Week's Best Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Week's Best. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.
Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers)
Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a few quick minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
Ginny, listen...I can't be involved with you anymore. We've got to stop seeing each other. We can't be together." "It's for some stupid noble reason isn't it?" "It's been like...like something out of someone else's life these last few weeks with you. But I can't...we can't...I've got to do things alone now. Voldemort uses people his enemies are close to. He's already used you as bait once, and that was just because you were my best friend's sister. Think how much danger you'll be in if we keep this up. He'll know, he'll find out. He'll try and get me through you." "What if I don't care?" "I care. How do you think I'd feel if this was your funeral...and it was my fault...
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6))
Real friends were the kind where you pick up where you’d left off, whether it be a week since you’d seen each other or two years.
Jojo Moyes (One Plus One)
Wednesdays were the best thing about Atlantis. The middle of the week was a traditional holiday there. Everyone stopped work and celebrated the fact that half the week was over.
Walter Moers (The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (Zamonia, #1))
The best ideas will eat at you for days, maybe even weeks, until something, some incident, some impulse, triggers you to finally express them.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
It’s the people who know you the best who can hurt you the most.
Monica Murphy (One Week Girlfriend (Drew + Fable, #1))
This is my report on how to live... They say the best way is just to live one day at a time... If you try to live seven days at a time, the week will be over before you know it...
Charles M. Schulz
You want useless, you have come to the right guy. I can be useless for hours at a time. Weeks even. I'm currently closing in on a month of being totally useless, which is by way of being a personal best.
Sarah Rees Brennan (The Demon's Covenant)
Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.
Judy Blume
Fridays are absolutely without a doubt the best day of the week, five grueling days of the same routine seem to melt at three o'clock on Friday afternoon. There's a sense of magic there, everything smells better, tastes better, and the colors are brighter. As opposed to Sunday evenings when everything begins to get dim all over again.
Stefanie Ellis (Ashes (The Gray Area, #1))
She got to me." "It happens to the best of us." "Yeah? Who gets to you?" He was so strong that sometimes she worried. Everyone needed to bend a little, even a panther responsible for the lives of his entire pack. "That damn wolf. He sent you a present last week." Sascha smiled at the thought of Hawke's flirting. The SnowDancer alpha did it only to jerk Lucas's chain. "I never saw any present. What was it?" "How the hell should I know? I stomped on it and threw it into the deepest crevice I could find." He smirked. "Then I called him to ask how Sienna was doing." She burst out laughing. "Wicked, wicked man.
Nalini Singh (Hostage to Pleasure (Psy-Changeling, #5))
Charles could care less about shoes - and he suspected he wasn't alone among men in his feelings. Shoe, no shoe, he didn't care. Naked was good, though over the past couple of weeks he was beginning to think that dressed in his clothes was a decent second best.
Patricia Briggs (Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2))
We take pictures because we can't accept that everything passes, we can't accept that the repetition of a moment is an impossibility. We wage a monotonous war against our own impending deaths, against time that turns children into that other, lesser species: adults. We take pictures because we know we will forget. We will forget the week, the day, the hour. We will forget when we were happiest. We take pictures out of pride, a desire to have the best of ourselve preserved. We fear that we will die and others will not know we lived.
Michelle Richmond (The Year of Fog)
Our life is made up of time. Our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. [...] And yet time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.
Cecelia Ahern
Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it's not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.
David Allen (Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity)
They are hypocrites, they think the Church is a cage to keep God in, so he will stay locked up there and not go wandering about the earth during the week, poking his nose into their business, and looking in the depths and darkness and doubleness of their hearts, and their lack of true charity; and they believed they need only be bothered about him on Sundays when they have their best clothes on and their faces straight, and their hands washed and their gloves on, and their stories all prepared.
Margaret Atwood (Alias Grace)
She was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast; to have a larger perception of surrounding facts, and to care for knowledge that was tinged with the unfamiliar...It may be affirmed without delay that She was probably very liable to the sin of self-esteem; she often surveyed with complacency the field of her own nature; she was in the habit of taking for granted, on scanty evidence, that she was right; impulsively, she often admired herself...Every now and then she found out she was wrong, and then she treated herself to a week of passionate humility. After this she held her head higher than ever again; for it was of no use, she had an unquenchable desire to think well of herself. She had a theory that it was only on this condition that life was worth living; that one should be one of the best, should be conscious of a fine organization, should move in the realm of light, of natural wisdom, of happy impulse, of inspiration gracefully chronic.
Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
Books have always been my escape - where I go to bury my nose, hone my senses, or play the emotional tourist in a world of my own choosing... Words are my best expressive tool, my favorite shield, my point of entry...When I was growing up, books took me away from my life to a solitary place that didn't feel lonely. They celebrated the outcasts, people who sat on the margins of society contemplating their interiors. . . Books were my cure for a romanticized unhappiness, for the anxiety of impending adulthood. They were all mine, private islands with secret passwords only the worthy could utter. If I could choose my favorite day, my favorite moment in some perfect dreamscape, I know exactly where I would be: stretched out in bed in the afternoon, knowing that the kids are taking a nap and I've got two more chapters left of some heartbreaking novel, the kind that messes you up for a week.
Jodie Foster
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery. People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
...my father, [was] a mid-level phonecompany manager who treated my mother at best like an incompetent employee. At worst? He never beat her, but his pure, inarticulate fury would fill the house for days, weeks, at a time, making the air humid, hard to breathe, my father stalking around with his lower jaw jutting out, giving him the look of a wounded, vengeful boxer, grinding his teeth so loud you could hear it across the room ... I'm sure he told himself: 'I never hit her'. I'm sure because of this technicality he never saw himself as an abuser. But he turned our family life into an endless road trip with bad directions and a rage-clenched driver, a vacation that never got a chance to be fun.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
Your Monday morning thoughts set the tone for your whole week. See yourself getting stronger, and living a fulfilling, happier & healthier life.
Germany Kent
Best friends are treasures. Hug them for their caring. Applaud their accomplishments. Laugh with them gratefully.
Amy Leigh Mercree
Kate, I'm not always the best at expressing myself to you, so I'm taking advantage of the fact that I will be completely unresponsive when you read this, and therefore incapable of messing things up. I want to thank you for giving me a chance. When I first saw you, I knew I had found something incredible. And since then all I've wanted was to be with you as much as possible. When I thought I had lost you, I was torn between wanting you back and wanting the best for you—wanting you to be happy. Seeing you so miserable during the weeks we were apart gave me the courage to fight for us . . . to find a way for things to work. And seeing you happy again in the days we've been back together makes me think I did the right thing. I can't promise you an ordinary experience, Kate. I wish I could transform myself into a normal man and be there for you, always, without the trauma that defines my life as "the walking dead." Since that isn't possible, I can only reassure you that I will do everything in my power to make it up to you. To give you more than a normal boyfriend could. I have no idea what that will mean, exactly, but I'm looking forward to finding out. With you. Thank you for being here, my beauty. Mon ange. My Kate. Yours utterly, Vincent
Amy Plum (Die for Me (Revenants, #1))
Her chin lifted. "Very well. Here is my best offer. Half of my nakedness for all of yours." He pretended to think on it. " It's a bargain.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Create your best life with your consciously chosen thoughts, words, and actions.
Amy Leigh Mercree
I am tortured too. I am tortured by belly fat and magazine covers about how to please everyone but myself. I am tortured by sheep who click on anything that will guarantee a ten-pound loss in one week. Sheep who will get on their knees if it means someone will like them more. I am tortured by my inability to want to hang out with desperate sheep. I am tortured by goddamned yearbooks full of bullshit. I met you when. I’ll miss the times. I’ll keep in touch. Best friends forever. Is this okay? Are you all right? Are you tortured too?
A.S. King (Glory O Brien's History of the Future)
What was the lifespan of these improbable loves? An hour. A week. A few months at best. The end was a natural thing, like the seasons, like getting older, fruit turning. That was the saddest part—there was no one to blame and no way to reverse
Miranda July (The First Bad Man)
With six weeks' worth of recuperation time, you'll also be able to see any glaring holes in the plot or character development. And listen--if you spot a few of these big holes, you are forbidden to feel depressed about them or to beat up on yourself. Screw-ups happen to the best of us.
Stephen King (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft)
That night, before you sent me away, was the best night of my life. The marks you laced me with lasted a full week. Every time I looked in a mirror, or touched a bruise in the shower, I grew slick for you. You visited my dreams. I woke to aching wetness and an empty heart.
Pepper Winters (Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark, #1))
Jason took me by the shoulders—not out of anger, or in a clinging way, but as a brother. “Promise me one thing. Whatever happens, when you get back to Olympus, when you’re a god again, remember. Remember what it’s like to be human.” A few weeks ago, I would have scoffed. Why would I want to remember any of this? At best, if I were lucky enough to reclaim my divine throne, I would recall this wretched experience like a scary B-movie that had finally ended. I would walk out of the cinema into the sunlight, thinking Phew! Glad that’s over. Now, however, I had some inkling of what Jason meant. I had learned a lot about human frailty and human strength. I felt…different toward mortals, having been one of them. If nothing else, it would provide me with some excellent inspiration for new song lyrics!
Rick Riordan (The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3))
I waited at least two hours. I'd begun to think that he'd given up on me in the weeks that had passed. Or that he no longer cared about me. Hated me even. And the idea of losing him for ever, my best friend, the only person I'd ever trusted with my secrets, was so painful I couldn't stand it. Not on top of everything else that had happened. I could feel my eyes tearing up and my throat starting to close the way it does when I get upset. Then I look up and there he was, three metres away, just watching me. Without even thinking, I jumped up and threw my arms around him, making some weird sound that combined laughing, choking and crying.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
Oh now now he says that's all over you must forget all about that next week your solitary finishes how about that hmm? I felt like laughing in his face: How can your solitary finish? That's the best laugh yet.
Patrick McCabe (The Butcher Boy)
My best days are Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday." "Ian," Wesley noted, "that covers the whole week." Ian nods his head. "Pretty much.
Carroll Bryant (Children of the Flower Power)
[Slitscan's audience] is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections.
William Gibson (Idoru (Bridge #2))
My stomach sank. “I don’t want you to be miserable.” “Then don’t go,” he said. His expression was so desperate that the guilt formed a lump in my throat. “I can’t move in here, Travis. That’s crazy.” “Says who? I just had the best two weeks of my life.” “Me, too.” “Then why do I feel like I’m never gonna see you again?
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
I mean, it's one thing saying you've got the best god, but sayin' it's the only real one is a bit of a cheek, in my opinion. I know where I can find at least two any day of the week. And they say everyone starts out bad and only gets good by believin' in Om, which is frankly damn nonsense.
Terry Pratchett (Carpe Jugulum (Discworld #23; Witches #6))
An odd by-product of my loss is that I’m aware of being an embarrassment to everyone I meet. At work, at the club, in the street, I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate it if they do, and if they don’t. Some funk it altogether. R. has been avoiding me for a week. I like best the well brought-up young men, almost boys, who walk up to me as if I were a dentist, turn very red, get it over, and then edge away to the bar as quickly as they decently can. Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special settlements like lepers.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a few quick minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?
Cecelia Ahern
We had fallen in love; that was still true. But given the right psychological conditions, a person could fall in love with anyone or anything. A wooden desk—always on all fours, always prone, always there for you. What was the lifespan of these improbable loves? An hour. A week. A few months at best. The end was a natural thing, like the seasons, like getting older, fruit turning. That was the saddest part—there was no one to blame and no way to reverse it.
Miranda July (The First Bad Man)
You have liberty to cast all your cares upon him who cares for you. By one hour's intimate access to the throne of grace, where the Lord causes his glory to pass before the soul that seeks him — you may acquire more true spiritual knowledge and comfort, than by a day or a week's converse with the best of men, or the most studious perusal of many folios.
John Newton (The Letters of John Newton)
The best part about best friends is that you can maintain a relationship at any distance. In this day and age, we have Skype, FaceTime, text messages, audio messages, photo messages, and every social media site you can think of. With my friends, I send little photo updates almost daily and do a video call every week. It’s really not that difficult. We talk about anything and everything. I can confide my deepest, darkest secrets with my best friends and fear no judgment. It’s actually the best. And when we have the luxury of being in the same location, we pick things up like we were never separated. It really doesn’t matter where we go or what we do; it’s honestly just so nice to be in each other’s presence that the rest doesn’t matter.
Connor Franta (A Work in Progress)
Emma rose to her feet, facing the faerie across the fleeing crowd. Gleaming from his weathered, barklike face, his eyes were yellow as a cat's. "Shadowhunter," he hissed. Emma reached back over her shoulder and closed her hand around the hilt of her sword, Cortana. The blade made a golden blur in the air as she drew it and pointed the tip at the fey. "No," she said. "I'm a candygram. This is my costume." The faerie looked puzzled. Emma sighed. "It's so hard to be sassy to the Fair Folk. You people never get jokes." "We are well known for our jests, japes, and ballads," the faerie said, clearly offended. "Some of our ballads last for weeks." "I don't have that kind of time," Emma said. "I'm a Shadowhunter. Quip fast, die young." She wiggled Cortana's tip impatiently. "Now turn out your pockets." "I have done nothing to break the Cold Peace," said the fey. "Technically true, but we do frown on stealing from mundanes," Emma said. "Turn out your pockets or I'll rip off one of your horns and shove it where the sun doesn't shine." The fey looked puzzled. "Where does the sun not shine? Is this a riddle?" Emma gave a martyred sigh and raised Cortana. "Turn them out, or I'll start peeling your bark off. My boyfriend and I just broke up, and I'm not in the best mood." The faerie began slowly to empty his pockets onto the ground, glaring at her all the while. "So you're single," he said. "I never would have guessed.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
His hatred for all was so intense that it should extinguish the very love from which it was conceived. And thus, he ceased to feel. There was nothing further in which to believe that made the prospect of feeling worthwhile. Daily he woke up and cast downtrodden eyes upon the sea and he would say to himself with a hint of regret at his hitherto lack of indifference, 'All a dim illusion, was it? Surely it was foolish of me to think any of this had meaning.' He would then spend hours staring at the sky, wondering how best to pass the time if everything—even the sky itself— were for naught. He arrived at the conclusion that there was no best way to pass the time. The only way to deal with the illusion of time was to endure it, knowing full well, all the while, that one was truly enduring nothing at all. Unfortunately for him, this nihilistic resolution to dispassion didn’t suit him very well and he soon became extremely bored. Faced now with the choice between further boredom and further suffering, he impatiently chose the latter, sailing another few weeks along the coast , and then inland, before finally dropping anchor off the shores of the fishing village of Yami.
Ashim Shanker (Only the Deplorable (Migrations, Volume II))
To the rocket scientist, you are a problem. You are the most irritating piece of machinery he or she will ever have to deal with. You and your fluctuating metabolism, your puny memory, your frame that comes in a million different configurations. You are unpredictable. You're inconstant. You take weeks to fix. The engineer must worry about the water and oxygen and food you'll need in space, about how much extra fuel it will take to launch your shrimp cocktail and irradiated beef tacos. A solar cell or a thruster nozzle is stable and undemanding. It does not excrete or panic or fall in love with the mission commander. It has no ego. Its structural elements don't start to break down without gravity, and it works just fine without sleep. To me, you are the best thing to happen to rocket science. The human being is the machine that makes the whole endeavor so endlessly intriguing.
Mary Roach (Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void)
You’re the best there is. No one can replace you.” Unexpectedly, the White chuckled. “Words every megalomaniac longs to hear. But true only of the truly bad and the monumentally great. I am neither,
Brent Weeks (The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3))
I never know what to tell them. I mean, there's nothing you can say to make a person stop hurting. Half the time, I just feel like telling them the truth. I'd say that for 3 months, you're going to feel worse than you've ever felt and you cope as best you can. And that after 6 months, the pain isn't so bad, but it still hurts more than you think it will. And even after years, you still find yourself thinking about the person you lost and get sad about it. And you still miss them all the time.
Nicholas Sparks (Three Weeks With My Brother)
It's like they say about soldiers coming back from war. People all around you are dying. Really dying, Eric. You go in for a week's chemotherapy and you're in a ward with people who are really, actually dying, there and then and doing their best to come to terms with it. When the week's up, you go home and you see your family and your friends and everything's normal and familiar. It's too much. You think - one world can't possibly hold both these lives and you feel like you're going to go crazy when you realise the world is that big and it can fill with the most terrible things whenever it wants to.
Steven Hall (The Raw Shark Texts)
Fiction offers the best means of understanding people different from oneself, short of experience. Actually, fiction can be lots better than experience, because it's a manageable size, it's comprehensible, while experience just steamrollers over you and you understand what happened decades later, if ever.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000–2016, with A Journal of a Writer's Week)
I want that. I don’t think a week goes by I don’t dream about it. The way it feels to move inside you. The way your body grabs on like tight velvet. The sounds you make, like having me inside you is the best thing that ever happened to you.
Josh Lanyon (Fair Game (All's Fair, #1))
To me a good book is like a quiet friend—a friend who’s happy to share thoughts and feelings with you, who’s always there when you need them. Best of all, this friend doesn’t have any secrets. They trust you to understand them. They take you to their innermost places. They share their sensations and emotions—and they let you experience them. Wherever you go and however you feel, they are always by your side. For an hour, a day, a week, or forever, their life becomes yours. Their story is your story. That’s the kind of book I’m trying to write.
Kevin Brooks
For a while, I'll think obsessively about her, I'll become embittered, I'll bore my friend because all I ever talk about is my wife leaving me. I'll try to justify what happened, spend days and nights reviewing every moment spent by her side, I'll conclude that she was too hard on me, even though I always tried to do my best. I'll find other women. When I walk down the street, I'll keep seeing women who could be her. I'll suffer day and night, night and day. This could take weeks, months, possibly a year or more... Until one morning, I'll wake up and find I'm thinking about something else, and then I'll know the worst is over. My heart might be bruised, but it will recover and became capable of seeing the beauty of life once more. It's happened before, it will happen again, I'm sure. When someone leaves, it's because someone else is about to arrive--I'll find love again.
Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
Dear Son, I would call you by name, but I’m waiting for your mother to decide. I only hope she is joking when she calls you Albert Dalbert. For weeks now I have watched your mother zealously gather her tokens for this box. She’s so afraid of you not knowing anything about her, and it bothers me greatly that you’ll never know her strength firsthand. I’m sure by the time you read this, you’ll know everything I do about her. But you’ll never know her for yourself and that pains me most of all. I wish you could see the look on her face whenever she talks to you. The sadness she tries so hard to hide. Every time I see it, it cuts through me. She love you so much. You’re all she talks about. I have so many orders from her for you. I’m not allowed to make you crazy the way I do your Uncle Chris. I’m not allowed to call the doctors every time you sneeze and you are to be allowed to tussle with your friends without me having a conniption that someone might bruise you. Nor am I to bully you about getting married or having kids. Ever. Most of all, you are allowed to pick your own car at sixteen. I’m not supposed to put you in a tank. We’ll see about that one. I refuse to promise her this last item until I know more about you. Not to mention, I’ve seen how other people drive on the roads. So if you have a tank, sorry. There’s only so much changing man my age can do. I don’t know what our futures will hold. I only hope that when all is said and done, you are more like your mother than you are like me. She’s a good woman. A kind woman. Full of love and compassion even though her life has been hard and full of grief. She bears her scars with a grace, dignity, and humor that I lack. Most of all, she has courage the likes of which I haven’t witnessed in centuries. I hope with every part of me that you inherit all her best traits and none of my bad ones. I don’t really know what more to say. I just thought you should have something of me in here too. Love, Your father (Wulf)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Kiss of the Night (Dark-Hunter, #4))
Budge and I were sworn enemies from day one. But ever since the day I lifted the lid on the craziness that killed his best friend last fall, Budge has been extremely nice to me. We talk all the time. Like last week he said, "Hey, moron, can you pass the milk?" That's some good progress.
Jenny B. Jones (I'm So Sure (The Charmed Life, #2))
I love the adrenaline of my bike. I always have. I try my best to let it chase away the feel of Olivia at my back, but I think nothing short of a week locked up in a bedroom with her can accomplish that. And oh what a week that would be.
Michelle Leighton (Down to You (The Bad Boys, #1))
Desperate men fight best.
Brent Weeks (Beyond the Shadows (Night Angel, #3))
A JEST AS WEEK AS THY MUSCLES
Rick Riordan (The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo, #3))
For it was Saturday night, the best and bingiest glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, a violent preamble to a prostrate Sabbath. Piled up passions were exploded on Saturday night, and the effect of a week's monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of your system in a burst of goodwill. You followed the motto of 'be drunk and be happy,' kept your crafty arms around female waists, and felt the beer going beneficially down into the elastic capacity of your guts.
Alan Sillitoe (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)
But when you are week the best way to fortify yourself is to strip the people you fear of the last bit of prestige you’re still inclined to give them. Learn to consider them they are, worse than they are in fact and from every point of view. That will release you, set you free, protect you more than you can possibly imagine. It will give you another self. There will be two of you. That will strip their words and deeds of the obscene mystical fascination that weakens you and makes you waste your time. From then on you’ll find their act no more amusing, no more relevant to your inner progress than that of the lowliest pig.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (Journey to the End of the Night)
I'd begun to think that he'd given up on me in the weeks that had passed. Or that he no longer cared about me. Hated me even. And the idea of losing him forever, my best friend, the only person I'd ever trusted with my secrets, was so painful I couldn't stand it.
