Wish you could turn off the questions, turn off the voices, turn off all sound.
Yearn to close out the ugliness, close out the filthiness, close out all light.
Long to cast away yesterday, cast away memory, cast away all jeapordy.
Pray you could somehow stop uncertainty, somehow stop the loathing, somehow stop the pain.
Act on your impulse, swallow the bottle, cut a little deeper, put the gun to your chest.
Ellen Hopkins (Impulse (Impulse, #1))
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
Haile Selassie I
Stories have changed, my dear boy,” the man in the grey suit says, his voice almost imperceptibly sad. “There are no more battles between good and evil, no monsters to slay, no maidens in need of rescue. Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case. There are no longer simple tales with quests and beasts and happy endings. The quests lack clarity of goal or path. The beasts take different forms and are difficult to recognize for what they are. And there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep overlapping and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there in no telling where any of them may lead. Good and evil are a great deal more complex than a princess and a dragon, or a wolf and a scarlet-clad little girl. And is not the dragon the hero of his own story? Is not the wolf simply acting as a wolf should act? Though perhaps it is a singular wolf who goes to such lengths as to dress as a grandmother to toy with its prey.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
...not all great acts of courage are obvious to those looking in from the outside.
Mia Sheridan (Archer's Voice)
If his voice hasn't been the melody of my life, it's been the bass line, so subtle you don't notice it until it's missing.
Jodi Picoult (Vanishing Acts)
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose...
...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
Rainer Maria Rilke
If only it were possible to love without injury – fidelity isn’t enough: I had been faithful to Anne and yet I had injured her. The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad that my wife had struck out at me again – I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower.
[...] every time he forces himself to think before acting, it's her voice in his head telling him to slow down. He wants to tell her, but she's always so busy in the medical jet—and you don't just go to somebody and say, "I'm a better person because you're in my head.
Neal Shusterman (Unwind (Unwind, #1))
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond!
I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive.
Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial!
I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers.
I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail.
But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant.
I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn.
I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity.
I’m a rude dude, but I’m the real deal. Lean and mean! Cocked, locked and ready-to-rock. Rough, tough and hard to bluff. I take it slow, I go with the flow, I ride with the tide. I’ve got glide in my stride. Drivin and movin, sailin and spinin, jiving and groovin, wailin and winnin. I don’t snooze, so I don’t lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty and lunch time is crunch time. I’m hangin in, there ain’t no doubt and I’m hangin tough, over and out!
It's not very easy to grow up into a woman. We are always taught, almost bombarded, with ideals of what we should be at every age in our lives: "This is what you should wear at age twenty", "That is what you must act like at age twenty-five", "This is what you should be doing when you are seventeen." But amidst all the many voices that bark all these orders and set all of these ideals for girls today, there lacks the voice of assurance. There is no comfort and assurance. I want to be able to say, that there are four things admirable for a woman to be, at any age! Whether you are four or forty-four or nineteen! It's always wonderful to be elegant, it's always fashionable to have grace, it's always glamorous to be brave, and it's always important to own a delectable perfume! Yes, wearing a beautiful fragrance is in style at any age!
C. JoyBell C.
Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés (Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype)
Self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.
Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)
My husband, Andrius, says that evil will rule until good men or women choose to act. I believe him. This testimony was written to create an absolute record, to speak in a world where our voices have been extinguished. These writing may shock or horrify you, but that is not my intention. It is my greatest hope that the pages in this jar stir your deepest well of human compassion. I hope they prompt you to do something, to tell somone. Only then can we ensure that this kind of evil is never allowed to repeat itself.
Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray)
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
William Shakespeare (As You Like It)
Haven't I? - he thought. Haven't I thought of it since the first time I saw you? Haven't I thought of nothing else for two years? ...He sat motionless, looking at her. He heard the words he had never allowed himself to form, the words he had felt, known, yet had not faced, had hoped to destroy by never letting them be said within his own mind. Now it was as sudden and shocking as if he were saying it to her ...Since the first time I saw you ...Nothing but your body, that mouth of yours, and the way your eyes would look at me, if ...Through every sentence I ever said to you, through every conference you thought so safe, through the importance of all the issues we discussed ...You trusted me, didn't you? To recognize your greatness? To think of you as you deserved - as if you were a man? ...Don't you suppose I know how much I've betrayed? The only bright encounter of my life - the only person I respected - the best business man I know - my ally - my partner in a desperate battle ...The lowest of all desires - as my answer to the highest I've met ...Do you know what I am? I thought of it, because it should have been unthinkable. For that degrading need, which would never touch you, I have never wanted anyone but you ...I hadn't known what it was like, to want it, until I saw you for the first time. I had thought : Not I, I couldn't be broken by it ...Since then ...For two years ...With not a moments respite ...Do you know what it's like, to want it? Would you wish to hear what I thought when I looked at you ...When I lay awake at night ...When I hear your voice over a telephone wire ...When I worked, but could not drive it away? ...To bring you down to things you cant conceive - and to know that it's I who have done it. To reduce you to a body, to teach you an animal's pleasure, to see you need it, to see you asking me for it, to see your wonderful spirit dependent on the upon the obscenity of your need. To watch you as you are, as you face the world with your clean, proud strength - then to see you, in my bed, submitting to any infamous whim I may devise, to any act which I'll preform for the sole purpose of watching your dishonor and to which you'll submit for the sake of an unspeakable sensation ...I want you - and may I be damned for it!
Yawns are not the only infectious things out there besides germs.
Giggles can spread from person to person.
So can blushing.
But maybe the most powerful infectious thing is the act of speaking the truth.
Mia,” Kim said, an edge of warning in her voice signaling the end of her patience. “You’re starting to act like one of those girls. Do you need to get me a gun?
Gayle Forman (If I Stay (If I Stay, #1))
Crossing the starting line may be an act of courage, but crossing the finish line is an act of faith. Faith is what kepes us going when nothing else will. Faith is the emotion that will give you victory over your past, the demons in your soul, & all of those voices that tell you what you can & cannot do & can & cannot be.
Katniss?" He drops my hand and I take a step, as if to catch my balance.
"It was all for the Games," Peeta says. "How you acted."
"Not all of it," I say, tightly holding onto my flowers.
"Then how much? No, forget that. I guess the real question is what's going to be left when we get home?" he says.
"I don't know. The closer we get to District Twelve, the more confused I get," I say. He waits, for further explanation, but none's forthcoming.
"Well, let me know when you work it out," he says, and the pain in his voice is palpable.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
What could you give me," I ask, my voice shaking, "to make me forget ... that you forgot about me?
Jodi Picoult (Vanishing Acts)
Clinging to him desperately, Sara kept her mouth at his ear. "Listen to me." All she could do was play her last card. Her voice trembled with emotion. "You can't change the truth. You can act as though you're deaf and blind, you can walk away from me forever, but the truth will still be there, and you can't make it go away. I love you." She felt an involuntary tremor run through him. "I love you," she repeated. "Don't lie to either of us by pretending you're leaving for my good. All you'll do is deny us both a chance at happiness. I'll long for you every day and night, but at least my conscience will be clear. I haven't held anything back from you, out of fear or pride or stubbornness." She felt the incredible tautness of his muscles, as if he were carved from marble. "For once have the strength not to walk away,"she whispered. "Stay with me. Let me love you, Derek.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.
The male frog in mating season," said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs—it's been documented—discover if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier and the small frog appears much larger than it really is."
So that's what art is for the artist, an empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
A Psalm of Life
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
on the sand of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Voices of the Night)
Gretchen shrugged. "After seeing how he acted when she almost died, I'm starting to get why she's with him." Then her voice hardened. "And really, Leila. That's twice now.
Jeaniene Frost (Twice Tempted (Night Prince, #2))
A voice within me is sobbing, "You see that's what's become of you. You're surrounded by negative opinions, dismayed looks and mocking faces, people who dislike you, and all because you don't listen to the advice of your own better half." Believe me, I'd like to listen, but it doesn't work, because if I'm quiet and serious, everyone thinks I'm putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I'm not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and setatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can't keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, an finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if . . . if only there were no other people in the world.
Yours, Anne M. Frank.
Men often react to women’s words—speaking and writing—as if they were acts of violence; sometimes men react to women’s words with violence. So we lower our voices. Women whisper. Women apologize. Women shut up. Women trivialize what we know. Women shrink. Women pull back. Most women have experienced enough dominance from men—control, violence, insult, contempt—that no threat seems empty.
Andrea Dworkin (Intercourse)
How very like you, Puck.” Ash’s voice came from a great distance, and the room started to spin. “Offer them a taste of faery wine, and act surprised when they’re consumed by it.”
That struck me as hilarious, and I broke into hysterical giggles. And once I began, I couldn’t stop. I laughed until I was gasping for breath, tears streaming down my face. My feet itched and my skin crawled. I needed to move, to do something. I tried standing up, wanting to spin and dance, but the room tilted violently and I fell, still shrieking with laughter.
Somebody caught me, scooping me off my feet and into their arms. I smelled frost and winter, and heard an exasperated sigh from somewhere above my head.
“What are you doing, Ash?” I heard someone ask. A familiar voice, though I couldn’t think of his name, or why he sounded so suspicious.
“I’m taking her back to her room.” The person above me sounded wonderfully calm and deep. I sighed and settled into his arms. “She’ll have to sleep off the effects of the fruit. We’ll likely be here another day because of your idiocy.”
The other voice said something garbled and unintelligible. I was suddenly too sleepy and light-headed to care. Relaxing against the mysterious person’s chest, I fell into a heady sleep.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1))
After you died I couldn't hold a funeral,
So these eyes that once beheld you became a shrine.
These ears that once heard your voice became a shrine.
These lungs that once inhaled your breath became a shrine.
Han Kang (Human Acts)
Shy, insecure, afraid to speak up? “Act as if,” they say. Act as if you’re not. Stand tall when you walk. Project your voice when you talk. Raise your hand in class. Act as if. Speak your mind. Cut your hair. Be the part. Look the part. You can do this. Just act as if. If you really knew me, If you could see inside, You’d find shy and insecure and afraid. Acting as if. Ironic, isn’t it? The only time I’m not Acting “as if”? When I’m on a stage.
Tamara Ireland Stone (Every Last Word)
If I asked you to do something for me, I don't suppose you'd listen?" When he had my attention, he continued, "I'm going to take you home. Try to forget tonight happened. Try to act normal, especially around Hank. Don't mention my name."
By way of an answer, I shot him a black look and swung out of the Tahoe. He followed suit, coming around to my side.
"What kind of answer is that?" He asked, but his voice wasn't nearly so gruff.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Silence (Hush, Hush, #3))
We can see the film stars of yesterday in yesterday’s films, hear the voices of poest and singers on a record, keep the plays of dead dramatists upon our bookshelves, but the actor who holds his audience captive for one brief moment upon a lighted stage vanishes forever when the curtain falls.
Daphne du Maurier (The "Rebecca" Notebook: And Other Memories)
Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.
I do like him. I'm sick of just liking people. I wish to God I could meet somebody I could respect....
.... Listen, don't hate me because I can't remember some person immediately. Especially when they look like everybody else, and talk and dress and act like everybody else." Franny made her voice stop. It sounded to her caviling and bitchy, and she felt a wave of self-hatred that, quite literally, made her forehead begin to perspire again. But her voice picked up again, in spite of herself. "I don't mean there's anything horrible about him or anything like that. It's just that for four solid years I've kept seeing Wally Campbells wherever I go. I know when they're going to be charming, I know when they're going to start telling you some really nasty gossip about some girl that lives in your dorm, I know when they're going to ask me what I did over the summer, I know when they're going to pull up a chair and straddle it backward and start bragging in a terribly, terribly quiet voice--or name-dropping in a terribly quiet, casual voice. There's an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name—that he's a bastard or a nymphomaniac or takes dope all the time, or something horrible." She broke off again. She was quiet for a moment, turning the ashtray in her fingers.
Franny quickly tipped her cigarette ash, then brought the ashtray an inch closer to her side of the table. "I'm sorry. I'm awful," she said. "I've just felt so destructive all week. It's awful, I'm horrible.
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
Writing is both an act of power and surrender. Passion and discovery. It is a tug at your soul that continues to pull you forward, even as you go kicking and screaming.” (p.18)
Laraine Herring (Writing Begins with the Breath: Embodying Your Authentic Voice)
You were not acting. You were not pretending." The teasing dropped from his tone as his voice hardened. "You were riding my hand, and Ivy, there isn't a damn thing wrong with that. What's wrong is that you're acting like nothing happened between us. That's total shit. You lit up for me like a damn firework and I barely touched you.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wicked (A Wicked Trilogy, #1))
Having one king, one god, one belief, they can act single-mindedly.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Voices (Annals of the Western Shore, #2))
The act of consciousness is central; otherwise we are overrun by the complexes. The hero in each of us is required to answer the call of individuation. We must turn away from the cacaphony of the outerworld to hear the inner voice. When we can dare to live its promptings, then we achieve personhood. We may become strangers to those who thought they knew us, but at least we are no longer strangers to ourselves.
James Hollis (The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife (Studies in Jungian Psychology by Jungian Analysts, 59))
Even the simple act which we describe as 'seeing someone we know' is, to some extent, an intellectual process. We pack the physical outline of the creature we see with all the ideas we already formed about him, and in the complete picture of him which we compose in our minds those ideas have certainly the principal place. In the end they come to fill out so completely the curve of his cheeks, to follow so exactly the line of his nose, they blend so harmoniously in the sound of his voice that these seem to be no more than a transparent envelope, so that each time we see the face or hear the voice it is our own ideas of him which we recognize and to which we listen.
Marcel Proust (Swann's Way)
Okay?Okay?" People in the hall stared at us. I realized I was practically shouting. "He's out of his mind. He set Ralf on fire. I thought we decided you weren't going to see him anymore.”
"You decided, Rose. Not me." There was an edge in her voice I hadn't heard in a while.
"What's going on here? Are you guys…you know?…”
"No!" she insisted. "I told you that already.God." She shot me a look of disgust. "Not everyone thinks—and acts—like you.”
I flinched at the words.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.
And even when you can’t get seem to get your act together, your identity is secure and completely intact. Because in Christ, who you are matters infinitely more than anything you do or cannot do.
Steven Furtick (Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others)
I'll tell you what you can do," he said, stopping abruptly. Now he did reach out to grip both my shoulders. But still not to kiss me. Only so he could wheel me around to glare at me some more. "You can leave me alone."
Tears sprang once more into my eyes. That's what he wanted from me? For me to stay away from him?
This had turned into a greater disaster than when I'd died. And I was still breathing, so that was say something.
"I'd like to," I said. All I could hear besides the deep, disapproving timbre of his voice was the drum of my heartbeat in my ears. Stupid girl. Stupid girl. Stupid girl, my heart seemed to be saying. "Except every time I try, you show back up, and act such a... such a..."
"Such a what?" he demanded. He seemed to be practically daring me to say.
Don't, the voice of my mother warned inside my head. Don't say it.
Meg Cabot (Abandon (Abandon, #1))
There was once an invisible man, the monster continued, though Conor kept his eyes firmly on Harry, who had grown tired of being unseen.
Conor set himself into a walk.
A walk after Harry.
It was not that he was actually invisible, the monster said, following Conor, the room volume dropping as they passed. It was that the people had become used to not seeing him.
"Hey!" Conor called. Harry didn't turn around. Neither did Sully nor Anton, though thet were still sniggering as Conor picked up his pace.
And if no one sees you, the monster said, picking up its pace, too, are you really there at all?
"HEY!" Conor called loudly.
The dining hall had fallen silent now, as Conor and the monster moved faster after Harry.
Harry who had still not turned around.
Conor reached him and grabbed him by the shoulder, twisting him round. Harry pretended to question what had happened, looking hard at Sully, acting like he was the one who'd done it. "Quit messing about," Harry said and turned away again.
Turned away from Conor.
And then one day the invisible man decided, the monster said, its voice ringing in Conor's ears, I will make them see me.
"How?" Conor asked, breathing heavily again, not turning back to see the monster standing there, not looking at the reaction of the room to the huge monster now in the midst, though he was aware of nervous murmurs and a strange anticipation in the air. "How did the man do it?"
Conor could feel the monster close behind him, knew that it was kneeling, knew that it was putting its face up to his ear to whisper into in, to tell him the rest of the story.
He called, it said for a monster.
Patrick Ness (A Monster Calls)
God! You'll do anything to avoid it.'
Avoid what?' my mother said.
The past,' Caroline said. 'Our past. I'm tired of acting like nothing ever happened, of pretending he was never here, of not seeing his pictures in the house, or his things Just because you're not able to let yourself grieve.'
Don't,' my mother said, her voice low, 'talk to me about grief. You have no idea.'
I do, though.' Caroline's voice caught, and she swallowed. 'I'm not trying to hide that I'm sad. I'm not trying to forget. You hide here behind all these plans for houses and townhouses because they're new and perfect and don't remind you of anything.'
Stop it,' my mother said.
And look at Macy,' Caroline continued, ignoring this.' Do you even know what you're doing to her?'
My mother looked at me, and I shrank back, trying to stay out of this. 'Macy is fine,' my mother said.
No, she's not. God you always say that, but she's not.' Caroline looked at me, as if she wanted me to jump in, but I just sat there. 'Have you even been paying the least bit of attention to what's going on with her? She's been miserable since Dad died, pushing herself so hard to please you. And then, this summer, she finally finds some friends and something she likes to do. But then one tiny slipup, and you take it all away from her.'
That has nothing to do with what we're talking about,' my mother said.
It has everything to do with it,' Caroline shot back. 'She was finally getting over what happened. Couldn't you see the change in her? I could, and I was berely here. She was different.'
Exactly,' my mother said. 'She was-'
Happy,' Caroline finished for her. 'She was starting to live her life again, and it scared you. Just like me redoing the beach house scares you. You think you're so strong becasue you never talk about Dad. Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
If the voices in your head talk to you, no one cares until they tell you to start killing people. Then you’re crazy.
Linda Armstrong (Mission: Subhero)
Damen bridged the nine chilly inches at the first opportunity. 'What are you doing? You were the one who warned me about Nicaise.' He spoke in a low voice.
Laurent went very still; then he deliberately shifted in his seat and leaned in, bringing his lips right to Damen's ear. 'I think I'm out of stabbing range, he's got short arms. Or perhaps he'll try to throw a sugar plum? That is difficult. If I duck he'll hit Torveld.'
Damen gritted his teeth. 'You know what I meant. He heard you. He's going to act. Can't you do something about it?'
'Then let me do something.'
'Bleed on him?' said Laurent.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1))
The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life--knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live. He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination... He does not take part in public displays... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talks and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave... He never feels malice, and always forgets and passes over injuries... He is not fond of talking... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skillful general who marshals his limited forces with the strategy of war... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude.
Aristotle (Ethics: The Nicomachean Ethics.)
When did they stop putting toys in cereal boxes? When I was little, I remember wandering the cereal aisle (which surely is as American a phenomenon as fireworks on the Fourth of July) and picking my breakfast food based on what the reward was: a Frisbee with the Trix rabbit's face emblazoned on the front. Holographic stickers with the Lucky Charms leprechaun. A mystery decoder wheel. I could suffer through raisin bran for a month if it meant I got a magic ring at the end.
I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.
Here's a secret: those mothers don't exist. Most of us-even if we'd never confess-are suffering through the raisin bran in the hopes of a glimpse of that magic ring.
I look very good on paper. I have a family, and I write a newspaper column. In real life, I have to pick superglue out of the carpet, rarely remember to defrost for dinner, and plan to have BECAUSE I SAID SO engraved on my tombstone.
Real mothers wonder why experts who write for Parents and Good Housekeeping-and, dare I say it, the Burlington Free Press-seem to have their acts together all the time when they themselves can barely keep their heads above the stormy seas of parenthood.
Real mothers don't just listen with humble embarrassment to the elderly lady who offers unsolicited advice in the checkout line when a child is throwing a tantrum. We take the child, dump him in the lady's car, and say, "Great. Maybe YOU can do a better job."
Real mothers know that it's okay to eat cold pizza for breakfast.
Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than to succeed.
If parenting is the box of raisin bran, then real mothers know the ratio of flakes to fun is severely imbalanced. For every moment that your child confides in you, or tells you he loves you, or does something unprompted to protect his brother that you happen to witness, there are many more moments of chaos, error, and self-doubt.
Real mothers may not speak the heresy, but they sometimes secretly wish they'd chosen something for breakfast other than this endless cereal.
Real mothers worry that other mothers will find that magic ring, whereas they'll be looking and looking for ages.
Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already are one.
