary, with hair on his chest and dirt under his fingernails.” Skinner’s new idea of Jesus was born of and committed to a new reading of the gospel. “Any gospel that does not … speak to the issue of enslavement” and “injustice” and “inequality—any gospel that does not want to go where people are hungry and poverty-stricken and set them free in the name of Jesus Christ—is not the gospel.
Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist)
Table 3–1. Definitions of Cognitive Distortions 1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. 2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. 3. MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of all reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that colors the entire beaker of water. 4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. 5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. a. Mind reading. You arbitrarily conclude that someone is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. b. The Fortune Teller Error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact. 6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZING) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things (such as your goof-up or someone else’s achievement), or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities or the other fellow’s imperfections). This is also called the “binocular trick.” 7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.” 8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct should statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. 9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself: “I’m a loser.” When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him: “He’s a goddam louse.” Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded. 10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as me cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
David D. Burns (Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy)
Rest you here, enchanter, while the light fades, Vision narrows, and the far Sky-edge is gone with the sun. Be content with the small spark Of the coal, the smell Of food, and the breath Of frost beyond the shut door. Home is here, and familiar things; A cup, a wooden bowl, a blanket, Prayer, a gift for the god, and sleep. (And music, says the harp, And music.) Rest here, enchanter, while the fire dies. In a breath, in an eyelid's fall, You will see them, the dreams; The sword and the young king, The white horse and the running water, The lit lamp and the boy smiling. Dreams, dreams, enchanter! Gone with the harp's echo when the strings Fall mute; with the flame's shadow when the fire Dies. Be still, and listen. Far on the black air Blows the great wind, rises The running tide, flows the clear river. Listen, enchanter, hear Through the black air and the singing air The music….
Mary Stewart
How do people get to this clandestine Archipelago? Hour by hour planes fly there, ships steer their course there, and trains thunder off to it--but all with nary a mark on them to tell of their destination. And at ticket windows or at travel bureaus for Soviet or foreign tourists the employees would be astounded if you were to ask for a ticket to go there. They know nothing and they've never heard of the Archipelago as a whole or any one of its innumerable islands. Those who go to the Archipelago to administer it get there via the training schools of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Those who go there to be guards are conscripted via the military conscription centers. And those who, like you and me, dear reader, go there to die, must get there solely and compulsorily via arrest. Arrest! Need it be said that it is a breaking point in your life, a bolt of lightning which has scored a direct hit on you? That it is an unassimilable spiritual earthquake not every person can cope with, as a result of which people often slip into insanity? The Universe has as many different centers as there are living beings in it. Each of us is a center of the Universe, and that Universe is shattered when they hiss at you: "You are under arrest." If you are arrested, can anything else remain unshattered by this cataclysm? But the darkened mind is incapable of embracing these dis­placements in our universe, and both the most sophisticated and the veriest simpleton among us, drawing on all life's experience, can gasp out only: "Me? What for?" And this is a question which, though repeated millions and millions of times before, has yet to receive an answer. Arrest is an instantaneous, shattering thrust, expulsion, somer­sault from one state into another. We have been happily borne—or perhaps have unhappily dragged our weary way—down the long and crooked streets of our lives, past all kinds of walls and fences made of rotting