Suzanne Collins (Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2))
In Plaster I shall never get out of this! There are two of me now: This new absolutely white person and the old yellow one, And the white person is certainly the superior one. She doesn't need food, she is one of the real saints. 
At the beginning I hated her, she had no personality -- She lay in bed with me like a dead body 
And I was scared, because she was shaped just the way I was 
 Only much whiter and unbreakable and with no complaints. I couldn't sleep for a week, she was so cold. I blamed her for everything, but she didn't answer. 
I couldn't understand her stupid behavior! 
When I hit her she held still, like a true pacifist. 
Then I realized what she wanted was for me to love her: She began to warm up, and I saw her advantages. 

Without me, she wouldn't exist, so of course she was grateful. 
I gave her a soul, I bloomed out of her as a rose 
Blooms out of a vase of not very valuable porcelain, And it was I who attracted everybody's attention, 
Not her whiteness and beauty, as I had at first supposed. 
I patronized her a little, and she lapped it up -- 
You could tell almost at once she had a slave mentality. 

I didn't mind her waiting on me, and she adored it. 
In the morning she woke me early, reflecting the sun 
From her amazingly white torso, and I couldn't help but notice 
Her tidiness and her calmness and her patience: She humored my weakness like the best of nurses, 
Holding my bones in place so they would mend properly. In time our relationship grew more intense. 

She stopped fitting me so closely and seemed offish. 
I felt her criticizing me in spite of herself, 
As if my habits offended her in some way. She let in the drafts and became more and more absent-minded. 
And my skin itched and flaked away in soft pieces 
Simply because she looked after me so badly. Then I saw what the trouble was: she thought she was immortal. She wanted to leave me, she thought she was superior, 
And I'd been keeping her in the dark, and she was resentful -- Wasting her days waiting on a half-corpse! 
And secretly she began to hope I'd die. Then she could cover my mouth and eyes, cover me entirely, 
And wear my painted face the way a mummy-case Wears the face of a pharaoh, though it's made of mud and water. 

I wasn't in any position to get rid of her. She'd supported me for so long I was quite limp -- I had forgotten how to walk or sit, So I was careful not to upset her in any way 
Or brag ahead of time how I'd avenge myself. Living with her was like living with my own coffin: Yet I still depended on her, though I did it regretfully. I used to think we might make a go of it together -- 
After all, it was a kind of marriage, being so close. 
Now I see it must be one or the other of us. She may be a saint, and I may be ugly and hairy, 
But she'll soon find out that that doesn't matter a bit. I'm collecting my strength; one day I shall manage without her, 
And she'll perish with emptiness then, and begin to miss me. --written 26 Feburary 1961
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
Mrs. Nightwing glances at the box in my hands. She clears her throat."I understand you've decided against Mr. Middleton."... It's best to be sure, through and through," she says, keeping her eyes steadfastly on the girls running and playing on the lawn. "Else you could find yourself one day coming home to an empty house, save for a note: I've gone out. You could wait all night for him to return. Nights turn into weeks, to years. It's horrible, the waiting. You can scarcely bear it. And perhaps years later on holiday in Brighton, you see him, walking along the boardwalk as if out of some dream. No longer lost. Your heartbeat quickens. You must call out to him. Someone else calls first. A pretty young woman with a child. He stops and bends to lift the child into his arms. His child. He gives a furtive kiss to his young wife. He hands her a box of candy, which you know to be Chollier's chocolates. He and his family stroll on. Something in you falls away. You will never be as you were. What is left to you is the chance to become something new and unsure. But at least the waiting is over.
Libba Bray (Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2))
I saw a banner hanging next to city hall in downtown Philadelphia that read, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." A bumper sticker read, "God will judge evildoers; we just have to get them to him." I saw a T-shirt on a soldier that said, "US Air Force... we don't die; we just go to hell to regroup." Others were less dramatic- red, white, and blue billboards saying, "God bless our troops." "God Bless America" became a marketing strategy. One store hung an ad in their window that said, "God bless America--$1 burgers." Patriotism was everywhere, including in our altars and church buildings. In the aftermath of September 11th, most Christian bookstores had a section with books on the event, calendars, devotionals, buttons, all decorated in the colors of America, draped in stars and stripes, and sprinkled with golden eagles. This burst of nationalism reveals the deep longing we all have for community, a natural thirst for intimacy... September 11th shattered the self-sufficient, autonomous individual, and we saw a country of broken fragile people who longed for community- for people to cry with, be angry with, to suffer with. People did not want to be alone in their sorrow, rage, and fear. But what happened after September 11th broke my heart. Conservative Christians rallies around the drums of war. Liberal Christian took to the streets. The cross was smothered by the flag and trampled under the feet of angry protesters. The church community was lost, so the many hungry seekers found community in the civic religion of American patriotism. People were hurting and crying out for healing, for salvation in the best sense of the word, as in the salve with which you dress a wound. A people longing for a savior placed their faith in the fragile hands of human logic and military strength, which have always let us down. They have always fallen short of the glory of God. ...The tragedy of the church's reaction to September 11th is not that we rallied around the families in New York and D.C. but that our love simply reflected the borders and allegiances of the world. We mourned the deaths of each soldier, as we should, but we did not feel the same anger and pain for each Iraqi death, or for the folks abused in the Abu Ghraib prison incident. We got farther and farther from Jesus' vision, which extends beyond our rational love and the boundaries we have established. There is no doubt that we must mourn those lives on September 11th. We must mourn the lives of the soldiers. But with the same passion and outrage, we must mourn the lives of every Iraqi who is lost. They are just as precious, no more, no less. In our rebirth, every life lost in Iraq is just as tragic as a life lost in New York or D.C. And the lives of the thirty thousand children who die of starvation each day is like six September 11ths every single day, a silent tsunami that happens every week.
Shane Claiborne (The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical)
I found this butterfly dead on our porch a few weeks ago. I have pressed it. It's one of those whose wing beats you loved best. You once said it reminded you of my heartbeat. None sounded sweeter.
Jan-Philipp Sendker (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, #1))
I used to be a butcher. She used to come into my store. Every week I would set apart the best piece of meat for her. And look how it turned out - I ended up with the best piece of meat of them all.
Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York)
It's not that we had no heart or eyes for pain. We were all afraid. We all had our miseries. But to despair was to wish for something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable...What was worse, to sit and wait for our own deaths with proper somber faces? Or to choose our own happiness? "So we decided to hold parties and pretend each week had become the new year. Each week we could forget past wrongs done to us. We weren't allowed to think a bad thought. We feasted, we laughed, we played games, lost and won, we told the best stories. And each week we could hope to be lucky. That hope was our only joy. And that's how we came to call our little parties Joy Luck.
Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club)
I have calculated the total number of hours we spend sleeping beside each other in a week and I wanted to tell you it could be considered a full-time job. We could be eligible for healthcare benefits, could probably even pay for a mortgage by now. I remind myself of this, in daylight, when I miss you and cannot reach across the bed for the comforting filling and refilling of your chest. Such a strange affair we are having on each other; these hours that I have not lost but do not remember. This cannot be the best of love: to drool on someone’s collarbone or inhale an elbow to the jaw or be woken by the most ungraceful sounds of the body. But what is it if not the softening of grips? A letting go of. Your heart finally slowly that stubborn, lonely march.
Sierra DeMulder
That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.
Ted Hughes (Letters of Ted Hughes)
I don’t know why one person gets sick, and another does not, but I can only assume that some natural laws which we don’t understand are at work. I cannot believe that God “sends” illness to a specific person for a specific reason. I don’t believe in a God who has a weekly quota of malignant tumors to distribute, and consults His computer to find out who deserves one most or who could handle it best. “What did I do to deserve this?” is an understandable outcry from a sick and suffering person, but it is really the wrong question. Being sick or being healthy is not a matter of what God decides that we deserve. The better question is “If this has happened to me, what do I do now, and who is there to help me do it?” As we saw in the previous chapter, it becomes much easier to take God seriously as the source of moral values if we don’t hold Him responsible for all the unfair things that happen in the world.
Harold S. Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
Things sometimes go our way and sometimes they don’t. All we can do is apply ourselves to our profession, giving our very best effort but emotionally letting go of the outcome. Why? Because if we obsess about an outcome, we cannot possibly honour the present moment.
Christopher Dines (Mindfulness Burnout Prevention: An 8-Week Course for Professionals)
I think I can still shoot.” Nïx said, “Of course you can. Are you fishing for compliments? Fine.” As if reciting, she said, “Lucia the Archer, you are the best. You are unmatched in skill, peerless in all of the world—” “Nïx! I had sex. Skathi vowed she’d revoke my powers.” The soothsayer made a dismissive sound. “Oh, that? She took them back weeks ago.
Kresley Cole (Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark, #9))
My Sabine, I just left your room. You were so beautiful lying there sound asleep that I couldn’t bear to wake you. But I’m not feeling so great and there are things I promised to tell you that I fear I may not get the chance to. I know you had once hoped that I would be the one to pass on your letters to Maddie once you were gone. But, as it turns out, I think it is going to be me who ends up leaving the letters behind. Be mad at me. You should. But after that try to understand that I did what I thought was best. I wanted to tell you. So many times I snuck down to your room planning on telling you everything, but I just couldn’t. Partly it was for you – yes. You needed time and I didn’t want to influence your choices, even once I realised what was happening between us, even more so then. Falling in love with you only made those choices more complicated and I feared that you might choose to stay for me and then, after I was gone, change your mind. I couldn’t let that happen. Partly the choice was selfish, and for that I am sorry. For so long now people have been trying to fix me, but where they failed, you succeeded. You’ve given me more life in the last couple of weeks that I’ve had in years. Being with you, loving you, making memories with you, fearing for you, wanting to show you the beauty of life instead of the terror – it was bittersweet, but more importantly Sabine, it was real. I know this is the part when I beg you to go on, live your life and be happy. But I don’t need to say those things. I know you. Your lives will be extraordinary. You certainly made mine feel that way. Please find it in your heart to forgive me one day. I wish we had more time, but I want to thank you – for giving me life in my time of death. My love for you is eternal. Ethan.
Jessica Shirvington (Between the Lives)
...Many shadows hide behind light, and the best lies are those seasoned liberally with truth: salt covering the flavor of rotten meat.
Brent Weeks (The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3))
26 Thought-Provoking Questions: 1. if you could own any single object that you don't have now, what would it be? 2. if you could have one superpower, what would it be? 3. if you could meet anyone in history, who would you choose and what would you ask them? 4. if you could add one person to your family, who would it be? 5. if you could be best friends with anyone in the world, who would you pick? 6. if you could change anything about your face, what would it be 7. if you could change anything about your parents, what would it be? 8. if you could fast-forward your life, how old would you want to be and why? 9. what is the one object you own that matters more to you than anything else? 10. what is the one thing in the world that you are most afraid of? 11. if you could go to school in a foreign country, which one would you pick? 12. if you had the power to drop any course from your curriculum, what would it be? 13. if you caught your best friend stealing from you, what would you do? 14. if you had a chance to spend a million dollars on anything but yourself, how would you spend it? 15. if you could look like anyone you wanted, who would that be? 16. if you were a member of the opposite sex, who would you want to look like? 17. if you could change your first name, what name would you chose? 18. what's the best thing about being a teen? 19. what's the worst? 20. if someone you like asked you out on a date, but your best friend had a crush on this person, what would you do? 21. what is the worst day of the week? 22. if you had to change places with one of your friends, who would you chose? 23. if you could be any sports hero, who would you like to be? 24. what's the one thing you've done in your life that you wish you could do over differently? 25. what would you do if you found a dollar in the street? what if you found $100? $10,000? 26. if you had a chance to star in any movie, who would you want as a costar?
Sandra Choron (The Book of Lists for Teens)
(I pull the second to last item out of my bag. Her purple hair clip. She told me once how much it meant to her, and why she always keeps it.) This purple hair clip? It really is magic…just like your dad told you it was. It’s magic because, no matter how many times it lets you down…you keep having hope in it. You keep trusting it. No matter how many times it fails you, You never fail it. Just like you never fail me. I love that about you, because of you. (I set it back down and pull out a strip of paper and unfold it.) Your mother. (I sigh) Your mother was an amazing woman, Lake. I'm blessed that I got to know her, And that she was a part of my life, too. I came to love her as my own mom…just as she came to love Caulder and I as her own. I didn’t love her because of you, Lake. I loved her because of her. So, thank you for sharing her with us. She had more advice about Life and love and happiness and heartache than anyone I've ever known. But the best advice she ever gave me? The best advice she ever gave us? (I read the quote in my hands) "Sometimes two people have to fall apart, to realize how much they need to fall back together." (She’s definitely crying now. I place the slip back inside the satchel and take a step closer to the edge of the stage as I hold her gaze.) The last item I have wouldn’t fit, because you’re actually sitting in it. That booth. You’re sitting in the exact same spot you sat in when you watched your first performance on this stage. The way you watched this stage with passion in your eyes…I'll never forget that moment. It's the moment I knew it was too late. I was too far gone by then. I was in love with you. I was in love with you because of you. (I back up and sit down on the stool behind me, still holding her stare.) I could go on all night, Lake. I could go on and on and on about all the reasons I'm in love with you. And you know what? Some of them are the things that life has thrown our way. I do love you because you're the only other person I know that understands my situation. I do love you because both of us know what it's like to lose your mom and your dad. I do love you because you're raising your little brother, just like I am. I love you because of what you went through with your mother. I love you because of what we went through with your mother. I love the way you love Kel. I love the way you love Caulder. And I love the way I love Kel. So I'm not about to apologize for loving all these things about you, no matter the reasons or the circumstances behind them. And no, I don’t need days, or weeks, or months to think about why I love you. It’s an easy answer for me. I love you because of you. Because of every single thing about you.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
If you're struggling today, remember that life is worth living and believe that the best is yet to come. Remember that you are loved, you matter, and never forget that there is always hope.
Germany Kent
Didn't you just turn eighteen, Jen?" Vasile asked her. Jen looked a little confused at his choice of response. "Umm, yes. I believe that loud racket you heard a couple of weeks ago was Sally and Jacque's idea of a birthday party. What does that have to do with me leaving?" "If you are eighteen, Jen, you are an adult. I can't make you stay here. If you want to leave, if you really think that is the best thing for you, then you can go. I will allow you to use the pack plane to get back to the U.S. if that is truly what you want," Vasile explained. Jen cocked her head to the side, eyes narrowed at the Alpha sitting calmly in front of her. "Just like that? No trying to convince me to stay, or telling me not to give up, or yada yada yada bull crap?" "No 'yada yada yada bull crap'," he agreed. "Huh, okay then.
Quinn Loftis (Just One Drop (The Grey Wolves, #3))
Fat Charlie blew his nose. "I never knew I had a brother," he said. "I did," said Spider. "I always meant to look you up, but I got distracted. You know how it is." "Not really." "Things came up." "What kind of things?" "Things. They came up. That's what things do. They come up. I can't be expected to keep track of them all." "Well, give me a f'rinstance." Spider drank more wine. "Okay. The last time I decided that you and I should meet, I, well, I spent days planning it. Wanted it to go perfectly. I had to choose my wardrobe. Then I had to decide what I'd say to you when we met. I knew that the meeting of two brothers, well, it's the subject of epics, isn't it? I decided that the only way to treat it with the appropriate gravity would be to do it in verse. But what kind of verse? Am I going to rap it? Declaim it? I mean, I'm not going to greet you with a limerick. So. It had to be something dark, something powerful, rhythmic, epic. And then I had it. The perfect line: Blood calls to blood like sirens in the night. It says so much. I knew I'd be able to get everything in there - people dying in alleys, sweat and nightmares, the power of free spirits uncrushable. Everything was going to be there. And then I had to come up with a second line, and the whole thing completely fell apart. The best I could come up with was Tum-tumpty-tumpty-tumpty got a fright." Fat Charlie blinked. "Who exactly is Tum-tumpty-tumpty-tumpty?" "It's not anybody. It's just there to show you where the words ought to be. But I never really got any futher on it than that, and I couldn't turn up with just a first line, some tumpties and three words of an epic poem, could I? That would have been disrespecting you." "Well...." "Exactly. So I went to Hawaii for the week instead. Like I said, something came up.
Neil Gaiman (Anansi Boys (American Gods #2))
In the eulogy by the graveside, I told everyone how my sister and I used to sing to each other on our birthday. I told them that, when I thought of my sister, I could still hear her laughter, sense her optimism, and feel her faith. I told them that my sister was the kindest person I;ve ever known, and that the world was a sadder place without her in it. And finally, I told them to remember my sister with a smile, like I did, for even though she was being buried near my parents, the best parts of her would always stay alive, deep within our hearts.
Nicholas Sparks (Three Weeks With My Brother)
It had been two weeks since her first real boyfriend, Jason, had broken up with her on the eve of the first day of school. His exact words had been “Babe, you know I think you’re the best and all, but it’s my senior year and I can’t have the baggage of a relationship. I gotta live it up, play the field. You get it, right?” Uh, not exactly. So Michele had to begin her junior year with a broken heart, which grew all the more painful last week, when word spread that Jason was hooking up with a sophomore, Carly Marsh
Alexandra Monir (Timeless (Timeless, #1))
This Sir Alisdair fellow.” Her cheeks blushed crimson. “I’m just saying, he’s likely older than Francine. And less attractive.” “I don’t care! I don’t care if he’s ancient and warty and leprous and hunchbacked. He would still be learned, intelligent. Respected and respectful. He would still be a better man than you. You know it, and you’re envious. You’re being cruel to me to soothe your pride.” She looked him up and down with a contemptuous glare. “And you’re going to catch flies in your mouth, if you don’t shut it.” For once, Colin found himself without words. The best he could do was take her advice and hoist his dropped jaw.
Tessa Dare (A Week to Be Wicked (Spindle Cove, #2))
Q: Where and when do you do your writing? A: Any small room with no natural light will do. As for when, I have no particular schedules... afternoons are best, but I'm too lethargic for any real regime. When I'm in the flow of something I can do a regular 9 to 5; when I don't know where I'm going with an idea, I'm lucky if I do two hours of productive work. There is nothing more off-putting to a would-be novelist to hear about how so-and-so wakes up at four in the a.m, walks the dog, drinks three liters of black coffee and then writes 3,000 words a day, or that some other asshole only works half an hour every two weeks, does fifty press-ups and stands on his head before and after the "creative moment." I remember reading that kind of stuff in profiles like this and becoming convinced everything I was doing was wrong. What's the American phrase? If it ain't broke...
Zadie Smith
As best as the Count could determine, the Bolsheviks assembled whenever possible in whichever form for whatever reason. In a single week, there might be committees, caucuses, colloquiums, congresses, and conventions variously coming together to establish codes, set courses of action, levy complaints, and generally clamor about the world’s oldest problems in its newest nomenclature. If
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Connor asked that I make you like me,” Ashton casually says, easing his tight grip on my hips so that I’m not pressed directly against his erection, allowing me to breathe again. His mouth twists as if from something sour. “Since he really likes you.” Then he sighs, looking over my head, as he adds, “And I’m his best friend.” As if he’s reminding himself of that. Right, Connor. I swallow. The mention of Connor and his feelings for me while my hands are still flattened against his best friend’s chest, the one that I pawed repeatedly not even two weeks ago, fills me with guilt. “So?” Serious dark eyes lock on my face. “How do I do that, Irish? How do I make you like me?
K.A. Tucker (One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, #2))
Still, I did love him. He never minded if I wore my pyjamas for a week and didn't brush my hair. That's a good quality to have in a man. Maybe the best a girl could hope for, considering. And, by Jove, he loves that child. Did you know you can fall in love with the way a man loves someone else? Love takes so much effort. You have to get up ever so early in the morning to really love someone properly.
Catherynne M. Valente (Radiance)
All revenue is not the same. If you remove your worst, unprofitable clients and the now-unnecessary costs associated with them, you will see a jump in profitability and a reduction in stress, often within a few weeks. Equally important, you will have more time to pursue and clone your best clients.
Mike Michalowicz (Profit First: A Simple System To Transform Any Business From A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money-Making Machine)
That first week of parenting was the hardest week of my life, and the only time I ever felt called upon to be HEROIC.
Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do)
They would all reach the next wells alive, said Master Suresh, so long as grown men didn’t sit and weep, boo hoo hoo like some sad whore, her six best boys lost this week to marriage. We must do now as she did then: dry the tears, and hustle!
Kai Ashante Wilson (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps (The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, #1))
The Sabbath is the most precious present mankind has received from the treasure house of God. All week we think: The spirit is too far away, and we succumb to spiritual absenteeism, or at best we pray: Send us a little of Thy spirit. On the Sabbath the spirit stands and pleads: Accept all excellence from me …
Abraham Joshua Heschel (The Sabbath)
Death conditioning begins at eighteen months. Every tot spends two mornings a week in a month in a Hospital for the Dying. All the best toys are kept there, and they get chocolate cream on death days. They learn to take dying as a matter of course.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
A little is good, and more is better.” The best, however, based on everything I’ve read and seen, would be to do some form of aerobic activity six days a week, for forty-five minutes to an hour. Four of those days should be on the longer side, at moderate intensity, and two on the shorter side, at high intensity.
