There are a hundred things she has tried to chase away the things she won't remember and that she can't even let herself think about because that's when the birds scream and the worms crawl and somewhere in her mind it's always raining a slow and endless drizzle.
You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will sign, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken.
Several years later, from a taxi, you will see someone in a doorway who looks like her, but she will be gone by the time you persuade the driver to stop. You will never see her again.
Whenever it rains you will think of her.
You see, unlike in the movies, there is no THE END sign flashing at the end of books. When I've read a book, I don't feel like I've finished anything. So I start a new one.
Elif Shafak (The Bastard of Istanbul)
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose...
...Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty - describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember. If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is not poverty and no poor, indifferent place. And even if you found yourself in some prison, whose walls let in none of the world’s sounds – wouldn’t you still have your childhood, that jewel beyond all price, that treasure house of memories? Turn your attentions to it. Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. - And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.
Rainer Maria Rilke
You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway."
[Becoming a Writer/ The List, O Magazine, November 2009]
When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Text me when you want to see me again, he signed. I'm giving you your space, but know this: I will wait forever for you.
J.R. Ward (Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10))
Their morals, their code; it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. You'll see- I'll show you. When the chips are down these, uh, civilized people? They'll eat each other. See I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve.
The Joker - Heath Ledger
I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Painted Veil)
So you intend to go through life never loving anyone? Just … things?”
“No. I’m looking for something more.”
“More than love?”
“Is it not arrogant to think you deserve more, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid?”
“Is it so arrogant to want something that doesn’t change with the wind? That doesn’t crumble at the first sign of adversity?”
“You want something that doesn’t exist. A figment of your imagination.”
“No. I want someone who sees beneath the surface-someone who completes the balance. An equal.”
“And how will you know when you’ve found this elusive someone?” Shahrzad retorted.
“I suspect she will be like air. Like knowing how to breathe.
Renée Ahdieh (The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1))
Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve. -The Joker
If anyone had been paying attention to the signs, they would have realized that air turns white when things are about to change, that paper cuts mean there's more to what's written on the page than meets the eye, and that birds are always out to protect you from things you don't see.
Sarah Addison Allen (The Peach Keeper)
I’m two hours late when I pull in to the driveway. It won’t matter that I’m always on time. People never see how good you are. Fuck up once, and it’s like you are wearing a neon sign.
Corrine Jackson (If I Lie)
We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love. We must look deeply in order to see and understand the needs, aspirations, and suffering of the person we love. This is the ground of real love. You cannot resist loving another person when you really understand him or her.
From time to time, sit close to the one you love, hold his or her hand, and ask, 'Darling, do I understand you enough? Or am I making you suffer? Please tell me so that I can learn to love you properly. I don't want to make you suffer, and if I do so because of my ignorance, please tell me so that I can love you better, so that you can be happy." If you say this in a voice that communicates your real openness to understand, the other person may cry.
That is a good sign, because it means the door of understanding is opening and everything will be possible again.
Maybe a father does not have time or is not brave enough to ask his son such a question. Then the love between them will not be as full as it could be. We need courage to ask these questions, but if we don't ask, the more we love, the more we may destroy the people we are trying to love. True love needs understanding. With understanding, the one we love will certainly flower.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
but I want to tell them
that all of this shit
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself
you signed it
“they were wrong”
because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a click
maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
to show and tell but never told
because how can you hold your ground
if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
you have to believe that they were wrong
they have to be wrong
Shane L. Koyczan
I came back knowing this was what I signed up for. To see you every day and not be able to touch you. Kiss you. Claim you.”
“I came back despite knowing the torture I’d have to go through because I can’t stay away from you. Even when you’re not there, you’re everywhere. In my head, in my lungs, in my fucking soul.
Ana Huang (Twisted Games (Twisted, #2))
No one expects the rug to be yanked out from underneath them; life-changing events usually don’t announce themselves. While instinct and intuition can help provide some warning signs, they can do little to prepare you for the feeling of rootlessness that follows when fate flips your world upside down. Anger, confusion, sadness, and frustration are shaken up together inside you like a snow globe. It takes years for the emotional dust to settle as you do your best to see through the storm.
When you know that something's going to happen, you'll start trying to see signs of its approach in just about everything. Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren't signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You'll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rain squall. I'm not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won't want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.
David Eddings (Belgarath the Sorcerer)
This place is packed," Vee complained. "Where am I supposed to park?" She steered down an alley and slowed to a stop behind a bookstore. "This looks good. Lots of parking back here."
"The sign says employee parking only."
"How are they going to know that we aren't employees? The Neon blends right in. All these cars speak low class."
"The sign says violators will be towed."
"They just say that to scare people like you and me away. It's an empty threat. Nothing to worry about."
Vee came to a halt. "What is THAT?"
We were standing in the parking lot behind the bookstore, a few feet from the Neon, and we were staring at a large piece of metal attached to the left rear tire.
"I think it's a car boot," I said.
"I can see that. What's it doing on my car?"
"I guess when they say all violators will be towed, they mean it.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2))
Hitch: making rules about drinking can be the sign of an alcoholic,' as Martin Amis once teasingly said to me. (Adorno would have savored that, as well.) Of course, watching the clock for the start-time is probably a bad sign, but here are some simple pieces of advice for the young. Don't drink on an empty stomach: the main point of the refreshment is the enhancement of food. Don't drink if you have the blues: it's a junk cure. Drink when you are in a good mood. Cheap booze is a false economy. It's not true that you shouldn't drink alone: these can be the happiest glasses you ever drain. Hangovers are another bad sign, and you should not expect to be believed if you take refuge in saying you can't properly remember last night. (If you really don't remember, that's an even worse sign.) Avoid all narcotics: these make you more boring rather than less and are not designed—as are the grape and the grain—to enliven company. Be careful about up-grading too far to single malt Scotch: when you are voyaging in rough countries it won't be easily available. Never even think about driving a car if you have taken a drop. It's much worse to see a woman drunk than a man: I don't know quite why this is true but it just is. Don't ever be responsible for it.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Any true wizard, faced with a sign like 'Do not open this door. Really. We mean it. We're not kidding. Opening this door will mean the end of the universe,' would automatically open the door in order to see what all the fuss is about. This made signs rather a waste of time, but at least it meant that when you handed what was left of the wizard to his grieving relatives you could say, as they grasped the jar, 'We told him not to.
Terry Pratchett (The Last Continent (Discworld, #22; Rincewind, #6))
Do you know when you cross against traffic? You look down the street and see a car coming, but you know you can get across before it gets to you. So even though there’s a DON’T WALK sign, you cross anyway. And there’s always a split second when you turn and see that car coming, and you know that if you don’t continue moving, it will all be over. That’s how I feel a lot of the time. I know I’ll make it across. I always make it across. But the car is always there, and I always stop to watch it coming.
David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy)
Do you remember the summer we signed you up for camp? And the night before you left, you said you've changed your mind and wanted to stay home? I told you to to get a seat on the left side of the bus, so when you pulled away, you'd be able to look back and see me there waiting for you." I press her hand against my cheek, hard enough to leave a mark. "You get that same seat in Heaven. One where you can watch me, watching you.
Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper)
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,even a stranger, when in a lonely place.Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weepand pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.
During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me."
"If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
Without thinking, I knelt in the grass, like someone meaning to pray.
When I tried to stand again, I couldn't move,
my legs were utterly rigid. Does grief change you like that?
Through the birches, I could see the pond.
The sun was cutting small white holes in the water.
I got up finally; I walked down to the pond.
I stood there, brushing the grass from my skirt, watching myself,
like a girl after her first lover
turning slowly at the bathroom mirror, naked, looking for a sign.
But nakedness in women is always a pose.
I was not transfigured. I would never be free.
A Poem by Tecumseh
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
~ Chief Tecumseh
~ Chief Tecumseh
Because falling in love is like the rain. You can’t always predict it and when you do it might never appear, but you can always see the signs of it before it falls.
K. Bromberg (Sweet Ache (Driven, #6))
At that moment, when I had the TV sound off, I was in a 382 mood; I had just dialed it. So although I heard the emptiness intellectually, I didn't feel it. My first reaction consisted of being grateful that we could afford a Penfield mood organ. But then I realized how unhealthy it was, sensing the absence of life, not just in this building but everywhere, and not reacting—do you see? I guess you don't. But that used to be considered a sign of mental illness; they called it 'absence of appropriate affect.' So I left the TV sound off and I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented. And I finally found a setting for despair. So I put it on my schedule for twice a month; I think that's a reasonable amount of time to feel hopeless about everything, about staying here on Earth after everybody who's smart has emigrated, don't you think?
Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)
From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.
Don't talk like you're one of them! You're not... even if you'd like to be. To them you're just a freak, like me. They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out. Like a leper. See, their morals, their "code"... it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these uh, these "civilized people", they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.
Christopher J. Nolan
Taken together, it’s almost a sure sign. The letters float off the page when you read, right? That’s because your mind is hardwired for ancient Greek. And the ADHD-you’re impulsive, can’t sit still in the classroom. That’s your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they’d keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that’s because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal’s.
Rick Riordan (The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1))
Joy is not produced because others praise you. Joy emanates unbidden and unforced. Joy comes as a gift when you least expect it. At those fleeting moments you know why you were put here and what truth you serve. You may not feel giddy at those moments, you may not hear the orchestra’s delirious swell or see flashes of crimson and gold, but you will feel a satisfaction, a silence, a peace—a hush. Those moments are the blessings and the signs of a beautiful life.
David Brooks (The Road to Character)
Surrender is the ultimate sign of strength and the foundation for a spiritual life. Surrendering affirms that we are no longer willing to live in pain. It expresses a deep desire to transcend our struggles and transform our negative emotions. It commands a life beyond our egos, beyond that part of ourselves that is continually reminding us that we are separate, different and alone. Surrendering allows us to return to our true nature and move effortlessly through the cosmic dance called life. It's a powerful statement that proclaims the perfect order of the universe.
When you surrender your will, you are saying, "Even though things are not exactly how I'd like them to be, I will face my reality. I will look it directly in the eye and allow it to be here." Surrender and serenity are synonymous; you can't experience one without the other. So if it's serenity you're searching for, it's close by. All you have to do is resign as General Manager of the Universe. Choose to trust that there is a greater plan for you and that if you surrender, it will be unfolded in time.
Surrender is a gift that you can give yourself. It's an act of faith. It's saying that even though I can't see where this river is flowing, I trust it will take me in the right direction.
Debbie Ford (Spiritual Divorce: Divorce as a Catalyst for an Extraordinary Life)
When you look into the faces of these quiet creatures who don't know how to tell stories--who are mute, who can't make themselves heard, who fade into the woodwork, who only think of the perfect answer after the fact, after they're back at home, who can never think of a story that anyone else will find interesting--is there not more depth and more meaning in them? You can see every letter of every untold story swimming on their faces, and all the signs of silence, dejection, and even defeat. You can even imagine your own face in those faces, can't you?
Orhan Pamuk (The Black Book)
And if I order you to stay?" I asked, after a few moments.
Pritkin didn't say anything. I looked up but I couldn't see him very well. He'd leaned forward, out of the sign's bloody light, and only a little filtered in from the lounge. But when he finally answered, his voice was calm.
"I would stay. And protect you as best I can.
Karen Chance (Hunt the Moon (Cassandra Palmer, #5))
What was she thinking?” muttered Alexander, closing his eyes and imagining his Tania.
“She was determined. It was like some kind of a personal crusade with her,” Ina said. “She gave the doctor a liter of blood for you—”
“Where did she get it from?”
“Herself, of course.” Ina smiled. “Lucky for you, Major, our Nurse Metanova is a universal donor.”
Of course she is, thought Alexander, keeping his eyes tightly shut.
Ina continued. “The doctor told her she couldn’t give any more, and she said a liter wasn’t enough, and he said, ‘Yes, but you don’t have more to give,’ and she said, ‘I’ll make more,’ and he said, ‘No,’ and she said, ‘Yes,’ and in four hours, she gave him another half-liter of blood.”
Alexander lay on his stomach and listened intently while Ina wrapped fresh gauze on his wound.
He was barely breathing.
“The doctor told her, ‘Tania, you’re wasting your time. Look at his burn. It’s going to get infected.’ There wasn’t enough penicillin to give to you, especially since your blood count was so
low.” Alexander heard Ina chuckle in disbelief. “So I’m making my rounds late that night, and who do I find next to your bed? Tatiana. She’s sitting with a syringe in her arm, hooked up to a
catheter, and I watch her, and I swear to God, you won’t believe it when I tell you, Major, but I see that the catheter is attached to the entry drip in your IV.” Ina’s eyes bulged. “I watch her
draining blood from the radial artery in her arm into your IV. I ran in and said, ‘Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? You’re siphoning blood from yourself into him?’ She said to me in
her calm, I-won’t-stand-for-any-argument voice, ‘Ina, if I don’t, he will die.’ I yelled at her. I said, ‘There are thirty soldiers in the critical wing who need sutures and bandages and their wounds cleaned. Why don’t you take care of them and let God take care of the dead?’ And she said, ‘He’s not dead. He is still alive, and while he is alive, he is mine.’ Can you believe it, Major? But that’s what she said. ‘Oh, for God’s sake,’ I said to her. ‘Fine, die yourself. I don’t care.’ But the next morning I went to complain to Dr. Sayers that she wasn’t following procedure,
told him what she had done, and he ran to yell at her.” Ina lowered her voice to a sibilant, incredulous whisper. “We found her unconscious on the floor by your bed. She was in a dead faint, but you had taken a turn for the better. All your vital signs were up. And Tatiana got up from the floor, white as death itself, and said to the doctor coldly, ‘Maybe now you can give him the penicillin he needs?’ I could see the doctor was stunned. But he did. Gave you penicillin and more plasma and extra morphine. Then he operated on you, to get bits of the shell fragment out
of you, and saved your kidney. And stitched you. And all that time she never left his side, or yours. He told her your bandages needed to be changed every three hours to help with drainage,
to prevent infection. We had only two nurses in the terminal wing, me and her. I had to take care of all the other patients, while all she did was take care of you. For fifteen days and nights she unwrapped you and cleaned you and changed your dressings. Every three hours. She was a ghost by the end. But you made it. That’s when we moved you to critical care. I said to her, ‘Tania, this man ought to marry you for what you did for him,’ and she said, ‘You think so?’ ” Ina tutted again. Paused. “Are you all right, Major? Why are you crying?
Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1))
The way I see it, when you put the uniform on, in effect you sign a contract. And you don't back out of a contract merely because you've changed your mind. You can still speak up for your principles, you can still argue against the ones you're being made to fight for, but in the end you do the job.
Pat Barker (Regeneration (Regeneration, #1))
You could see the signs of female aging as diseased, especially if you had a vested interest in making women too see them your way. Or you could see that a woman is healthy if she lives to grow old; as she thrives, she reacts and speaks and shows emotion, and grows into her face. Lines trace her thought and radiate from the corners of her eyes as she smiles. You could call the lines a network of 'serious lesions' or you could see that in a precise calligraphy, thought has etched marks of concentration between her brows, and drawn across her forehead the horizontal creases of surprise, delight, compassion and good talk. A lifetime of kissing, of speaking and weeping, shows expressively around a mouth scored like a leaf in motion. The skin loosens on her face and throat, giving her features a setting of sensual dignity; her features grow stronger as she does. She has looked around in her life and it shows. When gray and white reflect in her hair, you could call it a dirty secret or you could call it silver or moonlight. Her body fills into itself, taking on gravity like a bather breasting water, growing generous with the rest of her. The darkening under her eyes, the weight of her lids, their minute cross-hatching, reveal that what she has been part of has left in her its complexity and richness. She is darker, stronger, looser, tougher, sexier. The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold.
Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth)
Once upon a time there was a young prince who believed in all things but three. He did not believe in princesses, he did not believe in islands, he did not believe in God. His father, the king, told him that such things did not exist. As there were no princesses or islands in his father's domains, and no sign of God, the young prince believed his father.
But then, one day, the prince ran away from his palace. He came to the next land. There, to his astonishment, from every coast he saw islands, and on these islands, strange and troubling creatures whom he dared not name. As he was searching for a boat, a man in full evening dress approached him along the shore.
Are those real islands?' asked the young prince.
Of course they are real islands,' said the man in evening dress.
And those strange and troubling creatures?'
They are all genuine and authentic princesses.'
Then God must exist!' cried the prince.
I am God,' replied the man in full evening dress, with a bow.
The young prince returned home as quickly as he could.
So you are back,' said the father, the king.
I have seen islands, I have seen princesses, I have seen God,' said the prince reproachfully.
The king was unmoved.
Neither real islands, nor real princesses, I have seen God,' said the prince reproachfully.
The king was unmoved.
Neither real islands, nor real princesses, nor a real God exist.'
I saw them!'
Tell me how God was dressed.'
God was in full evening dress.'
Were the sleeves of his coat rolled back?'
The prince remembered that they had been. The king smiled.
That is the uniform of a magician. You have been deceived.'
At this, the prince returned to the next land, and went to the same shore, where once again he came upon the man in full evening dress.
My father the king has told me who you are,' said the young prince indignantly. 'You deceived me last time, but not again. Now I know that those are not real islands and real princesses, because you are a magician.'
The man on the shore smiled.
It is you who are deceived, my boy. In your father's kingdom there are many islands and many princesses. But you are under your father's spell, so you cannot see them.'
The prince pensively returned home. When he saw his father, he looked him in the eyes.
Father, is it true that you are not a real king, but only a magician?'
The king smiled, and rolled back his sleeves.
Yes, my son, I am only a magician.'
Then the man on the shore was God.'
The man on the shore was another magician.'
I must know the real truth, the truth beyond magic.'
There is no truth beyond magic,' said the king.
The prince was full of sadness.
He said, 'I will kill myself.'
The king by magic caused death to appear. Death stood in the door and beckoned to the prince. The prince shuddered. He remembered the beautiful but unreal islands and the unreal but beautiful princesses.
Very well,' he said. 'I can bear it.'
You see, my son,' said the king, 'you too now begin to be a magician.
Sam - I liked you from the first moment I met you! I made you invite me to your house for a study group, even though - you know what - I'm pretty good at studying on my own! When I went away, you were the only person I wanted to talk to! You were the first person I needed to see when I got back! I sang in front of you, and I've never let anyone see that part of me before! You are the person... I feel like I've run halfway around the world to find! I thought that was pretty obvious! Apart from throwing myself naked at you while holding a giant sign that says, Samuel, I am completely in love with you too, I don't know what else to do!
Melissa Keil (Life in Outer Space)
It is a sign of great spiritual strength to keep someone else’s secret.
Haemin Sunim (The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: Guidance on the Path to Mindfulness from a Spiritual Leader)
Personally, if I were trying to discourage people from smoking, my sign would be a little different. In fact, I might even go too far in the opposite direction. My sign would say something like, "Smoke if you wish. But if you do, be prepared for the following series of events: First, we will confiscate your cigarette and extinguish it somewhere on the surface of your skin. We will then run you nicotine-stained fingers through a paper shredder and throw them into the street, where wild dogs will swallow them and then regurgitate them into the sewers, so that infected rats can further soil them before they're flushed out to sea with the rest of the city's filth. After such time, we will sysematically seek out your friends and loved one and destroy their lives."
Wouldn't you like to see a sign like that?
George Carlin (When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?)
But...' Horace looked from one familiar face to another. 'How did you come to..?'
Before he could finish the question, Will interupted, thinking to clarify matters but only making them more puzzling...
'We were all in Toscana for the treaty signing,' he began, then corrected himself. 'Well, Evanlyn wasn't. She came later. But, when she did, she told us you were missing, so we all boarded Gundar's ship-you should see it. It's a new design that can sail into the wind. But anyway, that's not important. And just before we left, Selethen decided to join us-what with you being an old comrade in arms and all-and...'
He got no further. Halt, seeing the confusion growing on Horace's face, held up a hand to stop his babbling former apprentice...
Will stopped, a little embarrassed as he realized that he had been running off at the mouth.
John Flanagan (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger's Apprentice, #10))
This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
of a muscular punch that's incredibly speed-y.
The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
Then someone with color and someone with dash,
Brought fight fans are runnin' with Cash.
This brash young boxer is something to see
And the heavyweight championship is his des-tin-y.
This kid fights great; he’s got speed and endurance,
But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.
This kid's got a left; this kid's got a right,
If he hit you once, you're asleep for the night.
And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts ten,
You’ll pray that you won’t have to fight me again.
For I am the man this poem’s about,
The next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
This I predict and I know the score,
I’ll be champ of the world in ’64.
When I say three, they’ll go in the third,
10 months ago
So don’t bet against me, I’m a man of my word.
He is the greatest! Yes!
I am the man this poem’s about,
I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment,
I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went.
When I say two, there’s never a third,
Standin against me is completely absurd.
When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!
I AM THE GREATEST!
Half-smile when you first wake up in the morning Hang a branch, any other sign, or even the word “smile” on the ceiling or wall so that you see it right away when you open your eyes. This sign will serve as your reminder. Use these seconds before you get out of bed to take hold of your breath. Inhale and exhale three breaths gently while maintaining the half smile. Follow your breaths.
Thich Nhat Hanh (The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation)
It'll be when you first learn to walk that I get daily demonstrations of the asymmetry in our relationship. You'll be incessantly running off somewhere, and each time you walk into a door frame or scrape your knee, the pain feels like it's my own. It'll be like growing an errant limb, an extension of myself whose sensory nerves report pain just fine, but whose motor nerves don't convey my commands at all. It's so unfair: I'm going to give birth to an animated voodoo doll of myself. I didn't see this in the contract when I signed up. Was this part of the deal?
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
I've commented your blog with my questions for THREE YEARS. You answer other people's STUPID questions but not MINE. YOU REALLY ASKED FOR IT, BUDDY. I'm just gonna comment with this until you answer at least one of my questions.
DO YOU HAVE A JAMAICAN ACCENT? No, Mon
DO YOU MOLT? Gross.
WHAT'S YOUR STAR SIGN? Dont know. "Angel what's my star sign?" She says Scorpio.
HAVE YOU TOLD JEB I LOVE HIM YET? No.
DOES NOT HAVING A POWER MAKE YOU ANGRY? Well, that's not really true...
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THE SOULJA BOY? Can you see me doing the Soulja Boy?
DOES IGGY KNOW HOW TO DO THE SOULJA BOY? Gazzy does.
DO YOU USE HAIR PRODUCTS? No. Again,no.
DO YOU USE PRODUCTS ON YOUR FEATHERS? I don't know that they make bird kid feather products yet.
WHAT'S YOU FAVORITE MOVIE? There are a bunch
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SONG? I don't have favorites. They're too polarizing.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SMELL? Max, when she showers.
DO THESE QUESTIONS MAKE YOU ANGRY? Not really.
IF I CAME UP TO YOU IN A STREET AND HUGGED YOU, WOULD YOU KILL ME? You might get kicked. But I'm used to people wanting me dead, so.
DO YOU SECRETLY WANT TO BE HUGGED? Doesn't everybody?
ARE YOU GOING EMO 'CAUSE ANGEL IS STEALING EVERYONE'S POWERS (INCLUDING YOURS)? Not the emo thing again.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? Anything hot and delicious and brought to me by Iggy.
WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR BREAKFAST THIS MORNING? Three eggs, over easy. Bacon. More Bacon. Toast.
DID YOU EVEN HAVE BREAKFAST THIS MORNING? See above.
DID YOU DIE INSIDE WHEN MAX CHOSE ARI OVER YOU? Dudes don't die inside.
DO YOU LIKE MAX? Duh.
DO YOU LIKE ME? I think you're funny.
DOES IGGY LIKE ME? Sure
DO YOU WRITE DEPRESSING POETRY? No.
IS IT ABOUT MAX? Ahh. No.
IS IT ABOUT ARI? Why do you assume I write depressing poetry?
IS IT ABOUT JEB? Ahh.
ARE YOU GOING TO BLOCK THIS COMMENT? Clearly, no.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? A Dirty Projectors T-shirt. Jeans.
DO YOU WEAR BOXERS OR BRIEFS? No freaking comment.
DO YOU FIND THIS COMMENT PERSONAL? Could I not find that comment personal?
DO YOU WEAR SUNGLASSES? Yes, cheap ones.
DO YOU WEAR YOUR SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT? That would make it hard to see.
DO YOU SMOKE APPLES, LIKE US? Huh?
DO YOU PREFER BLONDES OR BRUNETTES? Whatever.
DO YOU LIKE VAMPIRES OR WEREWOLVES? Fanged creatures rock.
ARE YOU GAY AND JUST PRETENDING TO BE STRAIGHT BY KISSING LISSA? Uhh...
WERE YOU EXPERIMENING WITH YOUR SEXUALITY? Uhh...
WOULD YOU TELL US IF YOU WERE GAY? Yes.
DO YOU SECRETLY LIKE IT WHEN PEOPLE CALL YOU EMO? No.
ARE YOU EMO? Whatever.
DO YOU LIKE EGGS? Yes. I had them for breakfast.
DO YOU LIKE EATING THINGS? I love eating. I list it as a hobby.
DO YOU SECRETLY THINK YOU'RE THE SEXIEST PERSON IN THE WHOLE WORLD? Do you secretly think I'm the sexiest person in the whole world?
DO YOU EVER HAVE DIRTY THOUGHTS ABOUT MAX? Eeek!
HAS ENGEL EVER READ YOUR MIND WHEN YOU WERE HAVING DIRTY THOUGHT ABOUT MAX AND GONE "OMG" AND YOU WERE LIKE "D:"? hahahahahahahahahahah
DO YOU LIKE SPONGEBOB? He's okay, I guess.
DO YOU EVER HAVE DIRTY THOUGHT ABOUT SPONGEBOB? Definitely
CAN YOU COOK? Iggy cooks.
DO YOU LIKE TO COOK? I like to eat.
ARE YOU, LIKE, A HOUSEWIFE? How on earth could I be like a housewife?
DO YOU SECRETLY HAVE INNER TURMOIL?
Isn't it obvious?
DO YOU WANT TO BE UNDA DA SEA? I'm unda da stars.
DO YOU THINK IT'S NOT TOO LATE, IT'S NEVER TOO LATE? Sure.
WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO PLAY POKER? TV.
DO YOU HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE? Totally.
OF COURSE YOU HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE. DOES IGGY HAVE A GOOD POKER FACE? Yes.
CAN HE EVEN PLAY POKER? Iggy beats me sometimes.
DO YOU LIKE POKING PEOPLE HARD? Not really.
ARE YOU FANGALICIOUS? I could never be as fangalicious as you'd want me to be.
James Patterson (Fang (Maximum Ride, #6))
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line.
But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over.
You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
HOW CAN I TELL IF A MAN I’M SEEING WILL BECOME ABUSIVE?
• He speaks disrespectfully about his former partners.
• He is disrespectful toward you.
• He does favors for you that you don’t want or puts on such a show of generosity that it makes you uncomfortable.
• He is controlling.
• He is possessive.
• Nothing is ever his fault.
• He is self-centered.
• He abuses drugs or alcohol.
• He pressures you for sex.
• He gets serious too quickly about the relationship.
• He intimidates you when he’s angry.
• He has double standards.
• He has negative attitudes toward women.
• He treats you differently around other people.
• He appears to be attracted to vulnerability.
No single one of the warning signs above is a sure sign of an abusive man, with the exception of physical intimidation. Many nonabusive men may exhibit a umber of these behaviors to a limited degree. What, then, should a woman do to protect herself from having a relationship turn abusive?
Although there is no foolproof solution, the best plan is:
1. Make it clear to him as soon as possible which behaviors or attitudes are unacceptable to you and that you cannot be in a relationship with him if they continue.
2. If it happens again, stop seeing him for a substantial period of time. Don’t keep seeing him with the warning that this time you “really mean it,” because he will probably interpret that to mean that you don’t.
3. If it happens a third time, or if he switches to other behaviors that are warning flags, chances are great that he has an abuse problem. If you give him too many chances, you are likely to regret it later.
Finally, be aware that as an abuser begins his slide into abuse, he believes that you are the one who is changing. His perceptions work this way because he feels so justified in his actions that he can’t imagine the problem might be with him. All he notices is that you don’t seem to be living up to his image of the perfect, all-giving, deferential woman.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
When you are dealing with difficulties and you feel like you don't have the strength to stand anymore, do not allow yourself to see that as a sign of weakness, it is just a sign that you are human. Allow someone who cares to be strong for you. It is easier to be strong for someone else than it is it to be strong for yourself.