wood, rammed earth, brick, concrete, iron railings. We have never given a thought to what lies behind them. We have never tried to pene­trate them with our vision or our understanding. But there is where the Gulag country begins, right next to us, two yards away from us. In addition, we have failed to notice an enormous num­ber of closely fitted, well-disguised doors and gates in these fences. All those gates were prepared for us, every last one! And all of a sudden the fateful gate swings quickly open, and four white male hands, unaccustomed to physical labor but none­theless strong and tenacious, grab us by the leg, arm, collar, cap, ear, and drag us in like a sack, and the gate behind us, the gate to our past life, is slammed shut once and for all. That's all there is to it! You are arrested! And you'll find nothing better to respond with than a lamblike bleat: "Me? What for?" That's what arrest is: it's a blinding flash and a blow which shifts the present instantly into the past and the impossible into omnipotent actuality. That's all. And neither for the first hour nor for the first day will you be able to grasp anything else.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII)
That night I never thought to sleep; but a slumber fell on me as soon as I lay down in bed. I was transported in thought to the scenes of childhood: I dreamt I lay in the red-room at Gateshead; that the night was dark, and my mind impressed with strange fears. The light that long ago had struck me into syncope, recalled in this vision, seemed glidingly to mount the wall, and tremblingly to pause in the centre of the obscured ceiling. I lifted up my head to look: the roof resolved to clouds, high and dim; the gleam was such as the moon imparts to vapours she is about to sever. I watched her come—watched with the strangest anticipation; as though some word of doom were to be written on her disk. She broke forth as never moon yet burst from cloud: a hand first penetrated the sable folds and waved them away; then, not a moon, but a white human form shone in the azure, inclining a glorious brow earthward. It gazed and gazed on me. It spoke to my spirit: immeasurably distant was the tone, yet so near, it whispered in my heart— 'My daughter, flee temptation.' 'Mother, I will.' So I answered after I had waked from the trance-like dream.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Then someone else appeared from the crowd, and Annabeth's vision tunneled. Percy smiled at her-that sarcastic, troublemaker's smile that had annoyed her for years but eventually had become endearing. His sea-green eyes were as gorgeous as she remembered. His dark hair was swept to one side, like he'd just come from a walk on the beach. He looked even better than he had six months ago-tanner and taller, leaner and more muscular. Annabeth was to stunned to move. She felt that if she got any closer to him, all the molecules in her body might combust. She'd secretly had a crush on him sonar they were twelve years old. Last summer, she'd fallen for him hard. They'd been a happy couple together for four months-and then he'd disappeared. During their separation, something had happened to Annabeth's feelings. They'd grown painfully intense-like she'd been forced to withdraw from a life-saving medication. Now she wasn't sure which was more excruciating-living with that horrible absence, or being with him again... Annabeth didn't mean to, but she surged forward. Percy rushed toward her at the same time. The crowds tensed. Some reach d for swords that weren't there. Percy threw his arms around her. They kissed, and for a moment nothing else mattered. An asteroid could have hit the planet and wiped out all life, Annabeth wouldn't have cared. Percy smelled of ocean air. His lips were salty. Seaweed Brain, she thought giddily. Percy pulled away and studied her face. "Gods, I never thought-" Annabeth grabbed his wrist and flipped him over her shoulder. He slammed into the stone pavement. Romans cried out. Some surged forward, but Reyna shouted, "Hold! Stand down!" Annabeth put her knee on Percy's chest. She pushed her forearm against his throat. She didn't care what the Romans thought. A white-hot lump of anger expanded in her chest-a tumor of worry and bitterness that she'd been carrying around since last autumn. "Of you ever leave me again," she said, her eyes stinging, "I swear to all the gods-" Percy had the nerve to laugh. Suddenly the lump of heated emotions melted inside Annabeth. "Consider me warned," Percy said. "I missed you, too." Annabeth rose and helped him to his feet. She wanted to kiss him again SO badly, but she managed to restrain herself. Jason cleared his throat. "So, yeah…It's good to be back…" "And this is Annabeth," Jason said. "Uh, normally she doesn't judo-flip people.