John J. Ratey (Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
Every week, Michael went to Dean and DeLuca to buy your pears." She shook her head, remembering. "He waas going to school, and he had no money, so he stretched every penny like this -" She made a motion as if she were pulling on rubber band. "But he wanted you to have the best pears. For you, only the best would do.
Judith McNaught (Someone to Watch Over Me)
I was in the fifth grade the first time I thought about turning thirty. My best friend Darcy and I came across a perpetual calendar in the back of the phone book, where you could look up any date in the future, and by using this little grid, determine what the day of the week would be. So we located our birthdays in the following year, mine in May and hers in September. I got Wednesday, a school night. She got a Friday. A small victory, but typical. Darcy was always the lucky one. Her skin tanned more quickly, her hair feathered more easily, and she didn't need braces. Her moonwalk was superior, as were her cart-wheels and her front handsprings (I couldn't handspring at all). She had a better sticker collection. More Michael Jackson pins. Forenze sweaters in turquoise, red, and peach (my mother allowed me none- said they were too trendy and expensive). And a pair of fifty-dollar Guess jeans with zippers at the ankles (ditto). Darcy had double-pierced ears and a sibling- even if it was just a brother, it was better than being an only child as I was. But at least I was a few months older and she would never quite catch up. That's when I decided to check out my thirtieth birthday- in a year so far away that it sounded like science fiction. It fell on a Sunday, which meant that my dashing husband and I would secure a responsible baby-sitter for our two (possibly three) children on that Saturday evening, dine at a fancy French restaurant with cloth napkins, and stay out past midnight, so technically we would be celebrating on my actual birthday. I would have just won a big case- somehow proven that an innocent man didn't do it. And my husband would toast me: "To Rachel, my beautiful wife, the mother of my chidren and the finest lawyer in Indy." I shared my fantasy with Darcy as we discovered that her thirtieth birthday fell on a Monday. Bummer for her. I watched her purse her lips as she processed this information. "You know, Rachel, who cares what day of the week we turn thirty?" she said, shrugging a smooth, olive shoulder. "We'll be old by then. Birthdays don't matter when you get that old." I thought of my parents, who were in their thirties, and their lackluster approach to their own birthdays. My dad had just given my mom a toaster for her birthday because ours broke the week before. The new one toasted four slices at a time instead of just two. It wasn't much of a gift. But my mom had seemed pleased enough with her new appliance; nowhere did I detect the disappointment that I felt when my Christmas stash didn't quite meet expectations. So Darcy was probably right. Fun stuff like birthdays wouldn't matter as much by the time we reached thirty. The next time I really thought about being thirty was our senior year in high school, when Darcy and I started watching ths show Thirty Something together. It wasn't our favorite- we preferred cheerful sit-coms like Who's the Boss? and Growing Pains- but we watched it anyway. My big problem with Thirty Something was the whiny characters and their depressing issues that they seemed to bring upon themselves. I remember thinking that they should grow up, suck it up. Stop pondering the meaning of life and start making grocery lists. That was back when I thought my teenage years were dragging and my twenties would surealy last forever. Then I reached my twenties. And the early twenties did seem to last forever. When I heard acquaintances a few years older lament the end of their youth, I felt smug, not yet in the danger zone myself. I had plenty of time..
Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed (Darcy & Rachel, #1))
And it means snapshots, because that's what all stories I write come down to; each is a snapshot of who I was during however many days and weeks it was written. A fictional reflection of my mind fossilized, set in paper and ink, instead of stone. Memorialized, for better or worse. This is who I was, and this, and this, and this, and that, and most times I look back and wince. I'm rarely kind to who I was. But other times, looking back is bittersweet. Sometimes, I'm even grateful to the me of then who left a snapshot for the me of now. Maybe I should let go and join those who pretend the past is past, but it's a falsehood I've never learned to spin.
Caitlín R. Kiernan (Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Volume One)
What happened yesterday, or last week, or ten years ago … those things aren’t important. What really matters is now, here, today, tomorrow, next year. Some people fall in love at first sight and stay together for ever, other people marry their childhood sweetheart and end up in the divorce courts. You can't predict life, Jonah, you can only truly try to make the best of whatever it throws at you.´
Josie Silver (The Two Lives of Lydia Bird)
It's a crime, when you think about how little time we get, that a man should ever be bored. When you are lying on your death bead, I expect you regret those weeks wasted more than your worst mistakes.
Joe Abercrombie (Best Served Cold)
How best to convey that she wasn’t fraught with grief without seeming like a monster? “We’ve reached a point of acceptance with her condition,” Hazel said. She borrowed this language from a hospice pamphlet titled “Reaching a Point of Acceptance With Your Condition.” It had sat on their coffee table for weeks, unopened, then was finally thrown away when her intoxicated mother refused a bottle of Ensure by karate-chopping it down with the side of her hand and spilling it everywhere.
Alissa Nutting (Made for Love)
MOTHER – By Ted Kooser Mid April already, and the wild plums bloom at the roadside, a lacy white against the exuberant, jubilant green of new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet, only the delicate, star-petaled blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume. You have been gone a month today and have missed three rains and one nightlong watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar from six to eight while fat spring clouds went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured, a storm that walked on legs of lightning, dragging its shaggy belly over the fields. The meadowlarks are back, and the finches are turning from green to gold. Those same two geese have come to the pond again this year, honking in over the trees and splashing down. They never nest, but stay a week or two then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts, burning in circles like birthday candles, for this is the month of my birth, as you know, the best month to be born in, thanks to you, everything ready to burst with living. There will be no more new flannel nightshirts sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand. You asked me if I would be sad when it happened and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner, as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that. Were it not for the way you taught me to look at the world, to see the life at play in everything, I would have to be lonely forever.
Ted Kooser (Delights and Shadows)
I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has purchased Break in Two, and especially to those of you who took the time to review it. Your thoughtfulness and kind words have made the past two weeks most incredible. This whole writing thing was an experiment to see if I could do it. You have inspired me to continue on! I had no idea this would be such an incredibly gratify experience. Thank you to each and everyone one of you. All the best to you and yours this holiday season! MJ
M.J. Summers
This is what it is to grow up. It is to live beyond the blind rush of passion, or hate, or green luxin, or battle juice. It is to see what must be done, and to do it, without feeling a great desire or a great hatred or a great love. It is to confront fear, naked. No armor of bombast or machismo. Just duty, and love for one’s fellows. Not love felt, not the love that compelled action without thought, but love chosen deliberately. I am the best person to do this thing, it said, though I may die doing it.
Brent Weeks (The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3))
Pink Balloons My name is Olivia King I am five years old My mother bought me a balloon. I remember the day she walked through the front door with it. The curly hot pink ribbon trickling down her arm, wrapped around her wrist . She was smiling at me as she untied the ribbon and wrapped it around my hand. "Here Livie, I bought this for you." She called me Livie. I was so happy . I'd never had a balloon before. I mean, I always saw balloon wrapped around other kids wrist in the parking lot of Wal-Mart , but I never dreamed I would have my very own. My very own pink balloon. I was excited! So ecstatic! So thrilled! i couldn't believe my mother bought me something! She'd never bought me anything before! I played with it for hours . It was full of helium and it danced and swayed and floated as I drug it around from room to room with me, thinking of places to take it. Thinking of places the balloon had never been before. I took it in the bathroom , the closet , the laundry room , the kitchen , the living room . I wanted my new best friend to see everything I saw! I took it to my mother's bedroom! My mothers Bedroom? Where I wasn't supposed to be? With my pink balloon... I covered my ears as she screamed at me, wiping the evidence off her nose! She slapped me across the face as she told me how bad I was! How much I misbehaved! How I never listened! She shoved me into the hallways and slammed the door, locking my pink balloon inside with her. I wanted him back! He was my best friend! Not her! The pink ribbon was still tied around my wrist so I pulled and pulled , trying to get my new best friend away from her. And it popped. My name is Eddie. I'm seventeen years old. My birthday is next week. I'll be big One-Eight. My foster dad is buying me these boots I've been wanting. I'm sure my friends will take me out to eat. My boyfriend will buy me a gift, maybe even take me to a movie. I'll even get a nice little card from my foster care worker, wishing me a happy eighteenth birthday, informing me I've aged out of the system. I'll have a good time. I know I will. But there's one thing I know for sure I better not get any shitty ass pink balloons!
Colleen Hoover (Slammed (Slammed, #1))
You're writing, you're coasting, and you're thinking, 'This is the best thing I've ever written, and it's coming so easily, and these characters are so great.' You put it aside for whatever reason, and you open it up a week later and the characters have turned to cardboard and the book has completely fallen apart," she says. "That's the moment of truth for every writer: Can I go on from here and make this book into something? I think it separates the writers from the nonwriters. And I think it's the reason a lot of people have that unfinished manuscript around the house, that albatross.
Jacqueline Woodson
People always ask me, "What kind of people make it through Hell Week?" I don't really have an answer to that. I do know-- generally-- who won't make it through Hell Week. The weightlifting meatheads who think the size of their biceps indicates their strength: they usually fail. The kids covered in tattoos announcing to the world how tough they are: they usually fail. The preening leaders who don't want to be dirty: they usually fail. The "me first, look at me, I'm the best" former athletes who've always been told they're stars: they usually fail. The blowhards who have a thousand stories about what they're going to do but a thin record of what they've actually done: they usually fail. The whiners, the "this is not fair" guys: they usually fail.
Eric Greitens (The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage)
Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it... Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It’s been protected by the efficient armour, it’s never participated in life, it’s never been exposed to living and to managing the person’s affairs, it’s never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it’s never properly lived. That’s how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced... And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn’t come out of that creature isn’t worth having, or it’s worth having only as a tool—for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful... And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line—unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears. And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive—even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that’s where it calls up its own resources—not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy. That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self—struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence—you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.
Ted Hughes (Letters of Ted Hughes)
Sitting cross-legged on her bed, I watch her take out her gear. She’s been smoking so much the room stinks of it. Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen her do it so often I’ve resisted the urge. It’s surreal, like I’m watching me from outside my body. My willpower is fragile at the best of times, but my resolve is always weaker in the evening. I feel a dread and a revulsion for what I’m about to do, but there’s a stronger feeling, an unutterable longing. I crack. ‘Give us a line,’ I say.
Christine Lewry (Thin Wire: A Mother's Journey Through Her Daughter's Heroin Addiction)
there are clear distinctions between what it takes to be decent, what it takes to be good, what it takes to be great, and what it takes to be among the best. If your goal is to be mediocre, then you have a considerable margin for error. You can get depressed when fired and mope around waiting for someone to call with a new job offer. If you hurt your toe, you can take six weeks watching television and eating potato chips.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence)
This morning, when she got on the bus, it kind of felt like he was waiting for her. He was holding a comic called Watchmen, and it looked so ugly that Eleanor decided not to bother eavesdropping. Or eavesreading. Whatever. (She liked it best when he read the X-Men, even though she didn’t get everything that was going on there; the X-Men were worse than General Hospital. It took Eleanor a couple weeks to figure out that Scott Summers and Cyclops were the same guy, and she still wasn’t sure what was up with Phoenix.)
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park)
Robin: Golden arrow? And what would we do with a golden arrow? Give it to Alan for a lute string? I could hang it around my neck on a chain, perhaps, and let it stab me in the ribs when I tried to sit. Marian: And your honour as an outlaw? Robin: My honour as an outlaw concerns staying alive; and presenting my neck anywhere near the Sheriff of Notingham, who feels it wants lengthening, runs directly counter to that honour. Marian: The sheriff will be gravely disappointed. Robin: That's the best news I've heard all week.
Robin McKinley (The Outlaws of Sherwood)
Our life is made up of time; our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a quick few minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet your time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could. In other words, if you could change anything, would you?
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
People always talk about the health benefits of Japanese food,’ he said, ‘but I’m fascinated by other aspects of the Japanese dining experience. Like the whole system of serving food at a counter like this, with the customers all facing the same direction, instead of each other. It’s strange when you think about it. At a sushi bar, for example, everyone’s facing the itamae-san, and you discuss the things you’re eating – what type of squid this is, and where they’re caught, and how this is the season for them but they’ll only be at their best for another couple of weeks, and so on. Discussing the food with the chef even as you eat it – that’s a peculiar system.’ ‘I suppose it is, isn’t it? I don’t go to sushi restaurants very often – they’re so expensive – and I could probably count the number of times I’ve sat at the counter, but I know what you mean. There’s something about that atmosphere.’ ‘At its worst, it’s almost an atmosphere of collusion.’ ‘Collusion?’ ‘Everyone at the counter becomes a member of the group. In some sushi bars, all the customers are regulars and they all know each other. As an outsider, you need courage to walk into a place like that and take a seat. It’s a tight-knit little community, and harmony is of the utmost importance. Nobody’s confronting anyone else individually. The conversation all proceeds through the chef, who’s like a moderator or a master of ceremonies. You couldn’t spend some quiet time with a lover, for example, in a place like that, because you’d be isolating yourselves from the others and spoiling the atmosphere for everyone.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
The best management is sometimes less management or no management at all. William Coyne, who led 3M’s Research and Development efforts for over a decade, believed a big part of his job was to leave his people alone and protect them from other curious executives. As he put it: ‘After you plant a seed in the ground, you don’t dig it up every week to see how it is doing.
Robert I. Sutton (Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst)
I do think it's a very uneven exchange of Christmas presents. You'll eat yours up in a week and have nothing left to show for it by New Year's Day. I'll have mine till the day I die - and die happy in the knowledge that I'm leaving it behind for someone else to love. I shall sprinkle pale pencil marks through it pointing out the best passages to some book-lover yet unborn.
Helene Hanff (84 Charing Cross Road / The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street)
Kait,im not always the beat at exspressing myself to you,so im taking advantage of the fact that i will be completely unresponsive when you read this, and therefore incapable of messing things up. I want to thank you for giving me a chance. when i first saw you, i knew i had found something incredible. And since then all i've wanted was to be with you as much as possible. When i thought i had lost you, i was torn betewwn wanting you back and wanting the best for you-wanting you to be happy.seeing you so miserable during the weeks we were apart gave me the courage to fight for us...to find a way for things to work.And seeing you happy again in the dayswe've been back together makes me think i did the right thing. I cant promise you an ordinary experience,kate.I wish i could transform myself into a normal man and be there for you,always,without th trama that defines my life as "the walking dead." Since that isnt possible, I can only reassure yoiu that i will do everything in my power to make it up make it up to you. To give you more that a normal boyfriend could.I have no idea what that will mean, exactly, but i'm looking forward to finding out. With you. Thank ou for being here, my beauty. Mon ange. My Kate. Yours utterly, Vincent
Amy Plum (Die for Me (Revenants, #1))
It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy's clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily 'true' or 'false', but as 'academic' or 'practical', 'outworn' or 'contemporary', 'conventional' or 'ruthless'. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church.
C.S. Lewis
So why were you with her?" "She was my assignment." "From The Eye?" "No,from the Boy Scouts. That Witch Dating badge just kept eluding me." "Well,you must have at least three Total Douchebag badges by now, so that has to count for something. What about Holly? Was that fake,too?" I was panting slightly, thanks to trying to keep up with him. Stupid short legs. He had his hands in his pockets, and hi head was slightly down, like he was walking against the wind. "You know, these were all things I was willing to tell you several weeks ago. Too bad you decided to stand me up." I had caught up to him by now, and I snagged his elbow,doing my best to ignore the little thrill that went through me even at that innocent touch. "How is that you can go from decent human being to complete jackass in zero-point-two seconds? Do they teach you that in The Eye?" He stopped, and his eyes glided over my lips. "Actually,I'm just trying to see if I can make you mad enough to kiss me again.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
On the wall next to the door we’d entered through was a huge floor-to-ceiling bulletin/whiteboard combo and hanging from a thumbtack on the bulletin board amongst pictures and other various sorts of memorabilia was my bra. It’d been washed but it still had a good many blotches of pink on it. If that wasn’t shocking enough, the dialogue written over the last two weeks on the whiteboard pertaining to said bra certainly was. I’ll include the copy just so you can truly appreciate what I’m dealing with here. Tristan’s Mom: What’s this? Tristan: A size 34B lace covered slingshot. Jeff: Nice! Tristan’s Mom: Do I want to know? Tristan: I don’t know, do you? Tristan’s Mom: Not really. Are you planning on returning it or did you win some kind of prize? Tristan: I plead the fifth. Tristan’s Dad: Well done son. Jeff: Ditto! Tristan’s Mom: Don’t encourage him. Tristan: Gee, thanks Mom. Tristan’s Dad: Can’t a father be proud of his only child? Tristan’s Mom: He doesn’t need your help…obviously. Tristan’s Dad: That’s because he takes after me. Tristan: Was there anything else I can do for you two? Tristan’s Mom: Tell her I tried to get the stains out, but I’m afraid they set in before I got to it. Tristan: I’m sure she’ll appreciate your effort, but if I’m any judge (and I’d like to think I am) its size has caused it to become obsolete and she needs to trade up. Jeff: I’m so proud. Tristan: Thanks man. Tristan’s Mom: A name would be nice you know. Tristan: Camie. Tristan’s Mom: Do we get to meet her? Tristan: Sure. I’ll have my people call your people and set it up. Tristan’s Mom: I don’t know why I bother. Do you want anything from the store? Tristan: Yeah, Camie’s sleeping over tonight and I promised her bacon and eggs for breakfast. Jeff’s got the eggs covered but could you pick up some bacon for us and maybe a box of Twinkies for the bus? Thanks, you’re the best. Jeff: I have the eggs covered? Tristan’s Dad: He gets his sense of humor from you. Tristan’s Mom: Flattery will get you everywhere. How would you like your eggs prepared dear?
Jenn Cooksey (Shark Bait (Grab Your Pole, #1))
Of course," agreed Basil, "if you read it carelessly, and act on it rashly, with the blind faith of a fanatic; it might very well lead to trouble. But nature is full of devices for eliminating anything that cannot master its environment. The words 'to worship me' are all-important. The only excuse for using a drug of any sort, whether it's quinine or Epsom-salt, is to assist nature to overcome some obstacle to her proper functions. The danger of the so-called habit-forming drugs is that they fool you into trying to dodge the toil essential to spiritual and intellectual development. But they are not simply man-traps. There is nothing in nature which cannot be used for our benefit, and it is up to us to use it wisely. Now, in the work you have been doing in the last week, heroin might have helped you to concentrate your mind, and cocaine to overcome the effects of fatigue. And the reason you did not use them was that a burnt child dreads fire. We had the same trouble with teaching Hermes and Dionysus to swim. They found themselves in danger of being drowned and thought the best way was to avoid going near the water. But that didn't help them to use their natural faculties to the best advantage, so I made them confront the sea again and again, until they decided that the best way to avoid drowning was to learn how to deal with oceans in every detail. It sounds pretty obvious when you put it like that, yet while every one agrees with me about the swimming, I am howled down on all sides when I apply the same principles to the use of drugs.
Aleister Crowley (Diary of a Drug Fiend)
When she says margarita she means daiquiri. When she says quixotic she means mercurial. And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again," she means, "Put your arms around me from behind as I stand disconsolate at the window." He's supposed to know that. When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading, or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he is raking leaves in Ithaca or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate at the window overlooking the bay where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway. When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels drinking lemonade and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed where she remains asleep and very warm. When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks. When she says, "We're talking about me now," he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says, "Did somebody die?" When a woman loves a man, they have gone to swim naked in the stream on a glorious July day with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle of water rushing over smooth rocks, and there is nothing alien in the universe. Ripe apples fall about them. What else can they do but eat? When he says, "Ours is a transitional era," "that's very original of you," she replies, dry as the martini he is sipping. They fight all the time It's fun What do I owe you? Let's start with an apology Ok, I'm sorry, you dickhead. A sign is held up saying "Laughter." It's a silent picture. "I've been fucked without a kiss," she says, "and you can quote me on that," which sounds great in an English accent. One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it another nine times. When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the airport in a foreign country with a jeep. When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that she's two hours late and there's nothing in the refrigerator. When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake. She's like a child crying at nightfall because she didn't want the day to end. When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking: as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved. A thousand fireflies wink at him. The frogs sound like the string section of the orchestra warming up. The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.
David Lehman (When a Woman Loves a Man: Poems)
Among university professors, for example, getting tenure is a major hurdle and milestone, and at most universities tenure depends heavily on having published some high-quality, original work. One researcher, Bob Boice, looked into the writing habits of young professors just starting out and tracked them to see how they fared. Not surprisingly, in a job where there is no real boss and no one sets schedules or tells you what to do, these young professors took a variety of approaches. Some would collect information until they were ready and then write a manuscript in a burst of intense energy, over perhaps a week or two, possibly including some long days and very late nights. Others plodded along at a steadier pace, trying to write a page or two every day. Others were in between. When Boice followed up on the group some years later, he found that their paths had diverged sharply. The page-a-day folks had done well and generally gotten tenure. The so-called “binge writers” fared far less well, and many had had their careers cut short. The clear implication was that the best advice for young writers and aspiring professors is: Write every day. Use your self-control to form a daily habit, and you’ll produce more with less effort in the long run.