Jodi Picoult (House Rules)
We must all work in harmony with each other to stand up for what is right, to speak up for what is fair, and to always voice any corrections so that the ignorant become informed and justice is never ignored. Every time a person allows an act of ignorance to happen, they delay our progress for true change. Every person, molecule and thing matters. We become responsible for the actions of others the instant we become conscious of what they are doing wrong and fail to remind them of what is right.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
No, I wasn't afraid. I was tired." Ali's voice broke on the word. "I'm tired of everyone in this city feeding on vengeance. I'm tired of teaching our children to hate and fear other children because their parents are our enemies. And I'm sick and tired of acting like the only way to save our people is to cut down all who might oppose us, as if our enemies won't return the favor the instant power shifts.
S.A. Chakraborty (The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2))
The act of giving voice to this spiritual suffering is, in my view, the sacred duty of the writer.
Mo Yan (Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh)
The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.
Maddy Malhotra (How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident: Overcome Fears, Break Habits, Be Successful and Happy)
The act of speaking out makes you alone.
Ravish Kumar (The Free Voice: On Democracy, Culture and the Nation)
There are always lessons. Alexandra could hear her grandmother's voice. Life would be nothing more than random acts if we didn't have the lessons. Ignoring them is what makes senseless tragedies, senseless.
Anna J. McIntyre (Coulson's Lessons (The Coulson Series, #3))
Am I horny enough to hump a bedpost?" Mica asked. "Not quite yet. Should I consult with you first, Doctor?" Sarcasm lay thick and heavy in her voice.
"I believe a consult would be a good idea." Ely nodded with mocking solemnity as Mica lifted herself onto the gurney. "You never know what you may end up hurting if the act isn't done properly.
Lora Leigh (Navarro's Promise (Breeds #17, Wolf Breeds #8))
Because you have no survival instinct, Grace. You're like a tank, you just chug along< thinking nothing can stop you, until you meet up with a bigger tank. Are you sure you want to go out with someone with that kind of history?" mom seemed to warm her theory. " he couldhave a psychotic break. I read that people get those when they're twenty-eight. he could be almost normal and then suddenly go slasher. I mean, you know I've never told you what to do with your life before now. But what if-I told you not to see him?"
I hadn't been expecting that. My voice was brittle. "I would say that by virtue of your not acting parental up to this point, you've relinquished your abiblity to wield any power now. Sam and I are together. It's not an option."
Mom threw her hands up as if trying to stop the Grace-tank from running over her. "Okay. Fine. Just be careful, okay? Whatever. I'm going to get a drink."
And just like that her parental engergies were expendede.
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
If you never have sex you never gain a sense of power. You never gain a voice or an identity of your own. Sex is the act that separates us from our parents. Children from adults. It's by having sex that adolescents first rebel.
And if you never have sex, you never grow beyond everything else your parents taught you. If you never break the rule against sex, you won't break any other rule.
Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)
Max, you're acting like a child, the Voice said. You're above rebelling against your fate just to rebel. You've got a date with destiny. Don't be late."
I brushed some hair out of my eyes. Is that a movie quote? Or is it an actual date? I don't remember destiny asking me. I never even gave destiny my phone number.
There's something I want you to know,' said Cherryl, her voice taut and harsh, 'so that there won't be any pretending about it. I'm not going to put on the sweet relative act. I know what you've done to Jim and how you've made him miserable all his life. I'm going to protect him against you. I'll put you in your place. I'm Mrs. Taggart. I'm the woman in this family now.'
'That's quite all right,' said Dagny. 'I'm the man.
Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)
When I see her,” I said, “it’s like - I don’t know what it’s like. It’s like I never saw anything at all before. It’s like I am filling up, like a wine-glass when it’s filled with wine. I watch the acts before her and they are like nothing - they’re like dust. Then she walks on the stage and - she is so pretty; and her suit is so nice; and her voice is so sweet… She makes me want to smile and weep, at once. She makes me sore, here.” I placed a hand upon my chest, upon the breast-bone. “I never saw a girl like her before. I never knew that there were girls like her…” My voice became a trembling whisper then, and I found that I could say no more. There was another silence. I opened my eyes and looked at Alice - and knew at once that I shouldn’t have spoken; that I should have been as dumb and as cunning with her as with the rest of them. There was a look on her face - it was not ambiguous at all now - a look of mingled shock, and nervousness, and embarrassment or shame. I had said too much. I felt as if my admiration for Kitty Butler had lit a beacon inside me, and opening my unguarded mouth had sent a shaft of light into the darkened room, illuminating all. I had said too much - but it was that, or say nothing.
Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet)
Morgan sighed. "I," she announced, "am so pathetic."
"You are not," I said.
"I am." She went over and straightened the cling wrap, corner to corner. "Do you know how many times I've brought in devilled eggs? This is, like, the only time I haven't been sobbing and that's only 'cause I cried all night. And Norman," she said, her voice rising to a wail, "sweet Norman, always just acts so surprised to see the eggs, and pleased, and he never, once, has ever acted like he knew what they meant.
Sarah Dessen (Keeping the Moon)
It's a big spooky place when you're in it alone. It's like you can hear all the whispers of all the voices of all the actors who ever played here. Kind of creepy. Like a church can be creepy when it's empty. You ever been in a church after hours?
Benjamin R. Smith
In my own life, as winters turn into spring, I find it not only hard to cope with mud but also hard to credit the small harbingers of larger life to come, hard to hope until the outcome is secure. Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility; for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger's act of kindness that makes the world seem hospitable again.
Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)
So I wrote. I wrote as though God thought my voice mattered. I wrote because I believed a human story was beautiful, no matter how small the human was. I wrote because I didn’t make myself, God did. And I wrote like he’d invited me to share my true “self” with the world.
Donald Miller (Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Acquiring a Taste for True Intimacy)
Words are to be taken seriously. I try to take seriously acts of language. Words set things in motion. I’ve seen them doing it. Words set up atmospheres, electrical fields, charges. I’ve felt them doing it. Words conjure. I try not to be careless about what I utter, write, sing. I’m careful about what I give voice to.
Toni Cade Bambara
I said, "I don't think I can give you that kind of emotion." And he [Hitchcock] sat there and said, "Ingrid, fake it!" Well, that was the best advice I've had in my whole life, because in all the years to come there were many directors who gave me what I thought were quite impossible instructions and many difficult things to do, and just when I was on the verge of starting to argue with them, I heard his voice coming to me through the air saying, "Ingrid, fake it!" It saved a lot of unpleasant situations and waste of time.
Before he had time to figure it out, his walkie-talkie crackled and a voice came on. He punched a button. "Sheriff here. What's up?"
"Someone called about a public disturbance behind schmitty's bar," a woman's voice reported. "Cathy use the proper code number," Billy growled. "There ain't no number for a guy acting like a cockroach!" the woman yelled. "he climbed into their Dumpster and he's wallowing in the trash.
Kerrelyn Sparks (The Undead Next Door (Love at Stake, #4))
My first female lover was a Jewish woman. She was butch, but not in a swaggering macho way- she could pass as a yeshiva boy, pale and intense. Small, almost fragile, she exuded a powerful sense of herself. She had not been to a synagogue in years, but kept the law of kashrut, and taught me my first prayers in Hebrew. She cooked, she read, she ironed her dress shirts and polished her boots meticulously, and admired femme women enormously. She was also the first person ever- including myself- to bring me to multiple orgasms. She taught me to ask for what I wanted in bed, then encouraged me to expect it from her and future lovers. She taught me to get her off with fingers, tongue, lips, sex toys, and my voice. She showed me how to masturbate in different positions, and fisted me during my menstrual cramps to provide an internal massage- and to demonstrate that a sexual act without orgasm was also an acceptable, intimate act. She never separated sexuality from the rest of her life; it was as integral to her as her Judaism.
This was how I wanted to be. Not just sexually, although certainly that way too. This is how I wanted to move through the world.
-- Karen Taylor (from "Daughters of Zelophehad")
Lawrence Schimel (First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far))
Who acts, shall endure. So speaks the voice of the age-old wisdom.
Aeschylus (The Libation Bearers (Ορέστεια, #2))
How very like you, Puck." Ash's voice came from a great distance, and the room started to spin. "Offer them a taste of faery wine, then act surprised when they're consumed by it."
That struck me as hilarious, and I broke into hysterical giggles. And once I began, I couldn't stop."
I stood up angrily. “Look, I’m done talking to you tonight. Will you let me out of this dream? I’m not telling you where I am. And I’m not interested in hearing about how wonderful Avery is and how much better than me she is.”
“Avery would never act like a little brat,” he said. “She wouldn’t get so offended that someone actually cares enough to check on her. She wouldn’t deny me the chance to learn more about my magic because she was paranoid someone would ruin her crazy attempt to get over her boyfriend’s death."
“Don’t talk to me about being a brat,” I shot back. “You’re as selfish and
self-centered as usual. It’s always about you—even this dream is. You hold me against my will, whether I want it or not, because it amuses you.”
“Fine,” he said, voice cold. “I’ll end this. And I’ll end everything between us. I won’t be coming back.”
“Good. I hope you mean it this time.”
His green eyes were the last thing I saw before I woke up in my own bed. I sat up, gasping. My heart felt like it was breaking, and I almost thought I might cry. Adrian was right—I had been a brat. I’d lashed out at him when it wasn’t really deserved. And yet . . . I hadn’t been able to help it. I missed Lissa. I even kind of missed Adrian. And now someone else was taking my place, someone who wouldn’t just walk away like I had.
I won’t be coming back.
And for the first time ever, I had a feeling he really wouldn’t be.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Get your hand off me,” I exclaimed, voice loud with misplaced anger as I yanked away from his grip. “I’m a professional, not some distraught girlfriend.” Well, I was that too, but I knew how to act at a crime scene.
Kim Harrison (For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5))
As I stood there holding onto him, it occurred to me that not all great acts of courage are obvious to those looking in from the outside. But I saw this moment for what it was–a boy who had never been made to feel that he was wanted anywhere, showing up and asking others to accept him. It made my heart soar with pride for the beautiful act of bravery that was Archer Hale stepping into this small town diner.
Mia Sheridan (Archer's Voice)
A self-destructive man feels completely alienated, utterly alone. He's an outsider to the human community. He thinks to himself, "I must be insane." What he fails to realize is that society has, just as he does, a vested interest in considerable losses and catastrophes. These wars, famines, floods and quakes meet well-defined needs. Man wants chaos. In fact, he has to have it. Depression, strife, riots, murder - all this dread. We're irresistibly drawn to that almost orgiastic state created out of death and destruction. It's in all of us. We revel in it. Sure, the media tries to put a sad face on these things and paints them up as great human tragedies. But we all know the function of the media has never been to eliminate the evils of the world - no! Their job is to persuade us to accept those evils and get used to living with them. The powers that be want us to be passive observers, and they haven't given us any other options outside the occasional, purely symbolic, participatory act of voting. "You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?"
I feel that the time has come to project my own inadequacies and dissatisfactions into the sociopolitical and scientific schemes, let my own lack of a voice be heard.
Writing is such an industry now. In many ways, that's a good thing, in that it removes all the muse-like mystique and makes it a plain old job, accessible to everyone. But with industry comes jargon. I was aware that jargon was starting to fill those growing shelves of Writer's Self Help books, not to mention the blogosphere. Wherever I looked, the writing of a script was being reduced to A, B, C plots, Text and Subtext, Three Act Structure and blah, blah, blah. And I'd think, that's not what writing is! Writing's inside your head! It's thinking! It's every hour of the day, every day of your life, a constant storm of pictures and voices and sometimes, if you're very, very lucky, insight.
Russell T. Davies (Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale)
And so you live like this, day after day, striving and fighting simply to become, or even better - to be. Something better, something more. Something you can live as, live with. A little more developed, a little more define and decluttered. But then there's the people, the world, telling you over and over who you are and what you actually like and who you actually want to be, and so that real voice in your head speaks softer every day, until one day you wake up and it's gone. They killed it, these bastards, with their empty words and useless talk. These people who are acting like stones, walking without bending their knees, without rolling their feet. Talking with empty words and doing tasks without a heart. They broke it. Drowned it. These damn "experts".
Charlotte Eriksson (Empty Roads & Broken Bottles: in search for The Great Perhaps)
After you died I couldn’t hold a funeral,
So these eyes that once beheld you became a shrine.
These ears that once heard your voice became a shrine.
These lungs that once inhaled your breath became a shrine.
Han Kang, Human Acts
Most artists are brought to their vocation when their own nascent gifts are awakened by the work of a master. That is to say, most artists are converted to art by art itself. Finding one's voice isn't just an emptying and purifying oneself of the words of others but an adopting and embracing of filiations, communities, and discourses. Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos. Any artist knows these truths, no matter how deeply he or she submerges that knowing.
Lewis Hyde (The Gift)
I stay back, because if i get close I'll have to roll him over and look in his eyes, and what if they're empty like Alina's were ? Then I'll know he's gone, like I knew she was gone, too far beyond my reach to ever hear my voice again, to hear me say, I'm sorry, Alina. I wish I'd called more often; I wish I'd heard the truth beneath our vapid sister talk; I wish I'd come to Dublin and fought beside you, or raged at you, because you were acting from fear, too, Alina, not hope at all, or you would have trusted me to help you. Or maybe just apologize, Barrons, for being too young to have my priorities reffined, like you, because I haven't suffered whatever the hell it is you suffered, and then shove you up against a wall and kiss you until you can't breathe, do what I wanted to do the first day I saw you there in your bloody damned bookstore. Disturb you like you disturbed me, make you see me, make you want me-pink me!-shatter your self-control, bring you crashing to your knees in front of me, even though I told myself I'd never want a man like you, that you were too old, too carnal, more animal than man, with one foot in the swamp and no desire to come all the way out, when the truth was that I was terrified by what you made me feel.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
Much of her life had been lived like a balancing act on a spearpoint fence, and on a particularly difficult night when she was twelve, she had decided that instinct was, in fact, the quiet voice of God. Prayers did receive replies, but you had to listen closely and believe in the answer. At twelve, she wrote in her diary: "God doesn't shout; He whispers, and in the whisper is the way.
Dean Koontz (Intensity)
Am I afraid to die? I am every time I let myself be seduced by the noisy voices of my world telling me that my "little life" is all I have and advising me to cling to it with all my might. But when I let these voices move to the background of my life and listen to that small soft voice calling me the Beloved, I know that there is nothing to fear and that dying is the greatest act of love, the act that leads me into the eternal embrace of my God whose love is everlasting.
Henri J.M. Nouwen (Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World)
Men write more books. Men give more lectures. Men ask more questions after lectures. Men post more e-mail to Internet discussion groups. To say this is due to patriarchy is to beg the question of the behavior's origin. If men control society, why don't they just shut up and enjoy their supposed prerogatives? The answer is obvious when you consider sexual competition: men can't be quiet because that would give other men a chance to show off verbally. Men often bully women into silence, but this is usually to make room for their own verbal display. If men were dominating public language just to maintain patriarchy, that would qualify as a puzzling example of evolutionary altruism—a costly, risky individual act that helps all of one's sexual competitors (other males) as much as oneself. The ocean of male language that confronts modern women in bookstores, television, newspapers, classrooms, parliaments, and businesses does not necessarily come from a male conspiracy to deny women their voice. It may come from an evolutionary history of sexual selection in which the male motivation to talk was vital to their reproduction.
Geoffrey Miller (The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature)
Using the voice is a physical act, one that first announces the existence of the body of residence and then trumpets its arrival in a public space.
Elizabeth Alexander (The Black Interior: Essays)
But none speaks with a single voice. None with a voice free from the old vibrations. Always I hear corrupt murmurs; the chink of gold and metal. Mad music...
Virginia Woolf (Between the Acts)
There is an art to writing, and it is not always disclosure. The act itself can be beautiful, revelatory, and private.
Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
Women are all born with a special, independent organ that allows them to lie. This was Dr. Tokai's personal opinion. It depends on the person, he said about the kind of lies they tell, what situation they tell them in, and how the lies are told. But at a certain point in their lives, all women tell lies, and they lie about important things. They lie about unimportant things, too, but they also don't hesitate to lie about the most important things. And when they do, most women's expressions and voices don't change at all, since it's not them lysing, but this independent organ they're equipped with that's acting on its own. That's why - except for a few special cases - they can still have a clear conscience and never lose sleep over anything they say.
Haruki Murakami (Men Without Women)
Look through people,” I tell her, my voice muffled by the helmet. “Smile without kindness. No small talk, no court talk. Act as if you have a million secrets, and you’re the only one important enough to know them all.”
She nods, taking this all in stride. After all, Cal and I have both instructed her on how to pass as Maven. This is merely a reminder, a last glance at the book before the test. “I’m not a fool,” she replies coldly, and I almost punch her in the jaw. She is not Maven rings in my head, louder than a bell.
“I think you’ve got it,” Kilorn says as he stands. He grabs my arm, pulling me slightly away. “Mare nearly killed you.
Victoria Aveyard (Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2))
As I stood there holding onto him, it occurred to me that not all great acts of courage are obvious to those looking in from the outside.
Mia Sheridan (Archer's Voice)
Each of us has one. Each voice is distinct and has something to say. Each voice deserves to be heard. But it requires the act of listening.
Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
Anger is like sex urge, once gratified, the inner voice calls you a stinking fool.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Your outlook affects your outcome
John Paul Warren
It's hard to describe the feeling. And I knew from Horus's memory that this kind of union was very rare-like the one time when the coin doesn't land heads or tails, but stands on it's edge, perfectly balanced. He did not control me. I did not use him for power. We acted as one.
Our voices spoke in harmony. "Now."
And the magic bonds that held us shattered.
My combat avatar formed around me, lifting me off the floor and encasing me with golden energy. I stepped forward and raised my sword. The falcon warrior mimicked the movement, perfectly attuned to my wishes.
Set turned and regarded me with cold eyes.
"So, Horus," he said. "You managed to find the pedals of your little bike, eh? That does not mean you can ride."
"I am Carter Kane," I said. "Blood of the Pharaohs, Eye of Horus. And now, Set-brother,uncle,traitor-I'm going to crush you like a gnat.
Rick Riordan (The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, #1))
What happen to ladies first?" Lilly teased, just trying to expel her nervous energy. She knew what the answer was but she just needed something to keep her busy for a few minutes before she saw the man she had once loved with every fiber of her being.
"I don't know what idiot thought it was smarter to let a woman enter a room before him. How does he know if it is safe for her to enter if he doesn't not check it out himself? It's actually a much more caring act to go before her, therefore ensuring that nothing will harm her," Decebel explained, his tone of voice at first sounded with disgust and then it was almost tender when he finished speaking.
Quinn Loftis (Blood Rites (The Grey Wolves, #2))
I'll see she gets them," Brodick said.
Judith shook her head. "I want to meet her," she explained. She stood up and walked over to the table. "I have messages to give her from her mother."
"I'll be happy to show you the way," Alex volunteered.
"I'll do it," Gowrie announced in a much firmer voice.
Brodick shook his head. "Isabelle is my sister-in-law," he snapped. "I'll show Judith the way."
Iain had opened the door, and stood there listening to the argument. He was having difficulty believing what he was hearing… and seeing. His warriors were acting like lovesick squires while they argued over who would escort Judith.
Julie Garwood (The Secret (Highlands' Lairds, #1))
They don't hate us," Bobbie said, her voice tired. "They're afraid of us."
"Then why do they act like they hate us?" David's father said with something like triumph.
"Because that's what fear looks like when it needs someplace to go.
James S.A. Corey (Gods of Risk (The Expanse, #2.5))
Are you firing him?" Her voice squeaked as if she had uttered the most outrageous profanity. Voiced the great unspoken. The mere suggestion of firing Richard Troy was the theatrical equivalent of hollering "Voldemort!" in the halls of Hogwarts.
Lucy Parker (Act Like It (London Celebrities, #1))
For many years I have been asking myself why intelligent children act unintelligently at school. The simple answer is, "Because they're scared." I used to suspect that children's defeatism had something to do with their bad work in school, but I thought I could clear it away with hearty cries of "Onward! You can do it!" What I now see for the first time is the mechanism by which fear destroys intelligence, the way it affects a child's whole way of looking at, thinking about, and dealing with life. So we have two problems, not one: to stop children from being afraid, and then to break them of the bad thinking habits into which their fears have driven them.
What is most surprising of all is how much fear there is in school. Why is so little said about it. Perhaps most people do not recognize fear in children when they see it. They can read the grossest signs of fear; they know what the trouble is when a child clings howling to his mother; but the subtler signs of fear escaping them. It is these signs, in children's faces, voices, and gestures, in their movements and ways of working, that tell me plainly that most children in school are scared most of the time, many of them very scared. Like good soldiers, they control their fears, live with them, and adjust themselves to them. But the trouble is, and here is a vital difference between school and war, that the adjustments children make to their fears are almost wholly bad, destructive of their intelligence and capacity. The scared fighter may be the best fighter, but the scared learner is always a poor learner.