People break down into two groups. When they experience something lucky, group number one sees it as more than luck, more than coincidence. They see it as a sign, evidence, that there is someone up there, watching out for them. Group number two sees it as just pure luck. Just a happy turn of chance. I'm sure the people in group number two are looking at those fourteen lights in a very suspicious way. For them, the situation is a fifty-fifty. Could be bad, could be good. But deep down, they feel that whatever happens, they're on their own. And that fills them with fear. Yeah, there are those people. But there's a whole lot of people in group number one. When they see those fourteen lights, they're looking at a miracle. And deep down, they feel that whatever's going to happen, there will be someone there to help them. And that fills them with hope. See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?
M. Night Shyamalan
All these years I thought a piece of my life was missing. But it was there all along. It was there when I sat beside you in your car and you began to drive. It was there when I sang backwards and you laughed or I made a picnic and you ate every crumb. It was there when you told me you liked my brown suit, when you opened the door for me, when you asked once if I would like to take the long road home. It came later in my garden. When I looked at the sun and saw it glow on my hands. When a rosebud appeared where there had not been one before. It was in the people who stopped and talked of this and that over the garden wall. And just when I thought my life was done, it came time and time again at the hospice. It has been everywhere, my happiness – when my mother sang for me to dance, when my father took my hand to keep me safe – but it was such a small, plain thing that I mistook it for something ordinary and failed to see. We expect our happiness to come with a sign and bells, but it doesn’t.
Rachel Joyce (The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Harold Fry, #2))
The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size. Size encompasses life, and the Tower encompasses size. The child, who is most at home with wonder, says: Daddy, what is above the sky? And the father says: The darkness of space. The child: What is beyond space? The father: The galaxy. The child: Beyond the galaxy? The father: Another galaxy. The child: Beyond the other galaxies? The father: No one knows.
You see? Size defeats us. For the fish, the lake in which he lives is the universe. What does the fish think when he is jerked up by the mouth through the silver limits of existence and into a new universe where the air drowns him and the light is blue madness? Where huge bipeds with no gills stuff it into a suffocating box and cover it with wet weeds to die?
Or one might take the tip of the pencil and magnify it. One reaches the point where a stunning realization strikes home: The pencil tip is not solid; it is composed of atoms which whirl and revolve like a trillion demon planets. What seems solid to us is actually only a loose net held together by gravity. Viewed at their actual size, the distances between these atoms might become league, gulfs, aeons. The atoms themselves are composed of nuclei and revolving protons and electrons. One may step down further to subatomic particles. And then to what? Tachyons? Nothing? Of course not. Everything in the universe denies nothing; to suggest an ending is the one absurdity.
If you fell outward to the limit of the universe, would you find a board fence and signs reading DEAD END? No. You might find something hard and rounded, as the chick must see the egg from the inside. And if you should peck through the shell (or find a door), what great and torrential light might shine through your opening at the end of space? Might you look through and discover our entire universe is but part of one atom on a blade of grass? Might you be forced to think that by burning a twig you incinerate an eternity of eternities? That existence rises not to one infinite but to an infinity of them?
Stephen King (The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1))
Children, only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory nor history. But man - let me offer you a definition - is the storytelling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories. He has to go on telling stories. He has to keep on making them up. As long as there's a story, it's all right. Even in his last moments, it's said, in the split second of a fatal fall - or when he's about to drown - he sees, passing rapidly before him, the story of his whole life.
Graham Swift (Waterland)
Catherine" she paused. I waited, tapping my finger on my desk. Then she spoke words that had me almost falling out of my chair. "I've decided to come to your wedding."
I actually glanced at my phone again to see if I'd been mistaken and it was someone else who'd called me.
"Are you drunk?" I got out when I could speak.
She signed. "I wish you wouldn't marry that vampire, but I'm tired of him coming between us."
Aliens replaced her with a pod person, I found myself thinking. That's the only explanation
Situations produce vibrations. Negative, potentially harmful situations emit slow vibrations. Positive, potentially life-enhancing situations emit quick vibrations. As these vibrations impact on your energy field they produce either resonance or dissonance in your lower and middle tantiens (psychic power stations) depending on your own vibratory rate at the time. When you psychic field force is strong and your vibratory rate is fast, therefore, you will draw only positive situations to you. When you mind is quiet enough and your attention is on the moment, you will literally hear the dissonance in your belly and chest like an alarm bell going off, urging you from deep within your body to move in such and such a direction. Always follow it. At times these urges may come to you in the form of internally spoken dialogue with your higher self, spirit guide, guardian angel, alien intelligence, however you see the owner of the “still, small voice within.” This form of dialogue can be entertaining and reassuring but is best not overindulged in as, in the extreme; it tends to lead to the loony bin. At times you may receive your messages from “Indian signs”, such as slogans on passing trucks or cloud formations in the sky. This is also best kept in moderation, to avoid seeing signs in everything and becoming terribly confused. Just let it happen when it happens and don’t try looking for it.
Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor's Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve?
The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success.
Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business.
When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic.
Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward.
Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience.
Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside.
Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?
Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem.
Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living.
Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward.
Everything in life brings risk. It's true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don't try anything new.
The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure — and actually fail — the greater your chances of success.
If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. And that means you're not taking enough risks. You risk because you have something of value you want to achieve.
The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get.
Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to your benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Don't let your learning lead to knowledge; let your learning lead to action.
The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying?
Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline.
Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally. Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence.
Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might.
If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail.
The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface.
Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.
John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
The Girlfriend 911 Cheat Sheet:
1) Change your behavior, and you’ll change his.
2) Create a high standard for yourself.
3) Create a boundary for yourself and for him.
4) Allow him to take the lead every step of the way. It’s a chess game. He makes his move, then you make yours.
5) Don’t contact him unless he contacts you first. Don’t play games or lead him on if you’re not interested. Always be honest and up-front with your intentions.
6) Pay close attention to signs and red flags. Don’t ignore them. When you see one, figure out what it means and act accordingly.
7) If you want a long-term relationship, postpone sleeping with him. Wait until a good amount of time has gone by, both of you are on the same page, and you both want to be in a committed relationship. If there’s any doubt on his part, don’t sleep with him. If he tells you he doesn’t want to be in a relationship, take him at his word and move on.
The three of us do not go out very often as the three of us. I think Daniel is perfect for Jed, which is the highest compliment I can give. But my friendship isn't with him, and Jed understands that. When we hit the road, we hit it together alone.
We get to the bridge, out undestined destination. Even though there's no sign, no arrow, Jed turns at the last minute and parks us in a verge right before the bridge leaves the ground.
The trunk pops open, and Jed runs round back to retrieve a bag of oranges and a sweatshirt that fits me better.
Shall we make like lizards and leap? he asks.
I never felt the urge to jump off a bridge, but there are times I have wanted to jump out of my life, out of my skin.
Would you stroll me down the promenade instead? I ask back.
Most certainly, my splendid.
There is no word for our kind of friendship. Two people tho don't see each other a lot, but can make each other effortlessly happy.
David Levithan (The Realm of Possibility)
And so people ask God for signs and wonders. Yet when signs are given and wonders are performed, most can't even see them! I therefore believe that it's not signs people should be asking God for; but you should be asking God for Sight!
C. JoyBell C.
I know how it feels, dear one. As if your heart were torn in two. I feel your pain.”
I took a deep breath. Another.
“I know how it feels. As if you will never be whole again.”
I reached inside my dress, where I wore two cords about my neck. One held my wedding ring; the other the amulet that had once been my mother’s. I left the one, and took off the other. “This is yours. Take it back. Take it back, it was to you she gave it.”
I slipped the cord over his head, and the little carven stone with its ash tree sign lay on his breast. He had grown painfully thin.
“Show me the other. The other talisman you wear.”
Slowly I took out the carven ring, and lifted it on my palm for my brother to see.
“He made this for you? Him with the golden hair, and the eyes that devour”?
“Not him. Another.” Images were strong in my mind; Red with his arm around me like a shield; Red cutting up and apple; Red kicking a sword from a man’s hand, and catching it in his own; Red barefoot on the sand with the sea around his ankles.
“You risked much, to give your love to such a one.”
I stared at him. “Love?”
“Did you not know, until now, when you must say goodbye?
Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1))
Date a girl who travels they said, but please, know that you will never tame her nor keep her. Because she’ll never sign her letters off with a “your truly” - but always with a “see you when I see you
For many years I have been asking myself why intelligent children act unintelligently at school. The simple answer is, "Because they're scared." I used to suspect that children's defeatism had something to do with their bad work in school, but I thought I could clear it away with hearty cries of "Onward! You can do it!" What I now see for the first time is the mechanism by which fear destroys intelligence, the way it affects a child's whole way of looking at, thinking about, and dealing with life. So we have two problems, not one: to stop children from being afraid, and then to break them of the bad thinking habits into which their fears have driven them.
What is most surprising of all is how much fear there is in school. Why is so little said about it. Perhaps most people do not recognize fear in children when they see it. They can read the grossest signs of fear; they know what the trouble is when a child clings howling to his mother; but the subtler signs of fear escaping them. It is these signs, in children's faces, voices, and gestures, in their movements and ways of working, that tell me plainly that most children in school are scared most of the time, many of them very scared. Like good soldiers, they control their fears, live with them, and adjust themselves to them. But the trouble is, and here is a vital difference between school and war, that the adjustments children make to their fears are almost wholly bad, destructive of their intelligence and capacity. The scared fighter may be the best fighter, but the scared learner is always a poor learner.
John C. Holt (How Children Fail)
Everything gets easier when you walk away from the hubris of everyone. Your work is not for everyone. It’s only for those who signed up for the journey.
Seth Godin (This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See)
Quick, think of a marvelous excuse he’ll totally swallow. Aha!“To practice. Unlike you guys, I haven’t tried my particular talent since Granny May signed me up for belly-dancing classes when I was fifteen.”And, by the way, why the hell did I consent to that? Or decide I loved it? Never mind, he’s buying it. In fact, he seems to be hot on the idea. Are his eyes glowing? And is Cole’s tongue hanging out? This is why I didn’t want to dance in the first place! “Anyway,” I rushed on. “I’m going to find a private place where nobody can see to laugh at me while you beat this tent”—or, more likely, these two idiots—“into submission.
Maybe I was just flattering myself, thinking I'd be worth some sort of risk. Not that I'd wish that on anyone!" he clarified. "I don't mean that. It just...I don't know. Don't you all see everything I'm risking?"
"Umm, no. You're here with your family to give you advice, and we all live around your schedule. Everything about your life stays the same, and ours changed overnight. What in the world could you possibly be risking?"
Maxon looked shocked.
"America, I might have my family, but imagine how embarrassing it is to have your parents watch as you attempt to date for the first time. And not just your parents-the whole country! Worse than that, it's not even a normal style of dating.
"And living around my schedule? When I'm not with you all, I'm organizing troops, making laws, perfecting budgets...and all on my own these days, while my father watches me stumble in my own stupidity because I have none of his experience. And then, when I inevitably do things in a way he wouldn't, he goes and corrects my mistakes. And while I'm trying to do all this work, you-the girls, I mean-are all I can think about. I'm excited and terrified by the lot of you!"
He was using his hands more than I'd ever seen, whipping them in the air and running them through his hair.
"And you think my life isn't changing? What do you think my chances might be of finding a soul mate in the group of you? I'll be lucky if I can just find someone who'll be able to stand me for the rest of our lives. What if I've already sent her home because I was relying on some sort of spark I didn't feel? What if she's waiting to leave me at the first sign of adversity? What if I don't find anyone at all? What do I do then, America?"
His speech had started out angered and impassioned, but by the end his questions weren't rhetorical anymore. He really wanted to know: What was he going to do if no one here was even close to being someone he could love? Though that didn't even seem to be his main concern; he was more worried that no one would love him.
"Actually, Maxon, I think you will find your soul mate here. Honestly."
"Really?" His voice charged with hope at my prediction.
"Absolutely." I put a hand on his shoulder. He seemed to be comforted by that touch alone. I wondered how often people simply touched him. "If your life is as upside down as you say it is, then she has to be here somewhere. In my experience, true love is usually the most inconvenient kind.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
My happy wagon is almost empty, Leo. Only five pebbles left. Happywise, I’m operating on only 25 percent capacity. Remember when I first showed my wagon to you? How many pebbles were in it then? Seventeen? And then I put another in, remember? I never told you this, but before I went to bed that night, after we kissed for the first time on the sidewalk outside my house, I put in the last two pebbles. Twenty. Total happiness. For the first time ever. It stayed that way until I painted that big sign on a sheet and hung it outside the school for all the world to see…
Jerry Spinelli (Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2))
*Then with alcoholic talkativeness
You've just told me some high spots in your memories. Want to hear mine? They're all connected with the sea. Here's one. When I was on the Squarehead square rigger, bound for Buenos Aires. Full moon in the Trades. The old hooker driving fourteen knots. I lay on the bowsprit, facing astern, with the water foaming into spume under me, the masts with every sail white in the moonlight, towering high above me. I became drunk with the beauty and signing rhythm of it, and for a moment I lost myself -- actually lost my life. I was set free! I dissolved in the sea, became white sails and flying spray, became beauty and rhythm, became moonlight and the ship and the high dim-starred sky! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life, or the life of Man, to Life itself! To God, if you want to put it that way. Then another time, on the American Line, when I was lookout on the crow's nest in the dawn watch. A calm sea, that time. Only a lazy ground swell and a slow drowsy roll of the ship. The passengers asleep and none of the crew in sight. No sound of man. Black smoke pouring from the funnels behind and beneath me. Dreaming, not keeping looking, feeling alone, and above, and apart, watching the dawn creep like a painted dream over the sky and sea which slept together. Then the moment of ecstatic freedom came. the peace, the end of the quest, the last harbor, the joy of belonging to a fulfillment beyond men's lousy, pitiful, greedy fears and hopes and dreams! And several other times in my life, when I was swimming far out, or lying alone on a beach, I have had the same experience. Became the sun, the hot sand, green seaweed anchored to a rock, swaying in the tide. Like a saint's vision of beatitude. Like a veil of things as they seem drawn back by an unseen hand. For a second you see -- and seeing the secret, are the secret. For a second there is meaning! Then the hand lets the veil fall and you are alone, lost in the fog again, and you stumble on toward nowhere, for no good reason!
*He grins wryly.
It was a great mistake, my being born a man, I would have been much more successful as a sea gull or a fish. As it is, I will always be a stranger who never feels at home, who does not really want and is not really wanted, who can never belong, who must always be a a little in love with death!
*Stares at him -- impressed.
Yes, there's the makings of a poet in you all right.
*Then protesting uneasily.
But that's morbid craziness about not being wanted and loving death.
The *makings of a poet. No, I'm afraid I'm like the guy who is always panhandling for a smoke. He hasn't even got the makings. He's got only the habit. I couldn't touch what I tried to tell you just now. I just stammered. That's the best I'll ever do, I mean, if I live. Well, it will be faithful realism, at least. Stammering is the native eloquence of us fog people.
Eugene O'Neill (Long Day's Journey into Night)
We have all heard such stories of expert intuition: the chess master who walks past a street game and announces “White mates in three” without stopping, or the physician who makes a complex diagnosis after a single glance at a patient. Expert intuition strikes us as magical, but it is not. Indeed, each of us performs feats of intuitive expertise many times each day. Most of us are pitch-perfect in detecting anger in the first word of a telephone call, recognize as we enter a room that we were the subject of the conversation, and quickly react to subtle signs that the driver of the car in the next lane is dangerous. Our everyday intuitive abilities are no less marvelous than the striking insights of an experienced firefighter or physician—only more common. The psychology of accurate intuition involves no magic. Perhaps the best short statement of it is by the great Herbert Simon, who studied chess masters and showed that after thousands of hours of practice they come to see the pieces on the board differently from the rest of us. You can feel Simon’s impatience with the mythologizing of expert intuition when he writes: “The situation has provided a cue; this cue has given the expert access to information stored in memory, and the information provides the answer. Intuition is nothing more and nothing less than recognition.
Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow)
Whether people see you as a shadow or as an invisible or stupid sort of thing, a time will come when that Image of yours will never be seen by commoners.
Michael Bassey Johnson (The Infinity Sign)
Why, I ask, can I not finish the letter that I am writing? For my room is always scattered with unfinished letters. I begin to suspect, when I am with you, that I am among the most gifted of men. I am filled with the delight of youth, with potency, with the sense of what is to come. blundering, but fervid, I see myself buzzing round flowers, humming down scarlet cups, making blue funnels resound with my prodigious booming. How richly I shall enjoy my youth (you make me feel). And London. And freedom. But stop. You are not listening. You are making some protest, as you slide, with an inexpressibly familiar gesture, your hand along your knee. By such signs we diagnose our friends' diseases. "Do not, in your affluence and plenty," you seem to say, "pass me by." "Stop," you say. "Ask me what I suffer.
Virginia Woolf (The Waves)
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
John McCain (Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember)
At length the Turk turned to Larry:
'You write, I believe?' he said with complete lack of interest.
Larry's eyes glittered. Mother, seeing the danger signs, rushed in quickly before he could reply.
'Yes, yes' she smiled, 'he writes away, day after day. Always tapping at the typewriter'
'I always feel that I could write superbly if I tried' remarked the Turk.
'Really?' said Mother. 'Yes, well, it's a gift I suppose, like so many things.'
'He swims well' remarked Margo, 'and he goes out terribly far'
'I have no fear' said the Turk modestly. 'I am a superb swimmer, so I have no fear. When I ride the horse, I have no fear, for I ride superbly. I can sail the boat magnificently in the typhoon without fear'
He sipped his tea delicately, regarding our awestruck faces with approval.
'You see' he went on, in case we had missed the point, 'you see, I am not a fearful man.
Gerald Durrell (My Family and Other Animals (Corfu Trilogy, #1))
Just say after Wednesday we never see each-"
"Don't" he says, angry.
"Jonah, you live six hundred kilometres away from me," I argue.
"Between now and when we graduate next year there are at least ten weeks' holiday and five random public holidays. There's email and if you manage to get down to the town, there's text messaging and mobile phone calls. If not, the five minutes you get to speak to me on your communal phone is better than nothing. There are the chess nerds who want to invite you to our school for the chess comp next March and there's this town in the middle, planned by Walter Burley Griffin, where we can meet up and protest against our government's refusal to sign the Kyoto treaty.
Melina Marchetta (On the Jellicoe Road)
The revolution had come too late for him. He was in his midforties when the Civil Rights Act was signed and close to fifty when its effects were truly felt.
He did not begrudge the younger generation their opportunities. He only wished that more of them, his own children, in particular, recognized their good fortune, the price that had been paid for it, and made the most of it. He was proud to have lived to see the change take place.
He wasn't judging anyone and accepted the fact that history had come too late for him to make much use of all the things that were now opening up. But he couldn't understand why some of the young people couldn't see it. Maybe you had to live through the worst of times to recognize the best of times when they came to you. Maybe that was just the way it was with people.
Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America's Great Migration)
[Adapted and condensed Valedictorian speech:]
I'm going to ask that you seriously consider modeling your life, not in the manner of the Dalai Lama or Jesus - though I'm sure they're helpful - but something a bit more hands-on, Carassius auratus auratus, commonly known as the domestic goldfish. People make fun of the goldfish. People don't think twice about swallowing it. Jonas Ornata III, Princeton class of '42, appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for swallowing the greatest number of goldfish in a fifteen-minute interval, a cruel total of thirty-nine. In his defense, though, I don't think Jonas understood the glory of the goldfish, that they have magnificent lessons to teach us. If you live like a goldfish, you can survive the harshest, most thwarting of circumstances. You can live through hardships that make your cohorts - the guppy, the neon tetra - go belly-up at the first sign of trouble. There was an infamous incident described in a journal published by the Goldfish Society of America - a sadistic five-year-old girl threw hers to the carpet, stepped on it, not once but twice - luckily she'd done it on a shag carpet and thus her heel didn't quite come down fully on the fish. After thirty harrowing seconds she tossed it back into its tank. It went on to live another forty-seven years. They can live in ice-covered ponds in the dead of winter. Bowls that haven't seen soap in a year. And they don't die from neglect, not immediately. They hold on for three, sometimes four months if they're abandoned. If you live like a goldfish, you adapt, not across hundreds of thousands of years like most species, having to go through the red tape of natural selection, but within mere months, weeks even. You give them a little tank? They give you a little body. Big tank? Big body. Indoor. Outdoor. Fish tanks, bowls. Cloudy water, clear water. Social or alone. The most incredible thing about goldfish, however, is their memory. Everyone pities them for only remembering their last three seconds, but in fact, to be so forcibly tied to the present - it's a gift. They are free. No moping over missteps, slip-ups, faux pas or disturbing childhoods. No inner demons. Their closets are light filled and skeleton free. And what could be more exhilarating than seeing the world for the very first time, in all of its beauty, almost thirty thousand times a day? How glorious to know that your Golden Age wasn't forty years ago when you still had all you hair, but only three seconds ago, and thus, very possibly it's still going on, this very moment." I counted three Mississippis in my head, though I might have rushed it, being nervous. "And this moment, too." Another three seconds. "And this moment, too." Another. "And this moment, too.
He talked about luck and fate and numbers coming up, yet he never ventured a nickel at the casinos because he knew the house had all the percentages. And beneath his pessimism, his bleak conviction that all the machinery was rigged against him, at the bottom of his soul was a faith that he was going to outwit it, that by carefully watching the signs he was going to know when to dodge and be spared. It was fatalism with a loophole, and all you had to do to make it work was never miss a sign. Survival by coordination, as it were. The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to those who can see it coming and jump aside. Like a frog evading a shillelagh in a midnight marsh.
Hunter S. Thompson (The Rum Diary)
When the greatness of Tao is present action arises from one’s own heart When the greatness of Tao is absent action comes from the rules of “kindness” and “justice” If you need rules to be kind and just, if you act virtuous, this is a sure sign that virtue is absent Thus we see the great hypocrisy Only when the family loses its harmony do we hear of “dutiful sons” Only when the state is in chaos do we hear of “loyal ministers
Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching: The New Translation from Tao Te Ching: The Definitive Edition)
I want you to come with me when i go. But maybe you will not see your cave again, or the stonee rings where we danced. We will maybe not stay near the sea. Will you be happy?
If I can see your face, he signed, I'll be happy.
he embraced her again. For a long time they stayed with their arms about each other, and Marnie did not notice that the potatoes in the embers were burning black, or that the rabbit had jumped out of its box and was drinking the cup of ale she had placed on the hearth to warm for Father Brannan.
Sherryl Jordan (The Raging Quiet)
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
...the summer of the gypsy moths when all the trees in their yard were bare, the leaves chewed by caterpillars. You could hear crunching in the night. You could see silvery cocoon webbing in porch rafter and strung across stop signs.
Alice Hoffman (The Story Sisters)
Douglas Ainslie: Look. Can you hear yourself? Can you? Do you have any idea what a terrible person you have become? All you give out is this endless negativity, a refusal to see any kind of light and joy, even when it's staring you in the face, and a desperate need to squash any sign of happiness in me or... or... or... anyone else. It's a wonder that I don't fling myself at the first kind word or gesture that comes my way, but I don't, ou... ou... ou... out of some sense of dried-up loyalty and respect, neither of which I ever bloody get in return.
Jean, his wife: [long pause] I checked my emails. There's one from Laura.
Deborah Moggach (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
See the flower as dying and you will see the flower sadly. Yet see the flower as part of a whole tree that is changing, and will soon bear fruit, and you see the flower’s true beauty. When you understand that the blossoming and the falling away of the flower is a sign that the tree is ready to bear fruit, then you understand life.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
Unerringly locating Riley's dick in his loose dress pants, Jack grabbed it forcefully and leaned close to Riley's ear, hearing the quick indrawn breath from his husband. A spark of lust flashed through his own body as he contemplated what to do next. Finally he decided. He was tired of all the pussy-footing around, and the darkness of the hallway invited sin. He moved his hand on Riley's hard dick, listening to the groan in Riley's throat. Riley, you know who this belongs to? This belongs to me." He gentled the touch, twisting his hand. "I saw you flirting and sharing with those girls out there, and I'm telling you now, I don't share. No one else gets to see this.
No one else gets to touch it. No one else gets to taste it. Just me. It's mine for one whole year, and I have the contract to prove it."
Riley tried to form a reply as Jack moved his hand again. It was good to see the other man speechless for once.
"Don't worry though, husband.I'm gonna treat it so good. I've decided that I'm gonna make it,and you, feel so damn good you'll never look at another woman again. You only have to say the word, and I'll show you what you signed up for." His voice fell into a heated whisper, the words low and drawled. Now do we need to get out of here? I'm thinking I might need to take you home and show you who you belong to." Riley's eyes widened, his dick fully hard, iron in Jack's clever hands. "I can make you scream. You wouldn't even know your name when I finished with you."
Riley's voice was broken.
Everything Jack wanted to hear.
Riley blinked, unconsciously pushing his groin into Jack's hold. Jack knew what followed next was certainly not a decision Riley made with his upstairs brain. "Fuck, Jack. Let's get the hell out of here.
R.J. Scott (The Heart of Texas (Texas, #1))
I didn’t realize how angry and jealous it would make me to see you being held by another man, and when he dropped his hands to your ass and thrust his leg between yours I wanted to rip his fucking head off and then spin around the room holding it up like a warning sign.
Jen Frederick (Losing Control (Kerr Chronicles, #1))
Because falling in love is like rain. You can't always predict it and when you do it might never appear, but you can always see the signs of it before it falls.
K. Bromberg (Sweet Ache (Driven, #6))
when people tell you what to do it is usually confusing and does not make sense. For example, people often say “Be quiet,” but they don’t tell you how long to be quiet for. Or you see a sign which says KEEP OFF THE GRASS but it should say KEEP OFF THE GRASS AROUND THIS SIGN or KEEP OFF ALL THE GRASS IN THIS PARK because there is lots of grass you are allowed to walk on.
Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
That war [Bosnian war] in the early 1990s changed a lot for me. I never thought I would see, in Europe, a full-dress reprise of internment camps, the mass murder of civilians, the reinstiutution of torture and rape as acts of policy. And I didn't expect so many of my comrades to be indifferent - or even take the side of the fascists. It was a time when many people on the left were saying 'Don't intervene, we'll only make things worse' or, 'Don't intervene, it might destabilise the region. And I thought - destabilisation of fascist regimes is a good thing. Why should the left care about the stability of undemocratic regimes? Wasn't it a good thing to destabilise the regime of General Franco? It was a time when the left was mostly taking the conservative, status quo position - leave the Balkans alone, leave Milosevic alone, do nothing. And that kind of conservatism can easily mutate into actual support for the aggressors. Weimar-style conservatism can easily mutate into National Socialism. So you had people like Noam Chomsky's co-author Ed Herman go from saying 'Do nothing in the Balkans', to actually supporting Milosevic, the most reactionary force in the region. That's when I began to first find myself on the same side as the neocons. I was signing petitions in favour of action in Bosnia, and I would look down the list of names and I kept finding, there's Richard Perle. There's Paul Wolfowitz. That seemed interesting to me. These people were saying that we had to act. Before, I had avoided them like the plague, especially because of what they said about General Sharon and about Nicaragua. But nobody could say they were interested in oil in the Balkans, or in strategic needs, and the people who tried to say that - like Chomsky - looked ridiculous. So now I was interested.
The essence of meditation practice in Dzogchen is encapsulated by these four points:
▪ When one past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet risen, in that gap, in between, isn’t there a consciousness of the present moment; fresh, virgin, unaltered by even a hair’s breadth of a concept, a luminous, naked awareness?
Well, that is what Rigpa is!
▪ Yet it doesn’t stay in that state forever, because another thought suddenly arises, doesn’t it?
This is the self-radiance of that Rigpa.
▪ However, if you do not recognize this thought for what it really is, the very instant it arises, then it will turn into just another ordinary thought, as before. This is called the “chain of delusion,” and is the root of samsara.
▪ If you are able to recognize the true nature of the thought as soon as it arises, and leave it alone without any follow-up, then whatever thoughts arise all automatically dissolve back into the vast expanse of Rigpa and are liberated.
Clearly this takes a lifetime of practice to understand and realize the full richness and majesty of these four profound yet simple points, and here I can only give you a taste of the vastness of what is meditation in Dzogchen.
Dzogchen meditation is subtly powerful in dealing with the arisings of the mind, and has a unique perspective on them. All the risings are seen in their true nature, not as separate from Rigpa, and not as antagonistic to it, but actually as none other–and this is very important–than its “self-radiance,” the manifestation of its very energy.
Say you find yourself in a deep state of stillness; often it does not last very long and a thought or a movement always arises, like a wave in the ocean. Don’t reject the movement or particulary embrace the stillness, but continue the flow of your pure presence. The pervasive, peaceful state of your meditation is the Rigpa itself, and all risings are none other than this Rigpa’s self-radiance. This is the heart and the basis of Dzogchen practice. One way to imagine this is as if you were riding on the sun’s rays back to the sun: ….