Roy F. Baumeister (Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength)
I would like to ofer some exercises that can help us use the Five Precepts to cultivate and strengthen mindfulness. It is best to choose one of these exercises and work with it meticulously for a week. Then examine the results and choose another for a subsequent week. These practices can help us understand and find ways to work with each precept. 1. Refrain from killing: reverence for life. Undertake for one week to purposefully bring no harm in thought, word, or deed to any living creature. Particularly, become aware of any living beings in your world (people, animals, even plants) whom you ignore, and cultivate a sense of care and reverence for them too. 2. Refraining from stealing: care with material goods. Undertake for one week to act on every single thought of generosity that arises spontaneously in your heart. 3. Refraining from sexual misconduct: conscious sexuality. Undertake for one week to observe meticulously how often sexual feelings arise in your consciousness. Each time, note what particular mind states you find associated with them such as love, tension, compulsion, caring, loneliness, desire for communication, greed, pleasure, agression, and so forth. 4. Refraining from false speech: speech from the heart. Undertake for one week not to gossip (positively or negatively) or speak about anyone you know who is not present with you (any third party). 5. Refraining from intoxicants to the point of heedlessness. Undertake for one week or one month to refrain from all intoxicants and addictive substances (such as wine, marijuana, even cigarettes and/or caffeine if you wish). Observe the impulses to use these, and become aware of what is going on in the heart and mind at the time of those impulses (88-89).
Jack Kornfield (For a Future to Be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life)
Life is finding people you love and then losing them, sometimes after sixty years, sometimes after a few months or even a week, all the loss meant to keep you humble and remind you that your life is likewise stamped with an expiration date, so that you’ll use your days to the best of your ability, in the service of what is good.
Dean Koontz (The Forbidden Door (Jane Hawk, #4))
Maybe we were mad that day. Maybe some of the things that seemed to happen didn't really happen at all. Maybe many of the things that seemed to happen in the days and weeks that followed didn't really happen. Maybe it was all because we were young, and because being young is like being mad. Maybe just being human, at any age, is a bit like being mad. But maybe the best things that we do, and the best things that we are, come from madness.
David Almond (A Song for Ella Grey)
Because obviously she was the most qualified for the position. At long last Edward had arrived at the enlightened state of knowing that a woman could do a job just as well as a man. Yep. That's how it happened. Edward abdicated his throne. Elizabeth would be crowned queen at Westminster Abbey that same week, and we all know she'd be the best ruler of England ever. And now history can more or less pick up along the same path where we left it.
Cynthia Hand (My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1))
Hey, I got an idea, let’s go to the movies. I wanna go to the movies, I want to take you all to the movies. Let’s go and experience the art of the cinema. Let’s begin with the Scream Of Fear, and we are going to haunt us for the rest of our lives. And then let’s go see The Great Escape, and spend our summer jumping our bikes, just like Steve McQueen over barb wire. And then let’s catch The Seven Samurai for some reason on PBS, and we’ll feel like we speak Japanese because we can read the subtitles and hear the language at the same time. And then let’s lose sleep the night before we see 2001: A Space Odyssey because we have this idea that it’s going to change forever the way we look at films. And then let’s go see it four times in one year. And let’s see Woodstock three times in one year and let’s see Taxi Driver twice in one week. And let’s see Close Encounters of the Third Kind just so we can freeze there in mid-popcorn. And when the kids are old enough, let’s sit them together on the sofa and screen City Lights and Stage Coach and The Best Years of Our Lives and On The Waterfront and Midnight Cowboy and Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show and Raging Bull and Schindler’s List… so that they can understand how the human condition can be captured by this amalgam of light and sound and literature we call the cinema.
Tom Hanks
Our life is made up of time. Our days are measured in hours, our pay measured by those hours, our knowledge is measured by years. We grab a quick few minutes in our busy day to have a coffee break. We rush back to our desks, we watch the clock, we live by appointments. And yet time eventually runs out and you wonder in your heart of hearts if those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and decades were being spent the best way they possibly could.
Cecelia Ahern (Love, Rosie)
You and he were never ...you know. You were our best fighters. You bickered all the time, but you brought out the best in each other as warriors. Going into battle to you turned him on more than any woman could.' I give her a dubious look and she laughs.'Maybe a slight exaggeration, but he really did love it.' Her smiles fades.'And you and Jude were inseparable. That's why it made no sense that you would take the opposite side to either one of them - let alone both...It got worse after you and Jude disappeared last year. We thought he'd gone back to the Sanctuary to be with you. And when we heard you'd both dies...Honestly, I though Rafa was going to harm himself. He wouldn't talk to anyone for weeks. He drifted in and out of our operations, and then a few months ago he lost interest completely and stopped answering calls. We only know he was still alive because he's send Zak an occasional text. We he told Zak about the possibility you'd resurfaced there was no doubt he's come looking for you-' A fist bangs on the door. 'Gabe' Rafa barks. 'Your boyfriend's here. Get your arse into gear.' 'Yeah' I get to my feet. 'I'm the wind beneath his wings.
Paula Weston (Shadows (The Rephaim, #1))
We had fallen in love; that was still true. But given the right psychological conditions, a person could fall in love with anyone or anything. A wooden desk -- always on all fours, always prone, always there for you. What was the lifespan of these improbable loves? An hour. A week. A few months at best. The end was a natural thing, like the seasons, like getting older, fruit turning. That was the saddest part -- there was no one to blame and no way to reverse it.
Miranda July (The First Bad Man)
The human psyche is pathetic," I say–I declaim–to my psychopharmacologist. "It's what we have, Miss Jefferson," he replies, "it's what we have." And what I have is what I take to my psychotherapist each week. What I have is what we make together, each supplying the material she knows best. There are days when I still want to dismantle this constructed self of mine. You did it so badly, I think. You lost so much time. And then I tell myself, so what? So what? Go on.
Margo Jefferson (Negroland)
Today, of course, there’s no need to forage and hunt to survive. Yet our genes are coded for this activity, and our brains are meant to direct it. Take that activity away, and you’re disrupting a delicate biological balance that has been fine-tuned over half a million years. Quite simply, we need to engage our endurance metabolism to keep our bodies and brains in optimum condition. The ancient rhythms of activity ingrained in our DNA translate roughly to the varied intensity of walking, jogging, running, and sprinting. In broad strokes, then, I think the best advice is to follow our ancestors’ routine: walk or jog every day, run a couple of times a week, and then go for the kill every now and then by sprinting.
John J. Ratey (Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)
I'm just as ambitious as ever. Only I've changed the object of my ambitions. I'm going to be a good teacher- and I'm going to study at home here and take a little college course all by myself. Oh, I've dozens of plans Marilla. I've been thinking them out for a week and I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. When I left Queens my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see ti along for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own that bind, Marilla. I wonder how the road beyond it goes - what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows - what new landscapes- what new beauties - what curves and hills and valley's further on.
L.M. Montgomery (Anne Of Green Gables: (Illustrated))
He went on, “I don’t know how much time we have left. Could be fifty years. Could be one more week. But I do know that we’re not going to get cheated out of one second of being together. We’re going to share everything and feel everything together. And I am going to let you know, in the way I touch you, and the way I kiss you”—as he said it, he touched her, and kissed her—“that you are the best thing in my life. And I’m a selfish man, and I want every inch of you, and every minute of your life I can have. There’s no my life anymore. And no your life. Just our life, and we’re going to have it our way. I want birthday cake every day and you naked in bed every night. And when it’s time to be done, we’ll have that our way, too.
Joe Hill (The Fireman)
If you tell someone you have depression, they will often say, "Oh, I've been depressed before, too." The difference lies between being depressed and having depression. Everyone's been depressed at one time or another, but these are far from being the same things. One is a passing mood. The other is a chronic illness that does not come and go, ebb and flow, is here one day and gone the next. The difference between being depressed and having depression is that one is a mood and the other is an illness. One is a momentary bout of melancholy. The other is a debilitating condition that requires medical treatment. Would you feel better about having a cancerous lesion if I likened it to the rash I had last week? The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between a mood that will soon pass, and a serious illness that disrupts your ability to function and will take years to treat. The difference between being depressed and having depression is the difference between Cleveland and Bangkok, or your frying pan and the surface of the sun. So, no, we (depressives) do not feel better when you tell us about your rash. We'll do our best to be polite about it, but no, it really doesn't help at all.
Northern Adams (Mickey and the Gargoyle)
daughter of the servants.” “Gee, you must have been lonely, Judge, having nobody to play with.” “I played with Sam Westing—chess. Hour after hour I sat staring down at that chessboard. He lectured me, he insulted me, and he won every game.” The judge thought of their last game: She had been so excited about taking his queen, only to have the master checkmate her in the next move. Sam Westing had deliberately sacrificed his queen and she had fallen for it. “Stupid child, you can’t have a brain in that frizzy head to make a move like that.” Those were the last words he ever said to her. The judge continued: “I was sent to boarding school when I was twelve. My parents visited me at school when they could, but I never set foot in the Westing house again, not until two weeks ago.” “Your folks must have really worked hard,” Sandy said. “An education like that costs a fortune.” “Sam Westing paid for my education. He saw that I was accepted into the best schools, probably arranged for my first job, perhaps more, I don’t know.” “That’s the first decent thing I’ve heard about the old man.” “Hardly decent, Mr. McSouthers. It was to Sam Westing’s advantage to have a judge in his debt. Needless to say, I have excused myself from every case remotely connected with
Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game)
And as the music ended, he saw her, like a woman in a romance, pull from her cotton sleeve a note that she pushed into his breast pocket. It would burn there unread for another hour as he danced and talked with in-laws who did not matter to him, who got in the way, whose bloodline connection to him or his wife he could not care less about. Everything that was important to him existed suddenly in the potency of Marie-Neige. He could tell what the shallow freize of the wedding party that surrounded them would continue to be, and yet the one he knew best-he could not conceive how she would behave or respond to him in a week, or even in an hour. She had stepped into more than his arms for a dance, had waited for the precise seconds so it was possible and socially forgivable-the sunlit wedding procession, the eternal meal-and she had passed him a billet-doux as if they were within a Dumas. The note she had written said 'Good-bye.' Then it said 'Hello.' And then it reminded him that 'A message sent by pigeon to The Hague can sometimes change everything.' She had, like one of those partially villainous and always evolving heroines, turned his heart over on the wrong day.
Michael Ondaatje (Divisadero)
When I woke, I was nestled on top of Ren’s chest. His arms were wrapped around me, and my legs were entwined with his. I was surprised I could breathe all night since my nose was smashed against his muscular torso. It had gotten cold, but my quilt covered both of us and his body, which maintained a warmer-than-average temperature, had kept me toasty all night. Ren was still asleep, so I took the rare opportunity to study him. His powerful frame was relaxed and his face was softened by sleep. His lips were full, smooth, and utterly kissable, and for the first time, I noticed how long his sooty lashes were. His glossy dark hair fell softly over his brow and was mussed in a way that made him look even more irresistible. So this is the real Ren. He doesn’t seem real. He looked like an archangel who fell to the earth. I’d been with Ren night and day for the past four weeks, but the time he was a man was such a small fraction of each day that he seemed almost like a dream guy, a real life Prince Charming. I traced a black eyebrow, following its arch with my finger, and lightly brushed the silky dark hair away from his face. Hoping not to disturb him, I sighed, shifted slowly, and tried to move away, but his arms tensed, restraining me. He sleepily mumbled, “Don’t even think about moving” and pulled me back to snuggle me close again. I rested my cheek against his chest, felt his heartbeat, and contented myself with listening to its rhythm. After a few minutes, he stretched and rolled to his side, pulling me with him. He kissed my forehead, blinked open his eyes, and smiled at me. It was like watching the sun come up. The handsome, sleeping man was potent enough, but when he turned his dazzling white smile on me and blinked open his cobalt blue eyes, I was dumbstruck. I bit my lip. Alarm bells started going off in my head. Ren’s eyes fluttered open, and he tucked some loose hair behind my ear. “Good morning, rajkumari. Sleep well?” I stammered, “I…you…I…slept just fine, thank you.” I closed my eyes, rolled away from him, and stood up. I could deal with him a lot better if I didn’t think about him much, or look at him, or talk to him, or hear him. He wrapped his arms around me from behind, and I felt his smile as he pressed his lips to the soft spot behind my ear. “Best night of sleep I’ve had in about three hundred and fifty years.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Each spring for a period of weeks the imperial gardens were filled with prize tulips (Turkish, Dutch, Iranian), all of them shown to their best advantage. Tulips whose petals had flexed wide were held shut with fine threads hand-tied. Most of the bulbs had been grown in place, but these were supplemented by thousands of cut stems held in glass bottles; the scale of the display was further compounded by mirrors placed strategically around the garden. Each variety was marked with a label made from silver filigree. In place of every fourth flower a candle, its wick trimmed to tulip height, was set into the ground. Songbirds in gilded cages supplied the music, and hundreds of giant tortoises carrying candles on their backs lumbered through the gardens, further illuminating the display. All the guests were required to dress in colors that flattered those of the tulips. At the appointed moment a cannon sounded, the doors to the harem were flung open, and the sultan's mistresses stepped into the garden led by eunuchs bearing torches. The whole scene was repeated every night for as long as the tulips were in bloom, for as long as Sultan Ahmed managed to cling to his throne.
Michael Pollan (The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World)
The weather turned cool a few weeks later, and that winter was when Mia had her accident. So that actually turned out to be the last time I went camping. But even if it weren’t, I still think it would be the best trip of my life. Whenever I remember it, I just picture our tent, a little ship glowing in the night, the sounds of Mia’s and my whispers escaping like musical notes, floating out on a moonlit sea.
Gayle Forman
such an ill-cooked roast at the future queen’s wedding?” he cries. The princess-cook appears before her father, but she is so changed he does not recognize her. “I would not serve you salt, Your Majesty,” she explains. “For did you not exile your youngest daughter for saying that it was of value?” At her words, the king realizes that not only is she his daughter—she is, in fact, the daughter who loves him best. And what then? The eldest daughter and the middle sister have been living with the king all this time. One has been in favor one week, the other the next. They have been driven apart by their father’s constant comparisons. Now the youngest has returned, the king yanks the kingdom from his eldest, who has just been married. She is not to be queen after all. The elder sisters rage. At first, the youngest basks in fatherly love. Before long, however, she realizes the king is demented and power-mad. She is to be queen, but she is also stuck tending to a crazy old tyrant for the rest of her days. She will not leave him, no matter how sick he becomes. Does she stay because she loves him as meat loves salt? Or does she stay because he has now promised her the kingdom? It is hard for her to tell the difference. 17 THE FALL AFTER the European trip,
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
The trouble is, we have up-close access to women who excel in each individual sphere. With social media and its carefully selected messaging, we see career women killing it, craft moms slaying it, chef moms nailing it, Christian leaders working it. We register their beautiful yards, homemade green chile enchiladas, themed birthday parties, eight-week Bible study series, chore charts, ab routines, “10 Tips for a Happy Marriage,” career best practices, volunteer work, and Family Fun Night ideas. We make note of their achievements, cataloging their successes and observing their talents. Then we combine the best of everything we see, every woman we admire in every genre, and conclude: I should be all of that. It is certifiably insane.
Jen Hatmaker (For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards)
The problem with me is that I cannot focus when she is on my mind. I can’t. I probably will make a mistake when writing that paper and will start writing everything I feel about her—the professor will be very happy with that, I am sure. Oh well, such is my life. I guess I’ve been attempting my best to forget her for several weeks now. But even in that act of forgetting her, I am remembering her. I am recollecting her and recreating her in my mind. And that’s where everything falls apart. In remembering her, I remember her goodness. In remembering her, I remember her weaknesses and my own. In remembering her, I am remembering myself. Out of that dark cave of mine, I call myself out. And then all of the remembering starts again. I doodle, I twitch, I aim restlessly for some unseen goal. And then my thoughts drift to you. I’ll let them stay there for now. Just for a minute. Or two.
Moses Y. Mikheyev
Tell me what it's like. The race." What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It's the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It's speed, if you're lucky. It's life and it's death or it's both and there's nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment - this last light of evening the day before the race - was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races)
In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing. An olla of rather more beef than mutton, a salad on most nights, scraps on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, and a pigeon or so extra on Sundays, made away with three-quarters of his income. The rest of it went in a doublet of fine cloth and velvet breeches and shoes to match for holidays, while on week-days he made a brave figure in his best homespun. He had in his house a housekeeper past forty, a niece under twenty, and a lad for the field and market-place, who used to saddle the hack as well as handle the bill-hook. The age of this gentleman of ours was bordering on fifty; he was of a hardy habit, spare, gaunt-featured, a very early riser and a great sportsman. They will have it his surname was Quixada or Quesada (for here there is some difference of opinion among the authors who write on the subject), although from reasonable conjectures it seems plain that he was called Quexana. This, however, is of but little importance to our tale; it will be enough not to stray a hair's breadth from the truth in the telling of it.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Don Quixote)
I had expected them to talk about my childlessness. I was armed with millions of smiles. Apologetic smiles, pity-me smiles, I-look-unto-God smiles - name all the fake smiles needed to get through an afternoon with a group of people who claim to want the best for you while poking at your open sore with a stick - and I had them ready. I was ready to listen to them tell me I must do something about my situation. I expected to hear about a new pastor I could visit; a new mountain where I could go to pray; or an old herbalist in a remote village or town whom I could consult. I was armed with smiles for my lips, an appropriate sheen of tears for my eyes and sniffles for my nose. I was prepared to lock up my hairdressing salon throughout the coming week and go in search of a miracle with my mother-in-law in tow. What I was not expecting was another smiling woman in the room, a yellow woman with a blood-red mouth who grinned like a new bride.
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ (Stay with Me)
Almost every girl goes through this weird living nightmare, where you show up at school and realize people have grown to hate you overnight. It’s a Twilight Zone moment when you can’t figure out what is real. It is a group mind-fuck of the highest kind, and it makes or breaks you. I got through it by keeping my head down, and a few weeks passed and all the girls liked me again. We all pretended it never happened. There should be manuals passed out to teach girls how to handle that inevitable one-week stretch when up is down and the best friend who just slept over at your house suddenly pulls your hair in front of everyone and laughs.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
A DOZEN PHALLACIES WOMEN BUY Phallacy 1. If he love me, he'll be faithful forever. Truth His loving you has nothing to do with his being faithful. Some men are monogamous. Most aren't. The sexy ones usually aren't. Monogamy lasts three, days, three weeks, three months, or at best three years with most men. Often it lasts just about long enough to get you pregnant. Nature has a reason for this. Men are programmed to spread their seed as widely as possible and women to raise live, healthy babies. Human babies take a long time to grow up to self-sufficiency.... Some few paragons of maleness are faithful. Most others cheat. The question is: can you stand it? If the cheating is not blatant and disrespectful and you get a lot out of the relationship in other ways (a friend, a lover, a father to your kids, an economic partner), then consider these alternatives: you can accept his cheating gracefully, and at the same time extract emotional and financial benefits from his guilt. You can cheat discreetly yourself -- if (and only if) you enjoy it (not for spite). You can realize it has nothing to do with you. He does it for his manhood, not against your womanhood.
Erica Jong (Fear of Fifty: A Midlife Memoir)
overstate to make a point—warned, civilization could have disappeared within a few more weeks. So the final lesson of 1918, a simple one yet one most difficult to execute, is that those who occupy positions of authority must lessen the panic that can alienate all within a society. Society cannot function if it is every man for himself. By definition, civilization cannot survive that. Those in authority must retain the public’s trust. The way to do that is to distort nothing, to put the best face on nothing, to try to manipulate no one. Lincoln said that first, and best. A leader must make whatever horror exists concrete. Only then will people be able to break it apart.
John M. Barry (The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History)
If you want to work your stinking job and pay into a pension plan for the rest of your days then fine; if you want to visit the supermarket once a week and feel great about yourself for finding the best offers on low fat microwave meals then fine; if you want to click around them computers all night, chatting to your Aunt Sally in Honolulu then fine; if you want to drink in moderation so you don’t end up shitting the bed then fine; if you want to continue the cycle of obedient drones then fine; if you want to resent how average your life has turned out in return for a salary that buys you nothing more than permanent misery then fine. All fine and dandy. Go right ahead. Just leave me the fuck out of it.
Rupert Dreyfus (Prezident Scumbag! A Sick Bastard Novella)
I talk very often in my films that Paradise is not yet lost, there are little bits of Paradise preserved. I am very interested to keep and protect what has really come to us from the past, and to protect what is essential to human beings. I have one song on that subject, and that song you know I was singing three weeks ago with the Big Band group. I was singing, "We are not going to betray you/those who were before us/I am with you here and now/we are not going to betray you/you who did everything to make sure that humanity would go to some other more subtle direction..." So, in that sense I am very conservative. I want to conserve the best that has been done before us by others before us, in that sense.