John C. Holt (How Children Fail)
Yes", she said her voice dripping with sarcasm. "That's exactly what I'm saying, in fact let's try sex again." She leaped to her feet and torn open her jeans. "Maybe my magic vagina will cure you of all the traumatic acts my family has inflected on you.
Larissa Ione (Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire, #1))
Throughout the ancient world, naming was a sacred act. It was the word by which a child was called into his calling. It was the voice of destiny, summoning the child into his future with all its glorious promise.
Anne Hamilton (God's Panoply: The Armour of God and the Kiss of Heaven)
We should invest in kids like these," we're told, "because it will be more expensive not to." Why do our natural compassion and religious inclinations need to find a surrogate in dollar savings to be voiced or acted on? Why not give these kids the best we have because we are a wealthy nation and they are children and deserve to have some fun while they are still less than four feet high?
Jonathan Kozol (Ordinary Resurrections)
At cocktail parties, I played the part of a successful businessman's wife to perfection. I smiled, I made polite chit-chat, and I dressed the part. Denial and rationalization were two of my most effective tools in working my way through our social obligations. I believed that playing the roles of wife and mother were the least I could do to help support Tom's career.
During the day, I was a puzzle with innumerable pieces. One piece made my family a nourishing breakfast. Another piece ferried the kids to school and to soccer practice. A third piece managed to trip to the grocery store. There was also a piece that wanted to sleep for eighteen hours a day and the piece that woke up shaking from yet another nightmare. And there was the piece that attended business functions and actually fooled people into thinking I might have something constructive to offer.
I was a circus performer traversing the tightwire, and I could fall off into a vortex devoid of reality at any moment. There was, and had been for a very long time, an intense sense of despair. A self-deprecating voice inside told me I had no chance of getting better. I lived in an emotional black hole.
p20-21, talking about dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder).
Suzie Burke (Wholeness: My Healing Journey from Ritual Abuse)
On May 26th, 2003,
Aaron Ralston was hiking,
a boulder fell on his right hand,
he waited four days,
he then amputated
his own arm with a pocketknife.
On New Year’s Eve,
a woman was bungee jumping,
the cord broke,
she fell into a river
and had to swim back to land
in crocodile-infested waters
with a broken collarbone.
Claire Champlin was smashed in the face
by a five-pound watermelon
being propelled by a slingshot.
Mathew Brobst was hit by a javelin.
David Striegl was actually
punched in the mouth by a kangaroo.
The most amazing part of these stories
is when asked about the experience
they all smiled, shrugged and said
“I guess things could’ve been worse.”
So go ahead,
tell me you’re having a bad day.
Tell me about the traffic.
Tell me about your boss.
Tell me about the job you’ve been trying to quit for the past four years.
Tell me the morning is just a townhouse burning to the ground and the snooze button is a fire extinguisher.
Tell me the alarm clock
stole the keys to your smile,
drove it into 7 am
and the crash totaled your happiness.
Tell me how blessed are we to have tragedy
so small it can fit on the tips of our tongues.
When Evan lost his legs he was speechless.
When my cousin was assaulted
she didn’t speak for 48 hours.
When my uncle was murdered,
we had to send out a search party
to find my father’s voice.
Most people have no idea
that tragedy and silence
often have the exact same address.
When your day is a museum of disappointments,
hanging from events that were outside of your control,
when you feel like your guardian angel put in his two weeks notice two months ago
and just decided not to tell you,
when it seems like God
is just a babysitter that’s always on the phone,
when you get punched in the esophagus by a fistful of life.
two million people die of dehydration.
So it doesn’t matter if
the glass is half full or half empty.
There’s water in the cup.
Drink it and stop complaining.
Muscle is created by lifting things
that are designed to weigh us down.
When your shoulders are heavy
stand up straight and call it exercise.
Life is a gym membership
with a really complicated cancellation policy.
you will survive,
things could be worse,
and we are never given
anything we can’t handle.
When the whole world crumbles,
you have to build a new one
out of all the pieces that are still here.
you are still here.
The human heart beats
approximately 4,000 times per hour
and each pulse,
each palpitation is a trophy,
engraved with the words
“You are still alive.”
You are still alive.
So act like it.
Rudy Francisco (Helium)
Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” –Herman Goering. The Nuremberg Trials 1946
Susan Lindauer (EXTREME PREJUDICE: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq)
Daddy," she says again, this time putting more of a needy whine into her voice. It is the thing that has swayed him, these times when he has come near to turning on her: remembering that she is his little girl. Reminding him that he has been, up to today, a good father.
It is a manipulation. Something of her is warped out of true by this moment, and from now on all her acts of affection toward her father will be calculated, performative. Her childhood dies, for all intents and purposes. But that is better than all of her dying, she knows.
N.K. Jemisin (The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2))
Then what do you want?" she asked softly.
He shook his head without answering. But Sara knew. He wanted to be safe. If he were rich and powerful enough, he would never be hurt, lonely, or abandoned. He would never have to trust anyone. She continued to stroke his hair, playing lightly with the thick raven locks. 'Take a chance on me," she urged. "Do you really have so much to lose?"
He gave a harsh laugh and loosened his arms to release her. "More than you know."
Clinging to him desperately, Sara kept her mouth at his ear. "Listen to me." All she could do was play her last card. Her voice trembled with emotion. "You can't change the truth. You can act as though you're deaf and blind, you can walk away from me forever, but the truth will still be there, and you can't make it go away. I love you." She felt an involuntary tremor run through him. "I love you," she repeated. "Don't lie to either of us by pretending you're leaving for my good. All you'll do is deny us both a chance at happiness. I'll long for you every day and night, but at least my conscience will be clear. I haven't held anything back from you, out of fear or pride or stubbornness." She felt the incredible tautness of his muscles, as if he were carved from marble. "For once have the strength not to walk away," she whispered. "Stay with me. Let me love you, Derek."
He stood there frozen in defeat, with all the warmth and promise of her in his arms ... and he couldn't allow himself to take what she offered. He'd never felt so worthless, so much a fraud. Perhaps for a day, a week, he could be what she wanted. But no longer than that. He had sold his honor, his conscience, his body, anything he could use to escape the lot he'd been given in life. And now, with all his great fortune, he couldn't buy back what he'd sacrificed. Were he capable of tears, he would have shed them. Instead he felt numbing coldness spread through his body, filling up the region where his heart should have been. It wasn't difficult to walk away from her. It was appallingly easy.
Sara made an inarticulate sound as he extricated himself from her embrace. He left her as he had left the others, without looking back.
Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You (The Gamblers of Craven's, #2))
The Swedes have coined the term 'management by perkele' to portray the Finnish managerial approach. Instead of collectively pondering all the possible alternatives and letting every member of the staff from the cleaner to the MD voice their views, as the Swedes do, the Finns act swiftly and don't waste time on the decision-making process. If something isn't happening quickly enough, it is necessary for the top managers to slam their fists on the table and yell, 'Perkele!' Repeatedly, if necessary.
Tarja Moles (Xenophobe's Guide to the Finns)
I ask people of the world and children of light to start reflecting the stories of their souls to vibrate wisdom around the earth. Pick up a paintbrush or microphone. Press the inks of your pens to paper or tap words onto your screens, and start sharing what you know and have learned with the masses. Turn your personal painting into a piece of the earth's puzzle so that our unified assemblage of thoughts, experiences and lessons reveal common truths that cannot be denied. Imagine the changes that could happen if everyone suddenly stopped acting like someone else, became true to themselves, and celebrated the beauty of their uniqueness. Only after people have willingly removed their masks and costumes, and have begun pouring light from their hearts to reveal their vulnerability, dreams and pains, will we be able to see that beneath the surface we are all the same. After all, how can the world collectively fight for truth, if soldiers in its army are void of truth? We must first all be true by putting truth in our words and actions. And to do so, everyone must learn to think and react with their conscience. Imagine what Truth could do to neutralize the clutches of evil once this black and white world suddenly became embraced by a strong rainbow of loud powerful voices. We could put color back into every home, every school, every industry, every nation, and every garden on earth where flowers have been crushed by corruption.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
You have to understand your best. Your best isn't Barrymore's best or Olivier's best or my best, but your own. Every person has his norm. And in that norm every person is a star. Olivier could stand on his head and still not be you. Only you can be you. What a privilege! Nobody can reach what you can if you do it. So do it. We need your best, your voice, your body. We don't need for you to imitate anybody, because that would be second best. And second best is no better than your worst.
Stella Adler (The Art of Acting)
Here is my favorite biblical direction: Be not afraid. It's truly the secret of life. Fear is what stunts our growth, narrows our ambitions, kills our dreams.
So fear not.
...You are surely afraid: of leaving what you know, of seeking what you want, of taking the wrong path, of failing the right one. But you can't allow any of that to warp your life. You must have the strength to say no to the wrong things and to embrace the right ones, even if you are the only one who seems to know the difference, even if you find the difference hard to calculate.
Acts of bravery don't always take place on battle fields. They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world. So carry your courage in an easily accessible place, the way you do your cellphone or your wallet. You may still falter or fail, but you will always know that you pushed hard and aimed high. Take a leap of faith. Fear not. Courage is the ultimate career move.
When it comes to sexuality, romantic love plays a large part in feminine sexual scripts. Research suggests that women make sense of sexual encounters in terms of the amount of intimacy experienced; love becomes a rationale for sex. If i am in love, women often reason, sex is okay. Men more easily accept sex for its own sake, with no emotional strings necessarily attached. In this way, sexual scripts for men have involved more of an instrumental (sex for its own sake) approach, whereas for women it tends to be more expressive (sex involving emotional attachments). There is evidence to suggest that women are moving in the direction of sex as an end in itself without the normative constraints of an emotional relationship. By and large, however, women are still more likely than men to engage in sex as an act of love. Many scholars suggest that romance is one of the key ways that sexism is maintained in society.
Susan Shaw (Women's Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings)
In acting and speaking, men show who they are, reveal actively their unique personal identities and thus make their appearance in the human world, while their physical identities appear without any activity of their own in the unique shape of the body and sound of the voice. This disclosure of “who” in contradistinction to “what” somebody is—his qualities, gifts, talents, and shortcomings, which he may display or hide—is implicit in everything somebody says and does.
Hannah Arendt (The Human Condition)
When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters—first and foremost—how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice—that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another. All good parents understand these three principles implicitly. If you want to stop little Johnnie from hitting his sister, you can’t look away one time and scream at him another. You can’t treat his sister differently when she hits him. And if he says he really didn’t hit his sister, you have to give him a chance to explain himself. How you punish is as important as the act of punishing itself.
Malcolm Gladwell (David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants)
Where will you go? What will you do?" he demanded.
"That need be no concern of yours--"
"The hell it isn't!" he shouted. "Everything about you is my concern."
She opened her mouth to deny this but the look of him stopped her. For a long tense moment he studied her and when he spoke his voice was low and furious and yearning.
"I don't give a bloody damn if I never share your bed, your name, or your house -- you are still my concern. You can leave, take yourself from my ken, disappear for the rest of my life but you cannot untangle yourself from my -- my concern. That I have of you, Miss Bede, for that, at least, I do not need your permission."
His words shocked her. She looked decades hence and she saw a specter of what might have been haunting her every moment, her every act, for the rest of her life.
"Your concern is misplaced."
"It's mine to misplace," he said steadily.
Connie Brockway (My Dearest Enemy)
self-care is never a selfish act-it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it
requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.
Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)
Sometimes an uncontrollable feeling of sadness grips us, he said. We recognize that the magic moment of the day has passed and that we’ve done nothing about it. Life begins to conceal its magic and its art.
We have to listen to the child we once were, the child who still exists inside us. That child understands magic moments. We can stifle its cries, but we cannot silence its voice.
The child we once were is still there. Blessed are the children, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If we are not reborn – if we cannot learn to look at life with the innocence and the enthusiasm of childhood – it makes no sense to go on living.
There are many ways to commit suicide. hose who try to kill the body violate God's law. Those who try to kill the soul also violate God's law, even though their crime is less visible to others.
We have to pay attention to what the child in our heart tells us. We should not be embarrassed by this child. We must not allow this child to be scared because the child is alone and almost never heard.
We must allow the child to take the reins of our lives. The child knows that each day is different from every other day.
We have to allow it to feel loved again. We must please this child – even if this means that we act in ways we are not used to, in ways that may seem foolish to others.
Remember that human wisdom is madness in the eyes of God. But if we listen to the child who lives in our soul, our eyes will grow bright. If we do not lose contact with that child, we will not lose contact with life.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
Eddie saw great things and near misses. Albert Einstein as a child, not quite struck by a run-away milk-wagon as he crossed a street. A teenage boy named Albert Schweitzer getting out of a bathtub and not quite stepping on the cake of soap lying beside the pulled plug. A Nazi Oberleutnant burning a piece of paper with the date and place of the D-Day Invasion written on it. He saw a man who intended to poison the entire water supply of Denver die of a heart attack in a roadside rest-stop on I-80 in Iowa with a bag of McDonald’s French fries on his lap. He saw a terrorist wired up with explosives suddenly turn away from a crowded restaurant in a city that might have been Jerusalem. The terrorist had been transfixed by nothing more than the sky, and the thought that it arced above the just and unjust alike. He saw four men rescue a little boy from a monster whose entire head seemed to consist of a single eye.
But more important than any of these was the vast, accretive weight of small things, from planes which hadn’t crashed to men and women who had come to the correct place at the perfect time and thus founded generations. He saw kisses exchanged in doorways and wallets returned and men who had come to a splitting of the way and chosen the right fork. He saw a thousand random meetings that weren’t random, ten thousand right decisions, a hundred thousand right answers, a million acts of unacknowledged kindness. He saw the old people of River Crossing and Roland kneeling in the dust for Aunt Talitha’s blessing; again heard her giving it freely and gladly. Heard her telling him to lay the cross she had given him at the foot of the Dark Tower and speak the name of Talitha Unwin at the far end of the earth. He saw the Tower itself in the burning folds of the rose and for a moment understood its purpose: how it distributed its lines of force to all the worlds that were and held them steady in time’s great helix. For every brick that landed on the ground instead of some little kid’s head, for every tornado that missed the trailer park, for every missile that didn’t fly, for every hand stayed from violence, there was the Tower.
And the quiet, singing voice of the rose. The song that promised all might be well, all might be well, that all manner of things might be well.
Stephen King (Wolves of the Calla (The Dark Tower, #5))
...a lot of people never find the person God created them to be. They’re too busy trying to live up to other people’s expectations, or they try to create themselves in the image of a person they admire or envy. Just because we respect someone or think their life might be more exciting than ours doesn’t mean God created us to be just like them. Sometimes we have to ignore the people in our lives so we can hear the voice of God...But making a decision to put someone else first out of love isn’t the same thing as putting them first out of fear. Because you’re afraid they won’t love you if you don’t act the way they might want you to.
Nancy Mehl (Unforeseeable (Road to Kingdom, #3))
All I really need,” he continued, “is for you to act as a deterrent.”
“A deterrent?” she choked out.
“A human shield, if you will.”
“I cannot be left alone with that woman,” he said, and he felt no remorse at the low desperation in his voice. “Please, if you have any care for your fellow man.”
Her lips clamped together in a suspicious line. “I’m not certain what I get out of the equation.”
“You mean besides the joy of my delightful company?”
“Yes,” she said, with an impressive lack of inflection, “besides that.
Julia Quinn (The Lady Most Willing... (Lady Most..., #2))
Eventually, I developed my own image of teh "befriending" impulse behind my depression. Imagine that from early in my life, a friendly figure, standing a block away, was trying to get my attention by shouting my name, wanting to teach me some hard but healing truths about myself. But I-- fearful of what I might hear or arrogantly trying to live wihtout help or simply too busy with my ideas and ego and ethics to bother-- ignored teh shouts and walked away.
So this figure, still with friendly intent, came closer and shouted more loudly, but AI kept walking. Ever closer it came, close enough to tap me on the shoulder, but I walked on. Frustrated by my unresponsiveness, the figure threw stones at my back, then struck me with a stick, still wanting simply to get my attention. But despite teh pain, I kept walking away.
Over teh years, teh befriending intent of this figure never disapppeared but became obscured by the frustration cuased by my refusal to turn around. Since shouts and taps, stones and sticks had failed to do the trick, there was only one thing left: drop the nuclear bomb called depression on me, not with the intent to kill but as a last-ditch effort to get me to turn and ask the simple question, "What do you want?" When I was finally able to make the turn-- and start to absorb and act on the self-knowledge that then became available to me-- I began to get well.
The figure calling to me all those years was, I believe, what Thomas Merton calls "true self." This is not the ego self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another from of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self-planted in us by the God who made us in God's own image-- the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be.
True self is true friend. One ignores or rejects such friendship only at one's peril.
Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)
his mouth finally reached the apex between my thighs, I cried out, forcing myself to shut up quickly because I was so afraid he would recognize my voice. It was the most erotic experience of my life. A man kissing and licking me; who, in truth, I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. It was two strangers coupled in the throes of an intimate act, an act meant for nothing more than the pleasure it could provide. His
Lily White (Target This)
I suggest that people walk around under the moon barefoot, as I have today. There's that voice of your mom and dad and aunt and big sister and uncle and annoying cousin in your ear saying "Your feet are going to get dirty and you're going to turn into a bat" so the defiance in the act of simply taking your shoes off and standing there under that moon— is astronomical. A dirty-feet-moonlit-defiance that will make you smile.
C. JoyBell C.
Drop something?" he asked, trying to suppress a smile but failing miserably at the act.
I nodded and smiled back at him sheepishly, unable to find my voice to respond in any other way.
"Interested in locks, I see," he commented.
I nodded again.
"Well, here you go," he said, and he handed the book to me.
Oh crap, why did I just nod? Take the book! I screamed inside my head. Take it!
I took it slowly. He kept looking at me, smiling.
Markelle Grabo (The Elf Girl (Journey into the Realm, #1))
Mitchell Maxwell’s Maxims
• You have to create your own professional path. There’s no longer a roadmap for an artistic career.
• Follow your heart and the money will follow.
• Create a benchmark of your own progress. If you never look down while you’re climbing the ladder you won’t know how far you’ve come.
• Don’t define success by net worth, define it by character. Success, as it’s measured by society, is a fleeting condition.
• Affirm your value. Tell the world “I am an artist,” not “I want to be an artist.”
• You must actively live your dream. Wishing and hoping for someday doesn’t make it happen. Get out there and get involved.
• When you look into the abyss you find your character.
• Young people too often let the fear of failure keep them from trying. You have to get bloody, sweaty and rejected in order to succeed.
• Get your face out of Facebook and into somebody’s face. Close your e-mail and pick up the phone. Personal contact still speaks loudest.
• No one is entitled to act entitled. Be willing to work hard.
• If you’re going to buck the norm you’re going to have to embrace the challenges.
• You have to love the journey if you’re going to work in the arts.
• Only listen to people who agree with your vision.
• A little anxiety is good but don’t let it become fear, fear makes you inert.
• Find your own unique voice. Leave your individual imprint on the world, not a copy of someone else.
• Draw strength from your mistakes; they can be your best teacher.
Hamlet | Act I, Scene III
Yet here, Laertes? Aboard, aboard, for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for. There, my blessing with thee.
And these few precepts in thy memory
See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous, chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell. My blessing season this in thee!
The Earth was created by the assistance of the sun, and it should be left as it was. The country was made with no lines of demarcation, and it's no man's business to divide it. I see the whites all over the country gaining wealth, and I see the desire to give us lands which are worthless.
The Earth and myself are of one mind. Perhaps you think the Creator sent you here to dispose of us as you see fit. If I thought you were sent by the creator, I might he induced to think you had a right to dispose of me.
Do not misunderstand me; but understand me fully with reference to my affection for the land. I never said the land was mine to do with as I choose. The one who has a right to dispose of it is the one who created it. I claim a right to live on my land, and accord you the privilege to return to yours.
Brother, we have listened to your talk coming from our father, the Great White Chief in Washington, and my people have called upon me to reply to you.
The winds which pass through these aged pines we hear the moaning of departed ghosts, and if the voice of our people could have been heard, that act would never have been done. But alas though they stood around they could neither be seen nor heard. Their tears fell like drops of rain.
I hear my voice in the depths of the forest but no answering voice comes back to me. All is silent around me. My words must therefore be few. I can now say no more. He is silent for he has nothing to answer when the sun goes down.