Of couse there are rough as well as gentle waves in the ocean; strong emotions come, like anger, desire, jealousy. The real practitioner recognizes them not as a disturbance or obstacle, but as a great opportunity. The fact that you react to arisings such as these with habitual tendencies of attachment and aversion is a sign not only that you are distracted, but also that you do not have the recognition and have lost the ground of Rigpa. To react to emotions in this way empowers them and binds us even tighter in the chains of delusion. The great secret of Dzogchen is to see right through them as soon as they arise, to what they really are: the vivid and electric manifestation of the energy of Rigpa itself. As you gradually learn to do this, even the most turbulent emotions fail to seize hold of you and dissolve, as wild waves rise and rear and sink back into the calm of the ocean.
The practitioner discovers–and this is a revolutionary insight, whose subtlety and power cannot be overestimated–that not only do violent emotions not necessarily sweep you away and drag you back into the whirlpools of your own neuroses, they can actually be used to deepen, embolden, invigorate, and strengthen the Rigpa. The tempestuous energy becomes raw food of the awakened energy of Rigpa. The stronger and more flaming the emotion, the more Rigpa is strengthened.
Sogyal Rinpoche (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
Gift cards?” Hi’s complaining brought me back to the present. “Why not just hand me a note that says: I don’t care enough to make an effort.”
April 7. Hiram Stolowitski’s sixteenth birthday.
“When exactly were we supposed to shop?” Shelton was scrolling Rex Gable emails on his laptop. “It’s been a hectic week, bro.”
“I bought you Assassin’s Creed six weeks before your birthday,” Hi shot back. “Waited in line all afternoon. The guy behind me smelled like fish tacos, but I stuck it out.”
Ben clapped Hi’s shoulder. “If it helps, I didn’t remember to get you any gift. Tory and Shelton picked that up. I signed the card though. See? Ben. Right there.”
“These are the memories that scar,” Hi huffed. “I’m gonna be so complicated when I grow up. I’ll probably film documentaries.
Kathy Reichs (Exposure (Virals, #4))
The Joker: Don't talk like one of them. You're not! Even if you'd like to be. To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.
Christopher J. Nolan
We get trapped in power struggles. When our kids feel backed into a corner, they instinctually fight back or totally shut down. So avoid the trap. Consider giving your child an out: “Would you like to get a drink first, and then we’ll pick up the toys?” Or negotiate: “Let’s see if we can figure out a way for both of us to get what we need.” (Obviously, there are some non-negotiables, but negotiation isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of respect for your child and her desires.) You can even ask your child for help: “Do you have any suggestions?” You might be shocked to find out how much your child is willing to bend in order to bring about a peaceful resolution to the standoff.
Daniel J. Siegel (No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind)
He reaches for a few strands of my hair, twining them around his finger. “You busy later?”
“I was supposed to go to a meet-and-greet in Fairport with Mom, but I told her I needed to study for SATs.”
“She believed this? It’s summer, Sam.”
“Nan’s got me signed up for this crazy prep simulation. And . . . I might have told Mom when she was a little distracted.”
“But not intentionally, of course.”
“Of course not,” I say.
“So if I were to come see you after eight, you’d be studying.”
“Absolutely. But I might want a . . . study buddy. Because I might be grappling with some really tough problems.”
“Tussling with,” I say. “Wrestling. Handling.”
“Gotcha. Sounds like I should bring protective gear to study with you.” Jase grins at me.
“You’re pretty tough. You’ll be fine.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
When the conversation turns too quickly to films, I see it as a sign of weakness. I mean: films are more something for the end of the evening, when you really don’t have much else to talk about. I don’t know why, but when people start talking about films, I always get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, like when you wake up in the morning and find that it’s already getting dark outside.
Herman Koch (The Dinner)
My friend, still seemingly perplexed, asked me "So if it's not about genitals, what is it about trans women's bodies that you find so attractive?"
I paused for a second to consider the question. Then I replied that it is almost always their eyes.
When I look into them, I see both endless strength and inconsolable sadness.
I see someone who has overcome humiliation and abuses that would flatten the average person.
I see a woman who was made to feel shame for her desires and yet had the courage to pursue them anyway.
I see a woman who was forced against her will into boyhood, who held on to a dream that everybody in her life desperately tried to beat out of her, who refused to listen to the endless stream of people who told her that who she was and what she wanted was impossible.
When I look into a trans woman's eyes, I see a profound appreciation for how fucking empowering it can be to be female, an appreciation that seems lost on many cissexual women who sadly take their female identities and anatomies for granted, or who perpetually seek to cast themselves as victims rather than instigators.
In trans women's eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognised as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.
In a trans woman's eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that's seemingly fuelled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one's femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage.
Everybody loves to say that drag queens are "fabulous", but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!
Julia Serano (Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity)
I walked her to her door and said good night, while Romeo waited. "I'll see you in the morning," I said, 'when the barking dogs arouse the sleeping tepee village and the smell of roasting coyote is in the air."
"My sisters will prepare me," she said. "I shall come to your wickiup in my white doeskin dress and lose my innocence on your buffalo robe."
"I will give you little ornaments to put in your hair, black as the crow's wing. I will give you red flannel and a looking-glass so that you may groom yourself."
"I'd also like to have a little spending money and a charge account at Wormser's," she said.
"Good night, Maiden Who Walks Like a Duck."
"Good night, Warrior Who Chickens Out at the Least Sign of Trouble.
Richard Bradford (Red Sky at Morning)
Eventually my mother suffered a complete breakdown, and the court orders were finally signed. They took her to the State Mental Hospital at Kalamazoo. My mother remained in the same hospital at Kalamazoo for about 26 years.
My last visit, when I knew I would never come to see her again-there-was in 1952. I was twenty-seven. My brother Philbert had told me that on his last visit, she had recognized him somewhat. "In spots" he said.
But she didn't recognize me at all.
She stared at me. She didn't know who I was.
Her mind, when I tried to talk, to reach her, was somewhere else. I asked, "Mama, do you know what day it is?"
She said, staring, "All the people have gone."
I can't describe how I felt. The woman who had brought me into the world, and nursed me, and advised me, and chastised me, and loved me, didn't know me.
It was as if I was trying to walk up the side of a hill of feathers."
-Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
TIL KINGDOM COME you'll be the one. FOR YOU theres NO MORE KEEPING MY FEET ON THE GROUND. My head is in the clouds NOW MY FEET WONT TOUCH THE GROUND. LIFE IS FOR LIVING and i cant live until i have stolen a spot in your heart. HURTS LIKE HEAVEN and feels like hell to know your in ANOTHERS ARMS. This is no PARADISE. DONT LET IT BREAK YOU HEART i tell my self. Your BEAUTIFUL WORDS always IN MY HEAD i cant stop my self. THINGS I DONT UNDERSTAND would be you and me. LOST in your X&Y. I feel like i was SWALLOWED IN THE SEA, LOST and unseen, not a WISPER or a weep. I cry in my sleep, EVERY TEARDROP IS A WATERFALL.
Should have seen the WARNING SIGNS, they were always there like a WISPER in my ear. Every time you say hello were back at SQUARE ONE, a smile my face. SUCH A RUSH i get when i talk to you. My heart beats as fast as a HIGH SPEED race. Every second i wait for your reply like CLOCK ticking by. DAYLIGHT nears as the SLEEPING SUN is UP IN FLAMES. What if its US AGAINST THE WORLD? What if HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD is how i see it too? WHAT IF?
The first I knew about it was when a workman arrived at my home yesterday. I asked him if he'd come to clean the windows and he said no, he'd come to demolish the house. He didn't tell me straight away of course. Oh no. First he wiped a couple of windows and charged me a fiver. Then he told me."
"But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months."
"Oh yes, well, as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything."
"But the plans were on display..."
"On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them."
"That's the display department."
"With a flashlight."
"Ah, well, the lights had probably gone."
"So had the stairs."
"But look, you found the notice didn't you?"
"Yes," said Arthur, "yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
a blood covenant relationship with God, by the blood of Jesus Christ, there is divine protection over your life. The sign of the blood of Jesus is over your life spiritually. Whatever spirit of destruction or whatever plague is going around town, when they see you, they will see the blood of Christ on you and pass over you.
Sam Adeyemi (Success Guaranteed By the Blood Covenant)
When I went on my first antidepressant it had the side effect of making me fixated on suicide (which is sort of the opposite of what you want). It’s a rare side effect so I switched to something else that did work. Lots of concerned friends and family felt that the first medication’s failure was a clear sign that drugs were not the answer; if they were I would have been fixed. Clearly I wasn’t as sick as I said I was if the medication didn’t work for me. And that sort of makes sense, because when you have cancer the doctor gives you the best medicine and if it doesn’t shrink the tumor immediately then that’s a pretty clear sign you were just faking it for attention. I mean, cancer is a serious, often fatal disease we’ve spent billions of dollars studying and treating so obviously a patient would never have to try multiple drugs, surgeries, radiation, etc., to find what will work specifically for them. And once the cancer sufferer is in remission they’re set for life because once they’ve learned how to not have cancer they should be good. And if they let themselves get cancer again they can just do whatever they did last time. Once you find the right cancer medication you’re pretty much immune from that disease forever. And if you get it again it’s probably just a reaction to too much gluten or not praying correctly. Right? Well, no. But that same, completely ridiculous reasoning is what people with mental illness often hear … not just from well-meaning friends, or people who were able to fix their own issues without medication, or people who don’t understand that mental illness can be dangerous and even fatal if untreated … but also from someone much closer and more manipulative. We hear it from ourselves. We listen to the small voice in the back of our head that says, “This medication is taking money away from your family. This medication messes with your sex drive or your weight. This medication is for people with real problems. Not just people who feel sad. No one ever died from being sad.” Except that they do. And when we see celebrities who fall victim to depression’s lies we think to ourselves, “How in the world could they have killed themselves? They had everything.” But they didn’t. They didn’t have a cure for an illness that convinced them they were better off dead. Whenever I start to doubt if I’m worth the eternal trouble of medication and therapy, I remember those people who let the fog win. And I push myself to stay healthy. I remind myself that I’m not fighting against me … I’m fighting against a chemical imbalance … a tangible thing. I remind myself of the cunning untrustworthiness of the brain, both in the mentally ill and in the mentally stable. I remind myself that professional mountain climbers are often found naked and frozen to death, with their clothes folded neatly nearby because severe hypothermia can make a person feel confused and hot and convince you to do incredibly irrational things we’d never expect. Brains are like toddlers. They are wonderful and should be treasured, but that doesn’t mean you should trust them to take care of you in an avalanche or process serotonin effectively.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
But that’s not what I’m trying to tell you,” Violet said, her eyes taking on a slightly determined expression. “What I’m trying to say is that when you were born, and they put you into my arms—it’s strange, because for some reason I was so convinced you would look just like your father. I thought for certain I would look down and see his face, and it would be some sort of sign from heaven.”
Hyacinth’s breath caught as she watched her, and she wondered why her mother had never told her this story. And why she’d never asked.
“But you didn’t,” Violet continued. “You looked rather like me. And then—oh my, I remember this as if it were yesterday—you looked into my eyes, and you blinked. Twice.”
“Twice?” Hyacinth echoed, wondering why this was important.
“Twice.” Violet looked at her, her lips curving into a funny little smile. “I only remember it because you looked so deliberate. It was the strangest thing. You gave me a look as if to say, ‘I know exactly what I’m doing.’ ”
A little burst of air rushed past Hyacinth’s lips, and she realized it was a laugh. A small one, the kind that takes a body by surprise.
“And then you let out a wail,” Violet said, shaking her head. “My heavens, I thought you were going to shake the paint right off the walls. And I smiled. It was the first time since your father died that I smiled.”
Violet took a breath, then reached for her tea. Hyacinth watched as her mother composed herself, wanting desperately to ask her to continue, but somehow knowing the moment called for silence.
For a full minute Hyacinth waited, and then finally her mother said, softly, “And from that moment on, you were so dear to me. I love all my children, but you…” She looked up, her eyes catching Hyacinth’s. “You saved me.”
Something squeezed in Hyacinth’s chest. She couldn’t quite move, couldn’t quite breathe. She could only watch her mother’s face, listen to her words, and be so very, very grateful that she’d been lucky enough to be her child.
“In some ways I was a little too protective of you,” Violet said, her lips forming the tiniest of smiles, “and at the same time too lenient. You were so exuberant, so completely sure of who you were and how you fit into the world around you. You were a force of nature, and I didn’t want to clip your wings.”
“Thank you,” Hyacinth whispered, but the words were so soft, she wasn’t even sure she’d said them aloud.
Julia Quinn (It's in His Kiss (Bridgertons, #7))
Children, only animals live entirely in the Here and Now. Only nature knows neither memory nor history. But man – let me offer you a definition – is the story-telling animal. Wherever he goes he wants to leave behind not a chaotic wake, not an empty space, but the comforting marker-buoys and trail-signs of stories. He has to go on telling stories, he has to keep on making them up. As long as there’s a story, it’s all right. Even in his last moments, it’s said, in the split second of a fatal fall – or when he’s about to drown – he sees, passing rapidly before him, the story of his whole life.
Graham Swift (Waterland)
And just how did you arrive at that remarkable conclusion, Mr. Mayor?"
"In a rather simple way. It merely required the use of that much-neglected commodity -- common sense. You see, there is a branch of human knowledge known as symbolic logic, which can be used to prune away all sorts of clogging deadwood that clutters up human language."
"What about it?" said Fulham.
"I applied it. Among other things, I applied it to this document here. I didn't really need to for myself because I knew what it was all about, but I think I can explain it more easily to five physical scientists by symbols rather than by words."
Hardin removed a few sheets of paper from the pad under his arm and spread them out. "I didn't do this myself, by the way," he said. "Muller Holk of the Division of Logic has his name signed to the analyses, as you can see."
Pirenne leaned over the table to get a better view and Hardin continued: "The message from Anacreon was a simple problem, naturally, for the men who wrote it were men of action rather than men of words. It boils down easily and straightforwardly to the unqualified statement, when in symbols is what you see, and which in words, roughly translated is, 'You give us what we want in a week, or we take it by force.'"
There was silence as the five members of the Board ran down the line of symbols, and then Pirenne sat down and coughed uneasily.
Hardin said, "No loophole, is there, Dr. Pirenne?"
"Doesn't seem to be.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
Water everywhere, falling in thundering cataracts, singular drops, and draping sheets. Kellhus paused next to one of the shining braziers, peered beneath the bronze visage that loomed orange and scowling over his father, watched him lean back into absolute shadow.
“You came to the world,” unseen lips said, “and you saw that Men were like children.”
Lines of radiance danced across the intervening waters.
“It is their nature to believe as their fathers believed,” the darkness continued. “To desire as they desired … Men are like wax poured into moulds: their souls are cast by their circumstances. Why are no Fanim children born to Inrithi parents? Why are no Inrithi children born to Fanim parents? Because these truths are made, cast by the particularities of circumstance. Rear an infant among Fanim and he will become Fanim. Rear him among Inrithi and he will become Inrithi …
“Split him in two, and he would murder himself.”
Without warning, the face re-emerged, water-garbled, white save the black sockets beneath his brow. The action seemed random, as though his father merely changed posture to relieve some vagrant ache, but it was not. Everything, Kellhus knew, had been premeditated. For all the changes wrought by thirty years in the Wilderness, his father remained Dûnyain …
Which meant that Kellhus stood on conditioned ground.
“But as obvious as this is,” the blurred face continued, “it escapes them. Because they cannot see what comes before them, they assume nothing comes before them. Nothing. They are numb to the hammers of circumstance, blind to their conditioning. What is branded into them, they think freely chosen.
So they thoughtlessly cleave to their intuitions, and curse those who dare question. They make ignorance their foundation. They confuse their narrow conditioning for absolute truth.”
He raised a cloth, pressed it into the pits of his eyes. When he withdrew it, two rose-coloured stains marked the pale fabric. The face slipped back into the impenetrable black.
“And yet part of them fears. For even unbelievers share the depth of their conviction. Everywhere, all about them, they see examples of their own self-deception … ‘Me!’ everyone cries. ‘I am chosen!’ How could they not fear when they so resemble children stamping their feet in the dust? So they encircle themselves with yea-sayers, and look to the horizon for confirmation, for some higher sign that they are as central to the world as they are to themselves.”
He waved his hand out, brought his palm to his bare breast. “And they pay with the coin of their devotion.
R. Scott Bakker (The Thousandfold Thought (The Prince of Nothing, #3))
I wanted to find something of the beauty of myth that we’ve left behind, carry its shreds before us all, so we could acknowledge it, somehow bring it back to life. I wanted to delve back into that world that cradled us when we were young enough to still touch it, when trolls lived under creek bridges, faeries fluttered under mushroom caps, and the Tooth Fairy only came once you were truly sleeping. I wanted to see if enchantment was somehow still there, simply waiting to be reached. When I felt my loss, I realized that if I could do anything in this life, I wanted to travel he world, searching for those who were still awake in that old dreamtime, and listen to their stories – because I had to know that there were grownups out there who still believed that life could be magical.
And in that moment I decided: I am going to find the goddamn faeries.
Signe Pike (Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World)
Somehow I feel that an ordinary person–the man in the street if you like–is a more challenging subject for exploration than people in the heroic mold. It is the half shades, the hardly audible notes that I want to capture and explore. […] My films are about human beings, human relationships, and social problems. I think it is possible for everyone to relate to these issues. On a certain level, foreign audiences can appreciate Indian works, but many details are missed. For example, when they see a woman with a red spot on her forehead, they don’t know that this is a sign showing that she is married, or that a woman dressed in a white sari is a widow. Indian audiences understand this at once; it is self-evident for them. So, on certain level, the cultural gap is too wide. But on a psychological level, on the level of social relations, it is possible to relate. I think I have been able to cross the barrier between cultures. My films are made for an Indian audience, but I think they have bridged the gap.
When depression sufferers fight, recover, and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark … ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness … afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t. We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe. When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Yes,” he said. “But I wonder . . . I’ve a peculiar feeling that I may never see you again. It is as if I were one of those minor characters in a melodrama who gets shuffled offstage without ever learning how things turn out.”
“I can appreciate the feeling,” I said. “My own role sometimes makes me want to strangle the author. But look at it this way: inside stories seldom live up to one’s expectations. Usually they are grubby little things, reducing down to the basest of motives when all is known. Conjectures and illusions are often the better possessions.
Roger Zelazny (Sign of the Unicorn (The Chronicles of Amber #3))
Every time we look back on this moment when we signed this agreement which severed Singapore from Malaysia, it will be a moment of anguish. For me it is a moment of anguish because all my life … you see, the whole of my adult life … I have believed in Malaysia, merger and the unity of these two territories. You know, it’s a people, connected by geography, economics and ties of kinship … Would you mind if we stop for a while?
Lee Kuan Yew (The Wit and Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew)
Rachel left," he says, sighing. "Says she's never coming back."
Galen nods. "She always says that. It's probably for the better tonight, though." They both wince as Rayna plants the ball of her foot in Emma's back, splaying her across the sea of shards.
"I taught her that," Toraf says.
"It's a good move."
Neither of the combatants seem to care about the rain, lightning, or the whereabouts of their hostess. The storm billows in, drenching the furniture, the TV, the strange art on the wall. No wonder Rachel didn't want to see this. She fussed over this stuff for days.
"So, it kind of threw me when she said she didn't like fish," Toraf says.
"I noticed. Surprised me, too, but everything else is there."
"That white hair is shocking though, isn't it?"
"Yeah, I like it. Shut up." Galen throws a sideways glare at his friend, whose grin makes him ball his fists.
"Hard bones and thick skin, obviously. There's no sign of blood. And she took some pretty hard hits from Rayna," Toraf continues neutrally.
Galen nods, relaxes his fists.
"Plus, you feel the pull-" Toraf is greeted with a forceful shove that sends him skidding on one foot across the slippery marble floor. Laughing, he comes back to stand beside Galen again.
"Jackass," Galen mutters.
"Jackass? What's a jackass?"
"Not sure. Emma called me that today when she was irritated with me."
"You're insulting me in human-talk now? I'm disappointed in you, minnow." Toraf nods toward the girls. "Shouldn't we break this up soon?"
"I don't think so. I think they need to work this out on their own."
"What about Emma's head?"
Galen shrugs. "Seems fine right now. Or she wouldn't have bashed the window into pieces with her forehead.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.
Admitting a weakness is a sign of strength. Acknowledging weakness doesn’t make a leader less effective.
Everybody in your organization benefits when you delegate responsibilities that fall outside your core competency. Thoughtful delegation will allow someone else in your organization to shine. Your weakness is someone’s opportunity.
Leadership is not always about getting things done “right.” Leadership is about getting things done through other people.
The people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault.
As a leader, gifted by God to do a few things well, it is not right for you to attempt to do everything. Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses.
There are many things I can do, but I have to narrow it down to the one thing I must do. The secret of concentration is elimination.
Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing.
My competence in these areas defines my success as a pastor.
A sixty-hour workweek will not compensate for a poorly delivered sermon. People don’t show up on Sunday morning because I am a good pastor (leader, shepherd, counselor).
In my world, it is my communication skills that make the difference. So that is where I focus my time.
To develop a competent team, help the leaders in your organization discover their leadership competencies and delegate accordingly.
Once you step outside your zone, don’t attempt to lead. Follow.
The less you do, the more you will accomplish.
Only those leaders who act boldly in times of crisis and change are willingly followed.
Accepting the status quo is the equivalent of accepting a death sentence. Where there’s no progress, there’s no growth. If there’s no growth, there’s no life. Environments void of change are eventually void of life. So leaders find themselves in the precarious and often career-jeopardizing position of being the one to draw attention to the need for change. Consequently, courage is a nonnegotiable quality for the next generation leader.
The leader is the one who has the courage to act on what he sees.
A leader is someone who has the courage to say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets the leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent. Next generation leaders are those who would rather challenge what needs to change and pay the price than remain silent and die on the inside.
The first person to step out in a new direction is viewed as the leader. And being the first to step out requires courage. In this way, courage establishes leadership.
Leadership requires the courage to walk in the dark. The darkness is the uncertainty that always accompanies change. The mystery of whether or not a new enterprise will pan out. The reservation everyone initially feels when a new idea is introduced. The risk of being wrong.
Many who lack the courage to forge ahead alone yearn for someone to take the first step, to go first, to show the way. It could be argued that the dark provides the optimal context for leadership. After all, if the pathway to the future were well lit, it would be crowded.
Fear has kept many would-be leaders on the sidelines, while good opportunities paraded by. They didn’t lack insight. They lacked courage.
Leaders are not always the first to see the need for change, but they are the first to act.
Leadership is about moving boldly into the future in spite of uncertainty and risk.
You can’t lead without taking risk. You won’t take risk without courage. Courage is essential to leadership.
Andy Stanley (Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future)
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and
Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life,
Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and
Its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and
Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and
For the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks,
The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing,
For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts
Are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes
They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again
In a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
Style still matters, for at least three reasons. First, it ensures that writers will get their message across, sparing readers from squandering their precious moments on earth deciphering opaque prose. When the effort fails, the result can be calamitous-as Strunk and White put it, "death on the highway caused by a badly worded road sign, heartbreak among lovers caused by a misplaced phrase in a well-intentioned letter, anguish of a traveler expecting to be met at a railroad station and not being met because of a slipshod telegram." Governments and corporations have found that small improvements in clarity can prevent vast amounts of error, frustration, and waste, and many countries have recently made clear language the law of the land.
Second, style earns trust. If readers can see that a writer cares about consistency and accuracy in her prose, they will be reassured that the writer cares about those virtues in conduct they cannot see as easily. Here is how one technology executive explains why he rejects job applications filled with errors of grammar and punctuation: "If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use it's, then that's not a learning curve I'm comfortable with." And if that isn't enough to get you to brush up your prose, consider the discovery of the dating site OkCupid that sloppy grammar and spelling in a profile are "huge turn-offs." As one client said, "If you're trying to date a woman, I don't expect flowery Jane Austen prose. But aren't you trying to put your best foot forward?"
Style, not least, adds beauty to the world. To a literate reader, a crisp sentence, an arresting metaphor, a witty aside, an elegant turn of phrase are among life's greatest pleasures. And as we shall see in the first chapter, this thoroughly impractical virtue of good writing is where the practical effort of mastering good writing must begin.
Steven Pinker (The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century)
Another sign of those with an “elder brother” spirit is joyless, fear-based compliance. The older son boasts of his obedience to his father, but lets his underlying motivation and attitude slip out when he says, “All these years I’ve been slaving for you.” To be sure, being faithful to any commitment involves a certain amount of dutifulness. Often we don’t feel like doing what we ought to do, but we do it anyway, for the sake of integrity. But the elder brother shows that his obedience to his father is nothing but duty all the way down. There is no joy or love, no reward in just seeing his father pleased. In the same way, elder brothers are fastidious in their compliance to ethical norms, and in fulfillment of all traditional family, community, and civic responsibilities. But it is a slavish, joyless drudgery. The word “slave” has strong overtones of being forced or pushed rather than drawn or attracted. A slave works out of fear—fear of consequences imposed by force. This gets to the root of what drives an elder brother. Ultimately, elder brothers live good lives out of fear, not out of joy and love.
Timothy J. Keller (The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith)
Aren't you a Republican? Just about everyone is in the whole town of Learning."
"No, I'm not a Republican. And I'm not no Democrat. I'm not nothing."
"Because I'm not allowed to vote."
"Me either. You have to be twenty-one to vote. I'm only twelve."
"Reckon I'm soon looking at sixty."
"Then why can't you vote? Is it because you're a Shaker?"
"No, it's account of I can't read or write. When a man cannot do these things, people think his head is weak. Even when he's proved his back is strong.
"Men who look at me and take me not for what I be. Men who only see my mark, my X, when I can't sign my name. They can't see how I true a beam to build our barn, or see that the rows of corn in my field are straight as fences. They just seem me walk the street in Learning in clothes made me by my own woman. They do not care that my coat is strudy and keeps me warm. They'll not care that I owe no debt and I am beholding to no man.
Robert Newton Peck (A Day No Pigs Would Die)
He had not stopped looking into her eyes, and she showed no signs of faltering. He gave a deep sigh and recited:
"O sweet treasures, discovered to my sorrow." She did not understand.
"It is a verse by the grandfather of my great-great-grandmother," he explained. "He wrote three eclogues, two elegies, five songs, and forty sonnets. Most of them for a Portuguese lady of very ordinary charms who was never his, first because he was married, and then because she married another man and died before he did."
"Was he a priest too?"
"A soldier," he said.
Something stirred in the heart of Sierva María, for she wanted to hear the verse again. He repeated it, and this time he continued, in an intense, well-articulated voice, until he had recited the last of the forty sonnets by the cavalier of amours and arms Don Garcilaso de la Vega, killed in his prime by a stone hurled in battle.When he had finished, Cayetano took Sierva María's hand and placed it over his heart. She felt the internal clamor of his suffering.
"I am always in this state," he said.
And without giving his panic an opportunity, he unburdened himself of the dark truth that did not permit him to live. He confessed that every moment was filled with thoughts of her, that everything he ate and drank tasted of her, that she was his life, always and everywhere, as only God had the right and power to be, and that the supreme joy of his heart would be to die with her. He continued to speak without looking at her, with the same fluidity and passion as when he recited poetry, until it seemed to him that Sierva María was sleeping. But she was awake, her eyes, like those of a startled deer, fixed on him. She almost did not dare to ask:
"And now nothing," he said. "It is enough for me that you know."
He could not go on. Weeping in silence, he slipped his arm beneath her head to serve as a pillow, and she curled up at his side. And so they remained, not sleeping, not talking, until the roosters began to crow and he had to hurry to arrive in time for five-o'clock Mass. Before he left, Sierva María gave him the beautiful necklace of Oddúa: eighteen inches of mother-of-pearl and coral beads.
Panic had been replaced by the yearning in his heart. Delaura knew no peace, he carried out his tasks in a haphazard way, he floated until the joyous hour when he escaped the hospital to see Sierva María. He would reach the cell gasping for breath, soaked by the perpetual rains, and she would wait for him with so much longing that only his smile allowed her to breathe again. One night she took the initiative with the verses she had learned after hearing them so often. 'When I stand and contemplate my fate and see the path along which you have led me," she recited. And asked with a certain slyness: "What's the rest of it?"
"I reach my end, for artless I surrendered to one who is my undoing and my end," he said.
She repeated the lines with the same tenderness, and so they continued until the end of the book, omitting verses, corrupting and twisting the sonnets to suit themselves, toying with them with the skill of masters. They fell asleep exhausted. At five the warder brought in breakfast, to the uproarious crowing of the roosters, and they awoke in alarm. Life stopped for them.