Rick Riordan (The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3))
Aside from wanting to write cracking good books that turn children into lifelong readers, I really want to create stories that enable kids to LOOK at the world around them. To see it for what it is, with wide open, wondering eyes. Our mass media is so horribly skewed. It presents this idea of 'normalcy' which excludes and marginalises so many for an idea of commercial viability which is really nothing but blinkered prejudice. People who are black and Asian and Middle Eastern and Hispanic, people who are gay or transgendered or genderqueer, people who have disabilities, disfigurements or illnesses - all have this vision of a world which does not include them shoved down their throats almost 24-7, and they're told 'No one wants to see stories about people like you. Films and TV shows about people like you won't make money. Stories about straight, white, cisgendered, able-bodied people are universal and everyone likes them. You are small and useless and unattractive and you don't matter.' My worry is that this warped version of 'normal' eventually forms those very same blinkers on children's eyes, depriving them of their ability to see anyone who isn't the same as them, preventing them from developing the ability to empathise with and appreciate and take joy in the lives and experiences of people who are different from them. If Shadows on the Moon - or anything I write - causes a young person to look at their own life, or the life of another, and think, 'Maybe being different is cool' I will die a happy writer. -Guest blog - what diversity means to me
Zoë Marriott
All of the Indians must have tragic features: tragic noses, eyes, and arms. Their hands and fingers must be tragic when they reach for tragic food. The hero must be a half-breed, half white and half Indian, preferably from a horse culture. He should often weep alone. That is mandatory. If the hero is an Indian woman, she is beautiful. She must be slender and in love with a white man. But if she loves an Indian man then he must be a half-breed, preferably from a horse culture. If the Indian woman loves a white man, then he has to be so white that we can see the blue veins running through his skin like rivers. When the Indian woman steps out of her dress, the white man gasps at the endless beauty of her brown skin. She should be compared to nature: brown hills, mountains, fertile valleys, dewy grass, wind, and clear water. If she is compared to murky water, however, then she must have a secret. Indians always have secrets, which are carefully and slowly revealed. Yet Indian secrets can be disclosed suddenly, like a storm. Indian men, of course, are storms. The should destroy the lives of any white women who choose to love them. All white women love Indian men. That is always the case. White women feign disgust at the savage in blue jeans and T-shirt, but secretly lust after him. White women dream about half-breed Indian men from horse cultures. Indian men are horses, smelling wild and gamey. When the Indian man unbuttons his pants, the white woman should think of topsoil. There must be one murder, one suicide, one attempted rape. Alcohol should be consumed. Cars must be driven at high speeds. Indians must see visions. White people can have the same visions if they are in love with Indians. If a white person loves an Indian then the white person is Indian by proximity. White people must carry an Indian deep inside themselves. Those interior Indians are half-breed and obviously from horse cultures. If the interior Indian is male then he must be a warrior, especially if he is inside a white man. If the interior Indian is female, then she must be a healer, especially if she is inside a white woman. Sometimes there are complications. An Indian man can be hidden inside a white woman. An Indian woman can be hidden inside a white man. In these rare instances, everybody is a half-breed struggling to learn more about his or her horse culture. There must be redemption, of course, and sins must be forgiven. For this, we need children. A white child and an Indian child, gender not important, should express deep affection in a childlike way. In the Great American Indian novel, when it is finally written, all of the white people will be Indians and all of the Indians will be ghosts.
Sherman Alexie
His thought turned to the Ring, but there was no comfort there, only dread and danger. No sooner had he come in sight of Mount Doom, burning far away, than he was aware of a change in his burden. As it drew near the great furnaces where, in the deeps of time, it had been shaped and forged, the Ring's power grew, and it became more fell, untameable except by some mighty will. As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor. He felt that he had from now on only two choices: to forbear the Ring, though it would torment him; or to claim it, and challenge the Power that sat in its dark hold beyond the valley of shadows. Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason. Wild fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-dur. And then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit. He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be. In that hour of trial it was his love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him. The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command. 'And anyway all these notions are only a trick, he said to himself.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
She raised her hands from the side of the pen in a gesture hieratic and profound. A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black niggers in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God-given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered her hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a moment the vision faded but she remained where she was, immobile.