Emil glowered and shot back, “Like you didn’t leave her in shambles. How could you claim to love her, yet stand back and watch as she went through that kind of pain? Don’t act so noble. You know you’re the reason she came to me. To me, Night, she wanted me.” Emil’s entire countenance changed, even his voice.
Everything about him became darker.
Zues?" I said.
"His computer. He named it." Then she whispered conspiratorially, "He acts like it's a person."
"I do not," he said as we walked down the hall toward his room.
"You gave it a birthday party," she said.
Grayson stopped walking for a moment. "Annual hard-drive maintenance and software upgrades do not count as a birthday party."
"No," she said. "But singing 'Happy Birthday' to it does."
He took a deep breath. They've obviously been through this before. "You know I was testing the new voice-recognition software."
Natalie looked at me. "Birthday party.
James Ponti (Dead City (Dead City, #1))
The idea of what the public will think prevents the public from ever thinking at all, and acts as a spell on the exercise of private judgment, so that, in short, the public ear is at the mercy of the first impudent pretender who chooses to fill it with noisy assertions, or false surmises, or secret whispers. What is said by one is heard by all; the supposition that a thing is known to all the world makes all the world believe it, and the hollow repetition of a vague report drowns the 'still, small voice' of reason.
William Hazlitt (Table-Talk, Essays on Men and Manners)
You see,” said Tony, her voice still soft so as not to be overheard, but somehow fierce and angry, “it frightens me when people try to grab at us like that. I can’t sit still and just let people watch me and talk to me and ask me questions. You see,” she said again, as though trying to moderate her words and explain, “they want to pull us back, and start us all over again just like them and doing the things they want to do and acting the way they want to act and saying and thinking and wanting all the things they live with every day.
Shirley Jackson (Hangsaman)
None of this…none of this…whatever you call this.” She waved her hand to encompass everything. Kissing. Taking her blood. Seducing her. Ordering her around. Setting perimeters. All of it.
His black gaze never left her face. His eyes as still as those of a leopard scenting prey. Avid. Burning. Intense. He took her breath away with his eyes. Hypnotized her. Cast a spell over her.
Tempest pulled her gaze from his, from the seductive, black velvet trap. “And stop that, too,” she said decisively, despite the fact that he made her hungry for him.
“Stop looking at me that way, it’s definitely out. You can’t look at me that way. It’s cheating.”
“How am I looking at you?” His deep voice dropped even lower, the cadence soft and husky. Mesmerizing. “Okay, that’s out, too. No talking in that tone of voice,” she declared staunchly. “And you know very well what you’re doing. Act normal.”
His white teeth gleamed at her, nearly stopping her heart. “I am acting normal, Tempest.”
“Well, then, that’s out, too. No acting normal.
Christine Feehan (Dark Fire (Dark, #6))
The prideful, rational mind, comfortable with its certainty, enamoured of its own brilliance, is easily tempted to ignore error, and to sweep dirt under the rug. Literary, existential philosophers, beginning with Søren Kierkegaard, conceived of this mode of Being as “inauthentic.” An inauthentic person continues to perceive and act in ways his own experience has demonstrated false. He does not speak with his own voice.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
When we dare to speak in a liberatory voice, we threaten even those who may initially claim to want our words. In the act of overcoming our fear of speech, of being seen as threatening, in the process of learning to speak as subjects, we participate in the global struggle to end domination. When we end our silence, when we speak in a liberated voice, our words connect us with anyone, anywhere who lives in silence. Feminist focus on women finding a voice, on the silence of black women, of women of color, has led to increased interest in our words. This is an important historical moment. We are both speaking of our own volition, out of our commitment to justice, to revolutionary struggle to end domination, and simultaneously called to speak, "invited" to share our words. It is important that we speak. What we speak about is more important. It is our responsibility collectively and individually to distinguish between mere speaking that is about self-aggrandizement, exploitation of the exotic "other," and that coming to voice which is a gesture of resistance, an affirmation of struggle.
My,don't you have pretty eyes," he says. "It's a shame the rest of you is so plain."
My heart pounds. I tug my hand back, but his grip tightens. I smell something acrid and unpleasant on his breath.
"You look a little young to be walking around by yourself,dear," he says.
I stop tugging, and stand up straighter. I know I look young; I don't need to be reminded. "I'm older than I look," I retort. "I'm sixteen."
His lips spread wide, revealing a gray molar with a dark pit in the side. I can't tell if he's smiling or grimacing. "Then isn't today a special day for you? The day before you choose?"
"Let go of me," I say. I hear rining in my ears. My voice sounds clear and stern-not what I expected to hear. I feel like it doesn't belong to me.
I am ready.I know what to do. I picture myself bringing my elbow back and hitting him. I see the bag of apples flying away from me. I hear my running footsteps. I am prepared to act.
But then he releases my wrist, takes the apples,and says, "Choose wisely, little girl.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Many outsiders clarified that they believe Christians have a right (even an obligation) to pursue political involvement, but they disagree with our methods and our attitudes. They say we seem to be pursuing an agenda that benefits only ourselves; that we expect too much out of politics; they question whether we are motivated by our economic status rather than faith perspectives when we support conservative politics; they claim we act and say things in an unchristian manner; they wonder whether Jesus would use political power as we do; and they are concerned that we overpowered the voices of other groups.
David Kinnaman (Unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity...and Why It Matters)
When you're a trans woman, you are made to walk this very fine line, where if you act feminine you are accused of being a parody, but if you act masculine, it is seen as a sign of your true male identity. And if you act sweet and demure, you're accused of reinforcing patriarchal ideals of female passivity, but if you stand up for your own rights and make your voice heard, then you are dismissed as wielding male privilege and entitlement.
Julia Serano (Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive)
For scapegoating to occur, a community must agree on a target who can be blamed for anything that goes wrong. Sometimes a community just needs someone to BE wrong all the time, so they can know they are right. It really doesn’t matter if the person is actually guilty or wrong, as long as everyone agrees on it. That agreement allows the community to act against the scapegoat and feel justified. They can hate, abuse, ridicule, neglect, expel, wound or kill the scapegoat and actually experience feelings of joy and well-being afterward.
We spend our days badgered by voices that tell us to judge others, fear others, harm others, or harm ourselves. But we are not obligated to listen to those voices, or even to take responsibility for them. They may be where we come from, but they are not where we are going. There is another voice, a voice that shines. Ahimsa is the practice of listening to that voice of lightness, cultivating that voice, trusting that voice, acting upon that voice.
Rolf Gates (Meditations from the mat)
[T]hat little voice shut up the instant I did something. And not just something: the exact thing I knew to be right. Because if the system was broken, if Carrie Johnstone wasn’t going to ever pay consequences for her action, it wasn’t because “the system” failed to get her. It was because people like me chose not to act when we could. The system was people, and I was part of it, part of its problems, and I was going to be part of the solution from now on.
Cory Doctorow (Homeland (Little Brother, #2))
Coddly slammed a fist on the table. “No one will take you seriously if you do not act decisively.”
There was a beat of silence after his voice stopped echoing around the room, and the entire table sat motionless.
“Fine,” I responded calmly. “You’re fired.”
Coddly laughed, looking at the other gentlemen at the table. “You can’t fire me, Your Highness.”
I tilted my head, staring at him. “I assure you, I can. There’s no one here who outranks me at the moment, and you are easily replaceable.”
Though she tried to be discreet, I saw Lady Brice purse her lips together, clearly determined not to laugh. Yes, I definitely had an ally in her.
“You need to fight!” he insisted.
“No,” I answered firmly. “A war would add unnecessary strain to an already stressful moment and would cause an upheaval between us and the country we are now bound to by marriage. We will not fight.”
Coddly lowered his chin and squinted. “Don’t you think you’re being too emotional about this?”
I stood, my chair screeching behind me as I moved. “I’m going to assume that you aren’t implying by that statement that I’m actually being too female about this. Because, yes, I am emotional.”
I strode around the opposite side of the table, my eyes trained on Coddly. “My mother is in a bed with tubes down her throat, my twin is now on a different continent, and my father is holding himself together by a thread.”
Stopping across from him, I continued. “I have two younger brothers to keep calm in the wake of all this, a country to run, and six boys downstairs waiting for me to offer one of them my hand.” Coddly swallowed, and I felt only the tiniest bit of guilt for the satisfaction it brought me. “So, yes, I am emotional right now. Anyone in my position with a soul would be. And you, sir, are an idiot. How dare you try to force my hand on something so monumental on the grounds of something so small? For all intents and purposes, I am queen, and you will not coerce me into anything.”
I walked back to the head of the table. “Officer Leger?”
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“Is there anything on this agenda that can’t wait until tomorrow?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“Good. You’re all dismissed. And I suggest you all remember who’s in charge here before we meet again.
Kiera Cass (The Crown (The Selection, #5))
Between you and me,
separating, holding together
those pieces of the structure ourselves.
To say them,
to cast their shadows on the page,
is the act of binding mutual passions,
is cognizance, yourself/myself,
of our sameness under skin;
it rears possible cathedrals
indicating infinity with steeply-high styli.
For when tomorrow comes it is today,
and if it is not the drop
that is eternity
glistening at the pen’s point,
then the ink of our voices
surrounds like an always night,
and mortar marks the limit of our cells.
Roger Zelazny (Creatures of Light and Darkness)
A voice from the dark called out,
"The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war."
But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can't be imagined before it is made,
can't be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .
A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light--facets
of the forming crystal.
Denise Levertov (Making Peace: Poetry)
Where was I?"
"A different island," said old Tallow. Her voice was stern, but there was an ache in her look that Omakayas had never before seen. "An island called Spirit Island where everyone but you died of the itching sickness- you were the toughest one, the littlest one, and you survived them all."
"You were sent here so you could save the others," she said. "Because you'd had the sickness, you were strong enough to nurse them through it. They did a good thing when they took you in, and you saved them for their good act. Now the circle that began when I found you is complete.
Louise Erdrich (The Birchbark House (Birchbark House, #1))
I had no idea where I was going, but at that point, walking straight into the sea didn't seem like such a bad idea. For months I'd been torturing myself, wondering if Archer kissing me had just been part of his act. But he was right, he hadn't kissed me. I had kissed him, and he'd just...responded.God, I was a moron.
Archer caught up with me,but I kept looking straight ahead.
"Look,forget it," I said. "Just show me whatever it was you dragged me out here to see."
"Fine," he replied, his voice clipped.
We walked down the beach in total silence. In the moonlight, our shadows stretched out before us, almost touching.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Yes, it was real hatred - not the hatred we only read about in novels, which I do not believe in, hatred that is supposed to find satisfaction in doing some one harm - but the hatred that fills you with overpowering aversion for a person who, however, deserves your respect, yet whose hair, his neck, the way he walks, the sound of his voice, his whole person, his every gesture are repulsive to you, and at the same time some unaccountable force draws you to him and compels you to follow his slightest acts with uneasy attention.
Leo Tolstoy (Childhood, Boyhood, Youth)
You have the lovers,
they are nameless, their histories only for each other,
and you have the room, the bed, and the windows.
Pretend it is a ritual.
Unfurl the bed, bury the lovers, blacken the windows,
let them live in that house for a generation or two.
No one dares disturb them.
Visitors in the corridor tip-toe past the long closed door,
they listen for sounds, for a moan, for a song:
nothing is heard, not even breathing.
You know they are not dead,
you can feel the presence of their intense love.
Your children grow up, they leave you,
they have become soldiers and riders.
Your mate dies after a life of service.
Who knows you? Who remembers you?
But in your house a ritual is in progress:
It is not finished: it needs more people.
One day the door is opened to the lover's chamber.
The room has become a dense garden,
full of colours, smells, sounds you have never known.
The bed is smooth as a wafer of sunlight,
in the midst of the garden it stands alone.
In the bed the lovers, slowly and deliberately and silently,
perform the act of love.
Their eyes are closed,
as tightly as if heavy coins of flesh lay on them.
Their lips are bruised with new and old bruises.
Her hair and his beard are hopelessly tangled.
When he puts his mouth against her shoulder
she is uncertain whether her shoulder
has given or received the kiss.
All her flesh is like a mouth.
He carries his fingers along her waist
and feels his own waist caressed.
She holds him closer and his own arms tighten around her.
She kisses the hand besider her mouth.
It is his hand or her hand, it hardly matters,
there are so many more kisses.
You stand beside the bed, weeping with happiness,
you carefully peel away the sheets
from the slow-moving bodies.
Your eyes filled with tears, you barely make out the lovers,
As you undress you sing out, and your voice is magnificent
because now you believe it is the first human voice
heard in that room.
The garments you let fall grow into vines.
You climb into bed and recover the flesh.
You close your eyes and allow them to be sewn shut.
You create an embrace and fall into it.
There is only one moment of pain or doubt
as you wonder how many multitudes are lying beside your body,
but a mouth kisses and a hand soothes the moment away.
Are your principles not engraved in all hearts, and in order to learn your laws is it not enough to go back into oneself and listen to the voice of one's conscience in the silence of the passions? There you have true philosophy. Let us learn to be satisfied with that, and without envying the glory of those famous men who are immortalized in the republic of letters, let us try to set between them and us that glorious distinction which people made long ago between two great peoples: one knew how to speak well; the other how to act well.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Discourse on the Sciences and Arts and Polemics)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation.
you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser.
do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on.
do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.
this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.
the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.
avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
Every once in a while, however, the subordinates of this world contest their fates. They protest their conditions, write letters and petitions, join movements, and make demands. Their goals may be minimal and discrete — better safety guards on factory machines, an end to marital rape—but in voicing them, they raise the specter of a more fundamental change in power. They cease to be servants or supplicants and become agents, speaking and acting on their own behalf. More than the reforms themselves, it is this assertion of agency by the subject class—the appearance of an insistent and independent voice of demand — that vexes their superiors. Guatemala’s Agrarian Reform of 1952 redistributed a million and a half acres of land to 100,000 peasant families. That was nothing, in the minds of the country’s ruling classes, compared to the riot of political talk the bill seemed to unleash. Progressive reformers, Guatemala’s arch-bishop complained, sent local peasants “gifted with facility with words” to the capital, where they were given opportunities “to speak in public.” That was the great evil of the Agrarian Reform.
Corey Robin (The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin)
I SAY “SORRY” A LOT. When I am running late. When I am navigating the streets of New York. When I interrupt someone. I say, “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” in one long stream. The sentence becomes “Sorrysorrysorry” and it’s said really fast, as if even the act of apologizing is something to apologize for. But this doesn’t mean I am a pushover. It doesn’t mean I am afraid of conflict or don’t know how to stand up for myself. I am getting to a place right in the middle where I feel good about exactly how much I apologize. It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate. I am still learning the right balance.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
When I got to school the next morning I had stepped only
one foot in the quad when he spotted me and nearly tackled me to the ground. “Jamie!” he hollered, rushing across the lawn without caring the least
bit about the scene he was creating.
The next thing I knew, my feet were off the ground and I was squished so tightly in Ryan’s arms that I could barely breathe.
“Okay, Ryan?” I coughed in a hushed tone. “This is exactly the kind of thing that can get you killed.”
“I don’t care, I’m not letting go. Don’t ever disappear like that again!” he scolded, but his voice was more relieved than angry. “It’s been days! You
had your mother worried sick!”
“My mother?” I questioned sarcastically.
Ryan laughed as he finally set me back on my feet. “Okay, fine, me too.” He still wouldn’t let go of me, though. He was gripping my arms while he
looked at me with those eyes, and that smile… You know, being all Ryan-ish. And then, when I got lost in the moment, he totally took advantage of
how whipped I was and he kissed me. The jerk. He just pulled my face to his right then and there, in the middle of a crowded quad full of students,
where I could have accidentally unleashed an electrical storm at any moment. And okay, maybe I liked it, and maybe I even needed it, but still! You
can’t just go kissing Jamie Baker whenever you want, even if you are Ryan Miller!
“Ryan!” I yelled as soon as I was able to pull away from him—which admittedly took a minute.
“I’m sorry.” Ryan laughed with this big dopey grin on his face and then kissed me some more.
I had to push him away from me. “Don’t be sorry, just stop!” I realized I was screaming at him when I felt a hundred different pairs of eyes on me. I
tried to ignore the audience that Ryan seemed oblivious to and dropped the audio a few decibels. “I wasn’t kidding when I said this has to stop.
Look, I will be your friend. I want to be your friend. But that’s it.
We can’t be anything more. It’ll never work.”
Ryan watched me for a minute and then whispered, “Don’t do that.” I was shocked to hear the sudden emotion in his voice. “Don’t give up.”
It was hopeless.
“Fine!” I snapped. “I’ll be your stupid girlfriend!”
Big shocker, me giving Ryan his way, I know. But let’s face it—it’s just what I do best. I had to at least act a little tough, though. “But!” I said in the
harshest voice I was capable of. “You can’t ever touch me unless I say. No more tackling me, and especially no more surprise kissing.” He actually
laughed at my request. “No promises.”
Stupid, cocky boyfriend.
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?”
Ryan got this big cheesy smile on his face and said, “Crazy about you.”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Would you be serious for a minute? Why do you insist on putting your life in danger?”
“Because I like you.”
His stupid grin was infectious. I wanted to be angry, but how could I with him looking at me like that?
“I’m not worth it, you know,” I said stubbornly. “I have issues. I’m unstable.”
“You’re cute when you’re unstable,” Ryan said, “and I like your issues.” The stupid boy was straight-up giddy now. But he was so cute that I cracked
a smile despite myself. “You really are crazy,” I muttered.
Kelly Oram (Being Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker, #1))
Most people are afflicted with an inability to say what they see or think. They say there’s nothing more difficult than to define a spiral in words; they claim it is necessary to use the unliterary hand, twirling it in a steadily upward direction, so that human eyes will perceive the abstract figure immanent in wire spring and a certain type of staircase. But if we remember that to say is to renew, we will have no trouble defining a spiral; it’s a circle that rises without ever closing. I realize that most people would never dare to define it this way, for they suppose that defining is to say what others want us to say rather than what’s required for the definition. I’ll say it more accurately: a spiral is a potential circle that winds round as it rises, without ever completing itself. But no, the definition is still abstract. I’ll resort to the concrete, and all will become clear: a spiral is a snake without a snake, vertically wound around nothing.
All literature is an attempt to make life real. All of us know, even when we act on what we don’t know, life is absolutely unreal in its directly real form; the country, the city and our ideas are absolutely fictitious things, the offspring of our complex sensation of our own selves. Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not ‘I feel like crying’, which is what an adult, i.e., an idiot, would say but rather, ’ I feel like tears.’ And this phrase -so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it - decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. ‘I feel like tears’! The small child aptly defined his spiral.
To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming- like worms when a rock is lifted - under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.
Fernando Pessoa (The Book of Disquiet)
When we don’t pay close attention to the decisions made by our leaders, when we fail to educate ourselves about the major issues of the day, when we choose not to make our voices and opinions heard, that’s when democracy breaks down. That’s when power is abused. That’s when the most extreme voices in our society fill the void that we leave. That’s when powerful interests and their lobbyists are most able to buy access and influence in the corridors of power –- because none of us are there to speak up and stop them.
Participation in public life doesn’t mean that you all have to run for public office -– though we could certainly use some fresh faces in Washington. (Laughter and applause.) But it does mean that you should pay attention and contribute in any way that you can. Stay informed. Write letters, or make phone calls on behalf of an issue you care about. If electoral politics isn’t your thing, continue the tradition so many of you started here at Michigan and find a way to serve your community and your country –- an act that will help you stay connected to your fellow citizens and improve the lives of those around you.
But about the gentleman thing.” She waved her glass. “I want to make it plain as the nose on your face. I can stand anything in the book but gentlemen. Because I've spent a lot of time, too much time with them, and I know why gentlemen are what they are. They decide to be that way after they've tried all the real things and flopped at them. They've flopped at women. They've flopped at standing up on their hind legs and acting like men. So they become gentlemen. They've flopped at being individuals. So they say to themselves one fine morning: 'What can I be that's no trouble at all and that doesn't amount to a damned thing, but yet will make everyone look up to me?' The answer's simple. Be a gentleman. Take life flat on your back, cry in private, and then in a well-modulated voice.
Elliot Chaze (Black Wings Has My Angel)
You’ve had sex with that girl!”
He blinked at my tone and my words, then his face heated. “And?” I blinked that he didn’t even try and deny it. “And…and…” Not having a real argument, I sighed and hung my head. “And I’m tired of running into girls who know what making love to you feels like. “ He sighed and stepped into me, cupping my face. His voice and face softer, he shook his head. “No one but you knows what making love to me feels like.” Raising his eyebrows, he rested his head against mine. “I didn’t even know what making love was like until you.” Pulling back, he tilted his head at the building. “What happened with that girl…was just sex. A mindless, physical act that had no meaning or feeling behind it. It was just pleasure…and I don’t even really remember it.”