Gabriel García Márquez (Of Love and Other Demons)
It’ll be when you first learn to walk that I get daily demonstrations of the asymmetry in our relationship. You’ll be incessantly running off somewhere, and each time you walk into a door frame or scrape your knee, the pain feels like it’s my own. It’ll be like growing an errant limb, an extension of myself whose sensory nerves report pain just fine, but whose motor nerves don’t convey my commands at all. It’s so unfair: I’m going to give birth to an animated voodoo doll of myself. I didn’t see this in the contract when I signed up.
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
In answer to modern requests for signs and wonders, Our Lord might say, 'You repeat Satan's temptation, whenever you admire the wonders of science, and forget that I am the Author of the Universe and its science. Your scientists are the proofreaders, but not the authors of the Book of Nature; they can see and examine My handiwork, but they cannot create one atom themselves. You would tempt Me to prove Myself omnipotent by meaningless tests...You tempt Me after you have willfully destroyed your own cities with bombs by shrieking out, "Why does God not stop this war?" You tempt Me, saying that I have no power, unless I show it at your beck and call. This, if you remember, is exactly how Satan tempted Me in the desert.
I have never had many followers on the lofty heights of Divine truth, I know; for instance, I have hardly had the intelligentsia. I refuse to perform stunts to win them, for they would not really be won that way. It is only when I am seen on the Cross that I really draw men to Myself; it is by sacrifice, and not by marvels, that I must make My appeal. I must win followers not with test tubes, but with My blood; not with material power, but with love; not with celestial fireworks, but with the right use of reason and free will.
Fulton J. Sheen (Life of Christ)
*One clue that there’s something not quite real about sequential time the way you experience it is the various paradoxes of time supposedly passing and of a so-called ‘present’ that’s always unrolling into the future and creating more and more past behind it. As if the present were this car—nice car by the way—and the past is the road we’ve just gone over, and the future is the headlit road up ahead we haven’t yet gotten to, and time is the car’s forward movement, and the precise present is the car’s front bumper as it cuts through the fog of the future, so that it’s now and then a tiny bit later a whole different now, etc. Except if time is really passing, how fast does it go? At what rate does the present change? See? Meaning if we use time to measure motion or rate—which we do, it’s the only way you can—95 miles per hour, 70 heartbeats a minute, etc.—how are you supposed to measure the rate at which time moves? One second per second? It makes no sense. You can’t even talk about time flowing or moving without hitting up against paradox right away. So think for a second: What if there’s really no movement at all? What if this is all unfolding in the one flash you call
the present, this first, infinitely tiny split-second of impact when the speeding car’s front bumper’s just starting to touch the abutment, just before the bumper crumples and displaces the front end and you go violently forward and the steering column comes back at your chest as if shot out of something enormous? Meaning that what if in fact this now is infinite and never really passes in the way your mind is supposedly wired to understand pass, so that not only your whole life but every single humanly conceivable way to describe and account for that life has time to flash like neon shaped into those connected cursive letters that businesses’ signs and windows love so much to use through your mind all at once in the literally immeasurable instant between impact and death, just as you start forward to meet the wheel at a rate no belt ever made could restrain—THE END."
footnote ("Good Old Neon")
David Foster Wallace (Oblivion: Stories)
My old man
16 years old
during the depression
I’d come home drunk
and all my clothing–
shorts, shirts, stockings–
suitcase, and pages of
would be thrown out on the
front lawn and about the
my mother would be
waiting behind a tree:
“Henry, Henry, don’t
go in . . .he’ll
kill you, he’s read
your stories . . .”
“I can whip his
ass . . .”
“Henry, please take
this . . .and
find yourself a room.”
but it worried him
that I might not
finish high school
so I’d be back
one evening he walked in
with the pages of
one of my short stories
(which I had never submitted
and he said, “this is
a great short story.”
I said, “o.k.,”
and he handed it to me
and I read it.
it was a story about
a rich man
who had a fight with
his wife and had
gone out into the night
for a cup of coffee
and had observed
the waitress and the spoons
and forks and the
salt and pepper shakers
and the neon sign
in the window
and then had gone back
to his stable
to see and touch his
kicked him in the head
and killed him.
the story held
meaning for him
when I had written it
I had no idea
of what I was
so I told him,
“o.k., old man, you can
and he took it
and walked out
and closed the door.
I guess that’s
as we ever got.
Charles Bukowski (Love Is a Dog from Hell)
The summer our marriage failed
we picked sage to sweeten our hot dark car.
We sat in the yard with heavy glasses of iced tea,
talking about which seeds to sow
when the soil was cool. Praising our large, smooth spinach
leaves, free this year of Fusarium wilt,
downy mildew, blue mold. And then we spoke of flowers,
and there was a joke, you said, about old florists
who were forced to make other arrangements.
Delphiniums flared along the back fence.
All summer it hurt to look at you.
I heard a woman on the bus say, “He and I were going
in different directions.” As if it had something to do
with a latitude or a pole. Trying to write down
how love empties itself from a house, how a view
changes, how the sign for infinity turns into a noose
for a couple. Trying to say that weather weighed
down all the streets we traveled on, that if gravel sinks,
it keeps sinking. How can I blame you who kneeled day
after day in wet soil, pulling slugs from the seedlings?
You who built a ten-foot arch for the beans, who hated
a bird feeder left unfilled. You who gave
carrots to a gang of girls on bicycles.
On our last trip we drove through rain
to a town lit with vacancies.
We’d come to watch whales. At the dock we met
five other couples—all of us fluorescent,
waterproof, ready for the pitch and frequency
of the motor that would lure these great mammals
near. The boat chugged forward—trailing a long,
creamy wake. The captain spoke from a loudspeaker:
In winter gray whales love Laguna Guerrero; it’s warm
and calm, no killer whales gulp down their calves.
Today we’ll see them on their way to Alaska. If we
get close enough, observe their eyes—they’re bigger
than baseballs, but can only look down. Whales can
communicate at a distance of 300 miles—but it’s
my guess they’re all saying, Can you hear me?
His laughter crackled. When he told us Pink Floyd is slang
for a whale’s two-foot penis, I stopped listening.
The boat rocked, and for two hours our eyes
were lost in the waves—but no whales surfaced, blowing
or breaching or expelling water through baleen plates.
Again and again you patiently wiped the spray
from your glasses. We smiled to each other, good
troopers used to disappointment. On the way back
you pointed at cormorants riding the waves—
you knew them by name: the Brants, the Pelagic,
the double-breasted. I only said, I’m sure
whales were swimming under us by the dozens.
Trying to write that I loved the work of an argument,
the exhaustion of forgiving, the next morning,
washing our handprints off the wineglasses. How I loved
sitting with our friends under the plum trees,
in the white wire chairs, at the glass table. How you
stood by the grill, delicately broiling the fish. How
the dill grew tall by the window. Trying to explain
how camellias spoil and bloom at the same time,
how their perfume makes lovers ache. Trying
to describe the ways sex darkens
and dies, how two bodies can lie
together, entwined, out of habit.
Finding themselves later, tired, by a fire,
on an old couch that no longer reassures.
The night we eloped we drove to the rainforest
and found ourselves in fog so thick
our lights were useless. There’s no choice,
you said, we must have faith in our blindness.
How I believed you. Trying to imagine
the road beneath us, we inched forward,
honking, gently, again and again.
Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to communicate with you? If you just listen hard enough and pay attention to things around you? I know that sounds a little wacky, but it happens to me. Streetlights blink when I walk under them, or I see things I’ve dreamed about…It’s hard to explain, but I think sometimes they’re signs. And if I follow them, they lead me to important things. Or important people. And I think I was supposed to meet you for a reason.
Jenn Bennett (Serious Moonlight)
We don't have to see the whole road ahead of us to assure that we're going in the right direction. We take it in stride by staying positive, having faith, and maintaining that vision of happiness.
Sometimes I obsess over trying to control the circumstances and wanting to always know the outcome, but the truth is, it is created all along the way. We aid it by our choices.
The guidance is there. As soon as we take that single first step in the direction of our Destiny, signs are posted all along the way. All we have to do is keep our eyes peeled! If you want your life filled with abundance, be grateful for what you have. When you realize how abundant your life is already, you attract further abundance
Jason Micheal Ratliff
So you see systems of thought and religion coming out of the kinds of societies that invented them. The means by which people feed themselves determine how they think and what they believe. Agricultural societies believe in rain gods and seed gods and gods for every manner of thing that might affect the harvest (China). People who herd animals believe in a single shepherd god (Islam). In both these kinds of cultures you see a primitive notion of gods as helpers, as big people watching from above, like parents who nevertheless act like bad children, deciding capriciously whom to reward and whom not to, on the basis of craven sacrifices made to them by the humans dependent on their whim. The religions that say you should sacrifice or even pray to a god like that, to ask them to do something material for you, are the religions of desperate and ignorant people.
It is only when you get to the more advanced and secure societies that you get a religion ready to face the universe honestly, to announce there is no clear sign of divinity, except for the existence of the cosmos in and of itself, which means that everything is holy, whether or not there be a god looking down on it.
Kim Stanley Robinson (The Years of Rice and Salt)
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.”
“Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.”
“Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.”
“If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.”
“What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin.
“I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.”
“I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?”
“I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.”
“I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.”
“If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.”
“Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered.
Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me.
If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar.
He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.”
Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me.
When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again.
He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier.
When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?”
“Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.”
I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.”
He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?”
He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again.
“Stop looking at me like that.”
“Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.”
He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.”
“Am I making you nervous?”
“You could say that.”
I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over.
“I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
If it was an emergency, you would have hung up and called back. Over and over again. Leaving progressively more and more threatening messages about what you were going to do to me when you did finally get a hold of me,” he told her, signing off on the bottom of the letter he’d just finished and moving it to the side.
“I would never do that,” she said.
“No?” When she did finally send him reports it was always in folders that were named things like I’m Not Your Fucking Secretary and If You Ask Me to Get You Coffee It Will Definitely Have Turtle Shit In It.
“If I really needed your attention, I’d start texting. Photos. Naked photos.”
His entire body reacted to that. He cleared his throat. “I would definitely—.”
“Of my grandfather.”
Bennett paused. Then groaned. He knew her grandfather. Leo Landry was a great guy. Funny, down-to-earth, honest, loyal. And someone that Bennett absolutely did not ever want to see naked. Ever.
“You’re an evil woman.”
Erin Nicholas (Crazy Rich Cajuns (Boys of the Bayou, #4))
You try to separate yourselves from history. You pretend its ugliness could never happen where you are. But it can...and it does, when normal people, en mass, allow worse and worse shit to go down because either they're too ignorant to understand or they're being corrupted by the powers that control the country. That's how this starts, that's how it gets too far. PLEASE see the signs. Please. This is human nature...to miss the boat out of fear or anger about others "taking what's ours" and so we allow (or cheer on) heinousness one step at a time until, before you know it, you're living in a nightmare of epic proportions and history sees you as the villain you became.
DON'T BECOME A VILLAIN. BE THE VOICE THAT BREAKS THE INSANITY OPEN.
Here, I have something for you."
"It had better not be an engagement ring."
He paused, his lips puckering as if the thought hadn't occurred to him and he was regretting it.
"Or gloves," added Cinder. "That didn't work out too well last time."
Grinning, Kai took a step closer to her and dropped to one knee.
Her eyes widened.
Her heart thumped. "Wait."
"I've been waiting a long time to give this to you."
With an expression as serious as politics, he pulled his hand from behind his back. In it was cupped a small metal foot, frayed wires sticking up from the cavity and the joints packed with grease.
Cinder released her breath, then started to laugh. "You - ugh."
"Are you terribly disappointed, because I'm sure Luna has some great jewelry stores if you wanted me to -"
"Shut up," she said, taking the foot. She turned it over in her palms, shaking her head. "I keep trying to get rid of this thing, but somehow it keeps finding its way back to me. What made you keep it?"
"It occurred to me that if I could find the cyborg that fits this foot, it must be a sign we were meant to be together." He twisted his lips to one side. "But then I realized it would probably fit an eight-year-old."
"Close enough." He hesitated. "Honestly, I guess it was the only thing I had to connect me to you when I thought I'd never see you again."
She slid her gaze off the foot. "Why are you still kneeling?"
Kai reached for her prosthetic hand and brushed his lips against her newly polished knuckles. "You'll have to get used to people kneeling to you. It kind of comes with the territory."
"I'm going to make it a law that the correct way to address your sovereign is by giving a high five."
Kai's smile brightened. "That's genus. Me too.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
Once you have an image of what the inside of your drawers will look like, you can begin folding. The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle. First, fold each lengthwise side of the garment toward the center (such as the left-hand, then right-hand, sides of a shirt) and tuck the sleeves in to make a long rectangular shape. It doesn’t matter how you fold the sleeves. Next, pick up one short end of the rectangle and fold it toward the other short end. Then fold again, in the same manner, in halves or in thirds. The number of folds should be adjusted so that the folded clothing when standing on edge fits the height of the drawer. This is the basic principle that will ultimately allow your clothes to be stacked on edge, side by side, so that when you pull open your drawer you can see the edge of every item inside. If you find that the end result is the right shape but too loose and floppy to stand up, it’s a sign that your way of folding doesn’t match the type of clothing.
Marie Kondō (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (Magic Cleaning #1))
What do they think has happened, the old fools,
To make them like this ? Do they somehow suppose
It's more grown-up when your mouth hangs open and drools
And you keep on pissing yourself, and can't remember
Who called this morning ? Or that, if they only chose,
They could alter things back to when they danced all night,
Or went to their wedding, or sloped arms some September ?
Or do they fancy there's really been no change,
And they've always behaved as if they were crippled or tight,
Or sat through days of thin continuous dreaming
Watching light move ? If they don't (and they can't), it's strange:
Why aren't they screaming ?
At death, you break up: the bits that were you
Start speeding away from each other for ever
With no one to see. It's only oblivion, true:
We had it before, but then it was going to end,
And was all the time merging with a unique endeavour
To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower
Of being here. Next time you can't pretend
There'll be anything else. And these are the first signs:
Not knowing how, not hearing who, the power
Of choosing gone. Their looks show that they're for it:
Ash hair, toad hands, prune face dried into lines-
How can they ignore it ?
Perhaps being old is having lighted rooms
Inside your head, and people in them, acting.
People you know, yet can't quite name; each looms
Like a deep loss restored, from known doors turning,
Setting down a Iamp, smiling from a stair, extracting
A known book from the shelves; or sometimes only
The rooms themselves, chairs and a fire burning,
The blown bush at the window, or the sun' s
Faint friendliness on the wall some lonely
Rain-ceased midsummer evening. That is where they live:
Not here and now, but where all happened once.
This is why they give
An air of baffled absence, trying to be there
Yet being here. For the rooms grow farther, leaving
Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear
Of taken breath, and them crouching below
Extinction' s alp, the old fools, never perceiving
How near it is. This must be what keeps them quiet.
The peak that stays in view wherever we go
For them is rising ground. Can they never tell
What is dragging them back, and how it will end ? Not at night?
Not when the strangers come ? Never, throughout
The whole hideous inverted childhood? Well,
We shall find out.
- The Old Fools
What's the story behind the song?
Jane texts back a minute later. She addresses and signs it the ways she usually does. august is so used to it that her eyes have started skipping right over the introduction and sign off.
I don't remember much. I listened to it in an apartment I had when I was 20. I used to think it was one of the most romantic songs I ever heard.
Really? The lyrics are kind of depressing.
No, you gotta listen to the bridge. It's all about loving someone so much you can't stand the idea of losing them, even if it hurts, that all the hard stuff is worth it if you can get through together.
August pulls it up, lets it spin past the first two verses, into the line: You will remember, when this is blown over . . .
Okay, she types, thinking of Wes and how determined he is not to let Isaiah hand him his heart, of Myla holding Niko's hand as he talks to things she can't see, of her mom and a whole life spent searching, of herself, of Jane, of hours on the train - all the things they put themselves through for love. Okay, I get it.
Casey McQuiston (One Last Stop)
The Oscar-nominated documentary The Act of Killing tells the story of the gangster leaders who carried out anti-communist purges in Indonesia in 1965 to usher in the regime of Suharto.
The film’s hook, which makes it compelling and accessible, is that the filmmakers get Anwar —one of the death-squad leaders, who murdered around a thousand communists using a wire rope—and his acolytes to reenact the killings and events around them on film in a variety of genres of their choosing.
In the film’s most memorable sequence, Anwar—who is old now and actually really likable, a bit like Nelson Mandela, all soft and wrinkly with nice, fuzzy gray hair—for the purposes of a scene plays the role of a victim in one of the murders that he in real life carried out.
A little way into it, he gets a bit tearful and distressed and, when discussing it with the filmmaker on camera in the next scene, reveals that he found the scene upsetting. The offcamera director asks the poignant question, “What do you think your victims must’ve felt like?” and Anwar initially almost fails to see the connection. Eventually, when the bloody obvious correlation hits him, he thinks it unlikely that his victims were as upset as he was, because he was “really” upset. The director, pressing the film’s point home, says, “Yeah but it must’ve been worse for them, because we were just pretending; for them it was real.”
Evidently at this point the reality of the cruelty he has inflicted hits Anwar, because when they return to the concrete garden where the executions had taken place years before, he, on camera, begins to violently gag.
This makes incredible viewing, as this literally visceral ejection of his self and sickness at his previous actions is a vivid catharsis. He gagged at what he’d done.
After watching the film, I thought—as did probably everyone who saw it—how can people carry out violent murders by the thousand without it ever occurring to them that it is causing suffering? Surely someone with piano wire round their neck, being asphyxiated, must give off some recognizable signs? Like going “ouch” or “stop” or having blood come out of their throats while twitching and spluttering into perpetual slumber?
What it must be is that in order to carry out that kind of brutal murder, you have to disengage with the empathetic aspect of your nature and cultivate an idea of the victim as different, inferior, and subhuman. The only way to understand how such inhumane behavior could be unthinkingly conducted is to look for comparable examples from our own lives. Our attitude to homelessness is apposite here.
It isn’t difficult to envisage a species like us, only slightly more evolved, being universally appalled by our acceptance of homelessness.
“What? You had sufficient housing, it cost less money to house them, and you just ignored the problem?”
They’d be as astonished by our indifference as we are by the disconnected cruelty of Anwar.
I imagine a man coming out of an alley and stabbing me a number of times until I die. Face-down, mouth-open in the snow. What would that change about me. Would I love it. Would I think that the stabbing was painful and that I didn’t like it. Does it actually hurt or is it great. I see my killer being given a wreath and a box of candy by the mayor of Chicago at some kind of ceremony (a ceremony for killing me, you see). And people are cheering for him. I see myself stab-holed and crawling out of an alley to join the periphery of the celebration. Then I hold one hand over the stab wounds and with the other hand I give the thumbs-up sign to my killer as he accepts the wreath from the mayor. I pass more people who are out walking. I’m on Ashland Avenue. A lot of times when I encounter someone else out walking or running past me, it feels like we should be more united than we end up acting. We’re both outside at the same time together. Why doesn’t that mean anything to anyone. Goddamn. No, I don’t think I actually care about that. I thought I cared about it just now.
Sam Pink (Person)
I skipped between the dancers, twirling my skirts. The seated, masked musicians didn’t look up at me as I leaped before them, dancing in place. No chains, no boundaries—just me and the music, dancing and dancing. I wasn’t faerie, but I was a part of this earth, and the earth was a part of me, and I would be content to dance upon it for the rest of my life.
One of the musicians looked up from his fiddling, and I halted.
Sweat gleamed on the strong column of his neck as he rested his chin upon the dark wood of the fiddle. He’d rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, revealing the cords of muscle along his forearms. He had once mentioned that he would have liked to be a traveling minstrel if not a warrior or a High Lord—now, hearing him play, I knew he could have made a fortune from it.
“I’m sorry, Tam,” Lucien panted, appearing from nowhere. “I left her alone for a little at one of the food tables, and when I caught up to her, she was drinking the wine, and—”
Tamlin didn’t pause in his playing. His golden hair damp with sweat, he looked marvelously handsome—even though I couldn’t see most of his face. He gave me a feral smile as I began to dance in place before him. “I’ll look after her,” Tamlin murmured above the music, and I glowed, my dancing becoming faster. “Go enjoy yourself.” Lucien fled.
I shouted over the music, “I don’t need a keeper!” I wanted to spin and spin and spin.
“No, you don’t,” Tamlin said, never once stumbling over his playing. How his bow did dance upon the strings, his fingers sturdy and strong, no signs of those claws that I had come to stop fearing … “Dance, Feyre,” he whispered.
So I did.
I was loosened, a top whirling around and around, and I didn’t know who I danced with or what they looked like, only that I had become the music and the fire and the night, and there was nothing that could slow me down.
Through it all, Tamlin and his musicians played such joyous music that I didn’t think the world could contain it all. I sashayed over to him, my faerie lord, my protector and warrior, my friend, and danced before him. He grinned at me, and I didn’t break my dancing as he rose from his seat and knelt before me in the grass, offering up a solo on his fiddle to me.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing afriend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
- Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation
Chief Tecumseh Shawnee Nation
A young lad was sent to school. He began his lessons with the other children, and the first lesson the teacher set him was the straight line, the figure “one.” But whereas the others went on progressing, this child continued writing the same figure. After two or three days the teacher came up to him and said, “Have you finished your lesson?” He said, “No, I’m still writing ‘one.’ ” He went on doing the same thing, and when at the end of the week the teacher asked him again he said, “I have not yet finished it.” The teacher thought he was an idiot and should be sent away, as he could not or did not want to learn. At home the child continued with the same exercise and the parents also became tired and disgusted. He simply said, “I have not yet learned it, I am learning it. When I have finished I shall take the other lessons.” The parents said, “The other children are going on further, school has given you up, and you do not show any progress; we are tired of you.” And the lad thought with sad heart that as he had displeased his parents too he had better leave home. So he went into the wilderness and lived on fruits and nuts. After a long time he returned to his old school. And when he saw the teacher he said to him, “I think I have learned it. See if I have. Shall I write on this wall?” And when he made his sign the wall split in two. —Hazrat Inayat Khan The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan
Ram Dass (Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook)
When it comes to mastering a skill, time is the magic ingredient. Assuming your practice proceeds at a steady level, over days and weeks certain elements of the skill become hardwired. Slowly, the entire skill becomes internalized, part of your nervous system. The mind is no longer mired in the details, but can see the larger picture. It is a miraculous sensation and practice will lead you to that point, no matter the talent level you are born with. The only real impediment to this is yourself and your emotions—boredom, panic, frustration, insecurity. You cannot suppress such emotions—they are normal to the process and are experienced by everyone, including Masters. What you can do is have faith in the process. The boredom will go away once you enter the cycle. The panic disappears after repeated exposure. The frustration is a sign of progress—a signal that your mind is processing complexity and requires more practice. The insecurities will transform into their opposites when you gain mastery. Trusting this will all happen, you will allow the natural learning process to move forward, and everything else will fall into place.
Robert Greene (Mastery (The Robert Greene Collection))
Imagine that you're an extremely modern car, equipped with a greater number of options and functions than most cars. You're faster and higher performance. You're very lucky. But it's not easy. Because no one knows exactly the number of options you have or what they enable you to do. Only you can know. And speed can be dangerous. Like when you're eight, you don't know how to drive. There are many things you have to learn: how to drive when it's wet, when it's snowy, to look out for other cars and respect them, to rest when you've been driving for too long. That's what it means to be a grown up.' I'm thirteen and I can see that I'm not managing to grow up in the right way: I can't understand the road signs, I'm not in control of my vehicle, I keep taking the wrong turnings and most of the time I feel like I'm stuck on the dodgems rather than on a race track.
Delphine de Vigan (No and Me)
From his beach bag the man took an old penknife with a red handle and began to etch the signs of the letters onto nice flat pebbles. At the same time, he spoke to Mondo about everything there was in the letters, about everything you could see in them when you looked and when you listened. He spoke about A, which is like a big fly with its wings pulled back; about B, which is funny, with its two tummies; or C and D, which are like the moon, a crescent moon or a half-full moon; and then there was O, which was the full moon in the black sky. H is high, a ladder to climb up trees or to reach the roofs of houses; E and F look like a rake and a shovel; and G is like a fat man sitting in an armchair. I dances on tiptoes, with a little head popping up each time it bounces, whereas J likes to swing. K is broken like an old man, R takes big strides like a soldier, and Y stands tall, its arms up in the air, and it shouts: help! L is a tree on the river's edge, M is a mountain, N is for names, and people waving their hands, P is asleep on one paw, and Q is sitting on its tail; S is always a snake, Z is always a bolt of lightning, T is beautiful, like the mast on a ship, U is like a vase, V and W are birds, birds in flight; and X is a cross to help you remember.
J.M.G. Le Clézio (Mondo et autres histoires)
From a Berkeley Notebook'
One changes so much
from moment to moment
that when one hugs
oneself against the chill
air at the inception
of spring, at night,
knees drawn to chin,
he finds himself in the arms
of a total stranger,
the arms of one he might move
away from on the dark playground.
Also, it breaks the heart
that the sign revolving like
a flame above the gas
station remembers the price
of gas, but forgets entirely
this face it has been
looking at all day.
And so the heart is exhausted
that even the face
of the dismal facts we wait
for the loves of the past
to come walking from the fire,
the tree, the stone, tangible
and unchanged and repentant
but what can you do.
Half the time I think
about my wife and child,
the other half I think how
to become a citizen
with an apartment, and sex
too is quite on my mind,
though it seems the women
have no time for you here,
for which in my larger, more
mature moments I can’t blame them.
These are the absolute
Pastures I am led to:
I am in Berkeley, California,
trapped inside my body,
I am the secret my body
is going to keep forever,
as if its secret were
merely silence. It lies
between two mistakes
of the earth,
the San Andreas
and Hayward faults,
and at night from
the hill above the stadium
where I sleep,
I can see the yellow
aurora of Telegraph
by the holocaust.
bag has little
cowboys lassoing bulls
embroidered all over
its pastel inner
lining, the pines are tall
and straight, converging
in a sort of roof
above me, it’s nice,
oh loves, oh loves, why
aren’t you here? Morgan,
my pyjamas are so
the orangutans—I write
and write, and transcend
is truly born from me,
yet magically it’s better
than nothing—I know
you must be quite
changed by now, but you
are just the same, too,
like those stars that keep
shining for a long time after
they go out—but it’s just a light
they touch us with this
evening amid the fine
rain like mist, among the pines.
Denis Johnson (The Incognito Lounge: And Other Poems)
She is soft, but knows when to stand her ground. Natural disasters aren't a mistake. They're not just a big ol' whoopsy that happened when Mother Nature and Source were planning their calendars out. Mother nature is intentional. Everything about her is intentional. Every rainfall, is intentional. Every sunny day, is intentional. Every storm, is intentional and every natural disaster is intentional. She will roar when she needs, when she needs us to take a closer look. That's what natural disasters are. She won't rob us of our opportunity to rise up together- that's our evolution and she's not gonna do our dirty (epic) work for us. But she will nudge us. And she does nudge us. Do you notice? If we don't do our best to take care of global warming, the tides will rise and beach side cities will be wiped. Perhaps our kids or our kids' kids won't ever see the glaciers of today. She's not gonna cover up for us, but she will love us on our journey and gives us clues and signs. It's up to us to pay attention.
Peta Kelly (Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t)
5. When Begging Ends I love the idea of Divine Source. It reminds us that everything, the fulfillment of every need, always emanates from the One. So if you learn how to keep your vibration high and attuned to That, whatever is needed to sustain you can always occur, often in surprising and delightful ways. Your Source is never a particular person, place, or thing, but God Herself. You never have to beg. Furthermore, Divine Source says that whatever resonates with you will always find you. That which does not, will fall away. It’s that simple. When Outrageous Openness first came out, I experienced this as I took the book around—some stores were simply not drawn to it. But knowing about Divine Source and resonance, I didn’t care. I remember taking it to a spiritual bookstore in downtown San Francisco. The desultory manager sort of half-growled, “Oh, we have a long, long wait here. You can leave a copy for our ‘pile’ in the back room. Then you could call a ton and plead with us. If you get lucky, maybe one day we’ll stock it. Just keep hoping.” “Oh, my God, no!” I shuddered. “Why would I keep twisting your arm? It’ll go easily to the places that are right. You never have to convince someone. The people who are right will just know.” He looked stunned when I thanked him, smiling, and left. And sure enough, other store clerks were so excited, even from the cover alone. They nearly ripped the book out of my hands as I walked in. When I brought it to the main bookstore in San Francisco’s Castro district, I noticed the manager striding toward me was wearing a baseball cap with an image of the goddess Lakshmi. “Great sign,” I mused. He held the book for a second without even cracking it open, then showed the cover to a coworker, yelling, “Hey, let’s give this baby a coming-out party!” So a few weeks later, they did. Sake, fortune cookies, and all. Because you see, what’s meant for you will always, always find you. You never have to be bothered by the people who aren’t meant to understand. And anyway, sometimes years later, they are ready . . . and they do. Change me Divine Beloved into One who knows that You alone are my Source. Let me trust that You fling open every door at the right time. Free me from the illusion of rejection, competition, and scarcity. Fill me with confidence and faith, knowing I never have to beg, just gratefully receive.