Jonas Mekas
ONCE UPON A time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. As he grew old, he began to wonder which should inherit the kingdom, since none had married and he had no heir. The king decided to ask his daughters to demonstrate their love for him. To the eldest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him as much as all the treasure in the kingdom. To the middle princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him with the strength of iron. To the youngest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” This youngest princess thought for a long time before answering. Finally she said she loved him as meat loves salt. “Then you do not love me at all,” the king said. He threw his daughter from the castle and had the bridge drawn up behind her so that she could not return. Now, this youngest princess goes into the forest with not so much as a coat or a loaf of bread. She wanders through a hard winter, taking shelter beneath trees. She arrives at an inn and gets hired as assistant to the cook. As the days and weeks go by, the princess learns the ways of the kitchen. Eventually she surpasses her employer in skill and her food is known throughout the land. Years pass, and the eldest princess comes to be married. For the festivities, the cook from the inn makes the wedding meal. Finally a large roast pig is served. It is the king’s favorite dish, but this time it has been cooked with no salt. The king tastes it. Tastes it again. “Who would dare to serve such an ill-cooked roast at the future queen’s wedding?” he cries. The princess-cook appears before her father, but she is so changed he does not recognize her. “I would not serve you salt, Your Majesty,” she explains. “For did you not exile your youngest daughter for saying that it was of value?” At her words, the king realizes that not only is she his daughter—she is, in fact, the daughter who loves him best. And what then? The eldest daughter and the middle sister have been living with the king all this time. One has been in favor one week, the other the next. They have been driven apart by their father’s constant comparisons. Now the youngest has returned, the king yanks the kingdom from his eldest, who has just been married. She is not to be queen after all. The elder sisters rage. At first, the youngest basks in fatherly love. Before long, however, she realizes the king is demented and power-mad. She is to be queen, but she is also stuck tending to a crazy old tyrant for the rest of her days. She will not leave him, no matter how sick he becomes. Does she stay because she loves him as meat loves salt? Or does she stay because he has now promised her the kingdom? It is hard for her to tell the difference.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
We thought about Thanksgiving, planned for Thanksgiving and talked of Thanksgiving for weeks beforehand, but the evening before the actual day was the best time of all. Then the house seethed with children and dogs, with friends and cooks, and with delightful smells of baking pie, turkey stuffing and coffee. Every time the doorbell rang we put on another pot of coffee and washed the cups and by the time we went to bed we were so nervous and flighty that when accidentally bumped or brushed against, we buzzed and lit up like pin-ball machines.
Betty MacDonald (The Plague and I (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #2))
It was four o'clock of a stickily wet Saturday. As long as it is anything from Monday to Friday the average library attendant goes around thanking her stars she isn't a school-teacher; but the last day of the week, when the rest of the world is having its relaxing Saturday off and coming to gloat over you as it acquires its Sunday-reading best seller, if you work in a library you begin just at noon to wish devoutly that you'd taken up scrubbing-by-the-day, or hack-driving, or porch-climbing or- anything on earth that gave you a weekly half-holiday!
Margaret Widdemer (The Rose-Garden Husband)
(First lines) Now a traveler must make his way to Noon City by the best means he can, for there are no trains or buses headed in that direction, though six days a week a truck from the Chuberry Turpentine Company collects mail and supplies at the nextdoor town of Paradise Chapel; occasionally a person bound for Noon City can catch a ride with the driver of the truck, Sam Ratcliffe. It's a rough trip no matter how you come, for these washboard roads will loosen up even brandnew cars pretty fast, and hitchhikers always find the going bad. Also, this is lonesome country, and here in the sunken marshes where tiger lilies bloom the size of a man's head there are luminous green logs that shine under the dark water like drowned corpses. Often the only movement on the landscape is a broken spiral of smoke from a sorry-looking farmhouse on the horizon, or a wing-stiffened bird, silent and arrow-eyed, circling endlessly over the bleak deserted pinewoods.
Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
You are in love, at a point where pride and apprehension scuffle within you. Part of you wants time to slow down: for this, you say to yourself, is the best period of your whole life. I am in love, I want to savour it, study it, lie around in languor with it; may today last forever. This is your poetical side. However, there is also your prose side, which urges time not to slow down but hurry up. How do you know this is love, your prose side whispers like a sceptical lawyer, it’s only been around for a few weeks, a few months. You won’t know it’s the real thing unless you (and she) still feel the same in, oh, a year or so at least; that’s the only way to prove you aren’t living a dragonfly mistake. Get through this bit, however much you enjoy it, as fast as possible; then you’ll be able to find out whether or not you’re really in love.
Julian Barnes (A History of the World in 10½ Chapters)
Should you happen to be possessed of a certain verbal acuity coupled with a relentless, hair-trigger humor and surface cheer spackling over a chronic melancholia and loneliness - a grotesquely caricatured version of your deepest self, which you trot out at the slightest provocation to endearing and glib comic effect, thus rendering you the kind of fellow who is beloved by all yet loved by none, all of it to distract, however fleetingly, from the cold and dead-faced truth that with each passing year you face the unavoidable certainty of a solitary future in which you will perish one day while vainly attempting the Heimlich maneuver on yourself over the back of a kitchen chair - then this confirmation that you have triumphed again and managed to gull yet another mark, except this time it was the one person you’d hoped might be immune to your ever-creakier, puddle-shallow, sideshow-barker variation on adorable, even though you’d been launching this campaign weekly with a single-minded concentration from day one - well, it conjures up feelings that are best described as mixed, to say the least.
David Rakoff (Half Empty)
on December 7, 2001, Osama announced that he was leaving. “He deserted us,” remembers Al-Hubayshi bitterly. “After five weeks his people came round telling us to make our way to Pakistan as best we could and surrender to our embassies there. We had been ready to lay down our lives for him, and he couldn’t make the effort to speak to us personally. Today I think that I was made use of by Bin Laden—exploited, just like all the young kids who went to jihad. What did he care when he sent us over the horizon to die? He was as bad as the religious sheikhs back in Saudi who preached jihad in their sermons every Friday. How many of them ever sent their own sons to Afghanistan?
Robert Lacey (Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia)
This would be the worst birthday of his life. Vladimir's best friend Baobab was down in Florida covering his rent, doing unspeakable things with unmentionable people. Mother, roused by the meager achievements of Vladimir's first quarter-century, was officially on the warpath. And, in possibly the worst development yet, 1993 was the Year of the Girlfriend. A downcast, heavyset American girlfriend whose bright orange hair was strewn across his Alphabet City hovel as if cadre of Angora rabbits had visited. A girlfriend whose sickly-sweet incense and musky perfume coated Vladimir's unwashed skin, perhaps to remind him of what he could expect on this, the night of his birthday: Sex. Every week, once a week, they had to have sex, as both he and this large pale woman, this Challah, perceived that without weekly sex their relationship would fold up according to some unspecified law of relationships.
Gary Shteyngart (The Russian Debutante's Handbook)
I bet you think I either moved on or forgot you And now you've stopped reaching out I bet it never ever occurred to you that I can't say "Hello" to you And not fall for you all over again. And I just wanna tell you It took everything in me not to be with you And I wish I could run to you. And I hope you know that every time I don't I almost do, I almost do. Oh, we made quite a mess, babe. It's probably better off this way. And I confess, babe, In my dreams you're touching my face And asking me if I be with you once and for all. And I almost do. And I just wanna tell you It takes everything in me not to reach out to you. And I wish I could run to you. And I hope you know that every time I don't I almost do, I almost do. I bet this time of night you're still up. I bet you're tired from a long hard week. I bet you're sitting in your chair by the window looking out at the city. And I hope sometimes you wonder about me.
EJR
To the extent that propaganda is based on current news, it cannot permit time for thought or reflection. A man caught up in the news must remain on the surface of the event; be is carried along in the current, and can at no time take a respite to judge and appreciate; he can never stop to reflect. There is never any awareness -- of himself, of his condition, of his society -- for the man who lives by current events. Such a man never stops to investigate any one point, any more than he will tie together a series of news events. We already have mentioned man's inability to consider several facts or events simultaneously and to make a synthesis of them in order to face or to oppose them. One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones. Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but be does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man's capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandist, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks. Moreover, there is a spontaneous defensive reaction in the individual against an excess of information and -- to the extent that he clings (unconsciously) to the unity of his own person -- against inconsistencies. The best defense here is to forget the preceding event. In so doing, man denies his own continuity; to the same extent that he lives on the surface of events and makes today's events his life by obliterating yesterday's news, he refuses to see the contradictions in his own life and condemns himself to a life of successive moments, discontinuous and fragmented. This situation makes the "current-events man" a ready target for propaganda. Indeed, such a man is highly sensitive to the influence of present-day currents; lacking landmarks, he follows all currents. He is unstable because he runs after what happened today; he relates to the event, and therefore cannot resist any impulse coming from that event. Because he is immersed in current affairs, this man has a psychological weakness that puts him at the mercy of the propagandist. No confrontation ever occurs between the event and the truth; no relationship ever exists between the event and the person. Real information never concerns such a person. What could be more striking, more distressing, more decisive than the splitting of the atom, apart from the bomb itself? And yet this great development is kept in the background, behind the fleeting and spectacular result of some catastrophe or sports event because that is the superficial news the average man wants. Propaganda addresses itself to that man; like him, it can relate only to the most superficial aspect of a spectacular event, which alone can interest man and lead him to make a certain decision or adopt a certain attitude. But here we must make an important qualification. The news event may be a real fact, existing objectively, or it may be only an item of information, the dissemination of a supposed fact. What makes it news is its dissemination, not its objective reality.
Jacques Ellul (Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes)
New Rule: Now that liberals have taken back the word "liberal," they also have to take back the word "elite." By now you've heard the constant right-wing attacks on the "elite media," and the "liberal elite." Who may or may not be part of the "Washington elite." A subset of the "East Coast elite." Which is overly influenced by the "Hollywood elite." So basically, unless you're a shit-kicker from Kansas, you're with the terrorists. If you played a drinking game where you did a shot every time Rush Limbaugh attacked someone for being "elite," you'd be almost as wasted as Rush Limbaugh. I don't get it: In other fields--outside of government--elite is a good thing, like an elite fighting force. Tiger Woods is an elite golfer. If I need brain surgery, I'd like an elite doctor. But in politics, elite is bad--the elite aren't down-to-earth and accessible like you and me and President Shit-for-Brains. Which is fine, except that whenever there's a Bush administration scandal, it always traces back to some incompetent political hack appointment, and you think to yourself, "Where are they getting these screwups from?" Well, now we know: from Pat Robertson. I'm not kidding. Take Monica Goodling, who before she resigned last week because she's smack in the middle of the U.S. attorneys scandal, was the third-ranking official in the Justice Department of the United States. She's thirty-three, and though she never even worked as a prosecutor, was tasked with overseeing the job performance of all ninety-three U.S. attorneys. How do you get to the top that fast? Harvard? Princeton? No, Goodling did her undergraduate work at Messiah College--you know, home of the "Fighting Christies"--and then went on to attend Pat Robertson's law school. Yes, Pat Robertson, the man who said the presence of gay people at Disney World would cause "earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor," has a law school. And what kid wouldn't want to attend? It's three years, and you have to read only one book. U.S. News & World Report, which does the definitive ranking of colleges, lists Regent as a tier-four school, which is the lowest score it gives. It's not a hard school to get into. You have to renounce Satan and draw a pirate on a matchbook. This is for the people who couldn't get into the University of Phoenix. Now, would you care to guess how many graduates of this televangelist diploma mill work in the Bush administration? On hundred fifty. And you wonder why things are so messed up? We're talking about a top Justice Department official who went to a college founded by a TV host. Would you send your daughter to Maury Povich U? And if you did, would you expect her to get a job at the White House? In two hundred years, we've gone from "we the people" to "up with people." From the best and brightest to dumb and dumber. And where better to find people dumb enough to believe in George Bush than Pat Robertson's law school? The problem here in America isn't that the country is being run by elites. It's that it's being run by a bunch of hayseeds. And by the way, the lawyer Monica Goodling hired to keep her ass out of jail went to a real law school.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
I believe we can be serious and optimistic. I believe we can recognize the overwhelming odds against us and forge coalitions that overcome the odds. The point of beginning is not political strategy. It is a shared sense of necessity, an understanding that we must act. I believe that Americans, battered by job losses and wage stagnation, angered by inequality and injustice, have come to this understanding. I hear Americans saying loudly and clearly: enough is enough [. . .] When we declare, "Enough is enough," we are demanding a country and a future that meets the needs of the vast majority of Americans: a country and a future where it is hard to buy elections and easy to vote in them; a country and a future where tax dollars are invested in jobs and infrastructure instead of jails and incarceration; a country and a future where we have he best educated workforce and the widest range of opportunities for every child and every adult; a country and future where we take the steps necessary to ending systemic racism; a country and a future where we assure once and for all that no one who works forty hours a week will live in poverty [. . .] When we stand together there is nothing, nothing, nothing we cannot accomplish.
Bernie Sanders (Outsider in the White House)
In our civilized societies we are rich. Why then are the many poor? Why this painful drudgery for the masses? Why, even to the best-paid workman, this uncertainty for the morrow, in the midst of all the wealth inherited from the past, and in spite of the powerful means of production, which could ensure comfort to all, in return for a few hours of daily toil? The socialists have said it and repeated it unwearyingly. Daily they reiterate it, demonstrating it by arguments taken from all the sciences. It is because all that is necessary for production — the land, the mines, the highways, machinery, food, shelter, education, knowledge — all have been seized by the few in the course of that long story of robbery, enforced migration and wars, of ignorance and oppression, which has been the life of the human race before it had learned to subdue the forces of Nature. It is because, taking advantage of alleged rights acquired in the past, these few appropriate today two-thirds of the products of human labour, and then squander them in the most stupid and shameful way. It is because, having reduced the masses to a point at which they have not the means of subsistence for a month, or even for a week in advance, the few can allow the many to work, only on the condition of themselves receiving the lion’s share. It is because these few prevent the remainder of men from producing the things they need, and force them to produce, not the necessaries of life for all, but whatever offers the greatest profits to the monopolists. In this is the substance of all socialism.
Pyotr Kropotkin (The Conquest of Bread)
HAZEL WASN’T PROUD OF CRYING. After the tunnel collapsed, she wept and screamed like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. She couldn’t move the debris that separated her and Leo from the others. If the earth shifted any more, the entire complex might collapse on their heads. Still, she pounded her fists against the stones and yelled curses that would’ve earned her a mouth-washing with lye soap back at St. Agnes Academy. Leo stared at her, wide-eyed and speechless. She wasn’t being fair to him. The last time the two of them had been together, she’d zapped him into her past and shown him Sammy, his great-grandfather—Hazel’s first boyfriend. She’d burdened him with emotional baggage he didn’t need, and left him so dazed they had almost gotten killed by a giant shrimp monster. Now here they were, alone again, while their friends might be dying at the hands of a monster army, and she was throwing a fit. “Sorry.” She wiped her face. “Hey, you know…” Leo shrugged. “I’ve attacked a few rocks in my day.” She swallowed with difficulty. “Frank is…he’s—” “Listen,” Leo said. “Frank Zhang has moves. He’s probably gonna turn into a kangaroo and do some marsupial jujitsu on their ugly faces.” He helped her to her feet. Despite the panic simmering inside her, she knew Leo was right. Frank and the others weren’t helpless. They would find a way to survive. The best thing she and Leo could do was carry on. She studied Leo. His hair had grown out longer and shaggier, and his face was leaner, so he looked less like an imp and more like one of those willowy elves in the fairy tales. The biggest difference was his eyes. They constantly drifted, as if Leo was trying to spot something over the horizon. “Leo, I’m sorry,” she said. He raised an eyebrow. “Okay. For what?” “For…” She gestured around her helplessly. “Everything. For thinking you were Sammy, for leading you on. I mean, I didn’t mean to, but if I did—” “Hey.” He squeezed her hand, though Hazel sensed nothing romantic in the gesture. “Machines are designed to work.” “Uh, what?” “I figure the universe is basically like a machine. I don’t know who made it, if it was the Fates, or the gods, or capital-G God, or whatever. But it chugs along the way it’s supposed to most of the time. Sure, little pieces break and stuff goes haywire once in a while, but mostly…things happen for a reason. Like you and me meeting.” “Leo Valdez,” Hazel marveled, “you’re a philosopher.” “Nah,” he said. “I’m just a mechanic. But I figure my bisabuelo Sammy knew what was what. He let you go, Hazel. My job is to tell you that it’s okay. You and Frank—you’re good together. We’re all going to get through this. I hope you guys get a chance to be happy. Besides, Zhang couldn’t tie his shoes without your help.” “That’s mean,” Hazel chided, but she felt like something was untangling inside her—a knot of tension she’d been carrying for weeks. Leo really had changed. Hazel was starting to think she’d found a good friend. “What happened to you when you were on your own?” she asked. “Who did you meet?” Leo’s eye twitched. “Long story. I’ll tell you sometime, but I’m still waiting to see how it shakes out.” “The universe is a machine,” Hazel said, “so it’ll be fine.” “Hopefully.” “As long as it’s not one of your machines,” Hazel added. “Because your machines never do what they’re supposed to.” “Yeah, ha-ha.” Leo summoned fire into his hand. “Now, which way, Miss Underground?” Hazel scanned the path in front of them. About thirty feet down, the tunnel split into four smaller arteries, each one identical, but the one on the left radiated cold. “That way,” she decided. “It feels the most dangerous.” “I’m sold,” said Leo. They began their descent.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
A few weeks ago I had a dream. I dreamed I was back at the house, in the red room, reading my microeconomics textbook. Maddy outside playing with Hope, and Agnes was preparing dinner. It was just like old times. I was elated. I knew all along that they weren't really dead. It was all just a terrible mistake. Maddy joined me in the library. Strangely, she didn't smell like anything. Not her usual crème brulee or green apples or candy. That's when I realized she was dead, though I didn't know I was dreaming. She apologized for everything and then proceeded to explain why things had turned out the way they had. Her story made complete sense. It was what I needed to hear. Finally I had an answer. Finally I could let go. And then she vanished When I woke up, in a pool of sweat, I couldn't remember a thing Maddy had said.
Katherine Easer (Vicious Little Darlings)
Chris loved to look at every type of plant, animal, and bug he hadn’t seen before on the trail and point out those he did recognize. He enjoyed walking along small streams, listening to the water as it traveled, and searching for eddies where we could watch the minnows scurry amongst the rocks. On one Shenandoah trip, while we were resting at a waterfall, eating our chocolate-covered granola bars and watching the water pummel the rocks below, he said, “See, Carine ? That’s the purity of nature. It may be harsh in its honesty, but it never lies to you”. Chris seemed to be most comfortable outdoors, and the farther away from the typical surroundings and pace of our everyday lives the better. While it was unusual for a solid week to pass without my parents having an argument that sent them into a negative tailspin of destruction and despair, they never got into a fight of any consequence when we were on an extended family hike or camping trip. It seemed like everything became centered and peaceful when there was no choice but to make nature the focus. Our parents’ attention went to watching for blaze marks on trees ; staying on the correct trail ; doling out bug spray, granola bars, sandwiches, and candy bars at proper intervals ; and finding the best place to pitch the tent before nightfall. They taught us how to properly lace up our hiking boots and wear the righ socks to keep our feet healthy and reliable. They showed us which leaves were safe to use as toilet paper and which would surely make us miserable downtrail. We learned how to purify water for our canteens if we hadn’t found a safe spring and to be smart about conserving what clean water we had left. At night we would collect rocks to make a fire ring, dry wood to burn, and long twigs for roasting marshmallows for the s’more fixings Mom always carried in her pack. Dad would sing silly, non-sensical songs that made us laugh and tell us about the stars.
Carine McCandless (The Wild Truth: A Memoir)
The work I do is not exactly respectable. But I want to explain how it works without any of the negatives associated with my infamous clients. I’ll show how I manipulated the media for a good cause. A friend of mine recently used some of my advice on trading up the chain for the benefit of the charity he runs. This friend needed to raise money to cover the costs of a community art project, and chose to do it through Kickstarter, the crowdsourced fund-raising platform. With just a few days’ work, he turned an obscure cause into a popular Internet meme and raised nearly ten thousand dollars to expand the charity internationally. Following my instructions, he made a YouTube video for the Kickstarter page showing off his charity’s work. Not a video of the charity’s best work, or even its most important work, but the work that exaggerated certain elements aimed at helping the video spread. (In this case, two or three examples in exotic locations that actually had the least amount of community benefit.) Next, he wrote a short article for a small local blog in Brooklyn and embedded the video. This site was chosen because its stories were often used or picked up by the New York section of the Huffington Post. As expected, the Huffington Post did bite, and ultimately featured the story as local news in both New York City and Los Angeles. Following my advice, he sent an e-mail from a fake address with these links to a reporter at CBS in Los Angeles, who then did a television piece on it—using mostly clips from my friend’s heavily edited video. In anticipation of all of this he’d been active on a channel of the social news site Reddit (where users vote on stories and topics they like) during the weeks leading up to his campaign launch in order to build up some connections on the site. When the CBS News piece came out and the video was up, he was ready to post it all on Reddit. It made the front page almost immediately. This score on Reddit (now bolstered by other press as well) put the story on the radar of what I call the major “cool stuff” blogs—sites like BoingBoing, Laughing Squid, FFFFOUND!, and others—since they get post ideas from Reddit. From this final burst of coverage, money began pouring in, as did volunteers, recognition, and new ideas. With no advertising budget, no publicist, and no experience, his little video did nearly a half million views, and funded his project for the next two years. It went from nothing to something. This may have all been for charity, but it still raises a critical question: What exactly happened? How was it so easy for him to manipulate the media, even for a good cause? He turned one exaggerated amateur video into a news story that was written about independently by dozens of outlets in dozens of markets and did millions of media impressions. It even registered nationally. He had created and then manipulated this attention entirely by himself.