Squatting down, he met my eye. “I remember every single time with you. Even before we were together, being with you haunted my dreams.
I couldn’t forget, even when I wanted to…” His thumbs brushed over my cheeks as I felt tears falling down them. “You…seared me. That’s making love. That is something that none of them have over you. You are…unforgettable…and I love you.”
Sniffling, I swallowed a couple times before I could finally say, “I love you, too.
S.C. Stephens (Effortless (Thoughtless, #2))
As Hester Prynne seemed to see some trace of her own sin in every bosom, by the glare of the Scarlet Letter burning on her own; so Sylvia, living in the shadow of a household grief, found herself detecting various phases of her own experience in others. She had joined that sad sisterhood called disappointed women; a larger class than many deem it to be, though there are few of us who have not seen members of it. Unhappy wives; mistaken or forsaken lovers; meek souls, who make life a long penance for the sins of others; gifted creatures kindled into fitful brilliancy by some inward fire that consumes but cannot warm. These are the women who fly to convents, write bitter books, sing songs full of heartbreak, act splendidly the passion they have lost or never won. Who smile, and try to lead brave uncomplaining lives, but whose tragic eyes betray them, whose voices, however sweet or gay, contain an undertone of hopelessness, whose faces sometimes startle one with an expression which haunts the observer long after it is gone.
Louisa May Alcott
Style is not how you write.
It is how you do not write like anyone else.
* * *
How do you know if you're a writer?
Write something everyday for two weeks, then stop, if you can.
If you can't, you're a writer.
And no one, no matter how hard they may try,
will ever be able to stop you from following your writing dreams.
* * *
You can find your writer's voice
by simply listening to that little Muse inside
that says in a low, soft whisper, "Listen to this...
* * *
Enter the writing process
with a childlike sense of wonder and discovery.
Let it surprise you.
* * *
Poems for children help them
celebrate the joy and wonder of their world.
Humorous poems tickle the funny bone of their imaginations.
* * *
There are many fine poets writing for children today.
The greatest reward for each of us is in knowing that our efforts
might stir the minds and hearts of young readers with a vision
and wonder of the world and themselves that may be new to them
or reveal something already familiar in new and enlightening ways.
* * *
The path to inspiration starts
Beyond the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.
* * *
When you write for children,
don't write for children.
Write from the child in you.
* * *
Poems look at the world from the inside out.
* * *
The act of writing brings with it a sense of discovery,
of discovering on the page something you didn't know you knew
until you wrote it.
* * *
The answer to the artist
Comes quicker than a blink
Though initial inspiration
Is not what you might think.
The Muse is full of magic,
Though her vision’s sometimes dim;
The artist does not choose the work,
It is the work that chooses him.
* * *
Poetry shows. Prose tells.
Choose precise, concrete words.
Remove prose from your poems.
Use images that evoke the senses.
Avoid the abstract, the verbose, the overstated.
Trust the poem to take you where it wants to go.
Follow it closely, recording its path with imagery.
* * *
What's a Poem?
caught in time.
of who you are.
* * *
A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.
Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.
* * *
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.
* * *
A poem is a busy bee
Buzzing in your head.
His hive is full of hidden thoughts
Waiting to be said.
His honey comes from your ideas
That he makes into rhyme.
He flies around looking for
What goes on in your mind.
When it is time to let him out
To make some poetry,
He gathers up your secret thoughts
And then he sets them free.
Dalinar took one step forward, then drove his Blade point-first into the middle of the blackened glyph on the stone. He took a step back. “For the bridgemen,” he said.
Sadeas blinked. Muttering voices fell silent, and the people on the field seemed too stunned, even, to breathe.
“The Blade,”Dalinar said, firm voice carrying in the air. “In exchange for your bridgemen. All of them. Every one you have in camp. They become mine, to do with as I please, never to be touched by you again. In exchange, you get the sword.”
Sadeas looked down at the Blade, incredulous. “This weapon is worth fortunes. Cities, palaces, kingdoms.”
“Do we have a deal?”Dalinar asked.
“Father, no!”Adolin Kholin said, his own Blade appearing in his hand. “You—”
Dalinar raised a hand, silencing the younger man. He kept his eyes on Sadeas. “Do we have a deal?” he asked, each word sharp.
Kaladin stared, unable to move, unable to think.
Sadeas looked at the Shardblade, eyes full of lust. He glanced at Kaladin, hesitated just briefly, then reached and grabbed the Blade by the hilt. “Take the storming creatures.”
Dalinar nodded curtly, turning away from Sadeas. “Let’s go,”he said to his entourage.
“They’re worthless, you know,”Sadeas said. “You’re of the ten fools, Dalinar Kholin! Don’t you see how mad you are? This will be remembered as the most ridiculous decision ever made by an Alethi highprince!”
Dalinar didn’t look back. He walked up to Kaladin and the other members of Bridge Four. “Go,” Dalinar said to them, voice kindly. “Gather your things and the men you left behind. I will send troops with you to act as guards. Leave the bridges and come swiftly to my camp. You will be safe there. You have my word of honor on it.”
He began to walk away.
Kaladin shook off his numbness. He scrambled after the highprince, grabbing his armored arm. “Wait. You—That—What just happened?”
Dalinar turned to him. Then, the highprince laid a hand on Kaladin’s shoulder, the gauntlet gleaming blue, mismatched with the rest of his slate-grey armor. “I don’t know what has been done to you. I can only guess what your life has been like. But know this. You will not be bridgemen in my camp, nor will you be slaves.”
“What is a man’s life worth?” Dalinar asked softly.
“The slavemasters say one is worth about two emerald broams,” Kaladin said, frowning.
“And what do you say?”
“A life is priceless,” he said immediately, quoting his father.
Dalinar smiled, wrinkle lines extending from the corners of his eyes. “Coincidentally, that is the exact value of a Shardblade. So today, you and your men sacrificed to buy me twenty-six hundred priceless lives. And all I had to repay you with was a single priceless sword. I call that a bargain.”
“You really think it was a good trade, don’t you?” Kaladin said, amazed.
Dalinar smiled in a way that seemed strikingly paternal.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
So what? You act all mysterious to seem more interesting?”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re always wandering off or running away,” he said. “But you’re a lot more
interesting when you’re just being yourself you know. When you’re actually here.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Emma said coldly. “Where else would I be?”
“You know what I mean,” he said, a rough edge to his voice. “It’s like you’re so busy trying not to act like your family that you’ve never even stopped to consider that it might not be such a bad thing.”
“Well what about you?” she shot back, aware of the bitterness in her words.
“You complain about your dad not wanting you around, and then you complain when he wants you to stay home for school. You can’t have it both wars.”
“Well neither can you,” he said. “ You can’t keep everyone at arms length and then expect them to be there for you when you need them.
Jennifer E. Smith (You Are Here)
The Allatians believe that they have a writing system superior to all others. Unlike books written in alphabets, syllabaries, or logograms, an Allatian book captures not only words, but also the writer’s tone, voice, inflection, emphasis, intonation, rhythm. It is simultaneously a score and a recording. A speech sounds like a speech, a lament a lament, and a story re-creates perfectly the teller’s breathless excitement. For the Allatians, reading is literally hearing the voice of the past.
But there is a cost to the beauty of the Allatian book. Because the act of reading requires physical contact with the soft, malleable surface, each time a text is read, it is also damaged and some aspects of the original irretrievably lost. Copies made of more durable materials inevitably fail to capture all the subtleties of the writer’s voice, and are thus shunned.
In order to preserve their literary heritage, the Allatians have to lock away their most precious manuscripts in forbidding libraries where few are granted access. Ironically, the most important and beautiful works of Allatian writers are rarely read, but are known only through interpretations made by scribes who attempt to reconstruct the original in new books after hearing the source read at special ceremonies.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
Tom felt that it was time to wake up; this sort of life might be romantic enough, in his blighted condition, but it was getting to have too little sentiment and too much distracting variety about it. So he thought over various plans for relief, and finally hit pon that of professing to be fond of Pain-killer. He asked for it so often that he became a nuisance, and his aunt ended by telling him to help himself and quit bothering her. If it had been Sid, she would have had no misgivings to alloy her delight; but since it was Tom, she watched the bottle clandestinely. She found that the medicine did really diminish, but it did not occur to her that the boy was mending the health of a crack in the sitting-room floor with it.
One day Tom was in the act of dosing the crack when his aunt's yellow cat came along, purring, eying the teaspoon avariciously, and begging for a taste. Tom said:
"Don't ask for it unless you want it, Peter."
But Peter signified that he did want it.
"You better make sure."
Peter was sure.
"Now you've asked for it, and I'll give it to you, because there ain't anything mean about me; but if you find you don't like it, you mustn't blame anybody but your own self."
Peter was agreeable. So Tom pried his mouth open and poured down the Pain-killer. Peter sprang a couple of yards in the air, and then delivered a war-whoop and set off round and round the room, banging against furniture, upsetting flower-pots, and making general havoc. Next he rose on his hind feet and pranced around, in a frenzy of enjoyment, with his head over his shoulder and his voice proclaiming his unappeasable happiness. Then he went tearing around the house again spreading chaos and destruction in his path. Aunt Polly entered in time to see him throw a few double summersets, deliver a final mighty hurrah, and sail through the open window, carrying the rest of the flower-pots with him. The old lady stood petrified with astonishment, peering over her glasses; Tom lay on the floor expiring with laughter.
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer)
The male frog, in mating season," said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs - it's been documented - discover that if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier, and the small frog appears much larger than it really is."
"So that's what art is, for the artist," said Crake. "An empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid."
"Your analogy falls down when it comes to female artists," said Jimmy. "They're not in it to get laid. They'd gain no biological advantage from amplifying themselves, since potential mates would be deterred rather than attracted by this sort of amplification. Men aren't frogs, they don't want women who are ten times bigger than them."
"Female artists are biologically confused," said Crake.
Margaret Atwood (Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1))
WHOEVER’S found out what location
compassion (heart’s imagination)
can be contacted at these days,
is herewith urged to name the place;
and sing about it in full voice,
and dance like crazy and rejoice
beneath the frail birch that appears
to be upon the verge of tears.
I TEACH silence
in all languages
through intensive examination of:
the starry sky,
the Sinanthropus’ jaws,
a grasshopper’s hop,
an infant’s fingernails,
I RESTORE lost love.
Act now! Special offer!
You lie on last year’s grass
bathed in sunlight to the chin
while winds of summers past
caress your hair and seem
to lead you in a dance.
For further details, write: “Dream.”
WANTED: someone to mourn
the elderly who die
alone in old folks’ homes.
Applicants, don’t send forms
or birth certificates.
All papers will be torn,
no receipts will be issued
at this or later dates.
FOR PROMISES made by my spouse,
who’s tricked so many with his sweet
colors and fragrances and sounds–
dogs barking, guitars in the street–
into believing that they still
might conquer loneliness and fright,
I cannot be responsible.
Mr. Day’s widow, Mrs. Night.
Wisława Szymborska (Poems New and Collected)
Thornton Wilder’s one-act play “The Angel That Troubled the Waters,” based on John 5:1-4, dramatizes the power of the pool of Bethesda to heal whenever an angel stirred its waters. A physician comes periodically to the pool hoping to be the first in line and longing to be healed of his melancholy. The angel finally appears but blocks the physician just as he is ready to step into the water. The angel tells the physician to draw back, for this moment is not for him. The physician pleads for help in a broken voice, but the angel insists that healing is not intended for him. The dialogue continues—and then comes the prophetic word from the angel: “Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.” Later, the man who enters the pool first and is healed rejoices in his good fortune and turning to the physician says: “Please come with me. It is only an hour to my home. My son is lost in dark thoughts. I do not understand him and only you have ever lifted his mood. Only an hour.… There is also my daughter: since her child died, she sits in the shadow. She will not listen to us but she will listen to you.”13 Christians who remain in hiding continue to live the lie. We deny the reality of our sin. In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others. We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, guilt is an idol. But when we dare to live as forgiven men and women, we join the wounded healers and draw closer to Jesus.
Brennan Manning (Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging with Bonus Content)
Because this painting has never been restored there is a heightened poignance to it somehow; it doesn’t have the feeling of unassailable permanence that paintings in museums do.
There is a small crack in the lower left, and a little of the priming between the wooden panel and the oil emulsions of paint has been bared. A bit of abrasion shows, at the rim of a bowl of berries, evidence of time’s power even over this—which, paradoxically, only seems to increase its poetry, its deep resonance. If you could see the notes of a cello, when the bow draws slowly and deeply across its strings, and those resonant reverberations which of all instruments’ are nearest to the sound of the human voice emerge—no, the wrong verb, they seem to come into being all at once, to surround us, suddenly, with presence—if that were made visible, that would be the poetry of Osias Beert.
But the still life resides in absolute silence.
Portraits often seem pregnant with speech, or as if their subjects have just finished saying something, or will soon speak the thoughts that inform their faces, the thoughts we’re invited to read. Landscapes are full of presences, visible or unseen; soon nymphs or a stag or a band of hikers will make themselves heard.
But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails, the solid and dependable apples, this heap of rumpled books, this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver.
These are resolutely still, immutable, poised for a forward movement that will never occur. The brink upon which still life rests is the brink of time, the edge of something about to happen. Everything that we know crosses this lip, over and over, like water over the edge of a fall, as what might happen does, as any of the endless variations of what might come true does so, and things fall into being, tumble through the progression of existing in time.
Painting creates silence. You could examine the objects themselves, the actors in a Dutch still life—this knobbed beaker, this pewter salver, this knife—and, lovely as all antique utilitarian objects are, they are not, would not be, poised on the edge these same things inhabit when they are represented.
These things exist—if indeed they are still around at all—in time. It is the act of painting them that makes them perennially poised, an emergent truth about to be articulated, a word waiting to be spoken. Single word that has been forming all these years in the light on the knife’s pearl handle, in the drops of moisture on nearly translucent grapes: At the end of time, will that word be said?
Mark Doty (Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy)
He looks up.
Our eyes lock,and he breaks into a slow smile. My heart beats faster and faster. Almost there.He sets down his book and stands.And then this-the moment he calls my name-is the real moment everything changes.
He is no longer St. Clair, everyone's pal, everyone's friend.
He is Etienne. Etienne,like the night we met. He is Etienne,he is my friend.
He is so much more.
Etienne.My feet trip in three syllables. E-ti-enne. E-ti-enne, E-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate. He is so beautiful, so perfect.
My throat catches as he opens his arms and wraps me in a hug.My heart pounds furiously,and I'm embarrassed,because I know he feels it. We break apart, and I stagger backward. He catches me before I fall down the stairs.
"Whoa," he says. But I don't think he means me falling.
I blush and blame it on clumsiness. "Yeesh,that could've been bad."
Phew.A steady voice.
He looks dazed. "Are you all right?"
I realize his hands are still on my shoulders,and my entire body stiffens underneath his touch. "Yeah.Great. Super!"
"Hey,Anna. How was your break?"
John.I forget he was here.Etienne lets go of me carefully as I acknowledge Josh,but the whole time we're chatting, I wish he'd return to drawing and leave us alone. After a minute, he glances behind me-to where Etienne is standing-and gets a funny expression on hs face. His speech trails off,and he buries his nose in his sketchbook. I look back, but Etienne's own face has been wiped blank.
We sit on the steps together. I haven't been this nervous around him since the first week of school. My mind is tangled, my tongue tied,my stomach in knots. "Well," he says, after an excruciating minute. "Did we use up all our conversation over the holiday?"
The pressure inside me eases enough to speak. "Guess I'll go back to the dorm." I pretend to stand, and he laughs.
"I have something for you." He pulls me back down by my sleeve. "A late Christmas present."
"For me? But I didn't get you anything!"
He reaches into a coat pocket and brings out his hand in a fist, closed around something very small. "It's not much,so don't get excited."
"Ooo,what is it?"
"I saw it when I was out with Mum, and it made me think of you-"
"Etienne! Come on!"
He blinks at hearing his first name. My face turns red, and I'm filled with the overwhelming sensation that he knows exactly what I'm thinking. His expression turns to amazement as he says, "Close your eyes and hold out your hand."
Still blushing,I hold one out. His fingers brush against my palm, and my hand jerks back as if he were electrified. Something goes flying and lands with a faith dink behind us. I open my eyes. He's staring at me, equally stunned.
"Whoops," I say.
He tilts his head at me.
"I think...I think it landed back here." I scramble to my feet, but I don't even know what I'm looking for. I never felt what he placed in my hands. I only felt him. "I don't see anything! Just pebbles and pigeon droppings," I add,trying to act normal.
Where is it? What is it?
"Here." He plucks something tiny and yellow from the steps above him. I fumble back and hold out my hand again, bracing myself for the contact. Etienne pauses and then drops it from a few inches above my hand.As if he's avoiding me,too.
It's a glass bead.A banana.
He clears his throat. "I know you said Bridgette was the only one who could call you "Banana," but Mum was feeling better last weekend,so I took her to her favorite bead shop. I saw that and thought of you.I hope you don't mind someone else adding to your collection. Especially since you and Bridgette...you know..."
I close my hand around the bead. "Thank you."
"Mum wondered why I wanted it."
"What did you tell her?"
"That it was for you,of course." He says this like, duh.
I beam.The bead is so lightweight I hardly feel it, except for the teeny cold patch it leaves in my palm.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Those clothes are Susie's,' my father said calmly when he reached him.
Buckley looked down at my blackwatch dress that he held in his hand.
My father stepped closer, took the dress from my brother, and then, without speaking, he gathered the rest of my clothes, which Buckley had piled on the lawn. As he turned in silence toward the house, hardly breathing, clutching my clothes to him, it sparked.
I was the only one to see the colors. Just near Buckley's ears and on the tips of his cheeks and chin he was a little orange somehow, a little red.
Why can't I use them?' he asked.
It landed in my father's back like a fist.
Why can't I use those clothes to stake my tomatoes?'
My father turned around. He saw his son standing there, behind him the perfect plot of muddy, churned-up earth spotted with tiny seedlings. 'How can you ask me that question?'
You have to choose. It's not fair,' my brother said.
Buck?' My father held my clothes against his chest.
I watched Buckley flare and light. Behind him was the sun of the goldenrod hedge, twice as tall as it had been at my death.
I'm tired of it!' Buckley blared. 'Keesha's dad died and she's okay?'
Is Keesha a girl at school?'
My father was frozen. He could feel the dew that had gathered on his bare ankles and feet, could feel the ground underneath him, cold and moist and stirring with possibility.
I'm sorry. When did this happen?'
That's not the point, Dad! You don't get it.' Buckley turned around on his heel and started stomping the tender tomato shoots with his foot.
Buck, stop!' my father cried.
My brother turned.
You don't get it, Dad,' he said.
I'm sorry,' my father said. These are Susie's clothes and I just... It may not make sense, but they're hers-something she wore.'
You act like she was yours only!'
Tell me what you want to say. What's this about your friend Keesha's dad?'
Put the clothes down.'
My father laid them gently on the ground.
It isn't about Keesha's dad.'
Tell me what it is about.' My father was now all immediacy. He went back to the place he had been after his knee surgery, coming up out of the druggie sleep of painkillers to see his then-five-year-old son sitting near him, waiting for his eyes to flicker open so he could say, 'Peek-a-boo, Daddy.'
It never ceased to hurt. 'I know that.'
But you don't act that way.' Keesha's dad died when she was six. Keesha said she barely even thinks of him.'
She will,' my father said.
But what about us?'
Us, Dad. Me and Lindsey. Mom left becasue she couldn't take it.'
Calm down, Buck,' my father said. He was being as generous as he could as the air from his lungs evaporated out into his chest. Then a little voice in him said, Let go, let go, let go. 'What?' my father said.
I didn't say anything.'
Let go. Let go. Let go.
I'm sorry,' my father said. 'I'm not feeling very well.' His feet had grown unbelievably cold in the damp grass. His chest felt hollow, bugs flying around an excavated cavity. There was an echo in there, and it drummed up into his ears. Let go.
My father dropped down to his knees. His arm began to tingle on and off as if it had fallen asleep. Pins and needles up and down. My brother rushed to him.
Son.' There was a quaver in his voice and a grasping outward toward my brother.
I'll get Grandma.' And Buckley ran.
My father whispered faintly as he lay on his side with his face twisted in the direction of my old clothes: 'You can never choose. I've loved all three of you.
Song for the Last Act
Now that I have your face by heart, I look
Less at its features than its darkening frame
Where quince and melon, yellow as young flame,
Lie with quilled dahlias and the shepherd's crook.