Tosha Silver (Change Me Prayers: The Hidden Power of Spiritual Surrender)
DEAR MAMA, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write. Every time I try to write to you and Papa I realize I’m not saying the things that are in my heart. That would be O.K., if I loved you any less than I do, but you are still my parents and I am still your child. I have friends who think I’m foolish to write this letter. I hope they’re wrong. I hope their doubts are based on parents who loved and trusted them less than mine do. I hope especially that you’ll see this as an act of love on my part, a sign of my continuing need to share my life with you. I wouldn’t have written, I guess, if you hadn’t told me about your involvement in the Save Our Children campaign. That, more than anything, made it clear that my responsibility was to tell you the truth, that your own child is homosexual, and that I never needed saving from anything except the cruel and ignorant piety of people like Anita Bryant. I’m sorry, Mama. Not for what I am, but for how you must feel at this moment. I know what that feeling is, for I felt it for most of my life. Revulsion, shame, disbelief—rejection through fear of something I knew, even as a child, was as basic to my nature as the color of my eyes. No, Mama, I wasn’t “recruited.” No seasoned homosexual ever served as my mentor. But you know what? I wish someone had. I wish someone older than me and wiser than the people in Orlando had taken me aside and said, “You’re all right, kid. You can grow up to be a doctor or a teacher just like anyone else. You’re not crazy or sick or evil. You can succeed and be happy and find peace with friends—all kinds of friends—who don’t give a damn who you go to bed with. Most of all, though, you can love and be loved, without hating yourself for it.” But no one ever said that to me, Mama. I had to find it out on my own, with the help of the city that has become my home. I know this may be hard for you to believe, but San Francisco is full of men and women, both straight and gay, who don’t consider sexuality in measuring the worth of another human being. These aren’t radicals or weirdos, Mama. They are shop clerks and bankers and little old ladies and people who nod and smile to you when you meet them on the bus. Their attitude is neither patronizing nor pitying. And their message is so simple: Yes, you are a person. Yes, I like you. Yes, it’s all right for you to like me too. I know what you must be thinking now. You’re asking yourself: What did we do wrong? How did we let this happen? Which one of us made him that way? I can’t answer that, Mama. In the long run, I guess I really don’t care. All I know is this: If you and Papa are responsible for the way I am, then I thank you with all my heart, for it’s the light and the joy of my life. I know I can’t tell you what it is to be gay. But I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not hiding behind words, Mama. Like family and decency and Christianity. It’s not fearing your body, or the pleasures that God made for it. It’s not judging your neighbor, except when he’s crass or unkind. Being gay has taught me tolerance, compassion and humility. It has shown me the limitless possibilities of living. It has given me people whose passion and kindness and sensitivity have provided a constant source of strength. It has brought me into the family of man, Mama, and I like it here. I like it. There’s not much else I can say, except that I’m the same Michael you’ve always known. You just know me better now. I have never consciously done anything to hurt you. I never will. Please don’t feel you have to answer this right away. It’s enough for me to know that I no longer have to lie to the people who taught me to value the truth. Mary Ann sends her love. Everything is fine at 28 Barbary Lane. Your loving son, MICHAEL
Armistead Maupin (More Tales of the City (Tales of the City #2))
It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser. It is better to live and be done with it, than to die daily in the sick-room. By all means begin your folio; even if the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week. It is not only in finished undertakings that we ought to honour useful labour. A spirit goes out of the man who means execution, which outlives the most untimely ending. All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind. And even if death catch people, like an open pitfall, and in mid-career, laying out vast projects, and planning monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped up and silenced: is there not something brave and spirited in such a termination? and does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas? When the Greeks made their fine saying that those whom the gods love die young, I cannot help believing they had this sort of death also in their eye. For surely, at whatever age it overtake the man, this is to die young. Death has not been suffered to take so much as an illusion from his heart. In the hot-fit of life, a-tiptoe on the highest point of being, he passes at a bound on to the other side. The noise of the mallet and chisel is scarcely quenched, the trumpets are hardly done blowing, when, trailing with him clouds of glory, this happy-starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the spiritual land.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Æs Triplex and Other Essays)
A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came riding down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back
Then came the churches, then came the schools
Then came the lawyers, then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road
Then came the mines - then came the ore
Then there was the hard times, then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river ...
And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There's six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow ...
I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found
Yes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed
We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the telegraph road
You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights
When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your head on my shoulder, you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care
But believe in me baby and I'll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights, these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
'Cos I've run every red light on memory lane
I've seen desperation explode into flames
And I don't want to see it again ...
From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed
All the way down the telegraph road
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits - 1982-91)
There's a song that I hear at the back of my heart that I feared for so long, when I sensed you were there. And I think of those times when you crept into my dreams and I thought you a threat to curse my sweet king. But it was the boy in your belly that whispered to mine, and even before that, you lived in my spirit.
Because I think of those times when I was a child. I prayed to the gods and I begged for a sign. I know that they sent you, despite the blood of all those you loved shed at the hands of my kin. For you were the one who found him in exile and though it took time, you led Froi to his home.
And you've sent me this trinket that hardened my heart, because I wanted your words and a sign of true peace. But I’ve opened it now after all these long weeks, and Froi stares at it, speechless, when I hold out my hand. And we see it before us, our spirits shaking. The brilliance of color: the same ruby ring.
Oh, you’ve outdone me twice now, you queen of forgiveness. The ring’s a promise of peace, and I’m greedy with hope. It’s a song that we sing in a tongue that we share. And though you say it’s a gift from a king to a king, I say it’s a sign from a queen to a queen.
Melina Marchetta (Quintana of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles, #3))
Some gifted people have all five and some less. Every gifted person tends to lead with one. As I read this list for the first time I was struck by the similarities between Dabrowski’s overexcitabilities and the traits of Sensitive Intuitives. Read the list for yourself and see what you identify with: Psychomotor This manifests as a strong pull toward movement. People with this overexcitability tend to talk rapidly and/or move nervously when they become interested or passionate about something. They have a lot of physical energy and may run their hands through their hair, snap their fingers, pace back and forth, or display other signs of physical agitation when concentrating or thinking something out. They come across as physically intense and can move in an impatient, jerky manner when excited. Other people might find them overwhelming and they’re routinely diagnosed as ADHD. Sensual This overexcitability comes in the form of an extreme sensitivity to sounds, smells, bright lights, textures and temperature. Perfume and scented soaps and lotions are bothersome to people with this overexcitability, and they might also have aversive reactions to strong food smells and cleaning products. For me personally, if I’m watching a movie in which a strobe light effect is used, I’m done. I have to shut my eyes or I’ll come down with a headache after only a few seconds. Loud, jarring or intrusive sounds also short circuit my wiring. Intellectual This is an incessant thirst for knowledge. People with this overexcitability can’t ever learn enough. They zoom in on a few topics of interest and drink up every bit of information on those topics they can find. Their only real goal is learning for learning’s sake. They’re not trying to learn something to make money or get any other external reward. They just happened to have discovered the history of the Ming Dynasty or Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and now it’s all they can think about. People with this overexcitability have intellectual interests that are passionate and wide-ranging and they study many areas simultaneously. Imaginative INFJ and INFP writers, this is you. This is ALL you. Making up stories, creating imaginary friends, believing in Santa Claus way past the ordinary age, becoming attached to fairies, elves, monsters and unicorns, these are the trademarks of the gifted child with imaginative overexcitability. These individuals appear dreamy, scattered, lost in their own worlds, and constantly have their heads in the clouds. They also routinely blend fiction with reality. They are practically the definition of the Sensitive Intuitive writer at work. Emotional Gifted individuals with emotional overexcitability are highly empathetic (and empathic, I might add), compassionate, and can become deeply attached to people, animals, and even inanimate objects, in a short period of time. They also have intense emotional reactions to things and might not be able to stomach horror movies or violence on the evening news. They have most likely been told throughout their life that they’re “too sensitive” or that they’re “overreacting” when in truth, they are expressing exactly how they feel to the most accurate degree.
Lauren Sapala (The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World's Rarest Type)
At the moment, my reputation for honesty and integrity has been destroyed. If your friends would rather withdraw from the venture, I’ll understand.”
“They’ve already withdrawn,” Jordan admitted reluctantly. “I’m staying with you.”
“It’s just as well they have,” Ian replied, reaching for the contracts and beginning to scratch out the names of the other parties. “In the end, there’ll be greater profit for us both.”
“Ian,” Jordan said in a low, deliberate voice, “you are tempting me to take a swing at you, just to see if you’ll wince when I hit you. I’ve taken about all I can of your indifference to everything that’s happening.” Ian glanced up from his documents, and Jordan saw it then-the muscle clamping in Ian’s jaw, the merest automatic reaction to fury or torment, and he felt a mixture of relief and embarrassment. “I regret that remark more than I can say,” he apologized quietly. “And if it’s any consolation, I know firsthand how it feels to believe your wife has betrayed you.”
“I don’t need consolation,” Ian clipped. “I need time.”
“To get over it,” Jordan agreed.
“Time,” Ian drawled coolly, “to go over these documents.”
As Jordan walked down the hall toward the front door he wasn’t certain if he’d only imagined that miniscule sign of emotion.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
Obedience is freedom. Better to follow the Master’s plan than to do what you weren’t wired to do—master yourself. It is true that the thing that you and I most need to be rescued from is us! The greatest danger that we face is the danger that we are to ourselves. Who we think we are is a delusion and what we all tend to want is a disaster. Put together, they lead to only one place—death. If you’re a parent, you see it in your children. It didn’t take long for you to realize that you are parenting a little self-sovereign, who thinks at the deepest level that he needs no authority in his life but himself. Even if he cannot yet walk or speak, he rejects your wisdom and rebels against your authority. He has no idea what is good or bad to eat, but he fights your every effort to put into his mouth something that he has decided he doesn’t want. As he grows, he has little ability to comprehend the danger of the electric wall outlet, but he tries to stick his fingers in it precisely because you have instructed him not to. He wants to exercise complete control over his sleep, diet, and activities. He believes it is his right to rule his life, so he fights your attempts to bring him under submission to your loving authority. Not only does your little one resist your attempts to bring him under your authority, he tries to exercise authority over you. He is quick to tell you what to do and does not fail to let you know when you have done something that he does not like. He celebrates you when you submit to his desires and finds ways to punish you when you fail to submit to his demands. Now, here’s what you have to understand: when you’re at the end of a very long parenting day, when your children seemed to conspire together to be particularly rebellious, and you’re sitting on your bed exhausted and frustrated, you need to remember that you are more like your children than unlike them. We all want to rule our worlds. Each of us has times when we see authority as something that ends freedom rather than gives it. Each of us wants God to sign the bottom of our personal wish list, and if he does, we celebrate his goodness. But if he doesn’t, we begin to wonder if it’s worth following him at all. Like our children, each of us is on a quest to be and to do what we were not designed by our Creator to be or to do. So grace comes to decimate our delusions of self-sufficiency. Grace works to destroy our dangerous hope for autonomy. Grace helps to make us reach out for what we really need and submit to the wisdom of the Giver. Yes, it’s true, grace rescues us from us.
Paul David Tripp (New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional)
Close your eyes and stare into the dark. My father's advice when I couldn't sleep as a little girl. He wouldn't want me to do that now but I've set my mind to the task regardless. I'm staring beyond my closed eyelids. Though I lie still on the ground, I feel perched at the highest point I could possibly be; clutching at a star in the night sky with my legs dangling above cold black nothingness. I take one last look at my fingers wrapped around the light and let go. Down I go, falling, then floating, and, falling again, I wait for the land of my life. I know now, as I knew as that little girl fighting sleep, that behind her gauzed screen of shut-eye, lies colour. It taunts me, dares me to open my eyes and lose sleep. Flashes of red and amber, yellow and white speckle my darkness. I refuse to open them. I rebel and I squeeze my eyelids together tighter to block out the grains of light, mere distractions that keep us awake but a sign that there's life beyond.
But there's no life in me. None that I can feel, from where I lie at the bottom of the staircase. My heart beats quicker now, the lone fighter left standing in the ring, a red boxing glove pumping victoriously into the air, refusing to give up. It's the only part of me that cares, the only part that ever cared. It fights to pump the blood around to heal, to replace what I'm losing. But it's all leaving my body as quickly as it's sent; forming a deep black ocean of its own around me where I've fallen.
Rushing, rushing, rushing. We are always rushing. Never have enough time here, always trying to make our way there. Need to have left here five minutes ago, need to be there now. The phone rings again and I acknowledge the irony. I could have taken my time and answered it now.
Now, not then.
I could have taken all the time in the world on each of those steps. But we're always rushing. All, but my heart. That slows now. I don't mind so much. I place my hand on my belly. If my child is gone, and I suspect this is so, I'll join it there. There.....where? Wherever. It; a heartless word. He or she so young; who it was to become, still a question. But there, I will mother it.
There, not here. I'll tell it; I'm sorry, sweetheart, I'm sorry I ruined your chances - our chances of a life together.But close your eyes and stare into the darkness now, like Mummy is doing, and we'll find our way together.
There's a noise in the room and I feel a presence. 'Oh God, Joyce, oh God. Can you hear me, love? Oh God. Oh God, please no, Hold on love, I'm here. Dad is here.'
I don't want to hold on and I feel like telling him so. I hear myself groan, an animal-like whimper and it shocks me, scares me. I have a plan, I want to tell him. I want to go, only then can I be with my baby. Then, not now.
He's stopped me from falling but I haven't landed yet. Instead he helps me balance on nothing, hover while I'm forced to make the decision. I want to keep falling but he's calling the ambulance and he's gripping my hand with such ferocity it's as though I'm all he has. He's brushing the hair from my forehead and weeping loudly. I've never heard him weep. Not even when Mum died. He clings to my hand with all of his strength I never knew his old body had and I remember that I am all he has and that he, once again just like before, is my whole world. The blood continues to rush through me. Rushing, rushing, rushing. We are always rushing. Maybe I'm rushing again. Maybe it's not my time to go. I feel the rough skin of old hands squeezing mine, and their intensity and their familiarity force me to open my eyes. Lights fills them and I glimpse his face, a look I never want to see again. He clings to his baby. I know I lost mind; I can't let him lose his. In making my decision I already begin to grieve. I've landed now, the land of my life. And still my heart pumps on.
Even when broken it still works.
Cecelia Ahern (Thanks for the Memories)
Either peace or happiness, let it enfold you. When I was a young man I felt these things were dumb, unsophisticated. I had bad blood, a twisted mind, a precarious upbringing. I was hard as granite, I leered at the sun. I trusted no man and especially no woman... I challenged everything, was continually being evicted, jailed, in and out of fights, in and out of my mind... Peace and happiness to me were signs of inferiority, tenants of the weak, an addled mind. But as I went on...it gradually began to occur to me that I wasn't different from the others, I was the same... Everybody was nudging, inching, cheating for some insignificant advantage, the lie was the weapon and the plot was empty... Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser or listening to the rain in the dark. The less I needed the better I felt... I re-formulated. I don't know when, date, time, all that but the change occured. Something in me relaxed, smoothed out. I no longer had to prove that I was a man, I didn’t have to prove anything. I began to see things: coffee cups lined up behind a counter in a cafe. Or a dog walking along a sidewalk. Or the way the mouse on my dresser top stopped there with its body, its ears, its nose, it was fixed, a bit of life caught within itself and its eyes looked at me and they were beautiful. Then...it was gone. I began to feel good, I began to feel good in the worst situations and there were plenty of those... I welcomed shots of peace, tattered shards of happiness... And finally I discovered real feelings of others, unheralded, like lately, like this morning, as I was leaving for the track, I saw my wife in bed, just the shape of her head there...so still, I ached for her life, just being there under the covers. I kissed her in the forehead, got down the stairway, got outside, got into my marvelous car, fixed the seatbelt, backed out the drive. Feeling warm to the fingertips, down to my foot on the gas pedal, I entered the world once more, drove down the hill past the houses full and empty of people, I saw the mailman, honked, he waved back at me.
Your wife,” said Arthur, looking around, “mentioned some toothpicks.” He said it with a hunted look, as if he was worried that she might suddenly leap out from behind a door and mention them again.
Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with.
“Ah yes,” he said, “that’s to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”
This was the point at which Arthur began to feel a little nervous again.
“Here,” said Wonko the Sane, “we are outside the Asylum.” He pointed again at the rough brickwork, the pointing, and the gutters. “Go through that door” — he pointed at the first door through which they had originally entered — “and you go into the Asylum. I’ve tried to decorate it nicely to keep the inmates happy, but there’s very little one can do. I never go in there myself. If I ever am tempted, which these days I rarely am, I simply look at the sign written over the door and I shy away.”
“That one?” said Fenchurch, pointing, rather puzzled, at a blue plaque with some instructions written on it.
“Yes. They are the words that finally turned me into the hermit I have now become. It was quite sudden. I saw them, and I knew what I had to do.”
The sign read:
“Hold stick near center of its length. Moisten pointed end in mouth. Insert in tooth space, blunt end next to gum. Use gentle in-out motion.”
“It seemed to me,” said Wonko the Sane, “that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”
He gazed out at the Pacific again, as if daring it to rave and gibber at him, but it lay there calmly and played with the sandpipers.
“And in case it crossed your mind to wonder, as I can see how it possibly might, I am completely sane. Which is why I call myself Wonko the Sane, just to reassure people on this point. Wonko is what my mother called me when I was a kid and clumsy and knocked things over, and sane is what I am, and how,” he added, with one of his smiles that made you feel, Oh. Well that’s all right then. “I intend to remain.
Douglas Adams (So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #4))
Tatyana’s Letter to Onegin I’m writing you this declaration— What more can I in candour say? It may be now your inclination To scorn me and to turn away; But if my hapless situation Evokes some pity for my woe, You won’t abandon me, I know. I first tried silence and evasion; Believe me, you‘d have never learned My secret shame, had I discerned The slightest hope that on occasion— But once a week—I’d see your face, Behold you at our country place, Might hear you speak a friendly greeting, Could say a word to you; and then, Could dream both day and night again Of but one thing, till our next meeting. They say you like to be alone And find the country unappealing; We lack, I know, a worldly tone, But still, we welcome you with feeling. Why did you ever come to call? In this forgotten country dwelling I’d not have known you then at all, Nor known this bitter heartache’s swelling. Perhaps, when time had helped in quelling The girlish hopes on which I fed, I might have found (who knows?) another And been a faithful wife and mother, Contented with the life I led. Another! No! In all creation There’s no one else whom I’d adore; The heavens chose my destination And made me thine for evermore! My life till now has been a token In pledge of meeting you, my friend; And in your coming, God has spoken, You‘ll be my guardian till the end…. You filled my dreams and sweetest trances; As yet unseen, and yet so dear, You stirred me with your wondrous glances, Your voice within my soul rang clear…. And then the dream came true for me! When you came in, I seemed to waken, I turned to flame, I felt all shaken, And in my heart I cried: It’s he! And was it you I heard replying Amid the stillness of the night, Or when I helped the poor and dying, Or turned to heaven, softly crying, And said a prayer to soothe my plight? And even now, my dearest vision, Did I not see your apparition Flit softly through this lucent night? Was it not you who seemed to hover Above my bed, a gentle lover, To whisper hope and sweet delight? Are you my angel of salvation Or hell’s own demon of temptation? Be kind and send my doubts away; For this may all be mere illusion, The things a simple girl would say, While Fate intends no grand conclusion…. So be it then! Henceforth I place My faith in you and your affection; I plead with tears upon my face And beg you for your kind protection. You cannot know: I’m so alone, There’s no one here to whom I’ve spoken, My mind and will are almost broken, And I must die without a moan. I wait for you … and your decision: Revive my hopes with but a sign, Or halt this heavy dream of mine— Alas, with well-deserved derision! I close. I dare not now reread…. I shrink with shame and fear. But surely, Your honour’s all the pledge I need, And I submit to it securely.
Alexander Pushkin (Eugene Onegin)
Kate?” Anthony yelled again. He couldn’t see anyone; a dislodged bench was blocking the opening. “Can you hear me?”
Still no response.
“Try the other side,” came Edwina’s frantic voice. “The opening isn’t as crushed.”
Anthony jumped to his feet and ran around the back of the carriage to the other side. The door had already come off its hinges, leaving a hole just large enough for him to stuff his upper body into. “Kate?” he called out, trying not to notice the sharp sound of panic in his voice. Every breath from his lips seemed overloud, reverberating in the tight space, reminding him that he wasn’t hearing the same sounds from Kate.
And then, as he carefully moved a seat cushion that had turned sideways, he saw her. She was terrifyingly still, but her head didn’t appear to be stuck in an unnatural position, and he didn’t see any blood.
That had to be a good sign. He didn’t know much of medicine, but he held on to that thought like a miracle.
“You can’t die, Kate,” he said as his terrified fingers yanked away at the wreckage, desperate to open the hole until it was wide enough to pull her through. “Do you hear me? You can’t die!”
A jagged piece of wood sliced open the back of his hand, but Anthony didn’t notice the blood running over his skin as he pulled on another broken beam. “You had better be breathing,” he warned, his voice shaking and precariously close to a sob. “This wasn’t supposed to be you. It was never supposed to be you. It isn’t your time. Do you understand me?”
He tore away another broken piece of wood and reached through the newly widened hole to grasp her hand. His fingers found her pulse, which seemed steady enough to him, but it was still impossible to tell if she was bleeding, or had broken her back, or had hit her head, or had . . .
His heart shuddered. There were so many ways to die. If a bee could bring down a man in his prime, surely a carriage accident could steal the life of one small woman.
Anthony grabbed the last piece of wood that stood in his way and heaved, but it didn’t budge. “Don’t do this to me,” he muttered. “Not now. It isn’t her time. Do you hear me? It isn’t her time!” He felt something wet on his cheeks and dimly realized that it was tears. “It was supposed to be me,” he said, choking on the words. “It was always supposed to be me.”
And then, just as he was preparing to give that last piece of wood another desperate yank, Kate’s fingers tightened like a claw around his wrist. His eyes flew to her face, just in time to see her eyes open wide and clear, with nary a blink.
“What the devil,” she asked, sounding quite lucid and utterly awake, “are you talking about?”
Relief flooded his chest so quickly it was almost painful. “Are you all right?” he asked, his voice wobbling on every syllable.
She grimaced, then said, “I’ll be fine.”
Anthony paused for the barest of seconds as he considered her choice of words. “But are you fine right now?”
She let out a little cough, and he fancied he could hear her wince with pain. “I did something to my leg,” she admitted. “But I don’t think I’m bleeding.”
“Are you faint? Dizzy? Weak?”
She shook her head. “Just in pain. What are you doing here?”
He smiled through his tears. “I came to find you.”
“You did?” she whispered.
He nodded. “I came to— That is to say, I realized . . .” He swallowed convulsively. He’d never dreamed that the day would come when he’d say these words to a woman, and they’d grown so big in his heart he could barely squeeze them out. “I love you, Kate,” he said chokingly. “It took me a while to figure it out, but I do, and I had to tell you. Today.”
Her lips wobbled into a shaky smile as she motioned to the rest of her body with her chin. “You’ve bloody good timing.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
She asked, “Are you well?”
“Yes.” His voice was a deep rasp. “Are you?”
She nodded, expecting him to release her at the confirmation. When he showed no signs of moving, she puzzled at it. Either he was gravely injured or seriously impertinent. “Sir, you’re…er, you’re rather heavy.” Surely he could not fail to miss that hint.
He replied, “You’re soft.”
Good Lord. Who was this man? Where had he come from? And how was he still atop her?
“You have a small wound.” With trembling fingers, she brushed a reddish knot high on his temple, near his hairline. “Here.” She pressed her hand to his throat, feeling for his pulse. She found it, thumping strong and steady against her gloved fingertips.
“Ah. That’s nice.”
Her face blazed with heat. “Are you seeing double?”
“Perhaps. I see two lips, two eyes, two flushed cheeks…a thousand freckles.”
She stared at him.
“Don’t concern yourself, miss. It’s nothing.” His gaze darkened with some mysterious intent. “Nothing a little kiss won’t mend.”
And before she could even catch her breath, he pressed his lips to hers.
A kiss. His mouth, touching hers. It was warm and firm, and then…it was over.
Her first real kiss in all her five-and-twenty years, and it was finished in a heartbeat. Just a memory now, save for the faint bite of whiskey on her lips. And the heat. She still tasted his scorching, masculine heat. Belatedly, she closed her eyes.
“There, now,” he murmured. “All better.”
Better? Worse? The darkness behind her eyelids held no answers, so she opened them again.
Different. This strange, strong man held her in his protective embrace, and she was lost in his intriguing green stare, and his kiss reverberated in her bones with more force than a powder blast. And now she felt different.
The heat and weight of him…they were like an answer. The answer to a question Susanna hadn’t even been aware her body was asking. So this was how it would be, to lie beneath a man. To feel shaped by him, her flesh giving in some places and resisting in others. Heat building between two bodies; dueling heartbeats pounding both sides of the same drum.
Maybe…just maybe…this was what she’d been waiting to feel all her life. Not swept her off her feet-but flung across the lane and sent tumbling head over heels while the world exploded around her.
He rolled onto his side, giving her room to breathe. “Where did you come from?”
“I think I should ask you that.” She struggled up on one elbow. “Who are you? What on earth are you doing here?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” His tone was grave. “We’re bombing the sheep.”
“Oh. Oh dear. Of course you are.” Inside her, empathy twined with despair. Of course, he was cracked in the head. One of those poor soldiers addled by war. She ought to have known it. No sane man had ever looked at her this way.
She pushed aside her disappointment. At least he had come to the right place. And landed on the right woman. She was far more skilled in treating head wounds than fielding gentlemen’s advances. The key here was to stop thinking of him as an immense, virile man and simply regard him as a person who needed her help. An unattractive, poxy, eunuch sort of person.
Reaching out to him, she traced one fingertip over his brow. “Don’t be frightened,” she said in a calm, even tone. “All is well. You’re going to be just fine.” She cupped his cheek and met his gaze directly. “The sheep can’t hurt you here.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
No one should be alone in their old age, he thought. But it is unavoidable.
It was too good to last.
If there is a hurricane you always see the signs of it in the sky for days ahead, if you are at sea. They do not see it ashore because they do not know what to look for.
It is silly not to hope. Besides I believe it is a sin.
Do not think about sin, he thought. There are enough problems now without sin. Also, I have no understanding of it. … and I am not sure that I believe in it. Perhaps it was a sin to kill the fish. I suppose it was even though I did it to keep me alive and feed many people. But then everything is a sin. Do not think about sin. It is much too late for that and there are people who are paid to do it. Let them think about it. You were born to be a fisherman as the fish was born to be a fish.
You did not kill the fish only to keep alive and to sell for food, he thought. You killed him for pride and because you are a fisherman. You loved him when he was alive and you loved him after. If you love him, it is not a sin to kill him. Or is it more?
Everything kills everything else in some way. Fishing kills me exactly as it keeps me alive.
“Don’t think, old man,” he said aloud. “Sail on this course and take it when it comes. But I must think, he thought. Because it is all I have left.
It is easy when you are beaten, he thought. I never knew how easy it was. And what beat you, he thought. “Nothing,” he said aloud. “I went out too far.