Flannery O'Connor (The Complete Stories)
I hear the door open again behind me. “Honestly, Eleanor, I will not move in with you. You’re welcome to come to Gallen. I’m certain we could find something for you to study.” A voice that is not Eleanor’s answers me. “I plan on studying history scholars, actually.” All the grief I have neatly packed and stored in the shadows of my soul springs up, rising into my throat and choking me. I stand, unable to turn, unable to draw a breath for fear of being mistaken, my eyes glued to the floor. A fine pair of shoes enters the narrow range of my vision. They cast no shadow. “You’re dead,” I whisper, still not daring to look up. “Nearly,” Finn answers, his voice the soft song of my dreams. I look up, barely able to see him through tears. He’s thinner, with the pale and drawn look of someone who has been sick for a long time but is on the mend. “It’s a tricky thing, trying to use a transport spell stored in your body while being pulled down a river bleeding to death. You will have to excuse me for getting lost and taking so long to get back to you.” “I will excuse no such thing.” I throw my arms around his neck and bury my face in his shoulder. “You are not excused, you will never be excused, and you will spend the rest of your life making it up to me.” He laughs. “I had planned on nothing less.” My lips meet his, and I do not resign myself to this fate. I claim it as my own. Forever.
Kiersten White (Illusions of Fate)
Oh, if I had done nothing simply from laziness! Heavens, how I should have respected myself, then. I should have respected myself because I should at least have been capable of being lazy; there would at least have been one quality, as it were, positive in me, in which I could have believed myself. Question: What is he? Answer: A sluggard; how very pleasant it would have been to hear that of oneself! It would mean that I was positively defined, it would mean that there was something to say about me. ‘Sluggard’—why, it is a calling and vocation, it is a career. Do not jest, it is so. I should then be a member of the best club by right, and should find my occupation in continually respecting myself. I knew a gentleman who prided himself all his life on being a connoisseur of Lafitte. He considered this as his positive virtue, and never doubted himself. He died, not simply with a tranquil, but with a triumphant conscience, and he was quite right, too. Then I should have chosen a career for myself, I should have been a sluggard and a gluteton, not a simple one, but, for instance, one with sympathies for everything sublime and beautiful. How do you like that? I have long had visions of it. That ‘sublime and beautiful’ weighs heavily on my mind at forty But that is at forty; then—oh, then it would have been different! I should have found for myself a form of activity in keeping with it, to be precise, drinking to the health of everything ‘sublime and beautiful.’ I should have snatched at every opportunity to drop a tear into my glass and then to drain it to all that is ‘sublime and beautiful.’ I should then have turned everything into the sublime and the beautiful; in the nastiest, unquestionable trash, I should have sought out the sublime and the beautiful.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead)
1 You said ‘The world is going back to Paganism’. Oh bright Vision! I saw our dynasty in the bar of the House Spill from their tumblers a libation to the Erinyes, And Leavis with Lord Russell wreathed in flowers, heralded with flutes, Leading white bulls to the cathedral of the solemn Muses To pay where due the glory of their latest theorem. Hestia’s fire in every flat, rekindled, burned before The Lardergods. Unmarried daughters with obedient hands Tended it. By the hearth the white-armd venerable mother Domum servabat, lanam faciebat. At the hour Of sacrifice their brothers came, silent, corrected, grave Before their elders; on their downy cheeks easily the blush Arose (it is the mark of freemen’s children) as they trooped, Gleaming with oil, demurely home from the palaestra or the dance. Walk carefully, do not wake the envy of the happy gods, Shun Hubris. The middle of the road, the middle sort of men, Are best. Aidos surpasses gold. Reverence for the aged Is wholesome as seasonable rain, and for a man to die Defending the city in battle is a harmonious thing. Thus with magistral hand the Puritan Sophrosune Cooled and schooled and tempered our uneasy motions; Heathendom came again, the circumspection and the holy fears … You said it. Did you mean it? Oh inordinate liar, stop. 2 Or did you mean another kind of heathenry? Think, then, that under heaven-roof the little disc of the earth, Fortified Midgard, lies encircled by the ravening Worm. Over its icy bastions faces of giant and troll Look in, ready to invade it. The Wolf, admittedly, is bound; But the bond wil1 break, the Beast run free. The weary gods, Scarred with old wounds the one-eyed Odin, Tyr who has lost a hand, Will limp to their stations for the Last defence. Make it your hope To be counted worthy on that day to stand beside them; For the end of man is to partake of their defeat and die His second, final death in good company. The stupid, strong Unteachable monsters are certain to be victorious at last, And every man of decent blood is on the losing side. Take as your model the tall women with yellow hair in plaits Who walked back into burning houses to die with men, Or him who as the death spear entered into his vitals Made critical comments on its workmanship and aim. Are these the Pagans you spoke of? Know your betters and crouch, dogs; You that have Vichy water in your veins and worship the event Your goddess History (whom your fathers called the strumpet Fortune).