Beyond, a garden. There, in insolent ease
The lead and marble figures watch the show
Of yet another summer loath to go
Although the scythes hang in the apple trees.
Now that I have your face by heart, I look.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read
In the black chords upon a dulling page
Music that is not meant for music's cage,
Whose emblems mix with words that shake and bleed.
The staves are shuttled over with a stark
Unprinted silence. In a double dream
I must spell out the storm, the running stream.
The beat's too swift. The notes shift in the dark.
Now that I have your voice by heart, I read.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see
The wharves with their great ships and architraves;
The rigging and the cargo and the slaves
On a strange beach under a broken sky.
O not departure, but a voyage done!
The bales stand on the stone; the anchor weeps
Its red rust downward, and the long vine creeps
Beside the salt herb, in the lengthening sun.
Now that I have your heart by heart, I see.
Louise Bogan (Collected Poems 1923-1953)
Are you okay?” he says.
My breath shakes. “Do you know the story of the Prodigal Son?”
“Oh my god. Rev—”
He sighs. “I don’t remember the whole thing.”
So I tell him the story.
He listens. When I’m done, he says, “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Which one am I?” I finally ask.
“I didn’t stay with my father. So I’m obviously not the devoted son.”
“But is that saying that if I went back to him, he’d welcome me with open arms? Am I supposed to be that son?”
“Are you listening to yourself right now?”
“No.” I study him. My voice is a breath away from breaking. “Help me, Dec. Which one am I?”
His eyes are dark and serious. “Neither. Is that what you need me to say? You’re neither son.
“You’re not selfish. You wouldn’t be the son who asks for his money and leaves. And you’re not spiteful. You don’t resent anyone, even the one person you should.”
I flinch again. “Don’t you understand? I have to be one or the other.”
“No, you don’t! You moron, there are three people in the story.”
“You’re neither son, Rev. If you’re anyone, you’re the man who watched his kids act like total dicks, only to stand there with open arms and forgive them.”
I’m speechless. I might be gaping at him. As many times as I’ve read that parable, I’ve never considered a third perspective. But of course it’s right there. It’s so clear.
Declan pulls his pillow away from the wall, fluffs it up, and lies back down. He yawns. “Now. Tell me about the girl.
Brigid Kemmerer (More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost, #2))
Something creaked beneath me! A soft step on rotting wood!
I jumped startled, scared, and turned, expecting to see-God
knows what! Then I sighed, for it was only Chris standing in the gloom, silently staring at me. Why? Did I look prettier than
usual? Was it the moonlight, shining through my airy clothes?
All random doubts were cleared when he said in a voice
gritty and low, "You look beautiful sitting there like that." He
cleared the frog in his throat. "The moonlight is etching you with silver-blue, and I can see the shape of your body through
Then, bewilderingly, he seized me by the shoulders, digging
in his fingers, hard! They hurt. "Damn you, Cathy! You kissed
that man! He could have awakened and seen you, and demanded
to know who you were! And not thought you only a part of his
Scary the way he acted, the fright I felt for no reason at all.
"How do you know what I did? You weren't there; you were
sick that night."
He shook me, glaring his eyes, and again I thought he seemed a stranger. "He saw you, Cathy-he wasn't soundly asleep!"
"He saw me?" I cried, disbelieving. It wasn't possible . . .
"Yes!" he yelled. This was Chris, who was usually in such
control of his emotions. "He thought you a part of his dream!
But don't you know Momma can guess who it was, just by
putting two and two together-just as I have? Damn you and
your romantic notions! Now they're on to us! They won't leave money casually about as they did before. He's counting, she's
counting, and we don't have enough-not yet!"
He yanked me down from the widow sill! He appeared wild
and furious enough to slap my face-and not once in all our
lives had he ever struck me, though I'd given him reason to
when I was younger. But he shook me until my eyes rolled, until
I was dizzy and crying out: "Stop! Momma knows we can't pass
through a looked door!"
This wasn't Chris . . . this was someone I'd never seen
before . . . primitive, savage.
He yelled out something like, "You're mine, Cathy! Mine!
You'll always be mine! No matter who comes into your future,
you'll always belong to me! I'll make you mine . . . tonight . . .
I didn't believe it, not Chris!
And I did not fully understand what he had in mind, nor, if I
am to give him credit, do I think he really meant what he said,
but passion has a way of taking over.
We fell to the floor, both of us. I tried to fight him off. We
wrestled, turning over and over, writhing, silent, a frantic strug-
gle of his strength against mine.
It wasn't much of a battle.
I had the strong dancer's legs; he had the biceps, the greater weight and height . . . and he had much more determination than
i to use something hot, swollen and demanding, so much it stile reasoning and sanity from him.
And I loved him. I wanted what he wanted-if he wanted it
that much, right and wrong.
Somehow we ended up on that old mattress-that filthy,
smelly, stained mattress that must have known lovers long
before this night. And that is where he took me, and forced in
that swollen, rigid male sex part of him that had to be satisfied.
It drove into my tight and resisting flesh which tore and bled.
Now we had done what we both swore we'd never do.
V.C. Andrews (Flowers in the Attic/Petals on the Wind (Dollganger, #1-2))
Hypercritical, Shaming Parents
Hypercritical and shaming parents send the same message to their children as perfectionistic parents do - that they are never good enough. Parents often deliberately shame their children into minding them without realizing the disruptive impact shame can have on a child's sense of self. Statements such as "You should be ashamed of yourself" or "Shame on you" are obvious examples. Yet these types of overtly shaming statements are actually easier for the child to defend against than are more subtle forms of shaming, such as contempt, humiliation, and public shaming.
There are many ways that parents shame their children. These include belittling, blaming, contempt, humiliation, and disabling expectations.
-BELITTLING. Comments such as "You're too old to want to be held" or "You're just a cry-baby" are horribly humiliating to a child. When a parent makes a negative comparison between his or her child and another, such as "Why can't you act like Jenny? See how she sits quietly while her mother is talking," it is not only humiliating but teaches a child to always compare himself or herself with peers and find himself or herself deficient by comparison.
-BLAMING. When a child makes a mistake, such as breaking a vase while rough-housing, he or she needs to take responsibility. But many parents go way beyond teaching a lesson by blaming and berating the child: "You stupid idiot! Do you think money grows on trees? I don't have money to buy new vases!" The only thing this accomplishes is shaming the child to such an extent that he or she cannot find a way to walk away from the situation with his or her head held high.
-CONTEMPT. Expressions of disgust or contempt communicate absolute rejection. The look of contempt (often a sneer or a raised upper lip), especially from someone who is significant to a child, can make him or her feel disgusting or offensive. When I was a child, my mother had an extremely negative attitude toward me. Much of the time she either looked at me with the kind of expectant expression that said, "What are you up to now?" or with a look of disapproval or disgust over what I had already done. These looks were extremely shaming to me, causing me to feel that there was something terribly wrong with me.
-HUMILIATION. There are many ways a parent can humiliate a child, such as making him or her wear clothes that have become dirty. But as Gershen Kaufman stated in his book Shame: The Power of Caring, "There is no more humiliating experience than to have another person who is clearly the stronger and more powerful take advantage of that power and give us a beating." I can personally attest to this. In addition to shaming me with her contemptuous looks, my mother often punished me by hitting me with the branch of a tree, and she often did this outside, in front of the neighbors. The humiliation I felt was like a deep wound to my soul.
-DISABLING EXPECTATIONS. Parents who have an inordinate need to have their child excel at a particular activity or skill are likely to behave in ways that pressure the child to do more and more. According to Kaufman, when a child becomes aware of the real possibility of failing to meet parental expectations, he or she often experiences a binding self-consciousness. This self-consciousness - the painful watching of oneself - is very disabling. When something is expected of us in this way, attaining the goal is made harder, if not impossible.
Yet another way that parents induce shame in their children is by communicating to them that they are a disappointment to them. Such messages as "I can't believe you could do such a thing" or "I am deeply disappointed in you" accompanied by a disapproving tone of voice and facial expression can crush a child's spirit.
Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
The safest course for an Infinite Way student to follow is to admit freely that he does not know how to pray, how to go out or come in, or what to pray for, and then open himself in receptivity to that still small Voice which is within, closer than breathing, and let It pray through him, let It utter Its voice, let It have Its way. If you are praying for someone else, let It inform you, let It inform your patient or your student.
Do not try to be Omniscience yourself in your praying, because you can be Omniscience only when you are completely absent from the personal sense of self, when you are absent from any knowledge, when you have attained that place of unknowing in which you definitely know that you do not know, and do not even want to know, but are willing and open to receive spiritual wisdom, spiritual guidance, spiritual strength.
When you are praying or meditating for someone else, do not try to transfer thoughts to him, do not try to know what is right for him or best for him, but sit in a state of complete receptivity, and then let the Father function as your consciousness. You may not receive any message for your patient or student, but you do not need any. He will receive it, and he will receive it not from you, but from the Source of you. Your consciousness acts only as the instrument of contact, and you yourself may never know what the message is, or even whether any message has been received
Joel S. Goldsmith
When they were only a few yards from the stone hull, Inej halted and watched the mists wreathing the branches. “He was going to break by legs,” she said. “Smash them with a mallet so they’d never heal….”
She took a shaky breath. The words came like a string of gunshots, rapid-fire, as if she resented the very act of speaking them. “I didn’t know if you would come.”
Kaz couldn’t blame Van Eck for that. Kaz has built that doubt in her with every cold word and small cruelty.
“We’re your crew, Inej. We don’t leave our own at the mercy of merch scum.” It wasn’t the answer he wanted to give. It wasn’t the answer she wanted.
When she turned to him, her eyes were bright with anger.
“He was going to break my legs,” she said, her chin held high, the barest quaver in her voice. “Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn’t scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn’t the Wraith anymore?”
Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
The wind rose. The boughs of the willows whispered, a sly, gossiping sound. Kaz held her gaze, saw the moon reflected there, twin scythes of light. She was right to be cautious. Even of him. Especially of him. Cautious was how you survived.
At last she nodded, the smallest dip of her chin.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
May you, son, daughter, image of the very Creator God, fearfully and wonderfully made, knit together in your mother’s womb, fully seen, fully known, and fully loved, see with eyes that are open wide. Hear the Voice that speaks from inside of you with ears attuned and mind unshackled. Taste and see the goodness of the One who shall be all and in all. May your heart be opened to the love that formed you and everything else, the love that holds all things together and shall make all things new in the end, and may that love that was broken and poured out for you impel you into the world to break your own self open to be poured out for the world that God so loves. Poured out in acts of justice and mercy, poured out in good and hard work that brings order rather than disorder. Poured out in songs and liturgies, business plans and water colors, child-rearing and policy-making. May your life be a brush in the very hand of God—painting new creation into every nook and cranny of reality that your shadow graces. Be courageous. Be free. Prune that which needs pruning, and water that which thirsts for righteousness. You are the body of Christ, the light of the world. Pick up your hammer. Your brush. Your trumpet. Your skillet. Your pen. Lift up your head. And walk. Run. Dance. Fly. The great Artist, the future God, calls you into being. So go into your world, your valley, your garden, and create with His grace and in His peace. Amen. ________________________
Michael Gungor (The Crowd, The Critic And The Muse: A Book For Creators)
Q. Would you repeat, Dr. Seldon, your thoughts concerning the future of Trantor?
A. I have said, and I say again, that Trantor will lie in ruins within the next three centuries.
Q. You do not consider your statement a disloyal one?
A. No, sir. Scientific truth is beyond loyalty and disloyalty."
Q. You are sure that your statement represents scientific truth?
A. I am.
Q. On what basis?
A. On the basis of the mathematics of psychohistory.
Q. Can you prove that this mathematics is valid?
A. Only to another mathematician.
Q. ( with a smile) Your claim then is that your truth is of so esoteric a nature that it is beyond the understanding of a plain man. It seems to me that truth should be clearer than that, less mysterious, more open to the mind.
A. It presents no difficulties to some minds. The physics of energy transfer, which we know as thermodynamics, has been clear and true through all the history of man since the mythical ages, yet there may be people present who would find it impossible to design a power engine. People of high intelligence, too. I doubt if the learned Commissioners—
At this point, one of the Commissioners leaned toward the Advocate. His words were not heard but the hissing of the voice carried a certain asperity. The Advocate flushed and interrupted Seldon.
Q. We are not here to listen to speeches, Dr. Seldon. Let us assume that you have made your point. Let me suggest to you that your predictions of disaster might be intended to destroy public confidence in the Imperial Government for purposes of your own!
A. That is not so.
Q. Let me suggest that you intend to claim that a period of time preceding the so-called ruin of Trantor will be filled with unrest of various types.
A. That is correct.
Q. And that by the mere prediction thereof, you hope to bring it about, and to have then an army of a hundred thousand available.
A. In the first place, that is not so. And if it were, investigation will show you that barely ten thousand are men of military age, and none of these has training in arms.
Q. Are you acting as an agent for another?
A. I am not in the pay of any man, Mr. Advocate.
Q. You are entirely disinterested? You are serving science?
A. I am.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
Screens of tumbling water, breaking the world beyond them into glittering lines and smeared shadows. Kellhus had ceased trying to penetrate them.
“Power,” Anasûrimbor Moënghus said, “is always power over. When an infant may be either, what is the difference between a Fanim and an Inrithi? Or between a Nansur and a Scylvendi? What could be so malleable in Men that anyone, split between circumstances, could be his own murderer?
“You learned this lesson quickly. You looked across Wilderness and you saw thousands upon thousands of them, their backs bent to the field, their legs spread to the ceiling, their mouths reciting scripture, their arms hammering steel … Thousands upon thousands of them, each one a small circle of repeating actions, each one a wheel in the great machine of nations …
“You understood that when men stop bowing, the emperor ceases to rule, that when the whips are thrown into the river, the slave ceases to serve. For an infant to be an emperor or a slave or a merchant or a whore or a general or whatever, those about him must act accordingly. And Men act as they believe.
“You saw them, in their thousands, spread across the world in great hierarchies, the actions of each exquisitely attuned to the expectations of others. The identity of Men, you discovered, was determined by the beliefs, the assumptions, of others. This is what makes them emperors or slaves … Not their gods. Not their blood.
“Nations live as Men act,” Moënghus said, his voice refracted through the ambient rush of waters. “Men act as they believe. And Men believe as they are conditioned. Since they are blind to their conditioning, they do not doubt their intuitions …”
Kellhus nodded in wary assent. “They believe absolutely,” he said.
R. Scott Bakker (The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3))
What was glimpsed in Aquarius—what was envisioned, believed in, prophesied, predicted, doubted, and forewarned—is made, in Pisces, manifest. Those solitary visions that, but a month ago, belonged only to the dreamer, will now acquire the form and substance of the real. We were of our own making, and we shall be our own end.
And after Pisces? Out of the womb, the bloody birth. We do not follow: we cannot cross from last to first. Aries will not admit a collective point of view, and Taurus will not relinquish the subjective. Gemini's code is an exclusive one. Cancer seeks a source, Leo, a purpose, and Virgo, a design; but these are projects undertaken singly. Only in the zodiac's second act will we begin to show ourselves: in Libra, as a notion, in Scorpio, as a quality, and in Sagittarius, as a voice. In Capricorn we will gain memory, and in Aquarius, vision; it is only in Pisces, the last and oldest of the zodiacal signs, that we acquire a kind of selfhood, something whole. But the doubled fish of Pisces, that mirrored womb of self and self-awareness, is an ourobouros of mind—both the will of fate, and the fated will—and the house of self-undoing is a prison built by prisoners, airless, door-less, and mortared from within.
These alterations come upon us irrevocably, as the hands of the clock-face come upon the hour.
Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries)
As you, my fans, know I’m scheduled to play in Greensboro, North Carolina this Sunday. As we also know, North Carolina has just passed HB2, which the media are referring to as the ‘bathroom’ law. HB2 — known officially as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act — dictates which bathrooms transgender people are permitted to use. Just as important, the law also attacks the rights of LGBT citizens to sue when their human rights are violated in the workplace.
No other group of North Carolinians faces such a burden. To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments.
Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them. It is the strongest means I have for raising my voice in opposition to those who continue to push us backwards instead of forwards.
All Kellhus could see of his father were two fingers and a thumb lying slack upon a bare thigh. The thumbnail gleamed.
“As Dûnyain,” the disembodied voice continued, “you had no choice. To command yourself, you had to master circumstance. And to master circumstance, you had to bind the actions of the worldborn to your will. You had to make limbs of nations. So you made their beliefs the object of your relentless scrutiny. It was axiomatic.
“You realized those truths that cut against the interests of the powerful were called lies, and that those lies that served those interests were called truths. And you understood that it had to be this way, since it is the function of belief, not the veracity, that preserved nations. Why call an emperor’s blood divine? Why tell slaves that suffering is grace? It is what beliefs do, the actions they license and prohibit, that is important. If men believed all blood was equal, the caste-nobility would be overthrown. If men believed all coin was oppression, the caste-merchants would be turned out.
“Nations tolerate only those beliefs that conserve the great system of interlocking actions that makes them possible. For the worldborn, you realized, truth is largely irrelevant. Why else would they all dwell in delusion?
“Your first decision was elementary. You claimed to be a member of the caste-nobility, a prince, knowing that, once you convinced some, you could demand that all act accordingly. And through this simple deception, you secured your independence. No other would command you, because they believed they had no right to command you.
“But how might you convince them of your right? One lie had made you their equal; what further lie might make you their master?
R. Scott Bakker (The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3))
You’re lucky you’re good in
“Oh.” He grabbed at my foot. “I think you keep me around for other reasons.”
I slanted him a look out of the corner of my eye. “Right now, for the life of me I can’t think what those reasons are.”
Braden tugged harder on my foot, raising his fingers towards it. “Take it back or the foot getsit.”
Oh hell no! I yanked at my appendage.
Deaf to my warning, he started to tickle me,his grip tightening as I laughed breathlessly and
kicked out, trying to get free.
He wouldn’t stop. Ruthless!
“Braden,” I panted hysterically, attempting to shove at him with my arms but struggling as he continued his war on my feet. I laughed harder,
ribs aching, and then… horror.
I broke wind.
Braden immediately let go of my feet, his loud, rumbling laugh filling the room, laughter that only deepened when I lost balance, from kicking out
at him and then being abruptly let go, and fell off the couch with an undignified thud.
Mortified as he collapsed against the couch
belly laughing at my fart then fall, I grabbed a cushion and launched it at him from my position on the floor.
Of course this only made the idiot laugh
harder. I warred between feeling humiliation at farting in front of him, something you just didn’t do in
company, and laughing, since his was so
infectious. “Braden!” I whined. “Shut up. It’s not funny,” I huffed, my lips caught in part smile, part
“Oh babe,” he tried to catch his breath, wiping
a tear from the corner of his eye as he grinned
down at me. “That was definitely funny.” He held out a hand to help me up.
I slapped it away. “You’re such an immature a-hole.”
“Hey, I’m not the one who just let off.”
Oh God, it was so awful. I groaned, falling onto my back and covering my eyes with my hands.
“Jocelyn,” I felt his hand on my knee and heard the amusement in his voice. “Babe, why are you so embarrassed? It was just a fart.
Brilliantly timed I might add.”
I sucked in the mortification. “Oh my God, shut up.” He chuckled again and I snapped open my furious eyes. “You’re enjoying this!”
“Well yeah,” he huffed, eyes bright. “I’ve never seen you embarrassed before. Even when I walked in on you naked you gave me attitude and acted like you didn’t care. That you’re
mortified by a fart is really quite adorable.”
“I am not adorable!”
“Oh I think you are.
Let's get it over with, so I can stop wondering. How many have there been?"
Lauren stared at him."How many what?"
"Lovers," he clarified bitterly.
She could hardly believe her ears. After treating her as if her standards of morality were childish, after acting as if promiscuity was a virtue, after telling her how man preferred experienced women, he was jealous. Because now he cared.
Lauren didn't know whether to hit him, burst out laughing or hug him. Instead she decided to exact just a tiny bit of revenge for all the misery and uncertainty he had put her through. Turning,she walked over to the bar and reached for a bottle of white wine. "Why should the number make any difference?" she asked innocently. "You told me in Harbor Springs that men don't prize virginity anymore, that they don't expect or want a woman to be inexperienced.Right?"
"Right," he said grimly, glowering at the ice cubes in his glass.
"You also said," she continued, biting back a smile, "that women have the same physical desires men have,and that we have the right to satisfy them with whomever we wish.You were very emphatic about that-"
"Lauren," he warned in a low voice, "I asked you a simple question. I don't care what the answer is, I just want an answer so I can stop wondering. Tell me how many there were. Tell me if you liked the, if you didn't give a damn abou them,or if you did it to get even with me.Just tell me.I won't hold it against you."
Like hell you wouldn't! Lauren thought happily as she struggled to uncork the bottle of wine. "Of course you won't hold it against me," she said lightly. "You specifically said-"
"I know what I said," he snapped tersely. "Now,how many?"
She flicked a glance in his direction, implying that she was bewildered by his tone. "Only one."
Angry regret flared in his eyes,and his body tensed as if he had just felt a physical blow. "Did you...care about him?"
"I thought I loved him at the time," Lauren said brightly, twisting the corkscrew deeper into the cork.
"All right.Let's forget him," Nick said curtly. He finally noticed her efforts with the wine bottle and walked over to help her.
"Are you going to be able to forget him?" Lauren asked, admiring the ease with which he managed the stubborn cork.
"I will...after a while."
"What do you mean,after a while? You said there was nothing promiscuous about a woman satisfying her biological-"
"I know what I said,dammit!"
"Then why do you look so angry? You didn't lie to me,did you?"
"I didn't lie," he said, slamming the bottle onto the bar and reaching for a glass from the cabinet. "I believed it at the time."
"Why?" she goaded.
"Because it was convenient to believe it," he bit out. "I was not in love with you then."
Lauren loved him more at that moment than ever. "Would you like me to tell you about him?"
"No," he said coldly.
Her eyes twinkled, but she backed a cautious step out of his reach. "You would have approved of him. He was tall, dark, and handsome, like you. Very elegant,sophisticated and experienced. He wore down my resistence in two days,and-"
"Dammit, stop it!" Nick grated in genuine fury.
"His name is John."
Nick braced both hands on the liguor cabinet,his back to her. "I do not want to hear this!"
"John Nicholas Sinclair," Lauren clarified.
Judith McNaught (Double Standards)
Lost in the stormy kiss, Elizabeth felt her legs gliding down his as he gently lowered her against him until her feet touched the floor. But when his fingers pulled at the ribbon that held her gown in place at her shoulder, she jerked free of his kiss, automatically clamping her hand over his. “What are you doing?” she asked in a quaking whisper. His fingers stilled, and Ian lifted his heavy-lidded gaze to hers.
The question took him by surprise, but as he stared into her green eyes Ian saw her apprehension, and he had a good idea what was causing it. “What do you think I’m doing?” he countered cautiously.
She hesitated, as if unwilling even to accuse him of such an unspeakable act, and then she admitted in a small, reluctant voice, “Disrobing me.”
“And that surprises you?”
“Surprises me? Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it?” Elizabeth asked, more suspicious than ever of what Lucinda had told her.
Quietly he said, “What exactly do you know about what takes place between a husband and wife in bed?”
“You-you mean ‘as it pertains to the creation of children’?” she said, quoting his words to her the day she agreed to become betrothed to him.
He smiled with tender amusement at her phrasing. “I suppose you can call it that-for now.”
“Only what Lucinda told me.” He waited to hear an explanation, and Elizabeth reluctantly added, “She said a husband kisses his wife in bed and that it hurts the first time, and that is how it is done.”
Ian hesitated, angry with himself for not having followed his own instincts and questioned her further when she seemed fully informed and without maidenly qualms about lovemaking. As gently as he could, he said, “You’re a very intelligent young woman, love, not an overly fastidious spinster like your former duenna. Now, do you honestly believe the rules of nature would be completely set aside for people?
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things. By that I mean not finding anything wrong with flirtations, a kiss, an embrace, an off-color joke. This side of me is usually lying in wait to ambush the other one, which is much purer, deeper and finer. No one knows Anne’s better side, and that’s why most people can’t stand me. Oh, I can be an amusing clown for an afternoon, but after that everyone’s had enough of me to last a month. Actually, I’m what a romantic movie is to a profound thinker—a mere diversion, a comic interlude, something that is soon forgotten: not bad, but not particularly good either. I hate having to tell you this, but why shouldn’t I admit it when I know it’s true? My lighter, more superficial side will always steal a march on the deeper side and therefore always win. You can’t imagine how often I’ve tried to push away this Anne, which is only half of what is known as Anne—to beat her down, hide her. But it doesn’t work, and I know why. I’m afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I’m afraid they’ll mock me, think I’m ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I’m used to not being taken seriously, but only the “lighthearted” Anne is used to it and can put up with it; the “deeper” Anne is too weak. If I force the good Anne into the spotlight for even fifteen minutes, she shuts up like a clam the moment she’s called upon to speak, and lets Anne number one do the talking. Before I realize it, she’s disappeared. So the nice Anne is never seen in company. She’s never made a single appearance, though she almost always takes the stage when I’m alone. I know exactly how I’d like to be, how I am … on the inside. But unfortunately I’m only like that with myself. And perhaps that’s why—no, I’m sure that’s the reason why—I think of myself as happy on the inside and other people think I’m happy on the outside. I’m guided by the pure Anne within, but on the outside I’m nothing but a frolicsome little goat tugging at its tether. As I’ve told you, what I say is not what I feel, which is why I have a reputation for being boy-crazy as well as a flirt, a smart aleck and a reader of romances. The happy-go-lucky Anne laughs, gives a flippant reply, shrugs her shoulders and pretends she doesn’t give a darn. The quiet Anne reacts in just the opposite way. If I’m being completely honest, I’ll have to admit that it does matter to me, that I’m trying very hard to change myself, but that I’m always up against a more powerful enemy. A voice within me is sobbing, “You see, that’s what’s become of you. You’re surrounded by negative opinions, dismayed looks and mocking faces, people who dislike you, and all because you don’t listen to the advice of your own better half.” Believe me, I’d like to listen, but it doesn’t work, because if I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke, and then I’m not even talking about my own family, who assume I must be sick, stuff me with aspirins and sedatives, feel my neck and forehead to see if I have a temperature, ask about my bowel movements and berate me for being in a bad mood, until I just can’t keep it up anymore, because when everybody starts hovering over me, I get cross, then sad, and finally end up turning my heart inside out, the bad part on the outside and the good part on the inside, and keep trying to find a way to become what I’d like to be and what I could be if … if only there were no other people in the world. Yours, Anne M. Frank ANNE’S DIARY ENDS HERE.
Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl)
If it’s love, those tears are a sign of distress, not an act of defiance. If it’s love, her bold fashion statement is something to be celebrated, not criticized. If it’s love, his mistakes are evidence of trying and learning, not simply messes to clean up. If it’s love, her slow pace is a reflection of her “stop and smell the roses” approach to life, not a time waster. If it’s love, his early morning wake-ups are something he’ll outgrow, not a plot to exhaust us. If it’s love, her poor choice is a chance to respond thoughtfully, not give a knee-jerk reaction. If it’s love, our voice has a little more calm; our eyes have a little more perspective; our hands have a little more gentleness. We won’t always choose love. We are human, after all. But when we choose love over anger, hurry, condemnation, shame, and sarcasm, there is space for goodness to enter the conversation. When love speaks, we are all better heard. When love looks, we are all better seen. Let us look and speak love today. As much as we possibly can, let us allow goodness in. TODAY’S REMINDER In the busyness of life, it’s easy to fall into the habit of saying my loved one’s name as if it’s just a word or a way to get his or her attention. Before I address my loved one today, I will take a moment to remember the time, thought, and care that went into choosing the name of this precious person, and then I’ll say it with genuine love. This one simple action holds the power to bring love into the conversation.
Rachel Macy Stafford (Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love)
the six of us are supposed to drive to the diner in Hastings for lunch. But the moment we enter the cavernous auditorium where the girls told us to meet them, my jaw drops and our plans change.
“Holy shit—is that a red velvet chaise lounge?”
The guys exchange a WTF look. “Um…sure?” Justin says. “Why—”
I’m already sprinting toward the stage. The girls aren’t here yet, which means I have to act fast. “For fuck’s sake, get over here,” I call over my shoulder.
Their footsteps echo behind me, and by the time they climb on the stage, I’ve already whipped my shirt off and am reaching for my belt buckle. I stop to fish my phone from my back pocket and toss it at Garrett, who catches it without missing a beat.
“What is happening right now?” Justin bursts out.
I drop trou, kick my jeans away, and dive onto the plush chair wearing nothing but my black boxer-briefs. “Quick. Take a picture.”
Justin doesn’t stop shaking his head. Over and over again, and he’s blinking like an owl, as if he can’t fathom what he’s seeing.
Garrett, on the other hand, knows better than to ask questions. Hell, he and Hannah spent two hours constructing origami hearts with me the other day. His lips twitch uncontrollably as he gets the phone in position.
“Wait.” I pause in thought. “What do you think? Double guns, or double thumbs up?”
“What is happening?”
We both ignore Justin’s baffled exclamation.
“Show me the thumbs up,” Garrett says.
I give the camera a wolfish grin and stick up my thumbs.
My best friend’s snort bounces off the auditorium walls. “Veto. Do the guns. Definitely the guns.”
He takes two shots—one with flash, one without—and just like that, another romantic gesture is in the bag.
As I hastily put my clothes back on, Justin rubs his temples with so much vigor it’s as if his brain has imploded. He gapes as I tug my jeans up to my hips. Gapes harder when I walk over to Garrett so I can study the pictures.
I nod in approval. “Damn. I should go into modeling.”
“You photograph really well,” Garrett agrees in a serious voice. “And dude, your package looks huge.”
Fuck, it totally does.
Justin drags both hands through his dark hair. “I swear on all that is holy—if one of you doesn’t tell me what the hell just went down here, I’m going to lose my shit.”
I chuckle. “My girl wanted me to send her a boudoir shot of me on a red velvet chaise lounge, but you have no idea how hard it is to find a goddamn red velvet chaise lounge.”
“You say this as if it’s an explanation. It is not.” Justin sighs like the weight of the world rests on his shoulders. “You hockey players are fucked up.”
“Naah, we’re just not pussies like you and your football crowd,” Garrett says sweetly. “We own our sex appeal, dude.”
“Sex appeal? That was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever—no, you know what? I’m not gonna engage,” Justin grumbles. “Let’s find the girls and grab some lunch
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
Don’t make that mistake again,” he said in a voice so quiet it was barely audible. He looked as if all his latent hostilities were waiting for an excuse to turn on her. “If you throw that cup at me, so help me, I’ll carry you over and put you down in the punch bowl!”
“You and the CIA, maybe!” Cecily hissed. “Go ahead and try…!”
Tate actually took a step toward her just as Colby managed to get between them. “Now, now,” he cautioned.
Cecily wasn’t backing down an inch. Neither was Tate. He’d gone from lazy affection and indulgent amusement to bristling antagonism in the space of weeks. Lately he flew into a rage if Cecily’s name was mentioned, but Colby hadn’t told her that.
“You have no right to make that kind of insinuation about me,” she said through her teeth. “I don’t get jobs lying on my back, and you know it!”
Tate’s black eyes narrowed. He looked formidable, but Cecily wasn’t intimidated by him. She never had been. He glanced at her hands, which were clenched on her cup, and then back to her rigid features. It had infuriated him to be the object of televised ridicule at the political dinner, and Audrey’s comments had only made things worse. He was carrying a grudge. But as he looked at Cecily, he felt an emptiness in his very soul. This woman had been a thorn in his side for years, ever since an impulsive act of compassion had made her his responsibility. In those days, she’d been demure and sweet and dependent on him, and her shy hero worship had been vaguely flattering. Now, she was a fiery, independent woman who didn’t give a damn about his disapproval or, apparently, his company, and she had done everything expect leave town to keep out of his way.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
He made a noise that sounded like a strangled laugh, and then said: Ah, I like your style. I’ll give you that. You’re not easy to get the upper hand on, are you? Obviously I’m not going to manage it. It’s funny, because you carry on like you’d let me walk all over you, answering my texts at two in the morning, and then telling me you’re in love with me, blah blah blah. But that’s all your way of saying, just try and catch me, because you won’t. And I can see I won’t. You’re not going to let me have it for a minute. Nine times out of ten you’d have someone fooled with the way you go on. They’d be delighted with themselves, thinking they were really the boss of you. Yeah, yeah, but I’m not an idiot. You’re only letting me act badly because it puts you above me, and that’s where you like to be. Above, above. And I don’t take it personally, by the way, I don’t think you’d let anyone near you. Actually, I respect it. You’re looking out for yourself, and I’m sure you have your reasons. I’m sorry I was so harsh on you with what I said, because you were right, I was just trying to hurt you. And I probably did hurt you, big deal. Anyone can hurt anyone if they go out of their way. But then instead of getting mad with me, you go saying I’m welcome to stay over and you still love me and all this. Because you have to be perfect, don’t you? No, you really have a way about you, I must say. And I’m sorry, alright? I won’t be trying to take a jab at you again. Lesson learned. But from now on you don’t need to act like you’re under my thumb, when we both know I’m nowhere near you. Alright? Another long silence fell. Their faces were invisible in darkness. Eventually, in a high and strained voice, straining perhaps for an evenness or lightness it did not attain, she replied: Alright. If I ever do get a hold of you, you won’t need to tell me, he said. I’ll know. But I’m not going to chase too much. I’ll just stay where I am and see if you come to me. Yes, that’s what hunters do with deer, she said. Before they kill them.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
For you, a thousand times over."
"Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors."
"...attention shifted to him like sunflowers turning to the sun."
"But even when he wasn't around, he was."
"When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal a wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. There is no act more wretched than stealing."
"...she had a voice that made me think of warm milk and honey."
"My heart stuttered at the thought of her."
"...and I would walk by, pretending not to know her, but dying to."
"It turned out that, like satan, cancer had many names."
"Every woman needed a husband, even if he did silence the song in her."
"The first time I saw the Pacific, I almost cried."
"Proud. His eyes gleamed when he said that and I liked being on the receiving end of that look."
"Make morning into a key and throw it into the well,
Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.
Let the morning sun forget to rise in the East,
Go slowly, lovely moon, go slowly."
"Men are easy,... a man's plumbing is like his mind: simple, very few surprises. You ladies, on the other hand... well, God put a lot of thought into making you."
"All my life, I'd been around men. That night, I discovered the tenderness of a woman."
"And I could almost feel the emptiness in [her] womb, like it was a living, breathing thing. It had seeped into our marriage, that emptiness, into our laughs, and our lovemaking. And late at night, in the darkness of our room, I'd feel it rising from [her] and settling between us. Sleeping between us. Like a newborn child."
"America was a river, roaring along unmindful of the past. I could wade into this river, let my sins drown to the bottom, let the waters carry me someplace far. Someplace with no ghosts, no memories, and no sins. If for nothing else, for that I embraced America."
"...and every day I thank [God] that I am alive, not because I fear death, but because my wife has a husband and my son is not an orphan."
"...lifting him from the certainty of turmoil and dropping him in a turmoil of uncertainty."
"...sometimes the dead are luckier."
"He walked like he was afraid to leave behind footprints. He moved as if not to stir the air around him."
"...and when she locked her arms around my neck, when I smelled apples in her hair, I realized how much I had missed her. 'You're still the morning sun to me...' I whispered."
"...there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eys of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him... there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.
Khalid Hosseini (The Kite Runner)
There is a dark side to religious devotion that is too often ignored or denied. As a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane -- as a means of inciting evil, to borrow the vocabulary of the devout -- there may be no more potent force than religion. When the subject of religiously inspired bloodshed comes up, many Americans immediately think of Islamic fundamentalism, which is to be expected in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But men have been committing heinous acts in the name of God ever since mankind began believing in deities, and extremists exist within all religions. Muhammad is not the only prophet whose words have been used to sanction barbarism; history has not lacked for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists who have been motivated by scripture to butcher innocents. Plenty of these religious extremists have been homegrown, corn-fed Americans.
Faith-based violence was present long before Osama bin Laden, and it ill be with us long after his demise. Religious zealots like bin Laden, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara, and Dan Lafferty are common to every age, just as zealots of other stripes are. In any human endeavor, some fraction of its practitioners will be motivated to pursue that activity with such concentrated focus and unalloyed passion that it will consume them utterly. One has to look no further than individuals who feel compelled to devote their lives to becoming concert pianists, say, or climbing Mount Everest. For some, the province of the extreme holds an allure that's irresistible. And a certain percentage of such fanatics will inevitably fixate on the matters of the spirit.
The zealot may be outwardly motivated by the anticipation of a great reward at the other end -- wealth, fame, eternal salvation -- but the real recompense is probably the obsession itself. This is no less true for the religious fanatic than for the fanatical pianist or fanatical mountain climber. As a result of his (or her) infatuation, existence overflows with purpose. Ambiguity vanishes from the fanatic's worldview; a narcissistic sense of self-assurance displaces all doubt. A delicious rage quickens his pulse, fueled by the sins and shortcomings of lesser mortals, who are soiling the world wherever he looks. His perspective narrows until the last remnants of proportion are shed from his life. Through immoderation, he experiences something akin to rapture.
Although the far territory of the extreme can exert an intoxicating pull on susceptible individuals of all bents, extremism seems to be especially prevalent among those inclined by temperament or upbringing toward religious pursuits. Faith is the very antithesis of reason, injudiciousness a crucial component of spiritual devotion. And when religious fanaticism supplants ratiocination, all bets are suddenly off. Anything can happen. Absolutely anything. Common sense is no match for the voice of God...
Jon Krakauer (Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith)
The style of a soul
“What’s the matter with both of you, Ellsworth? Why such talk—over nothing at all? People’s faces and first impressions don’t mean a thing.”
“That, my dear Kiki,” he answered, his voice soft and distant, as if he were giving an answer, not to her, but to a thought of his own, “is one of our greatest common fallacies. There’s nothing as significant as a human face. Nor as eloquent. We can never really know another person, except by our first glance at him. Because, in that glance, we know everything. Even though we’re not always wise enough to unravel the knowledge. Have you ever thought about the style of a soul, Kiki?”
“The … what?”
“The style of a soul. Do you remember the famous philosopher who spoke of the style of a civilization? He called it ‘style.’ He said it was the nearest word he could find for it. He said that every civilization has its one basic principle, one single, supreme, determining conception, and every endeavor of men within that civilization is true, unconsciously and irrevocably, to that one principle. … I think, Kiki, that every human soul has a style of its own, also. Its one basic theme. You’ll see it reflected in every thought, every act, every wish of that person. The one absolute, the one imperative in that living creature. Years of studying a man won’t show it to you. His face will. You’d have to write volumes to describe a person. Think of his face. You need nothing else.”
“That sounds fantastic, Ellsworth. And unfair, if true. It would leave people naked before you.”
“It’s worse than that. It also leaves you naked before them. You betray yourself by the manner in which you react to a certain face. To a certain kind of face. … The style of your soul … There’s nothing important on earth, except human beings. There’s nothing as important about human beings as their relations to one another. …”
—Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
It was as if she had just discovered the irreversible process. It astonished her to think that so much could be lost, even the quantity of hallucination belonging just to the sailor that the world would bear no further trace of. She knew, because she had held him, that he suffered DT’s. Behind the initials was a metaphor, a delirium tremens, a trembling unfurrowing of the mind’s plowshare. The saint whose water can light lamps, the clairvoyant whose lapse in recall is the breath of God, the true paranoid for whom all is organized in spheres joyful or threatening about the central pulse of himself, the dreamer whose puns probe ancient fetid shafts and tunnels of truth all act in the same special relevance to the word, or whatever it is the word is there, buffering, to protect us from. The act of metaphor then was a thrust at truth and a lie, depending where you were: inside, safe, or outside, lost. Oedipa did not know where she was. Trembling, unfurrowed, she slipped sidewise, screeching back across grooves of years, to hear again the earnest, high voice of her second or third collegiate love Ray Glozing bitching among “uhs” and the syncopated tonguing of a cavity, about his freshman calculus; “dt,” God help this old tattooed man, meant also a time differential, a vanishingly small instant in which change had to be confronted at last for what it was, where it could no longer disguise itself as something innocuous like an average rate; where velocity dwelled in the projectile though the projectile be frozen in midflight, where death dwelled in the cell though the cell be looked in on at its most quick. She knew that the sailor had seen worlds no other man had seen if only because there was that high magic to low puns, because DT’s must give access to dt’s of spectra beyond the known sun, music made purely of Antarctic loneliness and fright. But nothing she knew of would preserve them, or him.
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
The tired intellectual sums up the deformities and the vices of a world adrift. He does not act, he suffers; if he favors the notion of tolerance, he does not find in it the stimulant he needs. Tyranny furnishes that, as do the doctrines of which it is the outcome. If he is the first of its victims, he will not complain: only the strength that grinds him into the dust seduces him. To want to be free is to want to be oneself; but he is tired of being himself, of blazing a trail into uncertainty, of stumbling through truths. “Bind me with the chains of Illusion,” he sighs, even as he says farewell to the peregrinations of Knowledge. Thus he will fling himself, eyes closed, into any mythology which will assure him the protection and the peace of the yoke. Declining the honor of assuming his own anxieties, he will engage in enterprises from which he anticipates sensations he could not derive from himself, so that the excesses of his lassitude will confirm the tyrannies. Churches, ideologies, police—seek out their origin in the horror he feels for his own lucidity, rather than in the stupidity of the masses. This weakling transforms himself, in the name of a know-nothing utopia, into a gravedigger of the intellect; convinced of doing something useful, he prostitutes Pascal’s old “abêtissezvous,” the Solitary’s tragic device.
A routed iconoclast, disillusioned with paradox and provocation, in search of impersonality and routine, half prostrated, ripe for the stereotype, the tired intellectual abdicates his singularity and rejoins the rabble. Nothing more to overturn, if not himself: the last idol to smash … His own debris lures him on. While he contemplates it, he shapes the idol of new gods or restores the old ones by baptizing them with new names. Unable to sustain the dignity of being fastidious, less and less inclined to winnow truths, he is content with those he is offered. By-product of his ego, he proceeds—a wrecker gone to seed—to crawl before the altars, or before what takes their place. In the temple or on the tribunal, his place is where there is singing, or shouting—no longer a chance to hear one’s own voice. A parody of belief? It matters little to him, since all he aspires to is to desist from himself. All his philosophy has concluded in a refrain, all his pride foundered on a Hosanna!
Let us be fair: as things stand now, what else could he do? Europe’s charm, her originality resided in the acuity of her critical spirit, in her militant, aggressive skepticism; this skepticism has had its day. Hence the intellectual, frustrated in his doubts, seeks out the compensations of dogma. Having reached the confines of analysis, struck down by the void he discovers there, he turns on his heel and attempts to seize the first certainty to come along; but he lacks the naiveté to hold onto it; henceforth, a fanatic without convictions, he is no more than an ideologist, a hybrid thinker, such as we find in all transitional periods. Participating in two different styles, he is, by the form of his intelligence, a tributary of the one of the one which is vanishing, and by the ideas he defends, of the one which is appearing. To understand him better, let us imagine an Augustine half-converted, drifting and tacking, and borrowing from Christianity only its hatred of the ancient world. Are we not in a period symmetrical with the one which saw the birth of The City of God? It is difficult to conceive of a book more timely. Today as then, men’s minds need a simple truth, an answer which delivers them from their questions, a gospel, a tomb.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
This seat taken?" My eyes grazing over the only other occupant, a guy with long glossy dark hair with his head bent over a book.
"It's all yours," he says. And when he lifts his head and smiles,my heart just about leaps from my chest.
It's the boy from my dreams.
The boy from the Rabbit Hole,the gas station,and the cave-sitting before me with those same amazing,icy-blue eues, those same alluring lips I've kissed multiple times-but only in slumber, never in waking life.
I scold my heart to settle,but it doesn't obey.
I admonish myself to sit,to act normal, casual-and I just barely succeed.
Stealing a series of surreptitious looks as I search through my backpack, taking in his square chin,wide generous lips,strong brow,defined cheekbones, and smooth brown skin-the exact same features as Cade.
"You're the new girl,right?" He abandons his book,tilting his head in a way that causes his hair to stream over his shoulder,so glossy and inviting it takes all of my will not to lean across the table and touch it.
I nod in reply,or at least I think I do.I can't be too sure.I'm too stricken by his gaze-the way it mirrors mine-trying to determine if he knows me, recognizes me,if he's surprised to find me here.Wishing Paloma had better prepared me-focused more on him and less on his brother.
I force my gaze from his.Bang my knee hard against the table as I swivel in my seat.Feeling so odd and unsettled,I wish I'd picked another place to sit, though it's pretty clear no other table would have me.
He buries his smile and returns to the book.Allowing a few minutes to pass,not nearly enough time for me to get a grip on myself,when he looks up and says, "Are you staring at me because you've seen my doppelganer roaming the halls,playing king of the cafeteria? Or because you need to borrow a pencil and you're too shy to ask?"
I clear the lump from my throat, push the words past my lips when I say, "No one's ever accused me of being shy." A statement that,while steeped in truth, stands at direct odds with the way I feel now,sitting so close to him. "So I guess it's your twin-or doppelganer,as you say." I keep my voice light, as though I'm not at all affected by his presence,but the trill note at the end gives me away.Every part of me now vibrating with the most intense surge of energy-like I've been plugged into the wall and switched on-and it's all I can do to keep from grabbing hold of his shirt, demanding to know if he dreamed the dreams too.
He nods,allowing an easy,cool smile to widen his lips. "We're identical," he says. "As I'm sure you've guessed. Though it's easy enough to tell us apart. For one thing,he keeps his hair short.For another-"
"The eyes-" I blurt,regretting the words the instant they're out.From the look on his face,he has no idea what I'm talking about. "Yours are...kinder." My cheeks burn so hot I force myself to look away,as words of reproach stampede my brain.
Why am I acting like such an inept loser? Why do I insist on embarrassing myself-in front of him-of all people?
I have to pull it together.I have to remember who I am-what I am-and what I was born to do.Which is basically to crush him and his kind-or,at the very least,to temper the damage they do.
Alyson Noel (Fated (Soul Seekers, #1))
I turn on my heel, which is no easy feat in a gravel parking lot. Not losing eye contact with Galen, I stare him down until I get to the door he's opened for me. He seems unconcerned. In fact, he seems downright emotionless. "This better be good," I tell him as I plop down.
"You should have returned my calls. Or my texts," he says, his voice tight.
As he backs out of the parking space, I yank my cell out of my purse, perusing the texts. "Well, doesn't look like anyone died, so why the hell did you ruin my date?" It's the first time I've ever cursed at royalty and it's liberating. "Or is this a kidnapping? Is Grom in the trunk? Are you taking us on our honeymoon?"
You're supposed to be hurting him, not yourself, moron. My lip trembles like the traitor it is. Even though I'm looking away, I can tell Galen's impassive expression has softened because of the way he says, "Emma."
"Leave me alone, Galen." He pulls my chin to face him. I knock his hand away. "You can't go forty miles an hour on the interstate, Galen. You need to speed up.”
He sighs and presses the gas. By the time we reach a less-embarrassing speed, I’ve abandoned my hurt for rage-o-plenty, struck by the realization that I’ve turned into “that girl.” Not the one who exchanges her doctorate for some kids and a three-bedroom two-bath, but the other kind. That girl who exchanges her dignity and chances for happiness for some possessive loser who beats her when she makes eye contact with some random guy working the hot dog stand.
Not that Galen beats me, but after his little show, what will people think? He acted like a lunatic tonight, stalking me to Atlantic City, blowing up my phone, and threatening my date with physical violence. He made serial-killer eyes, for crying out loud. That might be acceptable in the watery grave, but by dry-land standards, it’s the ingredients for a restraining order. And why are we getting off the interstate?
“Where are you taking me? I told you I want to go home.”
“We need to talk,” he says quietly, taking a dark road just off the exit. “I’ll take you home after I feel you understand.”
“I don’t want to talk. You might have realized that when I didn’t answer your calls.”
He pulls over on the shoulder of Where-Freaking-Are-We Street. Shutting off the engine, he turns to me, putting his arm around the back of my seat. “I don’t want to break up.”
One Mississippi…two Mississippi…”You followed me like a crazy person to tell me that? You ruined my date for that? Mark is a nice guy. I deserve a nice guy, don’t I, Galen?”
“Absolutely. But I happen to be a nice guy, too.”
Three Mississippi…four Mississippi…”Don’t you mean Grom? And you’re not a nice guy. You threatened Mark with physical pain.”
“You threw Rayna through a window. Call it even?”
“When are you going to get over that? Besides, she provoked me!”
“Mark provoked me, too. He put his hand on your leg. We won’t even talk about the kiss on your cheek. Don’t think I didn’t hear you give him permission either.”
“Oh, now that’s rich,” I snort, getting out of the car. Slamming the door, I scream at him. “Now you’re acting jealous on behalf of your brother,” I say, spinning in place. “Can Grom do anything without the almighty Galen helping him?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Why do women find it honorable to dismiss ourselves? Why do we decide that denying our longing is the responsible thing to do? Why do we believe that what will thrill and fulfill us will hurt our people? Why do we mistrust ourselves so completely? Here’s why: Because our culture was built upon and benefits from the control of women. The way power justifies controlling a group is by conditioning the masses to believe that the group cannot be trusted. So the campaign to convince us to mistrust women begins early and comes from everywhere. When we are little girls, our families, teachers, and peers insist that our loud voices, bold opinions, and strong feelings are “too much” and unladylike, so we learn to not trust our personalities. Childhood stories promise us that girls who dare to leave the path or explore get attacked by big bad wolves and pricked by deadly spindles, so we learn to not trust our curiosity. The beauty industry convinces us that our thighs, frizz, skin, fingernails, lips, eyelashes, leg hair, and wrinkles are repulsive and must be covered and manipulated, so we learn to not trust the bodies we live in. Diet culture promises us that controlling our appetite is the key to our worthiness, so we learn to not trust our own hunger. Politicians insist that our judgment about our bodies and futures cannot be trusted, so our own reproductive systems must be controlled by lawmakers we don’t know in places we’ve never been. The legal system proves to us again and again that even our own memories and experiences will not be trusted. If twenty women come forward and say, “He did it,” and he says, “No, I didn’t,” they will believe him while discounting and maligning us every damn time. And religion, sweet Jesus. The lesson of Adam and Eve—the first formative story I was told about God and a woman—was this: When a woman wants more, she defies God, betrays her partner, curses her family, and destroys the world. We weren’t born distrusting and fearing ourselves. That was part of our taming. We were taught to believe that who we are in our natural state is bad and dangerous. They convinced us to be afraid of ourselves. So we do not honor our own bodies, curiosity, hunger, judgment, experience, or ambition. Instead, we lock away our true selves. Women who are best at this disappearing act earn the highest praise: She is so selfless.
Glennon Doyle (Untamed)
Layla!" Don bounded into her sight. The door behind her was still bolted. Where had he come from?
The starshot tumbled from her hands and clattered to the floor. She snatched it up and slipped it back inside her dress. Bill was gone.But Don was-Daniel was right where she wanted him to be.
"What are you doing here?" Her voice broke with the force of having to act surprised to see him.
He didn't seem to hear it.He rushed toward her and wrapped her in his arms. "Saving your life."
"How did you get in?"
"Don't worry about that.No mortal man, no slab of stone can obstruct a love as true as ours. I will always find you."
In his bare, bronzed arms, it was Luce's instinct to feel comforted. But she couldn't right then.Her heart felt ragged and cold.This easy happiness, these feelings of complete trust, every one of the lovely emotions Daniel had shown her how to feel in every life-they were torture to her now.
"Fear not," he whispered. "Let me tell you, my love, what happens after this life.You come back,you rise again. Your rebirth is beautiful and real.You come back to me,again and again-"
The light from the lamp flickered and made his violet eyes sparkle.His body was so warm against hers.
"But I die again and again."
"What?" He tilted his head.Even when his physique looked exotic to her, she knew his expressions so well-that bemused adoration when she expressed something he hadn't expected her to understand. "How do you-Never mind. It doesn't matter.What matters is that we will again be together.We will always find each other,always love each other, no matter what.I will never leave you."
Luce fell to her knees on the stone steps. She hid her face in her hands. "I don't know how you can stand it.Over and over again,the same sadness-"
He lifted her up. "The same ecstasy-"
"The same fire that kills everything-"
"The same passion that ignites it all again.You don't know.You can't remember how wonderful-"
"I've seen it.I do know."
How she had his attention. He didn't seem sure whether or not to believe her, but at least he was listening.
"What if there's no hope of anything ever changing?" she asked.
"There is only hope. One day, you will live through it.That absolute truth is the only thing that keeps me going. I will never give up on you. Even if it takes forever." He wiped away her tears with his thumb. "I'll love you with all my heart,in every life, through every death. I will not be bound by anything but my love for you."
"But it's so hard.Isn't it hard for you? Haven't you ever thought,what if..."
"One day,our love will conquer this dark cycle.That's worth everything to me.
Lauren Kate (Passion (Fallen, #3))
Cecily let her cheek fall to Leta’s shoulder and hugged her back. It felt so nice to be loved by someone in the world. Since her mother’s death, she’d had no one of her own. It was a lonely life, despite the excitement and adventure her work held for her. She wasn’t openly affectionate at all, except with Leta.
“For God’s sake, next you’ll be rocking her to sleep at night!” came a deep, disgusted voice at Cecily’s back, and Cecily stiffened because she recognized it immediately.
“She’s my baby girl,” Leta told her tall, handsome son with a grin. “Shut up.”
Cecily turned a little awkwardly. She hadn’t expected this. Tate Winthrop towered over both of them. His jet-black hair was loose as he never wore it in the city, falling thick and straight almost to his waist. He was wearing a breastplate with buckskin leggings and high-topped mocassins. There were two feathers straight up in his hair with notches that had meaning among his people, marks of bravery.
Cecily tried not to stare at him. He was the most beautiful man she’d ever known. Since her seventeenth birthday, Tate had been her world. Fortunately he didn’t realize that her mad flirting hid a true emotion. In fact, he treated her exactly as he had when she came to him for comfort after her mother had died suddenly; as he had when she came to him again with bruises all over her thin, young body from her drunken stepfather’s violent attack. Although she dated, she’d never had a serious boyfriend. She had secret terrors of intimacy that had never really gone away, except when she thought of Tate that way. She loved him…
“Why aren’t you dressed properly?” Tate asked, scowling at her skirt and blouse. “I bought you buckskins for your birthday, didn’t I?”
“Three years ago,” she said without meeting his probing eyes. She didn’t like remembering that he’d forgotten her birthday this year. “I gained weight since then.”
“Oh. Well, find something you like here…”
She held up a hand. “I don’t want you to buy me anything else,” she said flatly, and didn’t back down from the sudden menace in his dark eyes. “I’m not dressing up like a Lakota woman. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m blond. I don’t want to be mistaken for some sort of overstimulated Native American groupie buying up artificial artifacts and enthusing over citified Native American flute music, trying to act like a member of the tribe.”
“You belong to it,” he returned. “We adopted you years ago.”
“So you did,” she said. That was how he thought of her-a sister. That wasn’t the way she wanted him to think of her. She smiled faintly. “But I won’t pass for a Lakota, whatever I wear.”
“You could take your hair down,” he continued thoughtfully.
She shook her head. She only let her hair loose at night, when she went to bed. Perhaps she kept it tightly coiled for pure spite, because he loved long hair and she knew it.
“How old are you?” he asked, trying to remember. “Twenty, isn’t it?”
“I was, give years ago,” she said, exasperated. “You used to work for the CIA. I seem to remember that you went to college, too, and got a law degree. Didn’t they teach you how to count?”
He looked surprised. Where had the years gone? She hadn’t aged, not visibly.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
I don't like to make mistakes. Which is why I haven't been with a man before now."
He as thrown off balance so quickly and completely, he coud hear his own brain stumble. "Well,that's...that's wise."
He took one definite step back, like a chessman going from square to square.
"It's interesting that makes you nervous," she said, countering his move.
"I'm not nervous,I'm...finished up here, it seems." He tried another tactic, stepped to the side.
"Interesting," she continued, mirroring his move, "that it would make you nervous,or uneasy if you prefer, when you've been...I think it's safe to use the term 'hitting on me' since we met."
"I don't think that's the proper term at all." Since he seemed to be boxed into a corner,he decided he was really only standing his ground. "I acted in a natural way regarding a physical attraction. But-"
"And now that I've reacted in a natural way, you've felt the reins slip out of your hands and you're panicked."
"I'm certainly not panicked." He ignored the terror gripping claws into his belly and concentrated on annoyance. "Back off, Keeley."
"No." With her eyes locked on his, she stepped in.Checkmate.
His back was hard up against a stall door and he'd been maneuvered there by a woman half his weight.It was mortifying. "This isn't doing either of us any credit." It took a lot of effort when the blood was rapidly draining out of his head, but he made his voice cool and firm. "The fact is I've rethought the matter."
"I have,yes,and-stop it," he ordered when she ran the palms of her hands up over his chest.
"You're hearts pounding," she murmured. "So's mine.Should I tell you what goes on inside my head,inside my body when you kiss me"
"No." He barely managed a croak this time. "And it's not going to happen again."
"Bet?" She laughed, rising up just enough to nip his chin. How could she have known how much fun it was to twist a man into aroused knots? "Why don't you tell me about this rethinking?"
"I'm not going to take advantage of your-of the situation."
That,she thought,was wonderfully sweet. "At the moment,I seem to have the advantage.This time you're trembling,Brian."
The hell he was.How could he be trembling when he couldn't feel his own legs? "I won't be responsible.I won't use your inexperience.I won't do this." The last was said on a note of desperation and he pushed her aside.
"I'm responsible for myself.And I think I've just proven to both of us,that if and when I decide you'll be the one, you won't have a prayer." She drew a deep, satisfied breath. "Knowing that's incredibly flattering."
"Arousing a man doesn't take much skill, Keeley. We're cooperative creatures in that area."
If he'd expected that to scratch at her pride,and cut into her power,he was mistaken. She only smiled,and the smile was full of secret female knowledge. "If that was true between us, if that were all that's between us, we'd be naked on the tack room floor right now."
She saw the change in his eyes and laughed delightedly. "Already thought of that one, have you? We'll just hold that thought for another time.
Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))
Imagine you live on a planet where the dominant species is far more intellectually sophisticated than human beings but often keeps humans as companion animals. They are called the Gorns. They communicate with each other via a complex combination of telepathy, eye movements & high-pitched squeaks, all completely unintelligible & unlearnable by humans, whose brains are prepared for verbal language acquisition only.
Humans sometimes learn the meaning of individual sounds by repeated association with things of relevance to them. The Gorns & humans bond strongly but there are many Gorn rules that humans must try to assimilate with limited information & usually high stakes. You are one of the lucky humans who lives with the Gorns in their dwelling. Many other humans are chained to small cabanas in the yard or kept in outdoor pens of varying size. They are so socially starved they cannot control their emotions when a Gorn goes near them. The Gorns agree that they could never be House-Humans.
The dwelling you share with your Gorn family is filled with water-filled porcelain bowls.Every time you try to urinate in one,nearby Gorn attack you. You learn to only use the toilet when there are no Gorns present. Sometimes they come home & stuff your head down the toilet for no apparent reason. You hate this & start sucking up to the Gorns when they come home to try & stave this off but they view this as evidence of your guilt. You are also punished for watching videos, reading books, talking to other human beings, eating pizza or cheesecake, & writing letters. These are all considered behavior problems by the Gorns.
To avoid going crazy, once again you wait until they are not around to try doing anything you wish to do. While they are around, you sit quietly, staring straight ahead. Because they witness this good behavior you are so obviously capable of, they attribute to “spite” the video watching & other transgressions that occur when you are alone. Obviously you resent being left alone, they figure. You are walked several times a day and left crossword puzzle books to do. You have never used them because you hate crosswords; the Gorns think you’re ignoring them out of revenge. Worst of all, you like them. They are, after all, often nice to you. But when you smile at them, they punish you, likewise for shaking hands. If you apologize they punish you again.
You have not seen another human since you were a small child. When you see one you are curious, excited & afraid. You really don’t know how to act. So, the Gorn you live with keeps you away from other humans. Your social skills never develop.
Finally, you are brought to “training” school. A large part of the training consists of having your air briefly cut off by a metal chain around your neck. They are sure you understand every squeak & telepathic communication they make because sometimes you get it right. You are guessing & hate the training. You feel pretty stressed out a lot of the time. One day, you see a Gorn approaching with the training collar in hand. You have PMS, a sore neck & you just don’t feel up to the baffling coercion about to ensue. You tell them in your sternest voice to please leave you alone & go away. The Gorns are shocked by this unprovoked aggressive behavior. They thought you had a good temperament.
They put you in one of their vehicles & take you for a drive. You watch the attractive planetary landscape going by & wonder where you are going. You are led into a building filled with the smell of human sweat & excrement. Humans are everywhere in small cages. Some are nervous, some depressed, most watch the goings on on from their prisons. Your Gorns, with whom you have lived your entire life, hand you over to strangers who drag you to a small room. You are terrified & yell for your Gorn family to help you. They turn & walk away.You are held down & given a lethal injection. It is, after all, the humane way to do it.
Jean Donaldson (The Culture Clash)