Ernest Hemingway (The Old Man and the sea)
I was walking on campus when I saw the statistic on the front page of a newspaper: one in four women, one in five? I don’t remember, it was just too many, too many women on campus had been sexually assaulted. But what got me was the graphic, rows of woman symbols, the kind you see on bathroom signs, across the entire page, all gray, with one in five inked red. I saw these red figures breathing, a little hallucination. My whole life had warped below the weight of the assault, and if you took that damage and multiplied it by each red figure, the magnitude was staggering. Where were they? I looked around campus, girls walking with earmuffs, black leggings, teal backpacks. If our bodies were literally painted red, we’d have red bodies all over this quad. I wanted to shake the paper in people’s faces. This was not normal. It was an epidemic, a crisis. How could you see this headline and keep walking? We’d deadened to the severity, too familiar a story. But this story was not old to me yet. A word came to my mind, another. I remember, after learning of the third suicide at school, people shook their heads in resignation, I can’t believe there’s been another. The shock had dimmed. No longer a bang, but an ache. If kids getting killed by trains became normalized, anything could. This was no longer a fight against my rapist, it was a fight to be humanized. I had to hold on to my story, figure out how to make myself heard. If I didn’t break out, I’d become a statistic. Another red figure in a grid.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
There were days, weeks, and months when I hated politics. And there were moments when the beauty of this country and its people so overwhelmed me that I couldn’t speak. Then it was over. Even if you see it coming, even as your final weeks are filled with emotional good-byes, the day itself is still a blur. A hand goes on a Bible; an oath gets repeated. One president’s furniture gets carried out while another’s comes in. Closets are emptied and refilled in the span of a few hours. Just like that, there are new heads on new pillows—new temperaments, new dreams. And when it ends, when you walk out the door that last time from the world’s most famous address, you’re left in many ways to find yourself again. So let me start here, with a small thing that happened not long ago. I was at home in the redbrick house that my family recently moved into. Our new house sits about two miles from our old house, on a quiet neighborhood street. We’re still settling in. In the family room, our furniture is arranged the same way it was in the White House. We’ve got mementos around the house that remind us it was all real—photos of our family time at Camp David, handmade pots given to me by Native American students, a book signed by Nelson Mandela. What was strange about this night was that everyone was gone. Barack was traveling. Sasha was out with friends. Malia’s been living and working in New York, finishing out her gap year before college. It was just me, our two dogs, and a silent, empty house like I haven’t known in eight years.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Telltale Signs That You Grew Up as a “Little Adult” It’s often so difficult for adult daughters to step back and see how they were put into the adult helper role. To help you recognize if this dynamic echoes your experience, I’ve created a pair of checklists to help you identify how mothering your mother shaped and influenced a significant part of your life. When you were a child did you: • Believe that your most important job in life was to solve your mother’s problems or ease her pain—no matter what the cost to you? • Ignore your own feelings and pay attention only to what she wanted and how she felt? • Protect her from the consequences of her behavior? • Lie or cover up for her? • Defend her when anyone said anything bad about her? • Think that your good feelings about yourself depended on her approval? • Have to keep her behavior secret from your friends? As an adult, do these statements ring true for you: • I will do anything to avoid upsetting my mother, and the other adults in my life. • I can’t stand it if I feel I’ve let anyone down. • I am a perfectionist, and I blame myself for everything that goes wrong. • I’m the only person I can really count on. I have to do things myself. • People like me not for myself but for what I can do for them. • I have to be strong all the time. If I need anything or ask for help, it means I’m weak. • I should be able to solve every problem. • When everyone else is taken care of, I can finally have what I want. • I feel angry, unappreciated, and used much of the time, but I push these feelings deep inside myself.
Susan Forward (Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters)
Her pretty name of Adina seemed to me to have somehow a mystic fitness to her personality.
Behind a cold shyness, there seemed to lurk a tremulous promise to be franker when she knew you better.
Adina is a strange child; she is fanciful without being capricious.
She was stout and fresh-coloured, she laughed and talked rather loud, and generally, in galleries and temples, caused a good many stiff British necks to turn round.
She had a mania for excursions, and at Frascati and Tivoli she inflicted her good-humoured ponderosity on diminutive donkeys with a relish which seemed to prove that a passion for scenery, like all our passions, is capable of making the best of us pitiless.
Adina may not have the shoulders of the Venus of Milo...but I hope it will take more than a bauble like this to make her stoop.
Adina espied the first violet of the year glimmering at the root of a cypress. She made haste to rise and gather it, and then wandered further, in the hope of giving it a few companions. Scrope sat and watched her as she moved slowly away, trailing her long shadow on the grass and drooping her head from side to side in her charming quest. It was not, I know, that he felt no impulse to join her; but that he was in love, for the moment, with looking at her from where he sat. Her search carried her some distance and at last she passed out of sight behind a bend in the villa wall.
I don't pretend to be sure that I was particularly struck, from this time forward, with something strange in our quiet Adina. She had always seemed to me vaguely, innocently strange; it was part of her charm that in the daily noiseless movement of her life a mystic undertone seemed to murmur "You don't half know me! Perhaps we three prosaic mortals were not quite worthy to know her: yet I believe that if a practised man of the world had whispered to me, one day, over his wine, after Miss Waddington had rustled away from the table, that there was a young lady who, sooner or later, would treat her friends to a first class surprise, I should have laid my finger on his sleeve and told him with a smile that he phrased my own thought. .."That beautiful girl," I said, "seems to me agitated and preoccupied."
"That beautiful girl is a puzzle. I don't know what's the matter with her; it's all very painful; she's a very strange creature. I never dreamed there was an obstacle to our happiness--to our union. She has never protested and promised; it's not her way, nor her nature; she is always humble, passive, gentle; but always extremely grateful for every sign of tenderness. Till within three or four days ago, she seemed to me more so than ever; her habitual gentleness took the form of a sort of shrinking, almost suffering, deprecation of my attentions, my petits soins, my lovers nonsense. It was as if they oppressed and mortified her--and she would have liked me to bear more lightly. I did not see directly that it was not the excess of my devotion, but my devotion itself--the very fact of my love and her engagement that pained her. When I did it was a blow in the face. I don't know what under heaven I've done! Women are fathomless creatures. And yet Adina is not capricious, in the common sense...
.So these are peines d'amour?" he went on, after brooding a moment. "I didn't know how fiercely I was in love!"
Scrope stood staring at her as she thrust out the crumpled note: that she meant that Adina--that Adina had left us in the night--was too large a horror for his unprepared sense...."Good-bye to everything! Think me crazy if you will. I could never explain. Only forget me and believe that I am happy, happy, happy! Adina Beati."...
Love is said to be par excellence the egotistical passion; if so Adina was far gone. "I can't promise to forget you," I said; "you and my friend here deserve to be remembered!
Henry James (Adina)
Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living?
You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself, and you stop wondering about the other guy…
You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay, and you make a nice appearance, and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young, and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any.
And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering…
…Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract, and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it, and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more.
So you come to this town, and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job, and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs, and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself.
Jim Thompson (A Hell of a Woman)
Everyone has an Everest. Whether it’s a climb you chose, or a circumstance you find yourself in, you’re in the middle of an important journey. Can you imagine a climber scaling the wall of ice at Everest’s Lhotse Face and saying, “This is such a hassle”? Or spending the first night in the mountain’s “death zone” and thinking, “I don’t need this stress”? The climber knows the context of his stress. It has personal meaning to him; he has chosen it. You are most liable to feel like a victim of the stress in your life when you forget the context the stress is unfolding in. “Just another cold, dark night on the side of Everest” is a way to remember the paradox of stress. The most meaningful challenges in your life will come with a few dark nights.
The biggest problem with trying to avoid stress is how it changes the way we view our lives, and ourselves. Anything in life that causes stress starts to look like a problem. If you experience stress at work, you think there’s something wrong with your job. If you experience stress in your marriage, you think there’s something wrong with your relationship. If you experience stress as a parent, you think there’s something wrong with your parenting (or your kids). If trying to make a change is stressful, you think there’s something wrong with your goal.
When you think life should be less stressful, feeling stressed can also seem like a sign that you are inadequate: If you were strong enough, smart enough, or good enough, then you wouldn’t be stressed. Stress becomes a sign of personal failure rather than evidence that you are human. This kind of thinking explains, in part, why viewing stress as harmful increases the risk of depression. When you’re in this mindset, you’re more likely to feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
Choosing to see the connection between stress and meaning can free you from the nagging sense that there is something wrong with your life or that you are inadequate to the challenges you face. Even if not every frustrating moment feels full of purpose, stress and meaning are inextricably connected in the larger context of your life. When you take this view, life doesn’t become less stressful, but it can become more meaningful.
Kelly McGonigal (The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It)
What can we do when we have hurt people and nowthey consider us to be their enemy?
Thereare few things to do. The first thing is to take the time to say, “I am sorry, I hurt you out of my ignorance, out of my lack of mindfulness, out of my lack of skillfulness. I will try my best to change myself. I don’t
dare to say anything more to you.” Sometimes, we do not have the intention to hurt, but because we are not mindful or skillful enough, we hurt someone. Being mindful in our daily life is important, speaking in a way that will not hurt anyone.
The second thing to do is to try to bring out the best part in ourselves, to transform ourselves. That is the only way to demonstrate what you have just said. When you have become fresh and pleasant, the other person will notice very soon. Then when there is a chance to approach that person, you can come to her as a flower and she will notice immediately that you are quite different. You may not have to say anything. Just seeing you like that, she will accept you and forgive you. That is called “speaking with your life and not just with words.”
When you begin to see that your enemy is suffering, that is the beginning of insight. When you see in yourself the wish that the other person stop suffering,that is a sign of real love. But be careful. Sometimes you may think that you are stronger than you actually are.
To test your real strength, try going to the other person to listen and talk to him or her, and you will discover right away whether your loving compassion is real. You need the other person in order to test. If you just meditate on some abstract principle such as understanding or love, it may be just your imagination and not real understanding or real love. Reconciliation opposes all forms
of ambition, without taking sides.
Most of us want to take sides in each encounter or conflict. We distinguish right from wrong based on partial evidence or hearsay. We need indignation in order to act, but even righteous,
legitimate indignation is not enough. Our world does not lack people willing to throw themselves into action. What we need are people who are capable of loving, of
not taking sides so that they can embrace the whole of reality.
Thich Nhat Hanh
INT. KAMA’S HIDEOUT—EVENING
The interior of KAMA’S hideout is pitch black. The sound of water dripping. A brief shaft of sunlight reveals TINA, sleeping lightly on the floor in her coat.
She wakes. A moment as NEWT and TINA stare at each other. Each has thought of the other daily for a year. With no sign of KAMA, it seems she has been rescued.
TINA (joyful, disbelieving): Newt!
TINA notices KAMA entering in the background and raising his wand. Her expression changes.
NEWT’S wand flies out of his hand into KAMA’S. Bars form across the door, imprisoning them.
KAMA (through the door): My apologies, Mr. Scamander! I shall return and release you when Credence is dead!
TINA: Kama, wait!
KAMA: You see, either he dies . . . or I do.
He claps a hand to his eye.
KAMA: No, no, no, no. Oh no. No, no, no.
He jerks convulsively and slides to the floor, unconscious.
NEWT: Well, that’s not the best start to a rescue attempt.
TINA: This was a rescue attempt? You’ve just lost me my only lead.
JACOB launches for the door, trying to break it down.
NEWT (innocent): Well, how was the interrogation going before we turned up?
TINA throws him a dark look. She strides to the back of the cave.
Pickett, who, unnoticed, has hopped out of NEWT’S pocket, successfully picks the lock, and the bars swing open.
NEWT: Well done, Pick.
(to TINA) You need this man, you say?
TINA: Yeah. I think this man knows where Credence is, Mr. Scamander.
As they bend over the unconscious KAMA, they hear an earth-shattering roar from somewhere above them. They look at each other.
NEWT: Well, that’ll be the Zouwu.
NEWT grabs his wand and Disapparates.
J.K. Rowling (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay (Fantastic Beasts: The Original Screenplay, #2))
All the same,” I said, “when you read the prints in the snow and the evidence of the branches, you did not yet know Brunellus. In a certain sense those prints spoke of all horses, or at least all horses of that breed. Mustn’t we say, then, that the book of nature speaks to us only of essences, as many distinguished theologians teach?”
“Not entirely, dear Adso,” my master replied. “True, that kind of print expressed to me, if you like, the idea of ‘horse,’ the verbum mentis, and would have expressed the same to me wherever I might have found it. But the print in that place and at that hour of the day told me that at least one of all possible horses had passed that way. So I found myself halfway between the perception of the concept ‘horse’ and the knowledge of an individu?al horse. And in any case, what I knew of the universal horse had been given me by those traces, which were singular. I could say I was caught at that moment between the singularity of the traces and my ignorance, which assumed the quite diaphanous form of a univer?sal idea. If you see something from a distance, and you do not understand what it is, you will be content with defining it as a body of some dimension. When you come closer, you will then define it as an animal, even if you do not yet know whether it is a horse or an ass. And finally, when it is still closer, you will be able to say it is a horse even if you do not yet know whether it is Brunellus or Niger. And only when you are at the proper distance will you see that it is Brunellus (or, rather, that horse and not another, however you decide to call it). And that will be full knowledge, the learning of the singular. So an hour ago I could expect all horses, but not because of the vastness of my intellect, but because of the paucity of my deduction. And my intellect’s hunger was sated only when I saw the single horse that the monks were leading by the halter. Only then did I truly know that my previous reasoning, had brought me close to the truth. And so the ideas, which I was using earlier to imagine a horse I had not yet seen, were pure signs, as the hoofprints in the snow were signs of the idea of ‘horse’; and sins and the signs of signs are used only when we are lacing things.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
It’s about to rain forks and knives,” Winterborne reported, water drops glittering on his hair and the shoulders of his coat. He reached for a glass of champagne from a silver tray on the table, and raised it in Tom’s direction. “Good luck it is, for the wedding day.”
“Why is that, exactly?” Tom asked, disgruntled.
“A wet knot is harder to untie,” Winterborne said. “The marriage bond will be tight and long lasting.”
Ethan Ransom volunteered, “Mam always said rain on a wedding day washed away the sadness of the past.”
“Not only are superstitions irrational,” Tom said, “they’re inconvenient. If you believe in one, you have to believe them all, which necessitates a thousand pointless rituals.”
Not being allowed to see the bride before the ceremony, for example. He hadn’t had so much as a glimpse of Cassandra that morning, and he was chafing to find out how she was feeling, if she’d slept well, if there was something she needed.
West came into the room with his arms full of folded umbrellas. Justin, dressed in a little velveteen suit, was at his heels.
“Aren’t you supposed to be upstairs in the nursery with your little brother?” St. Vincent asked his five-year-old nephew.
“Dad needed my help,” Justin said self-importantly, bringing an umbrella to him.
“We’re about to have a soaker,” West said briskly. “We’ll have to take everyone out to the chapel as soon as possible, before the ground turns to mud. Don’t open one of these indoors: It’s bad luck.”
“I didn’t think you were superstitious,” Tom protested. “You believe in science.”
West grinned at him. “I’m a farmer, Severin. When it comes to superstitions, farmers lead the pack. Incidentally, the locals say rain on the wedding day means fertility.”
Devon commented dryly, “To a Hampshireman, nearly everything is a sign of fertility. It’s a preoccupation around here.”
“What’s fertility?” Justin asked.
In the sudden silence, all gazes went to West, who asked defensively, “Why is everyone looking at me?”
“As Justin’s new father,” St. Vincent replied, making no effort to hide his enjoyment, “that question is in your province.”
West looked down into Justin’s expectant face. “Let’s ask your mother later,” he suggested.
The child looked mildly concerned. “Don’t you know, Dad?
Lisa Kleypas (Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6))
By December 1975, a year had passed since Mr. Harvey had packed his bags, but there was still no sign of him. For a while, until the tape dirtied or the paper tore, store owners kept a scratchy sketch of him taped to their windows. Lindsey and Samuel walked in the neighboorhood or hung out at Hal's bike shop. She wouldn't go to the diner where the other kids went. The owner of the diner was a law and order man. He had blown up the sketch of George Harvey to twice its size and taped it to the front door. He willingly gave the grisly details to any customer who asked- young girl, cornfield, found only an elbow.
Finallly Lindsey asked Hal to give her a ride to the police station. She wanted to know what exactly they were doing.
They bid farewell to Samuel at the bike shop and Hal gave Lindsey a ride through a wet December snow.
From the start, Lindsey's youth and purpose had caught the police off guard. As more and more of them realized who she was, they gave her a wider and wider berth. Here was this girl, focused, mad, fifteen...
When Lindsey and Hal waited outside the captain's office on a wooden bench, she thought she saw something across the room that she recognized. It was on Detective Fenerman's desk and it stood out in the room because of its color. What her mother had always distinguished as Chinese red, a harsher red than rose red, it was the red of classic red lipsticks, rarely found in nature. Our mother was proud of her ability fo wear Chinese red, noting each time she tied a particular scarf around her neck that it was a color even Grandma Lynn dared not wear.
Hal,' she said, every muscle tense as she stared at the increasingly familiar object on Fenerman's desk.
Do you see that red cloth?'
Can you go and get it for me?'
When Hal looked at her, she said: 'I think it's my mother's.'
As Hal stood to retrieve it, Len entered the squad room from behind where Lindsey sat. He tapped her on the shoulder just as he realized what Hal was doing. Lindsey and Detective Ferman stared at each other.
Why do you have my mother's scarf?'
He stumbled. 'She might have left it in my car one day.'
Lindsey stood and faced him. She was clear-eyed and driving fast towards the worst news yet. 'What was she doing in your car?'
Hello, Hal,' Len said.
Hal held the scarf in his head. Lindsey grabbed it away, her voice growing angry. 'Why do you have m mother's scarf?'
And though Len was the detective, Hal saw it first- it arched over her like a rainbow- Prismacolor understanding. The way it happened in algebra class or English when my sister was the first person to figure out the sum of x or point out the double entendres to her peers. Hal put his hand on Lindsey's shoulder to guide her. 'We should go,' he said.
And later she cried out her disbelief to Samuel in the backroom of the bike shop.
"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!
Startled, I focused on Toby again. “Hmm?”
“Are you all right?” he asked.
My fingers had been toying with the little B charm around my neck without my realizing it. Immediately I dropped my hand to my side. “I’m fine.”
“Casey warned me that you’re probably lying when you say that,” he said.
I gritted my teeth and searched the dance floor for my so-called friend. She was being added to my hit list.
“And I think she’s right,” Toby sighed.
“Bianca, I can see what’s going on.” He glanced over his shoulder at Wesley before turning back to me with a little nod. “He’s been staring at you since he got here.”
“I can see him in the mirrors over there. And you’ve been staring back,” Toby said. “It’s not just tonight either. I’ve seen the way he looks at you during school. In the hallways. He likes you, doesn’t he?”
“I… I don’t know. I guess.” Oh God, this was uncomfortable. I just kept spinning my straw between my fingers and watching the little waves that appeared on the surface of my drink. I couldn’t meet Toby’s gaze.
“I don’t have to guess,” he said. “It’s pretty obvious. And the way you look at him makes me think you’re in love with him, too.”
“No!” I cried, releasing my straw and glaring up at Toby. “No, no, no. I am not in love with him, okay?”
Toby gave me a small smile and said, “But you do have feelings for him.”
I couldn’t see any sign of pain in his eyes, just a touch of amusement. That made it a lot easier to give him an answer. “Um,… yeah.”
“Then go to him.”
I rolled my eyes without meaning to. It was just so automatic. “Jesus, Toby,” I said, “that sounds like a line out of a bad movie.”
Toby shrugged. “Maybe, but I’m serious, Bianca. If you feel that way about him, you should go over there.
Kody Keplinger (The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend (Hamilton High, #1))
Dear Mr. Chance and Ms. Brattle. Sorry about the mess. Great bed. Loved it. As a matter of fact, loved the whole house. Actually, I tried to kill your kids when I found them here. Yeah, funny story. Maybe not funny, hah hah.’”
Astrid heard nervous laughter from the media people, or maybe just from the hotel staff who were hovering around the edges grabbing a glimpse of the Hollywood royalty.
“‘Anyway, I missed and they got away. I don’t know what will happen to Sanjit and that stick-up-his butt Choo and the rest, but whatever happens next, it’s not on me. However . . .’”
Astrid took a dramatic pause.
“‘However, the rest of what happened was on me. Me, Caine Soren. You’ll probably be hearing a lot of crazy stories from kids. But what they didn’t know was that it was all me. Me. Me me. See, I had a power I never told anyone about. I had the power to make people do bad things. Crimes and whatnot. Especially Diana, who never did anything wrong on her own, by her own will, I mean. She—and the rest of them—were under my control. The responsibility is on me. I confess. Haul me away, officers.’”
Astrid suddenly felt her throat tightening, although she’d read the letter many times already, and knew what it said. Rotten son of a . . . And then this.
Redemption. Not a bad concept.
Well, partial redemption.
“It’s signed Caine Soren. And below that, ‘King of the FAYZ.’”
It was a full confession. A lie: a blatant, not-very-convincing lie. But it would be just enough to make prosecutions very difficult. Caine’s role in the FAYZ, and the reality that strange powers had actually existed in that space, were widely known and accepted.
Of course Caine had enjoyed writing it. It was his penultimate act of control. He was manipulating from beyond the grave.
Michael Grant (Light (Gone, #6))
I never went to college. I don’t believe in college for writers. I think too many professors are too opinionated and too snobbish and too intellectual. And the intellect is a great danger to creativity because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things instead of staying with your own basic truth--- who you are, what you are, what you wanna be. I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for twenty-five years now which reads, “Don’t think.” You must never think at the typewriter--- you must feel, and your intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway. You collect up a lot of data, you do a lot of thinking away from the typewriter, but at the typewriter you should be living. It should be a living experience. The worst thing you do when you think is lie — you can make up reasons that are not true for the things that you did, and what you’re trying to do as a creative person is surprise yourself — find out who you really are, and try not to lie, try to tell the truth all the time. And the only way to do this is by being very active and very emotional, and get it out of yourself — making things that you hate and things that you love, you write about these then, intensely. When it’s over, then you can think about it; then you can look, it works or it doesn’t work, something is missing here. And, if something is missing, then you go back and reemotionalize that part, so it’s all of a piece. But thinking is to be a corrective in our life. It’s not supposed to be a center of our life. Living is supposed to be the center of our life, being is supposed to be the center, with correctives around, which hold us like the skin holds our blood and our flesh in. But our skin is not a way of life. The way of living is the blood pumping through our veins, the ability to sense and to feel and to know, and the intellect doesn’t help you very much there. You should get on with the business of living. Everything of mine is intuitive. All the poetry I’ve written, I couldn’t possibly tell you how I did it. I don’t know anything about the rhythms or the schemes or the inner rhymes or any of these sorts of thing. It comes from 40 years of reading poetry and having heroes that I loved. I love Shakespeare, I don’t Intellectualize about him. I love Gerard Manley Hopkins, I don’t intellectualize about him. I love Dylan Thomas, I don’t know what the hell he’s writing about half the time, but he sounds good, he rings well. Let me give you an example on this sort of thing: I walked into my living room twenty years ago, when one of my daughters was about four years old, and a Dylan Thomas record was on the set. I thought that my wife had put the record on; come to find out my four-year-old had put on his record. I came into the room, she pointed to the record and said, ‘He knows what he’s doing.’ Now, that’s great. See, that’s not intellectualizing, it’s an emotional reaction. If there is no feeling, there cannot be great art.”
Raquel laughed, and David joined her. They sounded slightly manic. “You’re free now,” he said.
“Of all of it,” she answered, and I looked up to see them locked in a gaze I’d previously only observed between actors on Easton Heights—one filled with all the things unspoken over the years, all the betrayals and fears and pain left behind in favor of overwhelming love. It was beautiful.
Oh, who am I kidding, it was awkward as all heck and I didn’t have time for it. “Okay! So, you may have noticed Lend is in the kitchen.”
“Mmm hmm,” Raquel answered, reaching up to smooth down a stray piece of David’s hair.
“Yeah, that’d be the big faerie curse.”
“Farie curse?” She actually turned toward me; David took both her hands in his.
“Yup. Really funny one, too. See, any time Lend and I are in the same room or can see each other or could actually, you know, touch, he falls fast asleep.”
“Oh,” Raquel frowned.
“So I need your help. You know all the names of the IPCA controlled faeries, right?”
She nodded, her frown deepening.
“Well, it was a dark faerie curse, so I figure we need a dark faerie to undo it. So you call an Unseelie faerie, we give him or her a named command to break the curse, ta-da, we can double-date!”
“Wait, who can double-date?” Lend asked.
“I’ll let your dad tell you. So. Faerie?”
Raquel heaved a sigh, along the lines of her famous things never get easier, do they? sign, and, boy, I agreed with her.
“To be honest, I don’t know which court most of the faeries belong to.”
“You don’t? How can you not know? It seems like pretty vital information to me. You know, ‘Are you a member of the evil court kidnapping humans and plotting world domination, or a member of the moderately less evil court who just wants to get the crap off the planet?’ sort of a survey when you get them.
Kiersten White (Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3))
Violet didn’t realize that she’d pressed herself so tightly against the door until it opened from the inside and she stumbled backward.
She fell awkwardly, trying to catch herself as her feet slipped and first she banged her elbow, and then her shoulder-hard-against the doorjamb. She heard her can of pepper spray hit the concrete step at her feet as she flailed to find something to grab hold of.
Her back crashed into something solid. Or rather, someone. And from behind, she felt strong, unseen arms catch her before she hit the ground. But she was too stunned to react right away.
“You think I can let you go now?” A low voice chuckled in her ear.
Violet was mortified as she glanced clumsily over her shoulder to see who had just saved her from falling.
“Rafe!” she gasped, when she realized she was face-to-face with his deep blue eyes. She jumped up, feeling unexpectedly light-headed as she shrugged out of his grip. Without thinking, and with his name still burning on her lips, she added, “Umm, thanks, I guess.” And then, considering that he had just stopped her from landing flat on her butt, she gave it another try. “No…yeah, thanks, I mean.”
Flustered, she bent down, trying to avoid his eyes as she grabbed the paper spray that had slipped from her fingers. She cursed herself for being so clumsy and wondered why she cared that he had been the one to catch her. Or why she cared that he was here at all.
She stood up to face him, feeling more composed again, and quickly hid the evidence of her paranoia-the tiny canister-in her purse. She hoped he hadn’t noticed it.
He watched her silently, and she saw the hint of a smile tugging at his lips. Violet waited for him to say something or to move aside to let her in. His gaze stripped away her defenses, making her feel even more exposed than when she had been standing alone in the empty street.
She shifted restlessly and finally sighed impatiently. “I have an appointment,” she announced, lifting her eyebrows. “With Sara.”
Her words had the desired effect, and Rafe shrugged, still studying her as he stepped out of her way. But he held the door so she could enter. She brushed past him, stepping into the hallway, as she tried to ignore the fact that she was suddenly sweltering inside her own coat.
She told herself it was just the furnace, though, and had nothing to do with her humiliation over falling. Or with the presence of the brooding dark-haired boy.
When they reached the end of the long hallway, Rafe pulled out a thick plastic card from his back pocket. As he held it in front of the black pad mounted on the wall beside a door, a small red light flickered to green and the door clicked. He pushed it open and led the way through.
Security, Violet thought. Whatever it is they do here, they need security.
Violet glanced up and saw a small camera mounted in the corner above the door. If she were Chelsea, she would have flashed the peace sign-or worse-a message for whoever was watching on the other end.
But she was Violet, so instead she hurried after Rafe before the door closed and she was locked out.
Kimberly Derting (Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2))
My point is that bias is not advertised by a glowing sign worn around jurors’ necks; we are all guilty of it, because the brain is wired for us to see what we believe, and it usually happens outside of everyone’s awareness. Affective realism decimates the ideal of the impartial juror. Want to increase the likelihood of a conviction in a murder trial? Show the jury some gruesome photographic evidence. Tip their body budgets out of balance and chances are they’ll attribute their unpleasant affect to the defendant: “I feel bad, therefore you must have done something bad. You are a bad person.” Or permit family members of the deceased to describe how the crime has hurt them, a practice known as a victim impact statement, and the jury will tend to recommend more severe punishments. Crank up the emotional impact of a victim impact statement by recording it professionally on video and adding music and narration like a dramatic film, and you’ve got the makings of a jury-swaying masterpiece.45 Affective realism intertwines with the law outside the courtroom as well. Imagine that you are enjoying a quiet evening at home when suddenly you hear loud banging outside. You look out the window and see an African American man attempting to force open the door of a nearby house. Being a dutiful citizen, you call 911, and the police arrive and arrest the perpetrator. Congratulations, you have just brought about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., as it happened on July 16, 2009. Gates was trying to force open the front door of his own home, which had become stuck while he was traveling. Affective realism strikes again. The real-life eyewitness in this incident had an affective feeling, presumably based on her concepts about crime and skin color, and made a mental inference that the man outside the window had intent to commit a crime.
Lisa Feldman Barrett (How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain)
All right, now that the weirdness between us has caused actual physical damage, I think it’s time we talked it out, don’t you?”
He gave a half smile and then turned back to the path. “We don’t need to be weird,” he said. “These past few days, since the thing with Elodie, I’ve been thinking.” He took a deep breath, and I knew that this was one of those rare occasions when Cal was about to say a lot of words at once. “I like you, Sophie. A lot. For a while, I thought it might be more than that. But you love Cross.”
He said it matter-of-factly, but I still caught the way his ears reddened. “I know I’ve said some pretty awful stuff about him, but…I was wrong. He’s a good guy. So, I guess what I’m saying is that as the guy who’s betrothed to you, I wish we could be more than friends.” He stopped, turning around to face me. “But as your friend, I want you to be happy. And if Cross is who you want, then I’m not gonna stand in the way of that.”