Ryan Holiday (Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator)
Unspoiled by education, frank and unsuspecting as young an8imals, they came up to school from their meadows, their games, and their dreams. The simple law of life was alone valid for them; the most vital, the most forceful among them was leader; the rest followed him. But little by little, with the weekly portions of tuition, another, artificial set of values was foisted upon them: he who knew his lesson best was termed excellent and ranked foremost, and the rest must emulate him. Little wonder, indeed, if the more vital of them resist it! But they have to knuckle under, for the ideal of the school is the good scholar.--But what an ideal! What ever came of the good scholars in the world?--In the hothouse of the school they do enjoy a short semblance of life, but only the more surely to sink back afterward into mediocrity and insignificance. The world has been bettered only by the bad scholars.
Erich Maria Remarque (The Road Back)
Disco bowling? Seriously? Is there such a thing?" He laughed. "I've never been,but you mentioned bowling a few weeks ago,and I figured tonight of all nights I could go ahead and impress you with my mad lack of bowling skills.Besides which, you look way too hot to waste on trick-or-treaters.They have a costume competition-you're a shoo-in." I laughed,giddy,and grabbed his hand to kiss his knuckles.I knew he'd rather stay at home,but he planned tonight around making me happy. And he wanted to show me off,which appealed to my vanity more than I cared to admit. Best. Boyfriend. Ever. "Pictures,please?And if we're going disco bowling,you have to dress up." He pretended to sigh,but his glamour hair grew out into a massive 'fro and I squealed with delight. Then it shifted into shorter hair with a yellow-blond side part. "I figure with an ascot and blue pants I can do a mean Fred to your Daphne,right?" Tonight was perfect.
Kiersten White (Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2))
Gustavo Tiberius speaking." “It’s so weird you do that, man,” Casey said, sounding amused. “Every time I call.” “It’s polite,” Gus said. “Just because you kids these days don’t have proper phone etiquette.” “Oh boy, there’s the Grumpy Gus I know. You miss me?” Gus was well aware the others could hear the conversation loud and clear. He was also aware he had a reputation to maintain. “Hadn’t really thought about it.” “Really.” “Yes.” “Gus.” “Casey.” “I miss you.” “I miss you too,” Gus mumbled into the phone, blushing fiercely. “Yeah? How much?” Gus was in hell. “A lot,” he said truthfully. “There have been allegations made against my person of pining and moping. False allegations, mind you, but allegations nonetheless.” “I know what you mean,” Casey said. “The guys were saying the same thing about me.” Gus smiled. “How embarrassing for you.” “Completely. You have no idea.” “They’re going to get you packed up this week?” “Ah, yeah. Sure. Something like that.” “Casey.” “Yes, Gustavo.” “You’re being cagey.” “I have no idea what you mean. Hey, that’s a nice Hawaiian shirt you’ve got on. Pink? I don’t think I’ve seen you in that color before.” Gus shrugged. “Pastor Tommy had a shitload of them. I think I could wear one every day for the rest of the year and not repeat. I think he may have had a bit of a….” Gus trailed off when his hand started shaking. Then, “How did you know what I was wearing?” There was a knock on the window to the Emporium. Gus looked up. Standing on the sidewalk was Casey. He was wearing bright green skinny jeans and a white and red shirt that proclaimed him to be a member of the 1987 Pasadena Bulldogs Women’s Softball team. He looked ridiculous. And like the greatest thing Gus had ever seen. Casey wiggled his eyebrows at Gus. “Hey, man.” “Hi,” Gus croaked. “Come over here, but stay on the phone, okay?” Gus didn’t even argue, unable to take his eyes off Casey. He hadn’t expected him for another week, but here he was on a pretty Saturday afternoon, standing outside the Emporium like it was no big deal. Gus went to the window, and Casey smiled that lazy smile. He said, “Hi.” Gus said, “Hi.” “So, I’ve spent the last two days driving back,” Casey said. “Tried to make it a surprise, you know?” “I’m very surprised,” Gus managed to say, about ten seconds away from busting through the glass just so he could hug Casey close. The smile widened. “Good. I’ve had some time to think about things, man. About a lot of things. And I came to this realization as I drove past Weed, California. Gus. It was called Weed, California. It was a sign.” Gus didn’t even try to stop the eye roll. “Oh my god.” “Right? Kismet. Because right when I entered Weed, California, I was thinking about you and it hit me. Gus, it hit me.” “What did?” Casey put his hand up against the glass. Gus did the same on his side. “Hey, Gus?” “Yeah?” “I’m going to ask you a question, okay?” Gustavo’s throat felt very dry. “Okay.” “What was the Oscar winner for Best Song in 1984?” Automatically, Gus answered, “Stevie Wonder for the movie The Woman in Red. The song was ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You.’” It was fine, of course. Because he knew answers to all those things. He didn’t know why Casey wanted to— And then he could barely breathe. Casey’s smile wobbled a little bit. “Okay?” Gus blinked the burn away. He nodded as best he could. And Casey said, “Yeah, man. I love you too.” Gus didn’t even care that he dropped his phone then. All that mattered was getting as close to Casey as humanely possible. He threw open the door to the Emporium and suddenly found himself with an armful of hipster. Casey laughed wetly into his neck and Gus just held on as hard as he could. He thought that it was possible that he might never be in a position to let go. For some reason, that didn’t bother him in the slightest.
T.J. Klune (How to Be a Normal Person (How to Be, #1))
The day you were born was the happiest day of my life, but I was so nervous that I don’t know if happiness is really the best word to describe what I felt. I think it is my obligation to tell you, in spite of the absolute love I have always felt for you, in spite of how much you have brightened my life, and I assume your mother’s as well—I haven’t seen her in around ten years now, but I’m sure that for her as well you have been a constant source of happiness—in spite of all that, I have to tell you that during the eighteen years you’ve now been alive, I’ve never stopped wondering what my life would have been like if you had never been born. It’s an overwhelming thought, an exit that leads to the darkest of nights, to the most complete blackness, but also to shadow and sometimes, slowly, toward something like a clearing in the woods. These fantasies are normal, but it’s not so common for parents to confess them. For example, over the years I have thought thousands of times that if you hadn’t been born I would have needed less money, or could have disappeared for weeks on end without worrying about anyone. I could have prolonged my youth for several more years. I could have even killed myself. I mean, the first consequence of your birth was that from then on, I could never kill myself.
Alejandro Zambra (Multiple Choice)
Feeling Faint Issue: I’m happy losing weight with a low carbohydrate diet, but I’m always tired, get light headed when I stand up, and if I exercise for more than 10 minutes I feel like I’m going to pass out. Response: Congratulations on your weight loss success, and with just a small adjustment to your diet, you can say goodbye to your weakness and fatigue. The solution is salt…a bit more salt to be specific. This may sound like we’re crazy when many experts argue that we should all eat less salt, however these are the same experts who tell us that eating lots of carbohydrates and sugar is OK. But what they don’t tell you is that your body functions very differently when you are keto-adapted. When you restrict carbs for a week or two, your kidneys switch from retaining salt to rapidly excreting it, along with a fair amount of stored water. This salt and water loss explains why many people experience rapid weight loss in the first couple of weeks on a low carbohydrate diet. Ridding your body of this excess salt and water is a good thing, but only up to a point. After that, if you don’t replace some of the ongoing sodium excretion, the associated water loss can compromise your circulation The end result is lightheadedness when you stand up quickly or fatigue if you exercise enough to get ‘warmed up’. Other common side effects of carbohydrate restriction that go away with a pinch of added salt include headache and constipation; and over the long term it also helps the body maintain its muscles. The best solution is to include 1 or 2 cups of bouillon or broth in your daily schedule. This adds only 1-2 grams of sodium to your daily intake, and your ketoadapted metabolism insures that you pass it right on through within a matter of hours (allaying any fears you might have of salt buildup in your system). This rapid clearance also means that on days that you exercise, take one dose of broth or bouillon within the hour before you start.
Jeff S. Volek (The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable)
The Mad Gardener's Song He thought he saw an Elephant, That practised on a fife: He looked again, and found it was A letter from his wife. 'At length I realise,' he said, 'The bitterness of Life!' He thought he saw a Buffalo Upon the chimney-piece: He looked again, and found it was His Sister's Husband's Niece. 'Unless you leave this house,' he said, 'I'll send for the Police!' He thought he saw a Rattlesnake That questioned him in Greek: He looked again, and found it was The Middle of Next Week. 'The one thing I regret,' he said, 'Is that it cannot speak!' He thought he saw a Banker's Clerk Descending from the bus: He looked again, and found it was A Hippopotamus. 'If this should stay to dine,' he said, 'There won't be much for us!' He thought he saw a Kangaroo That worked a coffee-mill: He looked again, and found it was A Vegetable-Pill. 'Were I to swallow this,' he said, 'I should be very ill!' He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four That stood beside his bed: He looked again, and found it was A Bear without a Head. 'Poor thing,' he said, 'poor silly thing! It's waiting to be fed!' He thought he saw an Albatross That fluttered round the lamp: He looked again, and found it was A Penny-Postage Stamp. 'You'd best be getting home,' he said: 'The nights are very damp!' He thought he saw a Garden-Door That opened with a key: He looked again, and found it was A Double Rule of Three: 'And all its mystery,' he said, 'Is clear as day to me!' He thought he saw a Argument That proved he was the Pope: He looked again, and found it was A Bar of Mottled Soap. 'A fact so dread,' he faintly said, 'Extinguishes all hope!
Lewis Carroll (Sylvie and Bruno)
There's not much to say about loneliness, for it's not a broad subject. Any child, alone in her room, can journey across its entire breadth, from border to border, in an hour. Though not broad, our subject is deep. Loneliness is deeper than the ocean. But here, too, there is no mystery. Our intrepid child is liable to fall quickly to the very bottom without even trying. And since the depths of loneliness cannot sustain human life, the child will swim to the surface again in short order, no worse for wear. Some of us, though, can bring breathing aids down with us for longer stays: imaginary friends, drugs and alcohol, mind-numbing entertainment, hobbies, ironclad routine, and pets. (Pets are some of the best enablers of loneliness, your own cuddlesome Murphy notwithstanding.) With the help of these aids, a poor sap can survive the airless depths of loneliness long enough to experience its true horror -- duration. Did you know, Myren Vole, that when presented with the same odor (even my own) for a duration of only several minutes, the olfactory nerves become habituated -- as my daughter used to say -- to it and cease transmitting its signal to the brain? Likewise, most pain loses its edge in time. Time heals all -- as they say. Even the loss of a loved one, perhaps life's most wrenching pain, is blunted in time. It recedes into the background where it can be borne with lesser pains. Not so our friend loneliness, which grows only more keen and insistent with each passing hour. Loneliness is as needle sharp now as it was an hour ago, or last week. But if loneliness is the wound, what's so secret about it? I submit to you, Myren Vole, that the most painful death of all is suffocation by loneliness. And by the time I started on my portrait of Jean, I was ten years into it (with another five to go). It is from that vantage point that I tell you that loneliness itself is the secret. It's a secret you cannot tell anyone. Why? Because to confess your loneliness is to confess your failure as a human being. To confess would only cause others to pity and avoid you, afraid that what you have is catching. Your condition is caused by a lack of human relationship, and yet to admit to it only drives your possible rescuers farther away (while attracting cats). So you attempt to hide your loneliness in public, to behave, in fact, as though you have too many friends already, and thus you hope to attract people who will unwittingly save you. But it never works that way. Your condition is written all over your face, in the hunch of your shoulders, in the hollowness of your laugh. You fool no one. Believe me in this; I've tried all the tricks of the lonely man.
David Marusek (Counting Heads (Counting Heads, #1))
My job is never boring," Staples said. "There's nuts-and-bolts stuff like getting the tarpaulin over the shaft when it rains, and so in. Cataloging and reshelving. The shelves are in a shocking state. And when you've got everything ever written or lost to keep track of, it's quite a job. And there's fetching books. "I used to really look forward to requests for books way down in the abyss. We'd all rope up, follow our lines down for miles. The order falls apart a way down but you learn to sniff out class-marks. Sometimes we'd be gone for weeks, fetching volumes.' She spoke with a faraway voice. "There are risks. Hunters, animals, and accidents. Ropes that snap. Sometimes someone gets separated. Twenty years ago, I was in a group looking for a book someone had requested. I remember, it was called 'Oh, All Right Then': Bartleby Returns. We were led by Ptolemy Yes. He was the man taught me. Best librarian there's ever been, some say. "Anyway, after weeks of searching, we ran out of food and had to turn back. No one likes it when we fail, so none of us were feeling great. "We felt that much worse when we realized that we'd lost Ptolemy. "Some people say he went off deliberately. That he couldn't bear not to find the book. That he's out there still in the Wordhoard Abyss, living off shelf-monkeys, looking. And that he'll be back one day, book in his hand.
China Miéville (Un Lun Dun)
Forever, Tom thought. Maybe he’d never go back to the States. It was not so much Europe itself as the evenings he had spent alone, here and in Rome, that made him feel that way. Evenings by himself simply looking at maps, or lying around on sofas thumbing through guidebooks. Evenings looking at his clothes - his clothes and Dickie’s - and feeling Dickie’s rings between his palms, and running his fingers over the antelope suitcase he had bought at Gucci’s. He had polished the suitcase with a special English leather dressing, not that it needed polishing because he took such good care of it, but for its protection. He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn’t that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn’t take money, masses of money, it took a certain security. He had been on the road to it, even with Marc Priminger. He had appreciated Marc’s possessions, and they were what had attracted him to the house, but they were not his own, and it had been impossible to make a beginning at acquiring anything of his own on forty dollars a week. It would have taken him the best years of his life, even if he had economised stringently, to buy the things he wanted. Dickie’s money had given him only an added momentum on the road he had been travelling. The money gave him the leisure to see Greece, to collect Etruscan pottery if he wanted (he had recently read an interesting book on that subject by an American living in Rome), to join art societies if he cared to and to donate to their work. It gave him the leisure, for instance, to read his Malraux tonight as late as he pleased, because he did not have to go to a job in the morning. He had just bought a two-volume edition of Malraux’s Psychologic de I’art which he was now reading, with great pleasure, in French with the aid of a dictionary.
Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley (Ripley, #1))
LOST is often lauded as one of the best fantasy dramas in television history, as well as one of the most cryptic and - occasionally – maddening. But confirmation of just how important it is came with an almost unbelievable communiqué from the White House last week. President Obama’s office reassured Lost fans that the commander in chief wouldn’t move his yearly state of the union address from late January to a date that would coincide with the premiere episode of the show’s sixth and final season. That’s right. Obama might have had vital information to impart upon the American people about health care, the war in Afghanistan, the financial crisis – things that, you know, might affect real lives. But the most important thing was that his address didn’t clash with a series in which a polar bear appears on a tropical island. After extensive lobbying by the ABC network, the White House surrendered. Obama’s press secretary promised: “I don’t foresee a scenario in which millions of people who hope to finally get some conclusion with Lost are pre-empted by the president.
Ben East
When I took it off, I glanced in the mirror behind the dresser, and I nearly screamed when I saw the reflection. Finn was sitting behind me on the bed. His eyes, dark as night, met mine in the mirror, and I could hardly breathe. "Finn!" I gasped and whirled around to look at him. "What are you doing here?" "I missed your birthday," he said, as if that answered my question. He lowered his eyes, looking at a small box he had in his hands. "I got you something." "You got me something?" I leaned back on the dresser behind me, gripping it. "Yeah." He nodded, still staring down at the box. "I picked it up outside of Portland two weeks ago. I meant to get back in time to give it to you on your birthday." He chewed the inside of his cheek. "But now that I'm here, I'm not sure I should give it to you at all." "What are you talking about?" I asked. "It doesn't feel right." Finn rubbed his face. "I don't even know what I'm doing here." "Neither do I," I said. "Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to see you. I just...I don't understand." "I know." He sighed. "It's a ring. What I got you." His gaze moved from me to the engagement ring sitting on the dresser beside me. "And you already have one." "Why did you get me a ring?" I asked tentatively, and my heart beat erratically in my chest. I didn't know what Finn was saying or doing. "I'm not proposing to you, if that's what you're asking." He shook his head. "I saw it and thought of you. But now it seems like poor taste. And here I am, the night before your wedding sneaking in to give you a ring." "Why did you sneak in?" I asked. "I don't know." He looked away and laughed darkly. "That's a lie. I know exactly what I'm doing, but I have no idea why I'm doing it." "What are you doing?" I asked quietly. "I..." Finn stared off for a moment, then turned back to me and stood up. "Finn, I-" I began, but he held up his hand, stopping me. "No, I know you're marrying Tove," he said. "You need to do this. We both know that. It's what's best for you, and it's what I want for you." He paused. "But I want you for myself too." All I'd ever wanted from Finn was for him to admit how he felt about me, and he'd waited until the day before my wedding. It was too late to change anything, to take anything back. Not that I could have, even if I wanted to. "Why are you telling me this?" I asked with tears swimming in my eyes. "Because." Finn stepped toward me, stopping right in front of me. He looked down at me, his eyes mesmerizing me the way they always did. He reached up, brushing back a tear from my cheek. "Why?" I asked, my voice trembling. "I needed you to know," he said, as if he didn't truly understand it himself. He set the box on the dresser beside me, and his hand went to my waist, pulling me to him. I let go of the dresser and let him. My breath came out shallow as I stared up at him. "Tomorrow you will belong to someone else," Finn said. "But tonight, you're with me.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
Hungry?” he asks. “The wager?” I remind him. “I’m getting there—it’s related to my question.” He lifts his chin to the meat locker. “They have good steaks here.” And just like that, I’m interested in whatever he’s suggesting. “They do. What’re you thinking?” “They have a porterhouse for two, three, or four.” I haven’t eaten in nearly twenty-four hours, and the idea of a big juicy steak has me salivating. “Yeah?” “So, I say we split the one for three, and whoever eats more wins.” “I’m going to guess their porterhouse for three could feed us both for a week.” “I’m betting you’re right.” His adorable grin should be accompanied by the sound of a silvery ding. “And your dinner is on me.” For not the first time, it occurs to me to ask him how he makes ends meet, but I can’t—not here, and maybe not when we’re alone, either. “You don’t have to do that.” “I think I can handle treating my wife to dinner on our wedding night.” Our wedding night. My heart thuds heavily. “That’s a lot of meat. No pun intended.” He grins enthusiastically. “I’d sure like to see how you handle it.” “You’re betting Holland can’t finish a steak?” Lulu chimes in from behind me. “Oh, you sweet summer child.” *** As we get up, I groan, clutching my stomach. “Is this what pregnancy feels like? Not interested.” “I could carry you,” Calvin offers sweetly, helping me with my coat. Lulu pushes between us, giddy from wine as she throws her arms around our shoulders. “You’re supposed to carry the bride across the threshold to be romantic, not because she’s broken from eating her weight in beef.” I stifle a belch. “The way to impress a man is to show him how much meat you can handle, don’t you know this, Lu?” Calvin laughs. “It was a close battle.” “Not that close,” Mark says, beside him. We went so far as to have the waiter split the cooked steak into two equal portions, much to the amused fascination of our tablemates. I ate roughly three-quarters of mine. Calvin was two ounces short. “Calvin Bakker has a pretty solid ring to it,” I say. He laugh-groans. “What did I get myself into?” “A marriage to a farm girl,” I say. “It’s best you learn on day one that I take my eating very seriously.
Christina Lauren (Roomies)
A budget?" He'd expected an explosion.Even, perversely,hoped for one.Margo's tantrums were always so..stimulating.It didn't appear that he was going to be disappointed. "A budget?" she repeated,storming to him. "Of all the unbelievable,bloody nerve.You arrogant son of a bitch. Do you think I'm going to stand here and let you treat me like some sort of brainless bimbo who needs to be told how much she can spend on face powder?" "Face powder." Deliberately, he scanned the papers,took a pen out of his pocket,and made a quick note. "That would come under 'Miscellaneous Luxuries.' I think I've been very generous there. Now,as to your clothing allowance-" "Allowance!" She used both hands to shove him back a step. "Just let me tell you what you can do with your fucking allowance." "Careful,duchess." He brushed the front of his shirt. "Turnbill and Asser." The strangled sound in her throat was the best she could do.If there had been anything at all to throw,she'd have heaved it at his head. "I'd rather be picked apart,alive, by vultures than let you handle the money." "You don't have any money," he began, but she barreled on as she whirled around the room. Watching her, he all but salivated. "I'd rather be gang-raped by midgets, staked naked to a wasp nest,be force-fed garden slugs." "Go three weeks without a manicure?" he put in and watched her hands curl into claws. "You go after my face with those, I'll have to hurt you." "Oh,I hate you." "No,you don't.
Nora Roberts (Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy, #1))
I thought to do something good by giving an interview to People, which was exceedingly foolish of me. I asked Aaron [Asher] to tell you that the Good Intentions Paving Company had fucked up again. The young interviewer turned my opinions inside out, cut out the praises and made it all sound like disavowal, denunciation and excommunication. Well, we're both used to this kind of thing, and beyond shock. In agreeing to take the call, and make a statement I was simply muddle-headed. But if I had been interviewed by an angel for the Seraphim and Cherubim Weekly I'd have said, as I actually did say to the crooked little slut, that you were one of our very best and most interesting writers. I would have added that I was greatly stimulated and entertained by your last novel, and that of course after three decades I understood perfectly well what you were saying about the writer's trade - how could I not understand, or miss suffering the same pains. Still our diagrams are different, and the briefest description of the differences would be that you seem to have accepted the Freudian explanation: A writer is motivated by his desire for fame, money and sexual opportunities. Whereas I have never taken this trinity of motives seriously. But this is an explanatory note and I don't intend to make a rabbinic occasion of it. Please accept my regrets and apologies, also my best wishes. I'm afraid there's nothing we can do about the journalists; we can only hope that they will die off as the deerflies do towards the end of August.
Saul Bellow
And he was right. Because Carlos De Vil’s brain, by way of comparison, was almost as big as Cruella De Vil’s fur-coat closet. That’s what Carlos tried to tell himself, anyway, especially when people were making him run the tombs. His first class today was Weird Science, one he always looked forward to. It was where he’d originally gotten the idea to put his machine together, from the lesson on radio waves. Carlos was not the only top student in the class—he was tied, in fact, with the closest thing he had to a rival in the whole school: the scrawny, bespectacled Reza. Reza was the son of the former Royal Astronomer of Agrabah, who had consulted with Jafar to make sure the stars aligned on more than one nefarious occasion, which was how his family had found their way to the Isle of the Lost with everyone else. Weird Science was the class where Carlos always worked the hardest. The presence of Reza, who was every bit as competitive in science lab as he was, only made Carlos work that much harder. And as annoying as everyone found Reza to be—he always had to use the very biggest words for everything, whether they were used correctly and whether he was inserting a few extra syllables where they might or might not belong—he was still smart. Very smart. Which meant Carlos enjoyed besting him. Just the other week they had been working on a special elixir, and Reza had been annoyed that Carlos had figured out the secret ingredient first. Yeah, Reza was almost as smart as he was irritating. Even now he was raising his hand, waving it wildly back and forth. Their professor, the powerful sorcerer Yen Sid,
Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost (Descendants, #1))
I’m like him,” she’d whispered. “You’re not,” Wren said. “I am. I’m crazy like him.” She was already having panic attacks. She was already hiding at parties. In seventh grade, she’d been late to class for the first two weeks because she couldn’t stand being in the halls with everyone else during passing periods. “It’s probably going to get worse in a few years. That’s when it usually kicks in.” “You’re not,” Wren said. “But what if I am?” “Decide not to be.” “That’s not how it works,” Cath argued. “Nobody knows how it works.” “What if I don’t even see it coming.” “I’ll see it coming.” Cath tried to stop crying, but she’d been crying so long, the crying had taken over, making her bvreathe in harsh sniffs and jerks. “If it takes you,” Wren said. “I won’t let go.” A few months later, Cath gave that line to Simon in a scene about Baz’s bloodlust. Wren was still writing with Cath back then, and when she got to the line, she snorted. “I’m here for you if you go manic,” Wren said. “But you’re on your own if you become a vampire.” “What good are you anyway,” Cath said. Their dad was home by then. And better. And Cath didn’t feel, for the moment, like her DNA was a trap ready to snap closed on her. “Apparently, I’m good for something,” Wren said. “You keep stealing all my best lines.
Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)
I draw myself up next to her and look at her profile, making no effort to disguise my attention, here, where there is only Puck to see me. The evening sun loves her throat and her cheekbones. Her hair the color of cliff grass rises and falls over her face in the breeze. Her expression is less ferocious than usual, less guarded. I say, “Are you afraid?” Her eyes are far away on the horizon line, out to the west where the sun has gone but the glow remains. Somewhere out there are my capaill uisce, George Holly’s America, every gallon of water that every ship rides on. Puck doesn’t look away from the orange glow at the end of the world. “Tell me what it’s like. The race.” What it’s like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It’s the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It’s speed, if you’re lucky. It’s life and it’s death or it’s both and there’s nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment — this last light of evening the day before the race — was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life. “There’s no one braver than you on that beach.” Her voice is dismissive. “That doesn’t matter.” “It does. I meant what I said at the festival. This island cares nothing for love but it favors the brave.” Now she looks at me. She’s fierce and red, indestructible and changeable, everything that makes Thisby what it is. She asks, “Do you feel brave?” The mare goddess had told me to make another wish. It feels thin as a thread to me now, that gift of a wish. I remember the years when it felt like a promise. “I don’t know what I feel, Puck.” Puck unfolds her arms just enough to keep her balance as she leans to me, and when we kiss, she closes her eyes. She draws back and looks into my face. I have not moved, and she barely has, but the world feels strange beneath me. “Tell me what to wish for,” I say. “Tell me what to ask the sea for.” “To be happy. Happiness.” I close my eyes. My mind is full of Corr, of the ocean, of Puck Connolly’s lips on mine. “I don’t think such a thing is had on Thisby. And if it is, I don’t know how you would keep it.” The breeze blows across my closed eyelids, scented with brine and rain and winter. I can hear the ocean rocking against the island, a constant lullaby. Puck’s voice is in my ear; her breath warms my neck inside my jacket collar. “You whisper to it. What it needs to hear. Isn’t that what you said?” I tilt my head so that her mouth is on my skin. The kiss is cold where the wind blows across my cheek. Her forehead rests against my hair. I open my eyes, and the sun has gone. I feel as if the ocean is inside me, wild and uncertain. “That’s what I said. What do I need to hear?” Puck whispers, “That tomorrow we’ll rule the Scorpio Races as king and queen of Skarmouth and I’ll save the house and you’ll have your stallion. Dove will eat golden oats for the rest of her days and you will terrorize the races each year and people will come from every island in the world to find out how it is you get horses to listen to you. The piebald will carry Mutt Malvern into the sea and Gabriel will decide to stay on the island. I will have a farm and you will bring me bread for dinner.” I say, “That is what I needed to hear.” “Do you know what to wish for now?” I swallow. I have no wishing-shell to throw into the sea when I say it, but I know that the ocean hears me nonetheless. “To get what I need.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Scorpio Races)
I jumped up, my hands in the air. “Yes!” Lend laughed. “Okay, looks like I need to make a run to the grocery store. Do faeries hate wheat or white bread more, you think?” “Get bread with raisins,” I said. “Everyone hates raisins.” Jack was bouncing, obviously excited. “That’s all we need, right?” “We need Reth.” “No,” Lend and Jack whined in unison. “Come on, you two. Reth knows the Faerie Realms better than you do. Jack, you didn’t see where the people were; it might take you a while to find them, and that’s time we can’t afford to lose. And Reth’s getting worse; being there might give him more time.” Lend scowled, grabbing the car keys off the counter. “Fine. But I’m really getting tired of his stupid smirk and prissy clothes.” Jack nodded. “And his voice that sounds like it’d even taste good. Really, it’s overkill. Best to have only a few absolutely perfect traits—for example, my hair and eyes and sparkling personality—so you don’t overwhelm them.” “Aww, are you guys jealous of how pretty Reth is? That’s kind of adorable.” “You know I could look exactly like him,” Lend said, frowning darkly. “Please for the love of all that is good and holy, never, ever wear Reth. That’s the stuff of nightmares.” That brightened his face a bit and he left me with a lingering kiss and a promise to be back with every loaf of bread we could carry. “Well, go find your stupid faerie boyfriend,” Jack said, lying down on top of the counter and drumming his fingers on his stomach. “I haven’t filled my quota for pissing off the Dark Court yet this week.” “We are going to blow your quote sky high.” He held up a hand and I high-fived him as I walked past and out of the house toward the trail. Yet again. I should have invested in a dirt bike or something given the amount of mileage I was getting out of the path between the house and the pond.
Kiersten White (Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3))
Depression goes through stages, but if left unchecked and not treated, this elevator ride will eventually go all the way to the bottom floor. And finally you find yourself bereft of choices, unable to figure out a way up or out, and pretty soon one overarching impulse begins winning the battle for your mind: “Kill yourself.” And once you get over the shock of those words in your head, the horror of it, it begins to start sounding appealing, even possessing a strange resolve, logic. In fact, it’s the only thing you have left that is logical. It becomes the only road to relief. As if just the planning of it provides the first solace you’ve felt that you can remember. And you become comfortable with it. You begin to plan it and contemplate the details of how best to do it, as if you were planning travel arrangements for a vacation. You just have to get out. O-U-T. You see the white space behind the letter O? You just want to crawl through that O and be out of this inescapable hurt that is this thing they call clinical depression. “How am I going to do this?” becomes the only tape playing. And if you are really, really, really depressed and you’re really there, you’re gonna find a way. I found a way. I had a way. And I did it. I made sure Opal was out of the house and on a business trip. My planning took a few weeks. I knew exactly how I was going to do it: I didn’t want to make too much of a mess. There was gonna be no blood, no drama. There was just going to be, “Now you see me, now you don’t.” That’s what it was going to be. So I did it. And it was over. Or so I thought. About twenty-four hours later I woke up. I was groggy; zoned out to the point at which I couldn’t put a sentence together for the next couple of days. But I was semifunctional, and as these drugs and shit that I took began to wear off slowly but surely, I realized, “Okay, I fucked up. I didn’t make it.” I thought I did all the right stuff, left no room for error, but something happened. And this perfect, flawless plan was thwarted. As if some force rebuked me and said, “Not yet. You’re not going anywhere.” The only reason I could have made it, after the amount of pills and alcohol and shit I took, was that somebody or something decided it wasn’t my time. It certainly wasn’t me making that call. It was something external. And when you’re infused with the presence of this positive external force, which is so much greater than all of your efforts to the contrary, that’s about as empowering a moment as you can have in your life. These days we have a plethora of drugs one can take to ameliorate the intensity of this lack of hope, lack of direction, lack of choice. So fuck it and don’t be embarrassed or feel like you can handle it yourself, because lemme tell ya something: you can’t. Get fuckin’ help. The negative demon is strong, and you may not be as fortunate as I was. My brother wasn’t. For me, despair eventually gave way to resolve, and resolve gave way to hope, and hope gave way to “Holy shit. I feel better than I’ve ever felt right now.” Having actually gone right up to the white light, looked right at it, and some force in the universe turned me around, I found, with apologies to Mr. Dylan, my direction home. I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt. I’m not exaggerating when I say for the next six months I felt like Superman. Like I’m gonna fucking go through walls. That’s how strong I felt. I had this positive force in me. I was saved. I was protected. I was like the only guy who survived and walked away from a major plane crash. I was here to do something big. What started as the darkest moment in my life became this surge of focus, direction, energy, and empowerment.
Ron Perlman (Easy Street: The Hard Way)
Nick and I, we sometimes laugh, laugh out loud, at the horrible things women make their husbands do to prove their love. The pointless tasks, the myriad sacrifices, the endless small surrenders. We call these men the dancing monkeys. Nick will come home, sweaty and salty and beer-loose from a day at the ballpark,and I’ll curl up in his lap, ask him about the game, ask him if his friend Jack had a good time, and he’ll say, ‘Oh, he came down with a case of the dancing monkeys – poor Jennifer was having a “real stressful week” and really needed him at home.’ Or his buddy at work, who can’t go out for drinks because his girlfriend really needs him to stop by some bistro where she is having dinner with a friend from out of town. So they can finally meet. And so she can show how obedient her monkey is: He comes when I call, and look how well groomed! Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely, give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It’s the female pissing contest – as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men make for us. A call-and-response, the response being: ‘Ohhh, that’s so sweet.’ I am happy not to be in that club. I don’t partake, I don’t get off on emotional coercion, on forcing Nick to play some happy-hubby role – the shrugging, cheerful, dutiful taking out the trash, honey! role. Every wife’s dream man, the counterpoint to every man’s fantasy of the sweet, hot, laid-back woman who loves sex and a stiff drink. I like to think I am confident and secure and mature enough to know Nick loves me without him constantly proving it. I don’t need pathetic dancing-monkey scenarios to repeat to my friends, I am content with letting him be himself. I don’t know why women find that so hard.
Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl)
New Rule: Conservatives have to stop rolling their eyes every time they hear the word "France." Like just calling something French is the ultimate argument winner. As if to say, "What can you say about a country that was too stupid to get on board with our wonderfully conceived and brilliantly executed war in Iraq?" And yet an American politician could not survive if he uttered the simple, true statement: "France has a better health-care system than we do, and we should steal it." Because here, simply dismissing an idea as French passes for an argument. John Kerry? Couldn't vote for him--he looked French. Yeah, as a opposed to the other guy, who just looked stupid. Last week, France had an election, and people over there approach an election differently. They vote. Eighty-five percent turned out. You couldn't get eighty-five percent of Americans to get off the couch if there was an election between tits and bigger tits and they were giving out free samples. Maybe the high turnout has something to do with the fact that the French candidates are never asked where they stand on evolution, prayer in school, abortion, stem cell research, or gay marriage. And if the candidate knows about a character in a book other than Jesus, it's not a drawback. The electorate doesn't vote for the guy they want to have a croissant with. Nor do they care about private lives. In the current race, Madame Royal has four kids, but she never got married. And she's a socialist. In America, if a Democrat even thinks you're calling him "liberal," he grabs an orange vest and a rifle and heads into the woods to kill something. Royal's opponent is married, but they live apart and lead separate lives. And the people are okay with that, for the same reason they're okay with nude beaches: because they're not a nation of six-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts. They have weird ideas about privacy. They think it should be private. In France, even mistresses have mistresses. To not have a lady on the side says to the voters, "I'm no good at multitasking." Like any country, France has its faults, like all that ridiculous accordion music--but their health care is the best in the industrialized world, as is their poverty rate. And they're completely independent of Mid-East oil. And they're the greenest country. And they're not fat. They have public intellectuals in France. We have Dr. Phil. They invented sex during the day, lingerie, and the tongue. Can't we admit we could learn something from them?
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
He closed his eyes. This bed was a wedding gift from friends he had not seen in years. He tried to remember their names, but they were gone. In it, or on it, his marriage had begun and, six years later, ended. He recognized a musical creak when he moved his legs, he smelled Julie on the sheets and banked-up pillows, her perfume and the close, soapy essence that characterized her newly washed linen. Here he had taken part in the longest, most revealing, and, later, most desolate conversations of his life. He had had the best sex ever here, and the worst wakeful nights. He had done more reading here than in any other single place - he remembered Anna Karenina and Daniel Deronda in one week of illness. He had never lost his temper so thoroughly anywhere else, nor had been so tender, protective, comforting, nor, since early childhood, been so cared for himself. Here his daughter had been conceived and born. On this side of the bed. Deep in the mattress were the traces of pee from her early-morning visits. She used to climb between then, sleep a little, then wake them with her chatter, her insistence on the day beginning. As they clung to their last fragments of dreams, she demanded the impossible: stories, poems, songs, invented catechisms, physical combat, tickling. Nearly all evidence of her existence, apart from photographs, they had destroyed or given away. All the worst and the best things that had ever happened to him had happened here. This was where he belonged. Beyond all immediate considerations, like the fact that his marriage was more or less finished, there was his right to lie here now in the marriage bed.
Ian McEwan (The Child in Time)
Now,” Samite continued, “after Essel has just spent time warning you about generalities and how they often don’t apply, I’m going to use some. Because some generalities are true often enough that we have to worry about them. So here’s one: men will physically fight for status. Women, generally, are more clever. The why of it doesn’t matter: learned, innate, cultural, who cares? You see the chest-bumping, the name-calling, performing for their fellows, what they’re really doing is getting the juices flowing. That interval isn’t always long, but it’s long enough for men to trigger the battle juice. That’s the terror or excitation that leads people to fight or run. It can be useful in small doses or debilitating in large ones. Any of you have brothers, or boys you’ve fought with?” Six of the ten raised their hands. “Have you ever had a fight with them—verbal or physical—and then they leave and come back a little later, and they’re completely done fighting and you’re just fully getting into it? They look like they’ve been ambushed, because they’ve come completely off the mountain already, and you’ve just gotten to the top?” “Think of it like lovemaking,” Essel said. She was a bawdy one. “Breathe in a man’s ear and tell him to take his trousers off, and he’s ready to go before you draw your next breath. A woman’s body takes longer.” Some of the girls giggled nervously. “Men can switch on very, very fast. They also switch off from that battle readiness very, very fast. Sure, they’ll be left trembling, sometimes puking from it, but it’s on and then it’s off. Women don’t do that. We peak slower. Now, maybe there are exceptions, maybe. But as fighters, we tend to think that everyone reacts the way we do, because our own experience is all we have. In this case, it’s not true for us. Men will be ready to fight, then finished, within heartbeats. This is good and bad. “A man, deeply surprised, will have only his first instinctive response be as controlled and crisp as it is when he trains. Then that torrent of emotion is on him. We spend thousands of hours training that first instinctive response, and further, we train to control the torrent of emotion so that it raises us to a heightened level of awareness without making us stupid.” “So the positive, for us Archers: surprise me, and my first reaction will be the same as my male counterpart’s. I can still, of course, get terrified, or locked into a loop of indecision. But if I’m not, my second, third, and tenth moves will also be controlled. My hands will not shake. I will be able to make precision movements that a man cannot. But I won’t have the heightened strength or sensations until perhaps a minute later—often too late. “Where a man needs to train to control that rush, we need to train to make it closer. If we have to climb a mountain more slowly to get to the same height to get all the positives, we need to start climbing sooner. That is, when I go into a situation that I know may be hazardous, I need to prepare myself. I need to start climbing. The men may joke to break the tension. Let them. I don’t join in. Maybe they think I’m humorless because I don’t. Fine. That’s a trade I’m willing to make.” Teia and the rest of the girls walked away from training that day somewhat dazed, definitely overwhelmed. What Teia realized was that the women were deeply appealing because they were honest and powerful. And those two things were wed inextricably together. They said, I am the best in the world at what I do, and I cannot do everything. Those two statements, held together, gave them the security to face any challenge. If her own strengths couldn’t surmount an obstacle, her team’s strengths could—and she was unembarrassed about asking for help where she needed it because she knew that what she brought to the team would be equally valuable in some other situation.
Brent Weeks (The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2))
Dear patient (first name, last name)! You are presently located in our experimental state hospital. The measures taken to save your life were drastic, extremely drastic (circle one). Our finest surgeons, availing themselves of the very latest achievements of modern medicine, performed one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten operations (circle one) on you. They were forced, acting wholly in your interest to replace certain parts of your organism with parts obtained from other persons, in strict accordance with Federal Law (Rev. Stat. Comm. 1-989/0-001/89/1). The notice you are now reading was thoughtfully prepared in order to help you make the best possible adjustment to these new if somewhat unexpected circumstances in your life, which, we hasten to remind you, we have saved. Although it was found necessary to remove your arms, legs, spine, skill, lungs, stomach, kidneys, liver, other (circle one or more), rest assured that these mortal remains were disposed of in a manner fully in keeping with the dictates of your religion; they were, with the proper ritual, interred, embalmed, mummified, buried at sea, cremated with the ashes scattered in the wind—preserved in an urn—thrown in the garbage (circle one). The new form in which you will henceforth lead a happy and healthy existence may possibly occasion you some surprise, but we promise that in time you will become, as indeed all our dear patients do, quite accustomed to it We have supplemented your organism with the very best, the best, perfectly functional, adequate, the only available (circle one) organs at our disposal, and they are fully guaranteed to last a year, six months, three months, three weeks, six days (circle one).
Stanisław Lem (The Futurological Congress: From the Memoirs of Ijon Tichy)
The Three-Decker "The three-volume novel is extinct." Full thirty foot she towered from waterline to rail. It cost a watch to steer her, and a week to shorten sail; But, spite all modern notions, I found her first and best— The only certain packet for the Islands of the Blest. Fair held the breeze behind us—’twas warm with lovers’ prayers. We’d stolen wills for ballast and a crew of missing heirs. They shipped as Able Bastards till the Wicked Nurse confessed, And they worked the old three-decker to the Islands of the Blest. By ways no gaze could follow, a course unspoiled of Cook, Per Fancy, fleetest in man, our titled berths we took With maids of matchless beauty and parentage unguessed, And a Church of England parson for the Islands of the Blest. We asked no social questions—we pumped no hidden shame— We never talked obstetrics when the Little Stranger came: We left the Lord in Heaven, we left the fiends in Hell. We weren’t exactly Yussufs, but—Zuleika didn’t tell. No moral doubt assailed us, so when the port we neared, The villain had his flogging at the gangway, and we cheered. ’Twas fiddle in the forc’s’le—’twas garlands on the mast, For every one got married, and I went ashore at last. I left ’em all in couples a-kissing on the decks. I left the lovers loving and the parents signing cheques. In endless English comfort by county-folk caressed, I left the old three-decker at the Islands of the Blest! That route is barred to steamers: you’ll never lift again Our purple-painted headlands or the lordly keeps of Spain. They’re just beyond your skyline, howe’er so far you cruise In a ram-you-damn-you liner with a brace of bucking screws. Swing round your aching search-light—’twill show no haven’s peace. Ay, blow your shrieking sirens to the deaf, gray-bearded seas! Boom out the dripping oil-bags to skin the deep’s unrest— And you aren’t one knot the nearer to the Islands of the Blest! But when you’re threshing, crippled, with broken bridge and rail, At a drogue of dead convictions to hold you head to gale, Calm as the Flying Dutchman, from truck to taffrail dressed, You’ll see the old three-decker for the Islands of the Blest. You’ll see her tiering canvas in sheeted silver spread; You’ll hear the long-drawn thunder ’neath her leaping figure-head; While far, so far above you, her tall poop-lanterns shine Unvexed by wind or weather like the candles round a shrine! Hull down—hull down and under—she dwindles to a speck, With noise of pleasant music and dancing on her deck. All’s well—all’s well aboard her—she’s left you far behind, With a scent of old-world roses through the fog that ties you blind. Her crew are babes or madmen? Her port is all to make? You’re manned by Truth and Science, and you steam for steaming’s sake? Well, tinker up your engines—you know your business best— She’s taking tired people to the Islands of the Blest!
Rudyard Kipling
Pathways toward a New Shabbat Do 1. Stay at home. Spend quality time with family and real friends. 2. Celebrate with others: at the table, in the synagogue, with friends or community. 3. Study or read something that will edify, challenge, or make you grow. 4. Be alone. Take some time for yourself. Check in with yourself. Review your week. Ask yourself where you are in your life. 5. Mark the beginning and end of this sacred time by lighting candles and making kiddush on Friday night and saying havdalah on Saturday night. Don’t 6. Don’t do anything you have to do for your work life. This includes obligatory reading, homework for kids (even without writing!), unwanted social obligations, and preparing for work as well as doing your job itself. 7. Don’t spend money. Separate completely from the commercial culture that surrounds us so much. This includes doing business of all sorts. No calls to the broker, no following up on ads, no paying of bills. It can all wait. 8. Don’t use the computer. Turn off the iPhone or smartphone or whatever device has replaced it by the time you read this. Live and breathe for a day without checking messages. Declare your freedom from this new master of our minds and our time. Find the time for face-to-face conversations with people around you, without Facebook. 9. Don’t travel. Avoid especially commercial travel and places like airports, hotel check-ins, and similar depersonalizing encounters. Stay free of situations in which people are likely to tell you to “have a nice day” (Shabbat already is a nice day, thank you). 10. Don’t rely on commercial or canned video entertainment, including the TV as well as the computer screen. Discover what there is to do in life when you are not being entertained.
Arthur Green (Judaism's Ten Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers)
Nobody tells people who are beginners. I really wish someone had told this to me. Is that [if you are watching this video, you are somebody who wants o make videos right?] all of us who do creative work, we get into it. we get into it because we have good taste. you know what I mean? like you want to make TV, because you love TV. there is stuff you just like, love. ok so you got really good taste. you get into this thing … that i don’t even know how to describe it, but there is a gap. for the first couple of years you are making stuff, what you are making isn’t so good... ok, its not that great. it's really not that great. its trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but not quite that good. but your taste, the thing get you into the game, your taste is still killer. your taste is good enough that you can tell what you are making is a kind of disappointment to you, you know what i mean? you can tell it is still sort of crappy. a lot of people never get past that phase. a lot of people at that point, they quit. the thing i would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know, who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste, they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. they knew it felt short. [some of us can admit that to ourselves, some of us less able to admit that to ourselves] we knew like, it didn’t have that special thing that we wanted it to have. [...] everybody goes through that. for you to go through it, if you are going through right now, just getting out of that phase, if you are just starting out and entering into that phase, you gotta know it is totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. do a huge volume of work. put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you’re gonna finish one story. you know what i mean? whatever its gonna be. you create the deadline. it is best if have somebody who is waiting work from you, expecting work from you. even if not somebody who pays you, but that you are in a situation where you have to turn out the work. because it is only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap and the work you are making will be as good as your ambitions.
Ira Glass
When a man seats before his eyes the bronze face of his helmet and steps off from the line of departure, he divides himself, as he divides his ‘ticket,’ in two parts. One part he leaves behind. That part which takes delight in his children, which lifts his voice in the chorus, which clasps his wife to him in the sweet darkness of their bed. “That half of him, the best part, a man sets aside and leaves behind. He banishes from his heart all feelings of tenderness and mercy, all compassion and kindness, all thought or concept of the enemy as a man, a human being like himself. He marches into battle bearing only the second portion of himself, the baser measure, that half which knows slaughter and butchery and turns the blind eye to quarter. He could not fight at all if he did not do this.” The men listened, silent and solemn. Leonidas at that time was fifty-five years old. He had fought in more than two score battles, since he was twenty; wounds as ancient as thirty years stood forth, lurid upon his shoulders and calves, on his neck and across his steel-colored beard. “Then this man returns, alive, out of the slaughter. He hears his name called and comes forward to take his ticket. He reclaims that part of himself which he had earlier set aside. “This is a holy moment. A sacramental moment. A moment in which a man feels the gods as close as his own breath. “What unknowable mercy has spared us this day? What clemency of the divine has turned the enemy’s spear one handbreadth from our throat and driven it fatally into the breast of the beloved comrade at our side? Why are we still here above the earth, we who are no better, no braver, who reverenced heaven no more than these our brothers whom the gods have dispatched to hell? “When a man joins the two pieces of his ticket and sees them weld in union together, he feels that part of him, the part that knows love and mercy and compassion, come flooding back over him. This is what unstrings his knees. “What else can a man feel at that moment than the most grave and profound thanksgiving to the gods who, for reasons unknowable, have spared his life this day? Tomorrow their whim may alter. Next week, next year. But this day the sun still shines upon him, he feels its warmth upon his shoulders, he beholds about him the faces of his comrades whom he loves and he rejoices in their deliverance and his own.” Leonidas paused now, in the center of the space left open for him by the troops. “I have ordered pursuit of the foe ceased. I have commanded an end to the slaughter of these whom today we called our enemies. Let them return to their homes. Let them embrace their wives and children. Let them, like us, weep tears of salvation and burn thank-offerings to the gods. “Let no one of us forget or misapprehend the reason we fought other Greeks here today. Not to conquer or enslave them, our brothers, but to make them allies against a greater enemy. By persuasion, we hoped. By coercion, in the event. But no matter, they are our allies now and we will treat them as such from this moment. “The Persian!
Steven Pressfield (Gates of Fire)
Putting It into Practice: Neutralizing Negativity Use the techniques below anytime you’d like to lessen the effects of persistent negative thoughts. As you try each technique, pay attention to which ones work best for you and keep practicing them until they become instinctive. You may also discover some of your own that work just as well. ♦ Don’t assume your thoughts are accurate. Just because your mind comes up with something doesn’t necessarily mean it has any validity. Assume you’re missing a lot of elements, many of which could be positive. ♦ See your thoughts as graffiti on a wall or as little electrical impulses flickering around your brain. ♦ Assign a label to your negative experience: self-criticism, anger, anxiety, etc. Just naming what you are thinking and feeling can help you neutralize it. ♦ Depersonalize the experience. Rather than saying “I’m feeling ashamed,” try “There is shame being felt.” Imagine that you’re a scientist observing a phenomenon: “How interesting, there are self-critical thoughts arising.” ♦ Imagine seeing yourself from afar. Zoom out so far, you can see planet Earth hanging in space. Then zoom in to see your continent, then your country, your city, and finally the room you’re in. See your little self, electrical impulses whizzing across your brain. One little being having a particular experience at this particular moment. ♦ Imagine your mental chatter as coming from a radio; see if you can turn down the volume, or even just put the radio to the side and let it chatter away. ♦ Consider the worst-case outcome for your situation. Realize that whatever it is, you’ll survive. ♦ Think of all the previous times when you felt just like this—that you wouldn’t make it through—and yet clearly you did. We’re learning here to neutralize unhelpful thoughts. We want to avoid falling into the trap of arguing with them or trying to suppress them. This would only make matters worse. Consider this: if I ask you not to think of a white elephant—don’t picture a white elephant at all, please!—what’s the first thing your brain serves up? Right. Saying “No white elephants” leads to troops of white pachyderms marching through your mind. Steven Hayes and his colleagues studied our tendency to dwell on the forbidden by asking participants in controlled research studies to spend just a few minutes not thinking of a yellow jeep. For many people, the forbidden thought arose immediately, and with increasing frequency. For others, even if they were able to suppress the thought for a short period of time, at some point they broke down and yellow-jeep thoughts rose dramatically. Participants reported thinking about yellow jeeps with some frequency for days and sometimes weeks afterward. Because trying to suppress a self-critical thought only makes it more central to your thinking, it’s a far better strategy to simply aim to neutralize it. You’ve taken the first two steps in handling internal negativity: destigmatizing discomfort and neutralizing negativity. The third and final step will help you not just to lessen internal negativity but to actually replace it with a different internal reality.
Olivia Fox Cabane (The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism)
In every interview I’m asked what’s the most important quality a novelist has to have. It’s pretty obvious: talent. Now matter how much enthusiasm and effort you put into writing, if you totally lack literary talent you can forget about being a novelist. This is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. If you don’t have any fuel, even the best car won’t run.The problem with talent, though, is that in most cases the person involved can’t control its amount or quality. You might find the amount isn’t enough and you want to increase it, or you might try to be frugal and make it last longer, but in neither case do things work out that easily. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, and once it dries up, that’s it. Of course, certain poets and rock singers whose genius went out in a blaze of glory—people like Schubert and Mozart, whose dramatic early deaths turned them into legends—have a certain appeal, but for the vast majority of us this isn’t the model we follow. If I’m asked what the next most important quality is for a novelist, that’s easy too: focus—the ability to concentrate all your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. I generally concentrate on work for three or four hours every morning. I sit at my desk and focus totally on what I’m writing. I don’t see anything else, I don’t think about anything else. … After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed of the writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years. … Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee results will come. In private correspondence the great mystery writer Raymond Chandler once confessed that even if he didn’t write anything, he made sure he sat down at his desk every single day and concentrated. I understand the purpose behind his doing this. This is the way Chandler gave himself the physical stamina a professional writer needs, quietly strengthening his willpower. This sort of daily training was indispensable to him. … Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day. These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent? When does it become narrow-minded and inflexible? How much should I be aware of the world outside, and how much should I focus on my inner world? To what extent should I be confident in my abilities, and when should I start doubting myself? I know that if I hadn’t become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different. How different? Hard to say. But something would definitely have been different.
Haruki Murakami (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running)
ESTABLISHING A DAILY MEDITATION First select a suitable space for your regular meditation. It can be wherever you can sit easily with minimal disturbance: a corner of your bedroom or any other quiet spot in your home. Place a meditation cushion or chair there for your use. Arrange what is around so that you are reminded of your meditative purpose, so that it feels like a sacred and peaceful space. You may wish to make a simple altar with a flower or sacred image, or place your favorite spiritual books there for a few moments of inspiring reading. Let yourself enjoy creating this space for yourself. Then select a regular time for practice that suits your schedule and temperament. If you are a morning person, experiment with a sitting before breakfast. If evening fits your temperament or schedule better, try that first. Begin with sitting ten or twenty minutes at a time. Later you can sit longer or more frequently. Daily meditation can become like bathing or toothbrushing. It can bring a regular cleansing and calming to your heart and mind. Find a posture on the chair or cushion in which you can easily sit erect without being rigid. Let your body be firmly planted on the earth, your hands resting easily, your heart soft, your eyes closed gently. At first feel your body and consciously soften any obvious tension. Let go of any habitual thoughts or plans. Bring your attention to feel the sensations of your breathing. Take a few deep breaths to sense where you can feel the breath most easily, as coolness or tingling in the nostrils or throat, as movement of the chest, or rise and fall of the belly. Then let your breath be natural. Feel the sensations of your natural breathing very carefully, relaxing into each breath as you feel it, noticing how the soft sensations of breathing come and go with the changing breath. After a few breaths your mind will probably wander. When you notice this, no matter how long or short a time you have been away, simply come back to the next breath. Before you return, you can mindfully acknowledge where you have gone with a soft word in the back of your mind, such as “thinking,” “wandering,” “hearing,” “itching.” After softly and silently naming to yourself where your attention has been, gently and directly return to feel the next breath. Later on in your meditation you will be able to work with the places your mind wanders to, but for initial training, one word of acknowledgment and a simple return to the breath is best. As you sit, let the breath change rhythms naturally, allowing it to be short, long, fast, slow, rough, or easy. Calm yourself by relaxing into the breath. When your breath becomes soft, let your attention become gentle and careful, as soft as the breath itself. Like training a puppy, gently bring yourself back a thousand times. Over weeks and months of this practice you will gradually learn to calm and center yourself using the breath. There will be many cycles in this process, stormy days alternating with clear days. Just stay with it. As you do, listening deeply, you will find the breath helping to connect and quiet your whole body and mind. Working with the breath is an excellent foundation for the other meditations presented in this book. After developing some calm and skills, and connecting with your breath, you can then extend your range of meditation to include healing and awareness of all the levels of your body and mind. You will discover how awareness of your breath can serve as a steady basis for all you do.
Jack Kornfield (A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life)
Dead Seas and Babbling Brooks Not all of us are out of touch with our emotions, but when it comes to talking, all of us are affected by our personality. I have observed two basic personality types. The first I call the “Dead Sea.” In the little nation of Israel, the Sea of Galilee flows south by way of the Jordan River into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea goes nowhere. It receives but it does not give. This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not to talk. If you say to a Dead Sea personality, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking tonight?” he will probably answer, “Nothing’s wrong. What makes you think something’s wrong?” And that response is perfectly honest. He is content not to talk. He could drive from Chicago to Detroit and never say a word and be perfectly happy. On the other extreme is the “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else. “Do you know what I saw? Do you know what I heard?” If they can’t get someone on the telephone, they may talk to themselves because they have no reservoir. Many times a Dead Sea marries a Babbling Brook. That happens because when they are dating, it is a very attractive match. If you are a Dead Sea and you date a Babbling Brook, you will have a wonderful evening. You don’t have to think, “How will I get the conversation started tonight? How will I keep the conversation flowing?” In fact, you don’t have to think at all. All you have to do is nod your head and say, “Uh-huh,” and she will fill up the whole evening and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.” On the other hand, if you are a Babbling Brook and you date a Dead Sea, you will have an equally wonderful evening because Dead Seas are the world’s best listeners. You will babble for three hours. He will listen intently to you, and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.” You attract each other. But five years after marriage, the Babbling Brook wakes up one morning and says, “We’ve been married five years, and I don’t know him.” The Dead Sea is saying, “I know her too well. I wish she would stop the flow and give me a break.” The good news is that Dead Seas can learn to talk and Babbling Brooks can learn to listen. We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it. One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you may find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
A while back a young woman from another state came to live with some of her relatives in the Salt Lake City area for a few weeks. On her first Sunday she came to church dressed in a simple, nice blouse and knee-length skirt set off with a light, button-up sweater. She wore hose and dress shoes, and her hair was combed simply but with care. Her overall appearance created an impression of youthful grace. Unfortunately, she immediately felt out of place. It seemed like all the other young women her age or near her age were dressed in casual skirts, some rather distant from the knee; tight T-shirt-like tops that barely met the top of their skirts at the waist (some bare instead of barely); no socks or stockings; and clunky sneakers or flip-flops. One would have hoped that seeing the new girl, the other girls would have realized how inappropriate their manner of dress was for a chapel and for the Sabbath day and immediately changed for the better. Sad to say, however, they did not, and it was the visitor who, in order to fit in, adopted the fashion (if you can call it that) of her host ward. It is troubling to see this growing trend that is not limited to young women but extends to older women, to men, and to young men as well. . . . I was shocked to see what the people of this other congregation wore to church. There was not a suit or tie among the men. They appeared to have come from or to be on their way to the golf course. It was hard to spot a woman wearing a dress or anything other than very casual pants or even shorts. Had I not known that they were coming to the school for church meetings, I would have assumed that there was some kind of sporting event taking place. The dress of our ward members compared very favorably to this bad example, but I am beginning to think that we are no longer quite so different as more and more we seem to slide toward that lower standard. We used to use the phrase “Sunday best.” People understood that to mean the nicest clothes they had. The specific clothing would vary according to different cultures and economic circumstances, but it would be their best. It is an affront to God to come into His house, especially on His holy day, not groomed and dressed in the most careful and modest manner that our circumstances permit. Where a poor member from the hills of Peru must ford a river to get to church, the Lord surely will not be offended by the stain of muddy water on his white shirt. But how can God not be pained at the sight of one who, with all the clothes he needs and more and with easy access to the chapel, nevertheless appears in church in rumpled cargo pants and a T-shirt? Ironically, it has been my experience as I travel around the world that members of the Church with the least means somehow find a way to arrive at Sabbath meetings neatly dressed in clean, nice clothes, the best they have, while those who have more than enough are the ones who may appear in casual, even slovenly clothing. Some say dress and hair don’t matter—it’s what’s inside that counts. I believe that truly it is what’s inside a person that counts, but that’s what worries me. Casual dress at holy places and events is a message about what is inside a person. It may be pride or rebellion or something else, but at a minimum it says, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand the difference between the sacred and the profane.” In that condition they are easily drawn away from the Lord. They do not appreciate the value of what they have. I worry about them. Unless they can gain some understanding and capture some feeling for sacred things, they are at risk of eventually losing all that matters most. You are Saints of the great latter-day dispensation—look the part.
D. Todd Christofferson
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Little Brother, an aspiring painter, saved up all his money and went to France, to surround himself with beauty and inspiration. He lived on the cheap, painted every day, visited museums, traveled to picturesque locations, bravely spoke to everyone he met, and showed his work to anyone who would look at it. One afternoon, Little Brother struck up a conversation in a café with a group of charming young people, who turned out to be some species of fancy aristocrats. The charming young aristocrats took a liking to Little Brother and invited him to a party that weekend in a castle in the Loire Valley. They promised Little Brother that this was going to be the most fabulous party of the year. It would be attended by the rich, by the famous, and by several crowned heads of Europe. Best of all, it was to be a masquerade ball, where nobody skimped on the costumes. It was not to be missed. Dress up, they said, and join us! Excited, Little Brother worked all week on a costume that he was certain would be a showstopper. He scoured Paris for materials and held back neither on the details nor the audacity of his creation. Then he rented a car and drove to the castle, three hours from Paris. He changed into his costume in the car and ascended the castle steps. He gave his name to the butler, who found him on the guest list and politely welcomed him in. Little Brother entered the ballroom, head held high. Upon which he immediately realized his mistake. This was indeed a costume party—his new friends had not misled him there—but he had missed one detail in translation: This was a themed costume party. The theme was “a medieval court.” And Little Brother was dressed as a lobster. All around him, the wealthiest and most beautiful people of Europe were attired in gilded finery and elaborate period gowns, draped in heirloom jewels, sparkling with elegance as they waltzed to a fine orchestra. Little Brother, on the other hand, was wearing a red leotard, red tights, red ballet slippers, and giant red foam claws. Also, his face was painted red. This is the part of the story where I must tell you that Little Brother was over six feet tall and quite skinny—but with the long waving antennae on his head, he appeared even taller. He was also, of course, the only American in the room. He stood at the top of the steps for one long, ghastly moment. He almost ran away in shame. Running away in shame seemed like the most dignified response to the situation. But he didn’t run. Somehow, he found his resolve. He’d come this far, after all. He’d worked tremendously hard to make this costume, and he was proud of it. He took a deep breath and walked onto the dance floor. He reported later that it was only his experience as an aspiring artist that gave him the courage and the license to be so vulnerable and absurd. Something in life had already taught him to just put it out there, whatever “it” is. That costume was what he had made, after all, so that’s what he was bringing to the party. It was the best he had. It was all he had. So he decided to trust in himself, to trust in his costume, to trust in the circumstances. As he moved into the crowd of aristocrats, a silence fell. The dancing stopped. The orchestra stuttered to a stop. The other guests gathered around Little Brother. Finally, someone asked him what on earth he was. Little Brother bowed deeply and announced, “I am the court lobster.” Then: laughter. Not ridicule—just joy. They loved him. They loved his sweetness, his weirdness, his giant red claws, his skinny ass in his bright spandex tights. He was the trickster among them, and so he made the party. Little Brother even ended up dancing that night with the Queen of Belgium. This is how you must do it, people.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)