C.S. Lewis
How to Survive Racism in an Organization that Claims to be Antiracist: 10. Ask why they want you. Get as much clarity as possible on what the organization has read about you, what they understand about you, what they assume are your gifts and strengths. What does the organization hope you will bring to the table? Do those answers align with your reasons for wanting to be at the table? 9. Define your terms. You and the organization may have different definitions of words like "justice", "diveristy", or "antiracism". Ask for definitions, examples, or success stories to give you a better idea of how the organization understands and embodies these words. Also ask about who is in charge and who is held accountable for these efforts. Then ask yourself if you can work within the structure. 8. Hold the organization to the highest vision they committed to for as long as you can. Be ready to move if the leaders aren't prepared to pursue their own stated vision. 7. Find your people. If you are going to push back against the system or push leadership forward, it's wise not to do so alone. Build or join an antiracist cohort within the organization. 6. Have mentors and counselors on standby. Don't just choose a really good friend or a parent when seeking advice. It's important to have on or two mentors who can give advice based on their personal knowledge of the organization and its leaders. You want someone who can help you navigate the particular politics of your organization. 5. Practice self-care. Remember that you are a whole person, not a mule to carry the racial sins of the organization. Fall in love, take your children to the park, don't miss doctors' visits, read for pleasure, dance with abandon, have lots of good sex, be gentle with yourself. 4. Find donors who will contribute to the cause. Who's willing to keep the class funded, the diversity positions going, the social justice center operating? It's important for the organization to know the members of your cohort aren't the only ones who care. Demonstrate that there are stakeholders, congregations members, and donors who want to see real change. 3. Know your rights. There are some racist things that are just mean, but others are against the law. Know the difference, and keep records of it all. 2. Speak. Of course, context matters. You must be strategic about when, how, to whom, and about which situations you decide to call out. But speak. Find your voice and use it. 1. Remember: You are a creative being who is capable of making change. But it is not your responsibility to transform an entire organization.
Austin Channing Brown (I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness)
New Rule: Death isn’t always sad. This week, the Reverend Jerry Falwell died, and millions of Americans asked, “Why? Why, God? Why…didn’t you take Pat Robertson with him?” I don’t want to say Jerry was disliked by the gay community, but tonight in New York City, at exactly eight o’clock, Broadway theaters along the Great White Way turned their lights up for two minutes. I know you’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but I think we can make an exception, because speaking ill of the dead was kind of Jerry Falwell’s hobby. He’s the guy who said AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality and that 9/11 was brought on by pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the ACLU—or, as I like to call them, my studio audience. It was surreal watching people on the news praise Falwell, followed by a clip package of what he actually said—things like: "Homosexuals are part of a vile and satanic system that will be utterly annihilated." "If you’re not a born-again Christian, you’re a failure as a human being." "Feminists just need a man in the house." "There is no separation of church and state." And, of course, everyone’s favorite: "The purple Teletubby is gay." Jerry Falwell found out you could launder your hate through the cover of “God’s will”—he didn’t hate gays, God does. All Falwell’s power came from name-dropping God, and gay people should steal that trick. Don’t say you want something because it’s your right as a human being—say you want it because it’s your religion. Gay men have been going at things backward. Forget civil right, and just make gayness a religion. I mean, you’re kneeling anyway. And it’s easy to start a religion. Watch, I’ll do it for you. I had a vision last night. The Blessed Virgin Mary came to me—I don’t know how she got past the guards—and she told me it’s time to take the high ground from the Seventh-day Adventists and give it to the twenty-four-hour party people. And that what happens in the confessional stays in the confessional. Gay men, don’t say you’re life partners. Say you’re a nunnery of two. “We weren’t having sex,officer. I was performing a very private mass.Here in my car. I was letting my rod and my staff comfort him.” One can only hope that as Jerry Falwell now approaches the pearly gates, he is met there by God Himself, wearing a Fire Island muscle shirt and nut-hugger shorts, saying to Jerry in a mighty lisp, “I’m not talking to you.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
Instead, as the crystal splinters entered Hornwrack's brain, he experienced two curious dreams of the Low City, coming so quickly one after the other that they seemed simultaneous. In the first, long shadows moved across the ceiling frescoes of the Bistro Californium, beneath which Lord Mooncarrot's clique awaited his return to make a fourth at dice. Footsteps sounded on the threshold. The women hooded their eyes and smiled, or else stifled a yawn, raising dove-grey gloves to their blue, phthisic lips. Viriconium, with all her narcissistic intimacies and equivocal invitations welcomed him again. He had hated that city, yet now it was his past and it was he had to regret...The second of these visions was of the Rue Sepile. It was dawn, in summer. Horse-chestnut flowers bobbed like white wax candles above the deserted pavements. An oblique light struck into the street - so that its long and normally profitless perspective seemed to lead straight into the heart of a younger, more ingenuous city - and fell across the fronts of the houses where he had once lived, warming up the rotten brick and imparting to it a not unpleasant pinkish colour. Up at the second-floor casement window a boy was busy with the bright red geraniums arranged along the outer still in lumpen terra-cotta pots. He looked down at Hornwrack and smiled. Before Hornwrack could speak he drew down the lower casement and turned away. The glass which no separated them reflected the morning sunlight in a silent explosion; and Hornwrack, dazzled mistaking the light for the smile, suddenly imagined an incandescence which would melt all those old streets! Rue Sepile; the Avenue of Children; Margery Fry Court: all melted down! All the shabby dependencies of the Plaza of Unrealized Time! All slumped, sank into themselves, eroded away until nothing was left in his field of vision but an unbearable white sky above and the bright clustered points of the chestnut leaves below - and then only a depthless opacity, behind which he could detect the beat of his own blood, the vitreous humour of the eye. He imagined the old encrusted brick flowing, the glass cracking and melting from its frames even as they shrivelled awake, the sheds of paints flaring green and gold, the geraniums toppling in flames to nothing, not even white ash, under this weight of light! All had winked away like reflections in a jar of water glass, and only the medium remained, bright, viscid, vacant. He had a sense of the intolerable briefness of matter, its desperate signalling and touching, its fall; and simultaneously one of its unendurable durability He thought, Something lies behind all the realities of the universe and is replacing them here, something less solid and more permanent. Then the world stopped haunting him forever.
M. John Harrison (Viriconium (Viriconium #1-4))
The cultural Left has contributed to the formation of this politically useless unconscious not only by adopting “power” as the name of an invisible, ubiquitous, and malevolent presence, but by adopting ideals which nobody is yet able to imagine being actualized. Among these ideals are participatory democracy and the end of capitalism. Power will pass to the people, the Sixties Left believed only when decisions are made by all those who may be affected by the results. This means, for example, that economic decisions will be made by stakeholders rather than by shareholders, and that entrepreneurship and markets will cease to play their present role. When they do, capitalism as we know it will have ended, and something new will have taken its place. […] Sixties leftists skipped lightly over all the questions which had been raised by the experience of non market economies in the so-called socialist countries. They seemed to be suggesting that once we were rid of both bureaucrats and entrepreneurs, “the people” would know how to handle competition from steel mills or textile factories in the developing world, price hikes on imported oil, and so on. But they never told us how “the people” would learn how to do this. The cultural Left still skips over such questions. Doing so is a consequence of its preference for talking about “the system” rather than about specific social practices and specific changes in those practices. The rhetoric of this Left remains revolutionary rather than reformist and pragmatic. Its insouciant use of terms like “late capitalism” suggests that we can just wait for capitalism to collapse, rather than figuring out what, in the absence of markets, will set prices and regulate distribution. The voting public, the public which must be won over if the Left is to emerge from the academy into the public square, sensibly wants to be told the details. It wants to know how things are going to work after markets are put behind us. It wants to know how participatory democracy is supposed to function. The cultural Left offers no answers to such demands for further information, but until it confronts them it will not be able to be a political Left. The public, sensibly, has no interest in getting rid of capitalism until it is offered details about the alternatives. Nor should it be interested in participatory democracy –– the liberation of the people from the power of technocrats –– until it is told how deliberative assemblies will acquire the same know-how which only the technocrats presently possess. […] The cultural Left has a vision of an America in which the white patriarchs have stopped voting and have left all the voting to be done by members of previously victimized groups, people who have somehow come into possession of more foresight and imagination than the selfish suburbanites. These formerly oppressed and newly powerful people are expected to be as angelic as the straight white males were diabolical. If I shared this expectation, I too would want to live under this new dispensation. Since I see no reason to share it, I think that the left should get back into the business of piecemeal reform within the framework of a market economy. This was the business the American Left was in during the first two-thirds of the century. Someday, perhaps, cumulative piecemeal reforms will be found to have brought about revolutionary change. Such reforms might someday produce a presently unimaginable non market economy, and much more widely distributed powers of decision making. […] But in the meantime, we should not let the abstractly described best be the enemy of the better. We should not let speculation about a totally changed system, and a totally different way of thinking about human life and affairs, replace step-by-step reform of the system we presently have.
Richard Rorty (Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America)
Don't misunderstand, but how dare you risk your life? What the devil did you think, to leap over like that? You could have stayed safe on this side and just helped me over." Even to her ears, her tone bordered on the hysterical. Beneath her fingers, the white lawn started to redden. She sucked in a shaky breath. "How could you risk your life-your life, you idiot!" She leaned harder on the pad, dragged in another breath. He coughed weakly, shifted his head. "Don't you dare die on me!" His lips twisted, but his eyes remained closed. "But if I die"-his words were a whisper-"you won't have to marry, me or anyone else. Even the most censorious in the ton will consider my death to be the end of the matter. You'll be free." "Free?" Then his earlier words registered. "If you die? I told you-don't you dare! I won't let you-I forbid you to. How can I marry you if you die? And how the hell will I live if you aren't alive, too?" As the words left her mouth, half hysterical, all emotion, she realized they were the literal truth. Her life wouldn't be worth living if he wasn't there to share it. "What will I do with my life if you die?" He softly snorted, apparently unimpressed by-or was it not registering?-her panic. "Marry some other poor sod, like you were planning to." The words cut. "You are the only poor sod I'm planning to marry." Her waspish response came on a rush of rising fear. She glanced around, but there was no one in sight. Help had yet to come running. She looked back at him, readjusted the pressure on the slowly reddening pad. "I intend not only to marry you but to lead you by the nose for the rest of your days. It's the least I can do to repay you for this-for the shock to my nerves. I'll have you know I'd decided even before this little incident to reverse my decision and become your viscountess, and lead you such a merry dance through the ballrooms and drawing rooms that you'll be gray within two years." He humphed softly, dismissively, but he was listening. Studying his face, she realized her nonsense was distracting him from the pain. She engaged her imagination and let her tongue run free. "I've decided I'll redecorate Baraclough in the French Imperial style-all that white and gilt and spindly legs, with all the chairs so delicate you won't dare sit down. And while we're on the subject of your-our-country home, I've had an idea about my carriage, the one you'll buy me as a wedding gift..." She rambled on, paying scant attention to her words, simply let them and all the images she'd dreamed of come tumbling out, painting a vibrant, fanciful, yet in many ways-all the ways that counted-accurate word pictures of her hopes, her aspirations. Her vision of their life together. When the well started to run dry, when her voice started to thicken with tears at the fear that they might no longer have a chance to enjoy all she'd described, she concluded with, "So you absolutely can't die now." Fear prodded; almost incensed, she blurted, "Not when I was about to back down and agree to return to London with you." He moistened his lips. Whispered, "You were?" "Yes! I was!" His fading voice tipped her toward panic. Her voice rose in reaction. "I can't believe you were so foolish as to risk your life like this! You didn't need to put yourself in danger to save me." "Yes, I did." The words were firmer, bitten off through clenched teeth. She caught his anger. Was anger good. Would temper hold him to the world? A frown drew down his black brows. "You can't be so damned foolish as to think I wouldn't-after protecting you through all this, seeing you safely all this way, watching over you all this time, what else was I going to do?
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
He then said something in Arabic to Ali, who made a sign of obedience and withdrew, but not to any distance. As to Franz a strange transformation had taken place in him. All the bodily fatigue of the day, all the preoccupation of mind which the events of the evening had brought on, disappeared as they do at the first approach of sleep, when we are still sufficiently conscious to be aware of the coming of slumber. His body seemed to acquire an airy lightness, his perception brightened in a remarkable manner, his senses seemed to redouble their power, the horizon continued to expand; but it was not the gloomy horizon of vague alarms, and which he had seen before he slept, but a blue, transparent, unbounded horizon, with all the blue of the ocean, all the spangles of the sun, all the perfumes of the summer breeze; then, in the midst of the songs of his sailors, -- songs so clear and sonorous, that they would have made a divine harmony had their notes been taken down, -- he saw the Island of Monte Cristo, no longer as a threatening rock in the midst of the waves, but as an oasis in the desert; then, as his boat drew nearer, the songs became louder, for an enchanting and mysterious harmony rose to heaven, as if some Loreley had decreed to attract a soul thither, or Amphion, the enchanter, intended there to build a city. At length the boat touched the shore, but without effort, without shock, as lips touch lips; and he entered the grotto amidst continued strains of most delicious melody. He descended, or rather seemed to descend, several steps, inhaling the fresh and balmy air, like that which may be supposed to reign around the grotto of Circe, formed from such perfumes as set the mind a dreaming, and such fires as burn the very senses; and he saw again all he had seen before his sleep, from Sinbad, his singular host, to Ali, the mute attendant; then all seemed to fade away and become confused before his eyes, like the last shadows of the magic lantern before it is extinguished, and he was again in the chamber of statues, lighted only by one of those pale and antique lamps which watch in the dead of the night over the sleep of pleasure. They were the same statues, rich in form, in attraction, and poesy, with eyes of fascination, smiles of love, and bright and flowing hair. They were Phryne, Cleopatra, Messalina, those three celebrated courtesans. Then among them glided like a pure ray, like a Christian angel in the midst of Olympus, one of those chaste figures, those calm shadows, those soft visions, which seemed to veil its virgin brow before these marble wantons. Then the three statues advanced towards him with looks of love, and approached the couch on which he was reposing, their feet hidden in their long white tunics, their throats bare, hair flowing like waves, and assuming attitudes which the gods could not resist, but which saints withstood, and looks inflexible and ardent like those with which the serpent charms the bird; and then he gave way before looks that held him in a torturing grasp and delighted his senses as with a voluptuous kiss. It seemed to Franz that he closed his eyes, and in a last look about him saw the vision of modesty completely veiled; and then followed a dream of passion like that promised by the Prophet to the elect. Lips of stone turned to flame, breasts of ice became like heated lava, so that to Franz, yielding for the first time to the sway of the drug, love was a sorrow and voluptuousness a torture, as burning mouths were pressed to his thirsty lips, and he was held in cool serpent-like embraces. The more he strove against this unhallowed passion the more his senses yielded to its thrall, and at length, weary of a struggle that taxed his very soul, he gave way and sank back breathless and exhausted beneath the kisses of these marble goddesses, and the enchantment of his marvellous dream.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)