“I’m the worst fiancé ever, aren’t I?”
Cal lifted one shoulder. “Nah. This one warlock I knew, his betrothed set him on fire.”
Laughing so I wouldn’t cry, I tentatively lifted my arms to hug him. He folded me against his chest, and there was no awkwardness between us, and I knew the warmth in the pit of my stomach was love. Just a different kind.
Sniffling, I pulled back and rubbed at my nose. “Okay, now that the hard part’s over, let’s go tackle the Underworld.”
“Got room for two more?”
Startled, I turned to see Jenna and Archer standing on the path, Jenna’s hand clutching Archer’s sleeve as she tried to stay on her feet. “What?” was all I could say.
Archer took a few careful steps forward. “Hey, this has been a group effort so far. No reason to stop now.”
“You guys can’t go into the Underworld with me,” I told them. “You heard Dad, I’m the only one with-“
“With powers strong enough. Yeah, we got that,” Jenna said. “But how are you supposed to carry a whole bunch of demonglass out of that place? It’ll burn you. And hey, maybe your powers will be strong enough to get all of us in, too.” She gestured to herself and the boys. “Plus it’s not like we don’t have powers of our own.”
I knew I should tell them to go back. But having the three of them there made me feel a whole lot better and whole lot less terrified. So in the end, I gave an exaggerated sign and said, “Okay, fine. But just so you know, following me into hell means you’re all definitely the sidekicks.”
“Darn, I was hoping to be the rakishly charming love interest,” Archer said, taking my hand.
“Cal, any role you want?” I asked him, and he looked ruefully at the craggy rock looming over us. As he did, there was the grinding sound of stone against stone. We all stared at the opening that appeared.
“I’m just hoping to be the Not Dead Guy,” Cal muttered.
We faced the entrance. “Between the four of us, we fought ghouls, survived attacks by demons and L’Occhio di Dio, and practically raised the dead,” I said. “We can do this.”
“See, inspiring speeches like that are why you get to be the leader,” Archer said, and he squeezed my hand.
And then, moving almost as one, we stepped into the rock.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
During all that time I didn't see Willie. I didn't see him again until he announced in the Democratic primary in 1930. But it wasn't a primary. It was hell among the yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and Saturday night in the back room of Casey's saloon rolled into one, and when the dust cleared away not a picture still hung on the walls. And there wasn't any Democratic party. There was just Willie, with his hair in his eyes and his shirt sticking to his stomach with sweat. And he had a meat ax in his hand and was screaming for blood. In the background of the picture, under a purplish tumbled sky flecked with sinister white like driven foam, flanking Willie, one on each side, were two figures, Sadie Burke and a tallish, stooped, slow-spoken man with a sad, tanned face and what they call the eyes of a dreamer. The man was Hugh Miller, Harvard Law School, Lafayette Escadrille, Croix de Guerre, clean hands, pure heart, and no political past. He was a fellow who had sat still for years, and then somebody (Willie Stark) handed him a baseball bat and he felt his fingers close on the tape. He was a man and was Attorney General. And Sadie Burke was just Sadie Burke.
Over the brow of the hill, there were, of course, some other people. There were, for instance, certain gentlemen who had been devoted to Joe Harrison, but who, when they discovered there wasn't going to be any more Joe Harrison politically speaking, had had to hunt up a new friend. The new friend happened to be Willie. He was the only place for them to go. They figured they would sign on with Willie and grow up with the country. Willie signed them on all right, and as a result got quite a few votes not of the wool-hat and cocklebur variety. After a while Willie even signed on Tiny Duffy, who became Highway Commissioner and, later, Lieutenant Governor in Willie's last term. I used to wonder why Willie kept him around. Sometimes I used to ask the Boss, "What do you keep that lunk-head for?" Sometimes he would just laugh and say nothing. Sometimes he would say, "Hell, somebody's got to be Lieutenant Governor, and they all look alike." But once he said: "I keep him because he reminds me of something."
"Something I don't ever want to forget," he said.
"That when they come to you sweet talking you better not listen to anything they say. I don't aim to forget that."
So that was it. Tiny was the fellow who had come in a big automobile and had talked sweet to Willie back when Willie was a little country lawyer.
Robert Penn Warren (All the King's Men)
When they rolled to a stop, she found herself pinned by a tremendous, huffing weight. And pierced by an intense green gaze.
“Wh-?” Her breath rushed out in question.
Boom, the world answered.
Susanna ducked her head, burrowing into the protection of what she’d recognized to be an officer’s coat. The knob of a brass button pressed into her cheek. The man’s bulk formed a comforting shield as a shower of dirt clods rained down on them both. He smelled of whiskey and gunpowder.
After the dust cleared, she brushed the hair from his brow, searching his gaze for signs of confusion or pain. His eyes were alert and intelligent, and still that startling shade of green-as hard and richly hued as jade.
She asked, “Are you well?”
“Yes.” His voice was a deep rasp. “Are you?”
She nodded, expecting him to release her at the confirmation. When he showed no signs of moving, she puzzled at it. Either he was gravely injured or seriously impertinent. “Sir, you’re…er, you’re rather heavy.” Surely he could not fail to miss that hint.
He replied, “You’re soft.”
Good Lord. Who was this man? Where had he come from? And how was he still atop her?
“You have a small wound.” With trembling fingers, she brushed a reddish knot high on his temple, near his hairline. “Here.” She pressed her hand to his throat, feeling for his pulse. She found it, thumping strong and steady against her gloved fingertips.
“Ah. That’s nice.”
Her face blazed with heat. “Are you seeing double?”
“Perhaps. I see two lips, two eyes, two flushed cheeks…a thousand freckles.”
She stared at him.
“Don’t concern yourself, miss. It’s nothing.” His gaze darkened with some mysterious intent. “Nothing a little kiss won’t mend.”
And before she could even catch her breath, he pressed his lips to hers.
A kiss. His mouth, touching hers. It was warm and firm, and then…it was over.
Her first real kiss in all her five-and-twenty years, and it was finished in a heartbeat.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
The monstrous versions of himself and Hermione were gone: There was only Ron, standing there with the sword held slackly in his hand, looking down at the shattered remains of the locket on the flat rock.
Slowly, Harry walked back to him, hardly knowing what to say or do. Ron was breathing heavily: His eyes were no longer red at all, but their normal blue; they were also wet.
Harry stooped, pretending he had not seen, and picked up the broken Horcrux. Ron had pierced the glass in both windows: Riddle’s eyes were gone, and the stained silk lining of the locket was smoking slightly. The thing that had lived in the Horcrux had vanished; torturing Ron had been its final act.
The sword clanged as Ron dropped it. He had sunk to his knees, his head in his arms. He was shaking, but not, Harry realized, from cold. Harry crammed the broken locket into his pocket, knelt down beside Ron, and placed a hand cautiously on his shoulder. He took it as a good sign that Ron did not throw it off.
“After you left,” he said in a low voice, grateful for the fact that Ron’s face was hidden, “she cried for a week. Probably longer, only she didn’t want me to see. There were loads of nights when we never even spoke to each other. With you gone…”
He could not finish; it was only now that Ron was here again that Harry fully realized how much his absence had cost them.
“She’s like my sister,” he went on. “I love her like a sister and I reckon she feels the same way about me. It’s always been like that. I thought you knew.”
Ron did not respond, but turned his face away from Harry and wiped his nose noisily on his sleeve. Harry got to his feet again and walked to where Ron’s enormous rucksack lay yards away, discarded as Ron had run toward the pool to save Harry from drowning. He hoisted it onto his own back and walked back to Ron, who clambered to his feet as Harry approached, eyes bloodshot but otherwise composed.
“I’m sorry,” he said in a thick voice. “I’m sorry I left. I know I was a--a--”
He looked around at the darkness, as if hoping a bad enough word would swoop down upon him and claim him.
“You’ve sort of made up for it tonight,” said Harry. “Getting the sword. Finishing off the Horcrux. Saving my life.”
“That makes me sound a lot cooler than I was,” Ron mumbled.
“Stuff like that always sounds cooler than it really was,” said Harry. “I’ve been trying to tell you that for years.”
Simultaneously they walked forward and hugged, Harry gripping the still-sopping back of Ron’s jacket.
“And now,” said Harry as they broke apart, “all we’ve got to do is find the tent again.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
It’s a long story,” he said, taking a sip of Mr. Braeburn’s whiskey, “so I will tell only a
very condensed version of it.
“Mrs. Marsden and I grew up on adjacent properties in the Cotswold. But the Cotswold, as
fair as it is, plays almost no part in this tale. Because it was not in the green, unpolluted
countryside that we fell in love, but in gray, sooty London. Love at first sight, of course, a
hunger of the soul that could not be denied.”
Bryony trembled somewhere inside. This was not their story, but her story, the determined
spinster felled by the magnificence and charm of the gorgeous young thing.
He glanced at her. “You were the moon of my existence; your moods dictated the tides of
The tides of her own heart surged at his words, even though his words were nothing but
“I don’t believe I had moods,” she said severely.
“No, of course not. ‘Thou art more lovely and more temperate’—and the tides of my heart
only rose ever higher to crash against the levee of my self-possession. For I loved you most
intemperately, my dear Mrs. Marsden.”
Beside her Mrs. Braeburn blushed, her eyes bright. Bryony was furious at Leo, for his
facile words, and even more so at herself, for the painful pleasure that trickled into her drop
“Our wedding was the happiest hour of my life, that we would belong to each other always.
The church was filled with hyacinths and camellias, and the crowd overflowed to the steps,
for the whole world wanted to see who had at last captured your lofty heart.
“But alas, I had not truly captured your lofty heart, had I? I but held it for a moment. And
soon there was trouble in Paradise. One day, you said to me, ‘My hair has turned white. It is a
sign I must wander far and away. Find me then, if you can. Then and only then will I be yours
Her heart pounded again. How did he know that she had indeed taken her hair turning white
as a sign that the time had come for her to leave? No, he did not know. He’d made it up out of
whole cloth. But even Mr. Braeburn was spellbound by this ridiculous tale. She had forgotten
how hypnotic Leo could be, when he wished to beguile a crowd.
“And so I have searched. From the poles to the tropics, from the shores of China to the
shores of Nova Scotia. Our wedding photograph in hand, I have asked crowds pale, red,
brown, and black, ‘I seek an English lady doctor, my lost beloved. Have you seen her?’”
He looked into her eyes, and she could not look away, as mesmerized as the hapless
“And now I have found you at last.” He raised his glass. “To the beginning of the rest of
Sherry Thomas (Not Quite a Husband (The Marsdens, #2))
Pay attention to everything the dying person says. You might want to keep pens and a spiral notebook beside the bed so that anyone can jot down notes about gestures, conversations, or anything out of the ordinary said by the dying person. Talk with one another about these comments and gestures. • Remember that there may be important messages in any communication, however vague or garbled. Not every statement made by a dying person has significance, but heed them all so as not to miss the ones that do. • Watch for key signs: a glassy-eyed look; the appearance of staring through you; distractedness or secretiveness; seemingly inappropriate smiles or gestures, such as pointing, reaching toward someone or something unseen, or waving when no one is there; efforts to pick at the covers or get out of bed for no apparent reason; agitation or distress at your inability to comprehend something the dying person has tried to say. • Respond to anything you don’t understand with gentle inquiries. “Can you tell me what’s happening?” is sometimes a helpful way to initiate this kind of conversation. You might also try saying, “You seem different today. Can you tell me why?” • Pose questions in open-ended, encouraging terms. For example, if a dying person whose mother is long dead says, “My mother’s waiting for me,” turn that comment into a question: “Mother’s waiting for you?” or “I’m so glad she’s close to you. Can you tell me about it?” • Accept and validate what the dying person tells you. If he says, “I see a beautiful place!” say, “That’s wonderful! Can you tell me more about it?” or “I’m so pleased. I can see that it makes you happy,” or “I’m so glad you’re telling me this. I really want to understand what’s happening to you. Can you tell me more?” • Don’t argue or challenge. By saying something like “You couldn’t possibly have seen Mother, she’s been dead for ten years,” you could increase the dying person’s frustration and isolation, and run the risk of putting an end to further attempts at communicating. • Remember that a dying person may employ images from life experiences like work or hobbies. A pilot may talk about getting ready to go for a flight; carry the metaphor forward: “Do you know when it leaves?” or “Is there anyone on the plane you know?” or “Is there anything I can do to help you get ready for takeoff?” • Be honest about having trouble understanding. One way is to say, “I think you’re trying to tell me something important and I’m trying very hard, but I’m just not getting it. I’ll keep on trying. Please don’t give up on me.” • Don’t push. Let the dying control the breadth and depth of the conversation—they may not be able to put their experiences into words; insisting on more talk may frustrate or overwhelm them. • Avoid instilling a sense of failure in the dying person. If the information is garbled or the delivery impossibly vague, show that you appreciate the effort by saying, “I can see that this is hard for you; I appreciate your trying to share it with me,” or “I can see you’re getting tired/angry/frustrated. Would it be easier if we talked about this later?” or “Don’t worry. We’ll keep trying and maybe it will come.” • If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Sometimes the best response is simply to touch the dying person’s hand, or smile and stroke his or her forehead. Touching gives the very important message “I’m with you.” Or you could say, “That’s interesting, let me think about it.” • Remember that sometimes the one dying picks an unlikely confidant. Dying people often try to communicate important information to someone who makes them feel safe—who won’t get upset or be taken aback by such confidences. If you’re an outsider chosen for this role, share the information as gently and completely as possible with the appropriate family members or friends. They may be more familiar with innuendos in a message because they know the person well.
Maggie Callanan (Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Co)
When we pull back into the castle courtyard, James is waiting. And he does not look happy. Actually he looks like a blond Hulk . . . right before he goes smash. Sarah sees it too.
We get out of the car and she turns so fast there’s a breeze. “I should go find Penny. ’Bye.”
I call after her. “Chicken!”
She just waves her hand over her shoulder.
Slowly, I approach him. Like an explorer, deep in the jungles of the Amazon, making first contact with a tribe that has never seen the outside world. And I hold out my peace offering.
It’s a Mega Pounder with cheese.
“I got you a burger.”
James snatches it from my hand angrily. But . . . he doesn’t throw it away.
He turns to one of the men behind him. “Mick, bring it here.”
Mick—a big, truck-size bloke—brings him a brown paper bag. And James’s cold blue eyes turn back to me.
“After speaking with your former security team, I had an audience with Her Majesty the Queen last year when you were named heir. Given your history of slipping your detail, I asked her permission to ensure your safety by any means necessary, including this.”
He reaches into the bag and pulls out a children’s leash—the type you see on ankle-biters at amusement parks, with a deranged-looking monkey sticking its head out of a backpack, his mouth wide and gaping, like he’s about to eat whoever’s wearing it.
And James smiles. “Queen Lenora said yes.”
I suspected Granny didn’t like me anymore; now I’m certain of it.
“If I have to,” James warns, “I’ll connect this to you and the other end to old Mick here.”
Mick doesn’t look any happier about the fucking prospect than I am.
“I don’t want to do that, but . . .” He shrugs, no further explanation needed. “So the next time you feel like ditching? Remember the monkey, Your Grace.”
He puts the revolting thing back in its bag. And I wonder if fire would kill it.
“Are we good, Prince Henry?” James asks.
I respect a man willing to go balls-to-the-wall for his job. I don’t like the monkey . . . but I respect it.
I flash him the okay sign with my fingers.
Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))
What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?”
Dragging his gaze from the beauty of the gardens, Ian looked down at the beauty beside him. “Any place,” he said huskily, “were you are.”
He saw the becoming flush of embarrassed pleasure that pinkened her cheeks, but when she spoke her voice was rueful. “You don’t have to say such things to me, you know-I’ll keep our bargain.”
“I know you will,” he said, trying not to overwhelm her with avowals of love she wouldn’t yet believe. With a grin he added, “Besides, as it turned out after our bargaining session, I’m the one who’s governed by all the conditions, not you.”
Her sideways glance was filled with laughter. “You were much too lenient at times, you know. Toward the end I was asking for concessions just to see how far you’d go.”
Ian, who had been multiplying his fortune for the last four years by buying shipping and import-export companies, as well as sundry others, was regarded as an extremely tough negotiator. He heard her announcement with a smile of genuine surprise. “You gave me the impression that every single concession was of paramount importance to you, and that if I didn’t agree, you might call the whole thing off.”
She nodded with satisfaction. “I rather thought that was how I ought to do it. Why are you laughing?”
“Because,” he admitted, chuckling, “obviously I was not in my best form yesterday. In addition to completely misreading your feelings, I managed to buy a house on Promenade Street for which I will undoubtedly pay five times its worth.”
“Oh, I don’t think so,” she said, and, as if she was embarrassed and needed a way to avoid meeting his gaze, she reached up and pulled a leaf off an overhanging branch. In a voice of careful nonchalance, she explained, “In matters of bargaining, I believe in being reasonable, but my uncle would assuredly have tried to cheat you. He’s perfectly dreadful about money.”
Ian nodded, remembering the fortune Julius Cameron had gouged out of him in order to sign the betrothal agreement.
“And so,” she admitted, uneasily studying the azure-blue sky with feigned absorption, “I sent him a note after you left itemizing all the repairs that were needed at the house. I told him it was in poor condition and absolutely in need of complete redecoration.”
“And I told him you would consider paying a fair price for the house, but not one shilling more, because it needed all that.”
“And?” Ian prodded.
“He has agreed to sell it for that figure.”
Ian’s mirth exploded in shouts of laughter. Snatching her into his arms, he waited until he could finally catch his breath, then he tipped her face up to his. “Elizabeth,” he said tenderly, “if you change your mind about marrying me, promise me you’ll never represent the opposition at the bargaining table. I swear to God, I’d be lost.” The temptation to kiss her was almost overwhelming, but the Townsende coach with its ducal crest was in the drive, and he had no idea where their chaperones might be. Elizabeth noticed the coach, too, and started toward the house.
"About the gowns," she said, stopping suddenly and looking up at him with an intensely earnest expression on her beautiful face. "I meant to thank you for your generosity as soon as you arrived, but I was so happy to-that is-" She realized she'd been about to blurt out that she was happy to see him, and she was so flustered by having admitted aloud what she hadn't admitted to herself that she completely lost her thought.
"Go on," Ian invited in a husky voice. "You were so happy to see me that you-"
"I forgot," she admitted lamely.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
About five miles back I had a brush with the CHP. Not stopped or pulled over: nothing routine. I always drive properly. A bit fast, perhaps, but always with consummate skill and a natural feel for the road that even cops recognize. No cop was ever born who isn't a sucker for a finely-executed hi-speed Controlled Drift all the way around one of those cloverleaf freeway interchanges.
Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. Your normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side when he sees the big red light behind him ... and then he will start apologizing, begging for mercy.
This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop-heart. The thing to do – when you're running along about 100 or so and you suddenly find a red-flashing CHP-tracker on your tail – what you want to do then is accelerate. Never pull over with the first siren-howl. Mash it down and make the bastard chase you at speeds up to 120 all the way to the next exit. He will follow. But he won't know what to make of your blinker-signal that says you're about to turn right.
This is to let him know you're looking for a proper place to pull off and talk ... keep signaling and hope for an off-ramp, one of those uphill side-loops with a sign saying "Max Speed 25" ... and the trick, at this point, is to suddenly leave the freeway and take him into the chute at no less than 100 miles an hour.
He will lock his brakes about the same time you lock yours, but it will take him a moment to realize that he's about to make a 180-degree turn at this speed ... but you will be ready for it, braced for the Gs and the fast heel-toe work, and with any luck at all you will have come to a complete stop off the road at the top of the turn and be standing beside your automobile by the time he catches up.
He will not be reasonable at first ... but no matter. Let him calm down. He will want the first word. Let him have it. His brain will be in a turmoil: he may begin jabbering, or even pull his gun. Let him unwind; keep smiling. The idea is to show him that you were always in total control of yourself and your vehicle – while he lost control of everything.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
Here we’ll describe four signs that you have to disengage from your autonomous efforts and seek connection. Each of these emotions is a different form of hunger for connection—that is, they’re all different ways of feeling lonely:
When you have been gaslit. When you’re asking yourself, “Am I crazy, or is there something completely unacceptable happening right now?” turn to someone who can relate; let them give you the reality check that yes, the gaslights are flickering.
When you feel “not enough.” No individual can meet all the needs of the world. Humans are not built to do big things alone. We are built to do them together. When you experience the empty-handed feeling that you are just one person, unable to meet all the demands the world makes on you, helpless in the face of the endless, yawning need you see around you, recognize that emotion for what it is: a form of loneliness. ...
When you’re sad. In the animated film Inside Out, the emotions in the head of a tween girl, Riley, struggle to cope with the exigencies of growing up....
When you are boiling with rage. Rage has a special place in women’s lives and a special role in the Bubble of Love. More, even, than sadness, many of us have been taught to swallow our rage, hide it even from ourselves. We have been taught to fear rage—our own, as well as others’—because its power can be used as a weapon. Can be. A chef’s knife can be used as a weapon. And it can help you prepare a feast. It’s all in how you use it. We don’t want to hurt anyone, and rage is indeed very, very powerful.
Bring your rage into the Bubble with your loved ones’ permission, and complete the stress response cycle with them. If your Bubble is a rugby team, you can leverage your rage in a match or practice. If your Bubble is a knitting circle, you might need to get creative. Use your body. Jump up and down, get noisy, release all that energy, share it with others.
“Yes!” say the people in your Bubble. “That was some bullshit you dealt with!”
Rage gives you strength and energy and the urge to fight, and sharing that energy in the Bubble changes it from something potentially dangerous to something safe and potentially transformative.
Emily Nagoski (Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle)
The most direct path to Party was raising pigs. The company had several dozen of these and they occupied an unequaled place in the hearts of the soldiers; officers and men alike would hang around the pigsty, observing, commenting, and willing the animals to grow. If the pigs were doing well, the swine herds were the darlings of the company, and there were many contestants for this profession.
Xiao-her became a full-time swineherd. It was hard, filthy work, not to mention the psychological pressure.
Every night he and his colleagues took turns to get up in the small hours to give the pigs an extra feed. When a sow produced piglets they kept watch night after night in case she crushed them. Precious soybeans were carefully picked, washed, ground, strained, made into 'soybean milk," and lovingly fed to the mother to stimulate her milk.
Life in the air force was very unlike what Xiao-her had imagined. Producing food took up more than a third of the entire time he was in the military. At the end of a year's arduous pig raising, Xiao-her was accepted into the Party.
Like many others, he put his feet up and began to take it easy.
After membership in the Party, everyone's ambition was to become an officer; whatever advantage the former brought, the latter doubled it. Getting to be an officer depended on being picked by one's superiors, so the key was never to displease them. One day Xiao-her was summoned to see one of the college's political commissars.
Xiao-her was on tenterhooks, not knowing whether he was in for some unexpected good fortune or total disaster. The commissar, a plump man in his fifties with puffy eyes and a loud, commanding voice, looked exceedingly benign as he lit up a cigarette and asked Xiao-her about his family background, age, and state of health. He also asked whether he had a fiance to which Xiao-her replied that he did not. It struck Xiao-her as a good sign that the man was being so personal. The commissar went on to praise him: "You have studied Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought conscientiously. You have worked hard. The masses have a good impression of you. Of course, you must keep on being modest; modesty makes you progress," and so on. By the time the commissar stubbed out his cigarette, Xiao-her thought his promotion was in his pocket.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
It is true. I did fall asleep at the wheel. We nearly went right off a cliff down into a gorge. But there were extenuating circumstances.”
Ian snickered. “Are you going to pull out the cry-baby card? He had a little bitty wound he forgot to tell us about, that’s how small it was. Ever since he fell asleep he’s been trying to make us believe that contributed.”
“It wasn’t little. I have a scar. A knife fight.” Sam was righteous about it.
“He barely nicked you,” Ian sneered. “A tiny little slice that looked like a paper cut.”
Sam extended his arm to Azami so she could see the evidence of the two-inch line of white marring his darker skin. “I bled profusely. I was weak and we hadn’t slept in days.”
“Profusely?” Ian echoed. “Ha! Two drops of blood is not profuse bleeding, Knight. We hadn’t slept in days, that much is true, but the rest . . .” He trailed off, shaking his head and rolling his eyes at Azami.
Azami examined the barely there scar. The knife hadn’t inflicted much damage, and Sam knew she’d seen evidence of much worse wounds. “Had you been drinking?” she asked, her eyes wide with innocence. Those long lashes fanned her cheeks as she gaze at him until his heart tripped all over itself.
Sam groaned. “Don’t listen to him. I wasn’t drinking, but once we were pretty much in the middle of a hurricane in the South Pacific on a rescue mission and Ian here decides he has to go into this bar . . .”
“Oh, no.” Ian burst out laughing. “You’re not telling her that story.”
“You did, man. He made us all go in there, with the dirtbag we’d rescued, by the way,” Sam told Azami. “We had to climb out the windows and get on the roof at one point when the place flooded. I swear ther was a crocodile as big as a house coming right at us. We were running for our lives, laughing and trying to keep that idiot Frenchman alive.”
“You said to throw him to the crocs,” Ian reminded.
“What was in the bar that you had to go in?” Azami asked, clearly puzzled.
“Crocodiles,” Sam and Ian said simultaneously. They both burst out laughing.
Azami shook her head. “You two could be crazy. Are you making these stories up?”
“Ryland wishes we made them up,” Sam said. “Seriously, we’re sneaking past this bar right in the middle of an enemy-occupied village and there’s this sign on the bar that says swim with the crocs and if you survive, free drinks forever. The wind is howling and trees are bent almost double and we’re carrying the sack of shit . . . er . . . our prize because the dirtbag refuses to run even to save his own life—”
“The man is seriously heavy,” Ian interrupted. “He was kidnapped and held for ransom for two years. I guess he decided to cook for his captors so they wouldn’t treat him bad. He tried to hide in the closet when we came for him. He didn’t want to go out in the rain.”
“He was the biggest pain in the ass you could imagine,” Sam continued, laughing at the memory. “He squealed every time we slipped in the mud and went down.”
“The river had flooded the village,” Sam added. “We were walking through a couple of feet of water. We’re all muddy and he’s wiggling and squeaking in a high-pitched voice and Ian spots this sign hanging on the bar.
Christine Feehan (Samurai Game (GhostWalkers, #10))
The story is told about three men who were sentenced to death by guillotine. One was a doctor, another a lawyer, and the third an engineer. The day of execution arrived, and the three prisoners were lined up on the gallows. “Do you wish to face the blade, or look away?” the henchman asked the doctor. “I’ll face the blade!” the physician courageously replied. The doctor placed his neck onto the guillotine, and the executioner pulled the rope to release the blade. Then an amazing thing happened – the blade fell to a point just inches above the doctor’s neck, and stopped! The crowd of gathered townspeople was astonished, and tittered with speculation. After a bevy of excited discussions, the executioner told the doctor, “This is obviously a sign from God that you do not deserve to die. Go forth – you are pardoned.” Joyfully the doctor arose and went on his way. The second man to confront death was the lawyer, who also chose to face the blade. The cord was pulled, down fell the blade, and once again it stopped but a few inches from the man’s naked throat! Again the crowd buzzed – two miracles in one day! Just as he did minutes earlier, the executioner informed the prisoner that divine intervention had obviously been issued, and he, too, was free. Happily he departed. The final prisoner was the engineer who, like his predecessors, chose to face the blade. He fitted his neck into the crook of the guillotine and looked up at the apparatus above him. The executioner was about to pull the cord when the engineer pointed to the pulley system and called out, “Wait a minute! – I think I can see the problem!” Within each of us there resides an overworking engineer who is more concerned with analyzing the problem than accepting the solution. Many of us have become so resigned to receiving the short end of the stick in life, that if we were offered the long end, we would doubt its authenticity and refuse it. We must be willing to drop the heavy load of guilt, unworthiness, and self-denial we have carried for so long, perhaps lifetimes. We must openly affirm that we are ready to receive all the good that life has to offer us, without argument or wariness. Then we must accept our good – not just in word, but in action. In so doing we claim our right to live in a new world – one which attests that we are deserving not of punishment, but of release, freedom, and celebration.
Alan Cohen (I Had It All the Time: When Self-Improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy)
Are you a relative of her late husband?” the woman asked.
His eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?”
“It must be so hard for her, pregnant and just widowed,” the middle-aged woman continued. “We’ve all done what we could to make her happy here. Mr. Johnson, the curator, is a widower himself. He’s already sweet on her. But you’re probably anxious to see Mrs. Peterson. Shall I ring her and let her know you’re coming?”
Tate’s eyes were blazing. “No,” he said with forced politeness. “I want to surprise her!”
He stalked out, leaving the rented vehicle where it was as he trudged through the small layer of snow and glared contemptuously at the cars sliding around in the street as they passed. This little bit of snow was nothing compared to the six-foot snowdrifts on the reservation. Southerners, he considered, must not get much winter precipitation if this little bit of white dust paralyzed traffic!
As for Cecily’s mythical dead husband, he considered, going up the walkway to the small brick structure where she lived, he was about to make a startling, resurrected appearance!
He knocked on the door and waited.
There was an irritated murmur beyond the closed door and the sound of a lock being unfastened. The door opened and a wan Cecily looked straight into his eyes.
He managed to get inside the screen door and catch her before she passed out.
She came to on the sofa with Tate sitting beside her, smoothing back her disheveled hair. The nausea climbed into her throat and, fortunately, stayed there. She looked at him with helpless delight, wishing she could hide what the sight of him was doing to her after so many empty, lonely weeks.
He didn’t speak. He touched her hair, her forehead, her eyes, her nose, her mouth, with fingers that seemed bent on memorizing her. Then his hands went to the robe carelessly fastened over her cotton nightdress and pushed it aside. He touched her belly, his face radiant as he registered the very visible and tangible signs of her condition.
“When did we make him?” he asked without preamble.
She felt her world dissolve. He knew about the baby. Of course. That was why he was here.
He met her eyes, found hostility and bitter disillusionment in them. His hand pressed down over her belly. “I would have come even if I hadn’t known about the baby,” he said at once.
“The baby is mine.”
“Audrey is not getting her avaricious little hands on my child…!
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Issib wasn't thrilled to see him. I'm busy and don't need interruptions."
"This is the household library," said Nafai. "This is where we always come to do research."
"See? You're interrupting already."
"Look, I didn't say anything, I just came in here, and you started picking at me the second I walked in the door."
"I was hoping you'd walk back out."
"I can't. Mother sent me here." Nafai walked over behind Issib, who was floating comfortably in the air in front of his computer display. It was layered thirty pages deep, but each page had only a few words on it, so he could see almost everything at once. Like a game of solitaire, in which Issib was simply moving fragments from place to place.
The fragments were all words in weird languages. The ones Nafai recognized were very old.
"What language is that?" Nafai asked pointing, to one.
Issib signed. "I'm so glad you're not interrupting me."
"What is it, some ancient form of Vijati?"
"Very good. It's Slucajan, which came from Obilazati, the original form of Vijati. It's dead now."
"I read Vijati, you know."
"Oh, so you're specializing in ancient, obscure languages that nobody speaks anymore, including you?"
"I'm not learning these languages, I'm researching lost words."
"If the whole language is dead, then all the words are lost."
"Words that used to have meanings, but that died out or survived only in idiomatic expressions. Like 'dancing bear.' What's a bear, do you know?"
"I don't know. I always thought it was some kind of graceful bird."
"Wrong. It's an ancient mammal. Known only on Earth, I think, and not brought here. Or it died out soon. It was bigger than a man, very powerful. A predator."
"And it danced?"
"The expression used to mean something absurdly clumsy. Like a dog walking on its hind legs."
"And now it means the opposite. That's weird. How could it change?"
"Because there aren't any bears. THe meaning used to be obvious, because everybody knew a bear and how clumsy it would look, dancing. But when the bears were gone, the meaning could go anywhere. Now we use it for a person who's extremely deft in getting out of an embarrassing social situation. It's the only case that we use the word bear anymore. And you see a lot of people misspelling it, too."
"Great stuff. You doing a linguistics project?"
"What's this for, then?"
"Just collection old idioms?"
"Like bear? The word isn't lost, Issya. It's the bears that are gone."
"Very good, Nyef. You get full credit for the assignment. Go away now.
Orson Scott Card (Magic Street)
There was one monk who never spoke up. His name was Vappa, and he seemed the most insecure about Gautama coming back to life. When he was taken aside and told that he would be enlightened, Vappa greeted the news with doubt. “If what you tell me is true, I would feel something, and I don’t,” he said. “When you dig a well, there is no sign of water until you reach it, only rocks and dirt to move out of the way. You have removed enough; soon the pure water will flow,” said Buddha. But instead of being reassured, Vappa threw himself on the ground, weeping and grasping Buddha’s feet. “It will never happen,” he moaned. “Don’t fill me with false hope.” “I’m not offering hope,” said Buddha. “Your karma brought you to me, along with the other four. I can see that you will soon be awake.” “Then why do I have so many impure thoughts?” asked Vappa, who was prickly and prone to outbursts of rage, so much so that the other monks were intimidated by him. “Don’t trust your thoughts,” said Buddha. “You can’t think yourself awake.” “I have stolen food when I was famished, and there were times when I stole away from my brothers and went to women,” said Vappa. “Don’t trust your actions. They belong to the body,” said Buddha. “Your body can’t wake you up.” Vappa remained miserable, his expression hardening the more Buddha spoke. “I should go away from here. You say there is no war between good and evil, but I feel it inside. I feel how good you are, and it only makes me feel worse.” Vappa’s anguish was so genuine that Buddha felt a twinge of temptation. He could reach out and take Vappa’s guilt from his shoulders with a touch of the hand. But making Vappa happy wasn’t the same as setting him free, and Buddha knew he couldn’t touch every person on earth. He said, “I can see that you are at war inside, Vappa. You must believe me when I say that you’ll never win.” Vappa hung his head lower. “I know that. So I must go?” “No, you misunderstand me,” Buddha said gently. “No one has ever won the war. Good opposes evil the way the summer sun opposes winter cold, the way light opposes darkness. They are built into the eternal scheme of Nature.” “But you won. You are good; I feel it,” said Vappa. “What you feel is the being I have inside, just as you have it,” said Buddha. “I did not conquer evil or embrace good. I detached myself from both.” “How?” “It wasn’t difficult. Once I admitted to myself that I would never become completely good or free from sin, something changed inside. I was no longer distracted by the war; my attention could go somewhere else. It went beyond my body, and I saw who I really am. I am not a warrior. I am not a prisoner of desire. Those things come and go. I asked myself: Who is watching the war? Who do I return to when pain is over, or when pleasure is over? Who is content simply to be? You too have felt the peace of simply being. Wake up to that, and you will join me in being free.” This lesson had an immense effect on Vappa, who made it his mission for the rest of his life to seek out the most miserable and hopeless people in society. He was convinced that Buddha had revealed a truth that every person could recognize: suffering is a fixed part of life. Fleeing from pain and running toward pleasure would never change that fact. Yet most people spent their whole lives avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure. To them, this was only natural, but in reality they were becoming deeply involved in a war they could never win.
Deepak Chopra (Buddha)
The pressure is on. They've teased me all week, because I've avoided anything that requires ordering. I've made excuses (I'm allergic to beef," "Nothing tastes better than bread," Ravioli is overrated"), but I can't avoid it forever.Monsieur Boutin is working the counter again. I grab a tray and take a deep breath.
"Bonjour, uh...soup? Sopa? S'il vous plait?"
"Hello" and "please." I've learned the polite words first, in hopes that the French will forgive me for butchering the remainder of their beautiful language. I point to the vat of orangey-red soup. Butternut squash, I think. The smell is extraordinary, like sage and autumn. It's early September, and the weather is still warm. When does fall come to Paris?
"Ah! soupe.I mean,oui. Oui!" My cheeks burn. "And,um, the uh-chicken-salad-green-bean thingy?"
Monsieur Boutin laughs. It's a jolly, bowl-full-of-jelly, Santa Claus laugh. "Chicken and haricots verts, oui. You know,you may speek Ingleesh to me. I understand eet vairy well."
My blush deepends. Of course he'd speak English in an American school. And I've been living on stupid pears and baquettes for five days. He hands me a bowl of soup and a small plate of chicken salad, and my stomach rumbles at the sight of hot food.
"Merci," I say.
"De rien.You're welcome. And I 'ope you don't skeep meals to avoid me anymore!" He places his hand on his chest, as if brokenhearted. I smile and shake my head no. I can do this. I can do this. I can-
"NOW THAT WASN'T SO TERRIBLE, WAS IT, ANNA?" St. Clair hollers from the other side of the cafeteria.
I spin around and give him the finger down low, hoping Monsieur Boutin can't see. St. Clair responds by grinning and giving me the British version, the V-sign with his first two fingers. Monsieur Boutin tuts behind me with good nature. I pay for my meal and take the seat next to St. Clair. "Thanks. I forgot how to flip off the English. I'll use the correct hand gesture next time."
"My pleasure. Always happy to educate." He's wearing the same clothing as yesterday, jeans and a ratty T-shirt with Napolean's silhouette on it.When I asked him about it,he said Napolean was his hero. "Not because he was a decent bloke, mind you.He was an arse. But he was a short arse,like meself."
I wonder if he slept at Ellie's. That's probably why he hasn't changed his clothes. He rides the metro to her college every night, and they hang out there. Rashmi and Mer have been worked up, like maybe Ellie thinks she's too good for them now.
"You know,Anna," Rashmi says, "most Parisians understand English. You don't have to be so shy."
Yeah.Thanks for pointing that out now.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Ego or fixed identity doesn’t just mean we have a fixed idea about ourselves. It also means that we have a fixed idea about everything we perceive. I have a fixed idea about you; you have a fixed idea about me. And once there is that feeling of separation, it gives rise to strong emotions. In Buddhism, strong emotions like anger, craving, pride, and jealousy are known as kleshas—conflicting emotions that cloud the mind. The kleshas are our vehicle for escaping groundlessness, and therefore every time we give in to them, our preexisting habits are reinforced. In Buddhism, going around and around, recycling the same patterns, is called samsara. And samsara equals pain. We keep trying to get away from the fundamental ambiguity of being human, and we can’t. We can’t escape it any more than we can escape change, any more than we can escape death. The cause of our suffering is our reaction to the reality of no escape: ego clinging and all the trouble that stems from it, all the things that make it difficult for us to be comfortable in our own skin and get along with one another. If the way to deal with those feelings is to stay present with them without fueling the story line, then it begs the question: How do we get in touch with the fundamental ambiguity of being human in the first place? In fact, it’s not difficult, because underlying uneasiness is usually present in our lives. It’s pretty easy to recognize but not so easy to interrupt. We may experience this uneasiness as anything from slight edginess to sheer terror. Anxiety makes us feel vulnerable, which we generally don’t like. Vulnerability comes in many guises. We may feel off balance, as if we don’t know what’s going on, don’t have a handle on things. We may feel lonely or depressed or angry. Most of us want to avoid emotions that make us feel vulnerable, so we’ll do almost anything to get away from them. But if, instead of thinking of these feelings as bad, we could think of them as road signs or barometers that tell us we’re in touch with groundlessness, then we would see the feelings for what they really are: the gateway to liberation, an open doorway to freedom from suffering, the path to our deepest well-being and joy. We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased. So the challenge is to notice the emotional tug of shenpa when it arises and to stay with it for one and a half minutes without the story line. Can you do this once a day, or many times throughout the day, as the feeling arises? This is the challenge. This is the process of unmasking, letting go, opening the mind and heart.
Pema Chödrön (Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change)
I would like to see you cheat,” Elizabeth said impulsively, smiling at him.
His hands stilled, his eyes intent on her face. “I beg your pardon?”
“What I meant,” she hastily explained as he continued to idly shuffle the cards, watching her, “is that night in the card room at Charise’s there was mention of someone being able to deal a card from the bottom of the deck, and I’ve always wondered if you could, if it could…” She trailed off, belatedly realizing she was insulting him and that his narrowed, speculative gaze proved that she’d made it sound as if she believed him to be dishonest at cards. “I beg your pardon,” she said quietly. “That was truly awful of me.”
Ian accepted her apology with a curt nod, and when Alex hastily interjected, “Why don’t we use the chips for a shilling each,” he wordlessly and immediately dealt the cards.
Too embarrassed even to look at him, Elizabeth bit her lip and picked up her hand.
In it there were four kings.
Her gaze flew to Ian, but he was lounging back in his chair, studying his own cards.
She won three shillings and was pleased as could be.
He passed the deck to her, but Elizabeth shook her head. “I don’t like to deal. I always drop the cards, which Celton says is very irritating. Would you mind dealing for me?”
“Not at all,” Ian said dispassionately, and Elizabeth realized with a sinking heart that he was still annoyed with her.
“Who is Celton?” Jordan inquired.
“Celton is a groom with whom I play cards,” Elizabeth explained unhappily, picking up her hand.
In it there were four aces.
She knew it then, and laughter and relief trembled on her lips as she lifted her face and stared at her betrothed. There was not a sign, not so much as a hint anywhere on his perfectly composed features that anything unusual had been happening.
Lounging indolently in his chair, he quirked an indifferent brow and said, “Do you want to discard and draw more cards, Elizabeth?”
“Yes,” she replied, swallowing her mirth, “I would like one more ace to go with the ones I have.”
“There are only four,” he explained mildly, and with such convincing blandness that Elizabeth whooped with laughter and dropped her cards. “You are a complete charlatan!” she gasped when she could finally speak, but her face was aglow with admiration.
“Thank you, darling,” he replied tenderly. “I’m happy to know your opinion of me is already improving.”
The laughter froze in Elizabeth’s chest, replaced by warmth that quaked through her from head to foot. Gentlemen did not speak such tender endearments in front of other people, if at all. “I’m a Scot,” he’d whispered huskily to her long ago. “We do.” The Townsendes had launched into swift, laughing conversation after a moment of stunned silence following his words, and it was just as well, because Elizabeth could not tear her gaze from Ian, could not seem to move. And in that endless moment when their gazes held, Elizabeth had an almost overwhelming desire to fling herself into his arms. He saw it, too, and the answering expression in his eyes made her feel she was melting.
“It occurs to me, Ian,” Jordan joked a moment later, gently breaking their spell, “that we are wasting our time with honest pursuits.”
Ian’s gaze shifted reluctantly from Elizabeth’s face, and then he smiled inquisitively at Jordan. “What did you have in mind?” he asked, shoving the deck toward Jordan while Elizabeth put back her unjustly won chips.
“With your skill at dealing whatever hand you want, we could gull half of London. If any of our victims had the temerity to object, Alex could run them through with her rapier, and Elizabeth could shoot him before he hit the ground.”
Ian chuckled. “Not a bad idea. What would your role be?”
“Breaking us out of Newgate!” Elizabeth laughed.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
told me more about what happened the other night?” she asked, deciding to air her worst fears. “Am I under suspicion or something?” “Everyone is.” “Especially ex-wives who are publicly humiliated on the day of the murder, right?” Something in Montoya’s expression changed. Hardened. “I’ll be back,” he promised, “and I’ll bring another detective with me, then we’ll interview you and you can ask all the questions you like.” “And you’ll answer them?” He offered a hint of a smile. “That I can’t promise. Just that I won’t lie to you.” “I wouldn’t expect you to, Detective.” He gave a quick nod. “In the meantime if you suddenly remember, or think of anything, give me a call.” “I will,” she promised, irritated, watching as he hurried down the two steps of the porch to his car. He was younger than she was by a couple of years, she guessed, though she couldn’t be certain, and there was something about him that exuded a natural brooding sexuality, as if he knew he was attractive to women, almost expected it to be so. Great. Just what she needed, a sexy-as-hell cop who probably had her pinned to the top of his murder suspect list. She whistled for the dog and Hershey bounded inside, dragging some mud and leaves with her. “Sit!” Abby commanded and the Lab dropped her rear end onto the floor just inside the door. Abby opened the door to the closet and found a towel hanging on a peg she kept for just such occasions, then, while Hershey whined in protest, she cleaned all four of her damp paws. “You’re gonna be a problem, aren’t you?” she teased, then dropped the towel over the dog’s head. Hershey shook herself, tossed off the towel, then bit at it, snagging one end in her mouth and pulling backward in a quick game of tug of war. Abby laughed as she played with the dog, the first real joy she’d felt since hearing the news about her ex-husband. The phone rang and she left the dog growling and shaking the tattered piece of terry cloth. “Hello?” she said, still chuckling at Hershey’s antics as she lifted the phone to her ear. “Abby Chastain?” “Yes.” “Beth Ann Wright with the New Orleans Sentinel.” Abby’s heart plummeted. The press. Just what she needed. “You were Luke Gierman’s wife, right?” “What’s this about?” Abby asked warily as Hershey padded into the kitchen and looked expectantly at the back door leading to her studio. “In a second,” she mouthed to the Lab. Hershey slowly wagged her tail. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Beth Ann said, sounding sincerely rueful. “I should have explained. The paper’s running a series of articles on Luke, as he was a local celebrity, and I’d like to interview you for the piece. I was thinking we could meet tomorrow morning?” “Luke and I were divorced.” “Yes, I know, but I would like to give some insight to the man behind the mike, you know. He had a certain public persona, but I’m sure my readers would like to know more about him, his history, his hopes, his dreams, you know, the human-interest angle.” “It’s kind of late for that,” Abby said, not bothering to keep the ice out of her voice. “But you knew him intimately. I thought you could come up with some anecdotes, let people see the real Luke Gierman.” “I don’t think so.” “I realize you and he had some unresolved issues.” “Pardon me?” “I caught his program the other day.” Abby tensed, her fingers holding the phone in a death grip. “So this is probably harder for you than most, but I still would like to ask you some questions.” “Maybe another time,” she hedged and Beth Ann didn’t miss a beat. “Anytime you’d like. You’re a native Louisianan, aren’t you?” Abby’s neck muscles tightened. “Born and raised, but you met Luke in Seattle when he was working for a radio station . . . what’s the call sign, I know I’ve got it somewhere.” “KCTY.” It was a matter of public record. “Oh, that’s right. Country in the City. But you grew up here and went to local schools, right? Your
Lisa Jackson (Lisa Jackson's Bentz & Montoya Bundle: Shiver, Absolute Fear, Lost Souls, Hot Blooded, Cold Blooded, Malice & Devious (A Bentz/Montoya Novel))
Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once—somewhere—far away—in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time. I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the tin-pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; I had to keep a look-out for the signs of dead wood we could cut up in the night for next day's steaming. When you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality—the reality, I tell you—fades. The inner truth is hidden—luckily, luckily.
Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness)
Arin had bathed. He was wearing house clothes, and when Kestrel saw him standing in the doorway his shoulders were relaxed. Without being invited, he strode into the room, pulled out the other chair at the small table where Kestrel waited, and sat. He arranged his arms in a position of negligent ease and leaned into the brocaded chair as if he owned it. He seemed, Kestrel thought, at home.
But then, he had also seemed so in the forge. Kestrel looked away from him, stacking the Bite and Sting tiles on the table. It occurred to her that it was a talent for Arin to be comfortable in such different environments. She wondered how she would fare in his world.
He said, “This is not a sitting room.”
“Oh?” Kestrel mixed the tiles. “And here I thought we were sitting.”
His mouth curved slightly. “This is a writing room. Or, rather”--he pulled his six tiles--“it was.”
Kestrel drew her Bite and Sting hand. She decided to show no sign of curiosity. She would not allow herself to be distracted. She arranged her tiles facedown.
“Wait,” he said. “What are the stakes?”
She had given this careful consideration. She took a small wooden box from her skirt pocket and set it on the table. Arin picked up the box and shook it, listening to the thin, sliding rattle of its contents. “Matches.” He tossed the box back onto the table. “Hardly high stakes.”
But what were appropriate stakes for a slave who had nothing to gamble? This question had troubled Kestrel ever since she had proposed the game. She shrugged and said, “Perhaps I am afraid to lose.” She split the matches between them.
“Hmm,” he said, and they each put in their ante.
Arin positioned his tiles so that he could see their engravings without revealing them to Kestrel. His eyes flicked to them briefly, then lifted to examine the luxury of his surroundings. This annoyed her--both because she could glean nothing from his expression and because he was acting the gentleman by averting his gaze, offering her a moment to study her tiles without fear of giving away something to him. As if she needed such an advantage.
“How do you know?” she said.
“How do I know what?”
“That this was a writing room. I have never heard of such a thing.” She began to position her own tiles. It was only when she saw their designs that she wondered whether Arin had really been polite in looking away, or if he had been deliberately provoking her.
She concentrated on her draw, relieved to see that she had a good set. A tiger (the highest tile); a wolf, a mouse, a fox (not a bad trio, except the mouse); and a pair of scorpions. She liked the Sting tiles. They were often underestimated.
Kestrel realized that Arin had been waiting to answer her question. He was watching her.
“I know,” he said, “because of this room’s position in your suite, the cream color of the walls, and the paintings of swans. This was where a Herrani lady would pen her letters or write journal entries. It’s a private room. I shouldn’t be allowed inside.”
“Well,” said Kestrel, uncomfortable, “it is no longer what it was.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
Knowledgeable observers report that dating has nearly disappeared from college campuses and among young adults generally. It has been replaced by something called “hanging out.” You young people apparently know what this is, but I will describe it for the benefit of those of us who are middle-aged or older and otherwise uninformed. Hanging out consists of numbers of young men and young women joining together in some group activity. It is very different from dating.
For the benefit of some of you who are not middle-aged or older, I also may need to describe what dating is. Unlike hanging out, dating is not a team sport. Dating is pairing off to experience the kind of one-on-one association and temporary commitment that can lead to marriage in some rare and treasured cases. . . .
All of this made dating more difficult. And the more elaborate and expensive the date, the fewer the dates. As dates become fewer and more elaborate, this seems to create an expectation that a date implies seriousness or continuing commitment. That expectation discourages dating even more. . . .
Simple and more frequent dates allow both men and women to “shop around” in a way that allows extensive evaluation of the prospects. The old-fashioned date was a wonderful way to get acquainted with a member of the opposite sex. It encouraged conversation. It allowed you to see how you treat others and how you are treated in a one-on-one situation. It gave opportunities to learn how to initiate and sustain a mature relationship. None of that happens in hanging out.
My single brothers and sisters, follow the simple dating pattern and you don’t need to do your looking through Internet chat rooms or dating services—two alternatives that can be very dangerous or at least unnecessary or ineffective. . . .
Men, if you have returned from your mission and you are still following the boy-girl patterns you were counseled to follow when you were 15, it is time for you to grow up. Gather your courage and look for someone to pair off with. Start with a variety of dates with a variety of young women, and when that phase yields a good prospect, proceed to courtship. It’s marriage time. That is what the Lord intends for His young adult sons and daughters. Men have the initiative, and you men should get on with it. If you don’t know what a date is, perhaps this definition will help. I heard it from my 18-year-old granddaughter. A “date” must pass the test of three p’s: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off.
Young women, resist too much hanging out, and encourage dates that are simple, inexpensive, and frequent. Don’t make it easy for young men to hang out in a setting where you women provide the food. Don’t subsidize freeloaders. An occasional group activity is OK, but when you see men who make hanging out their primary interaction with the opposite sex, I think you should lock the pantry and bolt the front door.
If you do this, you should also hang up a sign, “Will open for individual dates,” or something like that. And, young women, please make it easier for these shy males to ask for a simple, inexpensive date. Part of making it easier is to avoid implying that a date is something very serious. If we are to persuade young men to ask for dates more frequently, we must establish a mutual expectation that to go on a date is not to imply a continuing commitment. Finally, young women, if you turn down a date, be kind. Otherwise you may crush a nervous and shy questioner and destroy him as a potential dater, and that could hurt some other sister.
My single young friends, we counsel you to channel your associations with the opposite sex into dating patterns that have the potential to mature into marriage, not hanging-out patterns that only have the prospect to mature into team sports like touch football. Marriage is not a group activity—at least, not until the children come along in goodly numbers.
Dallin H. Oaks
I hurt my hip, too.”
“Let me see.”
She made a face and yelped when her cheek protested even that slight movement. “You don’t need to see my hip. It’s fine.”
“If the skin’s broken, it’ll need cleaning, too,” he said, unbuckling her belt.
“Think of me as your doctor,” he said, as he unsnapped and then unzipped her jeans.
“My doctor doesn’t usually undress me,” she snapped. “And my patients already come undressed.”
He laughed. “Life your hips,” he said. “Up!” he ordered, when she hesitated.
She put her one good hand on his shoulder to brace herself and lifted her hips as he pulled her torn jeans down. To her surprise, her bikini underwear was shredded, and the skin underneath was bloody. “Uh-oh.”
She was still staring at the injury on her hip when she felt him pulling off her boots. She started to protest, saw the warning look in his eyes, and shut her mouth. He pulled her jeans off, leaving her legs bare above her white boot socks. “Was that really necessary?”
“You’re decent,” he said, straightening the tails of her Western shirt over her shredded bikini underwear. “I can put your boots back on if you like.”
Bay shook her head and laughed. “Just get the first-aid kit, and let me take care of myself.”
He grimaced. “If I’m not mistaken, you packed the first-aid kit in your saddlebags.”
Bay winced. “You’re right.” She stared down the canyon as far as she could see. There was no sign of her horse. “How long do you think it’ll take him to stop running?”
“He won’t have gone far. But I need to set up camp before it gets dark. And I’m not hunting for your horse in the dark, for the same reason I’m not hunting for your brother in the dark.”
“Where am I supposed to sleep? My bedroll and tent are with my horse.”
“You should have thought of that before you started that little striptease of yours.”
“You’re the one who shouted and scared me half to death. I was only trying to cool off.”
“And heating me up in the process!”
“I can’t help it if you have a vivid imagination.”
“It didn’t take much to imagine to see your breasts,” he shot back. “You opened your blouse right up and bent over and flapped your shirt like you were waving a red flag at a bull”
“I was getting some air!”
“You slid your butt around that saddle like you were sitting right on my lap.”
“Then you lifted your arms to hold your hair up and those perfect little breasts of yours—”
“That’s enough,” she interrupted. “You’re crazy if you think—”
“You mean you weren’t inviting me to kiss my way around those wispy curls at your nape?”
“I most certainly was not!”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
She searched for the worst insult she could think of to sling at him. “You—you—Bullying Blackthorne!”
“Damned contentious Creed!
Joan Johnston (The Texan (Bitter Creek, #2))
The teachings of impermanence and lack of independent existence are not difficult to understand intellectually; when you hear these teachings you may think that they are quite true. On a deeper level, however, you probably still identify yourself as “me” and identify others as “them” or “you.” On some level you likely say to yourself, “I will always be me; I have an identity that is important.” I, for example, say to myself, “I am a Buddhist priest; not a Christian or Islamic one. I am a Japanese person, not an American or a Chinese one.” If we did not assume that we have this something within us that does not change, it would be very difficult for us to live responsibly in society. This is why people who are unfamiliar with Buddhism often ask, “If there were no unchanging essential existence, doesn’t that mean I would not be responsible for my past actions, since I would be a different person than in the past?” But of course that is not what the Buddha meant when he said we have no unchanging atman or essential existence. To help us understand this point, we can consider how our life resembles a river. Each moment the water of a river is flowing and different, so it is constantly changing, but there is still a certain continuity of the river as a whole. The Mississippi River, for example, was the river we know a million years ago. And yet, the water flowing in the Mississippi is always different, always new, so there is actually no fixed thing that we can say is the one and only Mississippi River. We can see this clearly when we compare the source of the Mississippi in northern Minnesota, a small stream one can jump over, to the river’s New Orleans estuary, which seems as wide as an ocean. We cannot say which of these is the true Mississippi: it is just a matter of conditions that lets us call one or the other of these the Mississippi. In reality, a river is just a collection of masses of flowing water contained within certain shapes in the land. “Mississippi River” is simply a name given to various conditions and changing elements. Since our lives are also just a collection of conditions, we cannot say that we each have one true identity that does not change, just as we cannot say there is one true Mississippi River. What we call the “self ” is just a set of conditions existing within a collection of different elements. So I cannot say that there is an unchanging self that exists throughout my life as a baby, as a teenager, and as it is today. Things that I thought were important and interesting when I was an elementary or high school student, for example, are not at all interesting to me now; my feelings, emotions, and values are always changing. This is the meaning of the teaching that everything is impermanent and without independent existence. But we still must recognize that there is a certain continuity in our lives, that there is causality, and that we need to be responsible for what we did yesterday. In this way, self-identity is important. Even though in actuality there is no unchanging identity, I still must use expressions like “when I was a baby ..., when I was a boy ..., when I was a teenager. ...” To speak about changes in our lives and communicate in a meaningful way, we must speak as if we assumed that there is an unchanging “I” that has been experiencing the changes; otherwise, the word “change” has no meaning. But according to Buddhist philosophy, self-identity, the “I,” is a creation of the mind; we create self-identity because it’s convenient and useful in certain ways. We must use self-identity to live responsibly in society, but we should realize that it is merely a tool, a symbol, a sign, or a concept. Because it enables us to think and discriminate, self-identity allows us to live and function. Although it is not the only reality of our lives, self-identity is a reality for us, a tool we must use to live with others in society.
Shohaku Okumura (Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo)